But today, all four players will be on equal footing when they are inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, along with New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello in the builder's category.
"I could never figure out why Calgary ever drafted me," Hull said in an NHL conference call. "When I got there, I think they had eight or nine right wingers already, including Lanny McDonald, Joey Mullen, Hakan Loob. These guys were premier players. It's not like they were extremely late in their careers either."
Although Robitaille was drafted late, he always believed he had a chance to play in the NHL.
"I'm a guy that looks at everything with the glass half full," Robitaille said. "I remember thinking, when I got drafted, 'I'm on the list, now it's up to me to make a difference.' "
The Hall also will honor St. Louis Blues President John Davidson for his previous broadcasting work by giving him the Foster Hewitt award. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Dave Molinari will get the Elmer Ferguson award for hockey journalism.
This class undoubtedly is one of the best in Hall history. Hull is third, Yzerman eighth and Robitaille 10th on the NHL's all-time goal-scoring list. Leetch had 1,028 points as a defenseman. All four players, plus Lamoriello, have won Stanley Cups.
Yzerman said he's still not comfortable with the idea that he's a Hall of Famer. "It does feel strange … because growing up and really being in the league, you run into the Hall of Famers, you would see them on TV, see the names," he said. "It's a pretty awesome group."