Sprague Cleghorn

Sprague Cleghorn has one of the all time great hockey names. But was he good enough to be in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

In this episode, we talk about Sprague and where he ranks among the old timer D of his era. Listen here:

Sprague Cleghorn’s Career

  • NHL: 1918-28; 10 seasons, 9 quality
  • Totals:
    • 83G (17th All Time at his retirement),
    • 55A (5th) for
    • 138P (13th) in
    • 259 games (6th);
    • 47.6 PS
  • At his retirement, Cleghorn was 20th All Time in APG
  • 82-game average: 26G, 17A for 43P
  • 3-year peak (1922-25): 30-game average of 10G, 9A for 19P
  • Playoffs: 4G, 3A for 7P in 21 games
  • Adjusted:
    • Hockey-Reference:
      • 127G, 286A for 413P
      • Adjusted 82-game average: 40G, 91A for 131P
      • Traded twice in his prime, sat out part of a season, claimed in a dispersal draft.
    • Doesn’t qualify for the VxS adjustment
  • NHA:
    • 1910-17; 7 seasons, 5? Quality
    • Totals:
      • 84G (as good as 11th All Time),
      • 33A (possibly most All Time) for
      • 117P (as good as 9th All Time) in
      • 115 games (as high as 7th All Time)
    • If the qualifier is set to 82 games, Cleghorn might be as high as 9th All Time in GPG and PPG, and 2nd in APG
    • 20-game average: 15G, 6A for 20P
    • Didn’t calculate a 3-year peak
    • Playoffs: 0P in 2 games
    • Never traded.

Sprague Cleghorn’s Accomplishments

  • Top 5 in Hart voting twice (’24, ’26)
  • Backcheck MVP (’19)
  • Top Player:
    • Top 5 Player (by PS) four times (’19, ’20, ’22, ’24),
    • Top 10 five times (’23)
    • Best Defensive Player (dy DPS) twice (’19, ’23),
    • Top 5 six times (’20, ’22, ’24, ’25),
    • Top 10 seven times (’21)
  • Goals:
    • Scored 15 goals twice (1 of only 2 D to do so at his retirement)
    • Top 10 in Goals once
    • Top 10 in GPG once
  • Assists:
    • Top 5 in Assists once, Top 10 thrice
    • Top 10 in APG once
  • Points:
    • Top 10 in Points once
    • Top 10 in PPG once.

Srague Cleghorn’s Great Teams

  • NHL:
    • Best D (by points) on two Stanley Cup Champions (’21 Senators* – signed for final only, ’24 Canadiens) and one Stanley Cup Runner Up (’25 Canadiens),
    • Best D? (by points) on two NHL Runners Up (’21 St. Patricks, ’23 Canadiens) and one NHL/Stanley Cup Final Four (’28 Bruins),
    • Top 2 D (by points) on one NHL/Stanley Cup Runner Up (’27  Bruins),
    • Top 2? (by points) D on one Stanley Cup Champion (’20 Senators),
    • Top 4 D (by points) on one NHL Runner Up (’19 Senators)

How it is possible that Cleghorn could have been on the playoff roster for both the Toronto St. Patricks and the Stanley Cup Champion Ottawa Senators in the 1920-21? No, it’s not a typo. Cleghorn was released from the St. Pats after they lost the NHL final to the Senators. The Senators then signed him for the Stanley Cup final the next week.

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