Does Herb Gardiner Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Herb Gardiner may have been one of the premier defencemen of his era, and was awarded the Hart Trophy as a result.

But how good was he really? Can we even know? How do we evaluate defencemen from the 1920s who didn’t score a lot? Can we trust Hart trophy wins from the past when we know they sometimes awarded them for controversial reasons?

Listen to us talk about Herb Gardiner here:

Eric Desjardins, Rob Blake, Herb Gardiner

Herb Gardiner’s Career:

  • NHL:
    • 1926-29; 3 seasons, all quality (by DPS)
    • Totals:
      • 10G,
      • 10A for
      • 20P in
      • 100 games
    • 82-game average: 8G, 8A for 16P
    • 3-year peak would be the same as that’s all he played
    • Playoffs:
      • 1A for 1P in 9 games
    • Adjusted:
      • Hockey-Reference:
        • 18G,
        • 57A for
        • 75P
        • Adjusted 82-game average: 15G, 47A for 62 (+46P per 82 games, so probably absurd)
      • VsX: Doesn’t qualify
    • Trades:
      • Traded into the NHL at 35 for cash
      • Loaned to Chicago at 37, returned to Montreal before he turned 38
      • Traded to Boston at 38 for cash
      • Traded out of the NHL at 39 for cash
  • WCHL:
    • 1921-26; 5 seasons, 3 quality
    • Totals:
      • 33G (as high as 18th All Time),
      • 18A (as high as 15th All Time) for
      • 51P (as high as 17th All Time) in 1
      • 30 games (as high as 4th All Time)
    • Per Game: If the qualifier is set to 82 games it’s unlikely but Gardiner might be as high as
      • 13th All Time in APG and
      • 14th in PPG
    • 30-game average: 8G, 4A for 12P
    • Playoffs: 3G, 1A for 4P in 11 games
    • Never traded.

Herb Gardiner’s Accomplishments:

  • NHL:
    • Hart (‘27)
    • Top Player:
      • Best Defensive Player (by DPS) once (‘27),
      • Top 5 twice (‘28)
    • No offensive accomplishments or presence on leaderboards
  • WCHL: Never on any leaderboards

Great Teams:

  • WCHL:
    • Best D (by points) on one WCHL Champion (‘24 Tigers),
    • Unknown role on one WCHL Runner Up (‘25 Tigers)

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