Reevaluating the Hart Part 2: Early Hart Trophies 1924-1942

In part two of our series, we tackle the Hart trophies awarded between the award’s inception and the contraction of the league during World War II:

Listen here:

1942 – Tom Anderson, D, Americans (last, only team to miss playoffs)

  • Best Player by PPG:
    • Bryan Hextall (1.17 PPG, 56P, 5.6 PS)
    • Lynn Patrick (1.17 PPG, 55P, 6.2 PS)
  • Art Ross: Bryan Hextall
  • MVS by PS: Flash Hollett (7.8 PS, 33P)
  • MVS by PS factoring in playoffs: Toe Blake (3.8 PS, 45P)
  • MVF by PS: Lynn Patrick
  • MVF by OPS: Lynn Patrick
  • MVD by DPS:
    • Flash Hollett
    • Des Smith (5 PS, 15P)
  • MVG: Frank Brimsek (11 PS, 24-17-6, 2.35 GAA, 3 SO)
  • Best Player on Best Team (Rangers)
    • by Points: Bryan Hextall
    • by MVS by PS: Lynn Patrick
  • Best Player on Best Offensive Team (Rangers)
    • by Points: Bryan Hextall
    • by OPS: Lynn Patrick
  • Best Player on Best Defensive Team (Bruins)
    • by PS: Flash Hollett
    • by DPS
      • Flash Hollett
      • Des Smith
    • by GPS: Frank Brimsek
  • Vezina: Frank Brimsek

There are two possibilities here:

  • Anderson, who had previously been a winger, set the points record for a defenseman, and the voters thought that was notable enough to award the Hart OR
  • The voters knew Brooklyn was dying as a franchise and wanted to reward the best player on that team as some kind of gesture.

Either way, there’s no precedent for this Hart in the history of the trophy up to this point and only one other instance like this in the entire history of the trophy.  Can you imagine awarding the trophy to Paul Coffey if the Oilers missed the playoffs?

Best Player Race

PlayerTeamGamesGoalsAssistsPointsGCPSGPGAPGPPGGCPGPSPGHart
AndersonAmericans481229411560.250.600.850.310.13Yes
CowleyBruins284232792.10.140.820.960.320.08No
HextallRangers48243256225.60.500.671.170.460.12No
PatrickRangers47322355246.20.680.491.170.510.133rd
WatsonRangers48153752194.40.310.771.080.400.09No

Voting:

  1. Anderson: 31.62%
  2. Syl Apps: 17.65%
  3. Patrick: 16.91%
  4. Bill Thoms: 16.91%
  5. Brimsek: 16.91%

Verdict

Controversial to Terrible

Bill: Hextall/Patrick

Riley: Hextall

1941 – Bill Cowley, C, Bruins (1st)

  • Best Player by PPG: Bill Cowley (1.39 PPG, 64P, 7.4 PS)
  • Art Ross: Bill Cowley
  • MVS by PS: Bill Cowley
    • MVS by PS factoring in playoffs: Bill Cowley [Technically not possible due to standings]
    • MVF by OPS: Bill Cowley
    • MVD by PS: Alex Motter (7 PS, 25P)
    • MVD by DPS: Wally Stanowski (6.5 PS, 21P)
  • MVG
    • Frank Brimsek (11 PS, 27-8-13, 2.01 GAA, 6 SO)
    • Johnny Mowers (11 PS, 21-16-11, 2.01 GAA, 4 SO)
  • Best Player on Best Team (Bruins)
    • by Points: Bill Cowley
    • by MVS by PS: Bill Cowley
  • Best Player on Best Offensive Team (Bruins)
    • by Points: Bill Cowley
    • by OPS: Bill Cowley
  • Best Player on Best Defensive Team (Maple Leafs)
    • by PS: Wally Stanowski (6.5 PS, 21P)
    • by DPS: Wally Stanowski
    • by GPS: Turk Broda (10.9 PS, 28-14-6, 2 GAA, 5 SO)
  • Vezina: Turk Broda

Voting:

  1. Cowley: 23.1%
  2. Dit Clapper: 21.26%
  3. Syl Apps: 20.47%
  4. Syd Howe: 18.9%
  5. Bryan Hextall: 16.27%

Verdict:

Great.

Bill: Cowley

Riley: Cowley

1940 – Ebbie Goodfellow, D, Red Wings (5th by points, 6th by SRS)

  • Best Player by PPG: Syl Apps (1.11 PPG, 30P. 4.2 PS)
  • Art Ross: Milt Schmidt (52P, 7.5 PS)
  • MVS by PS: Milt Schmidt
  • MVS by PS factoring in playoffs: Milt Schmidt [Technically there is no MVS by PS this year because all 6 playoff teams were way better than the worst team]
  • MVF by OPS: Milt Schmidt
  • MVD by PS
    • Dit Clapper (7.2 PS, 28P)
    • Flash Hollett (7.2 PS, 27P)
  • MVD by DPS
    • Art Coulter (5.3 PS, 10P)
    • Babe Pratt (6.4 PS, 17P)
  • MVG: Dave Kerr (12.6 PS, 27-11-10, 1.54 GAA, 8 SO)
  • Best Player on Best Team (Bruins)
    • by Points: Milt Schmidt
    • by MVS by PS: Milt Schmidt
  • Best Player on Best Offensive Team (Bruins)
    • by Points: Milt Schmidt
    • by OPS: Milt Schmidt
  • Best Player on Best Defensive Team (Rangers)
    • by PS: Ott Heller (6.7 PS, 18P)
    • by DPS
      • Art Coulter
      • Babe Pratt
    • by GPS: Dave Kerr
  • Vezina: Dave Kerr

This was Schmidt’s award as far as I can tell.

Best Player Race

PlayerTeamGPGAPGCPSGPGAPGPPGGCPGPSPGHart
AppsMaple Leafs27131730134.20.480.631.110.480.162nd
Conacher, RBruins31181230144.90.580.390.970.450.16No
HextallRangers482416401860.500.330.830.380.13No
SchmidtBruins48223052227.50.460.631.080.460.164th

Voting:

  1. Goodfellow: 28.36%
  2. Apps: 23.57%
  3. Dit Clapper: 19.9%
  4. Schmidt: 15.92%
  5. Earl Robertson: 10.45%

Verdict:

Controversial

Bill: Schmidt

Riley: Schmidt

1939 – Toe Blake, LW, Canadians (5th)

  • Best Player by PPG: Bill Cowley (1.24 PPG, 42P, 5.1 PS)
  • Art Ross: Toe Blake (47P, 5.7 PS)
  • MVS by PS: Dit Clapper (8.2 PS, 26P)
    • MVS by PS factoring in playoffs: Toe Blake
    • MVF by PS: Roy Conacher (6.4 PS, 37P)
    • MVF by OPS: Toe Blake
    • MVD by DPS
      • Jack Crawford (5.9 PS, 12P)
      • Jack Portland (5.6 PS, 9P)
  • MVG: Frank Brimsek (11.5 PS, 33-9-1, 1.56 GAA, 10 SO)
  • Best Player on Best Team (Bruins)
    • by Points: Bill Cowley
    • by MVS by PS: Dit Clapper
  • Best Player on Best Offensive Team (Bruins)
    • by Points: Bill Cowley
    • by OPS: Roy Conacher
  • Best Player on Best Defensive Team (Bruins)
    • by PS: Dit Clapper
    • by DPS
      • Jack Crawford
      • Jack Portland
    • by GPS: Frank Brimsek
  • Vezina: Frank Brimsek

This one is totally up in the air. Blake seems a decent choice though I would have gone with Cowley who, naturally, didn’t get any votes.

Best Player Race

PTeamGPGAPGCPSGPGAPGPPGPPGGCPGPSPGHart
BlakeCanadiens48242347195.70.500.480.980.400.120.02Yes
ClapperBruins42131326128.20.310.310.620.290.200.02No
Conacher, RBruins47261137196.40.550.230.790.400.140.02No
CowleyBruins3483442155.10.241.001.240.440.150.03No

Voting:

  1. Blake: 32.99%
  2. Syl Apps: 23.2%
  3. Johnny Gottselig: 15.46%
  4. Earl Robertson: 14.43%
  5. Eddie Shore: 12.92%

Verdict

Fine

Bill: Cowley

Riley: Clapper

1938 – Eddie Shore (4th), D, Bruins (1st by points, tied 1st by SRS)

  • Best Player by PPG: Gordie Drillon (1.08 PPG, 52P, 7.4 PS)
  • Art Ross: Gordie Drillon
  • MVS by PS: Gordie Drillon
    • MVS by PS factoring in playoffs: Paul Thompson (5.4 PS, 44P)
    • MVF by OPS: Gordie Drillon
    • MVD by PS: Eddie Shore (6.3 PS, 17P)
    • MVD by DPS:
      • Flash Hollett (6 PS, 14P)
      • Jack Portland (4.4 PS, 6P)
      • Eddie Shore
  • MVG: Tiny Thompson (11.5 PS, 30-11-7, 1.8 GAA, 7 SO)
  • Best Player on Best Team (Bruins)
    • by Points: Bill Cowley (39P, 5.7 PS)
    • by MVS by PS: Eddie Shore (6.3 PS, 17P)
  • Best Player on Best Offensive Team (Maple Leafs)
    • by Points: Gordie Drillon
    • by OPS: Gordie Drillon
  • Best Player on Best Defensive Team (Bruins)
    • by PS: Eddie Shore
    • by DPS
      • Flash Hollett
      • Jack Portland
      • Eddie Shore
    • by GPS: Tiny Thompson
  • Vezina: Tiny Thompson

The most valuable skater on the best team.

Best Player Race:

PlayerTeamGamesGoalsAssistsPointsGCPSGPGAPGPPGGCPGPSPGHart
AppsMaple Leafs47212950216.60.450.621.060.450.14No
CowleyBruins48172239185.70.350.460.810.380.12No
DrillonMaple Leafs48262652237.40.540.541.080.480.154th
ShoreBruins483172066.30.060.350.420.130.13Yes
ThompsonBlack Hawks48222244185.40.460.460.920.380.112nd

Voting: 

  1. Shore: 30.49%
  2. Paul Thompson: 27.35%
  3. Babe Siebert: 17.04%
  4. Drillon: 12.56%
  5. Neil Colville: 12.56%

Verdict

Uncontroversial

Bill: Shore

Riley: Shore

1937 – Babe Siebert, D, Canadiens (2nd by points, 5th by SRS)

  • Best Player by PPG: Sweeney Schriner (0.96 PPG, 46P, 6.2 PS)
  • Art Ross: Sweeney Schriner
  • MVS by PS: Larry Aurie (6.8 PS, 42P)
    • MVS by PS factoring in playoffs: Larry Aurie* (6.8 PS, 42P) [Technically no MVS by standings as all playoff teams were at least 12 points ahead]
    • MVF by OPS: Sweeney Schriner
    • MVD by PS: Lionel Conacher (6.3 PS, 25P)
    • MVD by DPS: Bucko McDonald (4.6 PS, 8P)
  • MVG: Normie Smith (9.8 PS, 25-14-9, 2.05 GAA, 6 SO)
  • Best Player on Best Team (Red Wings)
    • by Points: Marty Barry (44P, 6.1 PS)
    • by MVS by PS: Larry Aurie
  • Best Player on Best Offensive Team (Red Wings)
    • by Points: Marty Barry
    • by OPS: Larry Aurie
  • Best Player on Best Defensive Team (Red Wings)
    • by PS: Larry Aurie
    • by DPS: Bucko McDonald
    • by GPS: Normie Smith
  • Vezina: Normie Smith

Siebert was the best D (by points) on the second best team in the league by points. (They didn’t have access to SRS then, but now we’d know that they were not as good as they seemed.) 

But he was old and some had believed his career was over. So, um, that means he deserved it?

Best Player Race

PlayerTeamGGoalsAssistsPointsGCPSGPGAPGPPGGCPGPSPGHart
AppsMaple Leafs48162945196.10.330.600.940.400.13No
AurieRed Wings45231942206.80.510.420.930.440.15No
BarryRed Wings47172744186.10.360.570.940.380.135th
GagnonCanadiens48201636175.40.420.330.750.350.11No
SchrinerAmericans48212546206.20.440.520.960.420.13No
StewartBruins/Americans43231235185.50.530.280.810.420.13No

Voting:

  1. Siebert: 30.73%
  2. Lionel Conacher: 20.98%
  3. Ebbie Goodfellow: 20.49%
  4. Tiny Thompson: 15.12%
  5. Barry: 12.68%

Verdict

Controversial

Bill: Barry

Riley: Barry

1936 – Eddie Shore (3rd), D, Bruins (t-4th in points, 3rd by SRS)

  • Best Player by PPG: Sweeney Schriner (0.94 PPG, 45P, 6.5 PS)
  • Art Ross: Sweeney Schriner
  • MVS by PS: Charlie Conacher (7.4 PS, 38P)
    • MVS by PS factoring in playoffs: Marty Barry (6.8 PS, 40P)
    • MVF by OPS: Charlie Conacher
    • MVD by PS: Eddie Shore (6.8 PS, 19P)
    • MVD by DPS: Ted Graham (5.2 PS, 5P)
  • MVG: Tiny Thompson (10.4 PS, 22-20-6, 1.68 GAA, 10 SO)
  • Best Player on Best Team (Red Wings)
    • by Points: Marty Barry
    • by MVS by PS: Marty Barry
  • Best Player on Best Offensive Team (Maple Leafs)
    • by Points
      • Charlie Conacher
      • Bill Thoms (38P, 7.3 PS)
    • by OPS: Charlie Conacher
  • Best Player on Best Defensive Team (Bruins)
    • by PS: Eddie Shore (6.8 PS, 19P)
    • by DPS: Ted Graham (5.2 PS, 5P)
    • by GPS: Tiny Thompson
  • Vezina: Tiny Thompson

This is one of those years where there is no clear candidate. 

Moreover, it was a year of incredible parity, with 6 of the 8 teams finishing with between 50 and 56 points. (Because of the league’s stupid playoff structure, the Americans made the playoffs with 39 points while the Rangers didn’t with 50 points.) 

Shore has a decent case but I’m not sure it’s as good as Barry’s or Conacher’s.

Best Player Race

PlayerTeamGamesGoalsAssistsPointsGCPSGPGAPGPPGGCPGPSPGHart
BarryRed Wings48211940186.80.440.400.830.380.14No
ConacherMaple Leafs44231538197.40.520.340.860.430.174th
SchrinerAmericans48192645186.50.400.540.940.380.143rd
ShoreBruins453161976.80.070.360.420.160.15Yes

Voting:

  1. Shore: 28.95%
  2. Hooley Smith: 20.53%
  3. Schriner: 20%
  4. Conacher: 15.79%
  5. Red Dutton: 14.74%

Verdict:

Probably controversial

Bill: Shore

Riley: Shore

1935 – Eddie Shore (2nd), D, Bruins (2nd by points, 4th by SRS)

  • Best Player by PPG: Charlie Conacher (1.21 PPG, 57P, 10.2 PS)
  • Art Ross: Charlie Conacher
  • MVS by PS: Charlie Conacher
    • MVS by PS factoring in playoffs
      • (by division) Cecil Dillon (5.3 PS, 34P)
      • (league-wide) Aurele Joliat (3.7, 29P) [This is absurd because Detroit actually had more points than Montreal]
    • MVF by OPS: Charlie Conacher
    • MVD by PS: Eddie Shore (7.7 PS, 33P)
    • MVD by DPS: Art Coulter (5.8 PS, 13P)
  • MVG: Lorne Chabot (11.5 PS, 26-17-5, 1.8 GAA, 8 SO)
  • Best Player on Best Team (Maple Leafs)
    • by Points: Charlie Conacher
    • by MVS by PS: Charlie Conacher
  • Best Player on Best Offensive Team (Maple Leafs)
    • by Points: Charlie Conacher
    • by OPS: Charlie Conacher
  • Best Player on Best Defensive Team (Black Hawks)
    • by PS: Art Coulter
    • by DPS: Art Coulter
    • by GPS: Lorne Chabot
  • Vezina: Lorne Chabot

Imagine what the hockey world would be like if Charlie Conacher had won two Hart trophies. We’d have a very different idea of the greatest hockey players of all time, I think.

Voting:

  1. Eddie Shore: 31.19%
  2. Conacher: 28.75%
  3. Coulter: 17.13%
  4. Frank Boucher: 11.93%
  5. Aurele Joliat: 11.01%

Shore was 6th in Point Shares (2nd skater). The Bruins were the second best team by points but SRS has them at 4th. They were the 3rd best offensive team while Shore was 4th on the team in points. They were the 4th best defensive team in a 9 team league.

Verdict:

Controversial

Bill: Conacher

Riley: Conacher

1934 – Aurele Joliat, LW, Canadiens (4th by points, 5th by SRS)

  • Best Player by PPG: Charlie Conacher (1.24 PPG, 52P, 9.5 PG)
  • Art Ross: Charlie Conacher
  • MVS by PS: Charlie Conacher
    • MVS by PS factoring in playoffs: Charlie Conacher* [Technically no MVS by playoffs because all of the good teams were better than the bad teams by at least 9 points]
    • MVF by OPS: Charlie Conacher
    • MVD by PS: Lionel Conacher (8.2 PS, 23P)
    • MVD by DPS: Lionel Conacher
  • MVG: Charlie Gardiner (12.1 PS, 20-17-11, 1.63 GAA, 10 SO)
  • Best Player on Best Team (Maple Leafs)
    • by Points: Charlie Conacher
    • by MVS by PS: Charlie Conacher
  • Best Player on Best Offensive Team (Maple Leafs)
    • by Points: Charlie Conacher
    • by OPS: Charlie Conacher
  • Best Player on Best Defensive Team (Black Hawks)
    • by PS: Lionel Conacher
    • by DPS: Lionel Conacher
    • by GPS: Charlie Gardiner
  • Vezina: Charlie Gardiner

This was Conacher’s award pretty obviously but the votes picked the best skater on the 4th best team because?

Voting:

  1. Joliat: 27.19%
  2. Lionel Conacher: 24.56%
  3. King Clancy: 22.37%
  4. Earl Seibert: 14.04%
  5. Roy Worters: 11.84%

Verdict:

Bad or, at the very least, controversial.

Bill: Conacher

Riley: Conacher

1933 – Eddie Shore, D, Bruins (tied 1st by points, 1st in SRS)

  • Best Player by PPG: Bill Cook (1.04 PPG, 50P, 9.3 PS)
  • Art Ross: Bill Cook
  • MVS by PS: Eddie Shore (9.8 PS, 35P)
    • MVS by PS factoring in playoffs: Aurele Joliat (6 PS, 38P)
    • MVF by PS: Bill Cook
    • MVF by OPS: Bill Cook
    • MVD by DPS: Eddie Shore
  • MVG: Tiny Thompson (10.7 PS, 25-15-8, 1.76 GAA, 11 SO)
  • Best Player on Best Team (Bruins)
    • by Points: Marty Barry (37P, 7.5 PS)
    • by MVS by PS: Eddie Shore
  • Best Player on Best Offensive Team (Maroons, Rangers)
    • by Points
      • Baldy Northcott (43 P, 6.9 PS – Maroons)
      • Bill Cook (Rangers)
    • by OPS
      • Baldy Northcott (Maroons)
      • Bill Cook (Rangers)
  • Best Player on Best Defensive Team (Bruins)
    • by PS: Eddie Shore
    • by DPS: Eddie Shore
    • by GPS: Tiny Thompson
  • Vezina: Tiny Thompson

To me, this looks like Cook’s award to lose but Eddie Shore was the other great candidate, and it totally depends upon how you define the award as to whether you prefer Cook or Shore.

Best Player Race

PlayerTeamGamesGoalsAssistsPointsGCPSGPGAPGPPGGCPGPSPGHart
BoucherRangers4672835134.30.150.610.760.280.09No
CookRangers48282250259.30.580.461.040.520.192nd
ShoreBruins4882735149.80.170.560.730.290.20Yes

Voting:

  1. Shore: 40.38%
  2. Cook: 31.46%
  3. John Ross Roach: 28.17%

Verdict:

Acceptable

Bill: Shore

Riley: Shore

1932 – Howie Morenz (3rd), C, Canadiens (1st by points, 3rd by SRS)

  • Best Player by PPG: Busher Jackson (1.1 PPG, 53P, 8.7 PS)
  • Art Ross: Busher Jackson
  • MVS by PS: Bill Cook (9.2 PS, 47P)
    • MVS by PS factoring in playoffs:
      • (by division) Doug Young (6.4 PS, 12P)
      • (league-wide) Cy Wentworth (4.8P, 13P)
    • MVF by OPS: Charlie Conacher (8.9 PS, 48P)
    • MVD by PS: George Owen (6.9 PS, 22P)
    • MVD by DPS: Alex Smith (6.2 PS, 14P)
  • MVG: Charlie Gardiner (10.9 PS, 18-18-11, 1.85 GAA, 4 SO)
  • Best Player on Best Team (Canadiens)
    • by Points: Howie Morenz (49P, 8.2 PS)
    • by MVS by PS: Howie Morenz
  • Best Player on Best Offensive Team (Maple Leafs)
    • by Points: Busher Jackson
    • by OPS: Charlie Conacher
  • Best Player on Best Defensive Team (Blackhawks)
    • by PS: Cy Wentworth (4.8 PS, 13P)
    • by DPS
      • Clarence Abel (3.9 PS, 7P)
      • Ted Graham (3.2 PS, 3P)
      • Cy Wentworth
    • by GPS: Charlie Gardiner
  • Vezina: Charlie Gardiner

By the “Best Player on the Best Team” interpretation, this is Morenz’s, at least if we ignore SRS (which was obviously not a thing in 1932). Given that it’s not clear there is a best overall forward in the league – is it Conacher, Jackson or Cook? – I guess we can give it to Morenz.

Best Player Race:

PlayerTeamGamesGoalsAssistsPointsGCPSGPGAPGPPGGCPGPSPGHart
ConacherMaple Leafs44341448268.90.770.321.090.590.20No
CookRangers48331447279.20.690.290.980.560.19No
JacksonMaple Leafs48282553268.70.580.521.100.540.18No
MorenzCanadiens48242549248.20.500.521.020.500.17Yes
PrimeauMaple Leafs46133750206.40.280.801.090.430.14No

Voting:

  1. Morenz:
  2. Ching Johnson:

Verdict

Acceptable

Bill: Morenz

Riley: Morenz

1931 – Howie Morenz (2nd), C, Canadiens (2nd) [Stopped here]

  • Best Player by PPG: Howie Morenz (1.31 PPG, 51P, 10.5 PS)
  • Art Ross: Howie Morenz
  • MVS by PS: Howie Morenz
    • MVS by PS factoring in playoffs:
      • (by division) Charlie Conacher (8.5 PS, 43P)
      • (league-wide) Bill Cook (8.5 PS, 42P)
    • MVF by OPS: Howie Morenz
    • MVD by PS: Eddie Shore (10.2 PS, 31P)
    • MVD by DPS: King Clancy (7.6 PS, 21P)
  • MVG: Roy Worters (11.3 PS, 18-16-10, 1.61 GAA, 8 SO)
  • Best Player on Best Team (Bruins)
    • by Points: Cooney Weiland (38P, 8.1 PS)
    • by MVS by PS: Eddie Shore
  • Best Player on Best Offensive Team (Bruins)
    • by Points: Cooney Weiland
    • by OPS: Cooney Weiland
  • Best Player on Best Defensive Team (Americans)
    • by PS: Red Dutton (5.4 PS, 12P
    • by DPS: Red Dutton
    • by GPS: Roy Worters
  • Vezina: Roy Worters

I don’t believe Worters deserved it this year, but he had a much better case than in 1929. (Of course he got no votes.)

Morenz was the best player. If that’s how you view the Hart, he deserved it.

Voting:

  1. Morenz: 26.65%
  2. Shore: 23.35%
  3. King Clancy: 20.48%
  4. Ebbie Goodfellow: 18.5%
  5. Nels Stewart: 11.01%

Verdict

Good

Bill: Morenz

Riley: Morenz

1930 – Nels Stewart (2nd), C, Maroons (2nd)

  • Best Player by PPG: Cooney Weiland (1.66 PPG, 73P, 12.5 PS)
  • Art Ross: Cooney Weiland [Record, by 22 points]
  • MVS by PS: Cooney Weiland
  • MVS by PS factoring in playoffs
    • King Clancy (9.8 PS, 40P)
    • Hec Kilrea (9.8 PS, 58P)  [team would have tied for last playoff spot]
  • MVF by OPS: Cooney Weiland
  • MVD by PS: King Clancy
  • MVD by DPS
    • George Owen (6.5 PS, 13P)
    • Eddie Shore (9 PS, 31P)
  • MVG: Tiny Thompson (9.6 PS, 38-5-1, 2.19 GAA, 3 SO)
  • Best Player on Best Team (Bruins [record])
    • by Points: Cooney Weiland
    • by MVS by PS: Cooney Weiland
  • Best Player on Best Offensive Team (Bruins)
    • by Points: Cooney Weiland
    • by OPS: Cooney Weiland
  • Best Player on Best Defensive Team (Bruins)
    • by PS: Cooney Weiland
    • by DPS
      • George Owen
      • Eddie Shore
    • by GPS: Tiny Thompson
  • Vezina: Tiny Thompson

This was the year Weiland destroyed the single season points record and nearly tied Joe Malone’s goal record. Moreover, the Bruins were the best team, by points, ever. By a lot. [They played more games] It was very clearly his award.

Voting:

  1. Stewart: 16.4%
  2. Lionel Hitchman: 15.26%
  3. Weiland: 12.82%
  4. Clancy: 12.5%
  5. Frank Boucher: 12.18%

It feels like each team’s writers voted for their own player and the Boston writers incredibly split their own vote.

Verdict:

Awful

1929 – Roy Worters, G, Americans (4th)

  • Best Player by PPG: Ace Bailey (0.73 PPG, 32P, 11.1 PS)
  • Art Ross: Ace Bailey
  • MVS by PS: Eddie Shore (12 PS, 19P)
  • MVS by PS factoring in playoffs: Ace Bailey
  • MVF by PS: Ace Bailey
  • MVF by OPS: Ace Bailey
  • MVD by DPS
    • Marty Burke (6.9 PS, 6P)
    • Sylvio Mantha (10.2 PS, 13P)
  • MVG: George Hainsworth (11.8 PS, 22-7-15, 0.92 GAA, 22 SO!!!!!!!!!!!!)
  • Best Player on Best Team (Canadiens)
    • by Points: Howie Morenz (27P, 10.5 PS)
    • by MVS by PS: Howie Morenz
  • Best Player on Best Offensive Team (Bruins)
    • by Points: Harry Oliver (23P, 9.6 PS)
    • by OPS: Harry Oliver
  • Best Player on Best Defensive Team (Canadiens)
    • by PS: Howie Morenz
    • by DPS
      • Marty Burke
      • Sylvio Mantha
    • by GPS: George Hainsworth
  • Vezina: George Hainsworth

Worters was

  • 6th in Wins
  • 9th in Losses
  • 3rd in Ties
  • 9th in Goals Against
  • 3rd in GAA
  • 2nd in Shutouts
  • 9th in Minutes
  • 3rd in Goalie Point Shares

In a 10 team league. He was also one of four goalies to play for the Americans (though obviously the best of those goalies). He wasn’t the most valuable goalie nor was he the best. This was Bailey’s award if it’s a best player award, and Bailey’s, Shore’s or Morenz’s if it’s “most valuable.”

Best Player Race

PlayerTeamGPGAPGCPSGPGAPGPPGGCPGPSPGHart
BaileyMaple Leafs442210321911.10.500.230.730.430.252nd
MorenzCanadiens421710271810.50.400.240.640.430.25No
ShoreBruins391271913120.310.180.490.330.313rd

Voting:

  1. Worters: 23.87%
  2. Bailey: 20.65%
  3. Shore: 20%
  4. Mantha: 19.35%
  5. King Clancy: 16.13%

Verdict:

Awful

B: Hainsworth

R: ????

1928 – Howie Morenz, C, Canadiens (1st)

  • Best Player by PPG: Howie Morenz (1.19 PPG, 51P, 15.9 PS)
  • Art Ross: Howie Morenz [Record]
  • MVS by PS: Howie Morenz [Record]
  • MVS by PS factoring in playoffs: Howie Morenz
  • MVF by OPS: Howie Morenz [record]
  • MVD by PS
    • Eddie Shore (9.4 PS, 17P)
    • Alex Smith (9.4 PS, 13P)
  • MVD by DPS
    • Georges Boucher (8.7 PS, 12P)
    • Alex Smith
  • MVG: George Hainsworth (12.6 PS, 26-11-7, 1.05 GAA, 13 SO) [GPS record]
  • Best Player on Best Team (Canadiens)
    • by Points: Howie Morenz
    • by MVS by PS: Howie Morenz
  • Best Player on Best Offensive Team (Canadiens)
    • by Points: Howie Morenz
    • by OPS: Howie Morenz
  • Best Player on Best Defensive Team (Canadiens)
    • by PS: Howie Morenz
    • by DPS: Herb Gardiner (6.9 PS, 7P)
    • by GPS: George Hainsworth
  • Vezina: George Hainsworth

This is as open and shut as it ever gets.

Voting:

  1. Morenz: 31.41%
  2. Roy Worters: 21.82%
  3. Eddie Shore: 20.14%
  4. George Hay: 17.51%
  5. Ching Johnson: 9.11%

Verdict:

Nailed it.

1927 – Herb Gardiner, D, Canadiens (2nd)

  • Best Player by PPG: Bill Cook (0.84 PPG, 37P, 12.5 PS)
  • Art Ross: Bill Cook
  • MVS by PS: Bill Cook [record]
  • MVS by PS factoring in playoffs: Babe Dye (8.5 PS, 30P)
  • MVF by OPS: Bill Cook [record]
  • MVD by PS: King Clancy (9.3 PS, 20P)
  • MVD by DPS: Herb Gardiner (7.7 PS, 13P)
  • MVG: Clint Benedict (10.5 PS, 20-19-4, 1.42 GAA, 13 SO)
  • Best Player on Best Team (Senators [record])
    • by Points: Cy Denenny (23P, 6.6 PS)
    • by MVS by PS: King Clancy
  • Best Player on Best Offensive Team (Black Hawks)
    • by Points: Dick Irvin (36P, 8.1 PS)
    • by OPS: Babe Dye
  • Best Player on Best Defensive Team (Canadiens- by 1 goal)
    • by PS: Howie Morenz (10.7 PS, 32P)
    • by DPS: Herb Gardiner
    • by GPS: George Hainsworth (10.1 PS, 28-14-2, 1.47 GAA, 14 SO!!!)
  • Vezina: George Hainsworth

Herb Gardiner was the best defenseman on the best defensive team. That would be acceptable if this was the Norris, or if this criterion was regularly applied for the Hart. But it’s not. It’s arguable that Hainsworth was more important than Gardiner to the team’s success, as it usually is with goalies and defensive teams. 

Bill Cook was the best forward and there’s no consensus most valuable player. 

Best Player Race

PlayerTeamGamesGoalsAssistsPointsGCPSGPGAPGPPGGCPGPSPGHart
ClancySenators4391019119.30.210.230.440.260.225th
CookRangers44334372812.50.750.090.840.640.282nd
DennenySenators4217623169.10.400.140.550.380.22No
DyeBlack Hawks4125530228.10.610.120.730.540.20No
GardinerCanadiens44661287.60.140.140.270.180.17Yes
IrvinBlack Hawks43181836218.20.420.420.840.490.194th
ShoreBruins4012618127.50.300.150.450.300.19No

Voting:

  1. Gardiner: 24.05%
  2. Cook: 22.97%
  3. Frank Fredrickson: 20.27%
  4. Irvin: 19.73%
  5. Clancy: 12.97%

Turns out, it was a split vote that hurt Cook.

Verdict:

Controversial.

B: Cook

R: Cook

1926 – Nels Stewart, C, Maroons (2nd)

  • Best Player by PPG: Nels Stewart (1.17 PPG, 42P, 11.8 PS)
  • Art Ross: Nels Stewart
  • MVS by PS: Nels Stewart [record]
  • MVS by PS factoring in playoffs: Nels Stewart
  • MVF by OPS: Nels Stewart
  • MVD by PS: Georges Boucher (7.9 PS, 12P)
  • MVD by DPS: [record]
    • Georges Boucher
    • Alex Smith (4.5 PS, 0P)
  • MVG: Alec Connell (11.1 PS, 24-8-4, 1.12 GAA, 15 SO!!!) [GPS record]
  • Best Player on Best Team (Senators [record])
    • by Points: Cy Denenny (36P, 9.1 PS)
    • by MVS by PS: Cy Denneny
  • Best Player on Best Offensive Team (Bruins, St. Patricks)
    • by Points: Carson Cooper (Bruins, 36P, 9.4 PS), Jack Adams (St. Patricks, 29P, 6.5 PS)
    • by OPS: Carson Cooper (Bruins) or Jack Adams (St. Patricks)
  • Best Player on Best Defensive Team (Senators)
    • by PS: Cy Denneny
    • by DPS
      • Georges Boucher
      • Alex Smith
    • by GPS: Alec Connell

Cy Denneny was the best player on the best team. Nels Stewart was the most valuable skater and the best player overall.

Voting:

  1. Stewart: 16.96%
  2. Sprague Cleghorn: 14.45%
  3. Frank Nighbor: 13.1%
  4. Roy Worters: 8.48%
  5. Hooley Smith: 8.48%

Verdict

The right choice.

1925 – Billy Burch, C, Tigers (1st by Points, 2nd by SRS)

  • Best Player by PPG: Aurele Joliat (1.68 PPG, 42P, 9.8 PS)
  • Art Ross: Babe Dye (46P, 1.59 PPG, 11.7 PS)
  • MVS by PS: Babe Dye [record]
  • MVS by PS factoring in playoffs: Babe Dye
  • MVF by OPS: Babe Dye [Record]
  • MVD by PS: King Clancy (7.7 PS, 22P)
  • MVD by DPS: Sylvio Mantha (4 PS, 5P)
  • MVG: Georges Vezina (7.4 PS, 17-11-2, 1.81 GAA, 5 SO)
  • Best Player on Best Team (Tigers)
    • by Points: Red Green (35P, 6.7 PS)
    • by MVS by PS: Red Green
  • Best Player on Best Offensive Team (Canadiens)
    • by Points: Aurele Joliat
    • by OPS: Aurele Joliat
  • Best Player on Best Defensive Team (Canadiens)
    • by PS: Aurele Joliat
    • by DPS: Sylvo Mantha (4 PS, 5P)
    • by GPS: Georges Vezina

If you interpret the Hart as meaning “the best player on the best team,” then Joliat absolutely deserved it because, despite the points results, the Habs were the best team overall. (Though nobody knew that at the time.)

But Dye was arguably “more valuable” overall. But why did neither of them win it? What’s Burch’s case?

Burch was

  • 1st in Goals
  • 4th in Assists and PS
  • and 3rd in Points,
  • 2nd in OPS

all on his own team, the best or second best team (depending upon your preference) in a six team league.

Where was he league wide?

  • 6th in Goals and GPG
  • tied for 16th in Assists
  • not on the leaderboard for APG
  • 10th in Points and PPG
  • 7th in OPS
  • Not on the leaderboard (Top 10) for PS

This is the year the player’s strike killed the Hamilton Tigers franchise. I do not know whether or not the voters were trying to send a message of support to the Tigers players or what. If that was the intent, I think I have to support the result. But if it was anything else, it’s a terrible choice.

Best Player Race

PlayerTeamGPGAPGCPSGPGAPGPPGGCPGPSPGHart
DyeSt. Patricks29288463311.70.970.281.591.140.404th
JoliatCanadiens25301141279.81.200.441.641.080.395th

Voting:

  1. Burch: 26.78%
  2. Howie Morenz: 20.34%
  3. Clint Benedict: 19.66%
  4. Dye: 16.95%
  5. Joliat: 16.27%

Verdict:

To me, this is a pick’em between two equally deserving players (4th and 5th in voting results) which hinges on your interpretation of the award.

1924 – The First Hart Trophy: Frank Nighbor, C, Senators (1st)

  • Best Player by PPG: Babe Dye (1.11 PPG, 21P, 4.2 PS)
  • Art Ross: Cy Denneny (24P, 1.09 PPG, 5.9 PS)
  • MVS by PS: Georges Boucher (6.7 PS, 22P)
  • MVS by PS factoring in playoffs: Georges Boucher* [*Not really possible to have one this season because the two playoff teams were way better than the other teams]
  • MVF by PS: Cy Denneny
  • MVF by OPS: Cy Denneny
  • MVD by DPS: Sylvio Mantha (3 PS, 2P)
  • MVG: Georges Vezina (5.7 PS, 13-11, 1.97 GAA, 3 SO)
  • Best Player on Best Team (Senators)
    • by Points: Cy Denneny
    • by MVS by PS: Georges Boucher
  • Best Player on Best Offensive Team (Senators)
    • by Points: Cy Denneny
    • by OPS: Cy Denneny
  • Best Player on Best Defensive Team (Canadiens)
    • by PS: Sprague Cleghorn (5.2 PS, 12P)
    • by DPS: Sylvio Mantha
    • by GPS: Georges Vezina

Nighbor is conspicuously absent from this list of the best and most valuable players in the league. Nighbor played on the Senators, the league’s best team, but he was

  • 3rd in Goals and Offensive Point Shares
  • 4th in Assists and Points
  • 5th in Point Shares

These are rankings on his own team, that doesn’t even factor in other players on other teams. Yes, the Senators were the best team in the league, but how important was Nighbor to this team?

The clear choice is one between Denneny and Boucher and doesn’t even involve Nighbor.

  • Boucher: 
    • 3rd in Assists, Points and PPG in one less game than Denneny played, 
    • 6th in GPG, 
    • 1st in APG
  • Denneny: 
    • led the league in Goals, GPG and Points, 
    • 2nd in PPG

But the bonkers thing is that the league recorded only two vote-getters, Nighbor and Sprague Cleghorn, the best skater on the best defensive team.

Best Player Race

PlayerTeamGPGAPointsGCPSGPGAPGPPGGCPGPSPGHart
DennenySenators2222224185.91.000.091.090.820.27No
DyeSt. Patricks1917421144.20.890.211.110.740.22No

Voting results:

  1. Nighbor: unknown votes
  2. Cleghorn: unknown votes

Verdict:

I think this is Boucher’s trophy – as he’s a defenceman – but I could be convinced about it belonging to Denneny too.

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