Is Bobby Clarke the Best 2-Way Forward of All Time?

Bobby Clarke is one of the most notorious players in NHL history but he’s also one of the most decorated, one of only a few players to ever win the Hart three times. (He also became a star in spite of his diabetes.)

He was extremely hard to play against but also an offensive star. He only won one Selke because it was introduced half way through his career.

So where does Clarke rank all time among defensive forwards? Listen to us discuss his Hall of Fame case here:

Hall of Fame Class of 1987: Bobby Clarke, Ed Giacomin, Jacques Laperriere

Bobby Clarke’s Career:

  • NHL: 1969-84; 15 seasons, all quality
  • Totals:
    • 358G,
    • 852A (25th All Time, 4th at his retirement) for
    • 1210P (11th All Time at his retirement),
    • +507 (5th All Time, 3rd at his retirement) in
    • 1144 Games (25th All Time at his retirement);
    • 106.1 Point Shares (22nd All Time at his retirement);
    • At his retirement, Clarke was 21st All Time in Offensive Point Shares;
    • At his retirement, Clarke was the 2nd Forward All Time in Defensive Point Shares
  • Per Game:
    • 14th All Time in APG (t-8th at his retirement);
    • At his retirement, Clarke was 16th All Time in PPG
  • Draft: Clarke, drafted 17th overall in 1969 is
    • 3rd in Goals
    • 1st in Assists (by over 300)
    • 1st in Points (by 300)
    • 1st in Plus/Minus (by over 200)
    • 1st in Point Shares (by over 30)
    • 1st in Games
  • Era: Of the 19 skaters to play in at least 902 games (11 modern seasons) between 1969 and 1984, Clarke is
    • 10th in Goals
    • 12th in GPG
    • 1st in Assists (by over 50)
    • 3rd in APG
    • 3rd in Points
    • 4th in PPG
    • 1st in Plus/Minus (by over 30)
    • 5th in Offensive Point Shares
    • 5th in Defensive Point Shares (1st Forward)
    • 4th in Point Shares
    • 1st in Games
  • 82-game average: 25G, 61A for 87P, +36
  • 3-year peak (1974-77): 80-game average of 29G, 82A for 111P, +68
  • No possession stats
  • Playoffs: 
    • 42G (23rd All Time at his retirement)
    • 77A (9th All Time at his retirement) for
    • 119P (15th All Time at his retirement),
    • +17 in
    • 136 Games (19th All Time at his retirement)
    • Era: Of the 57 skaters to play in at least 82 playoff games between 1969 and 1984, Clarke is
      • 13th in playoff Goals
      • 18th in playoff GPG
      • 4th in playoff Assists
      • 8th in playoff APG
      • 7th in playoff Points
      • 12th in playoff PPG
      • 27th in playoff Plus/Minus
      • 8th in playoff Games
  • Adjusted for Era:
    • Hockey-Reference: 
      • 312G
      • 750A
      • 1062P
      • 82-Game average: 22G, 54A for 76P (-11P per 82 games)
      • Per Game: Clarke is not on the leader-boards but, if the qualifier is 820 games, Clarke is
        • 23rd All Time in Adjusted APG
    • VsX:
      • 341G
      • 896A
      • 1087P
      • Per Game: Clarke is not on the leader-boards but if the qualifier is set to 820 Games, Clarke is
        • 19th All Time in VsX Adjusted APG
  • Trades: Never traded

Bobby Clarke’s Accomplishments:

  • Hart (‘73, ‘75, ‘76) – tied 4th most ever
  • Top 2 in Hart voting a further two times
  • Ted Lindsay (‘73)
  • Selke (‘83)
  • Masterton (‘72)
  • Top 5 in Calder voting
  • Back Check MVP (‘76)
  • All Star:
    • 1st Team All Star twice
    • 2nd Team All Star twice
    • 8 All Star Game appearances
  • Top Player:
    • Top 10 Player (by PS) twice
    • Top 10 Offensive Player (by OPS) five times
  • Goals:
    • Scored 35 goals three times
    • 30 goals four times
    • 25 goals seven times
    • 20 goals nine times
  • Assists:
    • Leader-boards:
      • Led the league in Assists twice
      • Top 5 five times
      • Top 10 nine times
    • APG leader-boards:
      • Led the league in APG twice – tied 9th most ever
      • Top 5 four times
      • Top 10 
    • Single-season totals:
      • 80 assists twice (1 of only 12 players ever, 4 players at his retirement – Gretzky, Orr, Savard)
      • 60 assists six times (1 of only 21 players ever, 2 players at his retirement – Trottier)
      • 50 assists nine times (1 of only 23 players ever, 2 players at his retirement – Dionne)
      • 40 assists thirteen times (1 of only 22 players ever, 5 players at his retirement – Howe, Mikita, Dionne, Esposito)
  • Points:
    • Leader-boards:
      • Top 5 in Points three times
      • Top 10 seven times
    • PPG leader-boards:
      • Led the league in PPG once
      • Top 5 three times
      • Top 10 six times
    • Single-season totals:
      • 110 Points twice (1 of 10 players ever at his retirement)
      • 100 points three times (1 of 10 players ever at his retirement)
      • 90 points four times (1 of 16 players ever at his retirement)
      • 80 points eight times (1 of only 9 players ever at his retirement)
      • 70 points nine times (1 of only 13 players ever at his retirement)
      • 60 points fourteen times (1 of only 21 players ever, 4 players at his retirement – Howe, Esposito, Mikita)
  • Plus/Minus:
    • Led the league in Plus/Minus once
    • Top 5 twice
    • Top 10 three times
  • VsX Peak:
    • Best 7 Seasons:
      • Goals: 247th All Time
      • Assists: 19th All Time
      • Points: 34th All Time
    • Best 10 Seasons:
      • Goals: 242nd All Time
      • Assists: 20th All Time
      • Points: 41st All Time

Bobby Clarke’s Great Teams:

  • NHL:
    • Best Skater (by points) on one Final Four (‘73 Flyers)
    • Top 3 Forward (led playoffs in assists) on one Champion (‘75 Flyers) and one Runner Up (‘76 Flyers)
    • Top 3 Forward (by points) on one Champion (‘74 Flyers) and two Final Fours (‘77, ‘78 Flyers)
    • Top 6 Forward (by points) on one Runner Up (‘80 Flyers)
  • Canada (World) Cup:
    • Top 6? Forward (by points) on one Champion (‘76 Canada)
  • World Championships:
    • Role Player (by points) on one Bronze (‘82 Canada)
  • Summit Series:
    • Top 3  Forward (by points) on one Champion (‘72 Canada)
  • Super Series ‘76
    • Top 3??? Player on the one Canadian Super Series team that beat the Red Army (‘76 Flyers)

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