Is Pierre Pilote one of the Greatest Defencmen of All Time?

Pierre Pilote is, by some metrics, one of the greatest NHL D of All Time. He has more Norris Trophies (3) than all but four other D. And only 6 D have appeared on more end-of-season All Star Teams.

So obviously Pierre Pilote belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame. But where does he rank among the best D ever?

Listen to us talk about Pierre Pilote here:

Hall of Fame Class of 1975: Pierre Pilote, George Armstrong, Ace Bailey, Gordie Drillon, Glenn Hall

Pierre Pilote’s Career:

  • NHL: 1955-1969; 14 seasons, 13 quality
  • Totals:
    • 80G,
    • 418A (4th/3rd D All Time at his retirement – Harvey, Gadsby) for
    • 498P (6th/3rd D All Time at his retirement – Gadsby, Harvey),
    • +187* (2nd All Time – Mikita – 1st D, at his retirement)  in
    • 890 Games (13th D All Time at his retirement);
    • At his retirement, Pilote was 10th/9th All Time in Defensive Point Shares;
    • Among D, Pilote was 9th/5th All Time in Offensive Point Shares at his retirement (Shore, Gadsby, Clancy, Harvey);
    • At his retirement, Pilote was 19th All Time, 10th D, in Point Shares
  • Per Games: At his retirement, among D, Pilote was
    • 1st All Time in APG (by 0.06)
    • Pilote doesn’t qualify for either the GPG or PPG leaderboards, but if we lower the qualifiers so he qualifies, among D at his retirement, Pilote was:
      • 5th/1st All Time in PPG
  • Era: Of the 11 D to play in at least 738 Games (7 modern seasons) between 1955 and 1969, Pilote is
    • 4th/2nd in Goals
    • 4th/2nd in GPG (last among qualifying players, doesn’t actually qualify)
    • 1st in Assists (by 84)
    • 1st in APG (by .05)
    • 3rd/1st in Points
    • 3rd/1st in PPG (last among qualifying players, doesn’t actually qualify)
    • 1st in Plus/Minus (by 31)
    • 2nd/1st in Offensive Point Shares
    • 4th in Defensive Point Shares
    • 1st in Point Shares (by nearly 5)
  • 82-game average: 7G, 39A for 46P, +17; 8.6 PS
  • 3-year peak (1963-66): 70-game average of 8G, 46A for 55P, +38; 9.7 PS
  • Playoffs:
    • 8G (t-14th/10th D All Time at his retirement),
    • 53A (3rd/2nd D All Time at his retirement – Pilote was 17 ahead of 4th/3rd) for
    • 61P (3rd/2nd D All Time at his retirement – Pilote was 15 ahead of 4th/3rd*)
    • +7 (t-16th D All Time at his retirement) in
    • 86 Games (10th D All Time at his retirement)
    • Per Game:
      • 1st D All Time in playoff APG at his retirement (5 or 6 qualifying players)
      • 1st D All Time in playoff PPG at his retirement (2 or 3 qualifying players)
    • Era: Of the 26 D to play in at least 41 playoff games between 1955 and 1969, Pilote is
      • 6th/4th in playoff Goals
      • t-6th/4th in playoff GPG (9 or 7 qualifying players, doesn’t actually qualify)
      • 1st in playoff Assists (10 ahead of Kelly, 15 ahead of Harvey)
      • 1st in playoff APG (by 0.07, 6 or 5 qualifying players)
      • 2nd/1st in playoff Points
      • t-1st/1st in playoff PPG (tied with Kelly, only qualifying full time D)
      • T-11th in playoff Plus/Minus
      • 5th/4th in playoff Games
  • Adjusted for Era:
    • Hockey-Reference:
      • 87G
      • 466A for
      • 553P
      • Adjusted 82-game average: 8G, 43A for 51P (+5P per 82 games)
      • Per Game:
        • T-20th D All Time in Adjusted APG
    • VsX:
      • Goals: doesn’t qualify
      • Assists: 641
      • Points: doesn’t qualify
      • Per Game: not in the Top 25 in VsX Adjusted APG
  • Trades:
    • Traded at 36 to Toronto for Jim Pappin (28)

Pierre Pilote’s Accomplishments:

  • Norris (‘63, ‘64, ‘65) – tied 5th most ever (Orr, Harvey, Lidstrom, Bourque)
  • Top 5 in Norris voting a further five times
  • Top 5 in Calder voting
  • All Star:
    • 1st Team All Star five times
    • 2nd Team All Star three times – 4th most ever (Bourque, Seibert, Coffey)
    • 8 All Star Game appearances
  • Top Player:
    • Top 5 Player (by PS) twice (‘65, ‘67)
    • Top 10 five times (‘60, ‘61, ‘64)
    • Best Defensive Player (by DPS) twice (‘60, ‘67)
    • Top 5 four times (‘61, ‘64)
    • Top 10 six times (‘59, ‘65)
  • Assists:
    • Leader-boards:
      • Top 5 in Assists three times
    • APG leader-boards:
      • Top 5 in APG four times
      • Top 10 five times
    • Single-season totals:
      • 40 assists three times (t-12th most ever at his retirement, most by a D ever)
  • Points:
    • Leader-boards:
      • Top 10 in Points once
    • PPG leader-boards:
      • Top 10 in PPG once
    • Single-season totals:
      • 50 points three times (most ever by a D at his retirement)
  • Plus/Minus:
    • Led the league in Plus/Minus twice (tied 3rd most ever – Orr, Gretzky)
    • Top 5 four times (t-6th most ever)
    • Top 10 six times (t-5th most ever – Bourque, Gretzky, Orr, Savard)

Pierre Pilote’s Great Teams:

  • Best Player? (led playoffs in assists, points, plus-minus) on one Champion (‘61 Hawks)
  • Best Player? On one Final four (‘67 Hawks)
  • Best D (by points) on two Runners Up (‘62, ‘65 Hawks) and two Final Fours (‘63, ‘64 Hawks)
  • Best D? (3-way tie for points) on one Final Four (‘68 Hawks)
  • Top 2 D (by points) on three Final Fours (‘59, ‘60 ‘66 Hawks)

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