The list of the best and worst trades for the Quebec Bulldogs/Hamilton Tigers is a little bit like our article on the best and worst trades for the original Ottawa Senators. We’ve had to combine the two lists into one article, because there just aren’t that many trades.
For these two lists, we will be focusing only on NHL trades, even though the franchise was founded in 1878. And we will be relying on Point Shares as our metric. For an explanation, please see our original list, the 25 Best Trades in Toronto Maple Leafs history.
Top 5 Bulldogs/Tigers Trades of All Time
We’ve only picked the top 5 trades because, honestly, there aren’t many good ones.
5. Cully Wilson for Ed Carpenter – 3.5 PS
St. Patricks get: Ed Carpenter – 0 PS (0 GP)
On November 9, 1921 the Tigers traded Ed Carpenter for legendary ur-pest Cully Wilson (who had just led the NHL in PIM). Wilson was traded to the Tigers because he had failed to return to the St. Patricks after they leant him to the Canadiens. (Player loans were common back then.)
Carpenter was a D who had starred in the PCHA. He had signed with the Canadiens in 1919 and then been acquired by the Bulldogs only six days later. He had an excellent season in Quebec but scored much less in his first season in Hamilton.
But Carpenter had just turned 30. And he never played another game of pro hockey after the trade.
Though only two years younger, Wilson still had a lot more hockey left in him. He had one decent and one great year for the Tigers before he decamped to the WCHL. (He had been expelled from the PCHA but once the PCHA folded he was free to go back out west.) He played his last NHL game during the 1926-27 season and he played in the minors into the 1930s.
4. Mickey Roach – 8.7 PS
Maple Leafs get: cash
On January 21, 1921 the Tigers acquired Centre Mickey Roach. Roach had been a Hamilton Tiger in the OHA, but that was a different franchise.
Roach was immediately a star for the Tigers, scoring 17 points in his first 14 games. After a couple of seasons, stopped scoring as much, but he remained with the franchise until it folded. At which point he became an American, with the rest of the team.
3. Jake Forbes – 11.5 PS
Tigers get: Jake Forbes – 11.5 PS (34-43-1; 7 SO; 3.40 GAA)
St. Patricks get: cash
“Jumpin’ Jackie” Forbes had won the St. Patricks’ starting job during the 1920-21 season. However, he wanted a raise and became the first NHL player to refuse to play for an entire season due to a contract dispute. As a result, they moved him to the Tigers on May 27, 1922, two months after his replacement, Hall of Famer John Ross Roach, had led the Pats to a Stanley Cup.
The trade worked out for the Tigers, at least initially, as Forbes led the league in Minutes in 1923-24 and led the league in Wins the next season. He was a top 3-4 goalie in the league (by Point Shares) for every season he was on the Tigers.
Then the Tigers players’ strike happened and that thwarted his best chance at a Stanley Cup and eventually killed the franchise. (Though the amount of money they struck over now seems like a pittance now, fair pay clearly meant more to them than just winning a piece of hardware.)
The New York Americans took over the franchise. If we included Forbes’ Point Shares with the Americans, too, this would hands down be the best trade in Bulldogs/Tigers franchise history but a) the Americans are traditionally viewed as a separate franchise and b) amalgamating Forbes’ Tigers/Americans numbers would mean the same thing would have to be done with all players to spanned both franchises, which would likely make this not the best trade in franchise history once we tallied everything up.
So it will have to stay at #3.
2. 6 or 7 player trade – 11.9 Ps
- Jack Coughlin – (0.1) PS (0P in 2 GP)
- loan of Billy Coutu – 1.9 PS (8G, 4A for 12P in 24 GP)
- Joe Matte – 1.9 PS (9G, 12A for 21P in 42 GP)
- Goldie Prodgers – 13.7 PS (55G, 27A for 82P in 95 GP)
- Jack McDonald – (0.4) PS (1A for 1P in 9 GP)
- Harry Mummery – 5.1 PS (14G, 6A for 20P in 18 GP)
- Dave Ritchie – 0.8 PS (0P in 13 GP)
On November 27, 1920, the Tigers traded LW Jack McDonald and Ds Harry Mummery and Dave Ritchie, for RW Jack Coughlin, D Joe Matte and Centre/D Goldie Prodgers, plus the loan of Billy Coutu. (Matte and Prodgers had been acquired earlier in the day for Harry Cameron but including that trade in this one makes it much more complicated.) It was a massive deal for the young NHL.
McDonald didn’t do much in his return to the Canadiens. He had previously filled the equivalent of a 2nd line role for them in the 1918-19 season but this return saw him score a single point before he was loaned to the Maple Leafs. In his return to the Habs he didn’t score a single point and was out of the league by 1922.
Ritchie fared a little better in terms of total games played for Montreal but somehow even worse in terms of points, not scoring a single point before he quit to become a referee, or after in his return to playing in 1924. He finished his NHL comeback and career in 1925.
Mummery, on the other hand, had a banner year, scoring an incredible 14 goals from the blueline in only 24 games. (Hockey was very different in the ’20s. Hall of Famer Harry Cameron had scored 17 goals at D in the NHL’s inaugural season, in only 21 games.) Mummery had such a good season that the Tigers wanted him back and traded for him in 1921 and you can read about that trade on the Top 4 Worst Bulldogs/Tigers trades below.
Coughlin had previously played for the Bulldogs the previous season. Somehow his rights had expired – it was the ’20s so who knows? – and the newly christened Tigers wanted him back. It didn’t work out as he played only 2 games for Hamilton.
Matte got off to a good start for the Tigers, scoring 15 points in 21 games in his first season. But his next season was less successful. In October of 1922 the Tigers traded him out of the league to the WCHL.
Coutu was a loan, but he had a good season if you consider leading the league in PIM good. (He also scored 12 points in 24 games which put him 5th in team scoring for that season.) He returned to the Habs after the season.
But the star of the trade was Goldie Prodgers, an older player played over 90 games in the NHA and who had won a Stanley Cup all the way back in 1912. The Tigers moved Prodgers to forward and he began to score. Prodgers was one of the 10 best players in the league by Point Shares in 1921-22, and a Top 10 Forward by OPS twice, in 1920-21 and 1922-23. He was Top 10 in Goals in 1920-21 and 1922-23, Top 5 in Assists in 1920-21 and Top 10 in Points that season. Prodgers retired in 1925 after playing one game. (Though he did make a comeback to the Can-Pro league, predecessor to the IHL, a year later.)
1. Joe Malone – 14 PS
Bulldogs get: Joe Malone – 14 PS (91G, 26A for 117P 68 GP)
Canadiens get: nothing
On November 25, 1919 Joe Malone’s rights were returned to the Bulldogs, when they returned to the NHL after a two year absence. So this is not technically a trade but beggars can’t be choosers.
Malone famously scored 44 goals in the NHL’s inaugural season, cementing him as one of the NHL’s early stars. However, in his second season he was far less effective, only making it into 8 games and scoring at 1/3rd the pace.
But, in his first NHL season for Quebec, he scored an NHL-leading 39 goals in only 24 games, and he also broke his own scoring record by one point. In his next two seasons he was Top 5 in Goals both seasons.
On December 22, 1922, he was traded back to the Canadiens for his age 32 season.
Top 4 Worst Bulldogs/Tigers Trades of All Time
4. One of the Sprague Cleghorn Trades – (1.8) PS
Tigers get: Future Considerations (unknown)
St. Patricks get: Sprague Cleghorn – 1.8 PS (3G, 5A for 8P in 13 GP)
Future Hall of Fame D Sprague Cleghorn’s rights were acquired and relinquished by the Hamilton Tigers multiple times. Two of those times rank among the worst moves in franchise history, though this one would be extremely insignificant in the history of a normal NHL franchise.
On January 25, 1921 the Tigers traded Cleghorn to the St. Patricks for future considerations that may have never materialized.
Cleghorn had been playing with the Senators for the first few NHL seasons and won a Stanley Cup. (He had come to the Senators when the Wanders had literally been burned out of the league.)
Here’s where things get confusing: to create parity, the league forced the Senators to give some players to the Tigers. But Cleghorn refused to report. So there was some convoluted thing with the Habs where Cleghorn’s rights transferred to them and back on the same day. (Punch Broadbent was also involved in these shenanigans.) But Cleghorn again refused to report and so, three weeks later, the Tigers traded him to the St. Patricks.
Given that the Tigers got nothing back for him, this trade has to go down as a loss, even if they never really had the player in the first place.
After the trade, Cleghorn played reasonably well for the St. Patricks until they were eliminated from the playoffs. Then, because it was the 1920s, Cleghorn rejoined the Senators and won another Stanley Cup.
He would return to the Tigers.
3. Billy Coutu – (14.2) PS
Tigers get: nothing
Canadiens get: return of Billy Coutu – 14.2 PS (17G, 14A for 31P in 125 GP)
On November 15, 1921 the Tigers had to return Billy Coutu to the Canadiens, whom they had acquired a year earlier as part of the big trade mentioned above.
Coutu returned to the Habs and played for them for another five years. In 1924, he won a Stanley Cup. In 1926, he was traded to the Bruins.
2. Arbour and Mummery for Cleghorn – (20.4) PS
- Amous Arbour – 1 PS (15G, 7A for 22P in 46 GP)
- Harry Mummery – 2.8 PS (13G, 11A for 24P in 51 GP)
Canadiens get: Sprague Cleghorn – 22.9 PS (42G, 31A for 73P in 98 GP
On November 26, 1921 the Tigers once again traded Cleghorn, this time to the Canadiens, for LW Amos Arbour D Harry Mummery.
Arbour had won a Stanley Cup with the Habs in 1916. After the War he returned to the Habs and, in the 1919-20 season, he was a Top 10 player. The season before the trade he wasn’t as good but he was still young enough they could bet on him having another good year.
Mummery was significantly older but had a long and decorated career, having won two Stanley Cups, in 1913 and 1918, and made another final in 1917. And, the season before, he had just scored 20 points in 24 games.
So all in all, it seemed like a pretty good haul for a player who absolutely did not want to play for the Tigers. However, it did not work out that way.
Arbour scored 15 points in his first season, but scored less than half the next season. In 1923 he was traded to Toronto.
Mummery played two seasons and then left the NHL for the WCHL.
Meanwhile, Cleghorn resumed his career as one of the best D in the NHL. He finished 2nd in Hart voting in 2024. And that year helped the Canadiens win the Stanley Cup. In 1925, he led the Canadiens in points in the NHL playoffs, though they lost in the Cup final.
In 1925, the Habs traded Cleghorn to the Bruins after he had played nearly 100 games for them.
1. Babe Dye
Tigers get: nothing
St. Patricks get: Babe Dye – 38.6 PS (164G, 43A for 207P in 154 GP)
On Christmas Eve 1920, the Tigers returned St. Patricks star Babe Dye to Toronto after 20 days and 1 game. We’re cheating here, as Dye was never the Tigers’ property, but there really aren’t a lot of transactions in Bulldogs/Tigers history.
Dye had a decent first NHL season with the St. Patricks, scoring 13 points in 23 games. He was leant to the Tigers for their first ever Hamilton game and their first game as the Tigers because he was a Hamilton native. Dye scored 2 goals in his one game for Hamilton.
However, his Toronto teammate Corb Denneny was almost immediately injured and the team needed Dye to return to so they had enough players on the roster.
And when Dye returned to Toronto, his Hall of Fame career began in earnest, as he scored 38 points in his next 23 games. He would remain on the St. Patricks until 1926.