Does Walter “Babe” Pratt Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Babe Pratt had a reasonably strong career as an offensive D in the NHL with the Rangers, at least in terms of total points. (The early NHL had some D score a lot in 20-ish-game seasons.) Then he was traded to the Leafs, he broke D single-season scoring records and won the Hart.

Pratt’s Hall of Fame case rides almost entirely on his Hart season (and the season after). Does he belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Listen here:

Hockey Hall of Fame Class 1966 Part 1: Babe Pratt, Toe Blake, Frank Brimsek

Babe Pratt’s Career:

  • NHL: 1935-47; 12 seasons, 11 quality by DPS
  • Totals:
    • 83G (17th/7th D All Time at his retirement),
    • 210A (2nd/1st D All Time at his retirement – Clapper) for
    • 293P (5th/2nd D All time at his retirement – Clapper, Goodfellow, Hollett, Siebert) in
    • 518 Games (12th/8th D All Time at his retirement);
    • 64.7 Point Shares (15th All Time at his retirement, 9th/7th D)
    • At his retirement, Pratt was 8th/7th All Time in Defensive Point Shares
    • At his retirement, Pratt was the 12th/6th D All Time in Offensive Point Shares
  • Per Game: Obviously Pratt doesn’t qualify for any Per Game leaderboards but, if we lower the qualifiers so he does (75G, 200A, 275P), at his retirement, among D*, Pratt was
    • t-16th/10th D All Time in GPG
    • 1st D All Time in APG (2 qualifying players – Clapper)
    • 4th/1st D All Time in PPG (4 qualifying players – Schmidt, Goodfellow, Clapper)
  • Era: Of the 15 D* to play in at least 328 games (4 modern seasons) between 1935 and 1947, Pratt is
    • 5th/2nd in Goals
    • 7th/2nd in GPG
    • 1st in Assists (by 42/49)
    • 2nd/1st in APG
    • 1st in Points
    • 5th/2nd in PPG
    • 3rd/2nd in Offensive Points Shares
    • 1st in Defensive Point Shares
    • 2nd in Point Shares
    • 1st in Games
  • 82-game average: 13G, 34A for 47P
  • 3-year peak (1942-45): 50-game average of 16G, 32A for 48P
  • Playoffs:
    • 12G (3rd/1st D All Time at his retirement – Schmidt, Clapper),
    • 17A (3rd/2nd D All Time at his retirement – Hollett, Colville) for
    • 29P (t-2nd/2nd D All Time at his retirement – Hollett, Clapper) in
    • 63 playoff Games (5th/4th D All Time at his retirement – Clapper, Hollett, Horner, Seibert)
    • Per Game: Obviously Pratt doesn’t qualify for the per game leaderboards, if we lower the qualifiers so he does (10G, 15A, 25P), at his retirement, among D, Pratt was
      • 2nd/1st D All Time in playoff GPG (Schmidt – 4 qualifying players: Seibert, Clapper)
      • 4th/2nd D All Time in playoff APG (Colville, Hollett, Schmidt – 5 qualifying players: Clapper)
      • 3rd/1st D All Time in playoff PPG (Colville, Schmidt – 5 qualifying players: Hollett, Clapper)
    • Era: Of the 13 D* to play in at least 41 playoff games between 1935 and 1947, Pratt is
      • 2nd/1st in playoff Goals
      • 4th/2nd in playoff GPG
      • 2nd in playoff Assists (behind by 9)
      • 4th/3rd in playoff APG
      • 2nd in playoff Points
      • t-5th//3rd in playoff PPG
      • 2nd in playoff Games
  • Adjustment for Era:
    • Hockey-Reference:
      • 97G
      • 309A for
      • 406P
    • Adjusted 82-game average: 15G, 49A for 64P (+16P per 82 games)
    • Per Game: Obviously doesn’t qualify
  • VsX: Doesn’t qualify
  • Trades:
    • Traded at 26 to the Leafs for Red Garrett (18) and Hank Goldup (24)
    • Traded at 30 to the Bruins for Eric Pogue (18) and cash
    • Traded out of the NHL at 31

Babe Pratt’s Accomplishments:

  • Hart (‘44)
  • All Star:
    • 1st Team All Star once
    • 2nd Team All Star once
  • Top Player:
    • Top 5 Player (by PS) once (‘44)
    • Top 10 three times (‘43, ‘45)
    • Best Defensive Player (by DPS) once (‘40)
    • Top 5 three times (‘42, ‘44)
    • Top 10 seven times (‘38, ‘39, ‘43, ‘45)
  • Goals:
    • 15 goals twice (1 of only 14/8? D ever at his retirement)
  • Assists:
    • Leaderboards:
      • Top 5 in Assists once
    • APG leaderboards:
      • Top 10 in APG twice
    • Single-season totals:
      • Set the single-season record for D in 1944, held it until 1955
      • Only D at his retirement to have 40 assists in a season
  • Points:
    • Set the single-season record for D in 1944, held it until 1965
    • Only D* at his retirement to have 50 points in a season (Schmidt, Clapper)
  • VsX Peak:
    • Best 7 Seasons:
      • Goals: doesn’t qualify
      • Assists: 195th All Time
      • Points: doesn’t qualify
    • Best 10 Seasons:
      • Goals: doesn’t qualify
      • Assists: 190th All Time
      • Points: doesn’t qualify

Babe Pratt’s Great Teams:

  • NHL:
    • Best D (by points) on two Champions (‘40 Rangers, ‘45 Leafs), one Runner Up (‘37 Rangers) and three Final Fours (‘42, ‘43, ‘39 Rangers)
    • Top 2 D (by points) on one Final Four (‘44 Leafs)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *