Clint Smith set the single-season record for assists in the ’40s. So of course he should be in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Right?
Well, he did it during World War II, when talent in the league was quiet watered down. He doesn’t have a lot of other accomplishments. And he doesn’t have the Cups that many other “veterans committee” inductees of the ’90s have.
So, does Clint Smith belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame? Listen to us try to sort it out here:
Anders Hedberg’s Hall of Fame case is very similar to that of his countryman’s, Ulf Nilsson. Both came to North America at the same time. Both dominated the WHA and won Avo Cups. And then they left the Jets together for the Rangers, where they had some team success and less individual success. (And lots of injury problems.)
Whether or not you think George Hay belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame depends a lot on how much weight you put on a player scoring at a point-per-game pace in the Western Canada Hockey League. It’s worth noting that Hay lost the scoring race to both Duke Keats and Bill Cook in different WCHL seasons – i.e. he was never clearly the best offensive player in the WCHL/WHL. Nor was he ever a true star in the NHL: His brief NHL career isn’t particularly distinguished compared to the careers of his contemporaries, given the size of the NHL at the time.
By some metrics, Ulf Nilsson was the Greatest Player, or at least Greatest Forward, in WHA history. (APG and PPG, specifically.) But when he moved to the NHL he saw his numbers plummet and his career fall apart due to injuries.
In this episode we discuss whether or not Ulf Nilsson did enough in the WHA for us to say he belongs in the Hall of Fame.