Does Frank Brimsek Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Nicknamed “Mr. Zero,” was the first great American goaltender and the first American NHLer inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. He won three awards and made the end-of-season All Star Team in 80% of his (very few) seasons in the NHL.

But he was rarely the best goaltender in a small NHL and a lot of his reputation seems to rest on his rookie season, in which he won the Calder and the Vezina (when it was the Jennings) and led the Bruins to the Stanley Cup.

So, does Frank Brimsek actually belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame for his NHL accomplishments?

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Should Neil Colville Be in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Neil Colville was one of the great passers of his era and a member of the last Ranger team to win a Stanley Cup for half a century. He was likely on pace to be one of the better forwards of his era, at least in terms of total assists. When he got back from WWII, however, he was converted to D, and his offensive production fell off a cliff.

We’re a little mystified why Colville is in the Hall of Fame. Listen to us discuss his Hall of Fame case here:

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Is Turk Broda a GOAT Goalie?

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/354236326917185287/, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Walter “Turk” Broda was a workhorse with some decent regular season goalie stats. But, when it came to the post-season, especially after Broda returned from World War 2, there was no better goalie in the NHL. Broda’s post-war run is among the greatest playoff performances of any NHL goalie, winning four Stanley Cups in five years, and leading the playoffs in shutouts every year, including the year the Leafs didn’t win the Cup. Broda’s playoff record from when he returned from WWII to his retirement is 32-12. He led the playoffs in GAA four years in a row. There aren’t many other goalies to have dominated in the playoffs like he did.

Listen to us talk about Broda’s GOAT case and Hall of Fame case here:

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Is Red Kelly one of the Greatest NHL Players of All Time?

Red Kelly was one of the best D of the 1950s and possibly the greatest offensive D to yet play in the NHL. And then he was traded to the Leafs and famously switched to centre. Throughout his career he won more Stanley Cups than any other non-Canadien player. He is one of only 10 players to ever have the three-year Hall of Fame waiting requirement waived.

So where does Red Kelly rank all time?

Listen to us talk about Red Kelly’s Hall of Fame and GOAT case here:

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Does Sid Abel Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Sid Abel won the Hart and made a number of end-of-season All Star teams. But he was often not the best player on his team – especially in the playoffs – and a lot of his regular season success came centering Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay.

Did Sid Abel deserve his Hart trophy? And does he belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame? Listen to us discuss his case here:

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Does Tom Johnson Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Tom Johnson won 6 Stanley Cups and he was the only D to break up Dough Harvey’s Norris streak.

But he has few Norris nominations outside of his win and only two end-of-season All Star Team appearances in a sixteen season career. There’s a chicken-or-egg question here: Did Johnson win all these Cups because he played for one of the greatest teams of all time or did the Canadiens win all these Cups in part due to a player like Tom Johnson?

So, we wonder, does Tom Johnson belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

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Does Bill Gadsby Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Bill Gadsby was one of the great pre-Orr offensive D, scoring more points than any other pure defender at his retirement. (Only Red Kelly had more and he’d bee playing centre for years when Gadsby retired.) He also has plenty of end-of-season All Star Team appearances and a number of Norris nominations.

But his teams never won and the Plus/Minus stats we have for the end of his career are flat out bad.

Does Bill Gadsby belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame? Listen to us talk about his case here:

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Is Terry Sawchuk one of the Greatest Goalies of All Time?

From 1962 until 2000, nearly 40 years, Terry Sawchuk was the All Time leader in Wins. From 1964 until 2007, Sawchuk was the All Time leader in Shutouts, a record many thought was unbreakable. From 1961 until 2001, a half century, no other goalie had more Point Shares.

These metrics make it seem like Terry Sawchuk was one of the greatest goalies of all time. But the bloom is off the rose and now a lot of people think that’s not true; that, aside from a stretch at the beginning of his career when he was truly great, he was more of a compiler.

Listen to us talk about Sawchuk’s case for goalie GOAT status here:

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Is Gordie Howe the Greatest of All Time?

Prior to Bobby Orr‘s arrival, there was a consensus hockey GOAT (Greatest of All Time), Gordie Howe. That was due both to Howe’s dominance but, more importantly, his unprecedented longevity. Howe may have only been the best player in the NHL for six or so seasons, but he was one of the 10 best players in the NHL for over two decades.

Since then, there are a few other contenders for the throne. And the biggest knock against Howe is his Stanley Cups. Gordie Howe made the playoffs in 20 of his 26 NHL seasons. And he made the Stanley Cup Finals a remarkable 11 times. But he only won four Stanley Cups. One can make the LeBron James argument here: If Gordie Howe really is the GOAT, how come his finals record is 4-7?

Listen to us talk about Gordie Howe here:

Hall of Fame Class of 1972 Part 2: Gordie Howe, Jean Beliveau

Gordie Howe’s Career:

  • NHL:
    • 1946-71; 1979-80; 26 seasons, 25 quality
    • Totals:
    • 801G (3rd All Time – Gretzky, Ovechkin – 1st All Time at his initial retirement by 232; Howe was the career leader in goals from 1963-64 through 1993-94),
    • 1049A (10th All Time – 1st All Time at his initial retirement by 300; Howe was the career leader in assists from 1957-58 through 1987-88) for
    • 1850P (4th – Gretzky, Jagr, Messier – 1st All Time at his initial retirement by nearly 600; Howe was the career leader in points from 1959-60 through 1989-90);
    • +160* (14th All Time at his initial retirement) in
    • 1767 Games (2nd All Time – Marleau – 1st All Time at his retirement by 300; Howe was the career leader in Games Played from 1961-62 through 2019-20)
    • 217.1 PS (4th All Time – Gretzky, Bourque, Luongo – 1st All Time at his retirement by nearly 69; Howe was the career leader from 1960-61 to 1994-95);
    • Howe is 2nd All Time in Offensive Point Shares (Gretzky) – he was 1st All Time at his initial retirement by nearly 69 and was the career leader from 1958-59 until 1993-94
    • Howe is the 15th/13th Forward All Time in Defensive Point Shares – at his initial retirement he was 3rd/1st All Time
    • Per Game: At his initial retirement in 1971, Howe was
    • 11th All Time in GPG
    • t-5th in APG (Mikita, Esposito, Cowley, Beliveau)
    • 5th in PPG (Esposito, Hull, Mikita, Beliveau; Howe was the career leader in PPG from 1953-54 through 1958-59)
    • Era: Of the 13 skaters to play in at least 1148 games (14 modern seasons) between 1946 and 1971, Howe is
      • 1st in Goals (by 369)
      • 1st in GPG (by 0.17)
      • 1st in Assists (by 300)
      • 1st in APG
      • 1st in Points (669)
      • 1st in PPG (by 0.25)
      • 2nd in Plus/Minus
      • 1st in Offensive Point Shares (by more than double his teammate)
      • 8th (2nd/1st Forward) in Defensive Point Shares
      • 1st in Point Shares (by 68.7)
    • 82-game average: 37G, 48A for 86P, +7*; 8.7 PS
    • 3-year peak (1950-53): 70-game average of 46G, 43A for 89P
    • Playoffs:
    • Totals:
      • 68G (20th All Time, 3rd at his first retirement – Richard, Beliveau),
      • 92A (2nd All Time at his first retirement – Beliveau – Howe was the career leader from 1961 through 1970) for
      • 160P (t-22nd All Time, 2nd at his first retirement – Beliveau – Howe was the career leader 1964 through 1970),
      • +6* in
      • 157 games (3rd All Time at his first retirement – Kelly, Beliveau)
      • Per Game: At his first retirement, Howe was
        • T-5th All Time in playoff GPG (Richard, Hull, Drillon, Beliveau)
        • T-6th All Time in playoff APG
        • T-4th All Time in playoff PPG (Hull, Beliveau, Blake)
      • Era: Of the 42 skaters to play in at least 82 playoff games between 1946 and 1971, Howe is
        • 2nd in playoff Goals (behind by 12)
        • T-4th in playoff GPG
        • 2nd in playoff Assists
        • 4th in playoff APG
        • 2nd in playoff Points (behind by 18)
        • 3rd in playoff PPG
        • T-18th in playoff Plus/Minus
        • 3rd in playoff Games
    • Adjustment for Era:
    • Hockey-Reference:
      • 925G (1st All Time), 
      • 1265A (2nd – Gretzky) for 
      • 2190P (2nd – Gretzky)
      • Adjusted 82-game average: 43G, 59A for 102P (+16P per 82 games)
      • Per Game:
        • T-23rd All Time in Adjusted GPG
        • T-15th All Time in Adjusted APG
        • T-13th All Time in Adjusted PPG
    • VsX:
      • 1181 Goals (1st All Time by over 300)
      • 1711 Assists (2nd All Time – Gretzky)
      • 2444 Points (1st All Time)
      • Per Game:
        • T-19th All Time in VsX GPG
        • 22nd All Time in VsX APG
        • 22nd All Time in VsX PPG
        • If the qualifier is raised to 820 games played, Howe is
          • 5th All time in VsX GPG (Richard, Hull, Geoffrion, Lemieux)
          • 3rd All Time in VsX APG (Gretzky, Lemieux)
          • 4th All Time in VsX PPG (Gretzky, Lemieux, Richard)
          • If the qualifier is set to 1230 games, Howe is
            • 1st All Time in VsX GPG
            • 2nd All Time in VsX APG (Gretzky)
            • 2nd All Time in VsX PPG (Gretzky)
  • Never traded.
  • WHA: 1973-79; 6 seasons, all quality174G (16th),
    • Totals:
    • 334A (7th) for 
    • 508P (7th), 
    • +136 (7th) in 
    • 419 games
    • Per Game:
      • 6th All Time in APG
      • 8th All Time in PPG
    • 82-game average: 34G, 66A for 99P, +27
    • 3-year peak (1973-76): 78-game average of 34G, 72A for 106P, +30
    • Playoffs:
      • 28G (t-6th All Time), 
      • 43A (6th All Time) for 
      • 71P (4th All Time – Mark Howe, Hull, Bernier) in 
      • 78 games (1st All Time)
      • Per Game:
        • 17th All Time in playoff GPG
        • 13th All Time in playoff APG
        • 13th All Time in playoff PPG
    • Never traded.

Gordie Howe’s Accomplishments:

  • NHL:
    • Hart (’52, ’53, ’57, ’58, ’60, ’63) – 2nd most ever (Gretzky)
    • Top 5 in Hart voting a further ten times – probably the most ever
    • NHL’s 100 Greatest Players
    • Back Check MVP (’51, ’52, ’53, ’54, ’57, ’63)
    • Back Check Best Player (’51, ’52, ’53, ’54, ’57, ’63)
    • Art Ross (’51, ’52, ’53, ’54, ’57, ’58, ’60, ’63) – 2nd most ever (Gretzky)
    • Rocket Richard* (‘51, ‘52, ‘53, ‘57’63)  – t-4th most ever (Ovechkin, Hull, Esposito)
    • All Star:
      • 1st Team All Star twelve times (2nd most ever – Bourque)
      • 2nd Team All Star nine times (most ever) most NHL All Star Team appearances ever
      • 23 All Star Game appearances (most ever)
    • Top Player:
      • Best Player (by Point Shares) once (’53), 
      • Top 5 nine times (’51, ’52, ’54, ’56, ’57, ’63, ’68, ’69) – 5th most ever (Gretzky, Broda, Hall, Bourque) 
      • Top 10 sixteen times (’50, ’55, ’58, ’59, ’62, ’65, ’66) – most ever
      • Best Offensive Player (by Offensive Point Shares) six times (’51, ’52, ’53, ’54, ’57, ’63) t-2nd most ever (Gretzky)
      • Top 5 seventeen times (’50, ’55, ’56, ’58, ’59, ’62, ’64, ’65, ’66, ’68, ’69) – most ever
      • Top 10 twenty-one times (’60, ’61, ’67, ’70) – most ever (Gretzky is in second with 14)
    • Goals:
      • Leader-boards:
        • Led the NHL in Goals five times (t-4th most ever – Ovechkin, Hull, Esposito)
        • Top 5 fourteen times (t-most ever)
        • Top 10 nineteen times (most ever)
      • GPG leader-boards:
        • Led the NHL in GPG three times (t-8th most ever)
        • Top 5 fourteen times (most ever)
        • Top 10 nineteen times (most ever)
      • Single-season goal totals:
        • Scored 45 goals twice (1 of only 6 players to do so at his first retirement)
        • 40 goals five times (1 of only 2 players at his first retirement – Hull)
        • 35 goals nine times (1 of only 17 players ever, 1 of only 2 players at his first retirement – Hull)
        • 30 goals fourteen times (1 of only 6 players ever, the only player ever at his first retirement)
        • 25 goals twenty times (the only player ever)
        • 20 goals twenty-two times (the only player ever)
    • Assists:
      • Leader-boards:
        • Led the NHL in Assists three times (t-3rd most ever – Gretzky, Orr)
        • Top 5 seventeen times (t-most ever)
        • Top 10 twenty-two times (most ever)
      • APG leader-boards
        • Led the NHL in APG twice (t-9th most ever)
        • Top 5 fifteen times (2nd most ever – Gretzky)
        • Top 10 twenty-one times (most ever)
      • Single-season assist totals:
        • 50 assists once (1 of only 25 players to do so at his first retirement)
        • 40 assists eighteen times (1 of only 3 players ever – Francis, Gretzky – the only player ever at his first retirement by 8)
    • Points:
      • Leader-boards:
        • Led the NHL in Points six times (2nd most ever – Gretzky)
        • Top 5 twenty times (most ever)
        • Top 10 twenty-one times (most ever)
      • PPG leader-boards:
        • Led the NHL in PPG seven times (t-2nd most ever – Gretzky) 
        • Top 5 nineteen times (most ever)
        •  Top 10 twenty times (most ever)
      • Single-season points twice:
        • Scored 100 points once (1 of only 6 players to do so at his first retirement)
        • 90 points twice (1 of only 7 players at his first retirement)
        • 80 points eight times (the only player at his first retirement)
        • 70 points eighteen times (the only player ever)
        • 60 points twenty one times (still the only player ever)
        • 50 points twenty-two times (t-most ever, only player at his initial retirement)
    • Plus-Minus:
      • Top 5 in Plus Minus once
      • Top 10 three times
    • VsX:
      • Best 7 Seasons:
        • 3rd All Time in Goals (Bobby Hull, Richard)
        • 8th All Time in Assists
        • 3rd All Time in Points (Gretzky, Esposito)
      • Best 10 Seasons:
        • 3rd All Time in Goals (Bobby Hull, Richard)
        • 6th All Time in Assists
        • 2nd All Time in Points (Gretzky)
  • WHA (Gordie Howe was in his mid to late 40s when he played in the WHA):
    • Gordie Howe Trophy (’74)
    • All Star:
      • 1st All Star Team twice
    • Goals:
      • Scored 30 goals five times
    • Assists:
      • Leader-boards:
        • Top 5 in Assists once
        • Top 10 four times
      • APG leader-boards:
        • Top 5 in APG twice
        • Top 10 four times
      • Single-season totals:
        • 70 assists once 
        • 60 assists four times 
        • 40 assists five times
    • Points:
      • Leader-boards:
        • Top 5 in Points once, 
        • Top 10 four times
      • PPG leader-boards:
        • Top 5 in PPG once, 
        • Top 10 three times
      • Single-season totals:
        • 100 points twice
        • 90 points four times 
        • 60 points five times.

Gordie Howe’s Great Teams:

  • NHL:
    • Best Player (led the playoffs in goals, set the single season record in points – held it until 1962) one Champion (‘55 Red Wings)
    • Best Player (led the playoffs in goals and points) on two Runners Up (‘49, ’64 Red Wings)
    • Best Player (led the playoffs in points) on two Runners Up (’61, ’63 Red Wings)
    • Best Player (by points) on one Runner Up (’56 Red Wings) and one Final Four (’57 Red Wings),
    • Best Skater (by points) on one Champion (’54 Red Wings)
    • Top 3 Forward (led the playoffs in assists and points) on one Champion (’52 Red Wings)
    • Top 3 Forward (by points) on five Final Fours (’51, ’53, ’58, ’60, ’65 Red Wings)
    • Top 6 Forward (by points) on one Runner Up (’66 Red Wings)
    • Top 9 Forward (by points) on one Runner Up (’48 Red Wings)
    • Role Player (by points) on one Final Four (’47 Red Wings)
    • Injured on one Champion (’50 Red Wings)
  • WHA (Howe was in his mid to late 40s when he played in the WHA):
    • Top 3 Forward (by points) on two Avco Cup Champions (‘74, ’75 Aeros),
    • Top 6 forward (by points) on two Runners Up (’76 Aeros, ‘78 Whalers) and one Final Four (’77 Aeros),
    • Role Player (by points) on one Final Four (’79 Whalers)
  • Summit Series:
    • Top 6? Player (by points) on one Summit Series Runner Up (’74 Canada)

Is Jean Beliveau one of the Top 3 Greatest Centres of All Time?

Ralrton-Purina Company, maker of Chex cereals, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Jean Beliveau is one of the rare NHL stars to combine regular season dominance with playoff dominance. Many of the centres who have scored more regular season points than Beliveau both haven’t done so relative to the league – Beliveau would have been the best offensive player of his era had it not been for Gordie Howe – and very few of them have Beliveau’s long history of success in the playoffs.

So where does he rank all time? Is he a Top 5 Centre? Is he a top 5 Player?

Listen to us discuss Jean Beliveau’s career here:

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