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:
It’s easy to look at Bill Cowley’s numbers and think he might be one of the greatest offensive NHL players ever, and certainly one of the league’s greatest passers.
But his best years came during World War II when a number of NHL players were in the military and so competition wasn’t as good. Also, Cowley sometimes wasn’t even the first line centre on his own team.
The question isn’t just, does Bill Cowley belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame? It’s how do we evaluate his gaudy numbers given when he played and his role when Milt Schmidt was on the team? And why did it take the Hall 20+ years to induct him?
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:
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.
Cooney Weiland set the single-season points record in 1930, but it was a banner year for the league and multiple other players could have broken the record if he didn’t. He led the playoffs in points twice, too. Seems like maybe a slam dunk.
However, these were the only great years of Weiland’s career and his career was pretty middling otherwise. Does someone like this belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame? Listen to us talk about Cooney Weiland’s Hall of Fame case here:
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?
Hooley Smith was one of those skaters who played multiple positions, because back then skaters did that a lot more. We think he was primarily a Centre or a RW, though he supposed to have played D at times.
Smith doesn’t have a lot of accomplishments, though he was among the best passers of his era. But he was an amateur star – winning an Allan Cup and just dominating on his way to an Olympic Gold – and won a few Cups.
He has a fairly mixed case and we’re not quite sure what to do. So listen to us talk about Hooley Smith’s Hall of Fame case here: