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?
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?
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:
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:
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:
Grandfather of Ron, Bryan Hextall was one of the offensive stars of his era. And he was pretty good. If you fiddle with the VsX adjustment and do look at his per game numbers – something it’s not designed for – it paints Hextall as the best offensive player in NHL history in terms of adjusted PPG. That’s obviously not true and just exposes flaws in adjusted stats. But he must have been pretty good, right?
Listen to us talk about Bryan Hextall’s Hall of Fame 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.