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Under Rated Players and Cards of the 1930s

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  • Under Rated Players and Cards of the 1930s

    Carried over from another thread.

    My vote goes to Busher Jackson and Marty Barry. The decades top point producers.
    I would argue that Charlie Conacher, the top goal scorer and only 7 points behimd the leaders is also still undervalued. Conacher also had the highest points per game played.

  • #2
    C Conacher and Marty Barry are two phenomenal examples as well.

    Comment


    • #3
      I have been thinking the same thing for years. The stars of the 1930's are primarily in the 1933 OPC set and most of them are a steal! Charlie Conacher and Busher Jackson are 2 great examples along with Joe Primeau, Ace Bailey, Nels Stewart, Dit Clapper, Roy Worters, Ching Johnson. These are all well known hall of famers that often sell for a price that's very affordable. The Morenz rookie is probably out of reach for me, but I'm close to finishing the 1933 OPC set. Personally I think it's one of the very best overall Pre-war sets for player selection and rookies.

      Comment


      • #4
        Nice article from hockeywriters.com. Possibly inspired by this thread. I would post a link to the site but not thrilled with their ads
        The National Hockey League was founded on November 26, 1917. Over the league’s 100 years, countless players have left indelible marks on the game. Names like, Morenz, Shore, Richard, Howe, Beliveau, Orr, Gretzky and Lemieux are uttered in hockey circles with the utmost reverence. If one were to ask multiple generations who the best NHL players were, one would receive multiple answers.
        Attempting to compare, contrast and list the greats across multiple decades is a near-impossible (and extremely subjective) endeavor. In an attempt to at least minimize the subjectivity while also giving each legend their proper respect for the time in which they played, the following list will be broken down decade-by-decade, all the way back through the NHL’s first full decade (1920s). The five best players will be mentioned for each, the “best” will be identified, and honorable mention will be bestowed upon the greats who didn’t quite crack the top five.
        Tidbits and Criteria

        • Beyond the 1920s, candidates must have played a minimum of 200 games.
        • Players are only being measured for their play and impact during the decade in question.
        • Following the identification of each decade’s “best” player, the subsequent four players (and honorable mentions) are listed in no particular order.
        • Top-billing serves as the annotation for the decade’s “best” player.
        • Some players wrapped their best seasons around the end of one decade and beginning of another. This is taken into account, but again, each decade is measured independently from one another.
        • This is not merely a list of best stats. If so, Ron Francis would be the fifth-best player of all time. This list is about all-around play, impact and innovation.
        • Like the statistical component, Stanley Cup wins will be taken into account, but this is also not merely a list of “Best Winners.” If it were, Henri Richard would top the list. Great players from mediocre-to-bad teams deserve some love too.
        • Some of the all-time greats will not be listed as the “best” player from their respective decade(s), and some won’t even crack the top five. It will be as surprising to you as it was to me. Some decades were just too chock-full of talent.
        • The Lester B. Pearson Award became the Ted Lindsay Award prior to the 2009-10 Season.
        Finally, I want to thank my father. His insight, knowledge of the game and firsthand experience watching some of these players proved invaluable. Considering the fact that I’m his namesake, I’m happy to share the byline of this article with him.
        Buckle up.
        Best NHL Players of the 1920s

        Howie Morenz — Montreal Canadiens

        (“The Stratford Flash,” Howie Morenz)
        Howie Morenz was the first legitimate superstar in NHL history. He was the first player to record 50 points (1927-28) and 40 goals (1929-30) in a season. His 179 goals in 258 games average out to 56 goals per today’s 82-game schedule. Allegedly, it was his breathtaking ability and speed which persuaded Boston businessman Charles Adams to found the Boston Bruins, bringing the NHL to the United States.
        The best of the era, according to another one of the decade’s best:
        He was the best. He could stop on a dime and leave you nine cents change. Howie was in a class by himself. And when he couldn’t skate around you, he’d go right over you.
        -Francis “King” Clancy (Joe Pelletier, GreatestHockeyLegends.com)
        He finished the 1920s with one Hart Trophy and two Stanley Cup championships, scoring the winning goal in each. Morenz tragically passed away at age 34 from complications stemming from a broken leg. Fifty-thousand people attended his funeral service held at the Montreal Forum.
        Cy Denneny — Ottawa Senators, Boston Bruins

        Cy Denneny was the NHL’s first sniper, scoring 34 goals in just 24 games during the 1920-21 season. His 243 points paced the decade, besting Morenz by two points (in eight additional games). Despite standing just five-foot-seven, Denneny would seldom skate away from confrontation; he played with a bit of a mean streak. He would win 4 Stanley Cups in the decade, including one as a player-coach for the Bruins in 1929-30.
        Georges Vezina — Montreal Canadiens

        Georges Vezina was the league’s first star goaltender, donning the “Bleu, blanc, et rouge” for his entire career. Vezina excelled in an era when goaltenders were not allowed to go down to the ice to make saves or freeze the puck (or wear helmets or masks, for that matter). “The Chicoutimi Cucumber” was known for his poise and cool demeanor while staring down the league’s best. He was the first goaltender to post a sub-2.00 goals-against-average, doing so in consecutive seasons. He won one Cup in the 1920s before an untimely death from tuberculosis at age 39. The award for the NHL’s best goaltender is named after Vezina.
        Cecil “Babe” Dye — Toronto St. Pat’s, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Americans

        Toronto’s first superstar. His 190 goals topped all scorers in the decade, leading the league in single-season goals three times. Prior to his career being derailed by injury in 1927, Dye had registered 189 points in just 182 games. Blessed with a rocket of a shot, Dye struck fear in the hearts of the era’s goalies. Furthermore, “Babe” played professional baseball and football, making him the best athlete in the NHL in the 1920s. He won one Cup with the Toronto St. Pat’s in 1922.
        Francis “King” Clancy — Ottawa Senators

        The league’s first star defenseman. Diminutive, speedy, and tough-as-nails, he could do it all. In the 1923 Stanley Cup Final, Clancy played every position on the ice (yes, including goaltender); Ottawa won the game and the series. Clancy remains the only player to accomplish this feat. He scored 153 points in 306 games, primarily playing defense, and won two Cups in the decade.
        Honorable Mention: Aurele Stewart, Nels Clark, Bill Cook

        Comment


        • #5
          1930s

          Eddie Shore — Boston Bruins, New York Americans

          (Eddie Shore)
          “The Edmonton Express” was as feared as he was revered. He essentially singlehandedly brought hockey to the United States. Shore registered 199 points in 386 games, giving him an average of 42 points per 82 games; incredible numbers for a defenseman in the era. He also set the bar for toughness. Shore once had his ear severed so badly from his head that the team doctor insisted on amputating; an assessment with which Shore disagreed. He found a different doctor to sew the ear back on, refused an anesthetic during the surgery and insisted on holding a mirror so he could supervise the work being done. Eddie Shore was back at practice the next day.
          The legendary tough guy played through more than just a severed ear:
          Driving himself the way he drove his players later, Shore had also acquired more than 900 stitches in his face and body, several fractures in his back, hip, collarbone, nose and jaw, and a mouth minus every tooth.
          -Stan Fischler (Sports Illustrated) March 13, 1967
          He won four Hart Trophies (still a record for a defenseman) in a six year span. He won one Stanley Cup, and also holds the record for most fights in one game (five).
          Cecil “Tiny” Thompson — Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings

          The star goaltender played more games (465) than any other player in the 1930s. The pioneer of the glove-save, Thompson’s catlike reflexes and innovative technique made him the best goaltender of the decade. He finished a season with a goals-against-average below 2.00 four separate times, and recorded 63 shutouts. He’s the only goaltender in the Hockey Hall of Fame to post a shutout in his NHL debut. He was also the first goalie to record an assist. Thompson finished the decade with three Vezina Trophies.
          Charlie Conacher — Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Americans

          No one scored more goals in the 1930s than Charlie Conacher. With 198 goals in 374 games, Conacher
          Leafs legend Charlie Conacher

          scored at a rate of 46 goals per 82 games throughout the decade. “The Big Bomber” was one of the league’s first power forwards, possessing an imposing frame and booming shot. Teaming up with fellow legend “Busher” Jackson, the two wreaked havoc on opposing defenses for the first half of the decade. He led the league in goals five times, and twice paced the league in points. Conacher won one Stanley Cup with Toronto in 1932.
          Aubrey “Dit” Clapper — Boston Bruins

          Dit Clapper, like King Clancy before him, played all over the ice. He remains the only player in league history to be named an All-Star at both forward and defense. His 279 points rank ninth in scoring for the decade, despite multiple seasons spent exclusively as a defenseman.
          A peacemaker despite his large stature, Clapper was involved in one of the most surreal moments in league history: After twice high-sticking an opponent to the head, referee Clarence Campbell reportedly unloaded on him with a string of verbal jabs. Clapper responded with an actual jab, dropping Campbell to the ice with a single punch.
          He finished the decade paired alongside Eddie Shore, giving Boston the best defense pairing in the league. He won one of his three Stanley Cups in the decade (1939).
          Marty Barry — Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens

          Marty Barry was a model of consistency. During the rough-and-tumble 1930s, Barry played an unthinkable 509 consecutive games. Moreover, his consistency extended beyond endurance, as he recorded six-consecutive 20-goal seasons during that span. His 353 points in the decade were enough to pace the league, tying with Busher Jackson. Barry won the Stanley Cup twice, doing so in back-to-back seasons with the Detroit Red Wings.
          Honorable Mention: Harvey “Busher” Jackson, Nels Stewart, Howie Morenz, Dave Kerr

          Comment


          • #6
            1940s

            Maurice “Rocket” Richard — Montreal Canadiens

            “The Rocket” was cut from a different cloth; he was unlike anything the league had previously seen. Even Hall of Fame coach and broadcaster Dick Irvin put Richard in a class to himself:
            There are goals, and there are Richard goals.
            -Dick Irvin (Herbert Warren Wind, Sports Illustrated) December 6, 1954
            With unmatched speed and the consummate finisher’s touch, Richard changed the game more than any player before him. He was the first player in league history to score 50 goals in a season, doing so in just 50 games during the 1944-45 campaign. He scored 56 more goals than his closest competitor. His 250 goals in 404 games average out to over 50 goals per 82 games.
            With piercing black eyes and a temper to match, Richard was also not a player to be trifled with. Though his winningest-days as player would come in the following decade, “The Rocket” still managed a Hart Trophy and two Stanley Cup wins in the 1940s.
            Doug Bentley — Chicago Blackhawks

            Doug Bentley

            Though marooned on the cellar-dwelling Blackhawks for the entire decade, Bentley found a way to excel. His 475 points in 455 games led the league in both total points and points-per-game, averaging out to 85 points per 82 games. Doug and brother Max Bentley were the original Sedin twins prior to Max being traded before the 1947-48 season, as the brothers finished the decade ranked first and fourth in league scoring. Doug’s lack of supporting cast kept his name off of the Stanley Cup, and he never finished higher than second in Hart Trophy voting. However, it was his ability to outscore everyone else in the decade in spite of that support which cements his place on this list.
            Bill Durnan — Montreal Canadiens

            Bill Durnan was the greatest goaltender of the decade, and it’s not even close (with all due respect to Frank Brimsek and “Turk” Broda). Durnan captured six Vezina Trophies in a span of seven years; sheer dominance. He was just as excellent in the playoffs, posting a 2.07 goals-against-average over 45 games, winning two Stanley Cups.
            Walter “Babe” Pratt — New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins

            The second “Babe” on our list, Pratt’s nickname was earned for his exploits on AND off the ice, much like the baseball-playing “Babe.” The defenseman (and occasional forward) was a notorious playboy, drawing the ire of Rangers GM Conn Smythe and precipitating his trade away from the bright lights of Broadway. Standing a then-massive six-foot-three, 215 pounds, Pratt could skate and rush the puck as well as anyone not called “The Rocket.”
            He registered 218 points in 310 games, and had the Norris Trophy existed in the 1940s Pratt would have won more than a few. He won one Hart Trophy and one Stanley Cup, scoring the series-winning goal in Game 7 of the 1945 Final.
            Hector “Toe” Blake — Montreal Canadiens

            Though better known as an eight-time Cup winning coach, Blake was quite the player in his day. The slick and skilled Blake registered 386 points in 376 games from the left wing position, helping Montreal capture two Cups in three years.
            Maurice Richard, Elmer Lach and Toe Blake – the Punch Line.
            Honorable Mention: Bill Cowley, Syl Apps, Elmer Lach, Max Bentley, Frank Brimsek, Turk Broda, Bill Mosienko

            Comment


            • #7
              1950s

              Gordie Howe — Detroit Red Wings

              (Gordie Howe)
              “Mr. Hockey” isn’t the most subtle nickname, and Howe was not the most subtle player. One way or another, his presence was felt each and every time he hopped onto the ice.
              He was built to be a hockey player. He was strong as an ox. Howe was mean as a rattlesnake and you treaded lightly when you came around him. He had a very heavy shot and a soft touch. Old school hockey. That was Gordie Howe.
              -Red Wings and Maple Leafs forward Paul Henderson (Sportsnet.ca) June 10, 2016
              Considered by many (including a few fellow contenders) to be the greatest player of all time, Gordie Howe WAS hockey in the 1950s. His 806 points (in just 688 games) lead the second-place finisher by 249 points. That second place finisher also happened to be his linemate, Ted Lindsay. He averaged 99 points per 82 games throughout the 1950s.
              In the decade, Howe won the Hart and Art Ross Trophies five times apiece, while winning the Stanley Cup four times. The “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” (a goal, assist, and a fight) is the most “hockey player” stat in the game, and is a fitting testament to one of the most complete players of all time.
              Jean Beliveau — Montreal Canadiens

              The only things that kept Jean Beliveau from more awards in the 1950s (and top billing on this list) were Howe and his incredible supporting cast in Montreal.
              Maurice Richard and Jean Beliveau
              Beliveau is the only player of the decade to score at a higher rate than Howe, potting 242 goals in 437 games. He’s also the only player even remotely close to Howe in points-per-game, with 510. Beliveau was a wizard with the puck, and could skate like a man half his size (six-foot-three, 205 pounds). He captured one Hart Trophy, one Art Ross Trophy, and won the Stanley Cup five times in the decade. Like Howe, his greatness did not go unnoticed by other legends:
              He’s great. He’s got the greatest shot I’ve ever seen in hockey and he’s a fine man.
              -Maurice Richard (Dave Stubbs, NHL.com) January 1, 2017
              Also like Howe and Richard, Beliveau’s greatness was hardly relegated to one decade.
              Maurice “Rocket” Richard — Montreal Canadiens

              The first player on this list to crack the top five in multiple decades. Richard was still elite in the 1950s, as evidenced by his 294 goals (second only to Howe). “The Rocket” won the Stanley Cup six more times in the 1950s, including the last five of the decade.
              Doug Harvey — Montreal Canadiens

              The greatest defenseman of the decade, and to this point in history, ever. Doug Harvey won seven Norris Trophies in a span of eight seasons in the 1950s. Had the award existed prior to the 1953-54 season he likely would have won one or two more. His 360 points led all defensemen in the decade.
              Harvey was a dynamo at both ends of the ice. He was impossible to beat one-on-one, and quarterbacked the greatest power play of all time. Montreal’s power play was so good in the 1950s that in 1956 the NHL instituted a new rule, ending a team’s power play once a goal was scored. Prior to the amendment, Montreal would often score two or even three goals over the course of one power play.
              Harvey won the Stanley Cup six times in the decade to go along with his impressive haul of Norris Trophies.
              Jacques Plante — Montreal Canadiens

              Yes, another Canadien. Four of the top five spots, and had this been a top ten list a few more Habs would be included. Montreal was that dominant.
              Jacques Plante won each of the last five Vezina Trophies of the decade. Only once in the 1950s did Plante post a goals-against-average north of 2.16, and in that one anomalous season he still won the Vezina. He backstopped each of Montreal’s six Stanley Cups in the decade.
              Honorable Mention: Ted Lindsay (I can’t believe he’s not in the top five), Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion, Terry Sawchuk, Alex Delvecchio, Bill Gadsby, Andy Bathgate, Dickie Moore, Henri Richard

              Comment


              • #8
                1960s

                Bobby Hull — Chicago Blackhawks

                Bobby Hull tests Montreal goalie Gump Worsley
                “The Golden Jet” was the greatest goal scorer in an era of great goal scorers. Hull could skate nearly 30 miles per hour, and his slap shot was the stuff of legend. Rumor has it his slapper was once clocked at 118 miles per hour. Though that’s likely a bit of an exaggeration, it didn’t seem like hyperbole to the era’s goaltenders; it’s no surprise that the widespread use of masks by goalies coincided with Hull’s ascension. Former opponent and Hall of Fame goaltender Glenn Hall was elated to join Hull on on the Blackhawks:
                The best part about coming to Chicago was that Bobby Hull was on my side,” But I still had to face him and his shot in practice. The idea was not to stop that thing, but to avoid getting killed. Every once in a while, Bobby would fire the puck and it would fly into the stands at the Stadium. If the cleaning ladies were up there, you should have seen them scatter. They looked like Olympic sprinters.
                -Glenn Hall (Bob Verdi, NHL.com) January 1, 2017
                Hull’s 440 goals outpaced second place finisher Frank Mahovlich by 111. His 1.173 points-per game (96 points per 82 games) are second in the decade only to linemate Stan Mikita. He eclipsed 30 goals every year in the decade, 40 goals six times and 50 goals four times. He finished the decade with two Hart Trophies, two Art Ross Trophies and one Stanley Cup ring.
                Jean Beliveau — Montreal Canadiens

                Beliveau was still elite in his second decade, recording 633 points in 618 games. He added another Hart Trophy to his mantle, and was the NHL’s first Conn Smythe winner in 1965. He won the Stanley Cup four more times in the 1960s, giving him an inconceivable 10 rings as a player. Beliveau would go on to get his name on the Cup seven more times as an executive with Les Habitants. What a career for one of the game’s greatest ambassadors; a true gentleman on and off the ice.
                Gordie Howe — Detroit Red Wings

                Like Beliveau, Gordie Howe was still wreaking havoc on the league in the 1960s, registering 780 points in 708 games. Despite being 32 years old at the beginning of the 1960-61 season, Howe still managed to play more games than anyone else in the decade. As further testament to his unmatched longevity, let’s step out of the 1960s for a moment for this little tidbit: During the Hartford Whalers’ inaugural NHL season in 1979-80, Howe registered one goal and one assist over three playoff games in addition to his regular season 41 points; he was 52 years old.
                Stan Mikita — Chicago Blackhawks

                The Czechoslovkia-born Stan Mikita was raised in Canada, but is still technically the first non-North
                The Scooter Line

                American-born player on this list. The crafty pivot led all players in the decade in scoring, both in terms of total points (827) and points-per-game (1.18). Teaming with Bobby Hull to form the most formidable duo of the 1960s, Mikita captured four Art Ross and two Hart Trophies. He registered nine consecutive seasons of 76 points or more, and won one Stanley Cup.
                Mikita could do more than just score and make plays, however. He had an exceptional Hockey IQ, and was a master of “the little things” that are so important for a centerman. He was a genuine pain-in-the-butt to play against as well.
                Interestingly enough, Mikita was one of the league’s chippiest players in the first half of the decade. In the back half of the decade he won the Lady Byng Trophy twice. Allegedly, the change in playing style was attributed to Stan wanting to set a better example for his young daughter watching at home. Good man, Stan.
                Bobby Orr — Boston Bruins

                Danny O’Shea, Ian Young and Bobby Orr

                Though the lion’s share of Bobby Orr’s greatness would come in the following decade, he’d already changed the game forever by the time the sun had set on the 1960s. A more detailed breakdown of the player himself will come in the next section.
                Orr won three straight Norris Trophies to close out the 1960s. His 64 point campaign in 1968-69 broke the record for points by a defenseman in a single season, which merely set the stage for the following year. In 1969-70, Orr broke his own record by 56 points (33 goals, 87 assists) becoming just the second player of ANY position to eclipse 100 points in a season.
                The campaign would become the most decorated season for any individual player in the history of the NHL, as Orr would take home the Norris, Hart, Art Ross and Conn Smythe Trophies as well as the Stanley Cup. The Cup was won only after Orr scored the most iconic goal in NHL history. Not a bad year for a 22 year old.
                Honorable Mention: Phil Esposito, Frank Mahovlich, Pierre Pilote, Dave Keon, Alex Delvecchio, Norm Ullman, Johnny Bucyk, Tim Horton, Glenn Hall

                Comment


                • #9
                  1970s

                  Bobby Orr — Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks

                  No player before nor since has changed the game more than Bobby Orr. Had more than a dozen surgeries on his left knee not ended his career prematurely who knows what else he could have accomplished. Regardless, the indelible mark he left on the game cements his place in history as arguably the best player of all time, and easily the best of the 1970s, despite only playing 36 games from 1975-on.
                  Bobby Orr seemed to be playing a different game than everyone else when he was on the ice. It was as if some great player from the future had gone back in time to expedite the maturation and progress of the game.
                  All that Bobby did was change the face of hockey all by himself. Bobby was as fast as he needed to be in a particular situation. No matter how fast an opponent was, Bobby could skate faster than him if he needed to in the framework of a play. If he was caught up the ice and the other team had an odd-man rush, that’s when you saw his truly great speed. Very seldom did he not get back to have a hand in breaking up the play. To have seen his ultimate speed, you would have needed to play faster than any in hockey history.
                  -Phil Esposito (Dave Stubbs, NHL.com) January 1, 2017
                  With every breathtaking end-to-end rush, impossible goal scored or penalty killed single-handedly, Orr captured the imagination of hockey fans everywhere.
                  Relive the magic (personal favorite clips are at 3:35, 12:14, 14:51, 15:40 and 16:27).

                  “Number Four” tallied 659 points in just 407 games; that’s 132 points per 82 games. He scored at a higher rate than any player in the decade (1.62 points per game). His plus/minus of plus-124 in 1970-71 is one of sports’ most unbreakable records. He won five straight Norris Trophies to begin the decade, capping an incredible run of eight consecutive Norris wins. Orr added two additional Hart Trophies, one additional Art Ross Trophy, one Lester Pearson Award, an additional Conn Smythe Trophy and one more Stanley Cup win to his resume in the 1970s, giving a solid argument for considering him at the top of any list of best NHL players.
                  Guy Lafleur — Montreal Canadiens

                  With a name like “Guy Lafleur,” there was only one team worthy of his services.
                  “The Flower” dazzled fans in Montreal and around the league in the 1970s with his speed, effortless skating, creativity and scoring touch. Lafleur registered 941 points in just 677 games; his 1.39 points-per-game was a figure matched only by Orr and Phil Esposito. He was the first player in NHL history to record six consecutive 50 goal and 100 point seasons. During Montreal’s four-peat to end the decade, he recorded 36 goals and 41 assists in just 58 playoff games.
                  Lafleur would end the decade having won the Hart Trophy twice, the Art Ross Trophy three times, the Lester Pearson Award three times, the Conn Smythe Trophy once and the Stanley Cup five times. Merci beaucoup, Guy.
                  Bobby Clarke — Philadelphia Flyers

                  Great players typically want to play against other great players; it serves as an accurate and motivating measuring stick. Bobby Clarke, however, was not much fun to play against.
                  Though Clarke’s offensive numbers were impressive enough (891 points in 773 games), it was his all-around play that earns him a spot in the top five. Raised in a Northern Manitoba mining town, Clarke brought that workmanlike mentality to the rink every day. He was tireless on the forecheck and backcheck, and an excellent defensive centerman. Beyond that, he was a genuinely nasty guy on the ice. His slash on Valeri Kharlamov during the 1972 Summit Series versus the USSR was about as vicious as it gets.

                  Being a dirty player didn’t make Bobby Clarke great, nor is it part of why he’s on this list. Bobby Clarke was the most ferocious competitor of the era (and maybe ever), and the slashes, elbows, punches and pleasantries were merely an extension of how badly he wanted to beat you. And more often than not, he did.
                  Clarke captained the Flyers to back-to-back Cup wins in 1974 and 1975, and appeared in the finals two more times over the next five seasons. He captured three Hart Trophies in a span of four years as well as one Lester Pearson Award.
                  Phil Esposito — Boston Bruins, New York Rangers

                  “Jesus Saves, Esposito Scores on the Rebound,” was a popular bumper sticker in New England during Esposito’s tenure with the Bruins. It served as an equal testament to his beloved status and the nature in which he scored the lion’s share of his goals.
                  His 509 goals and 1,087 points were 104 and 126 (respectively) more than second-place finisher Guy Lafleur’s totals. “Espo” remains to this day the most dominant net-front presence in NHL history. Between the 1970-71 and 1974-75 seasons, he averaged 67 goals per year. His 76 goals during the 1970-71 campaign shattered Bobby Hull’s single-season record by 18 goals.
                  In the decade, Esposito won the Art Ross Trophy four times, the Lester Pearson Award twice and the Hart Trophy once, in addition to one Stanley Cup victory.
                  Ken Dryden — Montreal Canadiens

                  Ken Dryden was a new breed of goaltender when he arrived during the 1970-71 playoffs. Standing a monstrous six-foot-four, he towered over the crossbar, earning him the nickname “Four-Story Goalie.” His abilities dwarfed even his own stature, never mind the play of his peers.
                  With just six games of NHL experience at the onset of the 1970-71 playoffs, Dryden got the call in net against Bobby Orr and the defending Stanley Cup Champs in the first round. The 1970-71 Bruins had rewritten virtually every offensive record and breezed through the regular season. Nevertheless, it was the 23-year-old unknown goaltender and his Montreal Canadiens who moved on en route to a Stanley Cup win, earning Dryden the rare distinction of having won the Conn Smythe Trophy a full year prior to winning the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year.
                  In just seven seasons, Dryden won the Vezina Trophy five times. He won the Stanley Cup six times. He sat out the 1973-74 season to finish up his Juris Doctorate despite having won two Cups in the previous three seasons. Upon his return, he won four Cups in six seasons.
                  In an era of outrageous goal scoring, Dryden’s 2.24 goals-against-average in the decade was equally outrageous. He registered nearly as many shutouts (46) in the decade as he did losses (57). Unreal.
                  Honorable Mention: Marcel Dionne, Gilbert Perreault, Jean Ratelle, Bernie Parent, Tony Esposito, Brad Park, Denis Potvin, Larry Robinson

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    In my opinion, Clint Benedict is the most underrated pre-war player. Led the NHL in wins 6 years in a row, GAA 5 years in a row, and shutouts 7 years in a row. Certainly playing on a stacked Senators team padded those numbers, but he was also a Hart finalist with a terrible Maroons team. Moreover, he was perhaps the greatest innovator of his position as he was known for (illegally) falling to the ice to make saves, leading to a change in the rules and how goalies have played since that time. Oh, and he was the first to wear any sort of facemask

                    Joe Malone and Eddie Gerard (inaugural HOF inductee) are also underrated.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks Jim...a very good read!

                      That picture of Ken Dryden looks like a photo-shop job, as he looks like a peewee player compared to the size of the net.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Further to Anish's point about Joe Malone being underrated, he was the FIRST player in the NHL to score 40 goals in a season, not Howie Morenz as the article states.

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