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09-01-2009, 11:27 PM
Hockey Outsider
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Originally Posted by Spitfire11 View Post
Just wondering, what was it that sold you on Clancy? He's probably the all-time great I know the least about.
Here's a quick summary of Clancy's achievements. I doubt I'll have time to do something more thorough (ie a comprehensive Clancy-Pilote-Seibert-Horton-Clapper comparison) but this should be a start.

- Offensive dominance. Clancy was an aggressive defenseman who often joined the rush. His playmaking skills are demonstrated by the fact that he finished in the top five in assists three times, in an era where offensive defensemen were rare. From 1922-1937 (the span of Clancy's career) he ranked first in scoring among all defensemen and 12th in scoring overall. Only Eddie Shore scored more points-per-game during that span. Clancy was the league's highest-scoring defenseman in 1930 & 1934; he was runner-up in 1924, 1925, 1927 & 1929.

- Outstanding defense. I read a newspaper article from the Globe & Mail (April 20, 1933) stating that Clancy was better defensively than Eddie Shore, and was as good as Lionel Hitchman and Ching Johnson in his own zone.

- Toughness/durability. Although Clancy was only 5'7", 155 lbs, he was still a fierce competitor and did not get pushed around. He placed in the top ten in PIM six times and missed no more than one game in 13 of his 16 seasons. Clancy's biographer, Brian MacFarlane, claims that Clancy started "thousands" of fights without ever winning one; while 1K is obviously an exaggeration, it shows that Clancy stood up for his teammates and never backed down.

- Awards. Clancy was a five-time Hart finalist, which is the best record among all players eligible for voting now. He earned a spot on four all-star teams... keep in mind that all-star teams were not created nine years into his career. Clancy had three seasons where he was nominated for the Hart, prior to when all-star teams were created (1927, 1929, 1930). Therefore I think it's reasonable to consider Clancy the equivalent of a seven-time all-star.

- Playoff performance. King Clancy was a top-pairing defenseman on three Stanley Cup winning teams. He wasn't just in the right place at the right time-- he was a key reason that the Toronto franchise became a winner in the 1930s. When Clancy was traded to the Leafs in 1931, Toronto had missed the playoffs two of the past three years. After his arrival, they made it to the Cup final in two of the next three years, winning the Stanley Cup once.

I'm unsure of where I'll rank Clancy. He may be the best defenseman this round, but I think a reasonable case can be made for Pilote and Seibert as well.

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