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04-20-2011, 06:21 PM
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"The perfect successor to Ching Johnson"

On the ice, Pratt's style was boisterous and rough. The fans loved him and he was the perfect successor to the Rangers' first great defenseman, Ching Johnson, whose style was the same as Pratt's and who left the Rangers prior to the 1936-37 season.

Pratt's defensive partner was Ott Heller, while Muzz Patrick played with team captain, Art Coulter. The foursome is probably the best quartet of Rangers defensemen ever. Pratt was also an offensive force, posting 28 points in 1941-42 as the Rangers won their last regular season championship, the club's last hurrah, really, before World War II broke up that formidable group of All-Stars.
The article goes on to talk about Pratt's trade to Toronto and describe the Pratt we are familiar with who led defensemen in scoring while winning the Hart trophy, and then scoring the Cup winning goal the following season in Toronto.

But his style as a Ranger was something of a mystery before. The comparison to Ching Johnson stylistically is quite believable when combined with the contemporary articles I found describing Pratt's rough style.

Pratt appears to have played more offensively than Johnson (as evidenced by his point totals) and obviously wasn't as "tough to get around" (as shown by his relative lack of All Star consideration as a Ranger). But his "boisterous and rough" style in his own zone is quite reminiscent of Ching.

So Pratt could be considered "a more offensive minded but not as good overall version of Ching Johnson." Or, as I prefer, "a lesser version of Rob Blake."

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