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12-07-2012, 07:08 PM
  #66
seventieslord
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Bert McCaffrey, D/RW




McCaffrey had a very long and very storied career. From 1916-1923, he was a Senior hockey star in Toronto, scoring 80 points in 61 games and 25 more in 23 playoff and Allan Cup games. He won two Allan Cups in 1922 and 1923, and then went to the Olympics with the Granites in 1924, of course winning gold, outscoring everyone in the tournament except Harry Watson, most notably Hooley Smith. He was a two-time 1st team all-star in the SOHA and once a 2nd team all-star defenseman, so he was even multi-positional in those days. Clearly during this time, based on comparables done in the past, McCaffrey was capable of being a very good NHL player.

He then joined the NHL in 1924 with the Leafs as a RW (at 31, already among the league's oldest players), and was actually the league's 19th-leading scorer and 13th in Hart voting. (not the greatest achievement, as this was a pre-merger league, but decently notable). In 1925, he was 13th. He switched to D after the merger and was a decent 11th and 13th in points by a blueliner. Normally I wouldn't say this was decent, but he had 53 and 65% of the leading d-man scorer those years. In 1930 and 1931, he won the Stanley Cup with the Habs. He played until the end of the 1931 season, at which point he was 37 and only Art Duncan was older - but Duncan played just two games.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Players: The Ultimate A-Z Guide Of Everyone Who Has Ever Played in the NHL
Even if McCaffrey had never played a single NHL game, his place in Canadian hockey history would be secure because of his amateur career.
Quote:
Originally Posted by loh.net
Winger/defenseman Bert "Mac" McCaffery played his seven NHL seasons during the 1920s and 1930s for the Toronto St. Pats, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Montreal Canadiens. Born in Chesley, Ontario, he entered the NHL in 1924-25 after four years with the Ontario Hockey Association's Toronto Granites. In his rookie campaign with the St. Pats he scored 9 goals and 7 assists. The next season was his best from an individual standpoint, 14 goals and 7 assists for 21 points in 36 games.

St. Pats management traded him to Pittsburgh during the early part of the 1927-28 season as part of a three-team deal that brought Ed Rodden to Toronto from Chicago, and sent Ty Arbour to the Windy City. McCaffery was traded again in 1929, this time to Montreal for Gord Fraser. After just over a year with the Canadiens, Mac went to the Providence Reds of the old Can-Am league, and then to the Philadelphia Arrows of the same league, where he rounded out his playing career in 1933.

Perhaps the greatest highlight of McCaffery's career came during his final year as an amateur with the OHA's Granites, when he competed in the 1924 Winter Olympic Games in Chamonix, France. In those days, Canada would send its top amateur club to wear the national colors, and with McCaffery at right wing, the Granites ? a team founded by ex-servicemen after World War I, were dominant, winning the Allan Cup in 1922 and 1923.

McCaffery, along with teammates Harry Watson on left wing and Hooley Smith at center, formed an effective scoring trio for coach Frank Rankin. The Granites opened the seven-game tournament with a 30-0 pasting of Czechoslovakia, followed by a 22-0 crushing of Sweden and a 33-0 drubbing of Switzerland. McCaffery hat-tricks in the first two games, then exploded for an incredible eight goals, including three in a row in the contest against Switzerland.

In the finals, Canada took on the United States on the outdoor ice of Chamonix for the gold medal. Watson, who had been hired by the Toronto Telegram to write a first-person, behind-the-scenes account of the team's trip to France, boasted that Canada would beat the Americans 10 or 12 to nothing ? a prediction that did not seem all that unlikely, considering some of the scores during qualifying. His forecast earned Watson a stick in the face from an unappreciative American during the early minutes of the game. But as things settled down, Canada took control and won the gold medal by a score of 6-1. McCaffery scored once in the final, and finished the tournament with 20 goals in 5 games, second to Watson's 36 (assists were not recorded).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Press, December 14, 1927
The hockey trade just completed where the Duquesne Gardens outfit obtained the services of Bert McCaffrey, of the Toronto Maple Leafs, is a good one, from a Pittsburgh standpoint. McCaffrey is rated as one of the best skaters in the NHL and appears to be just the kind of a man the locals need.
he's the only player in the draft (correct me if I'm wrong) who was legitimately good as a forward and a defenseman, making him not just a passable fill-in, but a great one:

As a forward:
- put up 94 points in 77 games in the OHA and earned two first team all-star spots (Harry Watson had 131 in 72)
- scored buckets of points at the 1924 olympics with his linemates Smith and Watson
- placed 19th and 13th in the NHL in points (percentage scores 38 & 58)
- was 13th in hart voting in 1926

As a defenseman:- was an OHA 2nd team all-star in 1921
- played 5 NHL seasons from age 33-37
- earned defense percentage scores of 65 and 53% in his best two seasons
- in the 1928 and 1930 seasons, he was traded to and from Pittsburgh. they had a record of 31-49-15 (.405) with him, and 2-31-4 (.108) before acquiring him and after losing him.
- contributed to 2 Montreal stanley cups (1930, 1931)
- was the oldest full time player in the NHL when he retired

the "going rate" for a good pre-expansion defenseman right now seems to be in the 8-year range for NHL careers. In McCaffrey's case, he lasted 7 in the NHL, all in his 30s, though not all as a defenseman. But five years before joining the NHL he was an all-star defenseman in the OHA so it's quite likely he was an NHL caliber player, whether at forward or defense, or both, for a period that dates back to before there was even an NHL.

interesting stat: in his first 6 NHL seasons (1925-1930), he missed just 4 games, and led the NHL in games throughout this time. This demonstrates durability, but more importantly, that even as he aged, he was a contributing player who wasn't being shuffled in and out of the lineup.

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