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08-28-2013, 01:32 PM
Big Phil
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Originally Posted by BadgerBruce View Post
Gadsby is also on my list (along with Harry Howell on the blueline) and Roger Crozier in goal. I can add nothing of substance to Killion's post about Crozier, so I will speak to Gadsby's candidacy.

When the Red Wings acquired the 34 year old in 1961, Eddie Shore reportedly said "he will play 3-5 more years. He is virtually indestructible."

Statistics alone do not do the man justice, but here are some to consider. Indeed, as Shore predicted, he lasted 5 more full NHL seasons, and retired as a second-team allstar selection, one of just three players to last 20 years in the league (along with Clapper and Howe), the first (along with Howe) to play 1000 career games, and the all-time leader for games played, points, assists and penalty minutes for a defenseman. He was the first NHL defenseman to record 500 career points and his single-season record for assists by a defenseman stood until Bobby Orr hit his stride in 69-70.

But more than this, Gadsby was highly respected by his peers as an on-ice warrior and a leader, and a level-headed, calm man off the ice. He played for some truly dreadful Hawks teams (out of the playoffs for 9 of Gadsby's 10 seasons with the club), but after joining the NYR recorded 10 playoff points in 16 games over 3 appearances -- stellar numbers for a 1950s d-man.

Gadsby's only legitimate Stanley Cup opportunities were with the Wings in the early/mid 1960s, and in his final game he got to see teammate Roger Crozier (the goaltender on my list) earn the Conn Smythe in a losing cause.

Two decades of NHL play at a consistently high level. Arguably the finest career for any defenseman at the point of his retirement. No cups. The man is on my list.
The only thing, is that the OP said "Best playoff player to never win the Cup". Unfortunately Gadsby didn't play a lot in the postseason so its hard to rate him here. Reminds me of Andy Bathgate, his longtime teammate. No doubt these two men are HHOFers but neither has a terribly great playoff portfolio. So if we are just going to isolate that then I think we can do better than Gadsby who had a run of bad luck with the teams he played for.

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