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02-08-2014, 01:59 PM
  #101
TheDevilMadeMe
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Here's a slightly modified copy of what I posted about Duke Keats in the preliminary thread - I highly doubt he'll end up in my top 4 this round, but I do think he deserves to be in our top 60 somewhere:

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post

Western Canada Hockey League / Western Hockey League (1921-1926)
From 1922-1924 the WCHL, PCHA, and NHL all competed for the Stanley Cup, with the NHL winning all 3. After the PCHA folded, their best players and teams were absorbed by the WCHL. In 1925 and 1926, the NHL and WCHL (called WHL in 1926) played for the Stanley Cup. The WCHL won the Cup in 1925, the last time a non-NHL team won the Cup. After 1926, the WHL folded and their best players joined the NHL. In 1926-27, 3 of the top 4 NHL scorers, 6 of the top 10 scorers, and the top 4 in Hart voting had all spent the previous year in the WHL.
There are quite a few centers best known for playing in the PCHA or NHA who deserve consideration, but there is one guy best known for his play in the WCHL/WHL who deserves to be in our top 60, in my personal opinion.

That man is Duke Keats, known as the "Bad Man" of the Prairie leagues for his nastiness on the ice.


  • Keats was a WCHL/WHL All-Star every season from 1922-1926. (In 1926, it seems like he was probably the All-Star spare with Fredrickson getting the 1st Team C spot).
  • He was inducted into the HHOF in 1958, before several of his contemporaries who starred in the NHL (like Cy Denneny).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Patrick
Duke is the possessor of more hockey grey matter than any man who ever played the game. He is the most unselfish superstar in hockey. I have watched him innumerable times. In one game, I especially checked up on his play. He gave his wingmen thirty chances to score by perfectly placed passes. He's the brainiest pivot that ever pulled on a skate, because he can organize plays and make passes every time he starts
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Morning Leader, Jan 13, 1923
The Duke is an ideal type of athlete, of husky build, quick on his skates, and possessing a good abundance of grey matter. He has one fault and that is temperament
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Morning Leader, Feb. 23, 1923
Keats has earned his reputation as the best centre ice man in the four prairie league clubs. He also holds the doubtful honors as the league's bad man. In physique he is a small but thoroughly aggressive and has figured in many a wild fracas on the ice.
In addition to being a "bad man" and a solid backchecker (the newspaper that selected the WCHL All-Star teams picked Keats over Dick Irvin in 1923 because of his backchecking), Keats appears to have been a top 10 scorer in the world for a decade.

Quote:
Originally Posted by me from ATD2012
Keats' first professional season was 1915-16 at the age of 21.

1916 NHA
1. Didier Pitre 39
2. Joe Malone 35
3. Newsy Lalonde 34
4. Duke Keats 29
5. Cy Denneny 28
6. Gord Roberts 25
7. Frank Nighbor 24

1917 NHA
Keats was 5th in points per game, but only played 2/3 of the season before leaving for military service during World War 1. He finished 12th in scoring at the end of the year.

Keats was a top 5 scorer in the NHA in his first two seasons

Keats missed 1918 and 1919 (aged 23-24) to fight in World War I.

1920 Big 4
1. Duke Keats 32
2. Keats' RW 22
3. Keats' LW 18
4. Herb Gardiner 17
5. XXX 14

1921 Big 4
1. Duke Keats 29
2. Keats' LW 25
3. Keats' former RW 21
4. Harry Oliver 20
5. XXX 20

I think it's pretty clear the Big 4 was a fairly weak league, but Keats dominated it like you would expect

1922 WCHL
1. Duke Keats 56
2. George Hay (24 yo) 34
3. Joe Simpson (29 yo) 34
4. Keat's LW (different guy) 33
5. Keats' former RW 31
6. Dick Irvin (30 yo) 27
7. Keats' RW 21
7. XXX 21
No typo, Keats was really that far ahead of everyone. Not as good as the NHA or PCHA, but George Hay, Joe Simpson, and Dick Irvin were all in their prime.

1923 WCHL
1. Keat's RW 43 in 29 games (1.48 PPG)
2. Duke Keats 37 in 25 games (1.48 PPG)
3. George Hay (25 yo) 36 in 30 games (1.20 PPG)
4. Newsy Lalonde (35 yo) 35
5. Harry Oliver 32
6. Joe Simpson 29
7. Keats' LW 28
8. Bill Cook (28 yo) 25

1922-23 was Bill Cook's first professional season (at the age of 28).

1924 WCHL
1. Bill Cook 40
2. Harry Oliver 34
3. Duke Keats 31
3. George Hay 31
5. Keats' former RW 26
6. XXX 25
7. Bernie Morris (34 yo) 23

The PCHA folded after the season and its talent was absorbed into the WCHL. The 1925 and 1926 WCHL was probably stronger than the NHL at that point.

1925 WCHL
1. Mickey MacKay 33
1. Harry Oliver 33
3. Duke Keats (29 yo) 32
4. Bill Cook (29 yo) 32
5. Frank Fredrickson (29 yo) 30
6. Frank Boucher (24 yo) 28
7. Keats' LW 23
8. Joe Simpson 23
9. George Hay 22 (in 20 of 28 games)

1926 WHL
1. Bill Cook 44
2. Dick Irvin 36
3. Corb Denneny (32 yo) 34
4. Keats' RW 33
5. George Hay 31
6. Duke Keats 29
7. Harry Oliver 25
8. Frank Fredrickson 24
9. Frank Boucher 22
10. Keat's former RW 22

The WHL folded after the season. 1926-27 is the first year of the consolidated NHL

1927 Consolidated NHL
1. Bill Cook*-NYR 37
2. Dick Irvin*-CBH 36

3. Howie Morenz*-MTL 32
4. Frank Fredrickson*-TOT 31
5. Babe Dye*-CBH 30
6. Frank Boucher*-NYR 28
Ace Bailey*-TOR 28
8. Billy Burch*-NYA 27
9. Harry Oliver *-BOS 24
Duke Keats*-TOT 24


1928 Consolidated NHL
1. Howie Morenz*-MTL 51
2. Aurele Joliat*-MTL 39
3. Frank Boucher*-NYR 35
George Hay*-DTC 35

5. Nels Stewart*-MTM 34
6. Keats' former teammate 30
7. Bun Cook*-NYR 28

8. XXX 26
9. Frank Finnigan-OTS 25
10. Bill Cook*-NYR 24
Duke Keats*-TOT 24


Keats was 31 in 1925-26 and clearly on the downswing of his career as you can see from his decline the previous season in the WHL.

I bolded the top 10 NHL scorers in the first two seasons after consolidation who played with Keats in the WCHL/WHL. It is more than half of them.
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Full ATD-style profile with more quotes: http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh...&postcount=216


Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 02-08-2014 at 02:11 PM.
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