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NYR Top 10 Centers of All-Time (Preliminary Top 20 List Due!)

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04-09-2013, 11:23 PM
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Another potentially useful resource:http://hsp.flyershistory.com/

They have pretty much every box score (regular season & playoffs) dating back to the 1910s.

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04-09-2013, 11:34 PM
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Apparently there were two Ab DeMarco's who played for the Rangers (although one of them was a defenseman).

That's who I'm up to in my little spreadsheet so far, by the way. Neil Colville looks like he should be up there.

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04-09-2013, 11:53 PM
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Yeah, Albert "Ab" DeMarco Sr. was a center for the Rangers. His son Ab Jr. was a defenseman for the Penguins.

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04-10-2013, 12:02 AM
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Sport Magazine (October 1973) article on Walter Tkaczuk. Great insight about his skills, style, and impact on the Rangers. Hat tip to Mike Farkas.


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04-10-2013, 12:21 AM
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Sport magazine (January 1954) "The Rangers' Mr. Bones" by Arch Murray. Article and insight on Don "Bones" Raleigh. Hat tip to Mike Farkas, who does a fantastic job of scanning these old magazine articles and making them available to us.



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04-10-2013, 01:00 AM
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First Last Years GP G A PTS PPG Playoffs GP PO/PTS PO/PPG Notes
Artem Anisimov 4 244 46 62 108 0.443 26 11 0.423
Blair Betts 4 304 25 15 40 0.132 28 2 0.071
Brian Boyle 4 270 38 34 72 0.267 22 6 0.273
Frank Boucher 13 533 152 261 413 0.775 54 36 0.667 "HHOF; 7X Lady Byng; 3X 1AST; 1X 2AST; 2X SC; 3X Assists Leader; 8X T10 Points; 2X T10 Goals"
Dave Creighton 3 210 55 87 142 0.676 16 10 0.625 "All Star; 1X T10 Assists
Neil Colville 12 464 99 166 265 0.571 46 26 0.565 "HHOF; All Star; 3X 2AST; 1X SC; 3X T10 Goals; 2X T10 Assists; 4X T10 Points"
Ab DeMarco 4 180 67 86 153 0.85 0 0 ~ "2X T10 Goals; 2X T10 Assists; 2X 10 Points"
Chris Drury 4 264 62 89 151 0.572 21 8 0.381
Brandon Dubinsky 6 393 81 132 213 0.542 31 17 0.548
Ron Duguay 8 499 164 176 340 0.681 69 47 0.681 "All Star"
Phil Esposito 6 422 184 220 404 0.957 30 27 0.9 "HHOF; 3X All Star; 1X T10 Goals"
Wayne Gretzky 3 234 57 192 249 1.064 15 20 1.333 "HHOF; 3X All Star; 1X Lady Byng; 2X 2AST; 2X 1st in Assists; 3X T10 Assists; 2X T10 Points"
Phil Goyette 7 397 98 231 329 0.829 26 6 0.231 "1X T10 Goals; 4X T10 Assists; 2X T10 Points"
Camille Henry 12 637 256 222 478 0.75 22 10 0.455 "3X All Star; Calder; 1X Lady Byng; 1X 2AST; 6X T10 Goals"
Earl Ingarfield 9 527 122 142 264 0.501 10 6 0.6 "1X T10 Goals"
Kelly Kisio 5 336 110 195 305 0.908 18 11 0.611
Edgar Laprade 10 500 108 172 280 0.56 18 13 0.722 "HHOF; 4X All Star; Calder; 1X Lady Byng; 1X T10 Assists"
Mark Messier 10 698 250 441 691 0.99 70 80 1.143 "HHOF; 5X All Star; 1X SC; 1X Hart; 1X Lindsay; 1X 1AST; 1X T10 Goals; 2X T10 Assists; 2X T10 Points"
Petr Nedved 6 413 135 185 320 0.775 10 5 0.5
Sergei Nemchinov 6 418 105 120 225 0.538 42 22 0.524 "1X SC"
Ulf Nilsson 4 170 57 112 169 0.994 25 22 0.88
Buddy O'Connor 4 238 62 102 164 0.689 18 11 0.611 "HHOF; All Star; 1X Hart; 1X Lady Byng; 1X 2AST; 1X T10 Goals; 2X T10 Assists; 1X T10 Points"
Mark Pavelich 5 341 133 185 318 0.933 23 24 1.043
Larry Popein 7 402 75 127 202 0.502 16 5 0.313
Don Raleigh 10 535 101 219 320 0.598 18 11 0.611 "2X All Star; 1X T10 Assists; 1X T10 Points"
Jean Ratelle 16 862 336 481 817 0.948 65 42 0.646 "HHOF; 4X All Star; 1X 2AST; 1X Bill Masterton; 2X Lady Byng; 1X Lindsay; 3X T10 Goals; 4X T10 Assists; 6X T10 Points"
Mike Rogers 5 316 117 191 308 0.975 14 11 0.786
Paul Ronty 4 260 45 113 158 0.608 0 0 ~ "2X All Star; 2X T10 Assists; 2X T10 Points"
Pete Stemkowski 7 496 113 204 317 0.639 55 36 0.655
Clint Smith 7 281 80 115 195 0.694 29 9 0.31 "HHOF; 1X Lady Byng; 1X SC; 1X T10 Goals; 1X T10 Assists; 2X T10 Points"
Red Sullivan 5 322 59 150 209 0.649 6 3 0.5 "3X All Star; 2X T10 Assists; 1X T10 Points"
Walt Tkaczuk 14 945 227 451 678 0.717 93 51 0.548 "All Star; 1X T10 Assists; 1X T10 Points"
Darren Turcotte 6 325 122 133 255 0.785 25 14 0.56 "All Star"
Phil Watson 12 546 127 233 360 0.659 65 27 0.415 "1X SC; 1X 2AST; 1X First in Assists; 5X T10 Assists; 2X T10 Points"

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04-10-2013, 01:38 AM
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Looking though the list of eligible players, their stats, and their accolades, I sorted them into a few categories. There's a few things that stand out to me/that I'm wondering about. Edgar Laprade played his whole career here; Clint Smith played 7 of 11 years in NY. Neither seem like standout players; both were inducted into the HHOF in the early 90s. I'm going to be interested in seeing how players like Walt Tkaczuk stand up against players like Gretzky. I'm also going to be really interested in Gretzky vs. Buddy O'Connor, and where Esposito gets put.

Definitely Top 10
Jean Ratelle
Mark Messier
Neil Colville
Frank Boucher

Why are they HHOFers?
Edgar Laprade
Clint Smith

Long tenure with Rangers, All Star calibre
Walt Tkaczuk
Camille Henry
Phil Watson
Don Raleigh
Earl Ingarfield

Shorter tenure with Rangers, All Star
Phil Esposito
Ron Duguay
Darren Turcotte
Red Sullivan
Phil Goyette

Even shorter tenure with Rangers, explosive
Buddy O'Connor
Wayne Gretzky
Ulf Nilsson

Even shorter tenure with Rangers, All Star
Dave Creighton
Ab DeMarco
Paul Ronty
Kelly Kisio
Mark Pavelich

Shouldn't be top 10

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04-10-2013, 02:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Greg02 View Post
Why are they HHOFers?
Edgar Laprade
Clint Smith
There were less teams, and thus less players to compete with to get into the HHOF. There were less games. Careers were shorter. And overall, point production by an individual (outside of the truly amazing players) was generally lower. But all of that said, compare them to other players in their time period, and this will make more sense.

Clint Smith had the second most total points of any Center in the years that he played and was a part of a Stanley Cup winning Rangers team. Of those centers who played during his time period but had less total points, eight of them had higher PPGs. All of those 8 except for 1 is in the HHOF.

Edgar Laprade is a little tougher nut to crack when you compare him to his contemporaries... He had the 9th most total points of any Center in the years that he played. There are three centers ahead of him in points AND PPG who did not make the HHOF. An argument could be made that he led a Rangers team to the finals (they lost), and did very well in the playoffs (he was 3rd on the team in playoff points) -- whereas the players ahead of him in points and ppg weren't big contributors to SC finals contenders. That could help explain why he got into the HHOF over a guy like Paul Ronty (eligible on our list), who had more points and a higher ppg playing for the Rangers during the same time period, but never was on a team that made it to the finals. But it wouldn't explain why a guy on the same finals team as Laprade, Don Raleigh (also eligible on our list), who also had a higher career point total, ppg, and scored more in that year's playoffs didn't make the HHOF.

On second look, it seems like there was a pretty heavy emphasis on playoff/SC performance when considering HHOF'ers from that time period (not necessarily unlike today). One of the guys in front of Laprade in points and ppg, Cal Gardner, who didn't make it into the HHOF was on two SC winners, but performed pretty poorly in the playoffs. All HHOF centers that I've seen with my searches in this time period were on SC winning teams and performed very well in the playoffs. The guys who weren't on SC winning teams or didn't perform well in the playoffs, but put up similar regular season numbers to these guys didn't get into the HHOF.

HHOF has also always valued hardware and records. Laprade won the calder, lady byng. Clint Smith won the byng twice, and set multiple records at the time he played (4 goals in a period, most assists in a season, and played on a line that recorded the most points in a season).

EDIT: They were both also selected as a part of the "Veterans" category - which explains why they were inducted so late.


"In 1988, the Hockey Hall of Fame added a 'veteran player category' in order to provide a vehicle for players "who may have been overlooked and whose chances for election would be limited when placed on the same ballot with contemporary players." Eleven players were inducted into the Veterans' category, which was eliminated by the HHOF Board of Directors in 2000. Those inductees are now considered to be in the player category."

Laprade's HHOF link: http://www.hhof.com/htmlSpotlight/sp...ep199302.shtml

Smith's HHOF link: http://www.legendsofhockey.net/Legen...page=bio&list=

Last edited by Richter Scale: 04-10-2013 at 02:45 AM.
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04-10-2013, 02:48 AM
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Yeah, Clint Smith makes more sense than Edgar Laprade. But they were inducted in 1991 and 1993 respectively... that's a long time after they finished playing.

EDIT: http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh....php?t=1124597

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04-10-2013, 07:24 AM
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A measure of intangibles more than anything else, but among our eligibles these are the guys who wore the C for the Rangers. Number of years doing so in parenthesis.

Chris Drury (3)
Messier (10)
Kisio (4)
Tkaczuk (1) - Shared with Beck
Esposito (3) - 1 shared with Park
Henry (1)
Colville (3)

Per: http://www.eliteprospects.com/team_c...ry.php?team=68

Also, I keep seeing Camille Henry listed as a LW. Everywhere except Hockey Reference. Can someone confirm if he played a majority of his Rangers career at LW or Center?

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04-10-2013, 07:50 AM
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Bringing over pnep's list of Rangers ranked by HHOF Monitor Points. Table is sortable by position.

Originally Posted by pnep View Post
#PlayerPOSHHOF Monitor PTS (NYR only)
1Bill Cook RW2141.50
2Frank "Raffles" Boucher C2117.50
3Andy "Handy Andy" Bathgate RW1392.50
4Brian "Leetchie" Leetch D1297.05
5Ed "Fast Eddie" Giacomin G1295.50
6Bryan Sr. "Hex" Hextall RW1170.50
7Douglas "Brad" Park D1101.45
8Mark "Mess" Messier C1021.00
9Dave "Davey" Kerr G927.00
10Ching "The Holding Corporation" Johnson D887.95
11Rod "Mr. Broadway" Gilbert RW872.50
12Bill "Gads" Gadsby D855.05
13Ceece "Two Gun" Dillon RW839.00
14Lynn Patrick LW816.00
15Frederick "Bun" Cook LW762.50
16Chuck "Bonnie Prince Charlie" Rayner G736.00
17Jean "Ratty" Ratelle C696.50
18Neil Colville C660.60
19Harry "Harry The Horse" Howell D626.75
20Jaromir "Jags" Jagr RW615.50
21Camille "The Eel" Henry C600.00
22Erhardt "Ott" Heller D576.20
23Phil Watson C571.00
24Herbert "Buddy" O'Connor C561.50
25Vic Hadfield LW547.00
26Art Coulter D465.70
27Murray "Mudhooks" Murdoch C458.00
28Steve "Sarge" Vickers LW448.50
29Walt Tkaczuk C440.45
30Adam "Gravy" Graves LW423.00
31Doug "Dallying Doug" Harvey D384.40
32Mike "Iron Mike" Richter G384.00
33Butch "The Oil Man Of Owen Sound" Keeling LW381.00
33John "Beezer" Vanbiesbrouck G381.00
35Alex "Shab" Shibicky LW380.50
36Edgar "Beaver" Laprade C379.50
37Andy "Spuds" Hebenton RW374.00
38Wayne "The Great One" Gretzky C370.00
39Ron "Honker" Greschner D368.50
40Dean "The Dynamo" Prentice LW347.50
41Bob "Stretch" Nevin RW342.50
42Clint "Snuffy" Smith C322.50
43Jim "The Chief" Neilson D300.50
44Phil "Espo" Esposito C297.50
45Don "Bones" Raleigh C296.50
46Don "Big Frame" Maloney LW291.50
47Alexei "AK-27" Kovalev RW290.50
48Earl "SI" Seibert D290.25
49Gilles "Smiley" Villemure G288.00
49Lorne "Gump" Worsley G288.00
51Tony "The Bulldog" Leswick LW265.50
52Bill "Billy The Kid" Fairbairn RW262.50
53Mathew "Mac" Colville RW259.50
54Phil "The Professor" Goyette C251.50
55Babe "The Honest Brakeman" Pratt D250.75
56Dave Maloney D242.60
57Anders "The Swedish Express" Hedberg RW238.50
58Rod "Sod" Seiling D233.35
59John "The Port Perry Woodpecker" Roach G230.00
60Barry "Bubba" Beck D225.05
61Ron "Doogs" Duguay C216.50
62James "Jeep" Patrick D215.45
63Pete "Polish Prince" Stemkowski C214.00
64Petr "Neddie" Nedved C212.00
64Red "Sully" Sullivan C212.00
66Jeff Beukeboom D211.40
67Don Marshall LW203.00
68Grant "Knobby" Warwick RW200.00
69Paul Thompson LW197.50
70Carol "Vad" Vadnais D195.85
71Kelvin "Kelly" KisioC192.00
72Mike "Garts" Gartner RW186.00
73Allan "Snowshoes" Stanley D184.65
74Tomas "Tommie Gun" Sandstrom RW184.00
75Danny "Dashin' Danny" Lewicki LW183.00
76Sergei "Chimo" Nemchinov C178.50
77Leo Bourgeault D171.75
78Wally "Hergy" Hergesheimer RW167.00
79Earl Ingarfield C162.00
80Don "Murder" Murdoch RW161.00
81Lorne "Chabotsky" Chabot G160.00
82Dave Balon LW159.00
83Pat "Hitch" Hickey LW156.50
83Nick "Tricky Nick" Mickoski LW156.50
85James "Kilby" Macdonald LW154.00
86Ted "The Babyfaced Assassin" Irvine LW153.00
87Art Somers C152.00
88John "J.D." Davidson G151.50
89Andy "The Glasgow Gobbler" Aitkenhead G150.00
90Pentti "Penny" Lund RW149.50
91Dutch "Wib" Hiller LW149.00
92Alexander "Pottsy" Karpovtsev D147.50
93Clarence "Taffy" Abel D146.25
94Mark "Mark The Shark" Pavelich C146.00
95Arnie "Brownie" Brown D145.60
96Eddie "Popsie" Johnstone RW143.00
96Alf "The Embalmer" Pike C143.00
98Tom "Cowboy" Laidlaw D142.70
99Murray "Muzz" Patrick D139.20
100Doug Brennan D138.80
The HHOF Monitor Score (for forwards) works like this:

Adjusted PTS/2 + PO PTS +
Top 10 in Goals after Season - 5 pts +
# 1 in Goals after Season - 75 pts +
# 2 in Goals after Season - 50 pts +
Top in 10 Assists after Season - 5 pts +
# 1 in Assists after Season - 75 pts +
# 2 in Assists after Season - 50 pts +
Top 10 in PTS after Season - 5 pts +
# 1 in PTS after Season - 75 pts +
# 2 in PTS after Season - 50 pts +
# 1 in "+/-" after Season - 35 pts +
# 2 in "+/-" after Season - 25 pts +
Cup - 50 pts +
Final - 25 pts +
All Star Game - 20 pts +
HART - 150 pts +
HART Runner Up - 100 pts +
BYNG - 75 pts +
BYNG Runner Up - 50 pts +
1 ALL STAR TEAM - 75 pts +
2 ALL STAR TEAM - 50 pts +
CALDER - 35 pts +
CALDER Runner Up - 20 pts +
SELKE - 30 pts +
SELKE Runner Up - 20 pts +
CONN SMYTHE - 150 pts +

In case you're wondering how adjusted points is calculated, here is the write-up:

And if you're wondering how "accurate" the HHOF Monitor Points formula is, this would be the top 10 forwards of all-time if you applied the formula to all NHL player careers:

1. Wayne Gretzky 8827.02
2. Gordie Howe 6171.61
3. Mario Lemieux 4586.35
4. Jean Beliveau 4253.44
5. Phil Esposito 4096.48
6. Maurice Richard 3829.98
7. Bobby Hull 3671.88
8. Stan Mikita 3583.61
9. Jaromir Jagr 3237.64
10. Guy Lafleur 3060.04

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04-10-2013, 08:40 AM
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Walter Tkaczuk

Some excerpts from the article I posted above:

The numbers won't tell you very much: He was the Rangers' leading scorer in the 1969-70 and 1970-71 seasons, their leading scorer in last spring's Cup play with seven goals and nine points and a member of the most effective penalty-killing team in the NHL last season.

Those numbers don't add up to $150,000, but when you close the record books and look at the ice, you find the real explanation for the worth of Walter Tkaczuk. Watch him knock down the strongest man in the league with his shoulder to set up a goal. Watch Tkaczuk and tammate Bill Fairbairn stifle a power play, sliding the puck back and forth, eluding wingers in a Canadian version of keepaway. Watch Tkaczuk, a center, dive into the corners to pull the puck away from a defender, flinging it to the point or the slot to set up a goal. Watch this 25-year-old steady his team and deflate his rivals, and you realize you'r watching a spectacularly unspectacular hockey player.
Originally Posted by Boston Bruin Derek Sanderson
I would pick him as one of the premier centers in the league, the best hockey player the Rangers have without a doubt. If I was to pick a player to be injuried, it'd be him. He's probably one of the strongest skaters int he business; he's very good with the puck, a good shot, a tremendous forechecker. He's got all the tools, all the moves.

First of all, you're never gonna scare him. Second of all, you're never going to knock him down. So whats the sense hitting him? He hits morepeople when they're trying to him him than when he starts it himself. Walter waits for you to take a run at him, then he starts up quickly and hits first.
Originally Posted by Linemate Steve Vickers
He's a great player. And like Esposito, his secret is his mobility. I tell you, there's no way I'd have gotten 30 goals without him."
Originally Posted by Brad Park
He's so strong on his skates, you can't run a player like Tkaczuk out. He just bowls over you, boom! I played against him in juniors and he bowled me over a few times. I'd rather be playing with him.
Originally Posted by Boston Bruin Doug Roberts
He's an exceptionally strong individual. He's solid on his feet; you just can't knock him off the puck.
On his penalty-killing prowess:

Whether inspiration or accident, the Tkaczuk-Fairbairn unit clicked. In 1971-72, they killed almost 85 percent of the opposition's power plays; last season they killed off 34 power plays in a row and finished the year by snuffing 28 consecutive power plays. These are not simply numbers; championships are won and lost on a team's ability to score when they're a man up and hold off their opponents when they're a man down. In the 1972 New York-Boston finals, the Bruins scored game-winning goals in three of their four victories on power plays. In the 1973 playoffs, Boston went 1-for-16 on power plays and New York wiped them out.

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04-10-2013, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Crease View Post
What can someone tell me about Buddy O'Connor. I swear before today I've never heard his name. He had that GREAT season in 1947/48. Him and Messier are the only two Centers to win the Hart Trophy as a Ranger.
From the Hockey Hall of Fame:

He broke in with the Canadiens alongside his long-time senior hockey line mates Pete Morin and Gerry Heffernan. The trio of O'Connor, Morin, and Heffernan were dubbed the "Razzle Dazzle Line" while with the Royals, but an injury to Morin near the end of the 1941-42 season ended their brief time together in the NHL. O'Connor continued as a solid contributor with the Canadiens and played with the Stanley Cup winners in 1943-44 and 1945-46 before being traded to the New York Rangers on August 19, 1947.

It remains unclear exactly why the Canadiens made the trade but one thing that cannot be said is that he was too old. In 1947-48, at age 31 and in his first season with the Blueshirts, O'Connor recorded career-high marks for goals, with 24, and points, with 60. He missed the league scoring title by only one point and was named NHL Second Team All-Star centre, behind former teammate Elmer Lach. O'Connor received his due, however, winning the Hart Trophy as league's most valuable player as well as the Lady Byng Trophy as most gentlemanly player. He was the first player to win both awards in the same season. In a fitting tribute to his great season he was named Canada's athlete of the year for 1948. He missed a significant part of the 1948-49 season due to injuries sustained in a car accident and saw his point production drop over the next three years before finishing his pro hockey career with a Second Team All-Star nod as a member of the American Hockey League's Cincinnati Mohawks in 1951-52.

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04-10-2013, 08:59 AM
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If you're a big "peak" guy when it comes to rankings, Buddy O'Connor is going to be high on your list. He came to the Rangers at 30 and had probably one of the best seasons of any Ranger ever. Outscored the likes of Ted Lindsay and Maurice Richard. Looked sharp the following season before suffering injuries in a car accident. Career was never same after that. It's going to be tough to place him.

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04-10-2013, 05:49 PM
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I happened to do profiles for both Edgar Laprade and Clint Smith for hfboard's All Time Draft in recent years: The ATD is this hockey history nerdiness taken to the max.

Here they are:

Edgar Laprade:

Laprade was voted co-MVP of the Rangers in 1949, which is something I guess. It seems like a big reason he got into the HHOF is for what he did outside the NHL when a lot of the best hockey players had to take time off for World War 2: If you're only considering careers as a Ranger, that's probably irrelevant. Laprade was a great defensive player and penalty killer though, and his offense wasn't THAT bad. I mean, maybe as a comparison, he's like Nemchinov, but much better in every way. Tough guy to rank though.

Here's Clint Smith:

His time as a Ranger should be pretty straightforward. He was traded to the Blackhawks between 1942-43 and 1943-44, and most of the best NHLers only missed 1943-44 and 1944-45 due to the war, so you don't really have to pay too much attention to that when ranking him as a Ranger only. And Smith doesn't appear to have brought anything more than his offensive stats. So basically, I think he can be pretty easily judged on his stats as a Ranger.

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04-10-2013, 05:57 PM
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We're really picking 2-10. #1 isn't even a discussion.

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04-10-2013, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by blue2noise View Post
We're really picking 2-10. #1 isn't even a discussion.
I bet you that there will be quite a bit of discussion for number 1- although I'm reasonably certain about my current choice, I can imagine a number of people thinking differently.

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04-10-2013, 06:39 PM
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Jean Ratelle and Messier were probably the best.

My dad's favorites were:

1. Camille Henry (did not know he played center)
2. Walt Tkaczuk.

My favorites were:
1. Ulfie
2. Pavolich
3. Espo
4. Larouche

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04-10-2013, 06:48 PM
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Any info on Pavelich and Rogers? Both have very similar stats playing at the same time. Did anyone on here see them live?

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04-10-2013, 06:54 PM
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Boucher, Ratelle and Messier all have cases for #1. Some stronger than others. Walt T rounds out my top 4 at the moment. I fully expect myself to change my mind over and over again as I learn more about some of our eligibles. Remember that Round 1 lists are not due for another 3 weeks or so so take your time and think about it. Im looking forward to hearing your arguments in Round 2.

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04-10-2013, 07:23 PM
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Neil Colville led the Rangers to a Stanley Cup in 1940. He was second on the team in points by a point during the regular season, and also led the Rangers in points in the postseason that year. He was not awarded the Retro Smythe (it went to Phil Watson) and it would be interesting to see the discussion that led to the decision (unfortunately it doesn't seem to be available). The tricky thing about ranking Colville is he left for two years to the war, and when he came back he switched to defense.

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04-11-2013, 07:37 AM
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Don "Bones" Raleigh

Excerpts from the article I posted above:

Last summer, the club was ripped apart. Bill Cook, the 1952-53 coach, was fired and Frank Boucher, a firmer coach who yielded the active reins to Lynn Patrick so that he might concentrate on his duties as general manager in 1948, has returned to the bench in this year of decision for the Rangers. The club had a new goalie in Johnny Bower, who won the job from Gump Worsley despite the latter was the rookie of the year in the NHL last year, a couple of new defensemen, a flock of new forwards and, in the early going, new incentive and drive. Yet, ironically, the man the Rangers were conting on the most to reestablish them as one of hockey's solid teams was an old hand who has been around the Garden, off and on, since he broke in as a raw kid of 17 in the season of 1943-44.

That, of course, would be James Donald (Bones) Raleigh, a lean and cadaverous-looking young man who is sometimes known around the NHL rinks as the "Loveable Screwball". To be sure, there is nothing screwy about him on the ice. Despite a few odd mannerisms such as his continual shifting and feinting even when there is nobody near him, Raleigh is a thoroughly sound center, one of the most brilliant puck-carriers and playmakers in the business, and a fine shot.
Originally Posted by Frank Boucher
What you like best about him, though, is that he is a tireless worker. He keeps going all the time. He never lets up, which is something youo can't say for a lot of the guys in this bruising business that requires such a constant perfection of physical condition. He has as much will to win as any player I've ever seen. Any coach would just sit back and relax if he had just a dozen Raleighs going for him.
Originally Posted by Frank Boucher
He's a ballet dancer on the ice with that weaving, rhythmic style. I just wish I had a lot more like him.
It is significant that he wears No. 7 on his Ranger jersey. Only two Rangers have won the numeral - Frank Boucher and Phil Watson. They were two of the greatest centers the league has had and they wore that number with distinction for 22 years between them - Boucher for 13 seasons and Watson for nine. When Watson quit at the end of the 1947-48 season to become a farm team manager for the Blue Shirts, both he and Boucher naturally wanted to make sure that a player of real stature wore it after them.

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04-11-2013, 09:04 AM
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Phil Watson, Clint Smith, and Neil Colville all broke into the league pretty much at the same time. Watson and Colville in 1935. Smith in 1936. I've put together tables to help compare their careers with the Rangers. Watson was loaned to Montreal for the 1943-44 season. He came back to the Rangers in 1945 for a few more seasons. Colville played center up until WWII. He and his brother Mac (also a Ranger), were stationed in Ottawa and played for the army's Ottawa Commandos team, winning the Allan Cup in 1942. He returned to the Rangers as a defenseman after the war. Smith played for the Rangers until 1943. He finished his career in Chicago. In the tables below, "Rank" is for team ranking, not league ranking.

1936-37 Regular Season

1936-37 Playoffs

1937-38 Regular Season

1937-38 Playoffs

1938-39 Regular Season

1938-39 Playoffs

1939-40 Regular Season

1939-40 Playoffs

1940-41 Regular Season

1940-41 Playoffs

1941-42 Regular Season

1941-42 Playoffs

1942-43 Regular Season

Watson appears to have peaked the highest of the three. The stats would suggest that Watson was more of a playmaker and set-up man and Colville was the better goal-scorer. What is worth noting is Smith's playoff troubles. Some have said it was the reason why he was deemed expendable and wasn't re-signed.

Last edited by Crease: 04-11-2013 at 09:25 AM.
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