Al Rollins – Goaltender (1949-1960)
Al Rollins played 9 NHL seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks and New York Rangers.
Rollins is one of only three eligible players in NHL history to win the Hart Memorial trophy and not be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. The other two are Tommy Anderson and Jose Theodore.
Along with his Hart trophy win in 1954, Al Rollins was also runner-up for the Hart trophy in 1953 and was eighth in Hart voting in 1961. He also won the Vezina trophy and was a Stanley Cup Champion with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1951.
There are a few things keeping Rollins out of the Hockey Hall of Fame. As I’ve mentioned before, the HHoF isn’t really inducting players from the Original six era or before, and the Hall is pretty stingy when it comes to inducting goalies.
During his playing days, he was regarded as one of the best players in the league despite playing for terrible Chicago Blackhawks teams that finished in last place four out of the five seasons that Rollins was with the team. Chicago also finished fourth out of six teams during Rollins’ first season with the club.
Though Rollins was praised and rewarded with a Hart trophy, Hart nomination, and All-Star Game appearance while on the losing Blackhawks teams, historians can’t seem to look passed those losing records and give Al Rollins the credit he deserves.
As I’ve said, every single eligible Art Ross trophy winner is in the Hall of Fame and every eligible Norris trophy winner except for Randy Carlyle is in the Hall of Fame. I’m my opinion, every Hart trophy winner should also be in the Hockey Hall of Fame and there should be a lot more Vezina trophy winners inducted too.
Though it seems unlikely, perhaps Al Rollins can beat the odds and one day land his rightful place in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Awards and Honours
Hart Trophy Winner 1954
Vezina Trophy Winner 1951
Hart Trophy Runner-Up 1953
Calder Trophy Runner-Up 1951
8th in Hart trophy voting 1951
Played in 1954 NHL All-Star Game
Stanley Cup Champion 1951
Career Statistical Achievements
99th Best NHL Career Goals Against Average (2.77)
Seasonal Statistic Achievements
NHL Goals Against Average Leader 1950-51 (1.77)
Top 5 in NHL Goals Against Average for four seasons
Top 5 in NHL Save Percentage for one season
All the players I’ve mentioned will have a tough time earning their spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame next year with many great newly eligible players like Roberto Luongo, Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Zetterberg and Rick Nash.
There are also other legendary stars that have been passed by over the years like Bernie Nicholls, Jeremy Roenick, Pierre Turgeon, Daniel Alfredsson, Theo Fleury, John LeClair, John Vanbiesbrouck, Rick Martin, Dave Taylor, Rod Brind’Amour and more.