4. Bobby Clarke (1974-75)
Bobby Clarke of the Philadelphia Flyers was the heart and soul of the Broad Street Bullies back in the 1970’s. He had some excellent seasons and had them at the right time, as the Boston Bruins often had at least two players in the MVP conversation and they wound up splitting votes. Voters didn’t have that excuse in 1975.
On paper, he had one of his best seasons with 116 points (second-highest of his career), including 89 assists (tied for the most of his career). Clarke’s plus-minus rating was a comical +79 and somehow it didn’t even lead the NHL.
Who should have won: There were two better candidates in 1975. The first was the underrated goaltender Rogie Vachon of the Los Angeles Kings. He posted a .927% save percentage, which led the league. The Kings were quite mediocre that year, which is reflected in Vachon’s 27-14-13 record.
However, the 1975 Hart Trophy should have gone to Bobby Orr. He had more goals and points than Clarke, and tied him in assists as well. Plus, Orr was the only Bruin to finish in the top 10 of the MVP voting that year.
Why Clarke won: Two reasons. First, Hart Trophy voters have never been kind to goalies. Which is weird because goalies are the most valuable position in hockey. You’d think they’d get more credit. Secondly, maybe voters just got tired of voting for Bobby Orr, who won three Hart Trophies and eight Norris Trophies.