Flash Hollett, who died at 88 on a Tuesday of today’s date in 1999, was a son of North Sydney, Nova Scotia, and a star on defence for the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings in the 1930s and ’40s. That’s him here in 1937, on the far left, helmet in hand, along with fellow Boston defenders Sylvio Mantha, Eddie Shore (who was out with a cracked vertebra), Al Shields, and Jack Portland.

Hollett was the first full-time NHL blueliner to score 20 goals in a season, which he did for the Red Wings in 1944-45, when he put a puck past Toronto goaltender Frank McCool to secure a 4-3 Wings victory over the home team at Maple Leaf Gardens on March 17, 1945.

It took 24 years for another defenceman to break that record, Bobby Orr by name: he scored 21 in 1968-69. Paul Coffey holds the record for d-men nowadays with the 48 goals he scored for Edmonton in 1985-86, with Orr’s 46 from 1974-75 next best. If you run a finger farther down the NHL’s list for this category you’ll find Hollett lodged in 120th, between Baldy Northcott (who’s credited with 20 goals for the 1933-34 Montreal Maroons) and Zach Werenski (20 for the 2019-20 Columbus Blue Jackets). I’d submit that Northcott’s season should be withdrawn. He did play some defence during his career, it’s true, but in ’33-34 he scored his 20 goals playing predominantly as a left winger on a line with Hooley Smith and Jimmy Ward.


(Image: Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection)