Buddy O'Connor

When Buddy O'Connor debuted with the Montreal Canadiens in the NHL 1941, he had a successful seven year career with the Montreal Royals of the Quebec Senior League behind him. He had racked up an impressive 210 points (78 goals and 132 assists) in 168 regular season games with the Royals and an even more impressive 98 points (42 goals and 56 assists) in only 71 playoff games.

Buddy was a soft-spoken Irishman who was one of the lightest players in NHL history, only weighing 142Ibs. He was a very skilled puck handler with great passing skills. He rarely picked up a penalty and only received 34 PIMs in 509 games.

Buddy was Canadiens property initially but was traded to the Montreal Maroons in 1936. The Maroons, badly in need of cash thanks to the relentless grip of the Great Depression, traded him back to the Canadiens in 1938.

With the Royals O'Conner centered childhood friend Pete Morin and Gerr Heffernan on the famous senior league line dubbed "The Razzle Dazzle Line" for their exciting player. The entire line was brought in to play with the Canadiens in 1941-42, as the regular roster was depleted with NHL players serving in World War II.

O'Connor was the one player on the Razzle Dazzle Line to star in the NHL. In that rookie season he scored 9 goals and 16 assists. He enjoyed a very fine career with Montreal and as a sophomore the fine playmaker managed to score 58 points, including 43 assists, in only 50 games which was good enough to make the top ten in league scoring.

He continued to play some very solid hockey with Montreal, including during the 1946 Stanley Cup championship, but was eventually sold to the NY Rangers on August 19, 1947 together with Frank Eddolls for Hal Laycoe, Joe Bell and George Robertson.

The trade to the Big Apple was great both to Buddy and his new team. In his first season with New York, 1947-48, Buddy scored a career high 60 points in 60 games and finished as the runner-up in league scoring, only one point behind his old teammate Elmer Lach. Even more impressive was the fact that Buddy won the Hart trophy as the league MVP as well as the Lady Byng trophy for the most gentlemanly play, the first player ever to do accomplish the unique double-double.

He never repeated his great first season with the Rangers but was an integral part of the Blue Shirts until 1951. Buddy finished his career by playing for the Cincinnati Mohawks in the AHL in 1951-52 where he was named to the 2nd All-Star team. He played one game for Cincinnati in 1952-53 before retiring. After his playing career was over he moved back to his hometown Montreal.

Buddy passed away in 1977, 61 years old. Eleven years later he was posthumously included in the Hockey Hall of Fame.


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