Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Al Rollins
Before he'd caught even a sniff of the NHL, Al Rollins had already backstopped his way through minor leagues across North America. He'd seen action in New York, Seattle, Vancouver, Edmonton, Kansas City, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh.

Leafs' boss Conn Smythe acquired the rights to Rollins in 1949. On the surface, the acquisition was publicized as an effort to put some heat on Leaf goalie Turk Broda whose play, it was suggested, was suffering as a result of excess weight. Smythe figured that with Rollins looking over his shoulder, Broda would be sure to trim down.

But the deeper issue behind Rollins' arrival in Toronto was that the team had lost their chain of backup goaltenders. Baz Bastein lost and eye while Howie Harvey, Doug Harvey's brother, was forced to retire because of an allergic reaction to his equipment. As a result, Rollins was the only viable goal-crease insurance the Leafs had left.

For the first year, he simply practiced and traveled with the team while reviewing all aspects of goals scored with coach Hap Day. Then, during the following season, Turk Broda stepped back to allow Rollins to become number-one in net. The timing was right. The Leafs' defensive corps became rock solid, clearing the way for Rollins to win the Vezina Trophy for the fewest goals allowed. In the Cup finals that year, defenseman Bill Barilko scored his famous championship marker against the Canadiens as Rollins happily watched from the other end of the ice.

After one additional season in Toronto, Rollins was traded with a package of players to the Chicago Blackhawks for goaltender Harry Lumley in 1952. In the Windy City, Rollins found the club's affairs to be disorganized. He noted that in one game, he faced more breakaways than he'd seen during all three of his years in Toronto. But his heroic efforts to prop up the sagging Hawks didn't go unnoticed. He earned second spot behind Gordie Howe for the Hart Trophy as the league's MVP in 1953. Then, the next year, he took the Hart for himself.

By 1957, Rollins was no longer seeing eye-to-eye with Hawks GM Tommy Ivan. As such, he was dispatched to the Calgary Stampeders of the WHL. And except for a brief appearance with the Rangers in 1959, his NHL career was over. He finally hung up his pads after one season with the Portland Buckeroos in 1962.

Since leaving the ice, Rollins coached the University of Calgary hockey team as well as clubs in Spokane, Salt Lake City, Houston, Tulsa and Phoenix. As a coach, he enjoyed a good measure of success, including an Allan Cup victory with Spokane in 1970.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP W L T SO Avg GP W L T SO Avg
1942-43 Moose Jaw Canucks S-SJHL 15 6 7 2 0 3.40 2 0 2 0 0 3.50
1943-44 New York Rovers EAHL 22 0 5.58
1944-45 Seattle Stars PCHL 27 20 5 1 1 2.87 6 4 2 0 3.67
1944-45 New Westminster Cubs PCJHL 16 11 5 0 2 2.06 4 2 2 0 0 4.56
1945-46 Seattle Ironmen PCHL 55 27 28 0 2 3.60 3 1 2 0 0 4.05
1946-47 Vancouver Canucks PCHL 54 27 26 1 0 4.59 4 1 3 0 0 4.25
1947-48 Edmonton Flyers WCSHL 45 24 19 2 1 3.69 10 7 2 1 0 3.20
1947-48 Edmonton Flyers Al-Cup 14 12 2 0 4 1.93
1948-49 Kansas City Pla-Mors USHL 60 29 21 10 1 3.16 2 0 2 0 0 3.00
1949-50 Cleveland Barons AHL 6 4 0 2 0 2.83
1949-50 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 2 1 1 0 1 2.40
1949-50 Pittsburgh Hornets AHL 20 9 7 4 3 2.15
1950-51 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 40 27 5 8 5 1.77 4 3 1 0 1.71
1951-52 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 70 29 24 16 5 2.22 2 0 2 0 3.00
1952-53 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 70 27 28 15 6 2.50 7 3 4 0 2.54
1953-54 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 66 12 47 7 5 3.23
1954-55 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 44 9 27 8 0 3.41
1955-56 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 58 17 30 11 3 2.95
1955-56 Buffalo Bisons AHL 6 2 3 1 1 4.17
1956-57 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 70 16 39 15 3 3.20
1957-58 Calgary Stampeders WHL 68 30 33 5 3 3.14 14 6 8 0 0 3.20
1958-59 Winnipeg Warriors WHL 31 17 14 0 3 3.19 7 3 4 0 0 3.14
1959-60 Winnipeg Warriors WHL 55 22 31 2 2 3.51
1959-60 New York Rangers NHL 10 3 4 3 0 3.10
1960-61
1961-62 Portland Buckaroos WHL 8 5 3 0 1 2.25 7 3 4 0 0 2.49
1962-63 Drumheller Miners ASHL
1963-64 Drumheller Miners ASHL
1964-65 Drumheller Miners ASHL
1965-66 Drumheller Miners ASHL 2 2 0 0 0 1.50
1965-66 Drumheller Rockets Al-Cup 15 12 3 0 3 2.11
1968-69 Spokane Jets WIHL 1 1 0 0 0 4.00
NHL Totals 430 141 205 83 28 2.78 13 6 7 0 2.38


Vezina Trophy (1951)
Hart Trophy (1954) Played in NHL All-Star Game (1954)
Traded to Cleveland (AHL) by Chicago (Kansas City-USHL) for Doug Baldwin and Ralph Wycherley, September 13, 1949. Traded to Toronto by Cleveland (AHL) for Bobby Dawes, $40,000 and future considerations (Phil Samis, Eric Pogue and the rights to Bob Shropshire), April 6, 1950), November 29, 1949. Traded to Chicago by Toronto with Gus Mortson, Cal Gardner and Ray Hannigan for Harry Lumley, September 11, 1952. Loaned to NY Rangers by Chicago (Winnipeg-WHL) for the loan of Ray Mikulan, future considerations and cash, February 20, 1960.
Regular season totals for Drumheller (ASHL) during 1965-66 deason unavailable.