Conn Smythe sure had an eye for talent. Not only did he sign scoring dynamo Bill Cook to start off his Rangers, but also Lorne Chabot. Born in the first year of the new century, Chabot had a larger than average 6’1″ frame that helped him cover more of the net than many other goaltenders in his era. After spending many years in lower leagues, Smythe signed Chabot for the inaugural team of the New York Rangers in 1926. Chabot started off his NHL career at 26 years old with a bang. He had a 22-9-5 record with a sparkling 1.46 GAA and 10 shutouts as he beat out veteran Hal Winkler for the starting role.
The following season, Chabot had another strong season, this time with 11 shutouts. He helped lead the Rangers to their first ever Stanley Cup in the 1927-28 season. During the Finals, Chabot was injured at one point, requiring 45-year old coach Lester Patrick to replace him for the remainder of the game, since teams didn’t have backups at that time. Patrick held the fort and the Rangers were rejuvenated and went on to win it all.
Chabot was then traded to the Toronto prior to the 1928-29 season where his success would continue. Toronto wasn’t yet a strong team, but was building the tools to become one. Chabot had another 10-shutout season and played in all 44 games for the Leafs. When offense exploded in 1929-30, shutout totals plummeted, but Chabot still managed to get six, leading the NHL in that category. The Leafs really began to be a formidable force starting in the 1930-31 season. Chabot had a 21-8-8 record as the Leafs powerful “Kid Line” took over.
The 1931-32 season was the one that pulled everything together. Chabot’s solid play along with the dominance of the forwards and defenders of the Maple Leafs ensured not only a strong regular season, but a Stanley Cup victory to top it all off, the second of Chabot’s career. Chabot played all 48 games in what would be a relatively uneventful 1932-33 regular season, but the playoffs were another story. In the Stanley Cup semi-finals, Chabot won a 164 minute game after teammate Ken Doraty scored the game-winning goal in the sixth overtime period. The final score was 1-0 Maple Leafs and Chabot had the longest shutout in NHL history. The Leafs made the finals, but Chabot lost to former teammate Bill Cook and the Rangers.
Prior to the 1933-34 season, Chabot was traded to the Canadiens in exchange for George Hainsworth, making both tenders the first to play for both of the NHL’s oldest franchises. The Canadiens had a mediocre season, but Chabot, despite being now 33 years old, seemed to step up his game, finishing second in the NHL with eight shutouts. Chabot was then acquired by the Chicago Black Hawks for the 1934-35 season, who were coming of a Stanley Cup win in 1934. Chabot played all 48 games and surprised many with one of the strongest seasons of his career. Chabot’s eight shutouts were good to tie for second in the league and his 1.80 GAA led the NHL’s netminders. Chabot earned the spot on the First All-Star Team and won the Vezina trophy.
Chabot only played 16 games the following season for the Montreal Maroons and while the regular season had no significant moments, the playoffs held the moment that perhaps Chabot is known the best for. In the 1936 Playoffs, Chabot would somehow play in the only game in NHL history longer than the one he had played three years prior. Unfortunately for Chabot, he was on the losing end of this one, giving up the winning goal to Detroit’s Mud Bruneteau after a staggering 176 minutes of play despite the fact that the Maroons heavily out-shot the Red Wings.
Chabot played in six more games during the 1936-37 season before finally retiring at 36 years of age. Chabot retired at 4th all-time in wins with 201 and third all-time in shutouts with 71*. Chabot was also one of the most traveled players of his time, playing for six different teams during his 11-year career. To this day, Chabot still holds the distinction of participating in both the NHL’s longest and second longest games of all-time.
*Some sources say 72 shutouts, attributing an 11th one to him in his third season. Some even say 73, giving him 12 in that season.