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Claimed:Claimed:David Smalling - Hall of Fame Article


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LW - David Smalling
Birthplace: London, England
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 210 lbs
Jersey Number: 14
Drafted: S27 DAV (1/5)
Username: Knight
It is not every season that you get first-year players bursting into the VHL. Usually after being drafted, players spend one or two seasons in the minors developing their skill sets and prepping to take the monumental step towards the pros. However, if you are David Smalling, there is nothing getting in your way (literally). Smalling is arguably the best two-way forward of all-time. His physical play throughout his career and ability to make plays rivals that of VHL legends Scott Boulet and Matt Bailey. Smalling was always the focal point of his teams and it is these reasons that makes his entry into the VHL Hall of Fame a no-brainer. 
Career Awards:
Season 27 - Christian Stolzschweiger Trophy
Season 28 - Scott Boulet Trophy
Season 28 - Terence Fong Trophy (Davos)
Season 29 - Terence Fong Trophy (Davos)
Season 30  - Terence Fong Trophy (Davos)
Season 30 - Victory Cup (Davos)
Season 31  - Terence Fong Trophy (Davos)
Season 31 - Continental Cup (Davos)
Season 31 - Scott Boulet Trophy 
Season 31 - Grimm Jonsson Trophy
Season 32 - Scott Boulet Trophy
Season 33 - Scott Boulet Trophy
Season 34 - Scott Boulet Trophy
Season 27 Statistics:
Regular Season:
S27 (DAV) - 72GP / 37G / 48A / 85P / +1 / 154PIM / 423H / 330S / 3GWG

Smalling was one of 4 players drafted by Davos in the first round of the Season 27 Entry Draft. Davos had 6 of the first 12 picks in this particularly strong draft and meant to build a dynasty with this group of players at its core. Nothing was expected of Davos for a few seasons due to this but remarkably, Smalling set the tone for Davos and his career during his rookie campaign. He finished with 85 points and 423 hits in his rookie season, breaking the Hits in a Season record of Leeroy Jenkins. It is still to this day the second highest all-time number of hits. Davos' spirits were high, despite finishing last in the European Conference (although shockingly almost tripled the point total of the Toronto Legion) and Smalling's play earn him the prestigious Christian Stolzschweiger Trophy for top rookie. 


Season 28 Statistics:

Regular Season:
S28 (DAV) - 72GP / 39G / 42A / 83P / +65 / 117PIM / 299H / 320S / 8GWG
S28 (DAV) - 6GP / 2G / 2A / 4P / -1 / 6PIM / 33H / 16S / 0GWG

With the relative success of their first year, General Manager Tyler Barabash was already looking to make a move for a playoff run. He made a trade with rivals Riga to acquire forward Ansgar Snijider and picked up Kasey Braun from free agency  to solidify things up front. These players were the top two picks in the Season 25 entry draft and it was pretty clear to see that the team had their eyes set on an early cup run. Likely because of the deepening of the squad and less ice-time per game, Smalling's numbers suffered and he wasn't as productive as he had been in his rookie season. However, it is hard to call it a 'Sophomore Slump' when he still took home his first Scott Boulet Trophy for best two-way forward. He also finished with the second highest plus/minus rating on the team, behind Phil Rafter. Davos went from last to first in their conference, with a 40-point swing, finishing with 102 points. They stormed into the playoffs only to lose to New York in 6 games. Despite the series loss to a much stronger New York side the players all showed strong development in their play and heading into Season 29 it was going to be their first serious Continental Cup run.


Season 29 Statistics:

Regular Season:
S29 (DAV) - 72GP / 21G / 30A / 51P / +20 / 117PIM / 309H / 331S / 2GWG
S29 (DAV) - 13GP / 3G / 4A / 7P / -7 / 20PIM / 51H / 54S / 0GWG
Statistically, this was Smalling's least productive year. At first glance, the numbers do not impress. Those 51 points were the second worst from a forward and for a side that went 44-35-3, a +20 rating doesn't seem all that great. Davos cruised to another Terence Fong Trophy due to a young and re-building European Conference, but finished with one less point than the New York Americans, who didn't make the playoffs in the North American Conference. Given this, Davos were technically a mid-table team. So if we look a little closer at Smalling's numbers, he still had the highest plus/minus rating, tied with Phil Rafter, and finished in 3rd in the league for hits, eclipsing the 300 mark again. Overall not a disastrous campaign but it did seem to be lacklustre compared to his first two. Davos faced off against Seattle Bears, who had superstar goalie CAL G between the pipes. Seattle had given up the fewest goals in the league that season and Davos rallied hard to push it to a seven-game series, finishing them off with a 3-1 victory in Seattle. They faced the first-place Toronto Legion in the Final and all 6 games were decided by one goal, but unfortunately Toronto proved too strong and Davos suffered their first heartbreak in the Finals.


Season 30 Statistics:

Regular Season:
S30 (DAV) - 72GP / 33G / 37A / 70P / +50 / 136PIM / 277H / 295S / 7GWG
S30 (DAV) - 4GP / 2G / 2A / 4P / +2 / 4PIM / 14H / 18S / 0GWG

Davos made 2 trades to bring in Daniel Braxton, the veteran defenseman, and Emerson Byer , who was drafted in the same year as Smalling, from New York and picked up Aldo Scharps from Helsinki. They had almost tasted the Cup last year and the hunger grew with the addition of these players. Once against Davos walked away with the European Conference Championship but more impressively, also captured the Victory Cup for the first time in Smalling's career. For the third season, Smalling scored 30+ goals and brought his points total up to almost one per game. He also led his team in shooting percentage and hit 277 skaters. Despite the success in the regular season, in the playoffs, Davos would suffer a horrendous sweep at the hands of Calgary. They entered the off-season in shock.


Season 31 Statistics:

Regular Season:
S31 (DAV) - 72GP / 59G / 54A / 113P / +72 / 150PIM / 333H / 548S / 8GWG
S31 (DAV) - 13GP / 4G / 10A / 14P / +6 / 33PIM / 71H / 79S / 0GWG

To lessen the toll on the departure of Braxton, Davos picked up right-winger Gaz for some more offensive production. To say Davos came out flying would be an understatement.  With its core now entering their prime, Davos pulled out their best record with this group with 111 points. Smalling had his first +100 points season and smacked around 333 players and finished with the highest plus/minus rating once again. In order to ensure that they would not be embarrassed again in the playoffs, they made a huge deal with Seattle to bring in Felix Peters at the trade deadline.This was the first year of the expansion and so Davos received a by into the second round for finished atop the European Conference for the fourth straight year. When they finally met a solid Riga side, they did not disappoint, disposing of them in 6 games. Smalling averaged almost 6 hits per game in the series and they flew on to meet New York in the Finals. The series went to game 7 and entering the third period they were down 2-1 when Smalling scored and then assisted on the winning goal to earn his first ever Continental Cup. He also won his second Scott Boulet Trophy and for his incredible leadership, the Grimm Jonsson Trophy.


Season 32 Statistics:

Regular Season:
S32 (DAV) - 72GP / 64G / 68A / 132P / +49 / 94PIM / 370H / 676S / 10GWG

This was a huge turn around year for Davos as most of the team disbanded via free agency and Davos entered a rebuild. Only Smalling, Satan, and Dringus remained of the Davos Season 27 core. Davos didn't come close to making the playoffs, finishing 23 points out. However, in terms individual achievement, Smalling had reached his peak. Finishing with a whopping 132 points and 370 hits, he took home another Scott Boulet Trophy for his efforts and now had as many as Matt Bailey received in his career.


Season 33 Statistics:

Regular Season:
S33 (DAV) - 72GP / 57G / 73A / 130P / +38 / 148PIM / 310H / 564S / 10GWG
S33 (DAV) - 7GP / 4G / 7A / 11P / -1 / 16PIM / 38H / 59S / 0GWG

Rafter signed back in Davos to play with his fellow Brit, Smalling, and Davos brought up rookie Wesley Kellinger for some additional experience. With the two star forwards leading the way, they drove Davos into the playoff - Smalling leading his team in points, plus/minus rating, and hits once again. They met their long-time rivals RIga Reign in the first round and lost in the deciding game of the series, in double overtime. Smalling and Rafter did everything they could, with Smalling scoring a hat-trick and Rafter setting up everyone of the goals but it was not enough. During the awards ceremony, Smalling stood up to receive his fourth Boulet Trophy of his career, tying Scott Boulet himself.


Season 34 Statistics:

Regular Season:
S34 (NYA) - 72GP / 43G / 52A / 95P / +33 / 178PIM / 371H / 461S / 10GWG
S34 (NYA) - 7GP / 6G / 4A / 10P / +4 / 30PIM / 33H / 43S / 2GWG

For his final season in the league, Smalling was traded to New York in one of the biggest and most famous trades in VHL history. He and Rafter were both shipped out in exchange for Alexander Chershenko, Henrik Larsson, a second and a third round pick. They both had one more shot at a Continental Cup and New York was definitely one of the front-runners for the Season 34 Championship. The star-studded Americans had one of the best goaltenders in the league, Labatte, along with players such as Evans, Sullivan, and Schwartz Esq. Despite 4 players finishing with over 100 points (and Smalling agonizingly close at 95), they just managed to slot into the last playoff position in the North American Conference, where they had to face the Calgary Wranglers. Here, Smalling suffered another game seven defeat in overtime off a powerplay goal. Quite a heart-wrenching end to a brilliant career.


Career Totals:


Regular Season:

576GP / 353G / 404A / 757P / +328 / 1094PIM / 2692H / 3505S / 50GWG


50GP / 21G / 29A / 50P / +3 / 109PIM / 240H / 269S / 2GWG


With the end of his career, Smalling was awarded his fourth consecutive Scott Boulet Trophy and became the only player to have ever earned it 5 times. Smalling's pivotal role in Davos demonstrated his leadership ability on and off the ice and he was consistently one of the top plus/minus ratings on his team. Although he only ever won one Continental Cup, his place in the VHL Hall of Fame was never in question. In fact, he was voted in the season after he retire. After all, you would be hard-pressed to try to keep out the best two-way forward of all-time.
Edited by ssdd911
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I think after winning the Season 31 championship, as well as receiving 5 Boulet's and setting the hits record, Smalling was a perfect end to my up and down careers with the VHL.


I achieved all I wanted to achieve (minus a few championships, but hey only one team can win 'em) and that is the reason I think Januzaj is a pathetic minor league scrub.


I gave a lot to this league and am happy with how it ended. Smalling, thanks for the amazing ride. You will live on with the records you set.


Thanks for the write-up Phil!

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  • Senior Admin

I imagine (hoping....) this would be an auto 6 since its for the HoF


Edit: I confirmed with Flyers that this is an auto 6, but I'll read through it for grammar before its posted.


- There is a double space in the third line of S28 stats.


And thats all I see, nice article :)

Edited by Draper
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