Jump to content

The Toronto Maple Leafs - Post Expansion Era


Most Valuable Retired Maple Leafs  

9 members have voted

  1. 1. Select up to five players

    • Mats Sundin
    • Darryl Sittler
    • Wendel Clark
    • Doug Gilmour
    • Johnny Bower
      0
    • Borje Salming
    • Other


Recommended Posts

220px-Toronto_Maple_Leafs_Logo_1939_-_1967.svg.png

The Toronto Maple Leafs’ history is one full of both great pride and misery. The Toronto Maple Leafs dynasty is one that could likely only be rivaled by rivals the Montreal Canadiens and the Detroit Red Wings. The Maple Leafs have drank from the Stanley Cup 13 times a number only exceeded by the Montreal Canadiens . The Leafs have more inductees in the Hall of Fame than any other franchise in NHL history. So, it is clear that during their existence, they have had many great players put on the blue and white. So, then who is the greatest Leaf to play in Ontario’s capital?

Mats Sundin

3095774896_c43ceb57a6.jpg

Not only is Mats Sundin arguably the best captain to ever where the “C” in Toronto, but many could argue Sundin is amongst some of the greatest captains in league history. He captained the Maple Leafs for 11 seasons where he would become the team’s longest serving captain while racking up the most goals and points by any Leaf. During his career Sundin only failed to hit 70 points in his first and least seasons in the league and lead the Maple Leafs in scoring ever season he was with the team except in 02-03 when he was eclipsed by Alexander Mogilny. His most productive season as a Leaf came in 96-97 when he recorded 41 goals and 94 points.

.

Sundin played in 8 NHL All-Star games, is tied for 21st in all-time goals, 33rd in assists, and is 27th on the all-time points list. Sundin is the first and only Swedish player to break the 500 goal plateau and was the first European-born player to be selected first overall in the NHL entry draft. This past season Sundin was honoured at the Air Canada Centre when he had his number 13 raised to the rafters. Sundin finished his career with the Maple Leafs compiling 420 goals and 987 points in a Maple Leafs uniform. Sundin was also fortunate enough this year to be named as one of the 4 players to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame this year in the city that adopted him Toronto, ON.

Darryl Sittler

P198902S.jpg

Darryl Sittler is, for many Leaf fans, a very recognizable face. Sittler wore the “C” for the Leafs’ for 6 years and was a leader in Toronto during his 12 seasons with the Leafs. What Sittler is most known for is the night he put a stamp into the record books. On February 7th 1976 Sittler set a record that to this day has not been touched, Sittler recorded 10 points in a single game when he put up 6 goals and 4 assists against the Boston Bruins in an 11-4 win. Many players have hit 8 points, but to this day Sittler’s 10 is still one record that may never be challenged.

Sittler finished his career as a Leaf racking up 916 points, second behind only Mats Sundin for the most in club history. In 1975, Sittler’s first season as Leafs captain, Sittler became the first Maple Leaf player to hit 100 points in a season when he recorded 41 goals and 59 assists. Sittler was inducted into the Hockey Hallf of Fame in 1989 finishing his NHL career with 484 goals and 1,121 points. On February 28th, 2003 Sittler had his no. 27 raised to the rafters at the Air Canada Centre in front of an extremely energetic crowd.

Doug Gilmour

gilmore510.jpg

Doug Gilmour or “Dougie” as he Leaf fans called him is one of the Hallmark names in Leafs history. Gilmour played seasons with Buffalo, St. Louis, Calgary, New Jersey, Chicago, and Montreal, but he will go down in history as one of the greatest Leafs of all time. Gilmour was acquired by the Maple Leafs during the later end of the 91-92 season in a historical trade that saw General Manager Cliff Fletcher make, what was at the time, the biggest trade in NHL history with 10 players going one way or another. This trade paid off immediately for the Leafs as the following season Gilmour would put up a Maple Leaf record, recording 127 points. He would win the Frank J. Selke trophy as the league’s most defensive forward and finished as the runner up as the league’s MVP. The following season Gilmour finished with 111 points.

Gilmour would become the Leaf’s captain during the 1994 season after captain Wendel Clark was traded to the Quebec Nordiques for future captain Mats Sundin. Gilmour would finish his Maple Leaf career with 452 points in 391 games. Gilmour had his number 93 retired at the ACC on January 31st, 2009 when the Leafs raised it to the rafters. Gilmour was also fortunate enough to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011.

Wendel Clark

WendelClark_TOR_325.jpg

Wendel Clark was, and in many respects still is, the face of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Clark started his NHL campaign when he was selected first overall in the 1985 entry draft. Clark would play his first season as a Maple Leaf and finish 3rd in voting for the Calder Trophy (rookie of the year). Clark captained the Leafs from 1991-1994. Clark would be traded by the Leafs to the Quebec Nordiques in return for young Swedish star Mats Sundin. Clark was known not just for his offensive play, but more for his physical play, this was reflected by his nickname “captain crunch.”

Clark was plagued with injuries most of his career, only playing an entire season just once in his career. It was his injuries that really stopped him from putting up even more impressive numbers. Clark’s most productive season came in the 93-94 season when Clark put up 46 goals and 76 points. Clark played 3 different stints with the Leafs and because of this became a fan favourite. On November 27th, 2008 Clark was added to an elite group of Maple Leaf greats when he had his number 17 raised to the rafters at the Air Canada Centre.

Johnny Bower

P197601S.jpg

Johnny Bower even at his old age of 88 years old can still be spotted in the crowd at many Maple Leaf games. Bower was the Maple Leafs’ goalie from 1958-1970 in which time he put up some incredible numbers. Bower won the Vezina trophy for best goaltender in 1961 and 1965, the Haps Holmes Memorial Award for best goals against average in 1952, 1957, and 1958, was a first team all-star in 1961, and on top of all that hoisted the Stanley Cup in 1962, 1963, 1964, and 1967. Johnny Bower was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1976 and in 2007 Bower was honoured with a Star on Canada’s Walk of Fame. Bower recorded 37 shutouts during his career which is good enough for 39th all-time.

Despite his battle with poor eyesight throughout his career Bower was able to still play at a very competitive level including capturing the Stanley Cup and the Vezina Trophy in this time. Bower helped the Leafs win their last Stanley Cup and because of this he will be remembered as one of the great goaltenders and Maple Leafs to ever play the game.

Borje Salming

tumblr_m2n1feZbW31ru407to1_400.jpg

Borje Salming was one of the great defensemen of his era. Salming was one of the first European players to come over to North America to play in the NHL which really helped to open the door for many other Europeans. Salming played 16 seasons with the Maple Leafs being named a first team all-star in 1977 and a second team all-star on five other occasions. Salming finished his career having played 1148 games in the NHL with 1099 of them in a Leafs uniform finishing with a respectable 150 goals and 787 points with which 148 goals and 748 of those points coming with the Leafs.

Salming was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1998 becoming the first Swede to be given the honour. Salming also had his number 21 retired and raised to the rafters at the ACC on October 4th, 2006. Salming still holds the NHL record for the most points by an undrafted defenseman and also holds over 6 Maple Leaf records. Salming holds the record for the most career points and goals by a Leafs defenseman, the most career assists by a Leaf player, the most assists by a Leafs defenseman in a season, and also has the best career plus-minus by any Maple Leaf. With all these stats and more it is no question that Salming was one of the great D-men in NHL history and by far one of the greatest players to ever don the blue and white.

Looking back it is clear to see that the Toronto Maple Leafs history has been one full of great players and great memories. And with such a rich history there are many more other hockey greats that could also have easily topped this list. Each of these 6 have brought pride, excitement, and even championships to the city of Toronto and they will be forever honoured in the rafters of the Air Canada Centre and the Hockey Hall of Fame, but even more important the will be remembered by Maple Leafs fans of both then and now. However, in saying all this I must ask, who do you think is the greatest retired Maple Leaf of all time?

Edited by It's a Canadian Game
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sittler gets my vote, although ti was between him and Sundin. I guess I just have a soft spot for the oldies. Would definitely have voted for Johnny Bower, but suggest that he be included in the Original Six-era (pre-1967) instead of this one. Those were his best years with the club.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@WingNut722 Like you, I was leaning towards Johnny Bower (some John's are just better off with "Johnny"....Bower is one of those, huh, could not even imagine John Bower, just does not sound right!) but thought he should be orginal six like you said. I thought Dave Keon would have been included, he kind of straddles the line having played in both eras. Even though Keon did not get a ton of points, talk to any Leaf fan over 45 and they will quickly tell you Keon was their favourite player. Just a great all round game Dave played.

That left me with a choice between Sittler and Sundin, and I went with Sittler. Although it was agonizingly close between the two players. Just think Sittler was a little more prolific in his prime, although I'm to lazy to look up the ppg averages of both guys. In the mid to late seventies, Sittler was easily a top ten player in the NHL, and I don't really think the same can be said about Sundin in his prime. Perhaps Sittler had better linemates, Lanny McDonald was a outright star in his hey day, and Sundin, although playing with Moginly, Corson and Gary Roberts just didn't have the same star power.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@jammer2 Well said, sir! It's not just the points that a player puts up. If i were, there would be no need to vote. What needs to be considered is not juts statistics and on-ice success, but how respected and loved a player is to the community. In that respect, your suggestion of Dave Keon would absolutely apply and I think he would tally a fair amount of votes simply because he was a man Leafs fans could rally behind.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@WingNut722 Like you, I was leaning towards Johnny Bower (some John's are just better off with "Johnny"....Bower is one of those, huh, could not even imagine John Bower, just does not sound right!) but thought he should be orginal six like you said. I thought Dave Keon would have been included, he kind of straddles the line having played in both eras. Even though Keon did not get a ton of points, talk to any Leaf fan over 45 and they will quickly tell you Keon was their favourite player. Just a great all round game Dave played.

That left me with a choice between Sittler and Sundin, and I went with Sittler. Although it was agonizingly close between the two players. Just think Sittler was a little more prolific in his prime, although I'm to lazy to look up the ppg averages of both guys. In the mid to late seventies, Sittler was easily a top ten player in the NHL, and I don't really think the same can be said about Sundin in his prime. Perhaps Sittler had better linemates, Lanny McDonald was a outright star in his hey day, and Sundin, although playing with Moginly, Corson and Gary Roberts just didn't have the same star power.

I took Sundin and Sittler, but Sittler is ahead in my eyes. Maybe it because of my Flyer slant (when Sittler left the leafs, he still was an excellent player). Also, his PPG avg is higher than Sittler. The thing about Sundin is he played in the clutch and grab era and was a mammoth hockey player with great strength.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...