October 14, 2016

Top Ten Toronto Maple Leafs of All Time

Take a look at this great old photo I found. It's David Letterman wearing a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey:

Naturally, upon seeing this photo I became immediately obligated to come up with a Top Ten list of the greatest Toronto Maple Leafs of all time. There is a long list of great players to wear the blue and white, but to my amazement the best Leafs player I've seen in my lifetime - Doug Gilmour - did not make the list.

10. King Clancy - The first of many great hockey heroes at Maple Leaf Gardens, Francis Clancy was truly the King of Carlton Street.

 9. Tim Horton - Known now for Honey Dip TimBits, Double Doubles and Rrrrroll up the Rrrim to Win, Tim Horton was originally a Hall of Fame blue liner.

8. Darryl Sittler - The hard working center a 1976-77 season few Leaf fans will ever forget. 

7. Mats Sundin - Affable Swede leads all Leafs in history in goals and points.

6. Dave Keon - This beloved Toronto Maple Leaf was an offensive threat and defensive ace, he did it all while picking up only 151 PIMs in 1725 big league games.

5. Borje Salming - The NHL's great European influx would never have been possible without a great pioneer. That man was Borje Salming.

4. Frank Mahovlich - The Big M is one of Toronto's most cherished superstars. He led the Leafs to 4 Stanley Cups, but his detractors, namely coach Imlach, made sure he paid a heavy price.

3. Johnny Bower - "The China Wall" was an aging superstar goalie before he even made it to the NHL. His profile includes war stories and a full version of his song Honky The Christmas Goose.

2. Syl Apps - A CFL footballer, an Olympic pole vaulter, and a politician, Syl Apps will always be remembered as a Toronto Maple Leafs legend.

1. Teeder Kennedy - C'mmmon Teeder! was one of the favorite cries from the hallowed stands of Maple Leaf Gardens. The faithful of the white and blue were cheering on Teeder Kennedy, one of the greatest playoff performers of all time.


Anonymous said...

As a Leafs fan for over 50 years I could not disagree more with your top 10 Leafs list.

As the author of Legends of the Leafs, Bruce Meharg, I compiled several years ago, a more comprehesive list as follows:

1 Dave Keon
2 Frank Mahovlich
3 Borje Salming
4 Charlie Conacher
5 Tim Horton
6 Johnny Bower
7 Darryl Sittler
8 Ted Kennedy
9 Mats Sundin
10 Turk Broda
11 Syl Apps
12 Doug Gilmour
13 Busher Jackson
14 King Clancy
15 Red Kelly
16 Hap Day
17 Lanny McDonald
18 Sid Smith
19 Allan Stanley
20 Rick Vaive

Anonymous said...

Mats Sundin was clearly the best Leaf player of all time. Put all those other guys to play in a 30 team league and you will see how many Cups they really would have won.

None of them would never put up close to the amount of points he put up.

Unknown said...

Wow the guy who left his own version of the list sure had his nose up in the air on this one...

Anonymous said...

For purposes of my list, greatness is how often a Leaf was the best or 2nd best at his position as determined by end of season all-star voting, with recognition that some positions (center) are harder to win an all-star selection than others (left wing). Also consider longevity with the franchise, individual awards and scoring titles won. Lastly, I include the St. Pats and Arenas, as it's all the same franchise. So my list is:

1. Tim Horton
2. Frank Mahovlich
3. Charlie Conacher
4. Borje Salming
5. Syl Apps
6. Busher Jackson
7. King Clancy
8. Turk Broda
9. Babe Dye
10.Ted Kennedy

Teddie said...

As a longtime Leaf fan, making this list of the greatest does not take into account the changeable nature of hockey. It would be better and more definitive to divide thee greatest into eras. There have been several eras in hockey. Before 1930 (15 years). Before WW2 (10 years). WW2 (6 years) when the hockey talent pool changed due to enlistment. Post War (7 years)). Before expansion (1967). The High point Era. 1990s. And post 2000. See what I mean. Of course, my list should be more refined and definitive. The main point is that there are different era-specifc types of hockey and talent. The Greatest Leaf List should be modified as per above. Thank you. Solly.

Anonymous said...

Turn the Key On and watch the Leafs go.. Dave Keon was by far the best all round Maple Leaf

Anonymous said...

I saw nearly every match between 67-72. My dads firm had seats at the gardens, so many I saw live. I still believe rinks were bigger back then, as Keon could accelerate into space in ways I never see today. He commanded the game, drew players away, set up so many chances. He was the David Beckham of his day, I remember almost 50 years ago as if it were yesterday. Regards to all. Kev

Anonymous said...

funny how clark is left off, heart and soul of the white and blue and a 50 goal scorer and leader of the team forever doesn't make it but mcdonald and sittler do

Dwight Ropp said...

While I agree that Clark is one of the great Leafs, it doesn't seem like you've really checked the stats of those three players. First of all, Clark never scored 50 goals in a regular-season, with 46 being his highest total (1993-94) and 37 being his next highest total, both being scored in one season each.
Sittler, on the other hand, scored more than 40 goals for the Leafs in four different seasons, 45 being his most in 1977-78, while also scoring 38 in two other seasons each.
Sittler's point totals were also much higher than Clark's, those being 117, 100, 97 and 96 in his four best seasons, while Clark's best was 76 points.
And McDonald's best goal totals were 47, 46, 43 and 37, with his highest points total being 93.
Sure enough, Clark outscored those two in playoff goals, which is his most outstanding distinction, though Sittler has a few more playoff points in fewer games played. So, I doubt there is anyone that would place Clark ahead of Sittler in terms of overall leadership and career impact made for the Leafs, though admittedly, Clark was a more notable leader for the team than McDonald and exceeded him in playoff stats.