As we embark on our annual TLN Top 20 Prospects series, it’s important to remember and recognize the special players that paved the way for tomorrow’s stars. Over the next few weeks, we will be announcing our first ever TLN All-Time Greatest Leafs Team, announcing a new player every day until we’ve filled out our 23-man roster.
When we get through this entire list and assemble the final team, there’s going to be plenty of debate about which of these players truly stands above the rest as the best Leafs player of all time. Mats Sundin will be in that conversation.
Alright, first off, shut your stupid mouth, Google.
No I didn’t mean that.
On to MATS SUNDIN‘S career statistics, and damn they are impressive.
Though just by a hair, Sundin was an above point-per-game player for his career, which spanned 1346 games, 981 of them in a Leafs sweater. He’d put up 987 points in blue and white. [If you’re like me, looking at Sundin being 13 points away from 1000 in Toronto will drive you nuts, but 13 was his number so maybe it was always meant to be.]
Easily the most impressive thing about Sundin’s output was simply how consistent he was in pouring in points each year. Take a look at each of his seasons (excluding his rookie campaign and partial stint with the Canucks), and he didn’t dip below .90 points-per-game in any one year.
|1994-95||Toronto Maple Leafs||1.00|
|1995-96||Toronto Maple Leafs||1.09|
|1996-97||Toronto Maple Leafs||1.15|
|1997-98||Toronto Maple Leafs||0.90|
|1998-99||Toronto Maple Leafs||1.01|
|1999-00||Toronto Maple Leafs||1.00|
|2000-01||Toronto Maple Leafs||0.90|
|2001-02||Toronto Maple Leafs||0.98|
|2002-03||Toronto Maple Leafs||0.96|
|2003-04||Toronto Maple Leafs||0.93|
|2005-06||Toronto Maple Leafs||1.11|
|2006-07||Toronto Maple Leafs||1.01|
|2007-08||Toronto Maple Leafs||1.05|
Most Memorable Moments
And though we were getting into post-lockout Leafs garbage time, who’s going to forget this?
Sundin would go on to be a first ballot Hall of Famer upon retiring, and deservedly so. His 1349 career NHL points rank him first all-time by a Swedish player, fourth among Europeans (behind Jagr, Selanne, and Kurri), and 27th overall.
- First in All-Time Leafs points (987)
- First in All-Time Leafs goals (420)
- Second in All-Time Leafs assists (567)
- Sixth in All-Time Leafs games played (981)
A lot of the writers throughout Leafs sites these days likely fall in the age group where Sundin and the Quinn years represent their peak enjoyment of the team. For that reason, I’m willing to bet he’s a personal favourite of a lot of “Barilkosphere” contributors.
Like we mentioned at the top, Sundin will be in any conversation for the best Maple Leafs player of all time. The longevity is there, the scoring is there, and the big moments are certainly there. He never managed to win a Cup in Toronto, but we can at least sleep a little easier knowing he got some hardware on the international stage with Sweden.