Leafs represented by over a quarter of NHL’s official Top 100 players of all time

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The National Hockey League announced their “Top 100” players of the past 100 years list in a fancy gala in Los Angeles tonight. I’m going to be blunt with you; this list isn’t very good, especially as you get closer to the present. But it exists, and there’s a lot of Leafs in the mix. Here’s how it breaks down.

The 2000’s

Alright, let’s be real; the Leafs weren’t ever going to have anyone lumped into this group. It’s a shame the centennial wasn’t a decade or so away because if it was and the Blackhawks’ nods were any indication, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander would all be locks. Maybe not fairly, but they would be. Seriously, three Hawks? Three Hawks and none of them are Marian Hossa? No Thornton, Iginla, Lundqvist, Luongo, or the Sedin Twins? But I digress.

The 1990’s

Toronto has five and a half representatives from this decade. Mats Sundin waves the flag the strongest, but Eric Lindros, Joe Nieuwendyk, Brian Leetch, and Ron Francis are all there too. Brendan Shanahan, who is the team’s current president, also made the list and took a selfie on stage for with Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille, which was pretty funny.


The 1980’s

Borje Salming is the only Leafs player who actually mattered to the team or even played for them in the 1980’s on this list, but Mike Gartner and Grant Fuhr also received nods.

The 1970’s

Toronto’s shining star here is obviously Darryl Sittler. They did have one and a half other cameos, though; Bernie Parent, more famous for his time in Philadelphia than his year and change with the Leafs, was also on there, as was once-upon-a-time team executive and local politician Ken Dryden.

Prior History

The Leafs also had their hands in the history of 16 of 33 players nominated from before the expansion area. These players weren’t announced tonight, though; they had been revealed weeks ago at the Centennial Classic at BMO Field.

This group of Leafs includes Syl Apps, Andy Bathgate, Max Bentley, Johnny Bower, Turk Broda, King Clancy, Charlie Conacher, Tim Horton, Red Kelly, Ted Kennedy, Dave Keon, Frank Mahovlich, Dickie Moore, Jacques Plante, and Terry Sawchuk.

Overall, this gives Toronto an on-ice connection to 26 of the 100 players on this list. That’s a pretty good effort, all things considered; further cementing the blue and white as a key contributor to Toronto being the Centre of the Universe (TM).

  • Stan Smith

    I wonder if the reason Doug Gilmour was left off was because of so many Leafs on the list. I think him and Dale Hawerchuck should have been on that list.

  • LukeWarmWater

    Jeff I just want to take this opportunity to wish our fine coach Bob Babcock a happy birthday tomorrow January 29th. The late great Pat Quinn was also born on the 29th. Kind of makes me feel good as my birthday is also the january 29th. The Grand kids got grand pa a brand new Auston Matthews blue Maple Leaf jersey that matches my blue eyes.

    Enjoy the all-star festivities Jeff.

      • LukeWarmWater

        Klas thanks for the salute. I was listening to a local program and they had an interview with Babs and he mentioned the 29th while talking to the group. My error. lol maybe I need the hearing aid now as I close in on 68. I’ll raise a glass of wine to you and Babs on April 29th and hopefully we just might be in a playoff series.

  • JudgeDrey

    What a joke of an article!

    The nerve to say this list “isn’t very good”. Sigh, another hockey “writer”, with more knowledge and wisdom than the entire blue ribbon panel put together to make up this list, makes a mockery of the NHL.

    Then, I start to read about the mention of all the Leafs that have made the list, but of course, 3 Leafs rookies are supposed to be a “lock” if this list were just 10 years down the road! Only 10 years and 3 rookies would be a LOCK to break into the top 100 ALL-TIME! WOW what a statement! I’m not taking ANYTHING away from Mathews, Marner and Nylander, but COME ON! Maybe, MAYBE, you could say that in 15 to 20 years, 1 or 2 of the 3 might have a CHANCE to break in the top 100. Maybe. But all 3 a LOCK in only 10 years? Get a grip on reality.

    The final straw for me was reading about the 1990’s “Leafs representatives” that made the list. Oh my God! LEAFS REPRESENTATIVES? Really now? Eric Lindros (33 games, 22 pts) a Leaf? Joe Nieuwendyk (64 games, 50 pts), Brian Leetch (15 games, 15 pts), and Ron Francis (12 games, 12 pts), Toronto Maple Leafs?

    Are you serious? Are you THAT desperate?? These players have played a combined 124 games for Toronto! They have contributed a measly 99 points COMBINED while playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs! And you have the nerve to refer to them as Toronto Maple Leafs!

    Heck, might as well throw Brendan Shanahan in there as well! Oh right! You tried to do that also!

    What a complete and utter JOKE and INSULT to the ACTUAL organizations that these great, deserving players played for and accomplished the feats that put them on this list!

      • LukeWarmWater

        Brother Luke, I think a better idea is to have a top 50 of say pre expansion and then a top 50 after pre expansion. Certainly a significant number of fans didn’t see the guys we did in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

        The analogy I would use is that it wasn’t till Don Larsen threw that perfect game in the World series that I became interested in baseball. So if I was a voter and had a list of players including many from say the 1920’s, 1930’s, 1940’s and early 1950’s , I wouldn’t have a clue as to how good they were.

        The other problem is that as the decades past, you have different length of schedules When we were young whippersnappers it was 60 games. Plus you have the different decades of scoring. The 50’s and early 60’s low scoring. Expansion comes along, Esposito finds the slot in front of the net, Bobby Orr makes his debut and you have an era of 7 to 5 scores.

        Now scoring is once again tightening up. So how can you compare guys in the 1950’s who got 30 goals to Gary Leeman who once scored 50 goals as a leaf.

        The same goes with the defence. For years as I recall the great hawk defenceman Pierre Pilote held the record for points by a defencemen in a season which I recall was around 56. Orr comes around and breaks a 100.

        Dickie Moore of the Habs had 96 points in the early 1960’s only to see Mikita get 97 the next year. Before you knew it guys were getting 110, 120 and number 99 had 212. So to me very, very, very difficult to rank players.

        • LukeDaDrifter

          Off Topic

          At http://www.hockeyfeed.com/

          They have six articles about six teams that maybe interested in acquiring Matt Duchene. It is a “what it would cost” type of articles. Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch writes that if the Avalanche are going to deal Duchene, not only will Sakic want a top-four defenceman, a top prospect and a No. 1 pick in return, the indications are there has to be more in the deal for Colorado.

          So here is what Toronto would have to give to get Matt Duchene.

          Nikita Zaitsev (top-4 defenceman) + Kasperi Kapanen (top Maple Leafs prospect) + a first round pick and possibly Jeremy Bracco or Brendan Leipsic.

          Most people thought it would be a really bad trade. Surprisingly a couple commenters thought it would be a good trade.

    • jimithy

      JudgeDrey speaks real. The writer of this article might as well add my friend’s sister who liked to wear the Leaf sweater once and awhile, her name was Jennifer. Andy Bathgate barely played a full season and Dickie Moore for some reason wanted to see if he still had it. He didn’t. And he was finished after a few games. And then there was Forbes Kennedy, but that’s another story and a tragic one it is. The 50’s and 60’s was a very good year for this team and is the reason the more recent disgusting era is overlooked shamelessly. Paper bags have been a staple at the Leaf games since the 70’s.

      • JudgeDrey

        Thanks for saying that. I appreciate it.
        I felt bad afterwards going off so hard but it really ticked me off to hear these players mentioned as Leafs. That came off as really ignorant and desperate. But TBPH, I really wish the Leafs had, and would do better! I’m no Leaf hater by a long shot. Even though I’m a Canadiens fan*ducks*.

        I’ve had that instilled in me by my father as many other teams fans. I’ve always wished that Toronto was better. And the truth is they haven’t been, for a very very long ass time! I’m sure it’s disheartening for all young-ish TO fans to have to go through that failure decade in decade out.

        Things are looking up though as I’ve been saying all year for the Leafs with the high flyin rookies they have at the moment just tearing up the league. If Babcock can have this team gel the way he wants, watch out league for a possible powerhouse Leafs team, FINALLY.

    • Stan Smith

      Reading your comment, made me realize something. Why is Lindros even on this list? He could have been a great player if not for the concussions. But I would think the list would be compiled based on actual accomplishments, not what could have been.