The Toronto Maple Leafs will be adding some new members to Legends Row this week, revealing the inductees in a pre-game ceremony on Saturday night, as confirmed by the team today.
The #Leafs announce they are adding to Legends Row. Will reveal latest inductees during pre-game ceremony on Saturday.
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) February 16, 2017
While it’s easy to make the “pretty early to give statues to Matthews, Marner, and Nylander” jokes, it’s also worth speculating a little as to who those players could be. Obviously, we don’t know how many people will be added, but let’s take a look at this list of the Top 18 Leafs on their Top 100 list, plus the two outside of it that have had their numbers retired:
There are a few ways you can go here. You can look at the old guard that hasn’t found their way in yet; specifically, Frank Mahovlich and Charlie Conacher. Both were among the best players of their generations, with Conacher in particular being arguably the closest thing Toronto has had to a generational talent.
Just below them, you have Doug Gilmour and Wendel Clark. The Leafs are presently in a renaissance more drastic than they’ve had in decades, pointing back to an era where those two owned the hearts of the city. If you’re looking for the dramatic pull of the heartstrings on the present fanbase, they’d be the easiest to add.
A couple of other options that would be interesting would include adding Busher Jackson to make up for the fact that he’s the only player in the Top 20 to not be in the rafters, Red Kelly for the additional bit of public spotlight he’s had over the centennial festivities and a combo of Bill Barilko and Ace Bailey now that their retired numbers aren’t unique. Barilko’s iconic goal pose would make for a great statue in particular.
If I had to guess, a trio of Conacher, Mahovlich and Kelly would be the best bet. There’s likely still a lot of time to pull the Wendel & Dougie option and have them be present, more so than there is with the 79-year-old Mahovlich and 89-year-old Kelly. We’ll know for sure what the end result is in 48 hours or less, and I doubt there will be too many complaints either way.