On this day in 1982, the Leafs trade Darryl Sittler to the Flyers
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On this day in 1982, the Toronto Maple Leafs traded forward Darryl Sittler to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a second-round pick in 1982, future considerations, and Rich Costello.
After being drafted by the Leafs as the eighth overall selection in the 1970 NHL draft, Sittler came to the Toronto Maple Leafs as a young boy from Kitchener, Ontario, with a big dream.
His first few years with the organization were underwhelming. Still, things began to look up for the 22-year-old in 1972-73 when he scored 29 goals and 77 points, an enormous difference from the previous year when he scored 15 goals and 32 points.
For Sittler, that season became the tip of the iceberg. In the subsequent 1973-74 season, Sittler began to have even more success, scoring 38 goals and 84 points. However, the Leafs entered a rebuilding period due to veterans moving on to other teams or retiring, which prompted the organization to make him the second youngest captain in franchise history at 24 years old.
In 1975-76, Sittler entered into the NHL record book when he scored 10 points against the Boston Bruins on February 7th, 1976, which still stands as an un-broken NHL record today. With two bottles of champagne waiting for his appearance in the Leafs’ dressing room, Sittler realized what he’d done.
“Ten points in one bloody game! Isn’t that something?” Sittler told The Toronto Star. “The thing I’ll remember most about it is the ovation the fans gave me when I got the ninth point. That’s something you don’t forget.”
Sittler re-writes record book with 10 points in a single game.
Sittler continued to have a memorable year as the Leafs moved into the playoffs and faced the Philadelphia Flyers in the Conference Semifinal. Sittler scored five of the Leafs’ eight goals that night to lead them to an 8-5 win and tied a playoff record next to Maurice Richard.
As time went on, owner Harold Ballard began to make his own moves and demanded the respect of his team. Sittler became a target to Ballard, but with a no-trade clause in the way, the only other option was to trade several of Sittler’s closest teammates.
The head butting between the front office and Sittler grew to enormous heights, and the forward cut out the ‘C’ from his jersey. After some time, Sittler waived his no-trade clause and resigned as the Leafs captain. He took back his role as captain after some time, however, he was still evidently unhappy in Toronto, and after demanding a trade, he was sent to the Flyers.
“There is a sense of sadness in leaving the leads, but there is no bitterness toward anyone,” Sittler told the Toronto Star‘s Milt Dunnell. “Sure, there have been some trying times, but there were great times, too. That’s life.
“I never said, at any time, that I would have a block-buster announcement to make when a trade finally was made. What I did say was that I would explain why, on November 30th, I finally decided I could not remain a Leaf any longer.”
Sittler spent 12 seasons dawning the Maple Leafs’ blue and white, scoring 389 goals and 916 points before heading to the Flyers. He spent two seasons in Philadelphia, scoring 84 goals and 94 points, but was traded to the Detroit Red Wings, where he decided to hang up the skates after 61 games.
The future considerations the Leafs received in the trade found them with forward Ken Strong. Strong played three seasons with the Leafs, appearing in 15 games with two goals and four points.
The second-round pick saw them select forward Peter Ihnacak. Ihnacak played throughout eight seasons with the Leafs, scoring 102 goals and 267 points.
Costello, like Strong, had minor appearances over two seasons with the Leafs. He made 12 appearances, recording two goals and four points.
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