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What’s the best possible roster of players who played for both Toronto and Detroit?

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Filipe Dimas
9 months ago
With the rising popularity of puckdoku and grid trivia, more people than ever are thinking about players who have laced it up for multiple teams. For the Toronto Maple Leafs it’s no different, especially since the franchise has a shockingly small number of players who spent their entire career in the blue and white.
So the question then becomes what’s the best 20 player roster that can be created between the shared alumni of the Toronto Maple Leafs and a second team? This month we’ll be taking a look at what these combined rosters look like, today we have Original Six rival, the Detroit Red Wings.

Forwards

Frank Mahovlich – Darryl Sittler – Charlie Conacher
Syd Howe – Norm Ullman – Andy Bathgate
Wendel Clark – Dale McCourt – Harry Watson
Tiger Williams – Garry Unger – Steve Thomas
On the first line we have three Hall of Famers that many would consider to be amongst the three greatest Toronto Maple Leafs of all time. Each of Mahovlich, Sittler, and Conacher find themselves enshrined on Legends Row outside of Scotiabank Arena and for good reason. All three made the NHL’s top 100 list a few years back, and have combined for 7 Cups and 2600 career points. While they’re all best remembered for their time in Toronto, these three legends each had a short stop in Detroit after their time in Toronto was done.
Another three Hall of Famers populate the second line with Syd Howe and Andy Bathgate playing alongside Norm Ullman. Howe just barely makes our roster thanks to playing three games for the Maple Leafs at the start of his career before going on to become a Red Wings legend, winning three cups in Detroit. Ullman spent his NHL career split between the two franchises, amassing over 1200 points in the process. Meanwhile Hart Trophy winner Andy Bathgate is best known for his time in New York, but spent a combined 200 games split between Detroit and Toronto near the end of his career – allowing him a spot on this roster.
Hall of Famer and five time Cup winner Harry Watson highlights the second line with former Maple Leafs captain Wendel Clark and Red Wings captain Dale McCourt on his line. The fourth line brings the deadly combination of goalscoring and grit with Tiger Williams, Garry Unger and Steve Thomas combining for over 2200 points and 6300 PIMs across their careers (with nearly 4000 of those PIMs belonging to Tiger alone.)

Defense

Borje Salming – Red Kelly
Marcel Pronovost – Larry Murphy
Mathieu Schneider – Leo Boivin
Two of the greatest to ever play the position lead off our defensive corps with Borje Salming partnering up with Red Kelly. Though Kelly did switch to playing centre upon arriving in Toronto, we keep him at defence where he won the Norris, three Byng’s and made the year end All Star team eight times. Salming adds another six All Star teams to the pairing’s total, with both players not only being Hall of Famers but making the NHL’s top 100 list.
Two more legends make up the second line with Marcel Pronovost playing alongside Larry Murphy. The two combined for nine Stanley Cups and seven year-end All Star selections. Murphy’s offensive brilliance brought him over 1200 points from the blueline while Pronovost is considered one of the most brilliant defensive minds of his generation.
Hall of Famer Leo Boivin makes our third pairing alongside journeyman Mathieu Schneider, who also made the Toronto x Montreal combined team. The two players bring some needed feistiness to our blueline, with each racking up well over 1000 PIMs across their career despite Schneider being only 5’11 and Boivin being a 5’8 short king.

Goaltending

Terry Sawchuk
Harry Lumley
It doesn’t get much better than having two Vezina-winning Hall of Famers in net. As a four time Cup winner with four Vezina’s, seven year end All Star teams, and one of only two goalies to record over 100 career shutouts, Sawchuk gets the nod as our starter. Backing him up is Harry Lumley who won a cup with Detroit before coming to Toronto and not only winning a Vezina, but also finishing as the Hart Trophy runner-up the very next year. 
Interestingly enough, it was Sawchuk who served as Lumley’s backup during his rookie season before taking over as the starter once Lumley was traded to Chicago that summer.
Just Missed the Cut
Reg Noble, Curtis Joseph, Paul Henderson, Bob Baun, Todd Gill, Mark Osborne, Errol Thompson, Danny Markov, Gaye Stewart

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