FanPost

Leaf of the Day - Oct 21, 2008 - Steve Thomas

Oct 21, 2008 - Steve Thomas (1984-87, 1998-2001)

Didn't really feel like dealing in any way with the whole Burke thing, so here's someone else with a Leaf/Duck connection.

He wouldn't make any list of the top five Leafs of all time, but if you asked me for my top five personal favourites, Steve Thomas makes that list easily.  Steve didn't always score a ton of goals, but he seemed to come up with the big ones and was a playoff warrior.

Steve broke in with one of the worst Leafs teams ever seen - the last-place 1984-85 club.  He was an undrafted free agent signed by the Leafs as they scoured around for talent.  He'd been a pretty good junior with the Marlies, but wasn't picked up.  It might have been a size issue.  Thomas wasn't very tall, though he was strong ("that 'Stumpy' guy....").

His first call-up wasn't that remarkable - 1 goal, 1 assist in 18 games, but the next year he was a point-per-game player for most of the season and wound up with 57 in 62 games.  There were some who questioned who really was the best Leaf rookie, Wendel Clark or Steve Thomas.  He then led the league in scoring through the first round of the playoffs, but the Leafs didn't go that deep.

He scored 35 goals the next year as a sophomore and then left in a bit of a shocking deal that sent Thomas, Vaive and McGill to Chicago for Olczyk and Secord.

That would have been it, had he not resigned here as a free agent in 1998-99.  He'd been coming off a pair of weakish years with New Jersey where his goal totals had been in the teens.  Paired with Mats Sundin, though, he found his form again, scoring 28 goals and playing a key role in taking the Leafs deep into the playoffs.  He played with a separated shoulder in the semis against Buffalo that year, and his injury probably helped with the fact the Leafs couldn't mount much offense.

Steve was around a few more years after that, and always managed to pop a few past the Sens in the postseason.  During his last year here, he scored almost as many playoff goals as he scored in the entire regular season.

Good guy and a great Leaf.

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via img374.imageshack.us




1980-81      Markham Waxers      OPJHL      42      22      25      47      76                              
1980-81     Toronto Marlboros     OMJHL     1     0     0     0     0                        
1981-82     Markham Waxers     OPJHL     48     68     57     125     113                        
1981-82     Toronto Marlboros     OHL     1     0     0     0     0                        
1982-83     Toronto Marlboros     OHL     61     18     20     38     42                        
1983-84     Toronto Marlboros     OHL     70     51     54     105     77                        
1984-85     Toronto Maple Leafs     NHL     18     1     1     2     2     -13                    
1984-85     St. Catharines Saints     AHL     64     42     48     90     56                        
1985-86     Toronto Maple Leafs     NHL     65     20     37     57     36     -15     10     6     8     14     9
1985-86     St. Catharines Saints     AHL     19     18     14     32     35                        
1986-87     Toronto Maple Leafs     NHL     78     35     27     62     114     -3     13     2     3     5     13
1987-88     Chicago Blackhawks     NHL     30     13     13     26     40     +1     3     1     2     3     6
1988-89     Chicago Blackhawks     NHL     45     21     19     40     69     -2     12     3     5     8     10
1989-90     Chicago Blackhawks     NHL     76     40     30     70     91     -3     20     7     6     13     33
1990-91     Chicago Blackhawks     NHL     69     19     35     54     129     +8     6     1     2     3     15
1990-91     Canada     WEC-A     10     5     3     8     12                        
1991-92     Chicago Blackhawks     NHL     11     2     6     8     26     -3                    
1991-92     New York Islanders     NHL     71     28     42     70     71     +11                    
1991-92     Canada     WC-A     5     2     2     4     4                        
1992-93     New York Islanders     NHL     79     37     50     87     111     +3     18     9     8     17     37
1993-94     New York Islanders     NHL     78     42     33     75     139     -9     4     1     0     1     8
1993-94     Canada     WC-A     6     1     5     6     0                        
1994-95     New York Islanders     NHL     47     11     15     26     60     -14                    
1995-96     New Jersey Devils     NHL     81     26     35     61     98     -2                    
1995-96     Canada     WC-A     8     2     3     5     29                        
1996-97     New Jersey Devils     NHL     57     15     19     34     46     +9     10     1     1     2     18
1997-98     New Jersey Devils     NHL     55     14     10     24     32     +4     6     0     3     3     2
1998-99     Toronto Maple Leafs     NHL     78     28     45     73     33     +26     17     6     3     9     12
1999-00     Toronto Maple Leafs     NHL     81     26     37     63     68     +1     12     6     3     9     10
2000-01     Toronto Maple Leafs     NHL     57     8     26     34     46     0     11     6     3     9     4
2001-02     Chicago Blackhawks     NHL     34     11     4     15     17     0     5     1     1     2     0
2002-03     Chicago Blackhawks     NHL     69     4     13     17     51     0                    
2002-03     Mighty Ducks of Anaheim     NHL     12     10     3     13     2     +10     21     4     4     8     8
2003-04     Detroit Red Wings     NHL     44     10     12     22     25     +8     6     0     1     1     2
2004-05                                                    
Leaf Totals     377    118    173    291    299    -4    63    26    20    46    48
NHL Totals     1235     421     512     933     1306     +17    174     54     53     107     187

AHL First All-Star Team (1985)
Dudley ``Red'' Garrett Memorial Award (Rookie of the Year - AHL) (1985)

- Signed as a free agent by Toronto, May 12, 1984.
- Traded to Chicago by Toronto with Rick Vaive and Bob McGill for Al Secord and Ed Olczyk, September 3, 1987.
- Traded to NY Islanders by Chicago with Adam Creighton for Brent Sutter and Brad Lauer, October 25, 1991.
- Traded to New Jersey by NY Islanders for Claude Lemieux, October 3, 1995.
- Signed as a free agent by Toronto, July 30, 1998.
- Signed as a free agent by Chicago, July 17, 2001.
- Missed majority of 2001-02 season recovering from ankle injury suffered in game vs. Calgary, November 15, 2001.
- Traded to Anaheim by Chicago for Anaheim's 5th round choice (Alexei Ivanov) in 2003 Entry Draft, March 11, 2003. Signed as a free agent by Detroit, November 5, 2003.

 

A little Stumpy magic:

 

 

 

the hhof take on Steve:

A hard-working, right-winger with good speed and a quick release, Steve Thomas entered the league in 1984-85, he became one the most consistent scorers in the game with nine 20-goal seasons to his credit.

Born in Stockport, England, Thomas starred in the MTHL with the Markham Waxers and in the OHL with the Toronto Marlboros. After scoring 51 goals for the Marlies in 1983-84, the talented sniper was signed as a free agent by the Toronto Maple Leafs. During his first pro season, he scored 42 goals for the St. Catharines Saints of the AHL and was placed on the league's First All-Star Team. He also won the Dudley "Red" Garrett Award as the top rookie in the AHL.

After starting the 1985-86 season in the AHL, Thomas was recalled to the Leafs and scored 57 points in 65 games. That spring, he scored 14 points in the post-season as Toronto came within a game of reaching the semi-finals. After scoring 35 goals and helping Toronto reach the second round of the playoffs in 1987, Thomas was sent to Chicago with Rick Vaive for Al Secord and Ed Olczyk.

Thomas battled injuries his first two years with the Hawks before scoring 40 goals in 1989-90. In October 1991, he joined the New York Islanders in a trade and helped the club upset the Pittsburgh Penguins while reaching the semi-finals in 1993. Thomas set a career high with 42 goals in 1993-94 but slipped to eleven goals during the lockout-shortened season. Prior to the 1995-96 season, he joined the New Jersey Devils where his lower goal totals reflected the defensive system employed by his new club.

In July 1998, the veteran winger was lured back to Toronto as a free agent. He scored 73 points under Pat Quinn's free flowing system and helped the Leafs reach the semi-finals. After a slow start in 1999-00, he rebounded to score 26 times, but he notched only eight goals in 57 games the next year. A strong post-season in 2001 was not enough to convince the Toronto brass to re-sign him, so Thomas relocated to Chicago for the 2001-02 season and the better part of 2002-03 season before the team traded him to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in the latter stages of the season.

Upon his arrival with the Ducks, Thomas was a key contributor to the team's late season success and their drive to the Stanley Cup final. Although the Ducks lost in seven games to the New Jersey Devils, Thomas solidified himself as a valuable asset to the team.

After the Ducks opted not to re-sign the veteran forward, Anaheim's lost was the Detroit Red Wings gain, as the team signed Thomas as a free-agent in the early stages of the 2003-04 season. Thomas would compete in 44 games with the Red Wings in 2003-04 and following the NHL lockout he would try out for the Toronto Maple Leafs only to be cut before start of the season.

Thomas012xv4_medium

via img134.imageshack.us

 

 

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