Leaf of the Day - Jan 30-Feb 1, 2009 - Doug Gilmour

Editor's Note: Heading into this weekend and the honouring of Dougie's # 93 he gets the greatest honour bestowed upon him: He's the weekend's Leaf of the Day.

Jan 30-Feb 1, 2009 - Doug Gilmour


On Jan 2, 1992, I was driving with a bunch of friends (we were all home from university and there were still a few days before we'd all head back) when the news broke that the Leafs had just made a huge deal with the Calgary Flames.  It had been rumoured for a while that something was brewing involving Leeman and Gilmour.  I wasn't too thrilled at the thought of it.  Gilmour had never been a player I was terribly fond of (memories of St. Louis/Toronto games) and I didn't see how he was going to help the Leafs.

As the specifics of the deal were read out, we all started laughing.  This was a freaking steal.  The Gilmour/Leeman aspects were expected, but when we heard that Macoun, Nattress, Wamsley and a kid were coming our way, this was huge. 

As that season progressed, the acquisition of Macoun and Nattress really did prove to be a big deal.  They were instantly the best defensive pairing we had and they could end the nonsense that typically went on in the Leaf zone better than anyone.

But Gilmour was something else entirely.  The Leafs went on a pretty good roll after that trade and were closing in on a playoff spot when there was a short labour stoppage.  It couldn't have even lasted two weeks, but it killed their momentum and the Leafs missed the playoffs in the last couple of days.

In one of the preview guides for 1992-93, it was said of Gilmour that "anything less than the 49 points in 40 games he provided won't be enough for the Leafs."  Little did they know....

As far as I'm concerned, Doug Gilmour is the best Leaf I ever saw.  I missed Keon because I was too little when he was here.  I missed most of Sittler because I wasn't into hockey at the time and I really remember him as a Flyer.  Gilmour?  Well, to this day I've never seen anyone who made me believe he would find a way to get it done more than he could. 

When Gilmour was traded in 1997, it ushered in a real dark period.  The Leafs would eventually recover as a team and go on some pretty good runs, but it never really recaptured the spirit of Gilmour's teams.  The Leafs of about 2002 were more talented, but lacked that other ingredient somehow.  When Gilmour was reacquired in 2003, that seemed like the missing piece of the puzzle.  That team now had the kind of grit needed to win a championship.  When his career ended a handful of shifts into that first game in Calgary, the Leaf Cup hopes ended with it.

Saturday night, they'll put his number into the rafters.  Some guy on the radio the other day was ranting that his number shouldn't be there, that it was just a sign of how bad the Leafs had been that they would even consider this.  Utter nonsense.  Doug Gilmour singlehandedly put this team back on the map and gave it its best moments of the past four decades.  He deserves it as much as anyone.

Game 1 vs. St Louis

Post-game from game 1 vs. LA.  Melrose is, well, Melrose.

Dougie's stats:

1978-79  Kingston Legionnaires   Minor-ON                      
1979-80  Kingston Voyageurs  OHA-B  15 2 5 7 26
1979-80  Belleville Bobcats  OHA-B  25 9 14 23 18
1980-81  Cornwall Royals  QMJHL  51 12 23 35 35 19 8 13 21 6
1980-81  Canada  WJC-A  5 0 0 0 0
1980-81  Cornwall Royals  M-Cup  5 2 5 7 8
1981-82  Cornwall Royals  OHL  67 46 73 119 42 5 6 9 15 2
1982-83  Cornwall Royals  OHL  68 70 107 177 62 8 8 10 18 16
1983-84  St. Louis Blues  NHL  80 25 28 53 57 +6 11 2 9 11 10
1984-85  St. Louis Blues  NHL  78 21 36 57 49 +3 3 1 1 2 2
1985-86  St. Louis Blues  NHL  74 25 28 53 41 -3 19 9 12 21 25
1986-87  St. Louis Blues  NHL  80 42 63 105 58 -2 6 2 2 4 16
1987-88  Canada  Can-Cup  8 2 0 2 4
1987-88  St. Louis Blues  NHL  72 36 50 86 59 -13 10 3 14 17 18
1988-89  Calgary Flames  NHL  72 26 59 85 44 +45 22 11 11 22 20
1989-90  Calgary Flames  Fr-Tour  4 1 3 4 4
1989-90  Calgary Flames  NHL  78 24 67 91 54 +20 6 3 1 4 8
1989-90  Canada  WEC-A  9 1 4 5 18
1990-91  Calgary Flames  NHL  78 20 61 81 144 +27 7 1 1 2 0
1991-92  Calgary Flames  NHL  38 11 27 38 46 +12
1991-92  Toronto Maple Leafs  NHL  40 15 34 49 32 +13          
1992-93  Toronto Maple Leafs  NHL  83 32 95 127 100 +32 21 10 25 35 30
1993-94  Toronto Maple Leafs  NHL  83 27 84 111 105 +25 18 6 22 28 42
1994-95  SC Rapperswil-Jona  Swiss  9 2 13 15 16
1994-95  Toronto Maple Leafs  NHL  44 10 23 33 26 -5 7 0 6 6 6
1995-96  Toronto Maple Leafs  NHL  81 32 40 72 77 -5 6 1 7 8 12
1996-97  Toronto Maple Leafs  NHL  61 15 45 60 46 -5          
1996-97  New Jersey Devils  NHL  20 7 15 22 22 +7 10 0 4 4 14
1997-98  New Jersey Devils  NHL  63 13 40 53 68 +10 6 5 2 7 4
1998-99  Chicago Blackhawks  NHL  72 16 40 56 56 -16
1999-00  Chicago Blackhawks  NHL  63 22 34 56 51 -12
1999-00  Buffalo Sabres  NHL  11 3 14 17 12 +3 5 0 1 1 0
2000-01  Buffalo Sabres  NHL  71 7 31 38 70 +3 13 2 4 6 12
2001-02  Montreal Canadiens  NHL  70 10 31 41 48 -7 12 4 6 10 16
2002-03  Montreal Canadiens  NHL  61 11 19 30 36 -6
2002-03  Toronto Maple Leafs  NHL  1 0 0 0 0 0          
Leaf Totals    393 131 321 452 386 +55 52 17 60 77 90
NHL Totals  1474 450 964 1414 1301 +132 182 60 128 188 235

OHL First All-Star Team (1983)
OHL MVP (1983)
Frank J. Selke Trophy (1993)
Played in NHL All-Star Game (1993, 1994)

- Traded to Calgary by St. Louis with Mark Hunter, Steve Bozek and Michael Dark for Mike Bullard, Craig Coxe and Tim Corkery, September 6, 1988.
- Traded to Toronto by Calgary with Jamie Macoun, Ric Nattress, Kent Manderville and Rick Wamsley for Gary Leeman, Alexander Godynyuk, Jeff Reese, Michel Petit and Craig Berube, January 2, 1992.
- Traded to New Jersey by Toronto with Dave Ellett and New Jersey's 3rd round choice (previously acquired, New Jersey selected Andre Lakos) in 1999 Entry Draft for Jason Smith, Steve Sullivan and the rights to Alyn McCauley, February 25, 1997.

- Signed as a free agent by Chicago, July 28, 1998.
- Traded to Buffalo by Chicago with J.P. Dumont for Michal Grosek, March 10, 2000.
- Signed as a free agent by Montreal, October 5, 2001.
- Traded to Toronto by Montreal for Toronto's 6th round choice (Mark Flood) in 2003 Entry Draft, March 11, 2003.
- Officially announced retirement, September 8, 2003.

the HHOF take on Dougie:

When Doug Gilmour made the move to the Cornwall Royals in the OHL, he was a solid defensive forward who could also score, although his size was considered a major stumbling block in the eyes of most NHL scouts. In his first year with the Royals, 1980-81, Gilmour was 5'9" and 150 pounds.

Though he would gain a couple of inches in his three years in Cornwall, he didn't add many extra pounds. What did add up in the OHL were his offensive numbers. After an early injury curtailed his effectiveness in Cornwall's 1981 Memorial Cup championship, he returned to score 46 goals and 119 points in 1981-82.

Cornwall repeated as Memorial Cup champions and Gilmour, who had been passed over in his first year of draft eligibility, was selected by the St. Louis Blues in the seventh round, 134th overall. He was returned to junior hockey by the Blues for the 1982-83 season and set the OHL on fire with 70 goals and 177 points capturing the Eddie Poweres Trophy as the OHL's leading scorer. He set a record with a 55 consecutive games scoring streak and was named the league's most valuable player.

Still, Gilmour's size worried management in St. Louis and he almost began his pro career in Germany when he couldn't reach a deal with the Blues. St. Louis finally signed him and he joined the team two weeks before the 1983-84 season. Gilmour found himself near the bottom of the team's depth chart at center, but a depleted roster allowed him to play on the fourth line as a defensive specialist and he returned to his checking ways. The Blues' captain at the time, Brian Sutter, nicknamed Gilmour "Killer" for his intensity.

After three full seasons hovering around 50 points, Gilmour began to play a more open game and during the 1986 playoffs, he had 21 points in 19 games when the Blues came within a game of advancing to the Stanley Cup finals. The next season, 1986-87, he finished the regular schedule with a career-high 42 goals and 105 points and was selected to represent Team Canada at the 1987 Canada Cup. He scored two important goals in the series against the Soviet Union and was instrumental in Canada's victory at the tournament.

After another solid season in St. Louis, Gilmour was traded to the Calgary Flames at the beginning of the 1988-89 campaign. In Calgary, Gilmour continued his strong play in the playoffs, adding 22 points in 22 games as the Flames won the Stanley Cup in 1989. Gilmour scored the series-winning goal in game six of the finals against Montreal. Halfway through the 1991-92 season, Gilmour became increasingly disenchanted with his pay from the Flames and an arbitrator's decision that saw his salary increase less than he expected. He decided to leave the team, but only a few hours later he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a blockbuster deal involving 10 players, the largest trade in league history.

Gilmour played his best hockey with the Leafs. He was a pesky defensive forward who seemed fearless in his checking. Offensively, he was the focal point of an improving team, setting a franchise record with 127 points in his first full season with Toronto in 1992-93. He became only the second Leaf after Darryl Sittler to register over a hundred points in a season and also led the team to within a game of the Stanley Cup finals, placing second in playoff scoring and leading the league with 25 assists. Gilmour placed second to Mario Lemieux in the race for the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player and won the Selke Trophy as the top defensive forward, a remarkable achievement for a player with such offensive numbers.

Gilmour had 111 points the next season, earning his second consecutive spot in the All-Star Game. He once again led the Leafs to the semifinals in the playoffs. Gilmour was named the team captain in 1994-95 before the lockout shortened season and remained a popular player in Toronto even as the team began to struggle. When the Leafs went into rebuilding mode midway through the 1996-97 season, Gilmour was sent to the New Jersey Devils. He spent one full season with the defense oriented Devils and was signed as a free agent by the Chicago Blackhawks in the summer of 1998. In the spring of 2000, he was traded to the Buffalo Sabres. Where his productivity lacked and he contemplated retirement. Gilmour then signed on as a free agent with the Montreal Canadiens in October 2001, and went on to play parts of two seasons with the Habs before he was dealt back to Toronto at the trading deadline in 2003.

In his first game back with the Leafs, Gilmour injured his knee in an innocent collision which ended his season. He officially announced his retirement on September 8, 2003 after Toronto Maple Leaf General Manager John Ferguson Jr. declined to re-sign him. Over the course of his distinguished playing career, Gilmour registered 1414 points on the strength of 450 goals and 964 assists.

In September of 2006, Gilmour decided to re-join the Maple Leafs organization as a player talent evaluator.  


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