Feb 6-8, 2009 - Pete Stemkowski
Lost in the mythology surrounding the 1967 Cup victory is the fact that the Leafs got some great performances from their kids. Jim Pappin's play is probably first and foremost, but a guy who really shouldn't be overlooked is Pete Stemkowski - a big winger with some hands who could drive the net and cause problems. He was an up and comer with the Leafs for a number of seasons, and 1967 was really his Leaf peak.
Pappin and Stemkowski were young, but they weren't alone. I've talked about this sort of thing before. We hear all the stories of Punch's Old Guys, we see the footage of Armstrong scoring that clincher with Kelly, Horton et al on the ice. We don't hear of Pronovost and Hillman allowing just one even-strength goal against through two rounds, and we certainly don't hear that all the offense for that team came from guys 30 or less.
Look at the 1967 playoff scoring - age (at the start of the season) in brackets:
|Jim Pappin (26)||12||7||8||15||12|
|Pete Stemkowski (23)||12||5||7||12||20|
|Bob Pulford (30)||12||1||10||11||12|
|Frank Mahovlich (28)||12||3||7||10||8|
|Dave Keon (26)||12||3||5||8||0|
|Tim Horton (36)||12||3||5||8||25|
|Mike Walton (21)||12||4||3||7||2|
|Brian Conacher (25)||12||3||2||5||21|
|Leonard "Red" Kelly (39)||12||0||5||5||2|
|George Armstrong (36)||9||2||1||3||6|
|Ron Ellis (21)||12||2||1||3||4|
|Larry Hillman (29)||12||1||2||3||0|
|Allan Stanley (40)||12||0||2||2||10|
|Marcel Pronovost (36)||12||1||0||1||8|
|Larry Jeffrey (25)||6||0||1||1||4|
|Autry Erickson (28)||1||0||0||0||2|
|Milan Marcetta (29)||3||0||0||0||0|
|Eddie Shack (29)||8||0||0||0||8|
|Bob Baun (29)||10||0||0||0||4|
The Pappin-Pulford-Stemkowski line was huge for the Leafs, going 1-2-3 in scoring. The Cup-winning goal was caused by Pete going to the net, taking Terry Harper with him. Pappin's centering pass went in off Harper's skate. Stemmer originally was credited with it, but wound up later with an assist.
(Now, the problem with that 1967 team was that all their age was concentrated on the blue line and in goal. In the past few seasons, the Leafs had lost youngsters like Arnie Brown and Rod Seiling on defense (for Andy Bathgate) and Gerry Cheevers (for nothing - Imlach protected Sawchuk in the interleague draft instead) and Gary Smith (expansion draft) in net. When that blue line and goaltending had to be replaced, the cupboard was a lot more bare than it should have been and that's the start of the Leafs' troubles.)
For Stemkowski, the 1967 playoffs was the height of his Leaf career. He struggled through a lot of the 1967-68 season, as did most of the Leafs. As the trade deadline approached, he went to Detroit with Garry Unger (more youth), Frank Mahovlich and Carl Brewer for Ullman, Henderson, Smith and Barrie.
He never really became the star everyone thought/hoped he'd be, but he went on to a very solid NHL career, mostly with the Rangers.
|1963-64||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||1||0||0||0||2|
|1964-65||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||36||5||15||20||33||6||0||3||3||7|
|1965-66||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||56||4||12||16||55||4||0||0||0||26|
|1966-67||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||68||13||22||35||75||12||5||7||12||20|
|1967-68||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||60||7||15||22||82||-5|
|1967-68||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||13||3||6||9||4||-4|
|1968-69||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||71||21||31||52||81||+1|
|1969-70||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||76||25||24||49||114||+13||4||1||1||2||6|
|1970-71||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||10||2||2||4||8||-1|
|1970-71||New York Rangers||NHL||68||16||29||45||61||+16||13||3||2||5||6|
|1971-72||New York Rangers||NHL||59||11||17||28||53||+2||16||4||8||12||18|
|1972-73||New York Rangers||NHL||78||22||37||59||71||+28||10||4||2||6||6|
|1973-74||New York Rangers||NHL||78||25||45||70||74||+3||13||6||6||12||35|
|1974-75||New York Rangers||NHL||77||24||35||59||63||-3||3||1||0||1||10|
|1975-76||New York Rangers||NHL||75||13||28||41||49||-7|
|1976-77||New York Rangers||NHL||61||2||13||15||8||-14|
|1977-78||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||80||13||18||31||33||+1||2||1||0||1||2|
Played in NHL All-Star Game (1968)
- Traded to Detroit by Toronto with Frank Mahovlich, Garry Unger and the rights to Carl Brewer for Norm Ullman, Paul Henderson, Floyd Smith and Doug Barrie, March 3, 1968.
- Traded to NY Rangers by Detroit for Larry Brown, October 31, 1970.
- Signed as a free agent by Los Angeles, August 31, 1977.
the HHOF take on Pete:
Pete Stemkowski played his junior hockey in his hometown of Winnipeg from 1960 to 1962 when he went to Toronto to play for the Marlboros. He made his NHL debut with the Maple Leafs playing in one game that year. The next season saw Stemkowski split time with Toronto and their AHL affiliate in Rochester, but he spent the majority of his year with the big club the next season.
The 1966-67 season was Stemkowski's first full season in the NHL, and he helped the Leafs win the Stanley Cup. Midway through the next year, the Leafs traded Stemkowski to the Red Wings in a blockbuster deal that involved Frank Mahovlich, Garry Unger, Carl Brewer, Norm Ullman, Paul Henderson, and Floyd Smith. "Stemmer" played in the All-Star Game that year, and after three seasons in Detroit he was dealt once again, this time to the Rangers.
During his time in New York, the Rangers went to the semi-finals four straight years and to the Stanley Cup finals in 1972. That spring, they lost to the Bruins in six games. After seven years with the Rangers, Stemkowski became a free agent and signed with the L.A. Kings in 1977. He finished his NHL career in the 1977-78 season and played one final year in the AHL with the Springfield Indians before retiring.