Apr 9-12, 2009 - Todd Gill
Good things come to those who wait.
And with Todd Gill, we waited a long time.
Todd Gill spent most of the 80s getting the kind of treatment normally reserved for the Cory Crosses and Anders Ericksons of the world. He was a young defenseman on a team that generally ate young defensemen, and he was a guy whose best attributes were offensive on a team that needed, but couldn't play, defense. Todd was also the sort of person who could never really seem to get away with an error. Where other defensemen could give the puck up and be bailed out, Todd seemed doomed to always have things wind up in the back of the net.
In the most famous example of a "Gillaway," in a 1988 game between Toronto and Chicago to determine whether the Leafs would get the last playoff spot, Todd was coming out of his own zone in the last minute. The Leafs needed a goal and Todd was starting the rush. Out of nowhere, Troy Murray picked his pocket and walked in alone on Allan Bester, beating him cleanly and ending the Leaf season. He was a nice kid, but if that sort of thing was going to happen to anyone, it was going to happen to Todd.
The best thing that happened to Todd was the arrival of Pat Burns in 1992. Pat knew how to work with him and almost overnight, it seemed, he matured into a really solid two-way presence on what is still the best Leaf defense I have ever seen. Todd became a guy who could score key goals and clean up in his own end. He became a plus player for the first time in his career and was a real asset on the blue line. It was a real nice thing to see.
As the Leafs started to falter, Todd was sent off to San Jose, where he began a whirlwind tour of other NHL cities. San Jose, St. Louis, Detroit, Phoenix, Colorado and Chicago all found that they could use a veteran like Todd, and despite almost being run out on a rail in 1988, he managed to play in the NHL until 2003.
He who laughs last laughs best, and Todd, well, he's smiling, at least.
Just in case you thought it was a new thing to have to fight after a clean hit, Dirk Graham proves otherwise (and LOOK!!!!! It's the living, breathing minus 1! Ken Hammond, #29. First evidence I've seen that he wasn't just a figment of my imagination.)
A Todd Gill tribute (apparently, all he did was fight. Odd, I do remember goals.):
|1984-85||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||10||1||0||1||13||-1|
|1985-86||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||15||1||2||3||28||0||1||0||0||0||0|
|1985-86||St. Catharines Saints||AHL||58||8||25||33||90||10||1||6||7||17|
|1986-87||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||61||4||27||31||92||-3||13||2||2||4||42|
|1987-88||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||65||8||17||25||131||-20||6||1||3||4||20|
|1988-89||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||59||11||14||25||72||-3|
|1989-90||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||48||1||14||15||92||-8||5||0||3||3||16|
|1990-91||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||72||2||22||24||113||-4|
|1991-92||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||74||2||15||17||91||-22|
|1992-93||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||69||11||32||43||66||+4||21||1||10||11||26|
|1993-94||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||45||4||24||28||44||+8||18||1||5||6||37|
|1994-95||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||47||7||25||32||64||-8||7||0||3||3||6|
|1995-96||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||74||7||18||25||116||-15||6||0||0||0||24|
|1996-97||San Jose Sharks||NHL||79||0||21||21||101||-20|
|1997-98||San Jose Sharks||NHL||64||8||13||21||31||-13|
|1997-98||St. Louis Blues||NHL||11||5||4||9||10||+2||10||2||2||4||10|
|1998-99||St. Louis Blues||NHL||28||2||3||5||16||-6|
|1998-99||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||23||2||2||4||11||-4||2||0||1||1||0|
|1999-00||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||13||2||0||2||15||+2||9||0||1||1||4|
|2000-01||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||68||3||8||11||53||+17||5||0||0||0||8|
|2000-01||Cincinnati Mighty Ducks||AHL||2||0||1||1||2||+1|
|2003-04||Lausitzer Fuchse Weisswasser||German-3||17||2||11||13||38||4||1||1|
|2003-04||Lausitzer Fuchse Weisswasser||German-3||8||4||8||12||4|
- Traded to San Jose by Toronto for Jamie Baker and San Jose's 5th round choice (Peter Cava) in 1996 Entry Draft, June 14, 1996.
- Traded to St. Louis by San Jose for Joe Murphy, March 24, 1998.
- Claimed on waivers by Detroit from St. Louis, December 30, 1998.
- Signed as a free agent by Phoenix, July 21, 1999.
- Traded to Detroit by Phoenix for Philippe Audet, March 13, 2000.
- Signed as a free agent by Colorado, July 24, 2001.
- Released by Colorado, February 12, 2002.
- Signed as a free agent by Chicago, March 5, 2003.
- Signed as a free agent by Florida, August 20, 2003.
- Signed as a free agent by EC Weibwasser (Germany), December 26, 2003.
The HHOF take on Todd:
Defenceman Todd Gill entered his 18th NHL season in 2001-02 as defensive insurance on the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche. A more offensive blueliner early in his career, he played a simplified positional game to elongate his big league tenure.
Born in Cardinal, Ontario, Gill played junior B with the hometown Broncos and the Brockville Braves before joining the OHL's Windsor Spitfires. He was drafted 25th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1984. The young rearguard played most of the 1984-85 season in junior but was given a 10-game look by the dreadful Leafs.
Gill spent most of the 1985-86 season with the AHL's St. Catharines Saints then made the Leafs out of training camp the next year. He scored 31 points in 1986-87 and remained a regular with the club through the 1995-96 season. Gill thrived under coach Pat Burns and recorded 11 goals and 43 points in 1992-93. He also provided mobility and grit on the team as they reached the semifinals in 1993 and 1994.
Prior to the 1996-97 season, the veteran netminder was traded to the San Jose Sharks for Jamie Baker and a draft pick. He also spent time lending experience and depth in St. Louis, Phoenix and Detroit before coming to terms with Colorado in July, 2001. The veteran rearguard went on to play only one season in Colorado before joining the Chicago Blackhawks in the summer of 2002. In his only season with the Blackhawks organization, Gill split his time with the parent club and its AHL affiliate in Norfolk before joining the AHL's Springfield Falcons.
In the summer of 2003, Gill joined his ninth NHL franchise when he signed with the Florida Panthers. However, Gill was released from the club in October and would travel overseas to compete in 25 games with Lausitzer Fuchse Weisswasser in Germany. Following his stint in Germany, Gill officially retired from hockey.