History of the Maple Leafs Roster

It's the middle of the summer, my favorite hockey team hasn't done anything for a few weeks except for signing a defenseman to an extension, and I wanted a hockey fix without having to think of the CBA or a lockout or anything like that. So what do I do? I research and chart out how a team's current roster came to be through drafts, signings, and trades.

I've been doing this for a few years now over at Fear the Fin, with the latest edition posted on Monday. But with so little roster turnover for the Sharks, it was relatively quick to do, which got me thinking - which team's roster (besides the Kings, because screw them and Jeff Carter) would be interesting to see charted out, and would have lots of free agents so it wouldn't take forever and a day to make.

Which is why I'm posting now. Congrats! Your team's roster seems interesting. So click the chart below for a bigger image to see what the results are of my curiosity.

Large Version Here

The chart uses the roster from the Toronto Maple Leafs official site as of July 24, because I won't even pretend to be able to predict who does and doesn't make the team.

Roster History Breakdown by GM

GM Original Trades Roster FA Waiver Total
Cliff Fletcher 4 4 1 2 0 10
Ken Dryden 0 0 0 0 0 0
Pat Quinn 2 0 0 0 0 2
John Ferguson Jr. 3 1 3 1 0 8
Brian Burke 10 12 16 8 0 38
Total 19 17 20 11 1 58

Since Brian Burke took over the team on November 29, 2008, he has done everything he can to make the Leafs his team. In less than four seasons, he has managed to make it so that he is responsible for constructing 80% of the roster. In comparison, Doug Wilson has been the GM of the Sharks for nine years and is responsible for 86% of the roster. Granted, much of that has to do with John Ferguson Jr.'s infamous reign as GM and trying to overhaul what was left from that.

There are also quite a few free agents who make up this chart - 19% of the total number of players were signed as free agents, rather than drafted or traded for. Once again I compare that to the Sharks, who had 8% of their players signed as free agents.

Of the players on the roster, three were drafted by the Leafs using their own draft picks without any trades, five were signed as free agents, eleven were traded for, and one (James Reimer) was drafted using a pick that was traded for. That means sixteen of the roster players were drafted and developed outside of the organization.

Despite the relatively large percentage of the roster being traded for, there were only 17 trades made to get those players.

Of the trades made, JFJ traded with the Blackhawks; Cliff Fletcher traded with the Panthers, Blues, Canadiens, and Islanders; and Brian Burke traded with the Ducks, Bruins, Flames, Predators, Devils, Avalanche, Blackhawks, Thrashers, and Flyers. As you probably could have predicted, the only teams that Burke had multiple dealings with were the Ducks, Flames, and Bruins.

Original Draft Pick Breakdown

GM 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Cliff Fletcher 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 0
Ken Dryden 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Pat Quinn 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
John Ferguson Jr. 0 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 0
Brian Burke 3 2 1 2 1 0 1 0 0
Total 4 5 3 2 2 0 3 1 0

Ken Dryden, once again, put up all zeroes. I had to double-check that he was actually GM during that time frame.

A bit surprising that so few first round picks have been used, and half of those firsts are part of the Phil Kessel deal.

I thought it was interesting that despite being an Original 6 team and having the potential to go back to the early 1900s (which I was not looking forward to), Tomas Kaberle was the earliest player linked to by the current roster, a draft pick in 1996. Even then, there was a gap between 1996 and 2002 when the next players linked to the current roster appeared. There seems to not be an emphasis on asset value retention; that is, there aren't many trades made that have linked into decades past. After researching the Sharks' and Kings' rosters, both of which can be traced back to their respective expansion drafts, it's definitely different.

Another thing I noticed was that besides the possibilities of Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton, there weren't really any players that the Leafs really missed out on - Sharks missed players such as Chris Pronger, Vincent Lecavalier, and Marc Staal who were drafted with the picks they owned at one point. That could either mean the Leafs are good at getting the best possible value, or they've had good value but let that branch die out.

Random tidbit that you can't see on the chart: the picks the Maple Leafs traded to the Islanders for the Luke Schenn pick were all traded away by the Islanders before they were even used. Just thought that was odd.

The Jared Knight draft pick was used by the Leafs to acquire both Mikhail Grabovski and Phil Kessel in two separate transactions, making it the most useful draft pick on the chart.

I admit this is rather superficial analysis, so this is where I turn it over to you guys.

As always, huge thanks to Pro Sports Transactions, which is an invaluable resource in the research and creation of this chart. is a fan community that allows members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Toronto Maple Leafs and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editor of

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