This article was originally publish in September 2015, but due to a lack of news and hockey in general I’ve decided to fix, clean, and completely re-do some of my favourite articles from the past that needed a little re-working.
Sundin! Gilmour! Bower! Armstrong! Kennedy! Sittler!
These are names that every Leafs fan knows the history of. These are the men who are celebrated by the team years and decades past their accomplishments. But what about those stars who just stopped by for a quick cuppa and kept going on their way?
Those are the men we will celebrate today. Those great heroes of other teams who joined the ranks of the Blue & White Brotherhood only to see their time cut short, or only watch from the sidelines.
Who is our Blackhawks Bobby Orr, or our Blues Gretzky? Let’s dive into the shallow end and find out.
The rules for this game are skaters had to play less than 50 games for the Leafs, the shorter the better. They also could not start their career as a Maple Leaf. No players who got away. Goalies are below 20 games. Also included are the most popular videos I get when search player name + Maple Leafs. As you can see, video evidence doesn't always exist.
Olli Jokinen joined the Maple Leafs in on February 15th, 2015 in a trade with the Nashville Predators, Toronto sending Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli south and obtaining Jokinen and a first round pick in return (pick was traded to PHI for 29th overall and 61st overall. PHI took Travis Konecny).
OJ, as he loved being called, played six games for the Maple Leafs and scored no goals and made one assist during that time. He was traded to the St. Louis Blues at the trade deadline on March 2nd of the same year for Joakim Lindstrom and a 2016 sixth round pick.
Final Maple Leafs stats: 6GP - 0G - 1A - 1P - 2PM.
Ron Francis is an NHL Hall of Famer, won two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and played the majority of his career with the Whalers/Hurricanes. Then, on March 4th, 2004 he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a fourth round pick (sent to Columbus, CBJ drafted Jared Boll). Remember before the salary cap that the Leafs would trade picks for all the old players the Red Wings didn’t out bid them for? Sigh, I miss those days. Draft schmaft when you’re making the playoffs!
Francis played with the Leafs until they were eliminated by the Philadelphia Flyers in the last game they’d ever play in the second round of the NHL playoffs. He then retired and is now GM of the yet to be named Seattle NHL franchise.
Final Maple Leafs stats: 24 GP - 3G - 11A - 14P - 12PM
The Crown Prince of Poland became a Maple Leaf on September 10th, 2005. He had the unfortunate distinction of playing on the first “what’s a salary cap” Leafs of the new era. He wasn’t good enough for THAT team and was placed on waivers and claimed by Boston on March 8th, 2006.
Final Maple Leafs stats: 19GP - 4G - 1A - 5P - 6PM
I remember the day he was signed. August 11th, 2005. People were freaking out, so excited. “Forget the concussions the Leafs just got a goddamned superstar” they said (forgetting Mats Sundin...). You know what your superstar got ya? Less than half a season played due to injuries. Mind you, he was good during that time, but he wasn’t The Next One anymore. The Leafs didn’t re-sign Lindros in the off season and he played 52 more games for Dallas and retired.
Final Maple Leafs stats: 33GP - 11G - 11A - 22P - 43PM
When the Maple Leafs signed Michael Peca, a friend of a friend grabbed my by the shoulders and shook me yelling “WE’RE FINALLY GOONA BE RESPECTED! WHEN HE HITS YOU, YOU DON’T GET UP!” I was just wondering how he and Darcy Tucker would get along. Brought in for the 06/07 season as a free agent, Michael Peca played 35 games for the Leafs, then collided with Jim Vandermeer of the Blackhawks, broke his leg and was done for the season. He signed with the Blue Jackets the following off season.
Final Maple Leafs stats: 35GP - 4G - 11A - 15P - 60PM
In Brian Burke’s first move as Leafs GM, he acquired Brad May for future Considerations from the Ducks. May was brought in under Burkes’ “Grit, and Heart, and Leadership” directive and gritted and hearted and lead the Maple Leafs to...[checks standings] 24th overall. Well, I guess that’s why he wasn’t resigned in the off season. May sometimes appears at Maple Leafs alumni events, because he’s living close to the city, maybe?
Final Maple Leafs stats: 38GP - 1G - 1A - 2P - 61PM
Going way back to the 60’s with this one. Dickie Moore was a two time Art Ross winner, Hockey Hall of Famer, six time Stanley Cup Champion with the Montreal Canadiens, and three time NHL All-Star. So of course after 12 years in Montreal, not playing in the NHL for the 63-64 season, the Leafs claimed Moore in the intra-league draft. Moore played half a season for the Leafs in 64-65, didn’t play 66-67 and was traded to the Blues in 1968 for the rights to Pat Quinn. Thanks Dickie!
Final Maple Leafs stats: 38GP - 2G - 4A - 6P - 6PM
A salary dump by the Washington Capitals, Laich joined the Maple Leafs in the midst of their tank for Auston Matthews. He would make the roster by default, but would be sent to the Toronto Marlies in the 2016/17 season where he would play in only 27 games before being placed on waivers by the Leafs after he publicly stated he wanted out.
Final Maple Leafs stats: 21GP - 1 G - 6A - 7P - 2PM
Obtained in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins along with Luca Caputi in exchange for forward Alexei Ponikarovsky on March 2nd, 2010. He was then traded on March 3rd to the New Jersey Devils for a fifth round pick (Sam Carrick) in that years entry draft.
Final Maple Leafs stats: 0GP - 0G - 0A - 0P - 0PM
Calle Johansson retired on August 7th, 2003 after an 11 year career with the Washington Capitals. He then signed with the Maple Leafs on March 9th, 2004. No, I didn’t get the dates wrong. He played the rest of the season and retired for good after that season. That’s JFJ’s Maple Leafs for ya!
Final Maple Leafs stats: 12GP - 0G - 10A - 10P - 2PM
Wesley is a New England legend. Drafted third overall by the Boston Bruins in 1987 he played seven years in Boston before being shipped down the coast to Hartford for three first round picks. Wesley was with the Whalers for another 8.5 season when, on an expiring contract, he was moved to Toronto for a second round pick (traded to Columbus, CBJ picks Kyle Wharton). Wesley played seven games for the Leafs and re-signed with the Hurricanes in the off season. He would win the cup with Carolina in 2006.
Final Maple Leafs stats: 7GP - 0G - 3A - 3P - 4PM
A journeyman on defense, Brewer joined his sixth NHL team at the 2015 trade deadline when the Leafs sent Korbinian Holzer west for Brewer and a 2016 fifth round pick. Brewer played his 1000th game as a Maple Leafs and was honoured by the Leafs for this accomplishment. He was released as a free agent the following summer.
Final Maple Leafs stats: 18GP - 2G - 3A - 5P - 12PM
Brian Leetch is a hero to Rangers fans, playing 17 years in New York, and helping to break the Rangers 54 year cup drought in 1994. In 2004 the Rangers weren’t too hot and sold off their veterans. Leetch came to Toronto in exchange for Maxim Kondratiev, Jarkko Immonen, a 2004 first round pick (traded to Calgary, Flames picked Kris Chucko) and a 2nd in 2005 (Michael Sauer). Leetch’s arrival stirred up a lot of excitement in Toronto, but the Flyers had other thoughts and ended the Leafs run in the second round. Leetch was under contract for a second year, but the season long lockout made him a free agent and he signed with Boston for the 2005/2006 season.
Final Maple Leafs stats: 15GP - 2G - 13A - 15P - 11PM
Housley is in the US Hockey Hall of Hame and the normal one, as well as the Buffalo Sabres hall of fame. However this will be the only Maple Leafs honour he will receive. The Maple Leafs picked up Housley for a 2003 fourth round pick (Karel Hromas) and a ninth round pick (Chris Porter) at the 2003 trade deadline. He would play one regular season game, get injured, and make it back for the final three playoff games, then retire in the off-season.
Final Maple Leafs stats: 4GP - 0G - 0A - 0P - 2PM
Ollie the Goalie is the inspiration for this list. After 16 years in Washington, taking the team to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1998, he signed a 1 year deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning. It was not meant to be as Kolzig was injured in December 2008, leaving the then not financially secure Lightning to eat his salary. At the trade deadline that year the Lightning moved Kolzig, Jamie Heward, Andy Rogers, and Carolina’s fourth round pick for Richard Petioit.
Gord Miller on TSN: “including Richard Petiot actually makes this, by definition, a hockey trade.”
The Leafs took a fourth round pick to save the Lightning 500k. Kolzig never played for the Leafs, but remains the one sweater I want.
Oh, and the Leafs had to forfeit the pick they got for violating the CBA when signing Jonas Frogen.
Final Maple Leafs stats: The most Maple Leafsy trade ever
Barrasso was traded by the Sabres to Pittsburgh in 1988. five years later he’d have two cup rings. He would play with Pittsburgh until 2000 then he’d bounce around the league. The Leafs grabbed him at the 2002 trade deadline as a back up to Curtis Jospeh. Barrasso would play four games for the Leafs as he shared the non-CuJo time with Corey Schwab.
Final Maple Leafs Stats: 4GP - 2W - 2L - .909sv% - 2.74GAA
At the 2009 trade deadline the Ottawa Senators would place Martin Gerber on waivers. Vesa Toskola was injured so most people thought the Leafs would run CuJo and Justin Pogge as they dropped in the standings for the Tavares draft. But at the last moment Brian Burke nabbed Gerber off waivers. Gerber would win six games for the Leafs, adding 12 points to their total and drafting in the seventh position. Yes, they got Kadri, but what if they lost those games? That’d put them in third last. Maybe we could have had John Tavares a decade earlier?
Okay I’m still a little mad/confused about this move.
Final Maple Leafs stats - 12GP 6W 5L - .905sv% - 3.23GAA
There we have it, the best of the best of guys who barely count as Leafs. My starting line up for this team of misfits would be a line who can score and scare the opponents with Eric Lindros and Mike Peca lining up on either side of Ron Francis. Glen Wesley and Brian Leetch start on defense with Olaf Kolzig in net for the Leafs for the first time ever. Tom Barasso backs him up, Gerber is put on waivers to ruins someone else’s lottery oddds.