The 80’s were the decade of greed, or so pop culture has me believe. Which is apt because the 80s for the Leafs hoarded talent and kept unworthy people out.
#89 Alexander Mogilny (2002-2004)
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Alex Mogilny joined the Maple Leafs as a free agent in 2001 after playing for New Jersey (winning the cup there in 2000), Vancouver, and Buffalo. His brief time in Toronto (176 regular season games) was perfectly timed as the Maple Leafs we at their best since the ‘93 playoffs during his time there, ending playoff runs in the conference finals and conference semi-finals (look, that’s the best we can hope for as Leafs fans these days), and won the Lady Byng award in 2003. His time with the Leafs ended after the NHL teams voted to cancel the 04-05 season and wiped out the remaining year on his contract. Mogilny is now president of Amur Khabarovsk of the KHL.
As a note; Mogilny wore #89 because that is the year he defected from the Soviet Union to join the Buffalo Sabres.
#88 - Eric Lindros (2005-2006)
Eric Lindros was a Maple Leafs fan his entire childhood, and eventually, after the cancelled season, he fulfilled his dream of donning the blue and white. He played only one season in Toronto, and it was cut short by injuries. He played only 33 games for the Leafs. Lindros will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame this November.
#84 Mikhail Grabovski (2009-2013)
Acquired by Toronto from Montreal for Greg Pateryn and a 2008 second round pick (to:CHI, to:TOR, to:BOS, BOS: Jared Knight) Grabovski would spend 300+ games with the Leafs, including playing for their only playoff team since 2004, and was then bought out of his contract with the team in the summer of 2013. He would sign with the Islanders, along with linemate Nikolai Kulemin, and has spawned countless internet arguments ever since.
#81 Phil Kessel (2010-2015)
Controversial when he arrived (acquired from Boston for two first round picks and a second (Dougie Hamilton, Tyler Seguin, and Jared Knight) controversial when he left (traded for Nick Spaling, Scott Harrington, a ‘16 1st round pick (to:ANA, ANA: Sam Steele) and a 2nd (to:PIT, PIT: Kasper Bjorkqvist) and $2mm in retained salary per year), Phil Kessel was the highlight of the post-cancelled season Maple Leafs.
Brought in when management thought the team was heading to contender status, Kessel led the team offensively for his time here. Not a favourite of some fans or media members, it should have been hard to deny the impact he had on the team. 394 points, 181 goals, so many highlight reel plays, Kessel was a bright spot in a decade of despair. On July 1st 2015 he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins and would lead the team in playoff scoring as they captured the 2016 Stanley Cup.
It's hard to find new words that haven't been written about Phil, so here's all his goals instead.
#80 Nik Antropov (2003-2009)
Drafted 10th overall in 1998 by the Maple Leafs, Antropov spent the first nine years of his NHL career in Toronto, taking the number 80 after giving his #11 to Owen Nolan when the latter joined the team. A solid player for most of his time here, Antropov was traded at the 2009 trade deadline to the New York Rangers as the team tried to get picks for aging assets. After two years in the KHL, Antropov is now retired.
Antropov loved the city and has stayed in the GTA with his family, even after his time with the Leafs ended. His son Danil will begin playing with the OHL’s Oshawa General this season.
Any new Leafs, if they can manage it, can be the first to wear these numbers: 87, 86, 85, 83, and 82.
If they can get Lou to break his jersey number rule...
Numbers and stats came from Hockey-Reference.com