Like Terry Sawchuk and Bruce Gamble, I leave this one up to you, the readers to decide.
Frank Mahovlich (1958-1968)
Stats: 717GP - 295G - 301A - 594Pts - 780PM
Calder trophy: 1958
Hart Trophy nominations: 1961 (4th), 1963 (5th)
Stanley Cup: 1962, 1963, 1964, 1967
Hockey Hall of Fame: 1982
Known throughout the hockey world as “The Big M”, Mahovlich spent the first decade of his NHL career with the Maple Leafs, jumping right into the NHL out of junior hockey. He would win the Calder trophy in his first season and nominated for the Hart trophy twice. Despite leading the Leafs in scoring, he didn’t have a great relationship with coach/GM Punch Imlach and sat out training camp in 1962 after feeling he was being lowballed in contract negotiations. Mahovlich was hospitalized twice for depression, which in the 1960’s made a Toronto Star reporter call him “a sensitive, easily-bruised individual”. He would help the Maple Leafs win four Stanley Cups before he was traded to the Detroit Red Wings in an eight player deal. He would play three seasons in Detroit before being traded to the Canadiens, where he would win two more Stanley Cups. He defected to the WHA, and played his final four pro seasons with the Toronto Toros/Birmingham Bulls. Mahovlich currently sits 6th in Maple Leafs goal scorers and seventh all time in points.
Darryl Sittler (1971-1982)
Stats: 844GP - 389G - 527A - 916Pts - 763PM
Hart Trophy nominations :1974 (9th), 1976 (9th), 1977 (9th), 1978 (3rd), 1979 (13th), 1980 (8th)
Hockey Hall of Fame: 1990
Darryl Sittler is best known for scoring ten points in one game against the Boston Bruins, you can find each point broken down here. Sittler was a first round pick for the Leafs in 1970, and like Mahovlich, he jumped right from junior into the NHL. He would go on to play 10 and a half season with the Maple Leafs, being captain for 5 seasons until he was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers. Also like Mahovlich, Sittler had a strenuous relationship with Punch Imlach, who was brought back to run the Leafs in 1979. Imlach made Sittler available for trades due to their poor relationship, but agent Alan Eagleson said it would take a $500,000 buyout to get Sittler to waive his no trade clause. Tos spite this Imlach traded Sittlers friend Lanny McDonald to the Colorado Rockies. Sittler would drop the captaincy in protest but pick it up again the following season. When he had enough of Ballard and Imlach, Sittler asked for a trade to any of the Flyers, Islanders, Sabres or North Stars. When the trade took too long he left the team. In January 1982 the deal was done and Sittler became a Philadelphia Flyer, ending his Leafs career. Sittler would play two more seasons with the Flyers and one with the Red Wings before retiring. He’s since patched things up with the team and is now a community ambassador for the Maple Leafs.
Shayne Corson (2001-2003)
Stats: 197GP - 27G - 47A - 74Pts - 358PM
Corson signed with then Leafs as a free agent in the 2000 offseason, leaving the Montreal Canadiens. The former Oilers and Blues captain played two and a half seasons with the Leafs, before leaving the team midway through the 2003 playoffs. There were plenty of rumours about why he left but he cited panic attacks and ulcerative colitis as the reasons for leaving. He played one more NHL season with the Dallas Stars before retiring. He makes appearances at Leafs alumni event, and one time at a ‘skate with the Leafs’ event he and I discussed getting old and needing glasses.
Lucien Deblois (1990-1992)
Stats: 92GP - 18G - 23A - 41Pts - 6PM
Early in the 1990-91 season the Leafs made a trade with the Quebec Nordiques to bring on Deblois, and he two half seasons with the Leafs before being traded to the Winnipeg Jets.
Kenny Girard (1957-1958/1960)
Stats: 7GP - 0G - 1A - 1Pts - 2PM
A minor league player, Girard was called up to the Leafs three times in his career, the only NHL games he would play.
Miroslav Ihnacak (1986-1987)
Stats: 55GP - 8G - 9A - 17Pts - 39PM
A ninth round pick for the Leafs, Ihnacak played out his ELC going up and down but wasn’t re-signed with the team. He would play three more pro seasons in North America, mostly with the Halifax Citadells of the AHL, before returning to Europe. He is currently the head coach of HK Michalovce in the second level Slovakian league.
John Kordic (1989-1991)
Stats: 104GP - 10G - 6A - 16Pts - 446PM
Kordic came to the Leafs from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Russ Courtnall. He’d play just over 100 games for the Leafs before the traded him to the Washington Capitals for a fifth round pick.
Bryan Marchment (2003-04)
Stats: 75GP - 1G - 3A - 4Pts - 106PM
Marchment joined the Maple Leafs as a free agent in the 2003 off-season. He wouldn’t be brought back after the cancelled season, and he played one more season in the NHL with the Flames before retiring. He’s currently a scout and development coach with the San Jose Sharks/San Jose Barracuda. His son Mason Marchment is currently playing with the Toronto Marlies.
Gerry Meehan (1968-69)
Stats: 25GP - 0G - 2A - 2Pts - 2PM
A Leafs fourth round pick who couldn’t crack the lineup, he was traded to the Flyers after his first NHL games. He would go on to play for both the expansion Sabres and Capitals before retiring. He would work in the Sabres front office for over 10 years, retiring as executive VP of hockey operations.
Gordie Nelson (1969-70)
Stats: 3GP - 0G - 0A - 0Pts - 11PM
A minor leaguer who played his three NHL games with the Leafs, he retired three seasons after making the show.
Mike Nykoluk (1956-57)
Stats: 32GP - 3G - 1A - 4Pts - 20PM
Nykoluk played his first three seasons in the Leafs organization, and after that he spent the rest of his career, 14 seasons, with the AHL Hershey Bears. He would start coaching in retirement and was the head coach of the Maple Leafs from 1980-1984.
Michael Peca (2006-07)
Stats: 35GP - 4G - 11A - 15Pts - 60PM
Peca joined the Leafs as a free agent in the 2006 off-season. There was lots of excitement in signing the former Islander/Sabre, but his season was cut short with injuries. He wouldn’t be re-signed and played his final two seasons with the Blue Jackets. He’s currently working with the Junior A Buffalo Jr Sabres.
Dave Semenko (1988)
Stats: 70GP - 2G - 3A - 5Pts - 107PM
Semenko was the big protector of the dynasty Oilers, and played his final season in Toronto. After playing he was a scout with the Edmonton Oilers for 18 years before retiring completely.
Who was the best #27 for the Maple Leafs?
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