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Maple Leafs by the Numbers #7: Horton, Clancy, or Bentley?

Oh wait there’s Lanny McDonald and Joe Primeau too.... 

Legends Row

Back and on schedule, today there were five or so candidates to choose from, but I don’t see anyone but Horton taking this number.

Tim Horton (1953-70)
Stats: 1110GP - 107G - 335A - 442Pts - 1294PM
Stanley Cup: 1962, 63, 64, 67

Tim Horton would join the Maple Leafs full time after three seasons with the AHL Pittsburgh Hornets. He would switch to #7 after his first full NHL season in #16.

Horton mostly played defence for the Maple Leafs but at times would be made a winger. He was extremely strong, and would use his body strength to remove people from the puck and make his presence known, but not in a dangerous way. Bobby Hull described him this way:

There were defencemen you had to fear because they were vicious and would slam you into the boards from behind, for one, Eddie Shore. But you respected Tim Horton because he didn't need that type of intimidation. He used his tremendous strength and talent to keep you in check.

In the 1960’s Horton helped the Maple Leafs win four Stanley Cups, in 1962, 63, 6, and the final one in 1967. Finally, at age 40, after 18 seasons with the Maple Leafs, Horton would be traded to the New York Rangers for Denis Dupere. He would play one more season in New York before signing with the Pittsburgh Penguins for one season. Former Leafs GM Punch Imlach would woo him to the Sabres, including giving him a new car as a signing bonus for the 73-74 season.

It as in this car that he got into the single car collision that would take his life. He was driving back to Buffalo from a Sabres - Leafs game in Toronto, making a stop at the Tim Horton’s restaurant offices in Oakville, and he would lose control of the car halfway to Buffalo in St. Catharines, leaving the highway and hitting the median, rolling the car, and died in hospital due to injuries he suffered in the accident and being thrown from the vehicle.

Tim Horton would be inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1977, he was added to Maple Leafs Legends Row and his #7 was retired (alongside King Clancy) at the start of the 2016-17 season.

Francis ‘King’ Clancy (1931-36)
Stats: 286GP - 52G - 87A - 130Pts - 383PM
Stanley Cup: 1932

When people talk about the great Leafs from the early days of the franchise, King Clancy is always a name that is brought up immediately. He’s spoken of in such awe and held deep into the Maple Leafs lore, that looking him up, I was surprised to learn he was with the original Ottawa Senators longer than he was with the Leafs.

Ahead of the start of the 1930-31 season, Clancy was traded to Toronto from Ottawa for Eric Pettinger, Art Smith, and $35,000. A solid, dependable defender, Clancy would chip in around 20 points a season, but after six seasons in Toronto, Clancy would retire six games into the 36-37 season, not being able to keep up with the game anymore.

Clancy wouldn’t be away from Toronto for long, after retirement he took up coaching, and would join the Maple Leafs in 1953 as head coach until 1956, then rejoin the team as an assistant coach from 1961-69, and half a season as head coach again in 1972. He would have various front office roles in between coaching, remaining a Leafs staff member until his death in 1986.

The Maple Leafs retired his #7 before the start of the 2016-17 season.

Max Bentley (1947-53)
Stats: 354GP - 122G - 134A - 256Pts - 132PM
Stanley Cup: 1948, 49, 51

Bentley joined the Leafs at the start of the 47-48 season in a seven player deal with the Blackhawks, after an Art Ross and Hart winning season. NHL President Clarence Campbell called the traded ‘As significant as the Maple Leafs acquiring King Clancy”. He would centre the Leafs for six seasons, helping them win three Stanley Cups. He would challenge the top scorers in the league as he tried again to claim the coring title, but would fall just short each time. Bentley would score 40+ points each season, aside from his final year in Toronto. After the 52-54 season he would sign with the New York Rangers for one more pro season.

Lanny McDonald (1973-79)
Stats: 477GP - 219G - 240A - 459Pts - 372PM

A first round pick for the Leafs, McDonald spent seven seasons in Toronto. Two slow seasons to start his career (30, 44 points) almost led to him becoming a Flame earlier than he did. Atlanta was ready to take the disappointing rookie off the Leafs hands, but when McDonald found his scoring touch, the Leafs backed out of the deal.

McDonald would score between 93 and 85 points the next four seasons, but would become the victim of a fight between management and the players in 1979. When Darryl Sittler refused to waiver his no trade clause, the Leafs would send his best friend Lanny to the Colorado Rockies instead.

McDonald would be traded by Colorado to the Flames, where he would win the King Clancy and Masterson awards, as well as a Stanley Cup in 1989.

Joe Primeau (1927-36)
Stats: 310GP - 66G - 177A - 243Pts - 105PM
Stanley Cup, Lady Byng: 1932

Primeau joined the Leafs to start his professional career, and made the team full time in the 1929-30 season. He would score up to 50 points in a season in his prime, and help the Leafs win the Cup in 1932, as well he was awarded the Lady Byng trophy for scoring 50 points while only taking 25 penalty minutes. After scoring a career low 17 points in 35-36, he retired as a player. He would be back in Toronto as the teams head coach in 1950, coaching the team to a Stanley Cup in 1951. He would remain in the post for three seasons.

Other 7’s

Terry Clancy (1972-73)
Stats: 32GP - 0G - 1A - 1Pt - 6PM

The son of King Clancy wouldn’t become as big a star as his father. He wore #21 in his longest stint with the Leafs in 69-70, but he would wear his fathers number in his final NHL games.

Dan Cox (1926-30)
Stats: 115GP - 22G - 18A - 40Pts - 63PM

Cox played three and a half season with the Maple Leafs before being traded to the Ottawa Senators for Frank Nighbor.

Garnet Exelby (2009-10)
Stats: 51GP - 1G - 3A - 4Pts - 73PM

Joining the Leafs from the Thrashers on a July 1st 2009 with Colin Stuart for Pavel Kubina and Tim Stapleton, Exelby played his final NHL season with the Maple Leafs before playing three years in the AHL, and two in Europe.

Kelly Fairchild (1996-97)
Stats: 51GP - 1G - 3A - 4Pts - 73PM

Joining the Leafs in a six player deal with the Kings, Fairchild mostly played in the minors with a couple call ups to the Leafs.

Jim Harrison (1971-72)
Stats: 66GP - 19G - 17A - 36Pts - 104PM

Traded by the Bruins to the Leafs for Wayne Carleton. Harrison played his final season with the Leafs in #7, and after 71-72 he would sign with the Alberta Oilers of the WHA.

Jim Herberts (1927-28)
Stats: 31GP - 7G - 1A - 8Pts - 40PM

For one season of Herberts, the Leafs sent the Bruins Eric Pettinger and $15,000. In the 1928 off-season Herberts would be traded to the Detroit Cougars for Jack Arnour and $12,500.

Rudoplh ‘Bingo’ Kampman (1937-42)
Stats: 189GP - 14G - 30A - 34Pts - 287PM
Stanley Cup: 1942

Bingo played five NHL season, all with the Maple Leafs, and helped them win the 1942 Stanley Cup.

Butch Keeling (1926-28)
Stats: 73GP - 21G - 8A - 29Pts - 81PM

Keeling made his NHL debut with the Leafs, and played two seasons here before being traded to the New York Rangers for Stats: Alex Gray.

Derek King (1997-99)
Stats: 161GP - 45G - 53A - 98Pts - 65PM

King played two seasons with the Leafs before being traded to the Blues a few games into the 99-00 season for Tyler Harlton.

Bert McCaffery (1924-27)
Stats: 118GP - 30G - 19A - 48Pts - 106PM

Played three seasons with the Leafs/St. Patricks before being traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates at the start of the 27-28 season for Eddie Rodden in a three way trade with the Blackhawks.

Jack McLean (1942-45)
Stats: 67GP - 14G - 24A - 38Pts - 76PM
Stanley Cup: 1945

McLean joined the Maple Leafs out of junior hockey and played with them for three seasons, winning the cup in his final pro year. He would move down to senior hockey for three seasons before ending his career with an Allan Cup win.

Dave McLlwain (1992-93)
Stats: 77GP - 15G - 6A - 21Pts - 34PM

Traded to the Leafs from the Islanders at the 92 deadline, McLlwain played one year with the Maple Leafs, then signed with the Senators in the off-season.

Sergio Momesso (1995-96)
Stats: 54GP - 7G - 8A - 15Pts - 112PM

Acquired in the 1995 off-season from the Canucks for Mike Ridley, Momesso played with the Leafs until the 96 deadline, when he would be sent to the Rangers with Bill Berg for Nick Kypreos & Wayne Presley.

Ken Murray (1970-71)
Stats: 54GP - 7G - 8A - 15Pts - 112PM

Ken Murray would wear #7 in his second and final call up to the Leafs. He would leave the Leafs organization after this season, which was mostly spent with the Tulsa Oilers.

Frank Nighbor (1929-30)
Stats: 22GP - 2G - 0A - 2Pts - 2PM

Brought in from the Senators in exchange for Dany Cox and Cash, Nighbor played his final season in the NHL split between Toronto and Ottawa.

Jason Podollan (1997)
Stats: 14GP - 0G - 3A - 3Pts - 6PM

Brought to Toronto in a trade from the Panthers for Kirk Muller, Podollan played out the season in #7 before changing to #37 ion his next call up.

Bud Poile (1942-47)
Stats: 131GP - 44G - 52A - 96Pts - 52PM
Stanley Cup: 1947

Poile played four seasons, and two half seasons with the Leafs. His 43-44 season was cut short when he joined the Air Force, and he would be traded at the start of the 47-48 season to the Blackhawks in the trade that brought over Max Bentley.

1967ers wrote an article a few years ago on Poile.

Mike Ridley (1994-95)
Stats: 48GP - 10G - 27A - 37Pts - 14PM

Acquired from the Capitals for Rob Pearson, Ridley played one season with the Leafs, and was then traded to the Canucks for Sergio Momesso.

Gary Roberts (2000-04)
Stats: 237GP - 83G - 74A - 157Pts - 266PM

Coming to the Leafs as a free agent in the 2000 off-season, Roberts play with the Leafs for four seasons, until the 04-05 year was cancelled and he left as a free agent. In his four seasons as a Maple Leaf he played with Mats Sundin and Alex Mogilny, and gave the team some strength and depth they were missing in the late 90’s.

Doc Romnes (1938-39)
Stats: 36GP - 7G - 6A - 13Pts - 0PM

Acquired from the Blackhawks for Bill Thoms, Romnes played the rest of the season with the Leafs, and in the off-season he would be one of four players traded to the New York Americans for David Sweeney Schriner.

David Sacco (1993-94)
Stats: 4GP - 1G - 1A - 2Pts - 4PM

A 10th round pick for the Leafs in 1988, he would join the Leafs for a call up after finishing college while spending the majority of his first pro season in the AHL. In the 1994 off-season he would be traded to the Mighty Ducks for Terry Yake.

Rocky Saganiuk (1980-83)
Stats: 139GP - 19G - 34A - 53Pts - 103PM

Rocky wore #7 for two seasons and two games, being sent down to the St. Catharines Saints for most of the 82-83 season. In the off-season he would be traded with Vincent Tremblay to the Penguins for Pat Graha and Nick Ricci.

Jack Shill (1935-37)
Stats: 42GP - 4G - 6A - 10Pts - 26PM

Shill played the 36-37 season in Toronto and spent most of 34-35 in Syracuse. Just before the 37-38 season he would be traded to the Americans for Wally Stanowski.

Bill Taylor (1939-46)
Stats: 222GP - 66G - 118A - 184Pts - 60PM
Stanley Cup: 1942

Played on and off with the Leafs between 39 and 46, Billy won a cup in 1942 with the Maple Leafs. Before the 46-47 season he would be traded to the Red Wings for Harry Watson.

Greg Terrion (1982-88)
Stats: 427GP - 66G - 103A - 169Pts - 217PM

Terrion was acquired from the Kings for a 4th round pick, he would play six seasons for the Leafs as a depth winger, and would end his career with the AHL Newmarket Saints in the 88-89 season.

Gilles Thibaudeau (1989-91)
Stats: 41GP - 9G - 18A - 27Pts - 17PM

Coming from the Islanders in a five player trade, Thibaudeau spent most of his time in the AHL. After the 90-91 season, he would find success in the Swiss leagues.

Bill Thoms (1932-38)
Stats: 279GP - 68G - 92A - 160Pts - 115PM

Played six and a half seasons with the Maple Leafs, would have won the Richard trophy in 1936 if it had existed at the time, leading the league in goals with 23. He would be traded to the Blackhawks halfway through the 38-39 season.

Ian White (2006-10)
Stats: 296GP - 28G - 77A - 105Pts - 190PM

White was a 6th round pick in 2002 with the Leafs, playing three and a half seasons before being traded to the Flames in the Dion Phaneuf trade.


Who was the best #7 for the Maple Leafs?

This poll is closed

  • 67%
    Tim Horton
    (187 votes)
  • 3%
    Francis ‘King’ Clancy
    (9 votes)
  • 3%
    Max Bentley
    (9 votes)
  • 14%
    Lanny McDonald
    (39 votes)
  • 0%
    Joe Primeau
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Terry Clancy
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Dan Cox
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Garnet Exelby
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Kelly Fairchild
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Jim Harrison
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Jim Herberts
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Rudoplh ‘Bingo’ Kampman
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Butch Keeling
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Derek King
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Bert McCaffery
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Jack McLean
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Dave McLlwain
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Sergio Momesso
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Ken Murray
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Frank Nighbor
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Jason Podollan
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Bud Poile
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Mike Ridley
    (1 vote)
  • 7%
    Gary Roberts
    (22 votes)
  • 0%
    Doc Romnes
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    David Sacco
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Rocky Saganiuk
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Jack Shill
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Bill Taylor
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Greg Terrion
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Gilles Thibaudeau
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Bill Thoms
    (2 votes)
  • 2%
    Ian White
    (6 votes)
278 votes total Vote Now