Thursday, August 13, 2015

Top Ten Leafs

I have been doing top 10 favourite lists and this is the hardest one. This one could be be debated over and over the again. It is the Toronto Maple Leafs' turn.

I have seen too many Leafs to remember, as I am very old.  I could go with the 1967 Leafs team, because I was alive and they brought us the last cup.

My favourite time as a Leafs fan was the 70s and 80s. Some of my favourite players played during that era. Many of them will be on the list to be sure.

So on with the list. I cannot delay any longer. 

10. Dave Keon

Keon was part of that 1967 Leafs team. Dave was a solid centre who played well in all aspects. I loved the hardworking no-nonsense forward. He really seemed to represent the common folk. His best year was the 70-71 season, where he scored 38 goals and 38 assists for 76 points. I didn't love him because of the points, I loved what he represented. He was a leader on the Leafs.

9. James Van Riemsdyk

James is the ultimate power forward, using his strength to his advantage. He is on my list because he is a solid forward playing with heart. He bleeds  blue and white. He was often the best player on the Leafs during last season.

 8. Ian Turnbull

Breaking a Leafs record scoring 5 goals in a game, Ian loved his game. At the time, he was the Leafs best offensive Dman. He scored two 20-goal seasons, including his best season at 22 goals and 57 assists for 79 points in the 1976 season.

7.  Rick Vaive

I remember how much I laughed at the trade with the Canucks that brought Rick to Toronto. He scored 50 goal three seasons. The best of the three was the '54 season. I am not sure, but I think he was the first Leaf to score 50 goals in a season. I was upset when he was traded to the Blackhawks.

6. Errol Thompson

I always knew Errol as the other Sittler line mate.  I loved his slapshot. His top season was the 75-76 43 goal season. He was a solid power forward, especially on the powerplay unit. He was a solid team player who never gave up playing. I loved his play in the offensive zone.

6. Nazem Kadri

I have no reason for having him on my list. Except I have his sweater and he is just one of my favourites. I do love some part of his game. He is a good playmaking centre. Nazem was the Flames' number one Centre at times. He will always be one my favourites.

5. Paul Henderson

It’s not because of the Canada and Russia 1972 summit series. Although that didn't hurt. I really did like his style. He did what he was told. He always did his part. He did what he had to do in order for the Leafs to win. His stats were never awesome, although he had a 38 goal season 71-72 season.

4.  Mike Palmateer

My favourite goalie in a Leafs sweater. He was the man in the net for the Leafs for 76-79, the best being the 77-78 season, with a 2.78 goal against average. He was near an all star in his prime. He carried the team at times. He had reflexes like a cat.

3.  Borje Salming

Salming paved the road to the Europeans defecting to the NHL. He instantly became a hero of mine for his heart. I often pretended to play him in road hockey. He was a puck-rushing dman led by example. He was a terrific rushing defenceman. He will always be a Leaf in my mind, despite ending his career in Detroit. 

2. Lanny McDonald

Although, he was know for being a Flame, his Leafs days were just as important. He had three 40-goal seasons his best being 47 in 77-78. His best year was not a 40-goal year; his point total was 93 in 75-76. He was Sittler's hired man. He was often the key to the Maple Leafs’ success, including an overtime goal that eliminated the high power Islanders.

1.  Darryl Sittler

Sittler was the best captain of all time. Yes, that is only a subjective opinion. But he was the heart and soul of the Leafs  through the 70s.  He will always be known for scoring 6 goals and 4 assists against the big bad Bruins in one game. A record that will never be broken. He was the true picture of a Leaf.

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