Today, TSN named its annual version of the All Toronto Maple Leafs Team. It was part of TSN Hockey’s All-Time 7 Project where TSN is naming all-time teams for each of the seven Canadian NHL Teams. And, on each team, TSN will name 21 players, a head coach, and a GM.
Today, on May 4, TSN’s named the Toronto Maple Leafs All-Time Team. What was interesting about this choice was the difficulty of naming the team’s centers. And, what made these choices all the more controversial was that two of the team’s all-time greats – Darryl Sittler and Doug Gilmour – were left off this team.
Item One: TSN All-Time Team Eligibility Criteria
When TSN names the team, its eligibility criteria had to include:
□ Team: two goalies, six defencemen, 12 forwards and one foundational player
□ Members must have played at least 225 games with the Leafs
□ At least one member of the all-time team must be from the 2019-20 Leafs
□ Players are slotted in positions they played with the Leafs
□ One line must be comprised of defensive standouts, aka a checking line
□ One pair must be comprised of suffocating defenders, aka a shutdown pair
□ Lines and pairs are put together because they fit together, not because they are necessarily the first, second and third best at their positions
□ Foundational players are defined as players part of the fabric – the DNA – of a franchise
□ Last cuts by position are exactly as advertised, the players who just missed selection to the all-time team
Item Two: The All-Time Maple Leafs Choices
Goalies: The players include two goalies: Turk Broda (1936-52) and Johnny Bower (1958-69).
Left Defense: Borje Salming (1973-89), King Clancy (1930-36), and Allan Stanley (1958-68).
Right Defense: Tim Horton (1952-70), Red Horner (1928-40), and Bob Baun (1957-67).
Left-Wing: Busher Jackson (1929-39), Frank Mahovlick (1957-68), Wendel Clark (1985-94), and Bob Pulford (1956-70).
Center: Syl Apps (1936-48), Mats Sundin (1994-08), Auston Matthews (2016-20), and Dave Keon (1960-75).
Left-Wing: Charlie Conacher (1929-38), Rick Vaive (1980-87), Lanny McDonald (1973-79), and George Armstrong (1952-71). And, as Foundational Player Ted Kennedy (1943-55)
Head Coach: Punch Imlach
General Manager: Conn Smythe
Conn Smythe is one of the most important people in Leafs’ history and one of the most people in NHL history.
The Last Cuts
As noted earlier, two last cuts – Darryl Sittler and Doug Gilmour – were noticeable by their absence. It’s almost unimaginable that these players, who were so important to the franchise were left off the team.
Other last cuts include
Goalie: Curtis Joseph (1998-02)
Left-Defense: Tomas Kaberle (1998-11)
Right-Defense: Jimmy Thomson (1945-57)
Left-Winger: Sid Smith (1947-57)
Center: Darryl Sittler (1970-82)
Right-Wing: Ron Ellis (1964-81)
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