Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Toronto Maple Leafs All-Star Team, 1970 to Present

As a point of comparison, having just chosen my Canucks and Sabres 40th anniversary squads I will now select my Leafs team from the same era, 1970 through present day.

(GP-G-A-Pts)
Centre
Mats Sundin 981-420-567-987
Darryl Sittler 844-389-527-916
Doug Gilmour 393-131-321-452
Bill Derlago 378-158-176-334

A very tight battle for top Leaf centremen of the last 40 years with Sundin coming out ahead of my sentimental favourite Sittler. Although Sittler had five top-ten point finishes in the '70s and a Second-Team All-Star berth, Sundin had two Second Team selections. When points are adjusted for different scoring eras, Sundin pulls ahead even further. Sundin's adjusted points in a low scoring era go from 987 to 1093 while Sittler in a higher scoring era drops from 916 to 797.
Gilmour's two brilliant seasons in the early '90s easily place him third on this list ahead of four-time 30 goal man Bill Derlago.

Right Wing
Rick Vaive 534-299-238-537
Lanny McDonald 477-219-240-459
Gary Leeman 545-176-231-407
John Anderson 534-189-204-393

Vaive's three straight 50 goal seasons, seven straight 30 goal years and top goal per game rate during the era puts him on top of the Right Wings. Lanny McDonald topped 40 goals three straight years and garnered a Second Team all star spot in 1977 and Leeman amazingly recorded the second ever Leaf 50 goal season, before becoming even more valuable as trade bait for Doug Gilmour. John Anderson tallied 30 goals in four consecutive seasons and had Toronto based burger restaurant chain, good enough for fourth on this list.

Left Wing
Wendel Clark 608-260-181-441
Dave Andreychuk 223-120-99-219
Steve Thomas 377-118-173-291
Tiger Williams 407-109-132-241

Clark's '93/'94 year was one of the best in Leaf history with 46 goals in 64 games, and he should have won the Calder trophy over Gary Suter in '86. Andreychuk's stint as a Leaf was brief but solid and he scored 33 Powerplay goals in his first 114 Leaf games. Stumpy Thomas and Tiger Williams were not only two of the greatest sparkplugs in Leaf history but possessed two of the greatest nicknames.

Defense
Borje Salming 1099-148-620-768
Tomas Kaberle 820-80-402-482
Ian Turnbull 580-112-302-414
Bryan McCabe 523-83-214-297
Al Iafrate 472-81-169-250
Jim McKenny 501-68-213-281
Dmitry Yushkevich 506-25-110-135
Dave Ellett 446-51-172-223

"King" Salming was a six-time (consecutively) All-Star and surely one of the greatest Leafs of All-Time and perhaps the greatest of this era. The recently maligned Kaberle is in fact one of the best Leaf d-men over the last forty years and the under-rated Ian Turnbull certainly earns a spot in the top four. McCabe, Iafrate and McKenny were at times all considered top offensive contributors that never really did it consistenly over a yearly basis.

Goalie
Curtis Joseph 138-97-28, 2.49
Felix Potvin 160-149-49, 2.87
Mike Palmateer 129-112-41, 3.43
Ed Belfour 93-61-15, 2.51

Cujo's four terrific seasons beats out Potvin's six pretty-darn good seasons. The eccentric and noodle-kneed Palmateer ranks slightly ahead of fellow eccentric Belfour in the Leaf revolving door of goaltending since 1970.

Overall, this squad may rank slighly ahead of the Canuck All-Time team on the strength of their defensemen and centres, but still behind Buffalo overall.

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