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Steve Dryden

Sr. Managing Editor of Hockey

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The face of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ last great moment is officially the face of the franchise’s first 100 years.

Dave Keon was named the greatest player in Toronto NHL history today as the Leafs unveiled their all-time top 100.

The honour comes nearly 50 years after Keon was selected playoff MVP when the Leafs won their last Stanley Cup in 1967.

Keon earned No. 1 status among the nearly 1,000 players who have worn the colours of the Arenas, St. Patricks and Maple Leafs since 1917-18. A panel of 30 experts and fans were asked to pick the best players in franchise history to mark the Leafs’ centennial season.

Keon won four Stanley Cups and a series of individual awards – most significantly the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1967 – but also won the hearts and minds of Leaf fans during a 15-year Toronto career (1960-75) founded on brilliant skating, puck-handling and thinking.

Keon – Davey to his legion of admirers – had an off-the-charts hockey IQ.


It was one of the principal reasons Keon ranked among the NHL’s premier penalty-killers and was regarded as the best two-way player in the game. Keon won the Calder Trophy – launching his Hall of Fame career in style with rookie of the year honours – and two Lady Byng Trophies, but he would have most certainly won a handful of Selke Awards if the best defensive forward honour existed when he played.

His signature asset was the best backhand in the NHL.

If the 1967 playoffs were Keon’s greatest playoff year, his greatest postseason game was Game 7 of the 1964 Cup semi-finals series versus arch-rival Montreal. Keon scored all three goals in a 3-1 win that propelled the Leafs to the final where they beat the Red Wings in another seven-game series to win the third of three straight Cups.

Keon’s appearance with the Leafs this week – not his first in recent years, but his most important – makes official the reconciliation between the team and its former captain, who for years was at odds with the organization.

Just how close the vote was for No. 1 wasn’t revealed, but Keon would have received stiff competition from at least two fellow captains.

No. 2 all-time Syl Apps, the ultimate gentleman and a five-time NHL all-star during the 1930s and ’40s, and No. 3 Ted (Teeder) Kennedy, the team’s human flag in the 1940s and ’50s, belong in the conversation of greatest Leaf ever.

Like Keon, they were captains and sublime all-around players. Apps matched Keon with Calder and Byng Trophies, while Kennedy won a Hart Trophy as league MVP. He received the Hart after what was intended to be his final season; it was more lifetime achievement award than recognition for his 1954-55 season. That Kennedy was accorded the NHL’s highest individual honour for that reason tells you everything you need to know about his years with the Leafs.


Rounding out the top 10 are: No. 4, heart-and-soul leader Darryl Sittler; No. 5, all-time scoring leader Mats Sundin; No. 6, ironman and iron-willed Tim Horton; No. 7 four-time Stanley Cup winner Johnny Bower; No. 8 all-time assist leader Borje Salming; No. 9 six-time first- or second-team all-star Frank Mahovlich; and No. 10 all-time goalie win leader Turk Broda.  

Just outside the top 10 at No. 11 is Charlie Conacher, the only player in Toronto NHL history to lead the league in goals five times.

Not surprisingly, the majority of top-ranked players – 13 of Nos. 1-20  –  either played their entire careers or experienced their biggest moments as Leafs during the franchise’s first 50 years which came to an end in 1967.

Coincidentally, in the week the Leafs begin celebrating  their centennial season by putting a spotlight on the faces of the past, one new player – Auston Matthews - made an undeniable claim as the face of the future. One day before a bronze statue of Keon was added to Legends Row, Matthews scored a record four goals against Ottawa in his first game Wednesday, raising already sky-high expectations for the 2016 No. 1 draft pick.

Among other members of the Leafs’ century club are No. 48 Phil Kessel, the much lamented winger who led the team in points six of six seasons with the Leafs; No. 52 Tiger Williams, one of the most popular players in team history; No. 68 Eddie Shack, the unrivalled most colourful Leaf ever;  and No. 100 James van Riemsdyk, the only current Leaf on the list.

If you assemble the Leafs’ all-time first and second all-star teams by position, based on the team’s top 100 list, this is how they would look:

 

Toronto Maple Leafs Franchise All-Star Teams (Based on Top 100 Ranks)

   First Team    Second Team
G Johnny Bower (7) G Turk Broda (10)
D Tim Horton (6) D Hap Day (17)
D Borje Salming (8) D King Clancy (18)
LW Frank Mahovlich (9) LW Wendel Clark (15)
C Dave Keon (1) C Syl Apps (2)
RW Charlie Conacher (11) RW George Armstrong (12)

All statistics listed below - years, regular season games, goals, assists, points and Stanley Cups for skaters and record and goals-against average for goalies - are those collected with the Arenas / St. Patricks / Leafs only. For players who had more than one stint with the team, the first and last years with the franchise are indicated.

 

'The One Hundred'

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Nos. 1 - 5

 
Player Years GP G A PTS Stanley Cups
1. Dave Keon, C 1960-75 1,062 365 493 858 4
2. Syl Apps, C 1936-48 423 201 231 432 3
3. Ted Kennedy, C 1942-57 696 231 329 560 5
4. Darryl Sittler, C 1970-82 844 389 527 916 -
5. Mats Sundin, C 1995-08 981 420 567 987 -
 

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Nos. 6 - 10

 
Player Years GP G A PTS Stanley Cups
6. Tim Horton, D 1952-70 1,185 109 349 458 4
7. Johnny Bower, G 1958-69 462 220-161-79 2.51 GAA - 4
8. Borje Salming, G 1973-89 1,099 148 620 768 -
9. Frank Mahovlich, LW 1957-68 720 296 301 597 4
10. Turk Broda, G 1936-51 629 302-224-101 2.53 GAA - 5
 

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Nos. 11 - 15

 
Player Years GP G A PTS Stanley Cups
11. Charlie Conacher, RW 1929-38 326 200 124 324 1
12. George Armstrong, RW 1950-71 1,187 296 417 713 4
13. Doug Gilmour, C 1992-97 393 131 321 452 -
14. Red Kelly, C 1960-67 470 119 232 351 4
15. Wendel Clark, LW 1985-00 608 260 181 441 -
 

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No. 16 - 20

 
Player Years GP G A PTS Stanley Cups
16. Busher Jackson, LW 1929-39 432 186 165 351 1
17. Hap Day, D 1924-37 538 86 113 199 1
18. King Clancy, D 1930-36 286 52 78 130 1
19. Lanny McDonald, RW 1973-79 477 219 240 459 -
20. Rick Vaive, RW 1980-87 534 299 238 537 -
 

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Nos. 21 - 25

 
Player Years GP G A PTS Stanley Cups
21. Max Bentley, C 1947-53 354 122 134 256 3
22. Joe Primeau, C 1928-36 310 66 177 243 1
23. Allan Stanley, D 1958-68 633 47 186 233 4
24. Ron Ellis, RW 1964-81 1,034 332 308 640 1
25. Ace Bailey, RW 1926-33 313 111 82 193 1
 

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Nos. 26 - 30

 
Player Years GP G A PTS Stanley Cups
26. Bob Pulford, C 1956-70 947 251 312 563 4
27. Red Horner, D 1928-40 490 42 110 152 1
28. Dick Duff, LW 1955-64 582 174 168 342 2
29. Gordie Drillon, RW 1936-42 262 127 117 244 1
30. Bob Baun, D 1956-72 739 29 140 169 4
 

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No. 31 - 35

 
Player Years GP G A PTS Stanley Cups
31. Babe Dye, RW 1919-31 177 173 42 215 1
32. Carl Brewer, D 1958-80 473 19 136 155 3
33. Sid Smith, LW 1948-58 601 186 183 369 3
34. Norm Ullman, C 1968-75 535 166 305 471 -
35. Curtis Joseph, G 1998-02 270 138-97-28 2.49 GAA - -
 

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Nos. 36 - 40

 
Player Years GP G A PTS Stanley Cups
36. Bill Barilko, D 1947-51 252 26 36 62 4
37. Tomas Kaberle, D 1998-11 878 83 437 520 -
38. Tod Sloan, C 1948-58 549 162 184 346 1
39. Harry Watson, LW 1946-55 500 163 122 285 4
40. Jimmy Thomson, D 1946-57 717 15 208 223 4
 

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Nos. 41 - 45

 
Player Years GP G A PTS Stanley Cups
41. Dave Andreychuk, LW 1993-96 223 120 99 219 -
42. Ian Turnbull, D 1973-81 580 112 302 414 -
43. Terry Sawchuk, G 1964-67 91 42-29-13 2.81 GAA - 1
44. Paul Henderson, RW 1968-74 408 162 156 318 -
45. Felix Potvin, G 1992-99 369 160-149-49 2.87 GAA - -
 

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Nos. 46 - 50

 
Player Years GP G A PTS Stanley Cups
46. Sweeney Schriner, LW 1939-46 244 109 83 192 2
47. Harry Lumley, G 1952-56 267 104-106-58 2.21 GAA - -
48. Phil Kessel, RW 2009-15 446 181 213 394 -
49. Babe Pratt, D 1942-46 181 52 108 160 1
50. Bob Davidson, LW 1935-46 491 94 160 254 2
 

 

Nos. 51 - 100

 
Player Years GP G A PTS Stanley Cups
51. Lorne Chabot, G 1928-33 214 103-80-31 2.20 GAA - 1
52. Tiger Williams, LW 1975-80 407 109 132 241 -
53. Gary Leeman, RW 1983-92 545 176 231 407 -
54. Steve Thomas, RW 1985-01 377 118 173 291 -
55. Reg Noble, C 1917-24 160 125 59 184 2
56. Gus Mortson, D 1946-52 371 21 71 92 4
57. Ron Stewart, RW 1952-65 838 186 182 368 3
58. Mike Palmateer, G 1976-84 296 129-112-41 3.43 GAA - -
59. Billy Harris, C 1955-65 610 106 181 287 3
60. Gary Roberts, LW 2000-04 237 83 74 157 -
61. Vince Damphousse, LW 1986-91 394 118 211 329 -
62. John Anderson, LW 1977-85 534 189 204 393 -
63. Bryan McCabe, D 2000-08 523 83 214 297 -
64. Bob Nevin, RW 1957-64 250 55 100 155 2
65. Howie Meeker, RW 1946-54 346 83 102 185 4
66. Wally Stanowski, D 1939-48 282 20 74 94 4
67. Gaye Stewart, LW 1941-47 165 81 52 133 2
68. Eddie Shack, RW 1960-75 504 99 96 195 4
69. Nick Metz, LW 1935-48 518 131 119 250 4
70. Darcy Tucker, RW 1999-08 531 148 171 319 -
71. Ed Belfour, G 2002-06 170 93-61-15 2.51 GAA - -
72. Lorne Carr, RW 1941-46 236 105 121 226 2
73. Errol Thompson, LW 1971-78 365 126 119 245 -
74. Bill Ezinicki, RW 1945-50 271 56 79 135 3
75. Bill Derlago, D 1980-85 378 158 176 334 -
76. Bert Olmstead, LW 1958-62 246 56 109 165 1
77. Harry Cameron, D 1917-23 105 71 45 116 2
78. Al Iafrate, D 1984-91 472 81 169 250 -
79. Ed Olczyk, C 1987-91 257 116 151 267 -
80. Jim McKenny, D 1965-77 594 81 246 327 -
81. George Hainsworth, G 1933-37 147 79-48-20 2.26 GAA - -
82. Marcel Pronovost, D 1965-70 223 8 40 48 1
83. Alexander Mogilny, RW 2001-04 175 65 101 166 -
84. Todd Gill, D 1984-96 639 59 210 269 -
85. Mike Walton, C 1965-71 257 84 107 191 1
86. Dave Ellett, D 1990-97 446 51 172 223 -
87. Baldy Cotton, LW 1928-35 285 68 88 156 1
88. Dion Phaneuf, D 2010-16 423 45 151 196 -
89. Jim Pappin, RW 1963-68 223 54 46 100 2
90. Jack Adams, C 1917-26 133 78 31 109 2
91. Gus Bodnar, C 1943-47 187 48 105 153 1
92. Cal Gardner, C 1948-52 247 58 105 163 2
93. Tie Domi, RW 1989-06 777 84 112 196 -
94. Brian Glennie, D 1969-78 554 12 98 110 -
95. Corb Denneny, LW 1917-27 135 98 41 139 2
96. Larry Hillman, D 1960-68 461 20 120 140 2
97. Wilf Paiement, RW 1979-82 187 78 125 203 -
98. Russ Courtnall, C 1983-88 309 90 128 218 -
99. Joe Klukay, LW 1946-56 416 86 94 180 3
100. J. van Riemsdyk, LW 2012-16 251 89 89 178 -
 

Photos courtesy of Getty Images and The Canadian Press