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'
Nos. 1 - 5
|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||-|
Nos. 6 - 10
|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|
Nos. 11 - 15
|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||-|
No. 16 - 20
|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||-|
Nos. 21 - 25
|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|
Nos. 26 - 30
|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|
No. 31 - 35
|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||-||-|
Nos. 36 - 40
|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|
Nos. 41 - 45
|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||-||-|
Nos. 46 - 50
|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
|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