Greatest Leafs snipers of all time
How does Phil Kessel, the Maple Leafs $64-million miracle man stack up?
The Toronto Maple Leafs have legitimate playoff (dare we say, Stanley Cup?) aspirations, and current winger Phil Kessel is the team’s certified gunslinger. His weapon of choice: a Bauer hockey stick.
As the goal-scoring leader on the Toronto Maple Leafs, the star has some big shoes to fill when it comes to putting the puck in the net when compared to the storied franchise’s greatest players.
One player that must be included in any discussion regarding top Leafs scorers is the great Charlie Conacher, who played for the Leafs in the ’ 30s. A product of Toronto’s St. Michaels College, Conacher, known for good reason as “the Big Bomber,” led the league in scoring five times.
Dave Keon is a winner. He could be the best player to ever don a Leafs jersey and certainly one of the most popular and will always be remembered as the glue that held the team together enough to win four Stanley Cups. He also led the team in goals on two occasions and in scoring three times.
The Harold Ballard era didn’t bring much success to the team, and most fans would rather forget it ever happened, but sniper Rick Vaive makes a worthwhile remembrance.
Here was a player who did one thing very well: steaming down the right wing, blasting shots behind hapless goaltenders. Vaive was so adept at bulging the twine that he still holds the team’s single season goal-scoring record at 54 (1981–1982). Ballard traded him. Natch.
And there is no doubt that the last great scoring machine was Mats Sundin. An imposing physical figure, Sundin left the game after 18 NHL seasons in which he scored a whopping 564 goals — the first Swedish player to pot more than 500. The beloved Leafs player was enshrined in the NHL Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012.
Other Leafs greats with a penchant for whizzing pucks past unsuspecting goalies include the mustachioed wonder Lanny Macdonald; Dave Andreychuk who scored 53 goals in 1993–1994 and, of course, Frank Mahovlich.
Of course, scoring goals really doesn’t mean much without that big mug that goes along with success as a team. And that’s what Kessel really needs to do to be one of the Leafs greats.
Supersniper Phil Kessel has led the Maple Leafs in goal scoring since joining the team for the 2009-10 NHL season
L–R: Maple Leafs all-time goal scorers include Dave Keon, Charlie Conacher and Rick Vaive