The Toronto Maple Leafs have one of the most popular franchises in the NHL. They currently sit as the second most valuable franchise in the league, and with that kind of weight, as well as being one of the Original Six teams, the Maple Leafs have and extensive list of players you may not remember have dawned the iconic blue and white sweater.
Number 5- Frank Bialowas
“The Animal” is best known for his time in the AHL where he served as an enforcer, regularly racking up over 200 penalty minutes a season. His lone NHL stint came during the 1993-94 NHL season as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was recalled by the Leafs in late March and played three games, going pointless, with 12 penalty minutes. In the summer of 1996 he was traded to the Flyers, where he would help the Phantoms win a Calder cup in 1998 and was later inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2005.
Number 4- Jack Capuano
Today, Capuano is remembered as a coach who spent over seven seasons behind the New York Islanders bench, but like most coaches, he did have a short NHL stint in his past. Drafted by the Maple Leafs 88th overall in 1984, he spent most of his career in the AHL. Capuano started the 1989-90 season with the Milwaukee Admirals of the IHL, but was recalled by the Leafs due to the holdout of Tom Kurvers. Capuano only managed to dress for one game, going pointless before he was loaned to the AHL. He was traded to Vancouver the following season, and played three games as a Canuck and two more as a Bruin before he retired as a player.
Number 3- Olli Jokinen
As Olli Jokinen’s career started to come to a close, he found himself starting the 2014-15 with the Nashville Predators. After 48 games as a Pred, he was dealt to the Maple Leafs on February 15, 2015 as part of a deal that sent Cody Franson to the Predators. After just six games in Toronto, Jokinen was again traded, this time to the St. Louis Blues. Eight games later, he suffered an upper-body injury that ended his season early.
Number 2- Brian Leetch
Leetch is remembered for his 17-season stint with the New York Rangers from 1987 to 2004. As his storied career started to wing down, and the Rangers well out of a playoff spot, Leetch was traded for the first time in his career. On March 3, 2004 Brian Leetch was traded to the Maple Leafs in exchange for prospects Jarkko Immonen, Maxim Kondratiev, and a first and second round pick. He played in 15 regular season games in Toronto as well as 13 playoff games. His contract ran through the 2004-05 season as well, but due to the lockout, his contract expired and he opted to test free agency in the summer of 2005, ultimately signing with the Boston Bruins for one season, where he would finish his career.
Number 1- Phil Housley
Phil Housley’s illustrious career spanned 23 seasons and 1,495 games. He is best remembered for his time with the Buffalo Sabres, but also played for seven other franchises, his last being the Toronto Maple Leafs. On July 22, 1996 Housley signed a contract with the Washington Capitals and almost exactly two years, on July 21, 1998 he was claimed on waivers by the Calgary Flames. On the eve of the 2000-01 season, he was once again claimed on waivers, this time by the Chicago Blackhawks. At the 2003 trade deadline, with the Blackhawks on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, they dealt Housley to the Maple Leafs. Housley, who missed all but one of the remaining regular season games in Toronto, and only managed to suit up for three of the Leafs seven playoff games, called it a career in January of 2014 after going unsigned the previous summer.
Best known as part of the Stanley Cup winning Carolina Hurricanes team, he signed an, at the time, massive three-year $11.1 million contract with the Ottawa Senators the following summer. Gerber’s play was wildly inconsistent during his three seasons in Ottawa, often losing the starting job to Ray Emery. in March of 2009 Gerber was claimed on waivers by the Toronto Maple Leafs as a replacement for Vesa Toskala, who was scheduled for season-ending hip surgery. He started 12 games for the Leafs recording a 3.23 goals against average and .905 save percentage. Gerber’s time in Toronto was highlighted by a three game suspension for an altercation with refereee Mike Leggo.
Jason Allison’s career was on the upswing in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s with the Boston Bruins. He signed with the Kings in the summer of 2001, but a neck injury and concussion derailed his career in 2002. Allison signed a one-year deal with the Maple Leafs after the lockout came to an end. Due to lingering issues from his neck injury, his personal issues grew and he could not re-find his play that he enjoyed in Boston. He retired in the summer of 2006 after 66 games with the Leafs.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: pintrest.de