Andersen To Become No. 63

TORONTO (June 26) — On the night of Saturday, Oct. 14, 1967, when the Chicago Black Hawks visited Maple Leaf Gardens to begin the expansion era in the National Hockey League, Johnny Bower started in goal for the home team. Toronto breezed to a 5–1 victory. Bower and Terry Sawchuk had shared the goaltending duties the previous spring, when the Leafs upset the Black Hawks and Canadiens to win their most recent Stanley Cup. Left unprotected for the expansion draft, Sawchuk was chosen by the Los Angeles Kings.

Bower and Bruce Gamble thus became the Leafs netminding duo for 1967–68.

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HALL–OF–FAMER TERRY SAWCHUK PLAYED IN GOAL WHEN TORONTO WON ITS LAST STANLEY CUP — DEFEATING THE MONTREAL CANADIENS, 3–1, AT MAPLE LEAF GARDENS ON MAY 2, 1967.

Since that October night nearly 49 years ago, a total of 62 men have played at least one regular–season game in goal for the Maple Leafs. None have been so fortunate as to raise the Stanley Cup. None have played for the Leafs in the Stanley Cup final. Only one has competed for Toronto in a seventh game of the Cup semifinals. On Oct. 12 of this year, when the Leafs open their 100th anniversary schedule in Ottawa (and, barring injury), Frederik Andersen will become goalie No. 63 for the Blue and White since May 2, 1967.

I initially wrote this blog on Jan. 25, 2012. It was entitled THE TORONTO 58. Five members have since joined the Leafs goaltending fraternity in the post–Stanley Cup era. How many do you recall?
NAMES IN TEAL ARE DECEASED

JOHNNY BOWER: CONCLUDED HIS TERRIFIC RUN WITH THE LEAFS IN DECEMBER 1969 AT THE AGE OF 45. “I COULDN’T SEE THE PUCK ANYMORE.” AN INDISPENSABLE COMPONENT OF ALL FOUR STANLEY CUP TEAMS IN THE ’60s UNDER PUNCH IMLACH, BOWER PLAYED IN 52 GAMES FOR THE BLUE AND WHITE AFTER EXPANSION, RECORDING THE FINAL SIX SHUTOUTS OF HIS NHL CAREER.

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BRUCE GAMBLE: FROM 1967–70, ESSENTIALLY THE LEAFS NO. 1 GOALIE. HIS SEASON–HIGH TOTAL WITH THE CLUB WAS 61 GAMES IN 1968–69. HE APPEARED IN 177 GAMES AFTER EXPANSION AND WAS DEALT TO PHILADELPHIA ON FEB. 1, 1971.

AL SMITH: A PRODUCT OF THE JUNIOR TORONTO MARLBOROS, HE SUBBED FOR BOWER AND GAMBLE DURING THE ’68–69 SEASON AND WAS CLAIMED BY PITTSBURGH IN THE JUNE 1969 INTRA–LEAGUE WAIVER DRAFT. APPEARED IN SEVEN GAMES WITH TORONTO AND COMPILED A 2.87 GOALS–AGAINST AVERAGE (HENCEFORTH “GAA”).

MARV EDWARDS: CLAIMED FROM PITTSBURGH, THIS MINOR–LEAGUE VETERAN SHARED GOALTENDING DUTIES WITH GAMBLE IN 1969–70. HAD PLAYED IN AMARILLO, TEXAS OF THE CENTRAL HOCKEY LEAGUE FOR THE LEAFS COACH AT THE TIME, JOHN McLELLAN. THE ST. CATHARINES, ONT. NATIVE APPEARED IN 25 LEAF GAMES WITH A 10–9–4 RECORD; 3.25 GAA AND ONE SHUTOUT. HE LATER SAW SERVICE IN THE NHL WITH THE CALIFORNIA GOLDEN SEALS.

GERRY McNAMARA: THE MAN THAT WOULD BE GENERAL MANAGER OF THE LEAFS FOR MUCH OF THE 1980’s APPEARED IN TWO GAMES FOR THE CLUB DURING THE 1969–70 SEASON. REPLACED GAMBLE IN THE THIRD PERIOD AT THE GARDENS (JAN. 14, 1970) DURING A 7–1 ROMP BY THE NEW YORK RANGERS. WENT IN FOR GAMBLE AGAIN MIDWAY THROUGH THE FINAL PERIOD JUST MORE THAN A WEEK LATER (JAN. 23, 1970) IN A 6–3 LOSS TO THE SEALS AT OAKLAND. ALLOWED TWO GOALS AGAINST NEW YORK.

JACQUES PLANTE: LEAFS PURCHASED THE FUTURE HALL–OF–FAMER FROM ST. LOUIS ON MAY 18, 1970. HAD ONE OF THE BEST SEASONS OF HIS BRILLIANT CAREER AT AGE 42 — REGISTERING A 1.88 GAA AND FOUR SHUTOUTS IN 40 GAMES WITH THE 1970–71 LEAFS. THE BACKBONE OF MONTREAL’S RECORD FIVE CONSECUTIVE STANLEY CUP TITLES (1956–60), PLANTE WOULD PLAY THREE SEASONS FOR TORONTO (106 GAMES/ 48–38–16 RECORD/ 2.46 GAA AND SEVEN SHUTOUTS). HE WAS TRADED TO BOSTON ON MAY 22, 1973 FOR GOALIE ED JOHNSTON AND THE BRUINS FIRST–ROUND PICK THAT SUMMER, WHICH TURNED INTO A GEM. DEFENSEMAN IAN TURNBULL STILL HOLDS THE LEAFS SEASON RECORD FOR POINTS BY A DEFENSEMAN WITH 79.

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BERNIE PARENT: JIM GREGORY PULLED OFF ONE OF THE MORE BRILLIANT DEALS IN FRANCHISE HISTORY, ACQUIRING THE FUTURE HALL–OF–FAMER FROM PHILADELPHIA FOR GAMBLE AND MIKE WALTON ON FEB. 1, 1971 (WALTON WAS SUBSEQUENTLY TRADED TO BOSTON FOR THE LATE RICK MacLEISH). PARENT — LEARNING FROM PLANTE — WOULD PLAY ONLY 65 GAMES (2.59 GAA) IN A TORONTO JERSEY OVER PARTS OF TWO SEASONS BEFORE CHEAPSKATE OWNER HAROLD BALLARD DARED HIM TO JUMP TO THE NEW WORLD HOCKEY ASSOCIATION. PARENT TOOK THE DARE. A YEAR LATER, HE RETURNED, BUT DEMANDED A TRADE BACK TO PHILADELPHIA. THE LEAFS COMPLIED ON MAY 15, 1973, GETTING GOALIE DOUG FAVELL AND A FIRST–ROUND PICK (BOB NEELY). PARENT RAISED THE STANLEY CUP WITH THE FLYERS IN 1974 AND 1975, WINNING THE CONN SMYTHE TROPHY EACH SPRING.

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MURRAY McLACHLAN: NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH THE ACCOMPLISHED CANADIAN FOLK–SINGER, THIS FELLOW’S CAREER SPANNED PARTS OF TWO GAMES WITH THE LEAFS IN 1970–71. THE FIRST WAS RATHER FAMOUS, AS HE REPLACED A SHELLED GAMBLE ON NOV. 18, 1970 AT THE GARDENS DURING PUNCH IMLACH’S CELEBRATED RETURN AS GM AND COACH OF THE BUFFALO SABRES. IMLACH RECEIVED A LONG STANDING OVATION BEFORE THE GAME AND HIS EXPANSION TEAM WAXED THE LEAFS, 7-2. THE FOLLOWING NIGHT, IN MONTREAL, McLELLAN SAW FIT TO START McLACHLAN AGAINST THE CANADIENS. BUT, HE TURNED TO GAMBLE AT 13:24 OF THE FIRST PERIOD AND THE LEAFS TRAILING, 3–0. McLACHLAN’S CAREER THUS ENDED AT THE FORUM… WITH A 9.60 GAA.

GORD McRAE: “THE BIRD”, AS HE WAS KNOWN, ENJOYED HIS 15 MINUTES OF FAME IN BLUE AND WHITE DURING THE 1975 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS. HE WAS PRIMARILY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE LEAFS UPSETTING LOS ANGELES IN A BEST–OF–THREE PRELIMINARY ROUND — THE CLUB’S FIRST SERIES VICTORY SINCE THE ’67 STANLEY CUP. LEAFS WON THE DECIDING MATCH, 2–1, AT THE FORUM IN INGLEWOOD, CALIF., JUST ONE NIGHT AFTER BLAINE STOUGHTON HAD EXTENDED THE SERIES WITH AN OVERTIME GOAL AT THE GARDENS. McRAE WAS BACK-UP TO MIKE PALMATEER DURING THE LEAFS EXCELLENT SEASON OF 1977–78. SPORTING A BEARD IN THE TEAM PHOTO (AGAINST BALLARD`S RULE), A HAIR–LESS IMAGE OF McRAE WAS LATER TRANSPOSED. AND NONE–TOO–NEATLY, AS THE GOALIE APPEARED TO HAVE AN ELONGATED NECK. HE PLAYED PARTS OF FIVE SEASONS IN TORONTO (3.49 GAA).

RON LOW: THE PRIME VICTIM OF PARENT’S DEPARTURE TO THE WHA, HE WAS SADDLED, AS A ROOKIE IN 1972–73, WITH THE WORST LEAFS TEAM TO THAT POINT IN MODERN NHL HISTORY. LOW SHARED DUTIES WITH PLANTE AND McRAE, LEADING TORONTO WITH 12 WINS (3.89 GAA). LEAFS FINISHED OUT OF THE PLAYOFFS WITH A 27–41–10 RECORD FOR 64 POINTS, 16 FEWER THAN THE PREVIOUS YEAR. OUR CITY, HOWEVER, MUST HAVE SEEMED LIKE A PICNIC FOR LOW TWO SEASONS LATER (1974–75) WHEN HIS LUCK DETERIORATED FURTHER AS NO. 1 GOALIE WITH THE EXPANSION WASHINGTON CAPITALS — WORST TEAM EVER IN THE NHL (8–67–5).

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DOUG FAVELL: TRADED TO THE LEAFS FOR PARENT, WITH WHOM HE HAD SHARED GOALTENDING DUTIES IN PHILADELPHIA FOR THE FIRST THREE YEARS OF EXPANSION (1967–70). FAVELL WOULD SPEND PARTS OF THREE SEASONS IN BLUE AND WHITE. HE, DUNC WILSON AND ED JOHNSTON WERE A TANDEM IN 1973–74, HELPING LEAFS BACK INTO THE PLAYOFFS WITH A 22–POINT IMPROVEMENT FROM THE PREVIOUS YEAR. FAVELL PLAYED 74 GAMES IN TORONTO (3.53 GAA).

DUNC WILSON: HAVING PREVIOUSLY TOILED IN PHILADELPHIA AND VANCOUVER, THIS FREE–SPIRIT PERFORMED DECENTLY ALONGSIDE FAVELL AND JOHNSTON IN ’73–74 (2.89 GAA). HE TENDED GOAL FOR THE LEAFS THE FOLLOWING YEAR BEFORE NEW YORK RANGERS SCOOPED HIM UP IN THE WAIVER DRAFT. IN 49 TORONTO APPEARANCES, HE COMPILED A 3.29 GAA.

ED JOHNSTON: QUITE CELEBRATED BY THE TIME HE JOINED THE LEAFS AT 37 YEARS OF AGE. HE AND ANOTHER EX–LEAF, GERRY CHEEVERS, HAD SHARED GOALTENDING DUTIES ON THE BOSTON BRUINS STANLEY CUP TEAMS OF 1970 AND 1972. E.J., AS HE IS STILL KNOWN, PLAYED FAIRLY WELL FOR THE IMPROVED TORONTO TEAM OF ’73–74 (3.09 GAA IN 26 GAMES). HE WAS TRADED TO ST. LOUIS FOR FORWARD GARY SABOURIN ON MAY 27, 1974.

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PIERRE HAMEL: YOU’RE A GRADE–A LEAFS FAN IF YOU REMEMBER THIS GUY. UN–DRAFTED AND INVITED TO TRAINING CAMP IN 1974, HE APPEARED IN FOUR GAMES AS A LEAF IN 1974–75 AND ANOTHER IN 1978–79 BEFORE PLAYING 64 GAMES WITH THE ABYSMAL WINNIPEG JETS IN THEIR FIRST TWO NHL SEASONS (1979–80 AND 1980–81). HAMEL BEGAN HIS CAREER BY STARTING CONSECUTIVE–NIGHT GAMES FOR THE LEAFS IN OAKLAND AND VANCOUVER (NOV. 15–16, 1974). HE BEAT THE CALIFORNIA GOLDEN SEALS, 5-3, ON A FRIDAY AND THEN LOST A NATIONALLY–TELEVISED GAME TO THE CANUCKS, 5–2. HIS TORONTO GAA WAS 5.51.

WAYNE THOMAS: ACQUIRED FROM MONTREAL, WHERE HE LANGUISHED IN THE PRESS BOX THROUGHOUT THE 1974–75 SEASON, THOMAS HAD AN ABOVE–AVERAGE YEAR WITH THE LEAFS IN 1975–76 (3.19 GAA IN 64 GAMES). ON AN EMERGING, YOUNG TEAM, HE HELPED TORONTO EXTEND THE TWO–TIME DEFENDING–CHAMPION PHILADELPHIA FLYERS TO GAME 7 OF A BRAWL–FILLED QUARTERFINAL SERIES DURING WHICH DARRYL SITTLER TIED A LEAGUE MARK WITH FIVE GOALS IN ONE MATCH (SCORED AGAINST PARENT). THOMAS WAS REPLACED EARLY THE FOLLOWING YEAR AFTER A DREADFUL START AND CLAIMED BY THE NEW YORK RANGERS IN THE OCTOBER 1977 INTRA–LEAGUE WAIVER DRAFT. HE LATER SPENT 22 YEARS AS AN EXECUTIVE WITH THE SAN JOSE SHARKS.

MIKE PALMATEER: BRASH AND CONFIDENT ON THE ICE, HE WAS CALLED UP AFTER THE LEAFS STUMBLED OUT OF THE GATE IN 1976–77 WITH A 1–5–3 RECORD. PALMATEER TOLD GM JIM GREGORY “YOUR GOALTENDING TROUBLES ARE OVER” AND BACKED UP HIS CLAIM. HE PERFORMED SPECTACULARLY IN A 1–0 VICTORY OVER MONTREAL AT THE GARDENS ON NOV. 17, 1976, HANDING THE CANADIENS ONE OF ONLY EIGHT LOSSES THAT SEASON. ALSO PHENOMENAL DURING A 1978 PLAYOFF UPSET OF THE ISLANDERS, WHICH LANNY McDONALD WON WITH AN OVERTIME GOAL IN GAME 7 AT NASSAU COLISEUM. PALMATEER PLAYED SIX SEASONS IN TORONTO (3.43 GAA IN 296 GAMES) – COMING BACK BRIEFLY IN 1982, TWO YEARS AFTER BEING TRADED TO WASHINGTON.

PAUL HARRISON: ACQUIRED FROM THE MINNESOTA NORTH STARS FOR A FOURTH–ROUND PICK ON JUNE 14, 1978, HE SERVED AS BACK-UP TO PALMATEER DURING THE ’78-79 SEASON AND WAS AMONG FIVE GOALIES DEPLOYED BY THE CLUB IN THE TURMOIL-FILLED 1979–80 CAMPAIGN. APPEARED IN 55 GAMES AS A LEAF WITH A 3.98 GAA.

JIRI CRHA: IMPORTED FROM THE FORMER CZECHOSLOVAKIA, “GEORGE” WAS TOUTED AS THE ELIXIR TO LEAF GOALTENDING ISSUES WHEN HE ARRIVED AS A TRAINING CAMP INVITEE IN 1979. THE PLAN DIDN’T QUITE UNFOLD. CRHA ALMOST ALWAYS HAD HIS REAR–END PLANTED BENEATH THE CROSS–BAR, YIELDING TOO MUCH OF THE NET. HIS REFLEXES WERE TERRIFIC AND THAT’S WHY HE STUCK AROUND  FOR A COUPLE OF SEASONS (69 GAMES, 3.97 GAA). HE LATER BECAME A CERTIFIED HOCKEY AGENT.

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CURT RIDLEY: HAVING PLAYED 96 GAMES WITH VANCOUVER BETWEEN 1975 AND 1979, HE WAS OBTAINED BY PUNCH IMLACH ON FEB. 10, 1980 — APPEARING IN JUST SIX GAMES OVER TWO SEASONS, WITH A 1–2–0 RECORD AND 5.13 GAA.

VINCENT TREMBLAY: ANOTHER IMLACH EXPERIMENT PLAYED PARTS OF FOUR SEASONS WITH THE MAPLE LEAFS, WINNING 10 GAMES IN THE DREADFUL 1981–82 CAMPAIGN (20–44–16 FOR 56 POINTS). CHOSEN 72nd OVERALL IN THE 1979 NHL DRAFT, TREMBLAY APPEARED IN 54 MATCHES (1979–80 TO 1982–83) WITH A 4.69 GAA.

JIM RUTHERFORD: YOU KNOW HIM TODAY AS GENERAL MANAGER OF THE STANLEY CUP–CHAMPION PITTSBURGH PENGUINS, FOR WHOM HE TENDED GOAL BETWEEN 1971–72 AND 1973–74. IMLACH ACQUIRED RUTHERFORD FROM DETROIT FOR FORWARD MARK KIRTON ON DEC. 4, 1980. JIMMY STRUGGLED WITH A TERRIBLE LEAFS TEAM BEFORE BEING FLIPPED TO LOS ANGELES FOR A FIFTH–ROUND PICK. HE PLAYED IN 18 TORONTO GAMES WITH A 5.12 GAA.

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MICHEL (BUNNY) LAROCQUE: IF NOTHING ELSE, HE HAD LEARNED TO WIN BEFORE COMING TO THE LEAFS IN A TRADE FOR DEFENSEMAN ROB PICARD ON MAR. 10, 1981 — THE SAME DAY IMLACH SENT RUTHERFORD TO THE KINGS. LAROCQUE BACKED UP KEN DRYDEN DURING MONTREAL’S STANLEY CUP DYNASTY OF THE LATE–70’s, APPEARING IN 231 GAMES BETWEEN 1973 AND 1980 WHILE SHARING THE VEZINA TROPHY ON THREE OCCASIONS. IT WASN’T QUITE THE SAME IN TORONTO, WHERE HE PLAYED PARTS OF THREE SEASONS (74 GAMES, 4.90 GAA). SADLY, BUNNY DIED OF BRAIN CANCER AT JUST 40 YEARS OF AGE ON JULY 29, 1992.

BOB PARENT: NO RELATION TO BERNIE IN HERITAGE OR SKILL, THE NATIVE OF WINDSOR, ONT. SUBBED FOR THE LEAFS DURING THREE GAMES OVER TWO SEASONS (1981–82 AND 1982–83) WITH AN 0–2–0 RECORD AND 5.63 GAA.

RICK ST. CROIX: FROM 1977 TO 1982, HE APPEARED IN 82 GAMES WITH SOME GOOD PHILADELPHIA CLUBS AND WAS DEALT TO THE LEAFS FOR BUNNY LAROCQUE ON JAN. 10, 1983. WITH AWFUL TORONTO TEAMS OVER THREE SEASONS, ST. CROIX PLAYED 47 GAMES — WINNING 11 (4.65 GAA). HE WAS THE LEAFS GOALTENDING COACH FROM SEPTEMBER 2012 TO APRIL 2015.

ALLAN BESTER: THE FIRST TIME I SAW HIM IN PERSON, I WONDERED HOW THE LEAFS WERE ABLE TO DRAFT A MINOR. CHOSEN 49th OVERALL IN 1983, BESTER REMAINS THE YOUNGEST–LOOKING NHLer I’VE EVER LAID EYES ON. TYPICALLY RUSHED INTO THE LINE–UP BY THE LEAFS OF THAT ERA, THE HAMILTON, ONT. NATIVE PLAYED 32 GAMES AS A 19–YEAR–OLD ROOKIE IN 1983–84. OVER EIGHT SEASONS, BESTER APPEARED IN 205 GAMES FOR TORONTO (69 WINS, 4.06 GAA). HE WAS A CHATTY, GOOD–NATURED KID.

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KEN WREGGET: ALSO FAST–TRACKED TO THE NHL. DRAFTED 45th OVERALL IN 1982. A HIGHLY–TOUTED PROSPECT, HE OFTEN TEAMED WITH BESTER AS SORT OF A MUTT–AND–JEFF COMBO: ONE TALL AND RELATIVELY RESERVED; THE OTHER SHORT AND MOTOR–MOUTHED. THIS YOUTHFUL RIVALRY SUCCEEDED ON THE ICE NOW AND THEN, BUT WAS NOT A PERSONALITY MATCH. WREGGET TWICE CAME ALIVE IN THE PLAYOFFS (1986 AND 1987), ALLOWING DISMAL LEAF TEAMS TO OVERACHIEVE. TORONTO EXTENDED ST. LOUIS TO THE FULL SEVEN GAMES OF AN OPENING–ROUND SERIES IN ’86; KO’d THE BLUES THE FOLLOWING YEAR, AND ALMOST UPSET DETROIT TO ADVANCE TO THE STANLEY CUP SEMIFINALS. OVER SIX SEASONS (1983–84 TO 1988–89), WREGGET APPEARED IN 200 REGULAR-SEASON GAMES (55 WINS, 4.34 GAA). HE WAS TORONTO’S NO. 1 GOALIE IN ’86–87 AND ’87–88. GORD STELLICK TRADED HIM TO PHILADELPHIA FOR TWO FIRST–ROUND PICKS ON MAR. 6, 1989.

BRUCE DOWIE: TORONTO MARLBOROS GRAD APPEARED IN TWO GAMES WITH THE 1984–85 LEAFS (THE CLUB FINISHED DEAD–LAST IN THE 21–TEAM NHL). HE WENT THE DISTANCE IN THE HOME–OPENER AGAINST BUFFALO, OCT. 12, IN A 4–4 TIE. HE THEN REPLACED BESTER FOR THE FINAL 12 MINUTES OF A 6–1 POUNDING BY THE CANADIENS, IN MONTREAL, MAR. 17, 1985.

TIM BERNHARDT: CURRENTLY THE ARIZONA COYOTES’ DIRECTOR OF AMATEUR SCOUTING, HE LIKELY HAS NIGHTMARISH MEMORIES OF TENDING GOAL FOR THE MID–’80s LEAFS – FOREVER DISORGANIZED BEHIND CENTER ICE. HAVING PLAYED SIX GAMES WITH CALGARY IN 1982–83, BERNHARDT SIGNED AS A FREE AGENT ON DEC. 5, 1984 AND WAS THE CLUB’S NO. 1 GOALIE DURING THE LAST–PLACE SEASON OF ’84–85 — SHARING THE BURDEN WITH BESTER, WREGGET AND ST. CROIX. OVER PARTS OF THREE YEARS, HE APPEARED IN 61 GAMES WITH A 4.26 GAA.

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DON EDWARDS: BURST UPON THE NHL SCENE WITH BUFFALO IN 1976–77 AND LOOKED LIKE A HALL OF FAME CANDIDATE. A 16–7–2 RECORD THAT SEASON LIFTED HIM TO THE NO. 1 POSITION WITH THE SABRES FOR FIVE YEARS, BEFORE A TRADE TO CALGARY IN JUNE 1982. THE LEAFS OBTAINED EDWARDS FROM THE FLAMES ON MAY 29, 1985 FOR A CONDITIONAL PICK (THIRD OR FOURTH) IN THE 1987 DRAFT. HE WAS TORONTO’S NO. 1 GOALIE DURING HIS LONE SEASON WITH THE CLUB (1985–86), SHARING WITH WREGGET, BERNHARDT AND BESTER. THE LEAFS THEN BOUGHT OUT HIS CONTRACT. EDWARDS PLAYED IN 38 LEAF GAMES WITH A 4.78 GAA.

JEFF REESE: CHOSEN BY LEAFS IN THE THIRD ROUND OF THE 1984 DRAFT. GRADUATED TO THE NHL IN 1987–88 AND WAS MOSTLY A SUB FOR FIVE SEASONS. HE APPEARED IN 30 GAMES IN 1990–91 AND IS BEST REMEMBERED AROUND HERE FOR BEING AMONG THOSE DEALT TO CALGARY IN THE RECORD 10–PLAYER TRADE OF JAN. 2, 1992 THAT BROUGHT DOUG GILMOUR TO TORONTO. REESE RETURNED BRIEFLY IN THE 1998–99 SEASON WHEN CURTIS JOSEPH AND GLENN HEALY WERE INJURED. I STILL REMEMBER FEELING SORRY FOR HIM WHILE COVERING A 6–0 LEAF LOSS AT THE OLD MELLON ARENA IN PITTSBURGH ON JAN. 28, 1999. JEFF WAS WELL PAST HIS PRIME BY THEN; JAROMIR JAGR AND CO. HAD THEIR WAY WITH HIM. HE PLAYED IN 76 GAMES WITH A 4.09 GAA.

MARK LaFOREST: ACQUIRED FROM PHILADELPHIA FOR A COUPLE OF LATE–ROUND DRAFT PICKS, HE IS REMEMBERED, TO THIS DAY, FOR A DANDY SCRAP WITH SEAN BURKE (OCT. 23, 1989) IN HIS ONLY LEAFS SEASON. AT 17:14 OF THE SECOND PERIOD AT MAPLE LEAF GARDENS, LaFOREST AND BURKE OF THE NEW JERSEY DEVILS MET AT CENTER–ICE. THEY POUNDED ON ONE ANOTHER FOR A FULL MINUTE (YOU-TUBE VIDEO HERE: http://bit.ly/28PVS3x). OTHERWISE, LaFOREST PLAYED BEHIND A GOOD SCORING TEAM IN ’89–90, BUT ONE THAT COULDN’T DEFEND PARTICULARLY WELL. HIS LEAF TOTALS: 27 GAMES AND A 3.89 GAA.

PETER ING: ANOTHER GOALIE SWALLOWED UP BY THE LEAFS INEPTITUDE OF THE 80’s AND EARLY–90’s. ING’S NHL DEBUT WAS INAUSPICIOUS, AS THE ISLANDERS FEASTED ON HIM IN UNIONDALE AND FORCED COACH DOUG CARPENTER TO INSERT LaFOREST DURING A 6–2 LOSS, NOV. 16, 1989. ANOTHER DEFEAT AT CHICAGO (DEC. 6) WAS FOLLOWED BY HIS FIRST POINT IN THE NHL: A 7–7 TIE AT DETROIT ON DEC. 27. ING TOOK OVER AS THE LEAFS NO. 1 NETMINDER THE FOLLOWING SEASON (1990–91) BEFORE GOING TO EDMONTON AS PART OF THE MULTI–PLAYER TRADE, IN SEPTEMBER 1991, THAT BROUGHT GRANT FUHR AND GLENN ANDERSON TO TORONTO — THE FIRST MAJOR DEAL CONSUMMATED BY CLIFF FLETCHER AS GM OF THE BLUE AND WHITE. ING APPEARED IN 59 GAMES WITH A 3.95 GAA. HE IS CURRENTLY PRESIDENT OF THE MAPLE LEAFS ALUMNI ASSOCIATION.

DAMIAN RHODES: ONE OF THE NICEST YOUNG MEN THE LEAFS DEPLOYED IN MY YEARS COVERING THE TEAM FOR THE FAN–590. AND THE CLUB’S FIRST U.S.–BORN GOALIE (ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA). HE ENJOYED A BIT OF SUCCESS ALONGSIDE FELIX POTVIN DURING THE DOUG GILMOUR–LED RENAISSANCE OF 1992 TO 1994. RHODES ACTUALLY ARRIVED BEFORE POTVIN, MAKING HIS NHL DEBUT IN A 3–1 WIN AT DETROIT ON MAR. 22, 1991. HE SPENT THE NEXT TWO SEASONS WITH ST. JOHN’S OF THE AHL BEFORE RE–APPEARING AS POTVIN’S BACK-UP IN 1993–94 AND THE LOCKOUT-SHORTENED 1994–95 CAMPAIGN. DAMIAN COULD BE THE NHL GOALIE WITH THE SHORTEST–EVER PLAYOFF APPEARANCE — 10 SECONDS — FOR WHICH HE SPELLED POTVIN IN SAN JOSE ON MAY 6, 1994. HE LATER PLAYED FOR THE OTTAWA SENATORS AND ATLANTA THRASHERS. HIS LEAF TOTALS: 47 GAMES AND A 2.64 GAA.

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GRANT FUHR: THE MOST DECORATED LEAFS GOALIE SINCE 1967 APPEARED IN 95 GAMES WITH THE CLUB (3.50 GAA). HIS DECORATING, HOWEVER, HAD BEEN DONE IN EDMONTON, AS PART OF THE DYNASTIC OILERS OF THE 1980’s. FUHR CAME TO THE LEAFS IN SEPTEMBER 1991 ALONG WITH CUP TEAMMATE GLENN ANDERSON. THE FUTURE HALL–OF–FAMER TURNED INTO GOLDEN TRADE BAIT, AS CLIFF FLETCHER WAS ABLE TO LAND DAVE ANDREYCHUK FROM BUFFALO IN FEBRUARY 1993 — PROVIDING GILMOUR AN ELITE FINISHER. GILMOUR AND ANDREYCHUK BECAME THE MOST PROLIFIC TANDEM OVER TWO SEASONS IN CLUB HISTORY.

FELIX POTVIN: THE ONLY LEAFS GOALIE IN THE POST–1967 ERA TO PLAY IN GAME 7 OF THE STANLEY CUP SEMIFINALS. A MID–SEASON REVELATION IN 1991–92, HE WOULD GRAB THE NO. 1 MANTLE IN TORONTO THE FOLLOWING YEAR AND HANG ONTO IT FOR MORE THAN HALF–A–DECADE. HIS RAPID DEVELOPMENT ALLOWED FLETCHER TO MAKE THE FUHR–ANDREYCHUK DEAL. POTVIN PLAYED NEARLY EVERY MINUTE OF THE 21–GAMES–IN–42–NIGHTS PLAYOFF ODYSSEY IN THE SPRING OF ’93 — TORONTO LOSING GAME 7 OF THE CUP SEMIS TO WAYNE GRETZKY AND THE LOS ANGELES KINGS. THERE WAS ANOTHER APPEARANCE IN THE PENULTIMATE ROUND A YEAR LATER (VANCOUVER PREVAILED IN FIVE). BOTH GOALIE AND TEAM WENT DOWNHILL AFTER THAT, THOUGH POTVIN CEMENTED HIS LEGEND BY ENGAGING IN A LIVELY POST–GAME SCRAP WITH FELLOW NETMINDER RON HEXTALL OF THE FLYERS ON NOV. 10, 1996, SECONDS AFTER THE LEAFS HAD PLAYED THEIR FIRST GAME IN PHILADELPHIA’S NEW ARENA (TODAY, THE WELLS–FARGO CENTER). FELIX BEGAN TO ALLOW SOFT, KILLER GOALS — NONE MORE–SO THAN A 100–FOOT SHOOT–IN BY AL MacINNIS OF ST. LOUIS AT THE GARDENS ON NOV. 17, 1997 THAT BOUNCED TWICE AND SKIPPED OVER HIS CATCHING GLOVE AT 19:58 OF THE THIRD PERIOD. IT BROKE A 2–2 TIE. WHEN CURTIS JOSEPH ARRIVED VIA FREE AGENCY IN JULY 1998, IT SPELLED THE END FOR THE “CAT”, WHO ENDURED A BRUTAL HALF–YEAR BEFORE THE LEAFS TRADED HIM TO THE ISLANDERS FOR DEFENSEMAN BRYAN BERARD. HIS LEAF TOTALS: 369 GAMES AND A 2.87 GAA.

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RICK WAMSLEY: AMONG THE “NEBULOUS–9” INVOLVED IN THE TRADE THAT BROUGHT GILMOUR TO THE LEAFS, HE SUBBED IN GOAL ON 11 OCCASIONS DURING THE 1991–92 AND 1992–93 SEASONS. PREVIOUSLY A STARTER IN MONTREAL AND ST. LOUIS, “WAMMER” BROUGHT AN INFECTIOUS PERSONALITY TO TORONTO; HIS ABILITY TO TEACH AND RELATE KEPT HIM IN THE GAME. UPON RETIRING, HE JOINED PAT BURNS AS AN ASSISTANT COACH WITH THE LEAFS — A POSITION HE HELD WHEN I BEGAN TO COVER THE TEAM, FULL–TIME, IN 1994. HIS TORONTO TOTALS: 11 GAMES AND A 4.29 GAA.

DARREN PUPPA: ACQUIRED FROM BUFFALO AS PART OF THE FUHR–FOR–ANDREYCHUK TRADE, HE SAT ON THE LEAFS BENCH FOR ALL BUT 20 MINUTES OF 1993 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS — HAVING APPEARED, BEFOREHAND, IN EIGHT REGULAR–SEASON GAMES (2.25 GAA). PUPPA WAS LEFT UNPROTECTED FOR THE ’93 EXPANSION DRAFT AND CHOSEN BY THE FLORIDA PANTHERS. HE LATER PLAYED PARTS OF SEVEN SEASONS FOR THE TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING.

DON BEAUPRE: SHOULD THIS FORMER GOALIE WRITE A MEMOIR, CHANCES ARE HIS BRIEF TIME IN TORONTO WILL BE MENTIONED NEAR THE BACK… IF AT ALL. AFTER A NUMBER OF GOOD SEASONS WITH MINNESOTA AND WASHINGTON (BEGINNING IN 1980–81), BEAUPRE SPENT THE LOCKOUT–SHORTENED 1994–95 CAMPAIGN IN OTTAWA. LEAFS ACQUIRED HIM FROM THE SENATORS AS PART OF A COMPLICATED THREE–WAY TRANSACTION (JAN. 23, 1996) INVOLVING THE ISLANDERS THAT LANDED KIRK MULLER IN A TORONTO JERSEY. MORE THAN 20 YEARS LATER, BEAUPRE — NOW 54 AND LONG–RETIRED — IS STILL LOOKING FOR HIS FIRST LEAF VICTORY. OVER PARTS OF TWO SEASONS, HE WAS BLANKED IN EIGHT DECISIONS. HIS LEAF TOTALS: 11 GAMES AND A 4.84 GAA.

MARCEL COUSINEAU: ANOTHER BRAIN–TEASER FOR THE TRUE LEAFS FANATIC. WHENEVER HIS NAME COMES UP — AND IT ISN’T OFTEN — I THINK OF GLENN HEALY’S HAND. WHY? BECAUSE COUSINEAU HAD TO REPLACE HEALY DURING A GAME I COVERED FOR THE FAN–590 AT SAN JOSE ON NOV. 4, 1997 AND PRESERVE A 0–0 TIE (A SHARKS’ SKATE HAD CUT HEALY). ORIGINALLY A THIRD–ROUND SELECTION OF THE BRUINS IN 1991, COUSINEAU SIGNED WITH TORONTO AS A FREE AGENT ON NOV. 13, 1993. HE WAS POTVIN’S BACK-UP IN 1996–97 AND HIS ONLY APPEARANCE IN ’97–98 INVOLVED THE 16:39 IN WHICH HE REPLACED HEALY TO SHARE THE WHITE–WASH. HE PLAYED 15 GAMES WITH A 3.19 GAA.

GLENN HEALY: HIS HONEST, ACCURATE APPRAISAL EACH WEEK ON HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA OFTEN RANKLES DIE–HARD LEAF SUPPORTERS. GLENN CAN BE FOUND BETWEEN THE BENCHES AT ICE LEVEL AND IS AMONG THE MOST ASTUTE OBSERVERS IN THE GAME. HEALY SIGNED WITH TORONTO AS A FREE AGENT ON JULY 8, 1997, LEAVING THE NEW YORK RANGERS, WITH WHOM HE WON A STANLEY CUP IN 1994 AS NO. 2 TO MIKE RICHTER; HE HAD PREVIOUSLY BEEN A STARTER WITH LOS ANGELES AND THE ISLANDERS. IN TORONTO, GLENN SERVED AS BACK–UP TO POTVIN AND CURTIS JOSEPH FOR FOUR SEASONS; HE LATER HELD A HIGH–RANKING POST WITH THE NHL PLAYERS ASSOCIATION. HIS LEAF TOTALS: 65 GAMES AND A 2.91 GAA.

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CURTIS JOSEPH: THE BEST LEAFS GOALIE IN THE POST–1967 ERA, AND THE CLUB’S BEST–EVER FREE AGENT ACQUISITION. JOINED THE TEAM ON JULY 15, 1998 AFTER A NOW–LEGENDARY ENCOUNTER BETWEEN AGENT DON MEEHAN AND LEAFS PRESIDENT KEN DRYDEN AT A CONVENIENCE OUTLET ON DAVENPORT AVE. IT APPEARED JOSEPH WAS HEADED TO THE FLYERS AFTER DECIDING TO LEAVE EDMONTON. THE LEAFS WERE LOLLYGAGGING IN THE SECOND WEEK OF FREE AGENCY WHEN MEEHAN AND DRYDEN HAPPENED UPON ONE ANOTHER WHILE PURSUING ICE CREAM ON A HOT, MUGGY NIGHT. THE AGENT IMPLORED THE LEAFS EXECUTIVE TO ACT WITHOUT DELAY, AS PHILADELPHIA WAS ANXIOUS. DRYDEN WISELY TOOK THE BAIT AND INSTRUCTED HIS ASSISTANT, MIKE SMITH, TO NEGOTIATE A CONTRACT. IT WAS, BY FAR, THAT ADMINISTRATION’S BEST MOVE. FOR FOUR SEASONS, JOSEPH PROVIDED THE LEAFS UNQUESTIONED GOALTENDING STABILITY. ON TWO OCCASIONS, HE BACK–STOPPED THE CLUB TO THE STANLEY CUP SEMIFINALS, LOSING TO BUFFALO IN 1999 AND CAROLINA IN 2002. A FALLING OUT WITH PAT QUINN PROMPTED CUJO TO LEAVE TORONTO AND JOIN DETROIT AS A FREE AGENT IN JULY 2002. CURTIS RE–SIGNED WITH THE BLUE AND WHITE IN 2008–09, BACKING UP VESA TOSKALA, AND RETIRED SOON–AFTER. HIS LEAF NUMBERS: 270 GAMES. 138 WINS. 17 SHUTOUTS. 2.49 GAA.

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COREY SCHWAB: PLAYED SAVIOR LATE IN THE 2001–02 SEASON AFTER JOSEPH WAS LOST WITH A FRACTURED WRIST IN A FEB. 26 GAME AGAINST CAROLINA. LEAFS WERE BATTLING THE ISLANDERS, NEW JERSEY AND OTTAWA FOR THE NO. 4 PLAYOFF SEED IN THE EASTERN CONFERENCE AND HOME–ICE ADVANTAGE IN THE OPENING ROUND. THEY WERE 32–18–9 AFTER THE CAROLINA MATCH. WITHOUT CUJO, MOST EXPECTED TORONTO WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO HOLD ITS POSITION. BUT, SCHWAB WAS EXCELLENT IN RESERVE, STARTING THE NEXT 10 GAMES AND COMPILING A 4–2–4 RECORD. LEAFS ACQUIRED VETERAN TOM BARRASSO FROM CAROLINA AS INSURANCE AT THE TRADE DEADLINE BUT SCHWAB WENT 5–1–1 IN HIS NEXT SEVEN STARTS. HIS COMBINED 9–3–5 RECORD KEPT THE LEAFS IN FOURTH SPOT — CRUCIAL GIVEN THAT TORONTO ELIMINATED THE ISLANDERS ON HOME ICE IN GAME 7 OF THE OPENING PLAYOFF SERIES; OTTAWA AT THE ACC IN GAME 7 OF THE FOLLOWING ROUND. COREY’S LEAF TOTALS: 30 GAMES AND A 2.73 GAA.

TOM BARRASSO: AS MENTIONED ABOVE, ACQUIRED FOR A FOURTH–ROUND DRAFT PICK FROM CAROLINA AT THE TRADE DEADLINE IN 2002. JOSEPH RETURNED IN TIME FOR THE PLAYOFFS AND BARRASSO’S TORONTO STAY BECAME MERCIFULLY BRIEF, AS HE WAS NOTORIOUSLY DIFFICULT WITH THE MEDIA. HIS CLAIM TO FAME: BACK–STOPPING THE OFFENSIVELY–CHARGED PITTSBURGH PENGUINS OF MARIO LEMIEUX, JAROMIR JAGR, RON FRANCIS AND CO. TO CONSECUTIVE STANLEY CUP TITLES IN 1991 AND ’92. PRIOR TO THAT, HE’D BEEN A TEEN–AGED SENSATION WITH BUFFALO. HIS LEAF TOTALS: FOUR GAMES AND A 2.74 GAA.

SEBASTIEN CENTOMO: YET ANOTHER “WHO–DAT?” FOR MAPLE LEAF ZEALOTS. THE LONE NETMINDER TO APPEAR IN ONLY ONE GAME AMONG THE 62 TORONTO GOALIES SINCE 1967. HE REPLACED COREY SCHWAB FOR THE FINAL TWO PERIODS OF A 6–2 LOSS AT DETROIT ON MAR. 6, 2002, ALLOWING THREE GOALS. HAD SIGNED WITH TORONTO AS A FREE AGENT IN SEPTEMBER 1999 AND WAS THE CENTRAL HOCKEY LEAGUE’S ROOKIE–OF–THE–YEAR AT MEMPHIS IN 2001–02, WHILE ALSO PLAYING 25 GAMES WITH THE LEAFS AHL AFFILIATE IN ST. JOHN’S. IN THE NHL, HE BARELY EXCEEDED HIS “15 MINUTES OF FAME”.

ED BELFOUR: WHEN GRADING THE TOP LEAF GOALIES OF THE POST–’67 ERA, SOME WILL ARGUE THAT ED BELFOUR STANDS AHEAD OF CURTIS JOSEPH. I’M NOT AMONG THEM. WHILE BELFOUR IS SLIGHTLY MORE DECORATED THAN CUJO BY VIRTUE OF HIS STANLEY CUP WITH DALLAS IN 1999 (AND WAS A WORTHY HALL OF FAME SELECTION IN 2012), HE HAD TWO GOOD SEASONS IN TORONTO COMPARED TO JOSEPH’S FOUR. WITH CUJO, THE LEAFS WON SIX PLAYOFF ROUNDS; WITH BELFOUR, THEY WERE ELIMINATED BY PHILADELPHIA IN THE OPENING ROUND IN 2003 AND THE SECOND ROUND IN 2004; THE “EAGLE” STEALING AN ’04 FIRST–ROUND SERIES AGAINST OTTAWA. WHAT WE CAN TELL YOU, UNEQUIVOCALLY, IS THIS: BELFOUR WAS THE LAST MAN TO PROVIDE THE LEAFS GOALTENDING STABILITY THROUGH AN ENTIRE SEASON (2003–04). HIS LEAF TOTALS: 170 GAMES. 93 WINS. 17 SHUTOUTS. 2.51 GAA.

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MIKAEL TELLQVIST: APPEARED, AT TIMES, LIKE A GOOD NHL PROSPECT. BUT, HIS LEAFS TENURE WENT UP IN SMOKE DURING A THREE–DAY SPAN IN MONTREAL TOWARD THE END OF THE 2005–06 SEASON. THE NHL HAD DOUBLEHEADERS ON ITS SCHEDULE BACK THEN; A TEAM WOULD PLAY CONSECUTIVE GAMES IN A CITY. LEAFS WENT TO MONTREAL FROM MAR. 23 TO 25, STILL IN THE TEETH OF THE EASTERN PLAYOFF RACE. BUT, TELLQVIST AND THE CLUB IMPLODED AT THE BELL CENTRE, GETTING WHIPPED 5–1 AND 6–2. THE LEAFS REBOUNDED BEHIND A SPECTACULAR, LATE–SEASON PERFORMANCE BY JEAN–SEBASTIEN AUBIN BUT MISSED THE PLAYOFFS BY TWO POINTS. GM JOHN FERGUSON JR. LATER FIRED COACH PAT QUINN, REPLACING HIM WITH PAUL MAURICE. TELLQVIST, FROM SWEDEN, WAS CHOSEN 70th OVERALL IN THE 2000 DRAFT. HE SPENT SIX YEARS IN THE LEAFS ORGANIZATION, MAKING HIS NHL DEBUT IN 2002–03. HE WAS TRADED TO PHOENIX ON NOV. 28, 2006. HIS TORONTO NUMBERS: 40 GAMES AND A 3.01 GAA.

TREVOR KIDD: ONE OF THE GREAT CHARACTERS IN THE GAME — AND A TERRIFIC GUY. THE DUGALD, MANITOBA NATIVE SIGNED AS A FREE AGENT WITH THE LEAFS ON AUG. 26, 2002 AND BACKED UP ED BELFOUR FOR A COUPLE OF SEASONS. PREVIOUSLY A NO. 1 GOALIE IN CALGARY, CAROLINA AND FLORIDA — WITH HAIR, AT TIMES, WELL BEYOND SHOULDER–LENGTH — TREVOR FINISHED HIS NHL CAREER IN TORONTO BEFORE HEADING BRIEFLY TO SWEDEN DURING THE 2004–05 LOCKOUT. ALWAYS ENJOYED CHATTING WITH HIM, OCCASIONALLY ABOUT HOCKEY. HE PLAYED 34 GAMES AS A LEAF WITH A 3.17 GAA.

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JEAN–SEBASTIEN AUBIN: ALMOST SINGLE–HANDEDLY PROPELLED THE LEAFS INTO THE PLAYOFFS LATE IN THE 2005–06 SEASON WITH A NEAR–PERFECT 9–0–2 RECORD. THAT 11–GAME STREAK WITHOUT LOSING IN REGULATION TIME (MAR. 26 TO APR. 18) EARNED HIM A SPOT AS BACK–UP TO ANDREW RAYCROFT THE FOLLOWING YEAR. PRIOR TO SIGNING WITH THE LEAFS IN AUGUST 2005, AUBIN HAD APPEARED IN 168 GAMES FOR PITTSBURGH BETWEEN 1998 AND 2004. HIS TORONTO TOTALS: 31 GAMES AND A 2.83 GAA.

ANDREW RAYCROFT: DESPITE SHARING, WITH BELFOUR, THE LEAFS SINGLE–SEASON RECORD OF 37 GOALTENDING VICTORIES, HE EVOLVED INTO ONE OF THE MOST RIDICULED TORONTO PUCK–STOPPERS SINCE 1967. PERHAPS BECAUSE HE RARELY STOPPED THE PUCK WHEN IT MATTERED. AND, UNDOUBTEDLY, AS A RESULT OF THE 2006 DRAFT–NIGHT DEAL IN VANCOUVER (WITH BOSTON) FOR TUUKKA RASK. HAVING WON THE CALDER TROPHY AS NHL ROOKIE–OF–THE–YEAR WITH BOSTON IN 2003–04, HE NEVER REBOUNDED FROM THE ’04–05 LOCKOUT, SUFFERING A GROIN INJURY AT BRUINS TRAINING CAMP. HE PLAYED 30 GAMES FOR BOSTON IN 2005–06 AND SLUMPED TO A RECORD OF 8–19–2 WITH A 3.71 GAA — MUCH WORSE THAN HIS 2.05 ROOKIE MARK. RAYCROFT WAS 37–25–9 IN 2006–07 BUT LEAFS MISSED THE PLAYOFFS ONCE AGAIN, PROMPTING FERGUSON TO ACQUIRE VESA TOSKALA AT THE ’07 DRAFT IN COLUMBUS. ANDREW LATER PLAYED FOR DALLAS AND VANCOUVER. HIS TWO–SEASON LEAF NUMBERS: 91 GAMES AND A 3.17 GAA.

SCOTT CLEMMENSEN: IN THE SUMMER OF 2007, HE FELT HE HAD TO “RE–TAKE CONTROL” OF HIS CAREER AFTER WATCHING MARTIN BRODEUR FROM THE END OF THE BENCH FOR THREE SEASONS IN NEW JERSEY. DURING THAT SPAN (2003–04 TO 2006–07), CLEMMENSEN APPEARED IN 23 OF 246 GAMES (BRODEUR PLAYED IN 75, 73 AND 78). NO WONDER SCOTT WANTED TO FLEE THE MEADOWLANDS. HE SIGNED WITH TORONTO AS A FREE AGENT ON JULY 6, 2007, BUT DIDN’T HAVE “CONTROL” HERE EITHER, PLAYING IN ONLY THREE GAMES DURING THE ’07–08 SEASON (3.09 GAA).

VESA TOSKALA: JOHN FERGUSON’S ANNUAL DRAFT–HUNT FOR A GOALIE DID THE MOST DAMAGE TO HIM AS LEAFS GM, THOUGH HE CERTAINLY TRIED TO OBTAIN STABILITY UNDER CONSTANT PRESSURE FROM THE BOARD OF MAPLE LEAF SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT. TOWARD THE END OF THE 2006–07 SEASON, SAN JOSE GM DOUG WILSON PROMISED HE WOULD TRADE ONE OF HIS GOALIES — EACH OF WHOM APPEARED CAPABLE OF A STARTING ASSIGNMENT. WILSON CHOSE TO UNLOAD TOSKALA AND RETAIN EVGENI NABOKOV. WHETHER HE FELT NABOKOV WAS THE BETTER MAN — OR SIMPLY COULDN’T REJECT THE LEAFS’ OFFER OF FIRST, SECOND AND FOURTH–ROUND PICKS IN THE 2009 DRAFT — REMAINS UNCLEAR. TOSKALA WAS ENJOYING THE MIDNIGHT SUN IN FINLAND (WITH A CASE OR TWO OF BEER) WHEN HE HEARD ABOUT THE DEAL AND HIS GLEE WAS EVIDENT ON TORONTO SPORTS–RADIO STATIONS. IT WAS UNDOUBTEDLY THE HIGH POINT OF HIS LEAFS CAREER. VESA DEVELOPED THE WHIFFS AND WAS YIELDING SOFT GOALS AT AN ALARMING RATE IN HIS FINAL SEASON (2009–10). HIS LEAF NUMBERS: 145 GAMES AND A 3.08 GAA.

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MARTIN GERBER: AT THE 2009 TRADE DEADLINE, THE LEAFS APPEARED TO BE SLIPPING TOWARD THE NHL BASEMENT, WITH A CHANCE TO DRAFT LONDON KNIGHTS PHENOM JOHN TAVARES. BUT, GM BRIAN BURKE WOULD HAVE NONE OF IT. INSTEAD, HE CLAIMED THIS VETERAN OFF WAIVERS FROM OTTAWA AND GERBER WON SIX OF THE MOST MEANINGLESS GAMES IN LEAF HISTORY. TORONTO MISSED THE PLAYOFFS BY “ONLY” 12 POINTS AND FINISHED 23rd OVERALL. NOTED FOR BACKING UP CAM WARD DURING CAROLINA’S 2006 STANLEY CUP TRIUMPH, AND FOR BLANKING TEAM CANADA WHILE PLAYING FOR SWITZERLAND AT THE 2006 WINTER OLYMPICS IN TURIN, GERBER DID NOT RE–JOIN THE LEAFS FOR 2009–10. HIS TORONTO NUMBERS: 12 GAMES AND A 3.23 GAA.

JUSTIN POGGE: A HIGHLY–TOUTED PROSPECT THAT LEFT HIS GAME IN JUNIOR, HE ENDURED A SHORT, PAINFUL TENURE IN BLUE AND WHITE. AFTER WINNING HIS NHL DEBUT IN ATLANTA, IT WAS ALL DOWNHILL FOR TORONTO’S FIRST PICK, 90th OVERALL, IN THE 2004 DRAFT. WHEN POGGE ABSORBED A 6–1 BEAT–DOWN AT MINNESOTA IN HIS SECOND APPEARANCE (JAN. 27, 2009), COACH RON WILSON BLAMED IT ON REPORTERS “ERECTING A STATUE” OF THE ROOKIE AFTER HIS ATLANTA TRIUMPH (POGGE’S LONE NHL WIN). JUSTIN EXCITED LEAF FOLLOWERS BY RECORDING 11 SHUTOUTS AND A 1.72 GAA WITH CALGARY OF THE WHL IN 2005–06. BURKE TRADED HIM TO ANAHEIM FOR A SIXTH–ROUND DRAFT CHOICE IN AUGUST 2009. HIS LEAF TOTALS: SEVEN GAMES; 4.35 GAA.

JEAN–SEBASTIEN GIGUERE: ACQUIRED BY BURKE FROM HIS FORMER TEAM (GIGUERE HAD BACK–STOPPED ANAHEIM TO THE 2007 STANLEY CUP), THE MOVE WAS OVERSHADOWED BY A DEAL, 90 MINUTES EARLIER, THAT BROUGHT DION PHANEUF TO TORONTO. JAN. 31, 2010 WAS THE MOST PROMINENT DAY IN BURKE’S TENURE WITH THE LEAFS. GIGUERE ARRIVED FOR TOSKALA AND JASON BLAKE (MANY STILL CONSIDER IT A MIRACLE THAT BLAKE’S CONTRACT WAS TOUCHED BY ANOTHER CLUB). “GIGGY” STARTED WITH A BANG — RECORDING SHUTOUTS IN HIS FIRST TWO LEAF APPEARANCES. BUT, A SLIGHT GROIN–TEAR NAGGED HIM. A TOP–NOTCH PRO AND SUPERB TEAMMATE, HIS REAL VALUE CAME FROM OTHERS OBSERVING THE WAY HE CONDUCTED HIMSELF. LEAFS DID NOT RE–SIGN HIM AFTER 2010–11 AND J.S. JOINED COLORADO AS A FREE AGENT. HIS TORONTO NUMBERS: 48 GAMES AND A 2.73 GAA.

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JONAS GUSTAVSSON: BURKE EXPENDED MUCH TIME AND ENERGY TO LURE “THE MONSTER” HERE IN THE SUMMER OF 2009, BELIEVING THE TOP–RANKED GOALIE IN EUROPE WOULD BECOME A FIRST–RATE NHLer. JONAS ENDURED THE DEATH OF BOTH PARENTS BEFORE AGE 27; A HEART AILMENT REQUIRING THREE CARDIAC ABLATIONS, AND A NAGGING GROIN ISSUE. MOST LEAF OBSERVERS WERE ROOTING FOR HIM TO ACHIEVE HIS POTENTIAL. BUT, THE SCOURGE OF SOFT, UNTIMELY GOALS PREVENTED IT FROM HAPPENING. GUSTAVSSON LATER PLAYED WITH DETROIT AND HE BACKED UP TUUKKA RASK IN BOSTON THIS PAST SEASON (APPEARING IN 24 GAMES). HIS LEAF TOTALS: 107 GAMES AND A 2.98 GAA.

JOEY MacDONALD: WHAT A MEMORY THIS GUY MUST HAVE OF JOINING THE LEAFS IN THE MIDST OF THEIR WORST–EVER START TO A SEASON. POOR JOEY GOT THE CALL IN THREE CONSECUTIVE GAMES (HOME AGAINST THE RANGERS AND COLORADO; AT VANCOUVER) DURING THE 0–7–1 SLUMBER OF OCTOBER 2009 AND THE LEAFS WERE SWEPT BY A COMBINED 11–3 COUNT. THANKFULLY FOR MacDONALD, HE HAD A CHEERY DISPOSITION. HE RECORDED HIS LONE TORONTO WIN AT COLUMBUS ON DEC. 3, 2009 AND WAS TRADED TO ANAHEIM IN MARCH 2010. HIS LEAF TOTALS: SIX GAMES AND A 3.20 GAA.

JAMES REIMER: A METEORIC RISE TO FAME MADE HIM AN INSTANT HERO AMONG LEAF FANS. REIMER WENT 20–10–5 WITH A 2.60 GAA IN THE SECOND HALF OF THE 2010–11 SEASON, PROVIDING THE LEAFS THEIR BEST STRETCH OF GOALTENDING IN THE POST–2005 LOCKOUT ERA (HE QUICKLY SHAVED A PLAYOFF POINTS–DEFICIT FROM 14 TO FOUR). HIS COMPETENCE AS NO. 1 GOALIE ENABLED TORONTO TO QUALIFY FOR THE STANLEY CUP TOURNAMENT AFTER THE ABBREVIATED, 48–GAME SCHEDULE OF JANUARY–TO–APRIL 2013. BUT, REIMER’S PART IN THE NOW–LEGENDARY GAME 7 COLLAPSE AT BOSTON (LEAFS BLEW A 4–1 LEAD IN THE THIRD PERIOD AND WERE ELIMINATED IN OVERTIME) PROMPTED GM DAVID NONIS TO ACQUIRE JONATHAN BERNIER FROM LOS ANGELES. LOU LAMORIELLO TRADED REIMER TO SAN JOSE ON FEB. 27, 2016. OPTIMUS REIM WILL ALWAYS BE REMEMBERED — BY FANS AND MEDIA IN TORONTO — AS A CHARMING, GROUNDED INDIVIDUAL, STEEPED IN FAITH. HIS LEAF TOTALS: 207 GAMES AND A 2.84 GAA.

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BEN SCRIVENS: A GRADUATE OF CORNELL UNIVERSITY, HE SIGNED WITH TORONTO AS A FREE AGENT IN APRIL 2010. MADE HIS LEAFS DEBUT IN COLUMBUS ON NOV. 3, 2011 AND STOPPED 38 SHOTS IN A 4–1 VICTORY. SCRIVENS WENT TO LOS ANGELES AS PART OF THE TRADE FOR BERNIER (JUNE 23, 2013). HE WAS LATER DEALT TO EDMONTON AND THEN TO MONTREAL. HE APPEARED IN 15 GAMES WITH THE CANADIENS THIS PAST SEASON. BEN’S LEAF TOTALS: 32 GAMES AND A 2.86 GAA.

JUSSI RYNNAS: PRONOUNCED “ROON-US”, THE NATIVE OF PORI, FINLAND SIGNED WITH THE LEAFS AS A FREE AGENT ON APR. 21, 2010. ON MAR. 27, 2012, HE DRESSED AS BACK–UP TO GUSTAVSSON FOR A HOME GAME AGAINST CAROLINA. WHEN “THE MONSTER” WHIFFED ON A SHOT BY EX–LEAF JAY HARRISON AT 0:37 OF THE SECOND PERIOD, GIVING THE HURRICANES A 3–0 LEAD, COACH RANDY CARLYLE SUMMONED RYNNAS. TWO NIGHTS LATER, GUSTAVSSON TOOK A SHOT OFF HIS KNEE IN THE WARM–UP AT AIR CANADA CENTRE AND RYNNAS HAD TO START AGAINST PHILADELPHIA. HIS TEAMMATES THREW IN THE TOWEL BEFORE THE OPENING FACE–OFF AND THE FLYERS BREEZED TO A 7–1 VICTORY. JUSSI LATER APPEARED IN TWO GAMES WITH THE DALLAS STARS. HE PLAYED THIS PAST SEASON WITH AK–BARS KAZAN OF THE KONTINENTAL HOCKEY LEAGUE. HIS LEAF TOTALS: THREE GAMES AND A 3.84 GAA.

JONATHAN BERNIER: CONSIDERED BY MANY THE BEST NO. 2 GOALIE IN THE NHL WHILE PLAYING BEHIND JONATHAN QUICK IN LOS ANGELES, BERNIER GOT THE CHANCE TO START AFTER BEING ACQUIRED BY THE LEAFS. HE HAD ONE BRILLIANT STRETCH LATE IN THE 2013–14 SEASON THAT ENDED WHEN CARLYLE IMPRUDENTLY ALLOWED HIM TO PLAY WHILE NURSING A GROIN INJURY AGAINST HIS FORMER TEAM AT STAPLES CENTER (MAR. 14, 2014). BERNIER LASTED ONE PERIOD AND MISSED THE NEXT FIVE GAMES — ALL OF WHICH THE LEAFS LOST IN REGULATION TIME. HE HAD SPORTS–HERNIA SURGERY IN THE OFF–SEASON. THE OLD LEAFS SCOURGE OF SOFT, UNTIMELY GOALS HAS DIMINISHED BERNIER’S PROFILE WITH THE CLUB. UNLESS TRADED, HE WILL GO INTO NEXT SEASON AS BACK–UP TO FREDERIK ANDERSEN. HIS TORONTO NUMBERS TO DATE: 151 GAMES. 59–68–6 RECORD. 2.80 GAA.

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DREW McINTYRE: SIGNED ON FEB. 13, 2013 TO A PROFESSIONAL TRYOUT CONTRACT WITH THE AHL TORONTO MARLIES, HE STARTED ONE GAME FOR THE LEAFS — A 4–2 LOSS TO FLORIDA AT AIR CANADA CENTRE, APR. 10, 2014. HE PLAYED EIGHT GAMES WITH ROCKFORD OF THE AHL THIS PAST SEASON AND RECENTLY CHOSE TO CONTINUE HIS CAREER IN GERMANY.

GARRET SPARKS:  GOALIE NO. 62 FOR THE MAPLE LEAFS SINCE THE 1967 STANLEY CUP VICTORY WAS DRAFTED IN 2011 (SEVENTH ROUND. ON NOV. 30 OF THIS PAST SEASON, HE MADE 24 SAVES TO BLANK EDMONTON, 3–0, AT AIR CANADA CENTRE, THUS BECOMING THE FIRST TORONTO NETMINDER TO RECORD A SHUTOUT IN HIS NHL DEBUT. IT WAS MOSTLY DOWNHILL FOR GARRET AFTER THAT, AS THE LEAFS EVISCERATED THEIR ROSTER IN AN ALL–OUT (AND SUCCESSFUL) ATTEMPT TO LAND THE NO. 1 PICK IN THIS YEAR’S DRAFT. TWO NIGHTS AFTER THE EDMONTON MILESTONE, HE GOT POUNDED, 6–1, AT WINNIPEG AND THE BLOOM (AT LEAST TEMPORARILY) CAME OFF THE ROSE. HE’LL BEGIN NEXT SEASON WITH THE AHL MARLIES. GARRET’S LEAF TOTALS TO DATE: 17 GAMES AND A 3.02 GAA.

EMAIL: HOWARDLBERGER@GMAIL.COM

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