Top 10 Best Toronto Maple Leafs Players of All Time

Top 10 Best Toronto Maple Leafs Players of All Time

The Toronto Maple Leafs have one of the richest histories in all of the NHL. The team was founded in 1917, and since then has won 13 Stanley Cups. With any sports franchise as successful as the Maple Leafs, it only makes sense that they’ve had their fair share of wildly talented players throughout the years. However, these ten players below are the best Toronto Maple Leafs of all time.

Who Are the Best Maple Leafs Hockey Players of All Time?

  1. Dave Keon
  2. Syl Apps
  3. Darryl Sittler
  4. Ted Kennedy
  5. Tim Horton
  6. Mats Sundin
  7. Börje Salming
  8. Turk Broda
  9. Johnny Bower
  10. Frank Mahovlich

1. Dave Keon

  • 1961 Calder Trophy winner
  • 1967 Conn Smythe Trophy winner
  • Four-time Stanley Cup winner

Between 1960 and 1975, Dave Keon was a spectacular center for the Toronto Maple Leafs. During his time as a player in Toronto, recorded 858 total points of which 365 were goals. Those 365 goals put him third all-time in goals scored as a Toronto Maple Leaf. He’s also fourth in assists with 493. 

In his first season in the NHL, Keon played 70 games, scored 20 goals, and won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the best rookie in the league. He followed up that success in following seasons, winning the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy in both his second and third seasons with the Leafs. The 1966-1967 campaign even saw Keon win the Conn Smythe Trophy for his legendary playoff performance which yielded the team a Stanley Cup. Keon was instrumental in all four Stanley Cup wins he was a part of. With Toronto, he scored 67 total points in the playoffs. 

2. Syl Apps

  • 1937 Calder Trophy winner
  • Three-time Stanley Cup winner
  • Five-time NHL All-Star

Syl Apps played center for the Toronto Maple Leafs for the entire duration of his professional hockey career: 1936 to 1948. In Apps’ very first season in the NHL, he led the league with 48 games played and scored 45 points, He also led the league that season in assists with 29.

For his efforts, Apps was awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy as the best rookie in the league that year. He wouldn't let up the pace either, going on to be named an All-Star in five separate seasons and finishing in the top three of Hart Memorial Trophy voting in five consecutive seasons between 1938 and 1943.

By the time Apps was finished with professional hockey, he had scored 201 goals and 231 assists. Apps was also vital to three Stanley Cup wins with Toronto. In the 1941-1942 season’s playoffs, he scored 13 total points in 13 games played. 

3. Darryl Sittler

  • 1977-1978 All-Star
  • Second all-time Toronto goal-scorer
  • 21 career hat tricks

Darryl Sittler was yet another premier center for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Sittler played for the team for over a decade, from 1970 to 1982. In his time as a Maple Leaf, Sittler was nothing short of excellent. He was an incredibly talented goal scorer, as evidenced by his 389 career goals wearing a Maple Leafs uniform. This puts him second all-time in franchise goals scored.

Despite his consistent talent as a player, Sittler flew relatively under the radar. He finished in the top ten of Hart Memorial Trophy voting five times during his time with the team, but he never did better than third. He only made one All-Star team in his career, which was during the 1977-1978 season. By the time of his retirement from professional hockey in 1985, Sittler had amassed 21 total hat tricks, and all but two of those came in a Maple Leafs uniform.

4. Ted Kennedy

  • 1954-1955 Hart Memorial Trophy winner
  • Three-time All-Star
  • Five-time Stanley Cup winner

Ted Kennedy was not only one of the most talented players in Maple Leafs’ history, but he was also one of the most loyal. Kennedy began his career in Toronto in 1942 and retired still as a member of the team in 1957. He spent his entire career with the team, and in doing so, won some of the sports top awards.

Chief among Kennedy’s awards was the Hart Memorial Trophy, which he won for his outstanding effort in the 1954-1955 season. He was also named to the NHL All-Star team in three different seasons. But perhaps most importantly, Kennedy was vital to five Stanley Cup wins with Toronto.

In the playoffs, Kennedy scored 29 goals and accumulated 31 assists over the course of his career. Without Kennedy’s excellence in the playoffs, it’s possible that Toronto might have a few less Stanley Cups to their name. By the time of his retirement from the NHL, Kennedy had racked up 230 total goals. 

5. Tim Horton

  • Six-time All-Star
  • Four-time Stanley Cup winner
  • 120 goals with Toronto

Tim Horton was the best defensive player to ever play for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Horton had an incredibly long career in the NHL, spanning from 1949 to 1974. He played for the Maple Leafs between 1949 and 1969.

With almost two decades spent in Toronto, Horton proved himself to be one of the most loyal and durable players in franchise history. As a defensive player, Horton was incredibly versatile and had the ability to be an excellent offensive asset as well. As such, Horton scored 109 regular season goals with the team. This was only a cherry on top of his outstanding defensive play. His play was so outstanding, in fact, that he was named to six All-Star teams over the course of his career. In the playoffs, Horton scored an additional 11 goals and 39 assists on the way to four Stanley Cup wins with the team.

6. Mats Sundin

  • All-time leading Toronto goal-scorer
  • Two-time All-Star
  • 70 total playoff points

There’s little doubt that Mats Sundin was one of the most talented goal-scorers to ever grace the Toronto Maple Leafs’ lineup. In fact, Sundin stands atop the list of all-time goals as a Toronto Maple Leaf with 420. Sundin played for Toronto between 1994 and 2008, and in that time was practically unstoppable. Sundin had single-season points totals as high as 94 in the 1996-1997 season, and 83 in two separate seasons.

Sundin’s best single season was likely in 2001-2002 during which he scored 41 goals and 39 assists over the course of 82 games. That season saw him finish eighth in the voting for the Hart Memorial Trophy. For his strong efforts over the course of that season and the 2003-2004 season, Sundin was named to the All-Star team. Those were his only two appearances on the list. If not for his lack of Stanley Cup wins, Mats Sundin would likely be much higher on this list. 

7. Börje Salming

  • Six-time All-Star
  • 160 goals with the Maple Leafs
  • 1,099 games played with Toronto

Börje Salming was another legendary defensive player that spent significant time on the Toronto Maple Leafs’ roster. Salming spent his entire NHL career save for one season with Toronto, spanning from his debut season in 1973 to 1989. In that time, Salming was one of the best defensive players in the league. He finished in the top ten of the James Norris Memorial Trophy voting eight seasons in a row between 1973 and 1981, although he never managed to win the award.

Salming’s best season in his career was likely in 1976-1977 in which he scored 78 points, of which 66 were assists. He finished second in Norris Trophy voting as well as fourth in the voting for the Hart Memorial Trophy. By the time of his departure from the Maple Leafs, Salming had scored 160 goals, played 1,099 games, and appeared on six All-Star lists. 

8. Turk Broda

  • Two-time Vezina Trophy winner
  • Three-time All-Star
  • Five Stanley Cup wins

Turk Broda is the best goalie in the history of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Broda spent the entirety of his career in Toronto, from his NHL debut in 1936 to his eventual retirement in 1952. In that span, Broda led the NHL in games played in eight separate seasons and had the lowest goals-against average in two.

Thanks to his incredibly strong efforts in net for the team, he was awarded the Vezina Trophy in both the 1940-1941 and 1947-1948 seasons. Similarly, Broda was selected to three All-Star teams before he retired from the sport, and even placed fourth one season in the voting for the Hart Memorial Trophy. Thanks to his incredibly strong and consistent play along with his unwavering loyalty to the Maple Leafs franchise, Turk Broda is the best goalie in team history. 

9. Johnny Bower

  • Two-time Vezina Trophy winner
  • Two-time Stanley Cup winner
  • 1960-1961 All-Star

Behind Turk Broda, Johnny Bower is the second-best goalie in Toronto Maple Leafs history. Bower was also a two-time winner of the prestigious Vezina Trophy, which he won in 1960-1961 and 1964-1965. Bower was also one of the most consistently excellent players in franchise history. He led the league in save percentage in six different seasons.

As a Toronto Maple Leaf, Bower amassed a total of 13,468 saves and a career save percentage of .922. His all-time record with the Maple Leafs stands at 219 wins to 157 losses. Thanks to his excellence in net, Bower was named to the All-Star team in the 1960-1961 season. He was also runner-up in the Hart Memorial Trophy voting for that same season. Bower was a part of two Stanley Cup wins in Toronto, and his .924 save percentage in the playoffs was even better than the regular season.           

10. Frank Mahovlich

  • Nine-time All-Star
  • Six-time Stanley Cup winner
  • 1957-1958 Calder Memorial Trophy winner

Frank Mahovlich played for the Toronto Maple Leafs from his debut season in the NHL in 1956-1957 (though his first full season was a year later), until he was traded to the Detroit Red Wings during the 1967-1968 season. Mahovlich was yet another immensely talented goal-scorer, playing left wing for the team. Over the course of his career in Toronto, Mahovlich amassed 296 total goals, good for seventh all-time among all Maple Leafs players.

In his first full season with the team, he was awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy thanks to his 20 goals and 16 assists. His excellence would continue in following years as he made the All-Star team six times as a Maple Leaf. He also finished in the top five of Hart Memorial Trophy voting in two of those seasons. Mahovlich won four Stanley Cups in Toronto and was vital to all of them. He scored 60 total points in the playoffs as a Maple Leaf. 

Honorable Mentions

  • George Armstrong
  • King Clancy
  • Wendel Clark
  • Charlie Conacher
  • Hap Day
  • Ron Ellis
  • Doug Gilmour
  • Busher Jackson
  • Red Kelly
  • Rick Vaive

FAQ

Who is the best Toronto Maple Leafs goalie of all time?

Turk Broda is the best goalie to ever play for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Broda played his entire career with Toronto, and for much of that time, he was considered one of the best goalies in the league. He won two Vezina trophies, which are awarded to the best goalie in the NHL for a given season. He even placed fourth in Hart Memorial Trophy voting during one of his better seasons. With three All-Star list appearances, there’s little doubt that Broda was the best goaltender to put on a Toronto jersey.

Who is the best Toronto Maple Leafs forward of all time?

Having played center for the Toronto Maple Leafs for well over a decade, Dave Keon is the best forward to ever play for the Maple Leafs. Some of Keon’s achievements include a Calder Memorial Trophy, a Conn Smythe Trophy, and being named to two All-Star teams. With 365 goals with the team, Keon stands at third all-time for franchise goal-scoring. He was also absolutely crucial to four Stanley Cup wins during his time with the team.

Who is the best Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman of all time?

Tim Horton is by far the best defenseman to ever play for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Horton spent two decades with the team, and in that time, managed to collect some serious awards hardware. This included four Stanley Cup wins and six All-Star team appearances. He was also in the top five of voting for the James Norris Memorial Trophy in six separate seasons. With 109 regular season goals to his name as a member of the Maple Leafs, Horton consistently proved how versatile he was.