Before 1967, the Toronto Maple Leafs were one of the best teams in the NHL, but there was just five other clubs in the league back then. Once expansion hit the league the team has been lost in the wilderness and have never made it back to the Stanley Cup Final since. They had a few good years in the 1970s with the likes of Darryl Sittler, Lanny McDonald, Tiger Williams, Errol Thompson, Borje Salming, Ian Turnbull and Mike Palmateer leading the way.
They also enjoyed some success in the early 1990s with Doug Gilmour, Dave Andreychuck, Felix Potvin and Wendel Clark and then again a few years later when Mats Sundin joined the club. But they’ve had some truly awful teams along the way and some pretty bad players in the lineup as well. These are the top 15 worst Toronto Maple Leafs players ever and the only criteria they had to meet was to play at least 20 games with the club. Some of them spent a few seasons in Toronto before being let go, but most of them were cut loose not too long after being acquired.
There are several factors which were taken into consideration when making the list. These included the player’s statistics with the Maple Leafs, the club’s expectations of the player based on previous seasons in the NHL or junior hockey, when the player was drafted, and what the team had to give up for him if he was acquired in a trade. Some players meet just one of these criteria while others may meet a combination of them. Also, some of these players may have enjoyed decent NHL careers when playing with other teams, but played well below par when suiting up for Toronto.
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15 Philippe Dupuis
It’s a bit difficult to play 30 NHL games with a team as a forward and not earn at least one point. However, Philippe Dupuis managed to pull off the feat with the Maple Leafs in the 2011-12 season after signing as a free agent. The 6-foot centre was chosen in the fourth round of the 2003 draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets with the 104th overall pick. He did get his name on the score sheet with the Leafs though as he picked up 16 penalty minutes along the way. After 30 scoreless games, Toronto waived him and sent him to the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.
He found his scoring touch there with 31 points in 42 games and added 14 more in 17 playoff games, but never played for the Leafs again. He spent the next season in the AHL with Pittsburgh’s farm team and then joined Hamburg in the German league. Dupuis scored just six goals and 12 assists in 118 NHL contests.
14 Ryan Hollweg
Forward Ryan Hollweg chipped in with just a pair of assists in 25 games for Toronto on the 2008-09 season after they picked him up from the New York Rangers. Hollweg was acquired for his toughness, but didn’t help too much in that department either with just 38 penalty minutes in his 25 appearances. He also posted a minus-7 ranking. Hollweg was let go after one season in Toronto with the Leafs and AHL Marlies and played in the Czech Republic last season. Fans shouldn’t have expected much from Hollweg though since he was chosen with the 238th overall draft pick by the Rangers in 2001. His NHL totals are five goals and nine assists in 228 games with 349 penalty minutes. He added one assist in 14 playoff games with another 23 minutes in the penalty box.
13 Bunny Larocque
Goaltender Bunny Larocque had a pretty good career going for him with the Montreal Canadiens, but that all changed in March of 1981 when he was traded to the Maple Leafs. Toronto gave up one of their best defencemen in Robert Picard, who was a third overall draft pick of the Washington Capitals a few years earlier. The Leafs also gave up an eighth-round draft pick in the deal. Larocque played parts of three seasons with Toronto and posted a goals-against average of 4.79 in 74 games. He won 16, lost 35 and tied 13 before being traded in January of 1983 to Philadelphia for fellow goalie Rick St. Croix, who also made this list. His save percentage with the Leafs was in the mid-80s.
12 Al Secord
Just before the 1987-88 season faced off, the Maple Leafs traded star wingers Rick Vaive and Steve Thomas to the Chicago Blackhawks along with defenceman Bob McGill for centre Ed Olczyk and left winger Al Secord. Olczyk played well for the blue and white, but Secord, who was previously enjoyed seasons of 54, 44 and 40 goals with the Hawks, was a bust. He scored just 15 goals and 27 assists in 74 games in his first season with Toronto and was a minus-21. He added one goal in six playoff contests with 16 more penalty minutes.
Secord spent most of his time trying to prove how tough he was with 221 penalty minutes. Secord lasted just half a season the next year with five goals, 10 assists, a minus-13 rating and another 71 penalty minutes. He was traded just 17 months after arriving with the Leafs getting just a fifth-round draft pick for him from Philadelphia.
11 Paul Higgins
Paul Higgins made history back in 1980 when he became the first ever player drafted into the NHL straight from high school. The right winger was chosen with the 200th overall pick to add some youthful muscle to the lineup. It wasn’t his fault he was such a bad player as he should never have been drafted in the first place. Higgins played 25 regular season games with Toronto and registered no goals, no assists and 152 penalty minutes. He also went pointless in one playoff contest. Higgins was then released by the team in September of 1983 and soon retired from the game.
10 Chris McAllister
Defenceman Chris McAllister joined the Maple Leafs from Vancouver in a trade for forward Darby Hendrickson in February of 1999. By September of the next year he was traded to Philadelphia for Regan Kelly. While in Toronto, McAllister appeared in 56 games and contributed just five assists to go along with his 107 penalty minutes. He also added one assist in six playoff games with four penalty minutes. Five years later he was sent to the minors by the New York Rangers and he stayed there for six seasons before retiring with four goals, 17 assists, 21 points and 634 penalty minutes in 301 career NHL regular-season matches.
9 Brian Curran
Brian Curran was a 6-foot-5 defenceman who was acquired by the Maple Leafs in March of 1988 from the New York Islanders for a sixth-round draft pick. Curran was brought in for one reason only, and it wasn’t to play hockey. He played 130 games from 1987 to 1991 in the Big Smoke and scored three goals and 14 assists for 17 points. However, he did manage to serve 512 penalty minutes in that time with 301 of them coming in the 1989-90 season. He appeared in 11 playoff games with one assist and an additional 60 penalty minutes.
Curran was sent to Buffalo along with winger Lou Franceschetti for winger Mike Foligno and an eight-round draft choice. He spent the last five years of his career in the minors and retired with 40 points in 381 career NHL games with 1,461 penalty minutes. He managed a lone assist in 24 playoff games to accompany another 122 penalty minutes.
8 Carter Ashton
Right-winger Carter Ashton was acquired by the Maple Leafs in a February, 2012 trade for defenceman Keith Aulie. He played in 53 games between 2012 and 2015 and contributed just three assists as he tried to make a case for steady employment. He left the Leafs with a minus-13 rating and 32 penalty minutes when the team shipped him out. The former 6-foot-3, first-round draft pick of Tampa in 2009 now plays in the KHL in Russia. Ashton was suspended for 20 games by the NHL in November of 2014 for violating the league’s performance-enhancing substance policy. He was traded back to Tampa with forward David Broll for a seventh-round draft pick in February of 2015 and joined the KHL as a free agent this summer.
7 Rick St. Croix
The Maple Leafs traded one bad goalie for another goalie back in January of 1983 when they picked up Rick St. Croix from Philadelphia for Bunny Larocque. St Croix played 48 games in parts of three seasons in Toronto and posted a won-lost-tied record of 11-28-2 to go along with his goals-against average of 4.61. The team released him after the 1984-85 season. He played the next campaign in the IHL and then retired. St. Croix’s save percentages with the Leafs in three seasons were 88.6, 84.9 and 82.8.
6 Colton Orr
Forward Colton Orr was a fan favourite with some, but it was purely for his willingness to drop the gloves rather than his hockey skills. Orr suited up for 232 regular-season contests with Toronto and helped the team out by scoring eight goals and five assists for 13 points while serving a total of 637 penalty minutes. Orr served 18 more penalty minutes in seven playoff games while going pointless. He joined the club in 2009 from the New York Rangers and lasted until the 2014/15 campaign. He retired from the NHL with 1186 penalty minutes in 477 regular-season games along with 24 points. He went pointless in 19 postseason games with 48 penalty minutes.
5 David Clarkson
Forward David Clarkson was awarded a huge multi-mullion, multi-year contract by the Maple Leafs based on one 30-goal season he had in seven campaigns with the New Jersey Devils. To make matters worse, it included a no-trade clause. Clarkson paid the team back by scoring 15 goals and 11 assists in 114 regular season games to go along with 185 penalty minutes, most of which were of the dumb variety. He also posted a minus-25 rating in those games. The Leafs finally unloaded his contract when he agreed to a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets for the injured and likely-retired Nathan Horton. Ironically, Clarkson played three games in Columbus before suffering a season-ending injury.
4 Frazer McLaren
Left-winger Frazer McLaren was yet another Maple Leaf who lacked basic hockey skills. He played 62 times between 2012 and 2014 with three goals and a pair of assists for just five points. Most of his time with the team was spent in the penalty box as he served 179 minutes with the club. He appeared in a single playoff game and was held pointless. The 27-year-old McLaren spent last year in the AHL with the Toronto Marlies and has 11 points in 102 career NHL games with 264 penalty minutes.
3 Staffan Kronwall
Defenceman Staffan Kronwall played parts of the 2005-06 and 2007-08 seasons with the Maple Leafs. He played in 52 regular season games and recorded just one assist with a minus-5 rating. He wasn’t brought in for his aggressiveness either as he served just 21 penalty minutes with the Leafs. After Toronto released him, Kronwall played in just 14 more NHL games with Washington and Calgary. His last NHL game came in 2009-10 and he’s been playing in the KHL in Russia since 2011-12. Kronwall played 66 NHL contests with a lone goal and three assists to his name.
2 Andre Deveaux
Bahamian-born forward Andre Deveaux was another Maple Leaf player with limited hockey skills and nothing much to offer other than brawn. He played 22 games with the club from 2008 to 2010 and racked up just one assist and 75 penalty minutes. Deveaux was drafted in the sixth round with the 182nd overall pick by Montreal in 2002. Oddly enough, Deveaux displayed a decent scoring touch in the minor leagues with a couple of 20-goal seasons, but just played the enforcer role when he was promoted to the big leagues. His NHL numbers read two assists in 31 career games with 108 penalty minutes.
1 John Kordic
Maple Leafs’ general manager Gord Stellick made one of the worst trades in NHL history back in November of 1988 when he sent speedy winger Russ Courtnall to arch rivals the Montreal Canadiens for 6-foot-1 enforcer John Kordic. The Leafs also received a sixth-round draft choice in the deal. Kordic played parts of three seasons in Toronto and found the back of the net 10 times in 104 games to go along with his six assists. He also racked up 446 penalty minutes and added as lone assist in five playoff games with 33 penalty minutes.
He was traded in January of 1991 with Paul Fenton for a fifth-round draft pick. Kordic finished his NHL career with 35 points in 244 games along with 997 penalty minutes. He added seven points in 41 playoff contests with 131 penalty minutes.
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