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Late '80s, early '90s Leafs

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01-08-2004, 06:16 AM
  #1
Mike8
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Late '80s, early '90s Leafs

I was wondering about a few late '80s, early '90s Leaf players and was hoping some of you could help me out.

Firstly, Jim Benning - I recall him being solid on the PP, but underwhelming in his own zone. Would he qualify as a legitimate top four defenseman in your opinion?

Gary Leeman - aside from all the stories of his extra curricular activities, would you rank him as a core player of the Leafs during his time here? A player that can generate offense, and be counted on as a first line player -- even on a contending squad?

Todd Gill - despite being dubbed Todd 'no skill' Gill, I always felt he was fairly solid. How did he rank on the Leafs depth chart? Would you rank him as a legit top four?

Mark Osborne - he was never a dazzling player with offensive ability, but I remember him being solid along the boards and in the fundamental parts of the game. If players like Darcy Tucker, Shayne Corson and Mike Ricci are 'impact players', would you rank Osborne as an impact player as well? Not to say he's necessarily in their class, but by 'impact', I mean a player who would give the club some of its identity; a player who's among the top 4-5 forwards (not necessarily scoring wise) for a club consistently.

Dave Ellett - sound player with good hockey sense from what I recall, where would you rank him on the Leafs depth chart in his prime?

Walt Poddubny - I remember him being dubbed a floater in Toronto and being sent down to the AHL for some time, but then he went on to thrive in New York for a few years. Was he an impact player in spite of his deficiencies in other areas of the game?

Bob Rouse - From what I had seen, he was a sound depth defenseman by his time in Detroit, and I remember him logging a lot of minutes earlier on in his career in Minnesota, but don't recall how he was in Toronto. Was he anything more than a depth (5/6) defenseman?

Tom Fergus - would you rank him as an impact player for his time in Toronto?

Rich Lanz - where would you rank him on the Leafs depth chart? Legit top four?

I know this is a lot of players, so any help is much appreciated.

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01-08-2004, 06:56 AM
  #2
Patty Lee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike8
Gary Leeman - aside from all the stories of his extra curricular activities, would you rank him as a core player of the Leafs during his time here? A player that can generate offense, and be counted on as a first line player -- even on a contending squad?

Todd Gill - despite being dubbed Todd 'no skill' Gill, I always felt he was fairly solid. How did he rank on the Leafs depth chart? Would you rank him as a legit top four?

Mark Osborne - he was never a dazzling player with offensive ability, but I remember him being solid along the boards and in the fundamental parts of the game. If players like Darcy Tucker, Shayne Corson and Mike Ricci are 'impact players', would you rank Osborne as an impact player as well? Not to say he's necessarily in their class, but by 'impact', I mean a player who would give the club some of its identity; a player who's among the top 4-5 forwards (not necessarily scoring wise) for a club consistently.

Dave Ellett - sound player with good hockey sense from what I recall, where would you rank him on the Leafs depth chart in his prime?

Bob Rouse - From what I had seen, he was a sound depth defenseman by his time in Detroit, and I remember him logging a lot of minutes earlier on in his career in Minnesota, but don't recall how he was in Toronto. Was he anything more than a depth (5/6) defenseman?

Tom Fergus - would you rank him as an impact player for his time in Toronto?

I know this is a lot of players, so any help is much appreciated.
You're right, that's a lot of players. I'll give you my thoughts on a couple of them.

Leeman - obviously was an impact player on the ice and one of the Leafs top forwards while he was here. Is he a first liner on a condtender? Well, Hoglund played there last year, and Leeman was miles ahead of him. Too bad about the off ice activities that chased him out of town.

Todd Gill - wouldn't be a top 6 Dman on my team.

Osborne - to me he is like Renberg, with not quite as much offense. Worked the boards and corners well and always gave it 100%

Ellett wasn't in TO in him prime. I liked him back there. He wasn't the guy to clear the front of the net, but certainly handled the puck well and he always kept his cool. I would put him top 4 on this current club.

Fergus - I always like him, but would not rank him as an impact player while he was here.

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Old
01-08-2004, 07:24 AM
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Around in 67

Leeman - obviously was an impact player on the ice and one of the Leafs top forwards while he was here. Is he a first liner on a condtender? Well, Hoglund played there last year, and Leeman was miles ahead of him. Too bad about the off ice activities that chased him out of town..
Are you sure this is your complete thought on this subject..

Leeman was not chased out of town by his antics but was part of one of the biggest trades in NHL History that brought the Leafs DOUGIE GILMOUR from Calgary... Did he have of ice problems, with other peoples wives.. Yes but even that was not enough to scare of Calgary from making him the center piece of the big trade..

I am not sure how I would classify Leeman...He ws a small defenseman by NHL standards so he was moved to forward.. He had one Cinderella like season and scored 50 goals for the Leafs...that gave him value.. He never EVER came close to that total again as he struggled with Calgary and Montreal before being out of the league.. That year in Toronto ..the style of Play was all Offense no Defense and even Leafs other line Vinny Dasmphousse and DANIEL MAROIS (who put up 30 plus goals) produced big numbers...of all the players only Vinny has been consistant and had a long NHL career ..

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01-08-2004, 07:58 AM
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike8
I was wondering about a few late '80s, early '90s Leaf players and was hoping some of you could help me out.
Ah, the sepia colourerd memory lane ...

Okay, the first thing to remember is that for this time frame, the Leafs
were an utterly disfunctional organization. You had draft eligible players telling the leafs "Do not draft me." In one instance the AHL coach refused a promotion to the Leafs !!

The most immediate consequence is that there was ZERO player development as you see it today, with goaltending coaches, verteran players as tutors ( like Nieuwendyk ... putting him on a line with rookies seems to really help them ).

Also because the Leafs were so bad, kids were thrown in whether they were ready or not. And, any weakness was exposed pretty quickly - a player couldn't aften say " I got beaten to the puck 3 times in defensive coverage, but atleast we won the game."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike8
Firstly, Jim Benning - I recall him being solid on the PP, but underwhelming in his own zone. Would he qualify as a legitimate top four defenseman in your opinion?
.

I would compare him to Kaberle. The first year or two his confidence was crushed, but he was defensively smart, mobile, and a good passer. 6'0" 190-200 as I recall, but not physically punishing. For a while he was the Leafs #1 defencemen. Didn't have Kaberle's offensive imagination, but a good PP quarterback, better than Klee I think, about the same as McCabe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike8
Gary Leeman - aside from all the stories of his extra curricular activities, would you rank him as a core player of the Leafs during his time here? A player that can generate offense, and be counted on as a first line player -- even on a contending squad?
Good Physical skills, but not the passion to perform at a top level. Think Todd Wariner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike8
Todd Gill - despite being dubbed Todd 'no skill' Gill, I always felt he was fairly solid. How did he rank on the Leafs depth chart? Would you rank him as a legit top four?
Yes, a legit top 4. As with Benning confidence was crushed in rookie year, and I don't think he ever recovered. In term of offensive play I would compare him to Kaberle, he did have a flair for it. However he did suffer the occasional brain cramp in the offensive zone.

Defensively he was also quite good, but prone to brain cramps now and again, usually clearing or passing. Gill's outstanding trait was his mental and physical toughness. He was 5'11", 180lb, but he was usually the 1st or 2nd most physical Dman. Early in his career he fought one of the red wings enforcers (Kocur or Probert) and didn't lose.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike8
Mark Osborne - he was never a dazzling player with offensive ability, but I remember him being solid along the boards and in the fundamental parts of the game. If players like Darcy Tucker, Shayne Corson and Mike Ricci are 'impact players', would you rank Osborne as an impact player as well? Not to say he's necessarily in their class, but by 'impact', I mean a player who would give the club some of its identity; a player who's among the top 4-5 forwards (not necessarily scoring wise) for a club consistently.
A bigger,more offensive Tucker. Very similiar to Ricci. I'd say a core player for any team.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike8
Dave Ellett - sound player with good hockey sense from what I recall, where would you rank him on the Leafs depth chart in his prime?
I don't think he played for the Leafs in his prime. A defensively responsible, mobile Dman. Pat Burns used him regularly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike8
Walt Poddubny - I remember him being dubbed a floater in Toronto and being sent down to the AHL for some time, but then he went on to thrive in New York for a few years. Was he an impact player in spite of his deficiencies in other areas of the game?
He wasn't remarkable playing for the Leafs. Maybe a lack of maturity or confidence. Or maybe he got lucky in new york.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike8
Bob Rouse - From what I had seen, he was a sound depth defenseman by his time in Detroit, and I remember him logging a lot of minutes earlier on in his career in Minnesota, but don't recall how he was in Toronto. Was he anything more than a depth (5/6) defenseman?
Top 4 D-man. Leafs weren't the same without him. Physical, and very
reliable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike8
Tom Fergus - would you rank him as an impact player for his time in Toronto?
The Leafs weren't an impact team, But Fergus was a legit #2, and proabably the Leafs #1 centre. Much like Nieuwe is now. An absolute steal for the Leafs, but he had a bad mono infection (1-2 yrs ?), so that limited his performance.

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01-08-2004, 08:01 AM
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Around in 67
You're right, that's a lot of players. I'll give you my thoughts on a couple of them.

Leeman - obviously was an impact player on the ice and one of the Leafs top forwards while he was here. Is he a first liner on a condtender? Well, Hoglund played there last year, and Leeman was miles ahead of him. Too bad about the off ice activities that chased him out of town.

Todd Gill - wouldn't be a top 6 Dman on my team.

Osborne - to me he is like Renberg, with not quite as much offense. Worked the boards and corners well and always gave it 100%

Ellett wasn't in TO in him prime. I liked him back there. He wasn't the guy to clear the front of the net, but certainly handled the puck well and he always kept his cool. I would put him top 4 on this current club.

Fergus - I always like him, but would not rank him as an impact player while he was here.

Dave Ellet was not brought in to clear the net rather he was brought in because of what could do with the puck. I would rate him as a top four in his prime and when he was with Toronto.

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01-08-2004, 09:52 AM
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike8
I was wondering about a few late '80s, early '90s Leaf players and was hoping some of you could help me out.

Firstly, Jim Benning
Jim Benning was a top prospect that had good skills with the puck. He was subsequently destroyed by the Maple Leafs who threw him into the fire without letting him learn the pro game in the minors and instead of easing him into the NHL, he was a top PP guy right away.

Though his 51 points in 79 games in 1984 seems very impressive, you must remember that in that era, a defenseman getting 51 points wasn't a big deal. Comparisons to Bryan McCabe or Tomas Kaberle are absurd. Benning was never more then a fringe NHLer throughout his career. McCabe and Kaberle were never ever fringe players and are certainly legitimate top 4 guys right now.

Benning might have been a good player had he been drafted by a legitmate organization that handled him properly. But that's just speculation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike8
Gary Leeman - would you rank him as a core player of the Leafs during his time here? A player that can generate offense, and be counted on as a first line player -- even on a contending squad?
Leeman was a core-player with the Leafs no question. He had 2 30-goal seasons and a 50 goal season and led the team in scoring with 95 points in 1989-90. But his game was so one-dimensional (ironic, because he was drafted as a defenseman) and so soft that I don't think he would be a core-player on a contender. He had good hands, and a good release, but was lazy and soft as a feather. When he finally got to a contender, he was a fourth line depth player but did win a Stanley Cup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike8
Todd Gill - despite being dubbed Todd 'no skill' Gill, I always felt he was fairly solid. How did he rank on the Leafs depth chart? Would you rank him as a legit top four?
On the Leafs depth chart he was top four, but that is damning him with faint praise. He earned his nick-name. There's no way he was a legit top four. He couldn't have played for 15 other teams during the bulk of his career.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike8
Mark Osborne...
Mark Osborne was a career-depth player that was thrust into a first line role here in Toronto due to the sorry state of the team. He was a good forechecker and was responsible defensively but comparions to Ricci, Corson or even Tucker are absurd. His banner year saw him score 73 points, but again, in a very inflated offensive era. Osbourne was NEVER a top six forward, even that year. Wendel Clark and Tom Fergus were ranked ahead of him, but were injured for large chunks of the season so their totals suffered.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike8
Dave Ellett - sound player with good hockey sense from what I recall, where would you rank him on the Leafs depth chart in his prime?
Peoples recollections are a little odd. They are comparing Osbourne to Ricci, yet telling you Ellett wasn't in his prime here. In fact, Ellett was dealt to the Leafs right as his prime years began (27 years old.)

He had slightly higher scoring totals as a Jet, but they were a better club with a more wide-open style. Ellett was the Leafs best defenseman during most of his time in Toronto, and was easily their most consistent. He was a smart hockey player who relied on good passes over flashy plays. He was a legitmately solid defenseman and not just a player who's profile was elevated by playing a larger role on a crappy hockey club (like a Leeman or Osbourne)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike8
Walt Poddubny - I remember him being dubbed a floater in Toronto and being sent down to the AHL for some time, but then he went on to thrive in New York for a few years. Was he an impact player in spite of his deficiencies in other areas of the game?
Definitely not. Walt was a good scorer but very soft and very one-dimensional. And he had horrible knees! Poddubny was a total 1980s hockey player. All offensive. On his best day he was far far far from an impact player.

His 88 points as a Ranger sounds impressive.... Until you realize that tied him with.... Kelly Kisio. Very different era for scoring. He had a good year in Quebec (75 points) before they shipped him to New Jersey where knee woes ended his career.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike8
Bob Rouse...
Bob Rouse was very solid though unflashy. 15 games could pass where you didn't notice him - which was good, cause there were enough defenseman, like Gill, that you noticed for all the wrong reasons. Played a simple, smart game with a physical edge. A poor man's Scott Stevens. He was more then depth for sure. Rouse could have played in any teams pairings. Good trade for Toronto to steal him from Washington, along with Zezel for Iafrate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike8
Tom Fergus - would you rank him as an impact player for his time in Toronto?
Tom Fergus was a good player for the Leafs during his time here, but he fell short of being an impact player. Injuries robbed him of his effectiveness for much of his time here though. I would rank his 'impact' about the same as say, Yanic Perreualt with the Leafs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike8
Rich Lanz - where would you rank him on the Leafs depth chart? Legit top four?
His name is actually RICK Lanz, and he was a weird one. Highly touted and highly drafted, he went to Vancouver and had a solid start to his career, though not worthy of his 7th overall selection. But with the Nucks he was a top 6 guy and had 3 seasons near or above 50 points.

His played dropped off dramatically and Vancouver shipped to Toronto for the aforementioned Jim Benning. With the Leafs he only had 1 year as a regular.

After being released by the Leafs, he went to Europe to play and eventually returned to North America has a minor league. Definitely not a Legit top 4.

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01-08-2004, 10:37 AM
  #7
Patty Lee
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Originally Posted by Shawn
Dave Ellet was not brought in to clear the net rather he was brought in because of what could do with the puck. I would rate him as a top four in his prime and when he was with Toronto.
I never said he was brought in to clear the front of the net, said he wasn't the guy to do it. He was top four when he was with TO, but wouldn't be on a stronger team. He may have been top four in his prime, but he wasn't in his prime when he was in Toronto.

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01-08-2004, 11:02 AM
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Thanks loads for the indepth analysis! Definitely a good read.

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01-08-2004, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Around in 67
I never said he was brought in to clear the front of the net, said he wasn't the guy to do it. He was top four when he was with TO, but wouldn't be on a stronger team. He may have been top four in his prime, but he wasn't in his prime when he was in Toronto.
Um, how do you figure?

Dave Ellett came to Toronto at age 27. That's definitely in his prime.

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01-09-2004, 02:12 AM
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Patty Lee
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Originally Posted by FerrisRox
Um, how do you figure?

Dave Ellett came to Toronto at age 27. That's definitely in his prime.
So the best years of Dave Ellett's career when those when he was in Toronto? Um, I don't think so.

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01-09-2004, 09:54 AM
  #11
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Originally Posted by Around in 67
So the best years of Dave Ellett's career when those when he was in Toronto? Um, I don't think so.
Well you are entitled to your opinion, of course.

But it's widely regarded that a hockey player enters his prime at 27 years of age and that goes to about 31. For defenseman, it usually goes til about 33.

I personally think, by a long shot, Dave Ellett's best years of his career were in Toronto.

As I stated earlier, Ellett scored slightly more points when he was a Jet, but Winnipeg played a much more wide-open style then Toronto. Also, when Pat Burns arrived, Ellett became a much more well-rounded defenseman and excelled at both ends of the ice.

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01-09-2004, 10:11 AM
  #12
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Originally Posted by FerrisRox
On the Leafs depth chart he was top four, but that is damning him with faint praise. He earned his nick-name. There's no way he was a legit top four. He couldn't have played for 15 other teams during the bulk of his career..
Geez that bad and he still managed to play what 20 years in the league?
Maybe you have him confused with Bob McGill?

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