If there’s one thing that the Leafs have at an elite level, it’s a self-deprecating fan base. But, what’s a strong gun without ammo? Here’s a list of former Leafs still playing in the NHL and AHL playoffs as of today.
Dominic Moore, New York Rangers
Moore came into the Leafs organization through a re-entry waiver claim in the 2007/08 season. He turned out to be a low cost, low risk, and medium reward player for the Leafs, adding speed and defensive awareness to the team’s bottom six. When the team was stripped down in 08/09, Moore’s increased minutes lead to a career high of 41 points in 63 games, before being traded to the Buffalo Sabres for a second round pick at the trade deadline.
Moore has since had stints in Florida, Montreal, Tampa Bay and San Jose before settling in with the Rangers, who originally drafted him in 2000. He has 6 points in 15 playoff games, though his possession game has struggled.
Anton Stralman, New York Rangers
Stralman was originally drafted by the Leafs in 2005, and turned out to be a hell of a good 7th round pick. Success in Sweden and with the Marlies had many believing in his NHL potential, but with Carl Gunnarsson chasing him in the depth chart, he was traded with a 7th round pick to Calgary for Wayne Primeau and a 2nd rounder.
Stralman initially had a breakout season with Columbus, putting up 34 points. However, he wouldn’t break twenty again, and began to take on a more defensive role with the Rangers. He has 5 assists in 15 playoff games.
Kris Versteeg, Chicago Blackhawks
Versteeg is a weird circular story. He was acquired by the Leafs ahead of the 2010/11 season to give a blend of youth and cup winning experience, in exchange for Viktor Stalberg, Chris Didomenico, and Philippe Paradis. However, he never really adjusted to life in Toronto, and was traded after scoring 35 points in just 53 games. He was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers for a 1st and 3rd round pick, and eventually moved again to Florida before finding himself back in Chicago via a retained-salary trade.
Versteeg originally appeared to stick it to the Leafs with a 54 point season in 2011/12, but has only played 91 games and scored 40 points since. In these playoffs, he has a goal and two assists in nine games.
There’s also a few not-quites in the mix. Los Angeles’ Jarret Stoll was supposed to be traded to the Leafs by the Calgary Flames before actually re-entering the draft and being selected by the Oilers. Lars Eller of the Montreal Canadiens was drafted by the St. Louis Blues with the first round pick that the Leafs traded to San Jose for Vesa Toskala.
Even in the AHL, Jarred Knight was an Eller-like situation, being picked with the second rounder from the Phil Kessel trade. Lastly, Brennan Evans of the Grand Rapids Grffins never made it to the NHL, but spent a year in the organization playing for the Marlies.
Oh, and obviously, the Toronto Marlies are still in the playoffs, so all of those guys count if you ignore the “former” part.
Photo courtesy of Sarah Connors