Man of many outlets and all-around funnyman Sean McIndoe, better known as “Down Goes Brown” gave Twitter a mid-day activity that was actually fun and entertaining. Basically, he approached hockey fans to build a starting lineup of players who played no more than 200 combined games for their team. As well, these players can’t be active; so no Matthews, Nylander, and Marner.
Random time-waster: Which NHL team could build the best six-man starting lineup of players who combined to play fewer than 200 games for it?
— Down Goes Brown (@DownGoesBrown) October 19, 2016
Combing through Leafs history, I pulled five centres, ten wingers, eight defencemen, and four goalies who could deliver you some bang for your buck in this game.
|Eric Lindros||33||Owen Nolan||79||Babe Dye||177|
|Joe Nieuwendyk||64||Andy Bathgate||70||Steve Sulilvan||154|
|Olli Jokinen||6||Alexander Mogilny||176||Brad Boyes||60|
|Ron Francis||12||Mariusz Czerkawski||19||Dickie Moore||38|
|Michael Peca||35||Mike Gartner||130||Marian Stastny||70|
There’s a lot of interpretation to be done here, but given that Sean suggests that you get the player in their prime, and not as a Leaf, it’s hard to bet against Eric Lindros at centre. Before his injuries, he was arguably the most all-around dominant player to ever put on skates. The wings are significantly more of a crapshoot; Dickie Moore seems like a very safe bet, but after that, this is the area where you pick your second winger based off of where you’ve spent elsewhere. McIndoe cheated a bit and went “three forwards”, meaning Ron Francis was on his team.
|Phil Housley||1||Matthieu Schneider||115||Gerry Cheevers||2|
|Brian Leetch||15||Larry Murphy||151||Tom Barrasso||4|
|Harry Cameron||105||Randy Carlyle||94||Bernie Parent||65|
|Glen Wesley||7||Jyrki Lumme||124||Terry Sawchuk||91|
Defence is a bit of a slam dunk. I think Harry Cameron might be the most underrated player in Leafs history, putting up absolutely obscene numbers from the point in the infancy of the league, but he’s played just a little too long to pick him over two other greats. Brian Leetch and Phil Housley were barely here; the latter for just one game, but they had massive careers and provide great value.
In goal, there are unsurprisingly a lot of big names to choose from, especially in recent eras. Olaf Kolzig, who was only here on paper, doesn’t apply. Cheevers and Barrasso are both borderline Top-50 goaltenders with less than five played, so they’re good bets. Sawchuk is a legend of a past time, but 91 games, once again, is a big investment.
With this considered, and with an attempt to actually use two wingers, My starting lineup is:
Owen Nolan – Eric Lindros – Dickie Moore
Phil Housley – Brian Leetch
The total there is just 168 games, which is very impressive. If I pulled Francis instead of Nolan, I can even bring the team down to 101 while still hosting an all-Hall group.
Just for the heck of it, here’s an attempt at getting a full 20-person roster down to under 1000 games (660 would be a chore):
Ron Francis – Eric Lindros – Dickie Moore
Andy Bathgate – Joe Nieuwendyk – Owen Nolan
Mike Gartner – Mike Peca – Marian Stastny
Mariusz Czerkawski – Olli Jokinen – Brad Boyes
Brian Leetch – Phil Housley
Harry Cameron – Matthieu Schneider
Glen Wesley – Randy Carlyle
Total Games: 959