The Ultimate Hipster Leafs Lineup

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.

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.

Centre GP Wingers GP Wingers GP
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.

Defence GP Defence GP Goaltenders GP
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

Gerry Cheevers

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

Gerry Cheevers

Tom Barrasso

Total Games: 959