The Toronto Maple Leafs recently signed 21-year-old star centre Auston Mathews to a 5 year contract worth US$58.17 million extension making it the most in Leafs history. We take a look at the three most significant signings in Leafs history, which changed this franchise for years to come.
3. Wendel Clark
Wendal Clark was selected first overall in the 1985 draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was known for his physical and his offensive mind combined with scoring, in his rookie year Clark led the team with 34 goals and also made it to the NHL All Rookie Team. Two career-defining moments for Clark were his toe-to-toe fight with Marty McSorley and scoring a hat trick in a playoffs game.
2. Mike Babcock
According to many hockey analysts, Mike Babcock is considered to be one of the greatest coaches in NHL history. He started his career coaching the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and later signed with the Detroit Red Wings. After winning a Stanley Cup with the Red Wings, contract talks fell apart and the Maple Leafs signed Babcock to a reported eight-year $50-million contract making him the highest paid coach in NHL history. Since joining the Leafs Babcock has taken the Leafs to the playoffs, making it a worthwhile signing.
1. Doug Gilmour
Toronto was one of the worst teams in the NHL in the 1991-92 season, in Gilmour’s first season with the Leafs he broke the franchise record with 95 assists and 127 points, and in 1993 he tied another franchise record by assisting on six goals in one game. Gilmour received many accolades: he was selected in the 1993 All-Star game, he was named recipient of the Frank J. Selke trophy as NHL’s top defenceman as well as finishing second in the leagues MVP race. Doug Gilmour changed the Leafs in the 1990s from one of the worst teams in the NHL to a Stanley Cup-contending team.