Lanny McDonald: Top Ten Toronto Maple Leafs of All-Time, No. 8
Next on my list is a man who played only seven seasons for the Leafs, but during that time left quite an impact on the team's history. That man is right winger Lanny McDonald.
He was drafted by the Leafs fourth overall in 1973, after being an offensive machine for the Medicine Hat Tigers between 1971-73, scoring 112 goals, and adding 141 assists in 136 games.
He played his first NHL game at the beginning of the 1973-74 season. In that rookie season, he played 70 games and finished with a respectable 30 points (14-16).
The next season McDonald improved, playing 64 games and finishing with 44 points (17-27). He also doubled his penalty minutes from the season past when he finished with 86.
But in the 1975-76 season, McDonald had a break out year, playing 75 games and finishing with a fantastic 93 points. He scored 37 goals that year, while adding 57 assists. He also recorded his first playoff points that season, playing 10 games and scoring four goals while adding four assists as well.
Even though he was known as more of a grinding forward, McDonald continued to be an offensive threat the following year, when he scored 46 goals in 80 games and finished with 90 points overall. He also continued in playoff scoring success, playing nine games, scoring 10 goals, and adding seven assists.
In 1977-78, after finishing with 47 goals (the highest he'd score as a Leaf) and finishing with 87 points in 74 games, McDonald scored a memorable goal in overytime against the New York Islanders in the playoff quarterfinals, eliminating the team from the playoffs. The most impressive thing about this goal is that McDonald had a broken nose and a fractured wrist at the time.
He would play his last full season with the Leafs in 1978-79, playing 79 games, scoring 43 goals, and adding 42 assists.
He would play 30 games the following year (potting 15 goals and adding 15 assists) before being traded to the Colorado Rockies. Darryl Sittler was also traded, except he was sent to the Philadelphia Flyers. And on top of that enforcer Tiger Williams was sent to the Vancouver Canucks.
McDonald would play only three seasons for the Rockies (where he was captain) before being traded to the Calgary Flames during the 1981-82 season. He eventually became captain in Calgary as well.
In 1982-83 he scored a career-high 66 goals in 80 games and finished with another career-high 98 points.
In 1988-89 he led the Flames to their first (and only) Stanley Cup, and also scored his 500th career goal before retiring.
McDonald finished his career with 1111 games played, 500 goals, and 506 assists, for 1006 points overall. He also won the Bill Masterson Memorial Trophy (1983) and the King Clancy Memorial Trophy (1988).
I'm assuming some of you may be questioning my selection of McDonald as No. 8, considering he won no Cups with the Leafs or individual awards.
However, he was traded at a dark time in Leafs' history (the Harold Ballard years), and I believe if such a thing wouldn't have happened he could have helped the Leafs to their very own Stanley Cup (a crazy notion, I know).
But, if you consider that he scored 219 goals and added 240 assists in 403 games with the Leafs, and then went on to score 66 goals later in his career, it doesn't seem so crazy, especially if he continued to play with such a player as Darryl Sittler.
So, there it is, No. 8. Keep watching for the rest of my series, as it will be getting much more interesting as the list goes on.
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