The 10 Most Important Toronto Maple Leafs of the Last 10 Years
With the team approaching it's 100 year anniversary, the Toronto Maple Leafs have certainly employed hundreds of different players throughout the years.
Some of those players made a difference in Leafs history and others were just the rest of the puzzle pieces used to fill out a lineup card.
Over the last 10 years, Toronto has generally been rebuilding with a major turnover in the roster throughout the decade.
There are a number of guys who really made a difference for the blue and white since the turn of the millennium whether they are currently on the team or not.
Let's see who made the cut of the most important Maple Leafs over the last 10 years.
10. Luke Schenn
The young d-man is one of most tenured players on the current Maple Leafs' roster. He has progressed and matured on the ice over the last few years, and his play of late has made him an integral part of the team's resurgence this season.
Schenn is a solid defender and has helped the blue line on a team that lacked depth in that department over the last decade.
9. Tie Domi
Every team needs a tough guy.
I think it's safe to assume that Toronto hasn't seen a true enforcer since the Domi days, and haven't had as beloved a fighter since the days of Tiger Williams.
With Domi in the lineup there was always the possibility of a good fight, particularly with someone a foot taller than him.
Players like Domi bring excitement to a team even in a loss and his instigation on the ice has definitely been missed since his departure.
8. Tomas Kaberle
While his timid style of play may have aggravated some fans, it's tough to deny the skill that Tomas Kaberle possesses.
He was a great skater and passer and was a solid defenseman.
Kaberle was a member of the Leafs for more than a decade and a consistent member of the top defenders on the club. He was also a rather consistent scorer, posting at least 30 points in every season he played for Toronto, excluding his rookie year.
7. Darcy Tucker
Tucker was a huge fan favorite during his time in Toronto.
He could hit, he could score and he was just cool.
Tucker was a great forward that was exciting every time he stepped onto the ice, and he is definitely missed from the Leafs' roster.
6. Mikhail Grabovski
Grabovski is certainly one of the most skilled players on the current Leafs' roster and has been the team's best center in recent memory.
He is an exciting player who has been a mainstay in Toronto for several years now and will be a fan favorite on this team for (hopefully) a long time.
5. James Reimer
Although Reimer has been a part of this team for a short time, he is already making a major impact. Reimer is the future goaltender for the Maple Leafs and is proving that each time he plays.
Goaltending has not been Toronto's strong quality over the last decade and the emergence of Reimer as a quality starter is a huge step forward.
Reimer was a major part of Toronto's late-season success last year and once he returns to form from his injury, he will be a major part of Toronto's future success.
4. Dion Phaneuf
The hard-hitting Leafs' captain is a great player, and probably the best leader the team has had since its previous captain Mats Sundin.
When Dion came over from the Calgary Flames in a trade, the Leafs didn't have a captain. He has emerged as a true team leader who leads by example.
He has a monster slap shot and can knock a player's helmet off with his insane body checks. He's the right man for the job and will hopefully lead the Leafs for a long time.
3. Ed Belfour
Before Reimer came along, Belfour was the best goaltender the Leafs had seen in years.
Belfour is sitting ninth on the Leafs' all-time wins list, and has played less in Toronto than any other player above him. He was the last goalie to take Toronto to the playoffs and was the cornerstone of the Maple Leafs' roster for the years he played there.
He has been the only positive and consistent goalie in Toronto over the last 10 years and was very important to any success, however small, they enjoyed.
2. Phil Kessel
While the trade that brought him north from Boston is still under tremendous speculation, Kessel is undoubtedly Toronto's most skilled player.
He is having an amazing season so far and is playing like the star all Toronto fans hoped he could become.
Every team needs a star and Kessel is finally filling that role rather nicely. He is tremendously important to the team's current success and will be a major part of the future of this hockey club.
1. Mats Sundin
Mats Sundin is one of the best players the Leafs have ever had, and is without a doubt the best captain the team has had in more than a decade.
He is the all-time leader in points as a member of the Maple Leafs and might be the best Leaf ever to not win a Stanley Cup.
Sundin brought hope to the fans even when the team wasn't going anywhere. He was a great leader without a huge ego and could score just as well as anyone else.
Mats was a special player and a special Leaf and will always be remembered as one of the most important Toronto players during his time there.