Rick Vaive: Most Underrated Player in Toronto Maple Leafs History?

Shane House@sghcantcopyAnalyst INovember 26, 2008

In 13 seasons, he scored 441 goals.

He has 788 career points, was a three time 50-goal scorer, and was the first Maple Leaf to reach that mark.

He succeeded Darryl Sittler as Leafs captain in 1982 and served with the "C" for four seasons.

He wore a Maple Leaf jersey for eight seasons—and in that time, amassed almost 300 goals and averaged over a point-per-game pace while donning a Maple Leafs jersey.

His name is Rick Vaive.  He was a gritty, hard working player that would do anything for his team. He loved it in Toronto, and played the best hockey of his career here.

So how has a player that contributed so much to the Maple Leafs not be mentioned among players like Salming, Sittler, and MacDonald?

The sad thing is, I don't know why.

Maybe it was because he played during the Harold Ballard years?

Maybe it's because he only played eight years for the Maple Leafs.

Maybe it's because he never had that great moment or memorable goal for the Blue and White.

But regardless of what the reason is, there is no reason for how he is ignored as a great Maple Leaf.

He gave it his all when he played for the Maple Leafs just like Wendel Clark. He was a gritty, hard forechecker, and was never scared of a fight.

The funny thing is Rick Vaive beats Wendel Clark in every total but penalty minutes, and he played five fewer seasons.

But yet, Wendel Clark is remembered as a great Maple Leaf and not Rick Vaive.

Doesn't seem fair to me.

Not to take away from Wendel Clark by any means—but during the '80s, Rick Vaive contributed more statistically in almost every category.

Yet Clark gets all the glory and Rick Vaive gets nothing.

I wasn't old enough to remember the '80s, but it seems to me that he was the Marc Savard of his time. No matter how great he played, he never got the recognition he deserved. He was always second in the spotlight to somebody else, even though he was always playing at a high level.

Rick Vaive will never be mentioned in the same name as players like Borje Salming and Darryl Sittler, but he does deserve recognition for playing great hockey in the Blue and White.

Here's to the most underrated player in Leafs history.  Thanks, Rick Vaive.


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