Everything Wrong with TSN’s All-Time Toronto Maple Leafs Team

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 22: Doug Gilmour #93 of the Toronto Maple Leafs carries the puck up ice against the Montreal Canadiens during NHL Preseason game action on September 22, 1995 at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 22: Doug Gilmour #93 of the Toronto Maple Leafs carries the puck up ice against the Montreal Canadiens during NHL Preseason game action on September 22, 1995 at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto Maple Leafs – Mats Sundin #13 on March 22, 2003 in Toronto, Ontario (Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images/NHLI) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs have had some of the best talent in the history of the NHL

Earlier this week, TSN released their all-time Toronto Maple Leafs team via Twitter and the roster has sparked a lot of controversy within the hockey community.

This is part of the network’s ‘All-Time 7’ project where they list the all-time roster of each Canadian Team, and the criteria they have put together for player eligibility is far too specific in order to make a list that is as objective as possible.

The criteria goes as follows (Courtesy, TSN):

Player Criteria

  • Team: two goalies, six defensemen, 12 forwards and one foundational player
  • Members must have played at least 225 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs
  • At least one member of the all-time team must be from the 2019-20 Maple Leafs
  • Players are slotted in positions they played with the Maple Leafs
  • One line must be comprised of defensive standouts, aka a checking line
  • One pair must be comprised of suffocating defenders, aka a shutdown pair
  • Lines and pairs are put together because they fit together, not because they are necessarily the first, second and third best at their positions
  • Foundational players are defined as players part of the fabric – the DNA – of a franchise
  • Last cuts by position are exactly as advertised, the players who just missed selection to the all-time team

I agree that the period of time you spend with the team should be a large factor in the placement of players for an all-time team, but putting a specific number of games on it can cause complications, where those factors should be indirectly applied and appreciated by fans without making it a necessity.

https://twitter.com/TSNHockey/status/1257316639869038601?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1257316639869038601&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Feditorinleaf.com%2Fwp-admin%2Fpost.php%3Fpost%3D78638%26action%3Dedit

This complication will be explained further as this article moves on.

Also, while I believe that Auston Matthews is indeed worthy of being placed among these names, and pretty much all Canadian teams have at least one player who could make it, the fact that an all-time team MUST contain a current player is pretty odd.

Next, the necessary criteria for the individual lines is far too specific. I totally understand that taking a creative approach to the will cause some interesting names to be thrown in the mix, but the fact that the Toronto Maple Leafs all-time team has to have a ‘shutdown line’ just seems unnecessary when trying to craft an overall great team.

In addition to this, the idea that players are being slotted in “because they fit together”, not because they are the best at their position, is also kind of ridiculous. Just based on that piece of criteria, you are already proving that this can’t be a true all-time team.