The Top 3 Toronto Maple Leafs Not in the Hall of Fame

KANATA, CANADA - APRIL 14: Alexander Mogilny #89 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates after the play against the Ottawa Senators during game four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Corel Centre on April 13, 2004 in Kanata, Ontario, Canada. The Senators defeated the Maple Leafs 4-1 to tie the series 2-2. (Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
KANATA, CANADA - APRIL 14: Alexander Mogilny #89 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates after the play against the Ottawa Senators during game four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Corel Centre on April 13, 2004 in Kanata, Ontario, Canada. The Senators defeated the Maple Leafs 4-1 to tie the series 2-2. (Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
TORONTO, ONTARIO – NOVEMBER 15: A closeup of the Toronto Maple Leafs logo. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Carl Brewer

Leafs Career: 473 GP, 19 G, 155 PTS

Career Stats: 604 GP, 25 G, 223 PTS (77 GP, 2 G, 23 PTS in WHA)

Carl Brewer is a player that has been passed over from the Toronto Maple Leafs dynasty of the 1960s that should be given much more attention and Hall of Fame recognition.

In fact, I’m sure most Leafs fans don’t even know Brewer’s name.

A stalwart defensive defenceman, Brewer was a key component of the Leafs Stanley Cup victories in 1962, 1963, and 1964. In the eight seasons Brewer played in his prime, four of them resulted in spots on the All-Star team at the end of the season. He finished in the top five in Norris voting three times, including a second-place finish behind Pierre Pilote as a 24-year-old in 1962.

On the surface, Brewer has no place in the Hall.

Just 223 points? Just 604 games? For Brewer, you have to dig deeper.

Plus/minus is a terrible stat in a small sample such as a single season. Over the course of a career, with such a big sample, you can start to pull out some conclusions. For me, I take it a step further and look at goals for percentage, completely equalizing between players.

At even strength, Brewer was dominant defensively. At 58.9% goals for over his NHL career, his team was more successful when he was on the ice than multiple other defencemen that are in the Hall of Fame based on their defensive capabilities. All of Jacques Laperriere, Rod Langway, and Pierre Pilote have a GF% lower than Brewer’s.

Laperriere is an excellent comparable as someone who’s career wasn’t overly long, didn’t score much, but was a defensive menace for a 60s dynasty.

Adding to Carl Brewer’s legacy was his combative, forward-thinking status on player rights. At age 26, Brewer stepped away from the Leafs and the NHL after a contract dispute and wouldn’t return until he was 31. Despite five years away from NHL competition, he stepped back in with the Detroit Red Wings to his best offensive season and a place on another All-Star team.

Though player and builder status are supposed to be kept separate, it’s hard to do so for Brewer. He was a major piece in bringing down Alan Eagleson, his former agent, and had stated that he would turn down a place in the Hall of Fame if it ever came due to Eagleson’s previous place in the Hall.

Unfortunately, Brewer passed away in 2001, so we don’t know if his stance would have ever changed, but given Eagleson resigned from the Hall in 1998, there’s a likely chance Brewer would have accepted if he were nominated when he was alive.

Carl Brewer may not have the typical Hall of Fame credentials, but his importance to the Toronto Maple Leafs Stanley Cups in the early 1960s and his stellar defensive play, he is more than suited to be enshrined in the Hall.

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It remains a significant long shot, but given the likes of Rogie Vachon and Vaclav Nedomansky have received inductions in recent years, there is a glimmer of hope that Brewer could eventually find his way into the Hockey Hall of Fame.