The Top 10 Toronto Maple Leafs Defensemen of All-Time

Tim Horton, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)
Tim Horton, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images) /
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TORONTO, ON – MARCH 25: Borje Salming #21 of the Toronto Maple Leafs  (Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON – MARCH 25: Borje Salming #21 of the Toronto Maple Leafs  (Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images) /

#2. Börje Salming – Toronto Maple Leafs 1973-1989

Börje Salming was one of the NHL’s first European superstars when he began his 17 year NHL career with the Toronto Maple Leafs.  He’s truly one of the greatest Maple Leafs of all-time.

Salming has received so many honours.  He’s a Hockey Hall of Fame inductee, his number has been retired by the Toronto Maple Leafs, and he even has his own statue on Legends Row in front of Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.

Börje Salming was runner-up for the Norris trophy twice, 3rd in Norris voting twice, top 10 in Hart trophy voting twice, was selected to a 1st NHL All-Star Team and five 2nd NHL All-Star Teams.

He holds the Toronto Maple Leafs records for most career assists, most single season assists by a denfenseman and most career goals, assists and point by a defenseman.   He also has the 4th most career points in Toronto Maple Leafs history and the 5th most single season assists in Toronto Maple Leafs history.

As far as his NHL career ranks, he has the 15th most career assists by a defenseman in NHL history, the 17th most career points by a defenseman in NHL history, the 42nd most career goals by a defenseman in NHL history, and the 74th most career assists in NHL history.

Börje Salming was a true trailblazer for European hockey.  Before he came to the NHL, there was a stigma that European players were “too soft” to play in the NHL.  He proved them wrong and became a fan favourite in Toronto.

He was very close to getting the number one spot on this list.

Awards & Honours with the Toronto Maple Leafs

Statue on Legends Row
Number Retired by the Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto Maple Leafs Top 100 #8
1st  NHL All-Star Team 1977
2nd NHL All-Star Team 1975, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1980
Norris Trophy Runner-Up 1977
Norris Trophy Runner-Up 1980
Norris Trophy Nominee (3rd in voting) 1976
Norris Trophy Nominee (3rd in voting) 1979
Calder Memorial Trophy Nominee (3rd in voting) 1974
4th in Hart Trophy voting 1977
7th in Hart Trophy voting 1979
4th in Norris trophy voting 1975
4th in Norris trophy voting 1978
5th in Norris trophy voting 1974
10th in Norris trophy voting 1981
9th in NHL All-Star Team voting 1981
Played in three NHL All-Star Games
Hockey Hall of Fame Inductee
#74 on The Hockey News’ list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players

Statistical Achievements with the Toronto Maple Leafs

Led NHL Defenseman in Assists 1976-1977
Top 10 in NHL Assists twice
Top 10 in NHL Goals by a Defenseman for four seasons
Top 10 in NHL Assists by a Defenseman for seven seasons
Top 10 in NHL Points by a Defenseman for seven seasons
5th Most Single Season Assists in Toronto Maple Leafs History  (66)
Most Single Season Assists by a defenseman in Toronto Maple Leafs History  (66)
Most Career Assists in Toronto Maple Leafs History (620)
4th Most Career Points in Toronto Maple Leafs History (768)
Most Career Goals by a Defenseman in Toronto Maple Leafs History (148)
Most Career Assists by a Defenseman in Toronto Maple Leafs History (620)
Most Career Points by a Defenseman in Toronto Maple Leafs History (768)
74th Most Career Assists in NHL History (637)
42nd Most Career Goals by a Defenseman in NHL History (150)
15th Most Career Assists by a Defenseman in NHL History (637)
17th Most Career Points by a Defenseman in NHL History (787)