#7. Carl Brewer – Toronto Maple Leafs 1957-1965, 1979-80
Carl Brewer played nine total seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs. As a player, he was known as a solid stay at home defenseman and a fan favourite that helped the Toronto Maple Leafs capture three consecutive Stanley Cup Championships.
The Toronto Maple Leafs listed Carl Brewer at #32 on their list of the Top 100 players in Toronto Maple Leafs history that the organization released for their centennial season in 2016. They placed Brewer behind Red Horner (#27) and Bob Baun (#30), but I placed Brewer a little higher on my list for a couple reasons.
Carl Brewer (along with #1, #2 and #6 on this list) has come closer to collecting the Norris trophy as the NHL’s Best Defenseman than any other member of the Toronto Maple Leafs in NHL history. He was runner-up for the prize in 1963.
Brewer was also named to three NHL All-Star Teams: once to the 1st NHL All-Star Team and twice to the 2nd NHL All-Star Team. The only Toronto Maple Leafs defensemen to appear on more NHL All-Star Teams and #1, #2 and #3 on this list.
Brewer’s Biggest Battle
Carl Brewer may even be better known for his 17 year legal battle in the 80’s and 90’s against the first executive director of the NHLPA, Alan Eagleson, over money skimmed and embezzled from the player’s pension fund.
The lengthy lawsuit eventually ended with $40 million going to the players. Eagleson served six months of his 18 month sentence in prison, was removed from the Order of Canada, and was forced to re-sign from the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Carl Brewer, like Bob Baun, may have missed out on a Hockey Hall of Fame induction, because he was seen as a troublemaker when in retrospect, he was a trailblazer fighting for the rights of NHL players and alumni.
Achievements with the Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto Maple Leafs Top 100 #32
1st NHL All-Star Team 1963
2nd NHL All-Star Team 1962, 1965
Norris Trophy Runner-Up 1963
4th in Norris trophy voting 1962
6th in Norris trophy voting 1965
Played in Three NHL All-Star Games
Three Stanley Cup Championships
Led NHL in Penalty Minutes twice
Top 10 in NHL Goals by a Defensemen for one season
Top 10 in NHL Assists by a Defensemen for four seasons
Top 10 in NHL Points by a Defensemen for four seasons