Some may not realize that the Toronto Maple Leafs were able to benefit from having two of the tallest players to ever play in the NHL.
If you blinked, you may have missed the time where Brian Boyle played for the blue and white.
The center joined the Maple Leafs as a rental at the 2017 trade deadline. The Leafs received their tallest player of all-time by sending Byron Froese and a 2017 second round draft pick to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Story of the 2 All-Time Tallest Toronto Maple Leafs Players
Boyle stands 2.01 meters or 6 feet – seven inches tall.
Boyle was never a dominant player in his career. According to NHL Stats, his best season was in 2010-11 when he played for the New York Rangers.
That season, Boyle got into all 82 contests and recorded 35 points on 21 goals and 14 assists. When the Toronto Maple Leafs traded for him, he had already collected 13 goals and nine assists for a total of 22 points in 54 games that season.
With the Leafs, Boyle was a real non-factor. In the regular season, he played a total of 21 games where he failed to score any goals and picked up just three assists. Boyle’s offensive production never materialized for the playoffs either.
The Leafs faced the Washington Capitals that year and were eliminated by them in six games. Boyle, surrounded by teammates such as Frederik Andersen, Auston Matthews, Nazem Kadri, Mitch Marner, James van Riemsdyk, William Nylander, Morgan Rielly, Leo Komarov, Tyler Bozak, Connor Brown, and Jake Gardiner did not live up to expectations.
Just like he had in the regular season for the Leafs, Boyle slumped in the post season. He registered just three assists with no goals in the six games he played. However, to be fair, he slotted into the fourth line so expectations weren’t high.
Though he was with the Leafs for such a short time, it’s still worth acknowledging the very tall man.
Some may remember another towering center, Nik Antropov, and believe that he was Toronto’s other tallest player. In fact, Antropov is one inch shorter than Boyle. There is, surprisingly, another Leafs player who reaches the same 201 cm as Boyle. That would be Hal Gill.
Gill was a serviceable player for the Toronto Maple Leafs in his time playing there. He was with the franchise a little longer than Boyle. Gill played two seasons in the Big Smoke.
Gill’s first year was 2006–07 where he skated in all 82 games. Through those contests, the big man notched six goals and 14 assists. He followed that up the next year playing in 63 games and recording two goals and 18 assists. Unfortunately, he didn’t get to play any playoff games for the Leafs.
An interesting coincidence about the Leafs two giant players is where they each grew up. Gill spent his childhood in Bolton, Massachusetts while Boyle went to high school in Needham, Massachusetts. They are just 21.63 miles or 34.81 kilometers apart.
Both men also went into broadcasting post retirement. Gill is a television co-host for Nashville Predators games on Bally Sports South. He also does radio, co-hosting a program with Darren McFarland. Boyle works for the NHL Network as an analyst.
Boyle and Gill may not be the most memorable Leafs, but their long shadows remain cast over the history of the organization.