To me, Wendel Clark is the epitome of the complete hockey player, and the poster boy for the Toronto Maple Leaf franchise.
Clark was the first overall pick in the 1995 entry draft.
He could score (46 goals in 1993-94 in only 64 games), he was known for throwing thunderous bodychecks, and he would drop the gloves in a heartbeat if an opponent threatened him or a teammate.
Clark was also a great skater, and was actually a rushing defenseman with the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades before the Toronto Maple Leafs decided to switch him to left wing.
The key element that Clark possessed, and that today’s team appears to be missing, is heart.
Wendel Clark always played his butt off, and was loved by fans and teammates for that trait. Too many times we see today’s Leafs slog listlessly through a game against inferior competition, or wilt against a superior opponent.
If Clark was on the roster now (as captain, of course), he would put the team on his back and carry them if necessary.
How could teammates not respond to that, and lift their own intensity in response?