4 Former Toronto Maple Leafs Who Could Turn This Team Around

Toronto Maple Leafs v Florida Panthers
Toronto Maple Leafs v Florida Panthers / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
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Mats Sundin  

As scorers, Mats Sundin and John Tavares are very similar players.  Sundin averaged a point per game over a career of 1346 NHL games, while Tavares has averaged just under a point per game in 1074 games.

Both serve(d) as captains of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and both are very classy, respected players on and off the ice.

There are a couple of key differences between them, however.  First, Sundin was 6’5” and 230 lbs, while Tavares is 6’1” and 210 lbs.  Sundin racked up 1093 minutes of penalties in his career, while Tavares sits at 455.

Tavares takes a lot of punishment standing in front of the net (and credit to him for that), but Sundin was quietly meaner, and would give it right back.  Skill backed up by grit is an effective combination.

The second difference is in leadership ability, or “presence”.  Sundin had it in spades.  Tavares, not so much.

Today’s Toronto Maple Leafs have an abundance of skill, but none of the “Core 4” has shown the ability to be “that guy” that everyone looks to when the chips are down.  Leaders make their teammates better.


Unfortunately for Sundin, he wasn’t surrounded by much talent at all during his tenure in Toronto.  If he starred for the team today, I can only imagine the positive impact he could have on the team’s fortunes.