Last night I caught a tweet by Toronto sports journalist Michael Grange (on twitter the eponymous @michaelgrange). He asked when was the last time the Leafs had a Toronto-born superstar on their roster.
To be honest, I thought it was a bit of a leading question and responded by asking when was the last time any NHL club had a Toronto-born star (then I wondered what the answer to that question is).
Hockey-reference (an amazing resource) has a database of NHL birthplaces. I pulled up the data for Ontario, dumped it into a spreadsheet and started to sort. I eliminated all the players who played before 1981 (thought 30 years was a nice round number for the data). That was the only exclusion I made.
I ended up with about 150 players in the last 30 years. Thanks to Grange and another twitter user @KeithTalent5000, I realized the data needed another go-round as the database separates out many of the constituent parts of Toronto – Willowdale, Mimico, Weston, North York, Scarborough, etc.
Factor in these constituent parts and the spreadsheet expands to 209 Toronto-born players in the NHL since 1981 (and I may have missed some others – I’m Toronto born and raised and I had to google Mimico to find out it’s part of the city).
Of those 209 Toronto-born NHLers:
- 132 managed a career of 40 games or more;
- 106 played more than 100 games; and
- Seven managed to score 0.80 ppg and of those only three scored at a point-per game clip over their career (Dale Hawerchuk, Adam Oates and Paul Coffey).
As for stars on the Leafs, I don’t claim to speak for most Leaf fans, but I don’t care if they hale from Moscow, Ontario or Moscow, Russia. I’ll take talent on this squad no matter where it comes from.
The spreadsheet is here.