What’s new with the Toronto Maple Leafs? That’s what this page is all about.

The Team Spirit Line Change website begins where the Team Spirit books end.

That’s because hockey never stands still … And I can never squeeze everything I want into 48 pages!

Take a look at some of the Maple Leafs collectibles I have in my home.

Enjoy this site, check back whenever you like, and contact me with any questions or comments.

Would you like to buy this LINE CHANGE book?


2022-23 Season

February 26, 2023: Defenseman Mark Giordano blocked his 2,045th shot to become the NHL’s all-time leader.

Season Preview: Toronto fans were shocked when their team lost in the opening round of the playoffs—even if they were defeated by the powerful Tampa Bay Lightning. Still, the Leafs have four of the best forwards in the NHL: Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares, and William Nylander. Add a solid defense and you have a recipe for playoff success. Almost. The team will also need a standout year from its goalies to go deep in the postseason for the first time since the early 2000’s. If everyone plays as well as they should, the Maple Leafs could be tough to beat.

2021-22 Season

Season Recap: A great 54-win season ended for the Leafs in the playoffs, when they blew a Game 7 lead to the Tampa Bay Lightning and made an early exit once again. Toronto moves forward with three solid goal-scorers in their mid-20s—Auston Matthews, William Nylander, and Mitch Marner—along with veteran leaders John Tavares and Morgan Rielly. The Maple Leafs set a club record for victories thanks to the excellent play of goalie Jack Campbell, who emerged as an All-Star after years as an NHL back-up.

April 07, 2022: Auston Matthews scored his 55th and 56th  goals of the season in a victory over the Dallas Stars. The first broke the team record for goals in a season and the second broke the all-time record for goals by an American-born player. Matthews would finish the year with an NHL-best 60 goals.

Season Preview: As always, the Leafs will rely on Auston Matthews to lead the offense. He topped the NHL in goals last season despite a sore wrist and he looks 100% healthy this year. The team will also need another solid year from its defense—including goalies Jack Campbell and Petr Mrazek—to challenge the two strong teams in Florida for the division crown. John Tavares, William Nylander, and Mitch Marner, along with Matthews, give Toronto plenty of scoring punch.

2020-21 Season

Season Recap: The Leafs had a fine season, finishing first in the North Division. The club’s last division title came in 2000. Auston Matthews scored a league-high 41 goals and Mitch Marner dished out 47 assists to finish in the Top 5 in scoring, and led the club into the playoffs. After opening a 3 games to 1 lead on the Canadiens in the first round in the playoffs, Toronto unraveled and lost three straight to make an early exit for the fifth year in a row.

May 6, 2021: Auston Matthews became the first NHL player to score 40 goals during the 2021 season, in the team’s 49th game. He became the first player since 2000 to reach 40 goals in fewer than 50 games.

Season Preview: There are a number of talented teams playing in Canada this year, but Toronto fans believe theirs is the best. The offense is sensational, with Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares, William Nylander, and Zach Hyman leading the way. Morgan Reilly is the best of a talented group of defenders. To be the best, Toronto will have to continue doing the things they do best—scoring at even strength, killing penalties, and making things happen on the power play.

2019-20 Season

Season Recap: The Leafs recovered from an early season losing streak to finish with a winning record and a spot in the playoff qualifier. However, they lost their series against Columbus. Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and new team captain John Tavares were Toronto’s top scorers, while veteran Frederik Andersen had a solid season in goal.

Season Preview: Toronto’s “big three” of Auston Matthews, John Tavares, and Mitch Marner give the Leafs a great chance to go deep into the playoffs. By then the team will need several other players to step up and contribute. All eyes will be on last year’s rookie star Andreas Johnsson, as well as role players Alexander Kerfoot and Jason Spezza, and goalie Frederik Andersen.

2018-19 Season

Season Recap: The Leafs had the third-best record in the Atlantic Division but lost a tight seven-game playoff series to the Bruins. Newcomer John Tavares was among the league leaders with 47 goals, while 22-year-old Mitch Marner continued his rise to stardom, finishing third in the league with 68 assists. Auston Matthews scored 37 times to become the first player in Toronto history to begin his NHL career with three 30-goal seasons.

Season Preview: Is this finally the year the Leafs win it all? A lot of experts say it is. The team signed John Tavares over the summer and became instant favorites in the Eastern Conference. He joins a club with great young talent, including center Auston Matthews and top scorer Mitch Marner, as well as a good goalie in Frederik Andersen. If Toronto can plug holes in its sometimes-leaky defense, a Stanley Cup may be in its future.

2017-18 Season

Season Recap: The Leafs continued their return to the top level of hockey with a 49-win season, their best ever victory total. Auston Matthews was one of the NHL’s most valuable performers, leading an attack that featured James van Riemsdyck, Mitchell Marner, Nazem Kadri, and William Nylander. Defenders Morgan Reilly and Jake Gardiner also contributed to the offense, but as a whole the defense fell short of expectations, especially in the playoffs.

October 18, 2017: Patrick Marleau laced up the skates for the 1,500th game of his career. Only 17 other players have appeared in more NHL games.

Season Preview: Toronto fans are in love with 20-year-old Auston Matthews. Can he turn the Leafs into a Stanley Cup contender? The team played extremely well last season — especially on the power play. They will need to match that performance this year to win the division and drive toward a championship.

2015-16 Season

Season Recap: Few things went right for the Leafs in 2015–16. Their defense and offense both ranked near the bottom of the NHL, and not a single player reached the 50-point mark. Hope for the future lies in defensemen Morgan Rielly and Nikita Zaitsev., and forwards Mitch Marner and William Nylander.

Season Preview: General Manager Lou Lamoriello left the Devils and joined the Leafs, which has raised the hopes of Toronto fans. And it is Lamoriello’s smart management and the good coaching of Mike Babcock that are the team’s greatest strengths. The Maple Leafs have a deep roster, even having traded Phil Kessel over the summer, and two good goalies. If Toronto can put the puck in the net, they should win more games than they lose this season.

2014-15 Season

Recap: The Maple Leafs were good at home in 2014–15, but terrible on the road. Thanks to an 8–27–6 record away from Toronto, they missed the playoffs. Also, the team’s 13-year string of home arena sellouts came to an end. Despite star performances by Phil Kessel and James Van Riemsdyk, the Leafs decided to begin a rebuilding program after the season ended.

Season Preview: With Phil Kessel, James van Remsdyk, and Tyler Bozak drilling pucks at opposing goalies, some Toronto fans are expecting their team to outscore opponents in 2014–15. If they do, it will more likely be the work of the defense, which is led by captain Dion Phaneuf and goalie Jonathan Bernier. Toronto added depth and experience at the defenseman position over the summer, and that should keep another late-season slump from happening again.

2013-14 Season

February 23, 2014: Toronto forward Phil Kessel was named to the Olympic All-Star squad after tying for the tournament lead with 5 goals in 6 games.

January 1, 2014: The Leafs defeated the Red Wings 3–2 in a shootout to win the 2014 Winter Classic. The game was played outdoors in Ann Arbor, Michigan during a snowstorm. Tyler Bozak netted the game-winner.

Season Preview: There is nowhere to go but up after the Maple Leafs collapsed in the third period of Game 7 against the Bruins in last year’s playoffs. Toronto made sure of that over the summer, adding plenty of scoring punch. New Leafs include Dave Bolland, who scored the cup-winning goal for the Blackhawks in 2013, and David Clarkson, a rising star with the Devils.

More Go-To Guys

This 1924 tobacco card shows Hap Day when the team was called the Toronto St. Pats. (Champ’s Cigarettes)

Imperial Tobacco gave away photos of hockey players for more than 20 years. This one from the 1930s shows Red Horner. (Imperial Tobacco)

This 1938 card of Syl Apps could be folded back to make him an actual stand-up guy. (O-Pee-Chee)

The first year I started collecting hockey cards, they were tall and thin like this one. They never made them this way again. (Topps, Inc.)

Rick Vaive is probably the least-famous 50-goal scorer. This was one of the few magazines that put him on the cover. (Hockey Illustrated)

  • Babe Dye — Right Wing
    Born: 5/13/1898
    Died: 1/2/1962
    Played for Team: 1919–20 to 1925–26 & 1930–31
    In his first full season with Toronto, Babe Dye set league afire when he scored 35 goals in 24 games. He was not a fast skater, but he had the hardest and most accurate shot of his time. Dye was a master at using other players to screen the goalie from seeing his shots.

  • Hap Day — Defenseman/Left Wing
    Born” 6/14/1901
    Died: 2/17/1990
    Played for Team: 1924–25 to 1936–37
    After Conn Smythe bought the Maple Leafs, he moved Hap Day from the forward line to defense, and then paired him up with King Clancy. Day actually became a hockey player on the condition that he be allowed to continue his studies as a pharmacist. After his playing days, he owned and operated the pharmacy at Maple Leaf Gardens!

  • Ace Bailey — Right Wing/Center
    Born: 7/3/1903
    Died: 4/7/1992
    Played for Team: 1926–27 to 1933–34
    Ace Bailey was a feared scorer when he first joined the Maple Leafs, but later focused his energy on defense and became a top penalty-killer. Bailey led the league in goals in 1928–29. After his playing days, he worked as the timekeeper at Maple Leaf Gardens for almost 50 years.

  • Joe Primeau — Center
    Born: 1/29/1906
    Died: 5/14/1989
    Played for Team: 1927–28 to 1935–36
    Unlike many Canadian boys, Joe Primeau did not strap on a pair of skates until he was 12 years old. Smaller and skinnier than most pro hockey players, he nevertheless proved to be one of the game’s best passers and penalty killers. Primeau quit hockey at age 30 to pursue a career in the construction business.

  • Red Horner — Defenseman
    Born: 5/28/1909
    Died: 4/27/2005
    Played for Team: 1928–29 to 1939–40
    Red Horner was the most physical defenseman of his time. He led the NHL in penalty minutes eight years in a row and was one of the most disliked players in hockey. However, the Maple Leafs often said that Horner was their most team-oriented player. Besides his hard body checks, he was known for one unusual skill—he could accelerate from a standstill to full speed faster than almost anyone in the game.

  • Busher Jackson — Left Wing
    Born: 1/19/1911
    Died: 6/26/1966
    Played for Team: 1929–30 to 1938–39
    Harvey “Busher” Jackson was one of the most graceful and handsome men in sports during the 1930s. he was also Toronto’s most complete all-around player. In 1931–32, he led the NHL in points at age 21—the youngest player ever to do so at the time.

  • Charlie Conacher — Right Wing
    Born: 12/20/1910
    Died: 12/30/1967
    Played for Team: 1929–30 to 1937–38
    Charlie Conacher and his brother, Lionel, were two of Canada’s greatest all-around athletes. Charlie was nicknamed the Big Bomber for his hard shot. In 1930, Conn Smythe placed him and another young forward, Busher Jackson, on the line with slick-passing 24-year-old Joe Primeau…and the Kid Line was born. Conacher led the NHL in goals four times in five seasons, beginning at age 20.

  • Syl Apps — Center
    Born: 1/18/1915
    Died: 12/24/1998
    Played for Team: 1936–37 to 1942–43 & 1945–46 to 1947–48
    The Leafs first tried to sign Syl Apps in 1934, but had to wait for him to compete in the 1936 Olympics before he joined the team. He was the #1 pole vaulter in the British Empire at the time. They had to wait for him again in the 1940s, when he joined the Canadian Army and saw action in World War II. Apps still had time to lead the Leafs to three Stanley Cups and earn honors as a First- and Second-Team All-Star five times.

  • George Armstrong — Center/Right Wing
    Born: 7/6/1930
    Played for Team: 1951–52 to 1970–71
    George Armstrong was nicknamed The Chief in part because of his Iroquois heritage, but also because he was Toronto’s most respected leader for 20 seasons. He was team captain for a dozen years. Punch Imlach said that Armstrong did more for the Leafs than any other player he had.

  • Bob Pulford — Left Wing
    Born: 3/31/1936
    Played for Team: 1956–57 to 1969–70
    Bob Pulford was part of Toronto’s changing of the guard in the late 1950s. He teamed with George Armstrong and Dave Keon to give the club a shut-down checking line that was a cornerstone of their 1960s championship teams. Pulford was a great penalty-killer who specialized in scoring short-handed goals.

  • Allan Stanley — Defenseman
    Born: 3/1/1926
    Died 10/18/2013
    Played for Team: 1958–59 to 1967–68
    Allan Stanley was nicknamed Snowshoes because of his slow skating. But what he lacked in speed he made up for by doing everything else right. He became a star in his 30s playing alongside Tim Horton in Toronto and was a top defenseman right into his 40s.

  • Ron Ellis — Right Wing
    Born: 1/8/1945
    Played for Team: 1963–64 to 1980–81
    Ron Ellis was a Maple Leafs “lifer”—he played his entire NHL career with the club. He topped 20 goals nine years in a row and played more than 1,000 games for Toronto.

  • Lanny McDonald — Right Wing
    Born: 2/16/1953
    Played for Team: 1973–74 to 1979–80
    Lanny McDonald’s boyhood came true when he got to play with his idol, Dave Keon, as a member of the Leafs. McDonald’s hard wrist-shot and walrus mustache made him one of the NHL’s most recognizable players on and off the ice.

  • Rick Vaive — Right Wing
    Born: 5/14/1959
    Played for Team: 1979–80 to 1986–87
    Rick Vaive was the first Toronto player to score 50 goals in a season. He reached that mark three seasons in a row, thanks in part to the play making skills of linemate Bill Derlago. Vaive was a big, physical player who often topped 100 minutes in penalties. He played in the All-Star Game each year from 1982 to 1984.

  • Curtis Joseph — Goalie
    Born: 4/29/1967
    Played for Team: 1998–99 to 2001–02 & 2008–09
    Curtis Joseph—or “Cujo” for short—won 133 games in four magnificent seasons for the Leafs, and led the to the playoffs each year. He represented Toronto in two All-Star Games and was famous for his mask, which was decorated with the face of a snarling dog.

  • Auston Matthew — Center
    Born: 9/17/1997
    First Season with Team: 2016–17
    Auston Matthews was the first pick in the 2016 NHL Draft and, a few months later, scored four goals in his first game. He won the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie ad set a new record for an American-born player in his first year, with 40. Matthews set a new personal best with 47 goals in 2019–20.

More Fun Facts

This old program shows Ron Ellis plowing into a goalie for the Blackhawks. When Ellis started there were only six pro teams. By the tine he retired there were more than 20. (Author’s Collection)

    In 1919, baseball manager Connie Mack offered Babe Dye $25,000 to quit hockey and sign to play with the Athletics. He turned down the offer, explaining that he could not give up hockey, his first love.

    The head injury that ended Ace Bailey’s career in 1933 would have killed him were it not for a bit of good luck. A convention of brain surgeons happened to be taking place in Boston when he cracked his head open against the Bruins. A team of experts worked on Bailey for three days to keep him alive.

    During his time with the Leafs, Syl Apps was often held up as the ideal athlete. He was tall and good-looking, honest and good-natured. He never cursed during games. The worst thing anyone ever heard him say was By Hum! —and that was only when he was really angry. In 1943, Apps missed several games because of a broken leg. Team owner Conn Smythe was shocked when Apps tried to give back half of his salary for the time he missed.

    In 1968, Hall of Famer Ace Bailey asked the club to let young Ron Ellis wear his old #6, which had been retired for more than 50 years. Ellis was so honored he switched from #8. After Ellis’s career, the team re-retired #6.

League Leaders

This Charlie Conacher card is from 1933, but that’s all anyone knows about it. There were actually 50 cards in the series. (Author’s Collection)

My favorite old hockey set was the 1937–38 O-Pee-Chee. Gord Drillon and his linemates—Syl Apps and Bob Davidson—were known for being nice guys in a tough sport. They were nicknamed the DAD line. (O-Pee-Chee Ltd.)

Jacques Plante signed this team postcard from the 190s. He had a couple of great years for the Leafs near the end of his career. (Author’s Collection)

    1920–21 — Babe Dye — 35**
    1922–23 — Babe Dye — 26
    1924–25 — Babe Dye — 38
    1928–29 — Ace Bailey — 22
    1930–31 — Charlie Conacher — 31
    1931–32 — Charlie Conacher — 34*
    1933–34 — Charlie Conacher — 32
    1934–35 — Charlie Conacher — 36
    1935–36 — Charlie Conacher — 23, Bill Thoms — 23
    1937–38 — Gordie Drillon — 26
    1945–46 — Gaye Stewart — 37

    * Tied with another player
    ** Also played for the Hamilton Tigers

    1917–18 — Reg Noble — 10, Harry Cameron — 10**
    1921–22 — Harry Cameron — 17
    1930–31 — Joe Primeau — 32
    1931–32 — Joe Primeau — 37
    1933–34 — Joe Primeau — 32
    1936–37 — Syl Apps — 29
    1937–38 — Syl Apps — 29
    1950–51 — Ted Kennedy — 43*

    * Tied with another player
    ** Tied with a third player

    1922–23 — Babe Dye — 37
    1924–25 — Babe Dye — 46
    1928–29 — Ace Bailey — 32
    1931–32 — Busher Jackson — 53
    1933–34 — Charlie Conacher — 52
    1934–35 — Charlie Conacher — 57
    1937–38 — Gordie Drillon — 52

    1940–41 — Turk Broda — 2.00
    1947–48 — Turk Broda — 2.38
    1950–51 — Al Rollins — 1.57
    1953–54 — Harry Lumley — 1.86
    1954–55 — Harry Lumley — 1.94
    1962–63 — Don Simmons — 2.46
    1963–64 — Johnny Bower — 2.11
    1964–65 — Johnny Bower — 2.38
    1965–66 — Johnny Bower — 2.25
    1970–71 — Jacques Plante — 1.88
    1992–93 — Felix Potvin — 2.50

    1998–99 — Alexander Karpotsev — + 39*

    * Also played with the New York Rangers

In the NHL Finals

1917–18 Montreal Canadiens W 1–1
(10–7 on total goals*)
1920–21 Ottawa Senators L 0–2
1921–22 Ottawa Senators W 1–1
(5–4 on total goals*)

* In the early days of hockey, championship series often lasted two games; in the event of a 1–1 tie, the team with the most goals in those games was declared the champion.

In the Stanley Cup Finals

This program is from the 1936 playoffs against the Red Wings. The Olympia was the name of Detroit's stadium. (Author's Collection)

Stanley Cup hero Bob Baun signed this photo of himself with the Stanley Cup. He played the final game of the series with a broken leg. (Author's Collection)

1917–18 Vancouver Millionaires W 3–2
1921–22 Vancouver Millionaires W 3–2
1931–32 New York Rangers W 3–0
1932–33 New York Rangers L 1–3
1934–35 Montreal Maroons L 0–3
1935–36 Detroit Red Wings L 1–3
1937–38 Chicago Blackhawks L 1–3
1938–39 Boston Bruins L 1–4
1939–40 New York Rangers L 2–4
1941–42 Detroit Red Wings W 4–3
1944–45 Detroit Red Wings W 4–3
1946–47 Montreal Canadiens W 4–2
1947–48 Detroit Red Wings W 4–0
1948–49 Detroit Red Wings W 4–0
1950–51 Montreal Canadiens W 4–1
1958–59 Montreal Canadiens L 1–4
1959–60 Montreal Canadiens L 0–4
1961–62 Chicago Blackhawks W 4–2
1962–63 Detroit Red Wings W 4–1
1963–64 Detroit Red Wings W 4–3
1966–67 Montreal Canadiens W 4–2

Would you like to buy this LINE CHANGE book?