Cursed!? Former Toronto Maple Leafs Now in the NHL Playoffs (Part 2/2)


Cursed!? Former Toronto Maple Leafs Now in the NHL Playoffs (Part 2/2)

We continue our look into former Maple Leafs and how they are doing during these NHL Playoffs. We also look at how their team is doing and examine whether donning the blue and white actually may be a curse…

Last page examined the Western Conference. We’ll systematically move from the left-to-right and now peer into the Eastern Conference.


New York Rangers (1 player)

Apr 24, 2015; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers center Dominic Moore (28) celebrates after left wing Carl Hagelin (62) (not pictured) scored the game winning goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during overtime in game five of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers defeated the Penguins 2 – 1 in overtime to advance to the next round. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Dominic Moore: Moore’s been around, having actually started with the Rangers before bouncing around the league and finding his way back to the Big Apple. For his time as a Leaf, Moore posted career highs in goals and assists (41 points) in 63 games before being dealt for a second-round pick. Since, he has played in 72 playoff games, but hasn’t hoisted the Cup — closest coming last year when his Rangers fell to the Kings in the finals (note: those Kings had no former Leafs in their lineup when they hoisted the Cup).

Leafs-Curse?:  The Rangers seemed to be a team of destiny last year before falling to the Kings in just five games. While it seems possible, the curse of the Leafs has yet to be answered this year. Since Moore started in New York and came back, maybe the Leafs’ curse isn’t in effect?

Pittsburgh Penguins (1 player)

Daniel Winnik: Winnik, the Toronto native, signed with the Leafs this season and was serviceable. Among the many alleged suitors were the Penguins, who eventually got Winnik for forward Zac Sill and a few draft choices, which seems like a nice return

Leafs-Curse?: The Penguins, who by their lineup, appear that they should be front-of-the-pack contenders, folded down the stretch… simply an implosion. That Daniel Winnik, traded from the Leafs, was theirs for most if not all of that time, is probably coincidence, but… is it really? In his 26 games there, the Penguins look to only have won nine or so of those games. For the point of this article, that must be stated. The Penguins limped into the playoffs and were quickly eliminated by the Rangers, with Winnik in the fold for the implosion. Coincidence? Maybe, but….. 

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  • Montreal Canadiens (0 players)

    Leafs-Curse?: The Montreal Canadiens have zero former Leafs players on their roster and yet they’re still playing…. hmmm.

    Ottawa Senators (1 player)

    Clarke MacArthur: Over 20 goals in two seasons with Toronto — including 60 points in one season. MacArthur was everything the Leafs could have wanted in his time there — really the perfect complimentary player. He signed in Ottawa for virtually the same length and dollars as he did in Toronto.

    Leafs-Curse?: Ottawa had a simply magic end of the season run and were really playing elimination games for the duration for the last month of the season. Unfortunately, once non-elimination games took place, Ottawa quickly found itself down 3-0. That is too steep of a hole to ascend from versus Carey Price. However once they made the show, a former Leafs’ player’s team going down 3-0 after becoming the first team in NHL history to overcome a 14-point deficit in the regular season just to qualify for the playoffs — including how many wins in a row to end the season ? That’s… coincidence? Perhaps so, but maybe not

    New York Islanders (2 players)

    Apr 17, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; New York Islanders left wing Nikolay Kulemin (86) passes the puck against the Washington Capitals in game two of the first round of the the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    Mikhail Grabovski: Bought out by the Leafs following the 2012-13 season, Grabo’s 58 points in 2010-11 is the highest among Maple Leaf centres since Mats Sundin, if you believe that. Since his Leafs tenure, Grabovski went to Washington, but this year reunited with old Leafs’ linemate Nikolai Kulemin in the Island.

    Nikolai Kulemin: Along with Mats Sundin, Phil Kessel, and James van Riemsdyk, Kulemin is the only Leaf to score 30 or more goals since 1999. Following this breakout season, Kulemin inexplicably dropped to just seven goals in the next season. Now that seems like a lemon… Kulemin then signed with the Islanders long-term for a lot of moula. Most fans weren’t too sad after a 25-goal dropoff.

    Leafs-Curse? –> Kulemin and Grabovski disappeared in the playoffs for Toronto, so two points combined in this year’s war with Washington seems fitting. The Leafs curse with these two seems about right.

    Washington Capitals (1 player)

    Tim Gleason: Timmy was on Carolina, then acquired by the Leafs for John-Michael Liles, giving grit to the Leafs’ D. His stats though were inconsequential and he was placed on waivers, where he eventually joined the Hurricanes again. Coming full-circle may make his “curse” a wash too. But nevertheless, he dawned the blue and white.

    Leafs-Curse?: Washington had Mikhail Grabovski, but got rid of him and subsequently beat out Grabovski’s team. Wait… is it subsequent? The Leafs’ curse followed Grabo to the Island, leaving (freeing?) the Capitals of that curse. And now, these Caps seem to be doing pretty well. It could be Barry Trotz, or could it be getting rid of a former Leaf draftee?

    Tampa Bay Lightning (0 players)

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    Leafs-Curse?: Tampa Bay does not feature Fredrik Modin anymore… or even Pavel Kubina. With zero former Leafs on the roster, the Lightning are on the brink of the Eastern Conference Finals. Coincidence? Maybe, but you wouldn’t be delusional to see a trend going on.

    Detroit Red Wings (0 players)

    Leafs-Curse?: The Detroit Red Wings’ record of 24 straight years making the playoffs probably has nothing to do with not fielding any past Leafs this year. There had to have been lots of former Leafs in the past 24 years……..right?

    Call it coincidence. Call it what you want. But just look at the teams still remaining and what they don’t seem to feature. And most of the teams with a lot of former Leafs, what do they have in common? They’re out of the playoffs.

    It’s just interesting. It may be nothing else. But maybe — maybe– it is something.

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