1973: Lanny McDonald
Drafted by: Toronto Maple Leafs
1111 NHL Games Played
1 Stanley Cup
4 All Star Games
In 1973 the Leafs were a few years beyond the Stanley Cup success of the early to mid sixties (and are still playing catch-up). The team missed the playoffs in McDonald’s first season, but soon returned to post-season hockey, with McDonald playing an integral role in that. At the end of the seventies, Punch Imlach returned to ruin the Leafs and traded McDonald.
Toronto’s loss was Colorado’s gain, although like Toronto, the real powerplays were in the front office. While McDonald played well on the ice, he only played one full season in Denver. In 1981, McDonald was traded for a second time.
The Calgary Flames had not long relocated from Atlanta, and needed leadership on the ice. The team had been used to making the playoffs, but had never made it past the first round. Success wasn’t immediate but by 1983 McDonald had earned the captaincy and in 1986 had driven the Flames to their first cup finals. The team fell to the Canadiens but in 1989 the tables were turned. McDonald’s Flames met the Habs again in the finals, and won the series four games to two. McDonald lifted the Stanley Cup for both his, and the franchise’s first time. Job done, McDonald then retired from playing hockey.
After hanging up his skates, McDonald went onto a management role with the Flames, and has been heavily involved with the Special Olympics. Alongside former teammate Daryl Sittler, McDonald was a volunteer coach for Team Canada. In Toronto and Colorado, McDonald was a dependable player in turbulent times, but in Calgary he left all that behind and became a legend. His number 9 jersey was the first to be retired by the organisation, and he still represents the team at charity events.