The Toronto Maple Leafs have been around for more than a century. With 100 plus years of history, they have had several characters and numerous Hall of Fame players. Many of the franchise’s best players had extended careers with the team, racking up significant statistics. Here are the top-20 highest goal-scorers for the blue and white.
No. 1: Mats Sundin, 420 Goals
He is the lone European on the list and was the franchise’s first non-Canadian captain. Mats Sundin was the face of the franchise for more than a decade. He was acquired in 1994 and led the Maple Leafs in scoring in every season but one during his tenure. His 420 goals are highlighted by two 41-goal seasons in 1996-97 and 2001-02. In 13 seasons in Toronto, he scored 30 goals or more in 10 of them.
Sundin is the franchise leader in points with 987, game-winning goals with 79, powerplay goals with 124 and second for all-time assists with 567. What is most impressive about his production, is the rest of the team’s roster during Sundin’s time in Toronto. He rarely had a consistent winger and certainly not a consistent superstar. The best of his regular linemates, perhaps, was Gary Roberts, who had two 40-point seasons and one 50-point season as a Maple Leaf.
The majority of Sundin’s work was done by himself, and it is remarkable that he still comes out on top as the Maple Leafs’ all-time goal-scoring (and points) leader. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012.
No. 2: Darryl Sittler, 389 Goals
Darryl Sittler, perhaps best known for his record 10-point game in 1976 when he scored six goals and four assists, is second on the franchise’s goal-scoring list. He was the first-round draft pick by the Maple Leafs in 1970 and spent a dozen seasons with the team before being traded to the Philadelphia Flyers.
In those 12 seasons, he topped the 40-goal plateau four times, his highest goal-scoring total was in the 1977-78 season, when he recorded 45. But his name appears multiple times in the Leafs’ record books. He is second in all-time scoring with 916 points, second in most powerplay goals having amassed 120 and he has the most hat tricks in team history with 18.
Sittler was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1989, but his accomplishments were also recognized by being included in the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Canadian Walk of Fame in 2016. In 2017, he was named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in history.
No. 3: Dave Keon, 365 Goals
Hailed as the team’s greatest player of all time, Keon spent 15 seasons, almost his entire career, with the Maple Leafs, scoring 365 goals. He won the Calder Memorial Trophy in 1961 and never slowed down. He won four Stanley Cups with Toronto. His personal best season, in 1970-71, saw him score 38 goals.
In his career with the Maple Leafs, Keon reached the 20-goal mark 11 times. Remarkably, he also accumulated a total of only 75 penalty minutes, by far the lowest of any of the Maple Leafs’ top-10 goal scorers (and third behind Syl Apps and Auston Matthews in the top 20).
Keon is an eight-time NHL All-Star, a two-time recipient of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, and was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1967. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1986, named to the 100 Greatest NHL Players list in 2017 and added to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.
No. 4: Ron Ellis, 332 Goals
Ron Ellis won a Stanley Cup in 1967 and was part of Team Canada during the famed 1972 Summit Series. Ellis spent the entirety of his 16-year NHL career with the Maple Leafs. His best season, in 1969-70, saw him register 35 goals. He reached the 20-goal plateau 11 times in his career, including 10 straight seasons.
The most fascinating part of Ellis’ career is that he would’ve been considerably higher on this list. After his most productive season, Ellis abruptly retired during the 1975 training camp. He denied that it was in protest of Sittler being named captain. He returned to the team two years later for the start of the 1977-78 season.
The four-time NHL All-Star, averaged more than 20 goals a season and left in his prime. It’s fair to say he would’ve easily tacked on another 40 to 50 goals, challenging Sittler for second on this list. The two-year retirement may have also cost Ellis an induction in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Ironically, he later worked for the Hockey Hall of Fame.
No. 5: Rick Vaive, 299 Goals
Becoming the first Maple Leafs player to score 50 goals in a season, Vaive scored 54 of his 299 goals in the blue and white in the 1980-81 season. That number still stands as the record for most goals in a season by any Maple Leafs player. He would reach the 50-goal mark two more times, scoring 51 and 52 goals, respectively, in the following years. In his seven full seasons with the Maple Leafs, Vaive never scored less than 32 goals.
Vaive was a high draft pick of the Vancouver Canucks in 1979 but was traded to Toronto in a multi-player deal that saw Maple Leafs’ fan favourite, Dave “Tiger” Williams, head west. Vaive only played half of his career in Toronto. He was unceremoniously traded in 1987 by team owner Harold Ballard, during some of the most tumultuous times in the history of the organization. Had he played the entirety of his NHL career in Toronto, he would be the team’s top goal scorer. In 13 NHL season’s he scored 441 goals. He has not been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
No. 6 (Tie): Frank Mahovlich, 296 Goals
Frank Mahovlich spent 10 colourful seasons with the Maple Leafs. The Big M, who was also called Moses, won the Calder Memorial Trophy for his 1957-58 season performance where he scored 20 goals and adding 16 assists in 67 games. He continued to find the net in ensuing seasons, his most memorable came in 1960-61 when he scored 48 goals for 36 assists and 131 penalty minutes in just 70 games. His 48 goal season stood as the high watermark for 21 seasons.
However, Mahovlich spent a difficult decade in Toronto squaring off with coach Punch Imlach and was often booed by fans at Maple Leaf Gardens. He was admitted to the hospital at least twice while dealing with bouts of depression. After four Stanley Cup wins with Toronto he was traded to the Detroit Red Wings halfway through his eleventh pro season. Later finding himself on the rival Montreal Canadiens where he won two more Stanley Cups.
He was a 15-time NHL All-Star, nine of those appearances as a Maple Leaf. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1981, the Canada Sports Hall of Fame in 1990 and was named one of the Top 100 NHL Players in History in 2017. Later in life, he was a Liberal Senator in the Canadian Senate.
No. 6 (Tie): George Armstrong, 296 Goals
George Armstrong spent 21 years playing centre for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but his tenure with the team didn’t end when his playing time did. In fact, he spent 75 years as part of the team, as a coach, assistant general manager, scout and then an ambassador. His commitment to the team is what places him on this goal-scoring list as he was not a prolific scorer, but he holds the franchise record for the longest-serving player with an incredible 1,187 games.
When you play that many games, you are bound to score some goals. His highest season output was in 1959-60 when he scored 23. He only reached the 20-goal mark four times in 21 seasons. He served as captain for 12 years and Conn Smythe called Armstrong, “the best captain, as a captain, the Leafs have ever had.”
Not only did Armstrong play nearly 1,200 regular seasons games with the Leafs, he played another 110 playoff games. He scored the final goal of the original six-era of the NHL. He scored the last Leafs’ goal in a Stanley Cup Final. He was a 7-time NHL All-Star and four-time Stanley Cup champion. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1979.
No. 8: Wendel Clark, 260 Goals
Wendel Clark was the first-overall pick by the Maple Leafs in 1985. The pride of Kelvington, Saskatchewan became one of the most loved players in the history of the team. Not only is he ranked high on the goal-scoring list, but Clark also amassed 1535 penalty minutes as a Maple Leaf, which is third all-time.
He scored 34 goals in his rookie season and improved on that with 37 in his sophomore year. Following that, he became the victim of injuries, playing in just 28, 15, and 38 games over the next three seasons. His highest scoring season was in 1993-94 where he scored 46 goals. Coincidentally he also had his highest penalty minutes in that season too with 76 minutes in the box in just 64 games played.
Clark was one of the most physical players in team history, but his physical play limited his action. He played less than half of the season several times in his NHL career. He was also part of one of the most shocking and later legendary trades in franchise history. Clark was traded to the Quebec Nordiques as a part of a multi-player swap that included Mats Sundin coming to Toronto.
No. 9: Bob Pulford, 251 Goals
Bob Pulford was a great hockey player and obviously one of the best for the franchise, but he is remembered much more for what he did for the game. Pulford was named the first president of the National Hockey League Players’ Association in 1967. He also played with the Los Angeles Kings and then coached them. He won the Jack Adams Award in 1974-75. After that, he spent 30 years with the Chicago Blackhawks as a coach and general manager.
Like a few others on this list, Pulford was not a very prolific goal scorer, but his time spent with the team is why he lands on the list. His best season came in 1965-66 when he scored 28 goals. He reached the 20-goal plateau four times with the Maple Leafs, but never scored below 11 in a season. Perhaps his most famous moment was when he scored the 2OT winner in Game 3 of the 1967 Stanley Cup Final to give his team the 2-1 series lead, they went on to win the Cup. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991.
No. 10: Ted Kennedy, 230 Goals
Rounding out the top ten is Ted Kennedy. He first appeared in Toronto’s lineup for two games as a 17-year-old in 1942-43. He is still the youngest player to dress for the Maple Leafs. He was captain for eight seasons during his tenure between 1942 to 1957. He was more of a tenacious forechecker than an offensive dynamo, but his 14 hard working seasons with the team netted him 230 goals.
His best season saw him score 29 goals in 1944-45, and he reached the 20-goal plateau five times. He is still considered one of the best faceoff players to ever play the game, helping him assist on 330 goals, which is good for 8th on the teams all time assist list.
He helped the team become the NHL’s second dynasty when they won four Stanley Cups in five years.He was the first NHL player (alongside teammate Turk Broda) to win five Stanley Cups. He is also the last Maple Leafs’ player to win the Hart Trophy, back in 1955. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1966 and was later named to the NHL’s Top 100 Player’s List.
No. 11: Lanny McDonald, 219 Goals
Lanny McDonald, perhaps best know for his famous moustache, also did some scoring for the Maple Leafs. The team drafted him fourth overall during the 1973 draft and he went on to play six full seasons in Toronto. After a slow start to his career, his goal scoring ability started to show in his third season. He scored 37 goals in 1975-76 and followed it up with three straight 40 goal seasons or more goals three times while he was with the Maple Leafs.
During his seventh season Toronto traded McDonald to the Colorado Rockies. A move that resulted in protests in front of Maple Leaf Gardens. He was later traded to the Calgary Flames and his name is all over that franchise’s record books as well. He is fifth on the Calgary Flames all time goal-scoring list with 215 goals in 492 games. McDonald’s highest scoring season was in 1982-83 when he got 66 goals for the Flames, a franchise record that still stands.
He went on to score 500 goals and 1000 points in his 16 NHL seasons and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992, and still sports the moustache to this day.
No. 12: Syl Apps, 201 Goals
The first Maple Leafs player to ever win the Calder Memorial Trophy, Apps spent his entire 10-year NHL career playing in Toronto. Consistency was the name of the game for Apps, who registered six 20-goal seasons and three 15-goal seasons. His best, scoring-wise came during his last in the league, when he potted 26 goals.
A three-time Stanley Cup champion with the Maple Leafs, Apps was also a player of great character. He was awarded the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy in 1942 for his demeanour, and he only registered 56 PIMs throughout his career. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961.
No. 13: Charlie Conacher, 200 Goals
Seen by many as one of, if not the greatest player to ever play for the Maple Leafs, Charlie Conacher played for the team for nine years. In an era of low scoring, he regularly scored 30 or more goals, registering four such seasons throughout his tenure. In fact, with era-adjusted scoring, Conacher holds four of the top-10 spots in goals scored by a Maple Leafs player.
His best season came in 1934-35 when he scored 36 goals. Adjusted for the era, however, his best season was in 1930-31 when he scored 62 era-adjusted goals. He led the NHL in goal-scoring five times while with the Maple Leafs and led the league in points twice. He won the Stanley Cup once, in 1932. The man they called the Big Bomber was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961 and is one the NHL’s Top 100 Players list.
No. 14: Auston Matthews, 199 Goals
Auston Matthews has cracked this list after just five seasons with the franchise. He was selected first overall in the 2016 draft by the Maple Leafs. He made quite a first impression on Leaf Nation by scoring four goals in his first NHL game – the first player in modern day NHL history to accomplish that feat. Matthews went on to score 40 goals in his rookie season, and win the Calder Memorial Trophy.
The dynamic centre suffered a few injuries during his next two seasons but still managed to score 71 goals in 170 games. Matthews was on a record-setting pace during the 2019-2020 season. He has 47 goals when the season was stopped for the global pandemic. Analytics suggest Matthews would’ve scored eight more goals in the next 12 games beating Rick Vaive’s 54 goal mark from the 1980-81 season.
Matthews became the first player in franchise history to win the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy after scoring 41 goals in 52 games during the shortened 2020-21 season. Had it been a full 82-game regular schedule, Matthews was projected to add another 22 goals, for a total of 63. The American-born superstar has three more seasons under contract with the club. He will become a free agent after the 2023-24 season.
No. 15: John Anderson, 189 Goals
Anderson spent eight seasons with the Maple Leafs in the late 70s and early 80s after being selected by the team in the first round of the 1977 Draft.
Throughout this high-scoring era, he registered four consecutive seasons of 30 goals or more. His best season came in 1983-84, when he scored 37 goals, finding success with teammates Rick Vaive and Bill Derlago on their acquisition by the Maple Leafs. He has not been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
No. 16 (Tie): Busher Jackson, 186 Goals
Of the three ties, Jackson needed the fewest games to reach 186 goals. Known mostly in modern days for his off-ice struggles, he was a great player for the Maple Leafs throughout his 10 seasons with the team.
Consistency was key for Jackson, who put up five 20-goal seasons, including four consecutively. His best season came in 1931-32 when he scored 28 goals (era adjusted: 49), led the NHL in points with 53, and won the Stanley Cup. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1971.
No. 16 (Tie): Sid Smith, 186 Goals
Of the three tiies, Smith took the second-fewest games to reach 186 goals. He spent his entire NHL career with the Maple Leafs, spanning nine full seasons and three shortened seasons split with the Pittsburgh Hornets of the AHL and the Quebec Aces of the QSHL.
Regularly putting up 20-goal seasons, Smith’s best came in 1954-55 when he scored 33 goals. He reached the 30-goal plateau one other time, while reaching the 20-goal plateau for six consecutive seasons. He is a three-time Stanley Cup champion. He has not been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
No. 16 (Tie): Ron Stewart, 186 Goals
Of the three ties, Stewart needed the most games to reach 186 goals. He spent over half of his NHL career with the Maple Leafs, totalling 13 full seasons.
Not a particularly skilled goal scorer, Stewart broke the 20-goal mark with the Maple Leafs just once, in 1958-59, scoring 21 goals. In spite of this, he still managed to score at least 13 goals in all but one season in Toronto. He is a three-time Stanley Cup champion with the team. He has not been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
No. 19: Phil Kessel, 181 Goals
The only American and the most recent member of the Maple Leafs to grace this list, Kessel was an enigma from the moment he landed in Toronto. Perhaps one of the only bright spots through many miserable Maple Leafs seasons, Kessel was often criticized for his lack of defensive play.
In the six seasons he played with the team, he reached the 30-goal plateau four times. If not for the lockout-shortened season in 2012-13, he would’ve reached 30 that season as well. His best seasons scoring-wise came in 2011-12 and 2013-14 when he scored 37 goals. Kessel was a two-time All-Star with the Maple Leafs, and never missed a game while playing with the team. He is still an active player in the NHL with the Arizona Coyotes.
No. 20: Gary Leeman, 176 Goals
A first-round pick by the Maple Leafs in 1982, Leeman spent eight and a half seasons with the Maple Leafs in the 80s and early 90s before being traded to the Flames. By far, his most productive season with the team came in 1989-90 when he scored 51 goals (almost a third of his production with the team).
Outside of that season, he only managed to reach the 20-goal plateau three other times, in two of those he reached the 30-goal mark. He has not been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Kevin Armstrong is an award-winning journalist with more than two decades of experience. He’s been rink side for World Juniors, Memorial Cups, Calder Cups and Stanley Cups. Like many Canadian kids, his earliest memories include hockey. Kevin has spent countless hours in arenas throughout the country watching all levels of the game.