In this new series of articles, we’ll look at some former Toronto Maple Leafs that either weren’t with the team for very long or others that are rarely talked about in connection to the Maple Leafs. Whether we forgot about their stints in Toronto, or simply don’t associate them with the team when talking about their careers, it’s time to take a slightly closer look at their becoming a Maple Leaf and the careers they had in blue and white.
Related: Top 3 All-Time Maple Leafs Goalies
For many, he’s remembered as part of the Philadelphia Flyers’ Legion of Doom line – that included Eric Lindros, John LeClair and Mikael Renberg. But for parts of three seasons, the Swede forward donned the Maple Leafs’ blue and white. In fact, it was there that his NHL career came to a close.
Renberg Becoming a Maple Leaf
For four years, a member of the Legion of Doom, Renberg was moved to the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1997 and quickly saw a drop off in his production offensively. While only a slight decrease, Renberg went from 59 points in his fourth season with the Flyers to just 38 in 1997-98 with the Lightning in nine fewer games.
However, after a move back to the Flyers the following season, and a subsequent move to the Phoenix Coyotes, the Maple Leafs saw an opportunity to acquire a big power-like forward in the early 2000s.
So, on June 23, 2001, the Maple Leafs moved forward Sergei Berezin to the Coyotes in return for Renberg and it had an immediate payoff for the blue and white – and Renberg.
Donning the Blue Maple Leaf
In his first season with the Maple Leafs, as a 29-year-old, Renberg saw an immediate resurgence in his offensive stats. He played 71 games during the regular season and finished the campaign with 14 goals and 52 points – his highest total since leaving the Flyers for the first time in 1996-97.
The team made the playoffs, but Renberg played just three games and had nothing to show for it. The team went on to the Eastern Conference Final where the Carolina Hurricanes beat them in six games.
Renberg returned to the Maple Leafs the following year and matched his 14 goals from his first year in Toronto, but finished with just 35 points in 67 games. Once again, the Maple Leafs found themselves in the playoffs, but were knocked out in the first round by Renberg’s former club – the Philadelphia Flyers. Renberg finished with just one goal in seven games.
His final season was a disappointing one for the Swedish forward as he had 12 goals and 25 points in a 59-game injury-riddled season. The Maple Leafs locked down another playoff appearance, but Renberg suited up for just two games due to injury and the Maple Leafs were bounced again in the second round by the Flyers.
While it wasn’t a horrible three seasons with the Maple Leafs, Renberg did have trouble staying healthy near the end. He played a total of 197 regular season games for the team and tallied 40 goals and 112 points, but experienced a lot of disappointment when the playoffs came around.
The Rest of Renberg’s Career
While his NHL career ended after his stint with the Maple Leafs, his 10-year NHL stint was relatively impressive. He had 190 goals and 464 points in just 661 regular season games for four different teams over that span and finished a plus-54 for his career.
He scored 82 points in 83 games as a 21-year-old rookie in 1993-94 and finished third in Calder voting behind Jason Arnott and Martin Brodeur. Renberg also finished fourth in Lady Byng voting the following season with the Flyers in 1994-95.
In the postseason, aside from his early days in Philadelphia, wasn’t as successful from a team perspective, but Renberg still had 38 points in a total of 67 playoff games scattered over eight seasons.
After playing in the NHL, he returned home and signed with Lulea HF as a 32-year-old in May 2004 and recorded another 50-point season in Sweden in 2006-07 with 18 goals and 50 points for Lulea.
Always a member of the Legion of Doom, we can’t forget his days alongside Sundin in Toronto. After all, if it hadn’t been for injuries, who knows what could’ve been in 2001-02 when the Maple Leafs were bounced by the Hurricanes.
All-Time Maple Leafs’ Ranks
Games Played: 197 GP (T185th)
Goals: 40 G (141st)
Assists: 72 A (T134th)
Points: 112 P (133rd)
Points-Per-Game: 0.57 P/G (121st)
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.