2008–09 Toronto Maple Leafs season

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2008–09 Toronto Maple Leafs
Division 5th Northeast
Conference 12th Eastern
2008–09 record 34–35–13
Home record 16–16–9
Road record 18–19–4
Goals for 219
Goals against 257
Team information
General Manager Cliff Fletcher (Sept–Nov) interim
Brian Burke (Nov–Apr)
Coach Ron Wilson
Captain Vacant
Alternate captains Nik Antropov (Oct.–Mar.)
Tomas Kaberle
Pavel Kubina
Brad May (Mar.–Apr.)
Jamal Mayers
Dominic Moore (Oct.–Mar.)
Arena Air Canada Centre
Average attendance 19,243 (102%)
Team leaders
Goals Jason Blake (25)
Assists Matt Stajan (35)
Points Jason Blake (57)
Penalties in minutes Pavel Kubina (79)
Plus/minus Alexei Ponikarovsky (+6)
Wins Vesa Toskala (22)
Goals against average Vesa Toskala (3.26)
<2007–08 2009–10>

The 2008–09 Toronto Maple Leafs season was the franchise's 92nd, and their 82nd as the Maple Leafs. The Leafs did not qualify for the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season, and have not qualified for the postseason since the 2003–04 season.


The Leafs faced an offseason challenge to hire a General Manager. Brian Burke was a favorite for the position held by interim GM Cliff Fletcher but Burke decided to stay with the Anaheim Ducks. He was not given permission to talk to the Leafs about their vacancy by Ducks owner Henry Samueli.[1] Burke had one more year left on his contract as the general manager of the Ducks and those close to him say he was interested in the Leafs' job.[citation needed]

On May 7, the Leafs fired head coach Paul Maurice, along with two assistant coaches after missing the playoffs in back-to-back seasons.[2] On May 8, the Leafs asked the Vancouver Canucks permission to speak to Dave Nonis about hiring him for a position with the club.[3]

In mid-May, there were rumours that Wayne Gretzky was in the running for a position with the Maple Leafs. Gretzky responded to the rumours linking him to the Toronto Maple Leafs by stating that his focus was on the Phoenix Coyotes and developing their young talent.[4]

On June 10, Ron Wilson was hired as the new head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Wilson was fired in May by San Jose after the Sharks lost to the Dallas Stars in the second round of the NHL playoffs. Wilson has also coached the Anaheim Ducks and the Washington Capitals. The former U.S. college player spent parts of three NHL seasons with the Leafs in the 1970s.[5]

The Toronto Maple Leafs hired Al Coates as their player-personnel director on June 16.[6] Coates comes to Toronto after spending the previous six seasons with Anaheim. Coates has spent more than 30 years in pro hockey and has been part of two Stanley Cup-winning teams ('07 with Anaheim and '89 with Calgary).

The move perpetuated speculation that Anaheim Ducks general manager Brian Burke would become the Leafs' GM once his deal with the Ducks expired in 2009. The fact that new head coach Ron Wilson played hockey with Burke at Providence sparked further rumors about Burke potentially joining the club.

Former NHL star Joe Nieuwendyk was named as general manager Cliff Fletcher's special assistant on July 8.[7] While playing for the Florida Panthers, Nieuwendyk gained experience as a special consultant to GM Jacques Martin.

Throughout the offseason, the Maple Leafs have been involved in numerous transactions. On June 24, the Toronto Maple Leafs put Goaltender Andrew Raycroft and Forward Kyle Wellwood on waivers.[8] Also, interim GM Cliff Fletcher informed Darcy Tucker that he is to be bought out of his three-year contract; however, it was not official until June 25.[9]

The Maple Leafs bought out goaltender Andrew Raycroft on June 28, making him eligible for free agency on July 1. When the free agent signing period began on July 1, Toronto signed-on defenceman Jeff Finger; goaltender Curtis Joseph to back up current starting goaltender Vesa Toskala, and former Dallas Stars forward Niklas Hagman. Another transaction was made on July 3, as Cliff Fletcher was busy again as he traded for former Montreal Canadiens forward Mikhail Grabovski in exchange for the rights to Greg Pateryn and a second round draft choice in 2010. The Leafs also re-signed forwards Dominic Moore, John Mitchell, and Greg Scott. On July 14, the Maple Leafs acquired forward Ryan Hollweg in a trade with the New York Rangers for a 5th round draft pick in 2009.

Regular season[edit]

With a young roster, the Leafs were expected to have a lacklustre season. This proved to be correct, as they fell out of the playoff race relatively early and showed little sign of recovery. However, they showed signs of improvement in February and March 2009, during which they had a remarkable stretch of seven consecutive games which went to overtime. The Leafs lost the first two in shootouts then won four in a row with two overtime wins and two shootout wins, followed by an overtime loss.

In November 2008, Brian Burke obtained his release from the Anaheim Ducks and joined the Leafs as President and General Manager.

The Leafs were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs on March 31, 2009, with six games remaining in the season.

The Leafs finished the season with 286 goals allowed (excluding 7 shootout goals), the most out of all 30 teams. The Maple Leafs also struggled on the penalty kill, finishing 30th overall in penalty-kill percentage, at 74.68%.[10][11]

Divisional standings[edit]

Northeast Division
1 z – Boston Bruins 82 53 19 10 274 196 116
2 Montreal Canadiens 82 41 30 11 249 247 93
3 Buffalo Sabres 82 41 32 9 250 234 91
4 Ottawa Senators 82 36 35 11 217 237 83
5 Toronto Maple Leafs 82 34 35 13 250 293 81

Conference standings[edit]

Eastern Conference
1 z – Boston Bruins NE 82 53 19 10 274 196 116
2 y – Washington Capitals SE 82 50 24 8 272 245 108
3 y – New Jersey Devils AT 82 51 27 4 244 209 106
4 Pittsburgh Penguins AT 82 45 28 9 264 239 99
5 Philadelphia Flyers AT 82 44 27 11 264 238 99
6 Carolina Hurricanes SE 82 45 30 7 239 226 97
7 New York Rangers AT 82 43 30 9 210 218 95
8 Montreal Canadiens NE 82 41 30 11 249 247 93
9 Florida Panthers SE 82 41 30 11 234 231 93
10 Buffalo Sabres NE 82 41 32 9 250 234 91
11 Ottawa Senators NE 82 36 35 11 217 237 83
12 Toronto Maple Leafs NE 82 34 35 13 250 293 81
13 Atlanta Thrashers SE 82 35 41 6 257 280 76
14 Tampa Bay Lightning SE 82 24 40 18 210 279 66
15 New York Islanders AT 82 26 47 9 201 279 61

bold – qualified for playoffs, y – division winner, z – placed first in conference (and division)

AT – Atlantic Division, NE – Northeast Division, SE – Southeast Division

Schedule and results[edit]

2008–09 Game Log
Hockey Hall of Fame Game

Overtime Statistics[edit]

Games Won Lost Goal Scorers
Overtime 10 4 6 Pavel Kubina (2), Niklas Hagman, Mikhail Grabovski
Shootout 13 6 7
23 10 13


The Toronto Maple Leafs failed to qualify for the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs. If the Leafs had qualified for the playoffs, it would have been their first qualification since the 2003–04 NHL season.

Player statistics[edit]



Regular season
Player GP Min W L OT GA GAA SA SV Sv% SO
Toskala, VesaVesa Toskala 53 3056 22 17 11 166 3.26 1518 1352 .891 1
Joseph, CurtisCurtis Joseph 21 841 5 9 1 50 3.57 383 333 .869 0
Gerber, MartinMartin Gerber 12 705 6 5 0 38 3.23 402 364 .905 0
Pogge, JustinJustin Pogge 7 372 1 4 1 27 4.36 173 146 .844 0

Denotes player spent time with another team before joining Maple Leafs. Stats reflect time with Maple Leafs only.
Traded mid-season.
Bold/italics denotes franchise record.


Pos = Position; GPI = Games played in; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; PIM = Penalty minutes; +/- = Plus/minus; PPG = Power-play goals; SHG = Short-handed goals; GWG = Game-winning goals
Min, TOI = Minutes played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T,T/OT = Ties; OTL = Overtime losses; GA = Goals-against; GAA = Goals-against average; SO = Shutouts; SA = Shots against; SV = Shots saved; SV% = Save percentage;

Awards and records[edit]



Regular Season
Player Milestone Reached


On October 6, the team placed Mark Bell on waivers.


June 19, 2008
To Toronto Maple Leafs
Jamal Mayers
To St. Louis Blues
Third-round pick in 2008 (James Livingston)
June 20, 2008 To Toronto Maple Leafs
First-round (5th overall) pick in 2008 (Luke Schenn)
To New York Islanders
First-round (7th overall) pick in 2008 (Colin Wilson)
Two conditional picks (Shawn Lalonde) (Matt Clark)
July 3, 2008
To Toronto Maple Leafs
Mikhail Grabovski
To Montreal Canadiens
Greg Pateryn
Second-round pick in 2010 (Jared Knight)
July 14, 2008 To Toronto Maple Leafs
Ryan Hollweg
To New York Rangers
Fifth-round pick in 2009 (Andy Bathgate)
September 2, 2008 To Toronto Maple Leafs
Mike Van Ryn
To Florida Panthers
Bryan McCabe[12]
Fourth-round pick in 2010 (Sam Brittain)
November 24, 2008
To Toronto Maple Leafs
Lee Stempniak
To St. Louis Blues
Alexander Steen
Carlo Colaiacovo
January 7, 2009 To Toronto Maple Leafs
Brad May
To Anaheim Ducks
Conditional sixth-round draft pick in 2010 (not exercised)[13]
January 21, 2009
To Toronto Maple Leafs
Ryan Hamilton
To Minnesota Wild
Robbie Earl
March 4, 2009 To Toronto Maple Leafs
Second-round draft pick in 2009 draft (Kenny Ryan)
Conditional draft pick
To New York Rangers
Nik Antropov
March 4, 2009
To Toronto Maple Leafs
Second-round draft pick in 2009 draft (Jesse Blacker)
To Buffalo Sabres
Dominic Moore
March 4, 2009 To Toronto Maple Leafs
Olaf Kolzig
Jamie Heward
Andy Rogers
Fourth-round draft pick from Carolina in 2009 draft
To Tampa Bay Lightning
Richard Petiot

Free agents[edit]

Player Former team Contract Terms
Curtis Joseph Calgary Flames 1 year, $700,000
Jeff Finger Colorado Avalanche 4 years, $14 million
Niklas Hagman Dallas Stars 4 years, $12 million
Christian Hanson University of Notre Dame 2 years, $1.575 million
Tyler Bozak University of Denver 2 years, entry level
Player New team
Darcy Tucker Colorado Avalanche
Andrew Raycroft Colorado Avalanche
Kyle Wellwood Vancouver Canucks
Scott Clemmensen New Jersey Devils
Andy Wozniewski St. Louis Blues

Claimed from waivers[edit]

Player Former team Date claimed off waivers
Martin Gerber Ottawa Senators March 4, 2009
Erik Reitz New York Rangers March 4, 2009

Draft picks[edit]

Toronto's picks at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft[14] in Ottawa, Ontario.

Round Pick Player Position Nationality Club Team
1 5 Luke Schenn (D)  Canada Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
2 60 (from Pittsburgh) Jimmy Hayes (RW)  United States Lincoln Stars (USHL)
4 98 Mikhail Stefanovich (C)  Belarus Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)
5 128 Greg Pateryn (D)  United States Ohio Junior Blue Jackets (USHL)
5 129 (from Phoenix) Joël Champagne (C)  Canada Chicoutimi Saguenéens (QMJHL)
5 130 (from Florida) Jerome Flaake (LW)  Germany Kölner Haie (DEL)
6 158 Grant Rollheiser (G)  Canada Trail Smoke Eaters (BCHL)
7 188 Andrew MacWilliam (D)  Canada Camrose Kodiaks (AJHL)


Updated March 30, 2009.[15][16]

# Nat Player Pos S/G Age Acquired Birthplace
55 United States Blake, JasonJason Blake LW L 41 2007 Moorhead, Minnesota
56 The Bahamas Deveaux, AndreAndre Deveaux C R 30 2008 Freeport, Bahamas
22 Canada Devereaux, BoydBoyd Devereaux C L 36 2006 Seaforth, Ontario
4 United States Finger, JeffJeff Finger D R 35 2008 Houghton, Michigan
24 Sweden Frogren, JonasJonas Frogren Injured Reserve D L 34 2008 Falun, Sweden
29 Switzerland Gerber, MartinMartin Gerber G L 40 2009 Burgdorf, Switzerland
84 Belarus Grabovski, MikhailMikhail Grabovski C L 30 2008 Potsdam, East Germany
9 Finland Hagman, NiklasNiklas Hagman Injured Reserve LW L 35 2008 Espoo, Finland
51 United States Hamilton, JeffJeff Hamilton C R 37 2009 Dayton, Ohio
20 United States Hanson, ChristianChristian Hanson C R 28 2009 Venetia, Pennsylvania
43 Canada Harrison, JayJay Harrison D L 32 2001 Oshawa, Ontario
Canada Heward, JamieJamie Heward Injured Reserve D R 43 2009 Regina, Saskatchewan
31 Canada Joseph, CurtisCurtis Joseph G L 47 2008 Keswick, Ontario
15 Czech Republic Kaberle, TomasTomas Kaberle (AInjured Reserve D L 36 1996 Rakovník, Czechoslovakia
Germany Kolzig, OlafOlaf Kolzig Injured Reserve G L 44 2009 Johannesburg, South Africa
77 Czech Republic Kubina, PavelPavel Kubina (A) D R 37 2006 Čeladná, Czechoslovakia
41 Russia Kulemin, NikolaiNikolai Kulemin RW L 28 2006 Magnitogorsk, U.S.S.R.
10 Canada May, BradBrad May (A) LW R 43 2009 Toronto, Ontario
21 Canada Mayers, JamalJamal Mayers (A) RW R 40 2008 Toronto, Ontario
39 Canada Mitchell, JohnJohn Mitchell C L 29 2003 Oakville, Ontario
40 Canada Oreskovic, PhilPhil Oreskovic D R 27 2005 North York, Ontario
1 Canada Pogge, JustinJustin Pogge G L 28 2004 Fort McMurray, Alberta
23 Ukraine Ponikarovsky, AlexeiAlexei Ponikarovsky LW L 34 1998 Kiev, U.S.S.R.
3 United States Reitz, ErikErik Reitz D R 32 2009 Detroit, Michigan
2 Canada Schenn, LukeLuke Schenn D R 25 2008 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
14 Canada Stajan, MattMatt Stajan C R 31 2002 Mississauga, Ontario
12 United States Stempniak, LeeLee Stempniak RW R 31 2008 West Seneca, New York
35 Finland Toskala, VesaVesa Toskala Injured Reserve G L 37 2007 Tampere, Finland
26 Canada Van Ryn, MikeMike Van Ryn Injured Reserve D R 35 2008 London, Ontario
7 Canada White, IanIan White D R 30 2002 Steinbach, Manitoba

See also[edit]

Farm teams[edit]