MLHS picks for the Leafs in the National Hockey League of Nations

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Earlier this month, Maple Leafs Hot Stove was asked to contribute to Puck Daddy’s National Hockey League of Nation Series. With the help of Michael Langlois from Vintage Leaf Memories, we identified who we felt was the best ever Leaf player to represent each of the major nationalities in the league:  Canada, USA, Russia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden, Finland and The Rest of The World. The results are after the jump. Note that the vast majority of Leaf greats could not be acknowledged in this list as we could pick only one Canadian. It would’ve been nice to pick two Swedes, too.

 

FINFinland: Niklas Hagman

If you want to gain an understanding of where the Leafs have gone wrong in the past couple of decades, you should look no further than the list of Finnish Maple Leaf players. Every mistake this franchise has made can be represented with a Finnish player.

The Leafs attempting to get the last drop of blood out of an aging veteran: Jyrki Lumme.

Taking a chance on a player who might need a change of scenery: Aki Berg.

Giving up a high draft pick for a backup goaltender: the pile of flaming hot garbage that is Vesa Toskala.

That leaves one Finn that Toronto fans haven’t tried to erase from our memories: Niklas Hagman. Nik was brought in to the Leafs organization in that magical time after the firing of John Ferguson Jr. and before the hiring of Brian Burke when Leafs fans thought anything was possible. Cliff Fletcher was temporarily in charge and was going to right the ship by building a foundation for success in Toronto.

One of his first moves was bringing in Hagman as a free agent. Hagman would deliver two 20-goal seasons and would be one of the few penalty killers who didn’t make our eyes bleed on those teams, but really he’s memorable for three reasons:

1. Having an incredibly hot wife

2. This goal

3. And being enough of an asset that he could be bundled with Jamal Mayers, Ian White and Matt Stajan to bring Dion Phaneuf to Toronto, giving us one of the greatest message board threads of all time.

Kudos to Niklas Hagman, but a solemn honourable mention goes to Tuukka Rask. He was robbed of his opportunity of becoming the greatest Finnish Maple Leaf of all time and will have to settle for that recognition with a lesser franchise. And best of luck to Christopher Gibson (great Finnish name). Breaking Toronto’s Finnish goaltending curse now rests on you.

-Jon Steitzer

Check out the rest of our picks over at Puck Daddy.

Agree or disagree with our choices?

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Founded in 2008, Maple Leafs Hotstove (MLHS) has grown to be the most visited unofficial team-focused hockey website online (Quantcast).Independently owned and operated, MLHS provides thorough and wide ranging content, varying from news, opinion and analysis, to pre-game and long-form game reviews, a weekly feature piece, the "Leafs Notebook", along with a Web TV show the "Maple Leaf Hangout".
  • Xxxxxnew

    http://youtu.be/7rwc3VGvlRY

  • lukethenuke

    LOL calgary reaction when phaneuf go traded to us.
    http://forum.calgarypuck.com/showthread.php?s=766c3eb37a6dcc82ed40ef4c1a1c39a5&t=86158&highlight=phaneuf+trade+stajan&page=2

  • Spayde_D

    Man do I ever miss Niklas Hagman…’s incredibly hot wife.

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    Salming vs Sundin
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSbslv7TkcQ

  • Greg Fenton

    I always liked Hagman. For a brief period I really liked the idea of playing Hagman on a line with the Sedins……

  • Xxxxxnew

    That’s hilarious. I like:
    “The only way this makes sense is there’s another team involved. Retarded if not. Everyone on the Leafs sucks.”

  • Mind Bomb

    Omg I am only 4 pages in on the Calgary blog and had to take a break from laughing This Killed me
    This is Gilmour part 2.
    Kessel = Leeman.
    AWFUL.
    Screw you Sutter. 
    Hahhaha

  • Mind Bomb

    Greg Fenton Dude that line could Cuddle Kittens its so soft lol :) Even Jason Spezza is Snickering !

  • Spayde_D

    Mind Bomb My favourite is the one that continuously pops up, for example, “it better be kessel schen +”

  • wiski

    https://twitter.com/hoosierjm26https://twitter.com/hoosierjm26/status/372466491997712384
    One word, awesome! http://t.co/EsvI1PG4Lb

  • Spayde_D

    Mind Bomb Actually new favourite: “Sutter went full retard.
    What a horrible horrible trade.
    Not a trade for the future, not a trade for the present, Flames are going to be 1st round bitches AGAIN if they even make the playoffs.
    I am fully on the fire Sutter bandwagon now. What a pure garbage trade, go to hell Sutter you have managed to screw this franchise as bad as K-Lown screwed his.
    Hell the Pronger trade in comparison looks like an outright STEAL compared to this garbage.
    FIRE SUTTER NOW.
    What’s next? Trade Backlund for Godard?
    How about Kiprusoff for THE MONSTER + a 5th rounder?
    Go SUTTER!! RUIN THIS TEAM! RAZE IT!!!!

  • mapleleafforever

    wiski That’s the look that gets Bozak’s heart pumping.

  • Mind Bomb

    Spayde_DMind BombHAHAHHAHHAH

  • Mind Bomb

    Spayde_DMind Bomb http://i49.tinypic.com/rc1x0n.gif

  • Mind Bomb

    Spayde_D God I am still crying hhahahha

  • Spayde_D

    @mapleleafforever wiski How precious.

  • Jimmy Keating

    @mapleleafforever wiski  
    Put that one in the spank bank, BOZZZZIE!!!!!11111

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    Jimmy Keating wiski
    https://twitter.com/TheStanchion/status/372469916110053376/photo/1

  • skiingallday

    Mind Bomb I love how we’re all reading it now. I’m on page 10,lol, they’re pissed

  • skiingallday

    Xxxxxnew so true tho lol

  • Spayde_D

    Jimmy Keating wiski 
    “No more horsing around Phil. We need you to be more serious, more mysterious. Now give me your best blue steel”

  • Mind Bomb

    DeclanK Jimmy Keating wiski Hahahha Dec

  • skiingallday

    DeclanK “first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Mats is when he threw the stick over the glass, I tried to do it too… oh wait” – Alfie

  • Mind Bomb

    skiingallday Mind Bomb  Its bloody perfect to cheer a leaf fan up

  • Greg Fenton

    Mind Bomb Greg Fenton This was the time when Burke was in Sweden trying to wooo the Sedins and bring them to Toronto. Working under the assumption they were coming here, I thought Hagman would have fit well with them.

  • Mind Bomb

    Greg Fenton Mind Bomb Ahh right, I remember now, I was just teasing you anyway Greg, get used to it lol

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    Mind Bomb DeclanK Jimmy Keating wiski
    https://twitter.com/TheStanchion/status/372471031547445249/photo/1

  • Mind Bomb

    DeclanK Mind Bomb Jimmy Keating wiski  This is why I dont post my real Pic on line lol

  • Greg Fenton

    Mind Bomb Greg Fenton No worries, I did’t thnk you were attacking or anything, just contining the conversation.

  • Mind Bomb

    Greg Fenton Mind Bomb Yep

  • wiski

    Mind Bomb DeclanK Jimmy Keating wiski That patch is just fine. 😉

  • mapleleafforever

    Hahaha poor Kessel.

  • Bring the Cup Home

    sign kadri at 6 years for $25.5 million and get it done.  Deal with cap issues via trade or somehow getting rid of Liles.  
    if we could lock him up for 6 years at $4.25, both him and JVR could be steals in our top 6 as we make our run at the Cup in the next 2 – 5 years.

  • wiski

    https://twitter.com/PKessel81https://twitter.com/PKessel81/status/372471469437370368
    https://twitter.com/hoosierjm26 one word loser

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Bring the Cup HomeDude… Kessel is throwing down blue steel and this is all you can think about?

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    wiski Mind Bomb DeclanK Jimmy Keating
    https://twitter.com/YakovMironov/status/372472087102763008/photo/1

  • JMAC17

    wiski This is what Phil has been working on all summer #thepose

  • Mind Bomb

    wiski Mind Bomb DeclanK Jimmy Keating Thank you my Friend, I have the scratch and Sniff version as well, In two scents :)  Just 19.99

  • Mind Bomb

    DeclanK wiski Mind Bomb Jimmy Keating Hey Dec, you should do a Most intersting Man in the World one of these lol

  • Mind Bomb

    wiski Who is Hoosierjam ?

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Mind Bomb wiski John Michael Liles

  • wiski

    Mind Bomb wiski Lilies

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    Mind Bomb DeclanK wiski Jimmy Keating 
    I’m not making these, I’m just posting them from twitter.

  • Bring the Cup Home

    Alec Brownscombe Bring the Cup Home  
     haha.  nice.

  • Pent_House

    Let’s go Kess

  • Mind Bomb

    Alec Brownscombe Mind Bomb wiski Thanks Guys lol, hmm, how entrenched in that room is liles I wonder

  • Mind Bomb

    DeclanK Mind Bomb wiski Jimmy Keating Oh well, was hoping lol

  • Mind Bomb

    Pent_House Lets sign Kes :)

  • Burtonboy

    Mind Bomb Pent_House Kess sending a little message today ?

  • Mind Bomb

    Shit Alec, Dec, that Hagman goal is beautiful Just watched it