New Leaf Wayne Simmonds’ new number has been revealed via Real Sports’ jersey catalog: He’ll be taking over #24 from the recently departed Kasperi Kapanen.
According to Elliotte Friedman, it is a play on Simmonds’ homecoming to Toronto: 2+4=the 6ix.
The white away jersey is listed as nearly sold out on the Real Sports website.
Other notable Leafs to wear #24 in recent franchise history include Bryan McCabe from 2000-2008, Dan Daoust from 1982-1990, and Brian Glennie from 1969-1978.
Swedish import Jonas Frogren also briefly wore #24 for the Leafs the season after McCabe was traded to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Mike van Ryn.
Simmonds wore #17 for the Owen Sound Attack in the OHL, briefly changed to #16 when he was traded to the Soo Greyhounds during his final junior season, and then returned to #17 throughout his NHL stops in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Nashville, and New Jersey.
In Toronto, #17 is forever Wendel Clark’s number since President Brendan Shanahan made the switch away from honouring numbers — typically players would ask for permission from the Leaf great to wear his number if possible — to formally retiring numbers in October of 2016. At the time, then-Leaf James van Riemsdyk switched from #21 to #25 after Borje Salming’s #21 was raised to the rafters.
While he was a Detroit Red Wings fan growing up — something he attributed to his idolization of Wings legend Sergei Fedorov — Simmonds, a Scarborough native and Aurora resident, still followed the Leafs closely and was keenly aware of the history behind #17 in Toronto in the Zoom meeting with the media after signing with the Leafs.
“The great Wendel Clark has got that one retired up in the rafters, so we are going to have to figure something out here.”
Toronto Maple Leafs - Retired Jersey Numbers
|Number||Player (years played with Maple Leafs)||Date Retired|
|1||Turk Broda (1937-52), Johnny Bower (1959-70)||October 15, 2016|
|4||Hap Day (1924-37), Red Kelly (1961-67)||October 15, 2016|
|5||Bill Barilko (1946-51)||1951|
|6||Ace Bailey (1926-33)||February 14, 1934|
|7||King Clancy (1931-37), Tim Horton (1950-70)||October 15, 2016|
|9||Ted Kennedy (1943-55; 1956-57), Charlie Conacher (1930-38)||October 15, 2016|
|10||Syl Apps (1937-43; 1945-48), George Armstrong (1950-69, 1970-71)||October 15, 2016|
|13||Mats Sundin (1994-2008)||October 15, 2016|
|14||Dave Keon (1960-75)||October 15, 2016|
|17||Wendel Clark (1985-94; 1996-98; 1999-2000)||October 15, 2016|
|21||Borje Salming (1973-89)||October 15, 2016|
|27||Frank Mahovlich (1957-68), Darryl Sittler (1970-82)||October 15, 2016|
|93||Doug Gilmour (1991-97; 2002-03)||October 15, 2016|