Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Habs And Leafs: A Jersey Shared - Part 1: The 20's 30's, 40's, and 50's

George Patterson, the first Habs and Leafs player ever

















Since 1927, when the Canadiens longest standing rival, the Toronto Maple Leafs, first entered the NHL, very few transactions have taken place between the two teams. Perhaps due to the fact that a blown deal between the teams would be cause for aggravated embarrassment, considering the proportions of the rivalry. Because of the small number of trades involving the teams, the number of players who have donned both jerseys is quite minimal through an 80 year history.

I though it would make an interesting piece, to list all of those who have worn both the bleu, blanc, rouge of the Canadiens, and the blue and white of the Leafs, so I did some research and found 72 players who fit the bill as both one time Habs or Maple Leafs.

One point of view I sought to bring to this post arises from an incident a few years ago in which a Toronto fan, my daughter's hockey coach, termed a former Hab favorite of mine, as a former Maple Leafs player.

On the occasion of a hockey tournament, Habs current assistant coach Kirk Muller, there to cheer on his daughter and her Kingston Pee Wee team, was brought into our dressing room to give the girls a little pep talk. The coach introduced him to the girls as a recent Leafs player - a devlish grin towards me in jest - and I interjected with "Yeah, and one who won the Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens", to Muller's visible approval and laughter.

In light of that coach's lark, I have always wondered what the perception is when a player stars for two teams. To which team's history does he belong to and why, are questions I ask myself when going over such players.

In my heart, Frank Mahovlich will always be a former Hab to me. Evidence to the contrary, most of his success renders him an all time Leafs great. Although my memories revolve around his great playoffs with Montreal in the early 1970's, he'll be considered a Leaf forever.



















Another angle I wanted to shed light on, is how many players were in which city first, through the decades. I though it might be interesting to note if either team sought out these former players due to previous success or Cup glory. I have noted the players on Stanley Cup winning teams with an asterisk ( * ) and broken down the chronological listing by decade, out of that curiosity. Players stats while suiting up for both teams are listed as well.

While not every trade between these teams is listed here - many involved players like Doug Jarvis, who only played for one rival - those that did occurred included here are noted with an equal sign ( = ). The entirety of players (draft choices, futures ) involved in the trades will be noted along with it. If a player was sold from one team to the other, it is noted with a dollar sign ( $ ).

I resisted adding ( well maybe I didn't! ) the names of former Canadiens organizational alumni that have found their way into the Leafs hierarchy, and vice versa. Those names would list people such as Dick Irvin Sr., Frank Selke, Punch Imlach, Cliff Fletcher, Pat Burns, Ken Dryden, Keith Acton, and others. Perhaps that's another piece for another time.

Have fun with this, and enjoy the comparisons, analysis, and surprises.

The 1920's

George Patterson ( $ ) - TOR 1927-28/MON 1928-29

TOR: 12-0-0-0 /
MON: 60-5-6-11 / 3-0-0-0

George Patterson was skating for the Hamilton Tigers of the Can-Pro League when he was traded to a newly named NHL club called the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1927. He suited up in his Blue and White wool and scored the club's first-ever goal. He didn't think much of his feat, but its significance would resonate into the future as the most important accomplishment of his career.

Patterson's stay in Toronto was brief. He was sold to the Montreal Canadiens on February 8, 1928, where he played for a season and a half before being claimed on waivers by the New York Americans.

Not only did Patterson score the Leafs first franchise goal, he was also the first player to don both the Leafs and Habs jerseys - a feat long thought to be shared by George Hainsworth and Lorne Chabot.

Bert McCaffrey - TOR 1926-28/MON 1929-31

TOR: 52-6-6-12 /
MON: 50-3-4-7 / 6-1-1-2

Winger/defenseman Bert "Mac" McCaffery played his seven NHL seasons during the 1920s and 1930s for the Toronto St. Pats, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Montreal Canadiens.

The Sum Of The Parts: No need to analyze 2 meanlingless transactions. It is just curious to note that there were two players, Patterson and McCaffrey, who shared the jerseys much before Hainsworth and Chabot. Hockey historians and Liam Maguire busters take note.

The 1930's

George Hainsworth ( = ) - MON 1926 - 33**/TOR 1933 - 37/MON 1936 - 37



















MON: 318-167-97-54 / 31-13-13-5
TOR: 147-79-48-20 / 21-9-12-0

Hall Of Fame goaltender George Hainsworth was traded to the Maple Leafs on October 1, 1933 for goaltender Lorne Chabot, and the players hence became the first goaltenders to suit up for the two teams.



















With Montreal, Hainsworth won two Stanley Cups and was the first ever winner of the Vezina Trophy winning it in its first three years of existance. As a Maple Leaf, he started every game for Toronto ( 144 ) over the next three seasons before resigned by Montreal, where he played his final four career games in 1936.

Lorne Chabot ( = ) - TOR 1928 - 33**/MON 1933 - 34

























TOR: 214-101-78-35 / 20-11-9-0
MON: 47-21-20-6 / 2-0-1-1

Chabot, like Hainsworth at the time of the trade, was a two time Stanley Cup winner with the Leafs. After one season in Montreal, he was dealt to Chicago along with Howie Morenz and Marty Burke for Lionel Conacher, Roger Jenkins and Leroy Goldsworthy, October 3, 1934. With the Blackhawks, Chabot won the Vezina trophy and was named to the All Star team. He was reaquired by the Canadiens from Chicago for cash on February 8, 1936, and traded 5 days later to the Montreal Maroons for Bill Miller, Toe Blake and the rights to Ken Grivel, February, 1936.



















Roger Jenkins - TOR 1930-31/MON 1934-35/MON 1936-37

TOR: 21-0-0-0 /
MON: 55-4-6-10 / 2-1-0-1

Roger Jenkins played right wing and defence for six different NHL teams in the 1930s. He was also an accomplished player in senior hockey and the minor pro leagues. He was best known for his hard-hitting work on the blueline and his ability to handle the puck.

In 1930-31 he was loaned to the Toronto Maple Leafs and suited up for 21 games. He was then traded to Montreal by Chicago with Leroy Goldsworthy and Lionel Conacher for Lorne Chabot, Howie Morenz and Marty Burke, October 3, 1934. Montreal traded him to Boston with Babe Siebert for Leroy Goldsworthy, Sammy McManus and $10,000, September 10, 1936.

Charlie Sands - TOR 1932 - 34/MON 1939 - 43

TOR: 48-8-11-19 / 14-3-2-5
MON: 159-28-58-86 / 7-1-1-2

Perhaps known best as the last Montreal Canadiens to wear the number 9 before Maurice Richard, Sands spent the bulk of his career as a Boston Bruin from 1934 to 1939, where he won his only Stanley Cup. Toronto had sold his rights to the Bruins in May of 1934. When he left Montreal, with Dutch Hillier, for the Rangers on October 27, 1943, the Canadiens received Phil Watson on loan for a season in an arranged deal. A center, Watson would notch 17 goals and 32 assists in a career best season that would end with a Stanley Cup win.

The Sum Of The Parts:

Not an abundance to go over here, with a mere four Habs/Leafs to add up and analyze.
Hainsworth will always be regarded as one of the great Habs goalies and Chabot's position among Leaf goalie greats is assured with two Cup wins. Neither went on to better days after being traded to Montreal and Toronto, but Chabot did excell as a Blackhawk for one year.

Toronto received little for either Hainsworth, Jenkins, or Sands, merely and a handful of cash, while Montreal parlayed two of the three assets into valuable and exchangable dividends. Flipping Chabot not once, but twice, they gained three future Hall Of Famers - Conacher, Goldsworthy, and a keeper in Blake. Sands brought them a valuable commodity in Phil Watson, a Cup experienced veteran from the Rangers, who was an integral part of the Habs 1944 Cup.

Not much to go on here, but I see a trend developing.

The 1940's


























Erwin "Murph" Chamberlain ( $ ) - TOR 1937 - 40/MON 1940 - 49**

TOR: 131-19-45-66 / 18-2-5-7
MON: 323-66-97-163 / 42-11-11-22

Chamberlain was a productive forward for the era who topped out with an 15 goal season for the Habs in 1943-44. Montreal aquired him on May 10, 1940 from the Leafs for a sum of cash, which isn't at all bad for a player who would contribute for 8 seasons and win 2 Stanley Cups with the bleu, blanc, rouge.


























Robert "Red" Heron - TOR 1938 - 41/MON 1941 - 42

TOR: 83-20-17-37 / 18-2-2-4
MON: 12-1-1-2 / 3-0-0-0

Heron was a much more valuable Leafs left winger than he was for his cup of coffee with the Canadiens. Between playing for both, Heron was a member of the New York/Brooklyn American to whom the Leafs has sold him at the term of the 1941 season. He became a Canadien as a result of loan agreement between Brooklyn and the Habs which saw him and Murph Chamberlain switch uni's for a season. Upon his reaquisition, Chamberlain spent another six seasons in Montreal.

Gord Drillon ( $ ) - TOR 1936 - 42*/MON 1942 - 43




















TOR: 362-127-121-248 / 42-22-13-35
MON: 49-28-22-50 / 5-4-2-6

As a Leaf, Drillon was a standout in his era. A constant 20 goal threat in a time where it meant something, he would win a Stanley Cup, and Art Ross Trophy, a Lady Bing, along with three All Star nominations in his six seasons in Toronto.



















On October 4, 1942, his rights were inexplicably sold to the Canadiens where he would enjoy a career year with 28 goals. Perhaps the fact that he'd enlisted in the armed forces would explain this Hall Of Famer's rather rash exit from Toronto. Drillon would continue to play hockey with army teams and minor affiliates, but would never return to NHL duty after 1943.

Rhys Thomson - MON 1939-40/TOR 1942-43

MON: 7-0-0-0 /
TOR: 18-0-2-2 /

Rhys Thomson was a big, sturdy defenseman who was signed in 1938 by the Montreal Canadiens and made his debut with 7 games during the 1939-40 season. He was traded to the New York Americans at the end of that season. He returned to Toronto where he had played junior, when his rights were picked up by the hometown Maple Leafs in the Americans dispersal draft. That season, 1942-43, Rhys split the season between the AHL's Providence Reds and the Maple Leafs of the NHL, playing 18 games with the reigning Stanley Cup champions. After being released , Rhys's hockey career continued in the senior hockey ranks, interrupted by military service in 1944.

Paul Bibeault - MON 1940 - 43/TOR 1943 - 44/MON 1945 - 46



















MON: 92-37-40-14 / 8-2-6
TOR: 29-13-14-2 / 5-1-4
MON: 10-4-6-0 / 0-0-0

Bibeault may best be remembered as the goalie who gave up 5 goals to Maurice Richard during a game in Toronto in 1944 - a feat which earned the Rocket a rare standing O from the gathered Leafs faithful, on the way to his 50 in 50 season. Oddly, Bibeault was a goalie on loan to the Leafs from Montreal at the time.



















This Habs netminder was the epitome of the term "journeyman". During the season in which he was lent to Toronto, he posted decent enough numbers to earn a Second All Star Team nod, while tying for the league lead in shutouts. Following that season, the Habs sold Bibeault's rights to the Bruins, before reaquiring them in January 1946 to sub for the injured Bill Durnan for 10 games. The price of his reaquisition from Boston was defenseman Mike McMahon ( 55-7-18-25 / 13-1-2-3 ), and the Habs ably refilled that spare part by obtaining rearguard George Allen ( 49-7-14-21 ) from the Blackhawks nine months later. Bibeault did not return to the NHL after his one season in Chicago.

Bibeault tangles with Chamberlain

















Victor Lynn ( = ) - MON 1945 - 46/TOR*** 1946 - 50

MON: 2-0-0-0 / 0-0-0-0
TOR: 213-32-58-90 / 35-6-9-15

Lynn, a defenseman, was less than a spare part on the Habs 1946 Cup machine. He was a fairly good AHL prospect ( 53-26-25-51 wirh AHL Calder Cup winning Buffalo Bisons ) when traded to the Leafs with Dutch Hiller ( 132-53-33-68 / 20-6-3-9* ) for center John Mahaffy ( 9-2-5-7 / 1-0-1-1 ), who had never dressed with Toronto, and Gerry Brown on September 21, 1946. Hiller never suited up for the Leafs, and the same goes for Brown with the Habs. The Leafs maximized the asset Lynn was by packaging him Bill Ezinicky to the Bruins for Fern Flaman, Leo Boivin, Ken Smith, and Phil Maloney.

Lynn takes out the Rocket in fine fashion

















The Sum Of The Parts:

Pretty much an even scenario for trades and aquisitions between both teams in the 1940's. Perhaps a slight nod to the Leafs during a decade in which they ruled. The Leafs garnered much more millage out of the Lynn trade than did the Canadiens, although the Chamberlain aquisition by Montreal was a sure steal for less long term dividends. Heron's fate was inconsequential for either team, and considering that the Drillon exchange was for cash versus one great year, I'd call that a draw as well. In the Bibeault swing back and forth, the Habs lost little while gaining two useful defenseman for an additional season. The margin is best laid out by Stanley Cups for the decade in which the Leafs ruled with 4 and the Canadiens with two.

The 1950's

Bob Dawes - TOR 1946 - 50*/MON 1950 - 51

TOR: 17-2-2-4 / 9-0-0-0
MON: 15-0-5-5 / 1-0-0-0

Nothing much to split up here. Dawes was sold off to Cleveland of the AHL, who then sold him to the Buffalo Bisons, who then sold him to the Cincinnati Mohaws, all in a 13 month span. He ended up in a Habs sweater via the loaning of Canadiens Paul Masnick to Cincinnati on February 13, 1951.

John McCormack ( $ ) - TOR 1947 - 51/MON 1951 - 54*

TOR: 84-12-13-25 / 6-1-0-1
MON: 164-8-29-37 / 16-0-1-1



















McCormack was a fringe center who was sold to the Habs, who in turn lost him to Chicago in the 1954 waiver draft. He did suit for 9 playoff games with the 1953 Stanley Cup champion Canadiens, though his name was never etched in with the three - peat winning Leaf team of the late 1940's. Not exactly fair!

Gaye Stewart - TOR 1941 - 48**/MON 1952 - 54

TOR: 165-81-52-133 / 16-2-7-9
MON: 5-0-1-1 / 3-0-0-0

Gaye Stewart's NHL career was one that was compromised by WWII. A star with the 1940's Maple Leafs, Stewart would play for all of 5 original 6 teams, save for the Bruins. He won 2 Stanley Cups with Toronto where a mere 5 seasons added up many achievements. He was the NHL Rookie of the Year in 1943, with 48-24-23-47 totals. Aside from leading the NHL in goals with 37 in 1946, Stewart amassed 2 All Star Team nominations during his time as well.



















He was involved in one of the decade's biggest maga deals when the Leafs sent him along with Bud Poile, Bob Graham, Gus Bodnar, and Ernie Dickens to Chicago for superstar Max Bently and CyThomas. In 1952, the Canadiens aquired him via waivers from the Rangers, and after appearing in just five games, sent him to their affiliate Quebec Aces, where he posted 29-13-20-33 number. Stewart played the 1953-54 season with the Habs AHL affiliate Buffalo Bisons, where he notched 42 goals and 53 assists in 70 games. After appearing in 3 playoff games with the Cup winning Habs that same season, he was traded outright to the Bisons, with Pete Barbando and Eddie Slowinski for Jackie Leclair and cash. The 1954-55 season in Buffalo would be Stewart's last year in hockey.

Check out the feast of photo's on Stewart's career at HHOF.com.

Paul Masnick ( $ ) - MON 1950 - 55*/TOR 1957 - 58

MON: 180-15-32-47 / 33-4-5-9
TOR: 41-2-9-11 / 0-0-0-0




















Masnick was a defensive center with the early 50's Habs. Two years after winning a Stanley Cup with Montreal in 1953, he was traded to Chicago for Al Dewsbury, who never suited up for Montreal. The Canadiens reaquired his rights 32 days later and farmed him out to their Montreal Royals affiliate. On June 4, 1955, the Canadiens lent his rights, and those of two other players, to Winnipeg of the WHL. He was transferred to Toronto in a cash deal on September 30, 1957.

Bert Olmstead - MON 1950 - 58****/TOR 1958 - 62*


















MON: 508-103-280-383 / 86-8-34-42
TOR: 246-56-109-165 / 29-8-9-17

Olmstead was an unheralded key cog in the Habs 1950's fortunes as a second line centerman behind Jean Beliveau. Aquired from the Red Wings for Leo Gravelle after refusing to report to Detroit from a prior Chicago trade, Olmstead was a diamond in the rough for the Habs through 8 seasons.




















Despite never notching 20 goals, he was a Second Team All Star twice, based primarily on his passing merits. After a 1957-58 season in which his production dropped off, the Maple Leafs scooped up Olmstead in an inter league draft. He offered the Leafs four solid seasons, culminating in a 1962 Cup win for Toronto. The Rangers then turned the same trick on the Leafs, claiming Olmstead in the pre-season draft, but the 36 year old chose retirement over hockey in New York.

Gary Edmunson - MON 1951 - 52/TOR 1959 - 60

MON: 1-0-0-0 / 2-0-0-0
TOR: 42-4-6-10 / 9-0-0-0

No story here, as Edmunson was nothing more than a minor leaguer with above average numbers in the AHL and WHL who could never translate that success beyond that level. He was a Hab on paper only, as Montreal had aquired his rights for a whole three games in March of 1952. The Springfield Indians of the AHL dealt his rights to the Leafs in 1959 for a player named Frank Roggeveen.
























The Sum Of The Parts:

Six players between the two teams changed hands, with three going each way. Edmunson, Masnick, Dawes, and McCormack were each inconsequential at best. Gaye Stewart was a former Leafs star, who had little to offer the Canadiens by the time of his arrival, while Olmstead had enough gas in the tank left to help the Leafs rebuild into contention. While none of the six aquisitions translated into great dividends either way upon their departures from the Habs and Leafs, this decade is an even draw as far as that goes. In the balance of the decade, however, is the Canadiens edge in Stanley Cup wins, 6-1 that speaks loudest in the 1950's.

The Final Tally:

In total, from the 1920's to the end of the 1950's, there were 7 Montreal Canadiens who became Maple Leafs one way or another. Eleven former Leafs arrived in Montreal via different routes during the same period. As it appears, Montreal were managing the assets much better than Toronto, who apart from a trade or two, received little dividends for departing players, often settling, or perhaps preferring cash.

The players Montreal aquired would win a collective three Stanley Cups. Toronto would do them one better, if one includes the Cup won by Olmstead in 1962.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's: Habs And Leafs: A Jersey Shared - Part 2: The 1960's and 1970's

4 comments:

Doogie said...

Any pre-1927 players that played for both Toronto and Montreal? (Thinking, of course, of the team's previous incarnation as the Arenas/St. Patricks)

Robert L said...

Nicholas Bawlf 1914-15 Ontarios Shamrocks Canadiens
Harry Cameron 1912-23 Blueshirts 228 Battalian Arenas St Patricks 1919-20 Canadiens
Bert Corbeau 1914-22 Canadiens 1923-27 Blueshirts
Jack Coughlin 1916-17 Blueshirts 1917-18 Canadiens
Dave Creighton 1913-14 Ontarios 1916-17 Canadiens
Fred Doherty 1912-13 Blueshirts 1913-14 Ontarios 1918-19 Canadiens
Bert Hunt 1912-13 Tecumsehs 1913-14Ontarios 1914-15 Ontarios/Shamrocks/Canadiens
Ed Lowry 1913-14 Ontarios 1914-15 Canadiens
Emile Marchildon 1913-14 Ontarios/Canadiens
Joe Matte 1919-20 St Pats 1926-26 Canadiens
Bert McCaffery 1924-26 St Pats 1929-31 Canadiens
Jack McDonald 1913-14 Ontarios 1917-21 Canadiens 1920-21 St Pats
Harold McNamara 1914-15 Ontarios Shamrocks 1916-17 Canadiens
Howard McNamara 1912-13 Tecumsehs 1913-14 Ontarios 1914-15 Ontarios/Shamrocks 1915-16 Canadiens 1916-17 228th Batalion 1919-20 Canadiens
Harry Mummery 1916-17 Canadiens 1917-19 Arenas 1920-21 Canadiens
Reg Noble 1915-16 Blueshirts 1916-17 Canadiens 1917-19 Arenas 1919-25 St Pats
George Patterson 1926-27 St Pats 1927-29 Canadiens
Goldie Prodgers 1915-16 Canadiens 1916-17 228th Battalion 1919-20 St Pats
Dave Ritchie 1918-19 Arenas 1920-21 1924-26 Canadiens
Skene Ronan 1914-15 Ontarios/Shamrocks 1915-16 Blueshirts/Canadiens
Harry Scott 1913-14 Ontarios 1913-15 Canadiens
Cully Wilson 1912-15 Blueshirts 1919-21 St Pats 1920-21 Canadiens

Doogie said...

Holy moly. Thanks for that. Hadn't expected so many.

Robert L said...

Me neither, Doogie!

I thought there would be six or seven. That's why they weren't posted by Friday night - LOL!

I'm glad I'm such a masochist for trivia - I found 5 more players that were Habs and Leafs. Sadly - and kinda unfortunately - the total is no longer 67!

It was all very much worth it as I discovered something to bust the popular myth than Hainsworth and Chabot were the first players to don each uni simultaneously. There were two others before them and they have now been added to the post.