HHOF Profile: Doug Gilmour

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The Leafs are one team in the NHL that is known throughout the league by every fan of the NHL although they might have different opinions of the Buds. The Leafs have the second most Stanley Cups in NHL history (13) with their rivals, the Montreal Canadiens, taking the top spot (24). Lately though this legend has been merely a history lesson as the Leafs have not won a Stanley Cup in since 1967 and have now missed the playoffs for 6 years. The Leafs still seem to command a certain type of respect in the NHL even with these droughts and because of this many of their players have become legends. This is especially true for the captains of the Leafs which has become a very good way to make your case for the hall of fame. Out of the 18 captains in the Leafs captains club there are currently 8 in the Hall of Fame, Mats Sundin and Dion Phaneuf are both ineligible for the Hall of Fame currently. Joining this group will be one of the most beloved captains that Toronto has ever seen as Doug Gilmour will enter the Hall of Fame. Gilmour had a tough act to follow as Gilmour became the captain in 1994 replacing one of the few men that was more beloved than Gilmour himself, Wendel Clark. Clark was a fan favorite in Toronto for his physical style and Gilmour took over the captaincy from him. Luckily for Gilmour he had already made a big impression on the Leafs fans and was quickly accepted as their new leader. Gilmour got the attention of the fans for his type of play that always seems to endear Canadian hockey fans. Affectionately known as Dougie to the fans Gilmour was not a very big man standing at 5’10” and weighing in at only 175 lbs. For an era classified by big tough hockey Gilmour was a rarity and a template for the smaller players that currently play in the NHL. Gilmour never backed down from anything as he was never afraid to go into the corner with a much bigger player on his back. This toughness and fearlessness made him a fan favorite and made him the hero of smaller players looking to get into the NHL. Gilmour provided a template to the style of play needed by a smaller guy in that era when hooking was rarely called and neither was holding. It was an era where a call would only be made if it was overly blatant and the player forced the hand of the referee. Gilmour faced an uphill battle as one of the smallest guys on the ice but he never seemed to care as he played bigger than his stature. Gilmour was a beloved captain and a tough centre but his performance got him into the Hall as Gilmour was one of the best centres to play in the NHL during his career.

Doug Gilmour grew up in Kingston, Ontario and like many kids he rose through the major junior ranks into the NHL. As a member of the Cornwall Royals in the OHL Gilmour was considered too small to play in the NHL and was regularly passed up as a serious choice in the draft. Gilmour tried to make it in his first year as he helped guide the Royals to the Memorial Cup in 1981 and then after being passed up in the draft returned to Cornwall to help them repeat as Memorial Cup champions in 1982. This last performance gave him some focus but not very much as the St. Louis Blues drafted Gilmour in the 7th round of the 1982 draft. St. Louis still had worries as they returned him to Cornwall for the 1982-83 season. After his junior career finished Gilmour still struggled to get respect as he could not reach a deal with the Blues and moved to Germany to start his professional career in 1983. Soon after the Blues signed him and in 1983-84 he took advantage of some key injuries to get to the fourth line where he became a defensive specialist. While performing this task very well Blues’ captain Brian Sutter nicknamed him Killer for his endless intensity. After years of trying to earn and keep his spot in the NHL Gilmour broke out to become an offensive power along with his defensive skills. In the 1986-87 season Gilmour broke out for one of his best season as he scored 42 goals and had 63 assists for a total of 105 points. With his play beginning to get better the Blues traded him to the Calgary Flames in 1988. In his first season with the Flames Gilmour continued his strong play and brought it into the playoffs as he got 22 points in 22 games helping the Flames win the 1989 Stanley Cup. As time went on Gilmour continued to produce for the Flames, as one of the best defensive centres in the game but Gilmour did not feel like he was getting paid enough for his skill. After an arbitrator did not solve his issue Gilmour decided to leave and before he could he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the largest trade in NHL history that included 10 players. Gilmour turned out to be the gem in the trade as he played two of his best seasons with the Leafs. In the 1992-93 season Gilmour scored 32 goals and had 95 assists for 127 points on the year. The next season he was at it again this time scoring 27 goals and 84 assists for a total of 111 points. These were the two best seasons for Gilmour as he earned two berths into the All-Star game in 1993 and 1994 and also showcased his defensive skills winning the Frank J. Selke Trophy for the best defensive forward in 1993. In 1994 Doug Gilmour was announced as the new captain of the Leafs after former captain Wendel Clark was traded to the Quebec Nordiques. Gilmour became one of the fan favorites but the team struggled and he began to make his curtain call. In 1996 the Leafs traded Gilmour to the New Jersey Devils and from then on he spent one season in New Jersey, Chicago, and Montreal. Gilmour officially finished his career by signing a one game deal with the Leafs and retired as a Maple Leaf. Gilmour was a true leader in the game and played so much bigger than his stature and this made him a fan favorite and returning the Toronto to be inducted will be even more special for one of the favorite captains for the Leafs.

 

Doug Gilmour, C (1983-2003)

5’10” 175 lbs

Toronto Maple Leafs (6 years)

1,474 GP

450 G

964 A

1,301 P

1,301 PIM

+132 +/-

– Stanley Cup Champion (1989)

– 2 All-Star Appearances (1993, 1994)

– Canada Cup Gold Medal (1987)

– Frank J. Selke Trophy (1993)

– Also played for STL Blues (‘83-’88), CGY Flames (’88-’92), N.J. Devils (’96-’98), Chi. Blackhawks (’98-’00), Buf. Sabres (’99-’01), MTL Candiens (’01-’03)

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  1. […] in NHL history. The hometown favorite got the most cheers as former Leafs captain and fan favorite Doug Gilmour was inducted along with three of his teammates. Gilmour was by far the favorite with the induction […]



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