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Vintage Leaf’s Christmas wish list of yesteryear for the 2010 Leafs

The current Leaf team seems to have a lot of heart. Every guy is a bona-fide NHL player. The reality may be that they don’t have enough so-called ‘high-end’ guys, but they give an honest effort most nights.

That said, there’s nothing wrong with dreaming a bit at this time of year—and especially given the constraining reality of a salary-cap NHL world.

So, I’ve developed some stocking-stuffer wishes—if not for Burke, Wilson and company, then at least for fans—as the organization keeps building what Leaf supporters hope will be a true contender in the foreseeable future. For this particular list, what is “old” would look good as something new- in today’s blue and white.

These types of acquisitions can’t happen overnight, but trades, draft choices, free-agent signings—or some help from Santa—are all acceptable:

So, here are some Christmas wishes for the current Leaf team:

 a center who skates, forechecks and kills penalties like Dave Keon

 a winger who scores big goals like Dickie Duff

 a steady hands-on-the wheel leader like George Armstrong

 a great goalie who can play forever, like Johnny Bower

 another winger (Kessel is one) who can fly down the wing and create chances like Frank Mahovlich

 someone who can stir things up and still score goals, like Eddie Shack, or even a young Darcy Tucker

 a classic stay-at-home defenseman who fans can feel relaxed about when he’s on the ice, like Allan Stanley

 a fellow defenseman who can rush the puck and shoot like Tim Horton or Al Iafrate

 a tough grinder like crusty Bert Olmstead

 someone who can deliver punishing hits and finish, too, like Wendell Clark

 a player than can create those memorable nights, like Darryl Sittler

 a forward who can deliver old-fashioned, crunching, open-ice checks like Lanny McDonald

 a classy captain like Mats Sundin

 a couple of guys that other teams really don’t want to tangle with, like Kurt Walker and Tie Domi

 a true professional who was proud to wear the Leaf uniform, like Ronnie Ellis

 an energy player who runs around (coaches hate it but fans love it) and causes havoc in the other team’s zone, like Rocky Saganiuk

 a defenseman who is a virtuoso on skates like Borje Salming

 a nimble defender like Carl Brewer

 a defenseman who is tough as nails like Bobby Baun

 versatile guys like Al Arbour, Billy Harris and Dave Reid

 a pure goal-scorer, like Rick Vaive, who can also take punishment in front of the other team’s net

 a player who can overcome early career adversity and criticism to become a solid Leaf, like Todd Gill

 a late-round draft choice that plays well for the Leafs for a decade, like Tomas Kaberle

 an entertainer who could also play, like Tiger Williams

Not possible? That’s OK.

This is partly what Christmas is about. Believing in something without knowing for sure it will come true, but knowing in your heart there is indeed something worth believing in.

I guess that’s kind of the definition of faith. Leaf fans are nothing if not remarkably faithful.

In hockey terms, Leaf fans can still believe, and have for years, that something better is just around the corner.

If you have your own wish list, send it along.

Merry Christmas to everyone following our site!

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