With the offseason moving on, I thought it might be a good time to spend a post or two talking about Toronto Maple Leafs’ history. Today, I want to remember one of the team’s best players during his era. That player is Vincent Damphousse.

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Most Fans Think of Damphousse as a Montreal Canadiens Player

While most people remember Vincent Damphousse as a Montreal Canadien, his NHL journey began with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Selected sixth overall in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft, Damphousse wore the blue and white jersey of the Maple Leafs from the 1986-87 season through the 1990-91 season.

Vincent Damphousse, Maple Leafs Great

To show how dominant a player Damphousse was for the team, the 1990-91 season was one of the toughest times in Maple Leafs’ history. In my mind, it was the third-worst team in the franchise’s record books. The team finished with a terrible record of 23-46-11, gaining only a mere 57 points.

Damphousse Toiled with the Team for Five Tough Seasons

While the team’s defence was a significant weakness, the biggest struggle was on the offensive front. The team managed to score only 254 goals during the season. Only one player stood out as a bright spot. That was Damphousse. The talented forward was the team’s shining star – actually, its only star.

Damphousse scored 26 goals and added 47 assists (resulting in a total of 73 points). Coming in second to Damphousse’s 73-point season, the next-highest point producer was Mike Krushelnyski with only 39 points. Damphousse had almost twice as many.

During his five seasons in Toronto, Damphousse showed his talent and consistently contributed to the team’s offence. In his rookie season, he played 80 games, scoring 21 goals and registering 46 points. His peak performance came during the 1989-90 season when he scored an impressive 33 goals and 94 points in 80 games. He was good on a poor team.

What Made Damphousse Such a Great Player?

Several factors made Damphousse a standout player with the Maple Leafs. These included:

First, Damphousse was versatile. He excelled in offensive and defensive roles, playing as both a center and a left wing. His ability to adapt to various positions made him a valuable asset to the team.

Second, Damphousse had natural scoring ability and consistently found the back of the net during his time in Toronto. He scored 25 goals or more for his last three seasons, with a career-high 33 goals in the 1989-90 season.

Third, Damphousse had great playmaking skills. His on-ice vision was exceptional. He was not just a goal scorer but also a skilled playmaker. He regularly set up his teammates with precise passes and he created numerous scoring chances.

Fourth, Damphousse played with a physical presence. Although he was not the biggest player on the ice, he played with tenacity. He was a physical player with an in-your-face style that made him a challenging opponent.

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Fifth, Damphousse had leadership qualities. Although he was a young player when he played for the Maple Leafs, Damphousse showed leadership. He led by example and demonstrated a strong work ethic. He was a professional both on and off the ice.

Sixth, Damphousse was consistent. He was reliable season in and season out. During his time with the Maple Leafs, he brought his A-game and contributed to whatever success the team could muster.

Seventh, Damphousse had a high hockey IQ. His intelligence allowed him to read plays, anticipate the opposition’s moves, and make intelligent decisions on the ice.

The Bottom Line

Although Damphousse’s time in Toronto had to have been frustrating for him, he certainly contributed to any success that his team found. For that, he deserves recognition. He played with the team during his own formative years, which helped shape his strong overall NHL career.

Although he never found much success in Toronto, he later saw more with the Montreal Canadiens and San Jose Sharks. His legacy as a talented and versatile player remains part of the Maple Leafs’ history.

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