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Habs And Leafs: A Jersey Shared - the 90s and 00s

Mikhail Grabovski is the most recent player to have worn both the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs jerseys.

The Belarussian born center, was traded to Toronto in the off season for the Maple Leafs second round choice in 2009, and defenseman Greg Pateryn, who the Leafs selected in the fifth round, 128th overall, in the 2008 Entry Draft.

The Canadiens used the second round pick acquired from the Leafs, and traded it to Chicago for center Robert Lang, who scored the first goal of the Canadiens 100th season last night in Buffalo.

For Toronto, the early returns on Grabovski have been positive, as he led all Maple Leafs in pre-season scoring.

In Montreal, Grabovski was burried beneath much depth at center, and likely would have been given little opportunity to play. A pivot of small stature, with speed and flash on his side, Grabovski's critics often point to how easily he is knocked off the puck to explain his expendability in Montreal.

Time will tell whether Grabovski has a long term impact in Toronto, but for now, it seems as though he has found a team that will enable him the icetime to develop into a solid NHL player.

What follows chronologically, is the fourth and most recent of a four part series dealing with all the players who have worn both the Canadiens and Maple Leafs jerseys. I last published this in February of 2008.

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.

That is 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 for 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 prior to 2008 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.

This is part 4 chronologically, but we can start with the present and work our way back.

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

The 1990's

For the first time in three decades, both the Canadiens and Maple Leafs peaked at the same time. Toronto would reach the semi - finals in 1993 and 1994, while Montreal would win the Cup with a young team in 1993 that was in hindsight, unconsciounable torn apart rather rashly in light of it taking a few steps back after winning it all.

The former Montreal players that began to appear in Maple Leafs jerseys, were for the most part, Habs of the late 1980's. The former Leafs turned Canadiens included three former first round picks and a 50 goal scorer gone sour.

By the decade's end, Toronto would emerge the stronger franchise despite Montreal's Cup win in 1993, and a role reversal of sorts, would begin to take place. Ultimately, neither team would reach previous heights, with Montreal experiencing the lowest of franchise history low points.

Lucien Deblois - MON 1984 - 86*/TOR 1990 - 92
MON: 112-26-28-54 / 19-2-4-6
TOR: 92-18-23-41 /

Deblois was an honest and useful two way player by the time the Leafs aquired him. In Montreal for a short stint, Deblois arrived as a gifted offensive threat and departed a checking forward.

Rick Wamsley - MON 1980 - 84/TOR 1991 - 93
MON: 131-72-36-16 / 9-2-6
TOR: 11-4-6-0 /

Ric Nattress - MON 1982 - 85/TOR 1991 - 92
MON: 79-1-16-17 / 5-0-0-0
TOR: 36-2-14-16 /

Wamsley and Nattress arrived in Toronto via the blockbuster 12 player deal that brought the Leafs Doug Gilmour, Jamie Macoun and spare parts in exchange for Gary Leeman and the same. Wamsley was a decent regular season goalie for Montreal, who had trouble converting the success into playoff wins. Nattress was a kid with great upside until he was marked and blindsided by pot possesion charge from his junior days that he never seemed to recover from emotionally. In the end, neither gave either team much.

Vincent Damphousse - TOR 1986 - 91/MON 1992 - 99*
TOR: 394-118-211-329 / 23-1-8-9
MON: 519-184-314-498 / 48-19-24-43

Damphousse was one the brightest Leafs draft choices to arrive on the scene in a decade in the late 1980's. Toronto gave up him some after one uninspired season and he was dealt to Edmonton for some over the hill Oilers that never gave them much.

After a year in Edmonton, the Habs fleeced the Oilers of him, and a year later he was the key to the Habs offense as they hoisted their 24th Cup. Damphousse would serve as the Habs captain for three seasons.

Sylvain Lefebvre - MON 1989 - 92/TOR 1992 - 94
MON: 200-11-42-53 / 19-1-0-1
TOR: 165-4-21-25 / 39-3-3-6

Lefebvre followed former Habs coach Pat Burns to Toronto after three solid seasons on the Habs blueline. Traded for a 3rd round pick, Lefebvre spent two season in Toronto, helping them reach the semi - finals in both. He was part of the package that enabled the Leafs to land Mats Sundin from Quebec.

Gary Leeman - TOR 1982 - 92/MON 1992 - 93*
TOR: 555-176-231-409 / 24-7-14-21
MON: 51-10-23-33 / 12-1-2-3

One of only three Maple Leafs to ever score 50 goals, Leeman ran into personal troubles with team mates and it had a great effect on his play. Never one to be accused of backchecking, he was the main card that lured Gilmour to Leafland. Calgary gave up on him within a year and he was reduced to spare part status. The Habs offered Brian Skrudland, the antethisis of Leeman and he became a Hab. He had a rebirth of sorts in Montreal during the regular season, but was a playoff spectator for the most part when things got serious and playing Leeman became risky. His tenure in Montreal saw him gone early the next season.

Rob Ramage - TOR 1989 - 91/MON 1992 - 93*
TOR: 160-18-66-84 / 5-1-2-3
MON: 14-0-2-2 / 7-0-0-0

Ramage started off his career as a "can't miss" prospect, and after playing for some mildling teams, he hit his stride as a Flame during their 1989 Cup win. He was captain of the Leafs, and that was where he played his last top line hockey. He became a depth defenseman after, and drifted around before becoming an insurance player brought in for leadership and the same depth in Montreal. He was solid when called upon for the Canadiens in the '93 Cup run.

Kirk Muller - MON 1991 - 95*/TOR 1995 - 97
MON: 267-104-143-247 / 38-20-12-32
TOR: 102-29-33-62 / 6-3-2-5

Unhappy with his contract negotiation in New Jersey, top line center Muller was a key aquisition for the Canadiens in the early 1990's, one that saw 50 goal man Stephane Richer head to the Devils. Muller responded with his best years while helping lead Montreal to the Cup.

Always durable and dependable, playing through injuries slowed Muller down by his fourth season in Montreal, and the Canadiens traded their captain to the Islanders for Pierre Turgeon. Muller was disillusioned in New York, as the Islanders quickly found out the same as the Habs did - that Muller was no longer a top line player. Toronto aquired Muller for goalie Damian Rhodes, and he went on to score 20 goals for the Leafs in the 1996-97 season.

Paul Dipietro - MON 1991 - 95*/TOR 1995 - 96
MON: 154-25-44-69 / 24-10-9-19
TOR: 32-5-5-10 / 7-1-1-2

Dipietro was a sparkplug for the 1993 Habs and proved to be an even sounder playoff performer that year. The Leafs thought he had more to give after he failed to stick with Montreal but they were wrong.

Sergio Momesso - MON 1983 - 88*/TOR 1995 - 96
MON: 137-29-38-67 / 17-1-5-6
TOR: 54-7-8-15 /

Montreal had high hopes for Momesso after a great junior career and they weren't disappointed by his rookie performance. Midway through a stellar first season, Momesso suffered an injured that left him a tentative player at best afterwards. The Canadiens gave up on him after three frustrating seasons and he became a journeyman from that time on. The Leafs would be his fourth of six teams, and he would be the same paradox as he was in Montreal and St Louis.

Mathieu Schneider - MON 1987 - 95*/TOR 1996 - 98
MON:360-53-136-189 / 44-5-16-21
TOR: 115-18-38-56 / 6-0-4-4

Schneider was chosen 44th overall by Montreal in the 1987 draft and found his way onto to team for short stints over the next three seasons. By the age of 21, he was a Canadiens regular, and an important componant in its attack when they won the Cup in 1993. The following season, he became one of the rare Canadiens defensemen to ever reach the 20 goal plateau. Things soured from there for Schneider, as rumours of dressing room conflicts and contract squabbles shortened what should have been a secure stay in Montreal.

Packeged with Kirk Muller for Pierre Turgeon and Vladimir Malakhov in a trade with the Islanders, Schneider was an ill fit on the Island, and was again dispatched to Toronto with Wendel Clark, in a trade that gained the Islanders Kenny Jonsson and a first round pick that became Roberto Luongo.

Toronto and Schneider went together like oil and water, and the defenseman was practically given away to the New York Rangers for Alexander Karpotsev and a 4th round pick.

After two decent seasons in the Big Apple, Schneider was a hot commodity, landing first with the Kings, then the Red Wings - where he regained a prowess last seen in Montreal, and then finally with the Anaheim Ducks for the 2007-08 season.

Scott Thornton - TOR 1990 - 91/MON 1996 - 2000
TOR: 33-1-3-4 /
MON: 222-25-26-51 / 14-1-2-3

Thornton, believe it or not, was a third overall pick of the Leafs in the 1989 draft. A rugged depth player at best - Joe Thornton he wasn't. Before even having the chance to add sugar to his Maple Leaf cup of coffee, he was packaged with Vincent Damphousse in a mega 10 player deal with the Oilers.

When he failed to pan out in Edmonton as well, he was shipped to the Habs for Andrei Kovalenko. His toughness served the Canadiens well for three seasons, but Thornton was a consistant unhappy camper, and was offed to Dallas for Juha Lind.

Signing as a free agent with the Sharks the following season, Thornton finally reached potential with 19 and 26 goal seasons. He is currently a member of the Los Angeles Kings.

Jonas Hogland - MON 1997 - 99/TOR 1999 - 03
MON: 102-14-15-29 / 10-2-0-2
TOR: 325-78-106-184 / 49-6-11-17

Another Rejean Houle blunder, Hoglund was the laziest player on skates, aquired for the talented but undisciplined Valeri Bure. Hoglund played on a team too thin too cover his weaknesses in Montreal, but thrived initially in Toronto when paired with Mats Sundin. Over time, the holes in Hoglund's game in Toronto, along with his decreasing production, mad ehim the wrath of fans there as well.

The final tally:

Of the four former Leafs donning Habs jerseys, three of them would see their names engraved with the 1993 Canadiens. Leeman and Ramage made varying contributions as part time Habs, but it would be Damphousse that would be the Habs markee player for seven seasons.

Five of the nine former Canadiens who became Leafs had won a Stanley Cup with Montreal in either 1986 or 1993. Of those nine, the biggest contribution came from Jonas Hoglund, who lasted four full seasons in Toronto before wearing out his welcome. The Leafs miscued on the Schneider aquisition bigtime, as a decade later, Schneider is still a vibrant contributor in the NHL.

2000 to the present:

In the current decade of players who have shared both the Habs and Leafs storied colours, only 3 of 11 are still active - current Leafs Darcy Tucker, Chad Kilger, and the Blackhawks Yanic Perreault. Seven of the players were Canadiens first, before joining the Leafs afterwards.

It is a difficult era to assess so far, as both teams have meandered through tough times, with few glimmers of hope.

Not many of the 11 players have been consequential in hindsight, but many others seemed to be key componants to their team's fortunes at the time.

Gerald Diduck - MON 1990 - 91/TOR 1999 - 2000
MON: 32-1-2-3 /
TOR: 26-0-3-3 / 10-0-1-1

A steady, stay at home defenseman with the Islanders, Diduck was a mess for a half season in Montreal. Aquired for Craig Ludwig, he was dispatched 6 months later for nothing more than a draft pick that became Vladimir Vujtek. Toronto sought his experience in 1999, adding his as a 7th defenseman to little avail.

Shayne Corson - MON 1985 -92, 1996 - 2000/TOR 2000 - 03
MON: 662-168-255-423 / 90-28-35-63
TOR: 197-27-47-74 / 32-2-7-9

A rugged two way player who wore out his initial welcome in Montreal, Corson was sacrificed in order to aquire Vincent Damphousse from Edmonton. Five sesaons later, he was reaquired in exchange for Pierre Turgeon. Corson was more serious and focused his second time around, but the Habs were spinning their wheels as his game declined. Corson wanted way too much for his worth, and bolted for silly money with the Leafs and a chance to lay with his brother in law Darcy Tucker. Personal problems conspired to taint Corson's time with the Leafs and he was almost thrown out of town for being a distraction.

Darcy Tucker - MON 1995 - 98/TOR 2000 - 07
MON: 115-8-18-26 / 4-0-0-0
TOR: 489-134-160-294 / 58-10-11-21

A pesty, gritty, do anything to win player that Rejean Houle let get away found himself in Toronto three seasons later. He found his niche as an irritant in Toronto, becoming one of the most despised players in the game.

While he has rarely helped the Leafs become unqualifiyingly successful, Tucker does have what it takes to make the opposition know when he's on the ice. One could wish the Habs were more patient with Tucker.

Dave Manson - MON 1996 - 99/TOR 2000 - 02
MON: 101-5-33-38 / 15-0-1-1
TOR: 87-4-8-12 / 2-0-0-0

Manson was highly drafted defenseman for Chicago in 1985. Known for his temper and hard shot, Manson develped a "crazy man" reputation for his willingness to drop the gloves, even after having suffering an injury to his larynx that made him sound like the "Godfather".

Rechristened "Charlie" for his on ice insanity, Manson had moved around a bit when the Habs aquired him from Phoenix for Murray Baron and Chris Murray in 1996. After a season and a half of being pretty much average in Montreal, he was offed back to the Hawks with Jocelyn Thibault as bait for Jeff Hackett and Eric Weinrich.

Early in the 2001 season, he was sent to Toronto by Dallas for Jyrki Lumme, in an exchange of unwanted parts.

Yanic Perreault - TOR 1991 - 94, 1998 - 2001/MON 2001 - 04/TOR 2006 - 07
TOR: 176-54-69-123 / 29-5-10-15
MON: 224-67-66-133 / 20-5-7-12

Yanic Perreault was an offensive dynamo with the QMJHL's Trois Rivieres Draveurs for three junior seasons. It wasn't his 5' 11'', 180 lbs frame that initially scared NHL teams off, it was the fact the he played small that kept him undrafted until Toronto took the bait in 1991.

Perreault was crafty though, and despite his shortcomings, he parlayed his talents into an NHL career with a mastery of faceoffs.

During his first of three stints with Toronto, he accumulated enough curiosity that the L.A. Kings came calling for his services, and through parts of 5 seasons there, he developed into a full time NHL'er. Toronto reaquired him for draft picks in 1999, and Perreault continued to be an ace at in the faceoff circle despite a perceived reluctance to play in traffic when the going got tough.

The Canadiens signed Perreault as a free agent and learnt the same lessons - through three seasons of diminishing production, Perreault could only exel when he was given ample room. The puck drop specialist who was defensive liability was not resigned by the Habs, and began a journeyman's trail through Nashville, Phoenix, Toronto again, and now Chicago.

Darryl Shannon - TOR 1988 - 93/MON 2001 - 02
TOR: 98-3-13-16 /
MON: 7-0-1-1 /

Shannon, the elder of two NHL playing siblings, was a high draft pick of the Maple Leafs in 1986 that never panned out. After bouncing back and forth between Toronto and Newmarket of the AHL for 5 seasons, he began journeymen excursions to five other NHL cities, ending with a seven game stint with Montreal after signing there as a free agent in 2000.

Doug Gilmour - TOR 1991 - 97/MON 2001 - 03/TOR 2002 - 03
TOR: 392-131-321-452 / 52-17-60-77
MON: 131-21-50-71 / 12-4-6-10
TOR: 1-0-0-0 /

Likely because I've met him a few times, Doug Gilmour will always be one of my all time favorite Montreal Canadiens players. But who's kidding who - he may just have been the greatest ever Toronto Maple Leaf player.

Gilmour made his mark with me while playing with my hometown Cornwall Royals from 1980 to 1983. Watching him set an OHL league record 55 game point scoring streak is still of my most endearing hockey memories.

Dougie was a Hab killer with the Calgary Flames in the 1989 Stanley Cup finals and became an even better Leaf. Gilmour literally owned the city for six seasons while setting numerous team records and bringing the Leafs to within a period of meeting Montreal in the 1993 finals.

A word of advice - if ever you meet Doug, don't ask him what happened in game 7 of the Kings series!

The Leafs sinfully traded the gritty Gilmour away to New Jersey and likely regretted it. After suiting up with the Devils, Gilmour played for the Blackhawks and Sabres.

I recall meeting Dougie in a local bar in the summer of 1999, before his third season as a Blackhawk. It was a memorable night for many reasons. That evening, as I kidded him about undoing my Habs in 1989, he stated to me that he would be interested in finishing his career as either a Hab or a Senator. It was startling to hear, and when it finally did happen, to me, it felt like a dream come true.

As a Montreal Canadien, Gilmour was far removed from the player, the legend, he was in Toronto. But still, there was a certain fire in his eyes.

With Habs captain Saku Koivu out for the season while battling stomach cancer, Gilmour, along with Habs goalie Jose Theodore, became inspirational leaders. Gilmour virtually captained the team and led it to a playoff spot and a first round upset over the Bruins. It was an unforgettable season of surprise and character for an aging warrior.

The Canadiens were not as united the following season, and Gilmour was reaquired late in the season by Toronto to strengthen their playoff run. Two shifts into his first game back as a Leaf, he suffered a freak knee injury that ended his career.

Sergei Berezin - TOR 1996 - 2001/MON 2001 - 02
TOR: 357-126-94-220 / 40-12-15-27
MON: 29-4-6-10 / 6-1-1-2

An offensively gifted but defensively weak player, Berezin would play five season in Toronto before being dealt to the Phoenix Coyotes in 2001-02. Known for his blazing speed and wicked shot, Berezin would falter somewhat in Phoenix and subsequently was dealt to the Montreal Canadiens in 2001 for Brian Savage.

Berezin would last long enough in Montreal to score the team's 10,000th home ice goal, but he was generally unable to fit in with the Habs. Berezin was on the move once again, traded to the Chicago Blackhawks for a draft pick. There, he would regain his scoring touch somewhat, notching 18 goals before he was dealt to the Washington Capitals at the trading deadline.

Jyrki Lumme - MON 1988 - 90/TOR 2001 - 03
MON: 75-2-22-24 /
TOR: 124-10-19-29 / 21-0-2-2

When Lumme joined the Montreal Canadiens in 1988, it was a historical move, for he was the first ever Finn to don the legendary jersey. After parts of two seasons, adaptation and disciplinary issues made him expendable, and he was traded to the Vancouver Canucks for a draft pick which became Craig Darby.

Lumme would spend a decade with Vancouver, rounding out into a solid two way defenseman. After short stays in Phoenix and Dallas, Toronto aquired him in exchange for Dave Manson. Like Manson before him, Lumme was also the victim of Maple Leafs fans wrath, and his tenure in Toronto was short lived.

Chad Kilger - MON 2000 - 03/TOR 2003 - 07
MON: 214-28-40-68 / 12-0-1-1
TOR:199-39-31-60 / 13-2-1-3

Highly drafted Chad Kilger - 4th overall in 1995 - has shown flashes of a salivating package, but has never quite lived up to his billing during his career. Chosen by the Anaheim Ducks, he was dispatched in a deal for Teemu Selanne. Once projected as a top line line forward, Kilger soon became a journeyman. Stints in Phoenix, Chicago, and Edmonton did little to asert regularity.

After scoring only seven points as an Oiler in his first 34 games of the 2000-01 schedule, Kilger was traded to the Montreal Canadiens for Sergei Zholtok. Upon his arrival, Kilger played some of the most inspired hockey of his career with the Habs. Kilger recorded 25 points in 43 games and went on to play parts of three more seasons with Montreal before being claimed off of waivers by the Toronto Maple Leafs at the 2004 trade deadline.

Mariusz Czerkawski - MON 2002 - 03/TOR 2005 - 06
MON: 43-4-5-9 /
TOR: 19-4-1-5 /

Czerkawski, Polish born, was an all offense and no conscience proposition by the time he reached Montreal, and his razzle dazzle act was short lived. He finished out the season demoted to the hamilton Bulldogs. He cost the Habs a workmanlike player in Aaron Asham, and insult was added to injury when he was resigned by the Islanders a season later, scoring 25 goals for New York. The Leafs rolled the dice on him two seasons later with the same mixed results.

The final tally:

As the second half of the decade plays out, there are no former Maple Leafs on the Canadiens roster.

Looking forward, the Canadiens fortunes look brighter as the team is at the top of the standings and the Leafs nearer to the bottom.

As can be seen in previous decades, the Maple Leafs have remained inclined to prefer refurbishing other teams assets over developing their own. One cannot say they have learned from past errorrs.

Here are the first three parts in the series:

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

Habs And Leafs: A Jersey Shared - Part 2: The 1960s and 1970s

Habs And Leafs: A Jersey Shared - Part 3: The 1980s.