3 ex Leafs are now Stanley Cup Champions. Congratulations to Luke Schenn, Curtis McElhinney and Carter Verhaeghe.
The 3 Ex Leafs
Schenn was a first-round draft pick of the Maple Leafs in 2008. They selected him 5th overall in that draft. He played 310 games for the Maple Leafs before being traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in 2012.
Schenn struggled during his time with the Maple Leafs. He did not live up to his 5th overall status. Many believe he was brought into the NHL too early and did not have enough time to develop. Those early struggles led to him being traded to the Flyers for forward James Van Riemsdyk.
Fast forward to 2020, and Schenn has now played in 759 NHL regular-season games. He has collected 148 points during his 12 years in the NHL. This season with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Schenn scored three points in 25 games. During this championship run with the Lightning, Schenn recorded two assists in 11 playoff games. He can now call himself a Stanley Cup champion.
After being placed on waivers by the Columbus Blue Jackets in January 2017, McElhinney was claimed by the Maple Leafs. He played in 32 games for the Maple Leafs compiling a record of 25-17-12. When the Maple Leafs decided that Garret Sparks was going to be their backup, they placed McElhinney on waivers.
He was quickly claimed by the Carolina Hurricanes. McElhinney went on to have an impressive 2018-19 season with the Hurricanes. He finished the season with a record of 20-11-2. Sparks, on the other hand, struggled and finished the 2018-19 season with an 8-9-1 record. The Maple Leafs made the wrong choice as to who to keep as their backup.
In July of 2019, McElhinney signed a two-year contract with the Lightning. He compiled an 8-7-3 record during this shortened 2019-20 season. The Lightning never needed to use him in these 2020 NHL playoffs, but he can now call himself a Stanley Cup champion.
Verhaeghe is a 2013 third round pick of the Maple Leafs. They selected him with the 82 overall pick. After being drafted, he returned to the Niagara Ice Dogs in the OHL for the 2013-14 season. Verhaeghe did make it into two games with the Toronto Marlies that season. That was his only taste of playing within the Maple Leafs organization. He spent all of the 2014-15 season with the Ice Dogs in the OHL.
On September 17th, 2015 Verhaeghe was traded by the Maple Leafs, along with four other players to the New York Islanders for forward Michael Grabner. Verhaeghe spent his time in the Islanders organization bouncing around between the AHL and ECHL.
On July 1st, 2017 he was traded from the Islanders to the Lightning for Kristers Gudlevskis. Fast forward to 2020 and Verhaeghe finally made it to the NHL. This season he played 52 games with the Lightning, while recording 13 points. During these playoffs he picked up two assists in eight games on his way to becoming a Stanley Cup champion.
My Final Thoughts On These 3 Ex Leafs
I think it is a shame that Luke Schenn never worked out for the Maple Leafs. When he got drafted, many envisioned that he was our next big star. That expectation fizzled out fast, unfortunately. Trading him to the Flyers for Van Riemsdyk was a clear win for the Maple Leafs at the time. I am glad to see that Schenn is now a Stanley Cup champion.
I was very disappointed when the Maple Leafs chose Sparks over McElhinney to be our backup goaltender. My disappointment was justified after seeing how well McElhinney played in Carolina while Sparks struggled. I think many others would agree.
After Verhaeghe got traded to the Islanders, I had completely forgotten about him. It is nice to see that all his hard work and time spent in the minors has resulted in winning the Stanley Cup.
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