Best Leafs Trades Since 1967 Countdown – No. 1: Sending Wendel Clark to Quebec for Mats Sundin

I kicked off this series by naming Cliff Fletcher’s re-acquisition of Wendel Clark — the one that ultimately cost them the first-round draft pick that was used on Roberto Luongo — as the fifth-worst trade in the history of the Toronto Maple Leafs (since 1967).

But how did Fletcher find himself in that situation? How did Clark, the fan-favourite, the heart-and-soul, the captain, find his way off the Leafs in the first place? It all starts with an incredibly controversial deal that Fletcher made that would end up being the best trade made this organization in the past half-century.
Clark was a breath of fresh air on a putrid Leafs team. Drafted with the first overall pick after that Leafs had put together their most miserable season in franchise history, Clark immediately gave a listless team a much-needed spark.
During the darkest days of the Harold Ballard years, they had become the joke of the league. Not only were they an easy team to beat, but they also rolled over and would let you kick their ass, literally. The team was bad, which was one thing, but this was the wild west days of the 80s. The players were …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

NHL History: Toronto Maple Leafs fire Cliff Fletcher today in 1997

If there’s one thing we know about Cliff Fletcher’s time in Toronto, it’s that he wasn’t shy about making big trades.

He acquired and later dealt Doug Gilmour. He dealt and later acquired Wendel Clark. He brought in established veterans, and wasn’t coy about trading them away.
Hired by the Leafs in 1991, Fletcher was fired by the club today in 1997.
Fletcher had made two big trades within his first year that would help shape the Leafs through the 90’s. He first brought in Glenn Anderson, Craig Berube and Grant Fuhr in a Sept. 19 1991 deal that saw him flip Vincent Damphousse, Peter Ing, Luke Richardson, Scott Thornton, cash and future considerations to the Edmonton Oilers.
Both Anderson and Fuhr were in Toronto for three and two years respectively, but provided some much-needed punch to the club.
But four months later, he pulled off his biggest deal.
The recently acquired Craig Berube was paired with Alexander Godynyuk, Gary Leeman, Michel Petit and Jeff Reese and subsequently traded to Calgary on Jan. 2, 1992.
In return, the Leafs got star forward Doug Gilmour along with Jamie Macoun, Kent Manderville, Ric Nattress and Rick Wamsley. …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation