On Saturday, former Leaf defenceman Borje Salming will be inducted into the Toronto Maple Leafs ‘Legends Row’. On Thursday night, the team announced that his fellow countryman, Mats Sundin, would be added to the monument alongside him.
Acquired in a trade with the Quebec Nordiques on June 28, 1994, after originally being drafted first overall in the 1989 NHL draft, Sundin would spend 13 seasons in a Maple Leafs uniform scoring more goals (420) and points (987) than any other player in the historic team’s record books. His quiet leadership and strong work ethic were only matched by his prolific scoring ability during his 11 years as Leafs captain. Following his retirement in 2009, Sundin was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012, his first season of eligibility, and became just the second Swedish-born player, following Salming, to join the Hall.
“Legends Row is an important tribute to the many generations of Toronto Maple Leafs history and Mats Sundin is a player that the most recent generations of Leafs fans remember with great fondness,” said Toronto Maple Leafs President Brendan Shanahan. “Mats was a player that embodied tremendous talent, great desire and consistent performance year in and year out. He represented this city, and this franchise, with great pride and class. We will be thrilled to see his statue unveiled on Saturday.”
Sundin and Salming will be the fourth and fifth statues added to the monument joining Ted Kennedy, Darryl Sittler and Johnny Bower. Syl Apps and George Armstrong were previously announced in February as 2015 Legends Row inductees and their statues will be unveiled in November during the Hockey Hall of Fame induction weekend.
“It was a great privilege to serve as captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs and that experience will always go down as a career highlight for me. To be honoured with a statue on Legends Row is something I could never have imagined,” said Sundin. “To see my statue unveiled alongside Borje Salming, the player I grew up idolizing in Sweden, will be very special for both my family and me. I am very grateful to the Toronto Maple Leafs, to the city of Toronto, and especially to the fans, for the opportunity to represent this team and for this honour.”
In 981 career regular season games with the Leafs, Sundin ranks second all-time in assists with 567. In 77 career playoff games with the Maple Leafs, which included two trips to the Conference finals, Sundin registered 32 goals and 38 assists. He was named a 2nd team All Star in 2002 and 2004 and was awarded the Mark Messier Leadership Award in 2008. The Toronto Maple Leafs honoured Sundin by raising his number 13 to the Air Canada Centre rafters on February 11, 2012.
Sundin scored more NHL goals and points than any other Swedish player and he remains the only player from Sweden to score 500 goals in the League.