It’s been a while since we last checked in on some of the Toronto Maple Leafs forgotten warriors. They are the ones who went out, donning the blue and white, without earning the recognition that others on the team did over the years.
For some, it was simply not having the chance to make a name for themselves in Toronto. For others, it was shorts stints with the Maple Leafs and forgettable stays that left them in the mix as members of the forgotten faithful. With that, this series looks back on those players, how they came to play for the Maple Leafs’ organization and what they did while they donned the team’s blue and white.
With that, this latest look delves into the career of a defenceman who played 15 seasons in the NHL which included 985 regular season games and another 105 playoff games spread across five cites. While his tenure in Toronto didn’t span the majority of his career, Jyrki Lumme did close out his NHL career with the Maple Leafs.
Lumme Becoming a Maple Leaf
Drafted in the third round, 57th overall, by the Montreal Canadiens in 1986, Lumme broke into the league as a 22-year-old in 1988-89 playing 21 games for the Canadiens and notching a goal and four points in his rookie season.
His time with the Canadiens was short-lived, and with three stops in between, Lumme finally joined the Maple Leafs on Nov. 21, 2001, when the team traded Dave Manson for the 35-year-old Lumme.
At the time, Lumme had just one assist in 15 games for the Stars in 2001-02, averaging well below his career average in ice-time at just 13:40. The move sparked whatever Lumme had left in the tank and the 35-year-old joined a roster that included Bryan McCabe, Tomas Kaberle, Dmitry Yushkevich, Cory Cross, Aki Berg and the late Wade Belak on the blue line.
Donning the Blue Maple Leaf
Lumme didn’t play for long with the Maple Leafs. Coming to the latter part of his career, Lumme suited up for the remainder of the 2001-02 season and played one more year in 2002-03 for the Maple Leafs before hanging up his skates and calling it a career.
While his best offensive days were behind him, Lumme fit in nicely in the bottom two pairings playing 124 regular season games for the Maple Leafs over parts of two seasons and collecting 10 goals and 29 points over that span.
On top of that, he saw a resurgence in his ice-time with the Maple Leafs averaging about 20 minutes per game in both of his seasons with the team and 20:21 overall in those 124 regular season games.
To top it all off, he joined the team for 21 playoff games over the two seasons, adding two assists and a whole lot of experience as his career came to a close.
The Rest of Lumme’s Career
Following the start of his career in Montreal, Lumme became a mainstay on the blue line for the Vancouver Canucks over parts of nine seasons. It was there that he had the most offensive success of his career, reaching the 40-point plateau four times in his nine seasons – including a career-high 55 points in 83 games in 1993-94 as a 27-year-old.
Before joining the Maple Leafs, he had stints in Phoenix and Dallas, with him scoring 19 goals and 93 points in 192 games with the Coyotes – averaging 0.48 points per game over that time.
While he did have some good offensive seasons, Lumme wasn’t afraid to get involved physically either. In fact, he finished his career with 620 penalty minutes and four fighting majors to go along with that.
He finished his career averaging 0.48 points per game and 0.63 penalty minutes per game – not bad when it comes to having an all-around game for the defenceman.
Following his final NHL season with the Maple Leafs, Lumme returned to the SM-Liiga where he played two more seasons with Ilves Tampere from 2005 to 2007, before hanging up his skates for good.
While it’s safe to say that Lumme’s best days were in Vancouver, especially having reached the Stanley Cup Final in 1993-94 with the Canucks, his NHL career ended in a way that we’d like to remember him for – playing for the Maple Leafs.
All-Time Maple Leafs’ Ranks (Among Defensemen)
Games Played: 124 GP (89th)
Goals: 10 G (T67th)
Assists: 19 A (T107th)
Points: 29 P (T100th)
Point-Per-Game: 0.23 P/G (T122nd)