The decision to convert defenceman Gary Leeman to forward was a brilliant one by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Drafted in the second round, 24th overall, in the 1982 NHL Draft, Leeman was a First Team All-Star and the Western Hockey League's Top Defenceman while playing for Regina of the Western Hockey League in 1982-83.
In the pros, the Toronto, Ontario native would go on to become only the second player in team history to hit the lofty 50-goal plateau when he beat the Islanders' Mark Fitzpatrick on March 28, 1990 at Maple Leaf Gardens. Only Rick Vaive and later Dave Andreychuk have accomplished the feat in Toronto's long history. Leeman led the Leafs in goals (51) and points (95) in 1989-90. All- time with the Leafs, Leeman ranks 19th across the board in points (407), assists (231) and goals (176). A gifted athlete, Leeman registered four hat tricks with Toronto. The right-winger teamed with Mark Osborne and Ed Olczyk to form a very effective scoring line in the late 1980s. His four consecutive seasons of 20 plus goals from 1986 to 1990 included the one season of 50 or more goals plus two other campaigns of over 30 goals. Leeman was a part of the NHL's largest single trade in history when he was dealt to Calgary on January 2, 1992. His NHL career from 1983 to 1996 was spent with Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, St. Louis and Montreal where he was a member of the 1993 Stanley Cup champion Canadiens.
With the Leafs, Leeman won the Molson Cup Award in 1988-89 and 1989-90 and he played in the 1989 NHL All-Star Game in Edmonton and recorded a goal and an assist.