Borje Salming of Kiruna, Sweden, the first European player to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, passed away at the age of 71 on Thursday. The cause of death was Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also known as ALS and Lou Gehrig’s Disease).
Career with the Maple Leafs
Salming played 16 seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1973 to 1989. In 1099 regular season games with the blue and white, Salming had 148 goals and 620 assists for 768 points. He was a +150 with 1292 penalty minutes, 301 power-play points, 16 shorthanded points, 13 game-winning goals, and 2487 shots on goal. Salming is the Maple Leafs all-time leader in assists, career goals by a defenseman, and points by a defenseman. Salming is also second all-time in Maple Leafs history in plus/minus. Only Tim Horton of Cochrane, Ontario was higher at +151.
Salming also had one career hat trick. It came in a 9-8 Maple Leafs win over the Chicago Black Hawks on October 10, 1981.
Among the accolades Salming had with the Maple Leafs included being a first team NHL All-Star in 1976-77, a second team NHL All-Star in 1974-75, 1975-76, 1977-78, 1978-79, and 1979-80. Salming also represented the Maple Leafs in the NHL All-Star Game three straight years (1976, 1977, 1978).
In the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Salming had 12 goals and 37 assists for 49 points in 81 games. He was a -11 with 91 penalty minutes, five power-play goals, one game-winning goal, and 220 shots on goal. Salming’s lone postseason game-winning goal came on April 11, 1978 in a 7-3 Maple Leafs win over the Los Angeles Kings in game one of the Preliminary Round. Salming’s +13 in the 1986 NHL Playoffs led all players.
One Season with the Red Wings
Salming had his final NHL season with the Detroit Red Wings in 1989-90. He had two goals and 17 assists for 19 points in 49 games. Salming was also a +20 with 52 penalty minutes, six power-play points, one shorthanded point, and 52 shots on goal.
Salming was the first European player inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996. Then two decades later in 2016, the Maple Leafs retired Salming’s number of 21.