Leafs respect unofficial honoured numbers

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:44 PM ET

The Maple Leafs have unveiled seven sweater numbers for their new players, but aren't yet comfortable assigning any famous digits.

Mats Sundin's 13 has apparently joined Wendel Clark's 17, Darryl Sittler's 27 and Doug Gilmour's 93 in unofficial retirement. Winger Mike Brown wore 13 in Anaheim, but the most recent captain's number will go unfilled a third year, as Brown moves to 18. Gilmour's has been idle since his one-game comeback in 2003, Clark's likewise since his last retirement in 2000 and Sittler's is back mothballs after eight players ranging in talent from Shayne Corson to Miro Ihnacak tried to tap into its legacy.

Kris Versteeg retains 32 from Chicago, once worn here by sniper Steve Thomas, Colby Armstrong drops from 20 in Atlanta, to taking Niklas Hagman's No. 9 and defenceman Brett Lebda returns 23 to the ranks of defence after Alexei Ponikarovsky wore it much of his eight years here.

Also on the blue line, Matt Lashoff declined to take 55 with him from Tampa and will be 29, after Martin Gerber briefly reclaimed it for the memory of Mike Palmateer and the goalies. Clarke MacArthur,41 in both Buffalo and Atlanta, lowers his sights to 16 and German Marcel Mueller debuts as 45. Everyone else from last season's Leafs returns with the same numbers. New captain Dion Phaneuf's No. 3 is expected to be a top seller with fans.


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