Monday

Nick Metz

Modern hockey fans will name Bob Gainey or Guy Carbonneau or Jere Lehtinen as the greatest defensive forward ever to roam the NHL ice. But one player who should not be forgotten about is "the Handyman" Nick Metz.

The Soviets once called Bob Gainey the greatest all around hockey player on the planet. Likewise, legendary Toronto Maple Leaf boss Conn Smythe had similar compliments for Metz.

"That Metz is the best all around player in the league. He can play anywhere, and good. In any kind of going you can use him at center, on the wings, or at defense and he'll give you all he's got."

In addition to be a superb shadow, Metz was a great utility player. He was especially good on the penalty kill. For a short time Metz and Joe Klukay teammed up to kill off Leafs penalties. There may never have been a finer set of PK forwards.

Metz was also a leader on the Leafs teams that won 4 Stanley Cups in the 1940s. He was very underrated on a team that also boasted Charlie Conacher, Joe Primeau, Syl Apps and Turk Broda.

Metz, a red-haired farmer out of Wilcox Saskatchewan, left the family farm to play junior with the famed St. Mike's Majors from 1932-1934. Playing on a line with Art Jackson and Pep Kelly, Metz led the Majors to the Memorial Cup in 1934.

Following his junior stint Metz joined the Leafs where he spent his entire 12 year NHL career. Throughout those years Metz was a consistent player night in and night out. He also chipped in nicely offensively. Eight times he hit double digits in goals back when the schedule was mostly 50 games long. He maxed out at 22 goals in 1944-45, the year he returned from 2 years of military service. Metz served on Canada's west coast, based in Nanaimo, where they guarded against possible attacks from Japan.

Metz retired from the NHL in 1948 to return to his farm in Wilcox. He remained in Wilcox until his death in 1990.

2 comments:

Anonymous,  10:01 PM  

hey, this is a nice brief blog on Nick Metz, he is actually my uncle and im sure he would enjoy all the history blogs you have on many other people, Rob

Marvin Swanson 3:24 PM  

Anonymous, My name is Marvin Swanson, I would be interested in more information about your uncle Nick ... my mother was a Sitler born and raised in Alberta and also related to Darryl Sittler as well as to Nick and Don Metz. They were cousins but I don't know much more about them.

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