Jimmy Thomson

Need a text book example of a classic stay at home defenseman? Look no further than Jimmy Thomson.

A product of the St. Mikes Majors, Jimmy joined the Leafs on a full time basis in 1946-47. He was soon paired with Gus Mortson on defense, a move that proved very fruitful for the Leafs. The two rock solid blueliners helped to solidify the Leaf's supremacy for years.

Known as the "Gold Dust Twins," Mortson and Thomson starred for the Leafs. They played a rock hard style that often left cuts and bruises on any enemy who dared to enter their zone. Thomson especially was positionally perfect and a thinking man's defensive rearguard. Mortson was more of a rusher of the two, while Thomson quietly went about his work. The pairing proved to be as valuable as it was impenetrable.

Despite not scoring a goal in 6 of his 11 seasons, and only scored 19 career goals in almost 800 games, Jimmy was honored with two Second Team All Star berths - 1950 and 1951. He was a good passer as his 215 assists suggest.

In the late 1940s it was very rare for the defensemen to get very involved in the offensive attack. So while Thomson wasn't deprived of good skills, he thrived by protecting his own zone. Thomson was physical though clean. He never had over 100 minutes in penalties in one season. He did lead the league in playoff penalty minutes in 1951 with 34 minutes in 11 games.

Thomson was a big part of 4 Toronto Maple Leafs Stanley Cup Championship. In fact those 4 championship seasons came in his first 5 NHL seasons, including three straight in 1947, 1948 and 1949.

Thomson was named as the Maple Leafs captain in 1956-57 but was traded in the summer of 1957. The Leafs became disenchanted with his active involvement in the fledgling attempts at forming a player's association. Conn Smythe questioned his loyalty and then sent him to Chicago for cash.

Thomson played just one season in Chicago before retiring in 1958. In total "Jeems" scored 234 points in 787 games and won 4 Stanley Cups.

So was Jimmy Thomson one of the best defensive d-men ever? Celebrated author/broadcaster Stan Fishcler once included him among his top ten best defensive defenseman ever. Fischler's list, from the 1983 book Hockey's 100, looks as so -

Doug Harvey
Tim Horton
Eddie Shore
Ching Johnson
Hap Day
Emile Bouchard
Jack Stewart
Dit Clapper
Jim Thomson
Ken Morrow

That is some pretty impressive company.

After a season in Chicago Thomson returned to southern Ontario and became quite successful in the home heating business.


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