Reading the Tea Leafs: Carlo Colaiacovo

Following on the success of two other dormant series PPP and I have decided that in order to fill the gap in NHL news that we'll take a look at each of the current Leafs, possible Leafs on the Marlies, janitors, marketing interns and prospects. We'll recap their performance last year, what we can expect from them, reveal their fear of crickets and how they can win our hearts (hint: signing the contract was a good first step...unless your name is Bryan McCabe Ian White). We have no idea how long of a series this will end up being or how consistent it will be but with two of us expect it to only be half as half-assed and twice as timely, offer void in Manitoba, trademark, copyright, patent pending.

 

Oh no! Colaiacovo has been injured!

Whenever I think about Carlo Colaiacovo, all I can think about is this episode of The Dugout, where Mark Prior and Kerry Wood, two promising young pitching talents for the Chicago Cubs who ultimately never reached their full potential due to repeated injuries, explain to their coach they're on the DL again.

Contract Status (according to NHL Numbers)
$1.4M, $1.283M cap hit (likely less due to injuries), UFA July 1, 2010.

Age (as of October 1, 2008)
25 - January 27th, 1983

NHL Seasons
Three, but he's played a combined 97 games in those three seasons.

Run of the Mill Biographical Information

Former Leaf he'd have to play like in order to be christened a deity
Honestly everyone would be pretty happy if he just stopped getting injured.

Biggest Question Marks
Does Carlo Colaiacovo kick black cats and purposely build his dwellings on indian burial grounds? While on a drunk bender did he kick a midget and get cursed with glass bones?

Player Summary
He really doesn't play enough for us to know what he's capable of. He played in 28 contests for the Leafs in 07-08, scoring two goals and finishing -4. Carlo is a mystery. If healthy he could probably be a good player, but I don't think any of us have seen him play enough games to really get comfortable and start to develop as a solid NHL player.

He's not a liability on the ice, but the potential the Leafs drafted 17th overall in 2001 hasn't been realized.

Projected 2008-2009 role/team
I don't know if Colaiacovo will or should be with the Leafs to start the season. Toronto can put together the defensive pairings of:

Kaberle-Kubina, Finger-Frogren, these four have already been talked about as being the top four for opening night. That leaves Van Ryn, Colaiacovo, and Stralman as three guys fighting for two spots. Stralman's the youngest and not injury prone, so in this writer's opinion he should be #5. Van Ryn has injury problems just like Carlo.

This has the potential to scare Colaiacovo into playing smarter and not taking a header into the glass over Saku Koivu, since Cola will be fighting for a roster spot against Van Ryn. Toronto has the opportunity to hedge their bets on two oft-injured d-men. They can't both be hurt at the same time can they? Ok, yeah, they'll both be injured all season.

Going forward I'm not sure what this means for Colaiacovo. Like the rest of Leafs Nation I love the guy. But in 2010 Carlo needs a new contract. He's 25 and his development has been stunted by injuries. If he signs cheap, I think you take a flier on him, but if he doesn't I think you let him go and hope he doesn't suddenly stop getting injured and become the next Phaneuf.

Sigh.

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