Reading the Tea Leafs: Kris Newbury

Following on the success of two other dormant series Chemmy 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,  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.

My friend golfed with Newbury this week at the Alumni tournament. He thinks that this punch might have been hard enough to knock the personality right out of Kris.

Contract Status (according to NHL Numbers)
$475K, $475K cap hit, UFA July 1, 2009.

Age (as of October 1, 2008)
2 - February 19th, 1982

NHL Seasons
None. 43 games of call-up experience. Not that he remembers any of them after that punch.

Run of the Mill Biographical Information 

Former Leaf he'd have to play like in order to be christened a deity
Let's make the team first big guy.

Biggest Question Marks
Is he destined to be a career AHLer?

Player Summary
Newbury played 28 games last year on top of 15 the year before. In those 43 games he picked up six points. During the same period he potted 28 goals and 51 assists in 91 games. Go further back into junior and you see a pretty decent playmaker who averaged almost an assist per game during his last two seasons in the OHL.

Clearly this is a guy that falls into the same category as Nikolai Kulemin and Jiri Tlusty and Mikhail Grabovski. No, not the next three all-star forwards for the Leafs but a young offensively gifted player that needs to play with like-minded forwards to show his true value. Here's the problem for Newbury, the Leafs already have that quota filled with younger players with a higher upside.

Projected 2008-2009 role/team
At twenty-six years of age Newbury is far down the "let's give these young guys a chance with real NHLers" list. If he's going to crack the lineup then he's going to do so at the expense of one of the grinders. It won't be Mayers or Devereaux who are the veteran experience. It won't be Moore who is bigger than him and faster. He'll be in a dogfight to round out the fourth line energy group so he better hope that he beats out Ondrus and Hollweg.

The more likely outcome is that he will start his year on the Marlies playing his natural role until there are injuries. Then he'll be lucky enough to play for the Leafs as a scrappy winger willing to fight and at then end of the day he'll wonder if he'll ever get a good chance.

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