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, 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). 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.
It's a proven fact that any montage with this Fort Minor song is absolutely badass.
Contract Status (according to NHL Numbers)
$850K salary, $855K cap hit, RFA July 1, 2010
Age (as of October 1, 2008)
20 - March 16, 1988
|Games Played||58 - 14||TOI/60||10.32 - 17||0.48 - 15||0.02 - 25|
|Goals||10 - 9||Pts/60||1.40 - 11||4.30 - 4||0.00 - 7|
|Assists||6 - 17||GFON/60||2.00 - 19||4.30 - 16||0.00 - 9|
|Points||16 - 16||GAON/60||3.01 - 6||2.15 - 5||0.00 - 19|
God, puck bunnies are useless. Are you telling me that not one of them could fly their way to Prague to figure out if Young Jiri was taken?
Former Leaf he'd have to play like in order to be christened a deity
Nikolai Borschevsky but with a bit more size. He has to show that he can put points on the board if he is given the opportunities (ie on the wing with Antro and Poni).
Biggest Question Marks
It's tough to come up with something specific with so many questions surrounding which forwards will even be on the team. If Tlusty cracks it then the question becomes what linemates is he dealt?
After singlehandedly sullying the cherished and pristine reputation of an 80 year old Canadian institution Jiri Tlusty actually had a pretty quiet rookie season. He was a constant presence in Paul Maurice's blender and had trouble get a firm head of steam. Tlusty impressed me with his maturity (stop snickering). One thing that really caught my eye was his discipline on line changes. If he had the puck he'd cross the redline and dump the puck into a corner. That might not seem like much but considering the rest of the team it seemed like a miracle.
Projected 2008-2009 role/team
Looking at the Leafs' roster, I would say that there are 10 forwards competing for the top six forward slots (Antropov, Bell, Blake, Grabovski, Kulemin, Hagman, Poni, Stajan, Steen, Tlusty). Some of the runner ups will ply their trade on the third line while stuck in the skilled player limbo (Grabovski? Kulemin? Tlusty) while others move on down to fourth line duty (Bell). That doesn't even include the guys that are longshots to make the top 9 (Robbie Earl, Jeremy Williams) or the veterans that are probably destined to anchor the fourth unit (Moore, Devereaux, Mayers).
Coming off of a year in which there were complaints about a lack of competition this is an entirely different animal. Realistically, everyone there is an asset that could be moved to fix the current holes in the Leafs' two upcoming drafts. That's why I think that any defenceman that actually gets moved (after McCabe) won't be bringing back any actual players and especially not any forwards. The Leafs will have enough trouble giving their kids the right kind of exposure over the next year or two without adding others (ummm...like Grabovski). I hope that Tlusty will get a shot playing with Antro and Poni but that's top line land and wasn't Kulemin promised that? More likely, he'll end up slotted on the third line with the big club.