Leafs Relinquish Rights to Joel Champagne

As pointed out by our diligent links post maker the Leafs have likely passed on signing prospect Joel Champagne which means he will go back into the entry draft. As a blogger I feel like it's my job to ask "why?".

Champagne finished with 13 points in 16 games, dropping their semi-final matchup against Saint John in 6 games. He was one of the top faceoff men through the course of the playoffs as well, taking the second most in the Q with 436; Kelsey Tessier had 559 in an extra 5 games played. Champagne finished with a 58.5% efficiency in the circle, third among players with more than 100 faceoffs taken. I would expect him to jump to the Marlies next year. - Carl Peelash

Worth noting here is that Joel Champagne at 20 years old is 6'4" and 220lbs. He's a center who's excellent in the dot and seems like a good candidate to be a third line energy guy.

Maybe as a prospect he was lazy defensively, maybe as a prospect Champagne didn't hit enough; these things are irrelevant. Brian Burke has said he wants some big kids to play his style of game and passing on Joel Champagne while handing a contract to Brayden "Playdough ankles" Irwin (to quote mf37) seems like a terrible move.

We traded Jiri Tlusty for a big kid in the QMJHL: Phillippe Paradis. Let's compare their stats:

Champagne Paradis
Season GP G A Pts GP G A Pts
1 62 6 16 22 45 11 12 23
2 70 18 22 40 66 19 31 50
3 52 24 37 61 63 24 20 44
4 65 38 41 79 - - - -

 

Remember that Champagne is three inches taller than Paradis and also appears to be better on the faceoff dot. I asked Mirtle to ask around on this for us so hopefully we'll hear an answer on this, but on a Wednesday morning it's hard to understand this move and one wonders about Brian Burke's plan here.

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