There's an interesting phenomena with the Leafs: if anyone we trade has any success he's "the one that got away". After his "excellent play" in the desert Lee Stempniak has re-upped for two years at $1.75M per.
I thought Lee Stempniak played solid two way hockey in Toronto but Burnside is entirely off base to suggest that Lee Stempniak never got a fair shake or was used improperly by Ron Wilson. Stempniak's move to Phoenix saw him slide from playing 18 minutes a night to 15.
Stempniak played 123 games with the Leafs and scored a total of 25 goals on 8.5% shooting. In 14 games in Phoenix he scored 14 goals on 29.2% shooting. To put 29.2% shooting into perspective Wayne Gretzky had a 24.9% shooting percentage the year he scored 92 goals. For further contrast remember that Lee Stempniak once shot so wide of the net from between the faceoff circles on a breakaway that the puck hit the corner boards.
The fact of the matter is Lee Stempniak is a player who seems to step it up in contract years. I don't hold any ill will to the guy but if he's a 30 goal scorer one wonders why he's only making $1.75M. The free agent market doesn't think Stempniak will score 30 goals, Don Maloney doesn't think Stempniak will score 30 goals and neither do the Leafs. The only person waiting to rub Ron Wilson's nose in a player's unsustainable hot streak is Scott Burnside. Makes you wonder: why?