FanPost

Joffrey Lupul's road to the NHL: Filled with Adversity

Player Profiles - Joffrey Lupul

Hometown: Fort Saskatchewan
Size: 6'1"/206 lbs.
Position: LW
Fun fact: Lupul loves to play the guitar

Assets: Natural goal scoring ability, decent size, good hands, great shot, good leader, scores timely goals and makes players around him better.


Flaws: Isn't as good as he needs to be in the defensive zone, not a great skater but improving, very injury prone.


Joffrey Lupul is a fighter. He has had to go through so many obstacles in his career to reach this point, and his goal has not yet been attained. Lupul is a heart-and-soul type of person. He plays with his heart on his sleeve, and he will do anything to win. His skill is top-class, and he's a leader on and off the ice.

After a solid first two seasons in the NHL with the team that drafted him 7th overall in 2003, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks; Lupul was traded to the Edmonton Oilers in the Chris Pronger deal, and never really found his footing. He was then shipped off to Philadelphia and had two relatively strong seasons before returning to Anaheim. As a former 7th overall pick, Lupul's numbers were respectable but more was always expected from him. His career high (at the time) of 53 points could be bested. His ceiling was higher. Upon his return to Anaheim, Lupul had many problems settling in and playing his game. He required back surgery after an injury he had obtained in Philadelphia, a spinal cord contusion that hadn't fully healed. It would have taken him months to recover. To add insult to injury, a complication developed after the surgery, a blood infection, and it looked like Joffrey's career was over. He worked harder than ever, spending countless hours rehabilitating and getting in top shape. He worked at his game, stepping it up to a level even he hadn't seen before. When it was all said and done, after 12 months injured, Lupul returned to the ice with the Ducks, ready to contribute and make a difference in the NHL. After just having faced one of the toughest challenges of his life, Lupul crossed yet another obstacle: Randy Carlyle. At the time, Randy Carlyle was the head coach of the Anaheim Ducks. When Lupul returned to the lineup, Carlyle was reluctant in giving him a full time job despite strong play after his injury. Joffrey was a right winger, and Carlyle didn't think that Lupul could play the left side. This incompetent coaching decision proved very costly to the Ducks' organization.

On February 9th, 2011, Brian Burke pulled off one of the better trades of his tenure as Maple Leafs' GM, acquiring a conditional 2013 draft pick, defensive prospect Jake Gardiner and Lupul for defender François Beauchemin. It was the third time Lupul had been traded by Anaheim, and he was determined to make it the last time he'd switch cities.

Lupul entered a very weak Toronto team with a glaring hole on the left wing of the ice and star right winger Phil Kessel burdening the offensive workload. Head coach, Ron Wilson, made perhaps the smartest coaching decision of his tenure and placed Lupul on the first line, next to Kessel, as a left winger. Due to his size and skill, Lupul was able to make the transition and had a strong 28 games posting 9 goals and 18 points. Lupul, however, knew he had to find another gear in his play, and worked extremely hard in the offseason of 2011 in order to increase his quality of play. The result was a monster of a player on the ice. Lupul was dynamite next to Phil Kessel, providing goals (25), and contributing all over the ice, posting a career high in points (67). Fast forward to 2013, and Lupul is a fan favourite and a superstar in the hockey crazy city of Toronto. Ironically, his head coach is now Randy Carlyle, after the dismissal of Wilson. However, Lupul received an apology from Carlyle and continued his strong play in an injury riddled season, posting an absurd 11 goals and 18 points in 16 games. Lupul also led the Leafs into the playoffs for the first time in nine years, scoring 3 goals in 7 games before eventually losing in the first round.

He lives for the spotlight. He craves the attention that a hockey hungry city like Toronto gives him. You see it every time he scores a goal at home, arms up, eyes bright, with a grin on his face. Lupul will fight for his team, will fight for himself, and is one of the core pieces of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

PensionPlanPuppets.com is a fan community that allows members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Toronto Maple Leafs and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editor of PensionPlanPuppets.com.

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