Profiles - Tyler Bozak.
Size: 6'0/195 lbs.
Fun Fact: Bozak's family heritage is Ukrainian-Canadian
Assets: Good face off man, skates relatively well, knows exactly what to do on breakaway/shootout situations.
Flaws: Atrocious defensively, doesn't make players around him particularly better, doesn't create many chances, struggles with the puck, inefficient getting the puck out of the zone, weak transition game.
Tyler Bozak went undrafted and started the long road towards his pro career in the BCHL with Victoria. Bozak became progressively more prolific, posting 31, 69 and 128 points respectively with the team in 60 game seasons. He was awarded the Brett Hull Trophy as the league's top scorer and chose to move on to the WCHA to play with the University of Denver while majoring in business. After two near point-per-game seasons in Colorado, Bozak was a free agent and highly sought after by several NHL teams. Bozak signed a hefty two year entry level contract with the Maple Leafs, thus beginning his NHL career.
In the 2009-10 season Bozak had a strong camp and was eligible to play for the big team, but due to cap reasons was sent down and had a mediocre 32 games with the AHL's Toronto Marlies.
Finally, Bozak was called up and scored his first goal, and probably the most beautiful goal he'll ever score, against the Philadelphia Flyers (assisted by Phil Kessel). Bozak, despite his many flaws, had found his way into a lineup, and somehow, for reasons unknown, was able to find himself on the top line next to Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel. Despite his inability to really do anything special on the ice, Bozak consistently found himself being played on the top line, in part due to the lack of depth the Leafs had at centre and the fact that Mikhail Grabovski was a mainstay on a different line with Clarke MacArthur and Nikolai Kulemin.
Fast forward to 2013, and Bozak is still, unjustifiably, playing huge minutes on a top line next to elite wingers and incapable of scoring 20 goals or 50 points. Beloved by coach Randy Carlyle for reasons unbeknownst to many, Bozak was able to fish a 5 year, 21 million dollar contact extension with the Leafs, extending the misery of a fringe NHL centre playing 20 minutes a night.
Tyler Bozak has been a misfit in the hockey world for a large part of his career. It can be argued hat aside from his strong final years in the WCHA and BCHL, Bozak was never highly regarded as an elite player. Bozak has taken advantage of the lack of depth at centre and the favouritism of a puzzling coach in order to vault himself to the top line, ride the coattails of best friend and linemate Phil Kessel, as well as cash in on a huge paycheck.
Tyler Bozak may have been a misfit, but now he's laughing all the way to the bank.