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Reading the Tea Leafs: What We Learned

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The journey that began on August 27th with Nik Antropov was completed yesterday as we completed punfully-named season previews for thirty three players. When Chemmy and I embarked on the journey we were not sure how this would work out or if we would forget to finish or if we would even care to finish. The biggest challenge was probably trying to come up with the polls to accompany each post. Good thing we did too because now we can recap the results and figure out just what we learned about the Leafs this preseason.

So follow me over the jump to see the combined wisdom of everyone that filled out the poll. Turns out that Chemmy thinking Moore and Devereaux were worth one roster spot was right...

Nik Antropov

Two thirds of the people expected Antro to have at least as good a year as last. While Mats' presence played a part in his success Antro also showed the ability to create offence on his own.

Bates Battaglia

The most interesting thing about Bates was that last year, thanks to a TLN (Latin Channel) broadcast, we learned that the 'g' in his name is silent. Greg Gilbert better notice. Bates won't wear the Maple Leaf again.

Ryan Hollweg

Most people expected him to be a borderline fourth liner. He certainly lived up to his reputation as an agitator prone to make bad hits and get pounded upon. He's already suspended and has fought so badly that the Leafs are apparently thinking of getting an actual enforcer. N.B. This is a dumb idea.

Alex Steen

No poll here but he's part of the group of kids that came up with the old leadership group (ie the deposed leadership group) so he has one season, maybe two, to show that he is part of the future of this club. I believe in Steen. Remember this when he's finally wearing the 'C' that the media tried to give him three years ago.

Anton Stralman

No poll here either. We know this kid can skate like the wind, has an ability to get his shots through, and kind of looks like Chemmy but can he play defence? Well, we'll find out because if we don't it means that this rebuilding business is going off the rails.

Jason Blake

Poll? We don't need no stinking poll. Except we do. Who wrote these previews? Anyway, you better get used to hoping Jason Blake will put it together because it'll be the same question every year until his contract runs out. There is 0 chance that he'll be traded. Ever. Get used to it.

Jiri NSFW Tlusty

Better known for his in no way uncommon webam chat than his hockey skills most of us expect T-Lusty to get a shot at a scoring role this year. The tools are there he just needs to put it together.

Matt Stajan

While the media is trying to make this guy the next captain the rest of us are seeing more of a defensive centreman that can kill penalties. He'll probably get some ice-time in offensive situations to prove us wrong but don't hold your breath.

Ian White

Easily the most divisive figure on the team as some of us are ready to ship him out of town while MF37 thinks that he's not such a bad deal. To tell you the truth, this forward experiment has piqued my interest. I hope we'll see more of it...before they trade him.

Mike Van Ryn

Basically, this guy is gon as soon as the Silver Fox can find a taker. 25-40 games in once he's shown he can still play and someone somewhere gets injured (I am still working on the voodoo dolls) he'll be gone for picks.

Niklas Hagman

20 goals or bust. The preseason has highlighted the Finn's speed and dangling abilities. He could be a revelation at the salary he's earning. Then again, he could be Jason Blake II.

Jeff Finger

This guy is f*cked. First, he signs a big Toronto. Then he gets injured after one preseason game. The chum is in the water and the media can't wait for his debut.

Jamal Mayers

The Blues say a lot of good things about Mayers. He supposedly did a great job shepherding their young guys into the NHL including Brad Boyes who as you know was given away for free for no reason whatsoever.

Justn Pogge

Before there was Luke there was Justin. This preseason showed why. Three funny guys voted that Raycroft was better but by next fall Pogge will be the next two syllable word to be chanted in the ACC.

Alex Ponikarovsky

He loves Antro and has huge expectations on his shoulders. He'll get top line minutes (again) along with powerplay time. Sneaking his way to 20 goals won't be enough. Chisel down those stone hands and get the best wrist shot since Wendel Clark firing on target.

Jeremy Williams

Looks like voting for 'flash in the pan' was the right decision as he's already been waived. He'll have to work on his foot speed if he'll want to play with the big boys on a full-time basis.

Robbie Earl

The Duke needs more time with the Marlies and he'll get it. He has to marry his NHL speed with his AHL hands.

Curtis Joseph

Based on his preseson play Benedict Joseph is either washed up or the ultimate team player. We'll see how he does in the 13-19 games that he is expected to play this year.

Dominic Moore

Dom heard that Chemmy was shit-talking him and decided to make it his mission to prove him wrong(er). He had the kind of camp that Matt Stajan should have had. Then he got hurt. We'll see how things go from now but he's already claimed Devo's spot so look out Matty.

Mikhail Grabovski

This man is going to get tonnes of chances and his five preseason goals show that maybe he'll pot them. I want him to succeed so badly just to have something to throw in the Habs' face other than nother patented Jim Carey Price collapse.

Boyd Devereaux

Alas poor Devo, we hardly knew thee. He'll likely clear waivers and get claimed on re-entry. He begat Moore who begat Mitchell who stole his roster spot.

Jonas Frogren

He didn't have the best preseason but he likes to hit and played for Sweden's World Championships team. He'll fit in and give the Leafs a little sandpaper. Plus, he looks scary without a helmet. Or even with one.

Mikhail Stefanovich

Don't let Patty Roy ruin you!

Carlo Colaiacovo

If he doesn't have a healthy season then he's gone. Hell, he might already be gone. But if he's healthy, he'll show the league what a great defenceman the Leafs have. And if you catch a leprechaun you get his pot of gold.

Staffan Kronwall

Waived. I'll be pissed if he gets claimed.

Josef Boumedienne

Not so much Bom-Bom as Marlie depth signing. You won't hear his name again.

John Mitchell

He killed Devo and deservedly so. After a great camp he earned his spot and another local boy makes the team.

Kris Newbury

I bet he hates John Mitchell. The team finally has a spot for a player like him and Mitchell swipes it from under his nose.

Pavel Kubina

Why doesn't everyone love him? Well, soon enough they will. The new number and new confidence looked god on him in the preseason which just means that he'll get injured. In the long run, that'll help the Leafs more.

Mark Bell

Waived but will forever hold a spot in the hearts of Leafers everywhere for sending Alfredssonofabitch into orbit with a crushing hit that I got to see live.

Tomas Kaberle

Amazingly talented and unbelievably frustrating. If he can give his calmness to the rest of the kids on the backend then the Leafs stand in good stead.

Vesa Toskala

He will be a massive reason why the Leafs won't fall as far as people expect. Once he's traded at the deadline we'll remember Vesa by all of the great assets he fetched us. Thank God JFJ didn't give him a no-trade clause.

Luke Schenn

We will have to wait patiently for the return of Our Luke and Saviour  next season but before he leaves us he is going to give us a nine game taste of his future hall of fame career.