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Saying Goodbye: Jason Blake

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With Sunday's big trades the Leafs have now said goodbye to six players. Sure, some of them might have left at the end of the year but it still has to be classified as a shock to see literally one third of the team that blew a 3-0 lead against the Canucks on Saturday night be shipped out less than 24 hours later. The most surprising of all has to be Jason Blake. He of the two years remaining at $4M per year on his contract was once thought unmovable.

Of course, that wasn't always the case. When Blake signed there were definitely some warning flags. He was 33 years old, coming off of an outlier of a season, and was pretty small. Of course, as a Leafs fan it was easy to think that he had less wear and tear, to remember the 2002 series when he was so effective, or to think that maybe Sundin could keep his offensive production up. Of course, some people wrote some ridiculous things in the aftermath:

The signing of Jason Blake will help to make the Leafs offence more balanced and more consistent.

- PPP, July 5, 2007

Welp. Since that was back in the day when I was just writing for my dad to read I have no idea how the rest of you people felt except for MF37 who immediately made a ironclad case for this being a bad signing. As he is far more often than not, he was 100% right.

He has the numbers for the Jason Blake Era: 

233 games prior to joining the Leafs: 90 goals
216 games with the Leafs: 50 goals

 His first year was understandably difficult and by the beginning of the Ron Wilson Era he was in the doghouse and not happy one bit. He improved to be referred to by the coach as one of the team's best forwards but ultimately his other affliction never improved. But his time with the Leafs was not without its highlights. He looked exactly like a hamster, earned not one but two PPP Dictionary entries, and even scored some really nice goals:

I'll give the last word to bkblades who does it much better than I could hope to:

But for Blake to thank the fans personally in his interview knowing how many people wanted him gone? That speaks volumes of his character and I can truly say I hope he does very well, in lieu of his overpriced contract.