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Leafs Relinquish Rights to Joel Champagne

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As pointed out by our diligent links post maker the Leafs have likely passed on signing prospect Joel Champagne which means he will go back into the entry draft. As a blogger I feel like it's my job to ask "why?".

Champagne finished with 13 points in 16 games, dropping their semi-final matchup against Saint John in 6 games. He was one of the top faceoff men through the course of the playoffs as well, taking the second most in the Q with 436; Kelsey Tessier had 559 in an extra 5 games played. Champagne finished with a 58.5% efficiency in the circle, third among players with more than 100 faceoffs taken. I would expect him to jump to the Marlies next year. - Carl Peelash

Worth noting here is that Joel Champagne at 20 years old is 6'4" and 220lbs. He's a center who's excellent in the dot and seems like a good candidate to be a third line energy guy.

Maybe as a prospect he was lazy defensively, maybe as a prospect Champagne didn't hit enough; these things are irrelevant. Brian Burke has said he wants some big kids to play his style of game and passing on Joel Champagne while handing a contract to Brayden "Playdough ankles" Irwin (to quote mf37) seems like a terrible move.

We traded Jiri Tlusty for a big kid in the QMJHL: Phillippe Paradis. Let's compare their stats:

Champagne Paradis
Season GP G A Pts GP G A Pts
1 62 6 16 22 45 11 12 23
2 70 18 22 40 66 19 31 50
3 52 24 37 61 63 24 20 44
4 65 38 41 79 - - - -


Remember that Champagne is three inches taller than Paradis and also appears to be better on the faceoff dot. I asked Mirtle to ask around on this for us so hopefully we'll hear an answer on this, but on a Wednesday morning it's hard to understand this move and one wonders about Brian Burke's plan here.