A Detailed Look at the 2008-2009 Toronto Maple Leafs Teams
the following is an overview of the 2008-2009 leafs squad and how it should compete barring any trades or other transactions made
Jason Blake – Capable player who has the ability to be a talented pest and should be able to take over the role tucker left but is capable of scoring 25 to 30 goals a year needs another chance before being run out of town
Nik Hagman – talented two way player who can counted on for 15 – 25 goals a year and be an efective defencesive forward
Mark Bell – potential suprise second liner this year and may score 15 plus goals. look for a marked improvement on his 4 goal total last year and expect a push more in his contract year
Poni – second or third line player who can be counted on for 15 – 20 goals no more
nik antropov – talent was shown last year and could improve further and become a very good power forward on the first line – look for trade value to improve and if the leafs are in the bottom five come january look for him to be shopped for a decent return
matt stajan – very talented young forward who will be a key member of the leafs for years to come. should devolop into a solid first or second line player this or next year and will be on the first penalty killing unit every game. captain material in the next 2 years if matuer and will blossom into a 30 plus goal scorer.
alex steen – a player who has first and second line potential but has not reached it yet and hasnt topped his first year point total. look for him to be counted on to score more than his career high 18 goals and he will either sprout into a top line player or whither away into mediocre player oblivion.
jamal mayers – solid third line grinder who will be counted on for his penalty killing and defensive smart skills. only expect a max of 10 goals. expected to be a leader for smart defensive play.
jiri tlusty – definte potential for a great player but only one year of experience. look for him to matuer and become a smarter two way player before becoming a offensive threat.
mikhail grabovski – acquired to shore up the center depth and only played a total of 27 games. has potential for a good two way forward but only limited offense. may blossom with more minutes under wilson
dominic moore – hard working fourth liner who earned a one year deal with the leafs and will be counted on to play smart hockey with only limited offence expected. could become third liner with hard work
ryan hollweg – fighter expected to take belaks place as the agitator. little offence but more than belak. only some games not close to 80.
nikolai kulemin – blue chip prospect who has impredded at wjc and should be a lock to make the team this year. look for him to be a top line player in the years to come. (once considered the best russian outside the nhl)
earl, mitchell, boyce and pohl,williams – look to fight for a job and will get long looks to play in case of injuries. williams and pohl most likely to make the team
McCabe – Decent defenseman who is overpaid but has the potential to be a 5 million dollar d just not in Toronto and possiblynot in Canada (needs to be given another chance)
Kubina – Great Defenseman butourmost tradeableasset and almost 30 – 50 percentchance of getting moved. that goes upif mccabe stays and isnt traded(most likely)
Finger – Decent Defenseman that is a bruiser and a solid defensive defence men who the Leafs sorely need (and Fletcher can be forgiven for over paying him a little). i have watched a couple of his games both against calgary, vancouver, and edmonton last season and from what i have seen is just what the leafs need and very solid.
Carlo – very talented d-man that has the potential to be top 4 d-man if he gets over the injury bug. once a key cornerstone of the leafs now a bust or boon player in the next 2 years.
White – good puck mover low confidence which may get boosted with another season. potential for a solid journeyman job in the nhl.
Stralman – one of two cornerstone defenceman of the future(the other is schenn) and has a huge amount of talent. is a good bet rof a roster spot and should significantly improve minutes this year. Confidence should be boosted with an great world championship and could move to a top 3 spot with depature of kubina or mccabe
kronwall – physically powerfully forward who is very much a defence only d-man. future is bright for him but will be hard pressed to make the squad. will see time if injuries on the big team and may well gain a spot then.
Frogren – Very impressive bruiser from sweden who has impressed with his world chapionship play and will be counted on to fill the spot gill left.
Kaberle – Best d-man of the group and is a top 2 d in almost every team in the leageu. counted on for his impressive passing skills and should be pushed by ron wilson to shoot more (which would be good). very good defensively and is a good player to build around. trade value is high and will only be traded if the offer is extremely high( as well as if hes drops his clause) or as a last resort to help rebuild if they are last any of the next 3 years (trade talk will be high in his last year).
Harrison – good player who should fit in to leafs plans if injuries happen but only then unless he plays out of this world.
Schenn – very talented defecneman who is counted on for his defensive abilitiees and will hit players hard and make them pay for goals. offence is limited but can develop. should get a long look to make the big team but will not be rushed.
Vesa Toskala – Staright up number 1 goalie without a doubt unless he is injured or somehow has a mental breakdown
Curtis Joseph – Very Reliable backup proved by the backup job he did in calgary and proved he can still be called on if toskala is injured.
Justin Pogge – Goalie of the future that will not be rushe into playing and will play with the marlies this year to better improve. could be called up in case of injury and may win the job(small possibility) dont count on seeing pogge play just yet.
barring any trades this is what the leafs roster will look like for the 2008-2009 season.
blake – antropov – tlutsy
hagman – stajan – kulemin
mayers – grabovski – poni
bell – moore – steen
extras – williams, earl, hollweg
kaberle – mccabe
kubina – stralman
finger – carlo
extras – schenn, kronwall, white, harrison
this next bit is a relistic look at how the leafs will do in the next season with no hopes of a miracle. the 2008-2009 team will be a more exciting team to watch then last season and there will be less defensive errors and defensive lapses. team will fight hard and will be a hard team to play against but probably be fighting for a playoff spot. look for high priced veterans such as kubina, mccabe, bell, blake, poni and antropov to be sopped 9with the possibility of finger, frogren and hagman being shopped as well) and for the leafs to be sellers come the trade deadline. expect them to look for picks and more likely low priced RFAs or young players in return. expect a top ten pick in the 2009 draft and maybe it being dealt for a top quality RFA. also expect players being deaklt to make room for a bevy of signings come july first that sign good players to long term deals.