Final Roster for the Leafs

The Leafs are down to their last two preseason games and its slowly becoming clear who will make the cut.
The Leaf hopefuls have demonstrated scoring talent, quickness, tough fights and impressive goaltending but now its the moment of truth.

Which players really stood out in preseason and more importantly, which players seem to be a fit for what this club needs?

Goalies
Tellqvist had a solid performance in his first preseason game but last night, it looked like the Telli that we are use to seeing. Inconsistent. Not to say he’s a bad goalie but when you are up against JS Aubin, consistency is your only weapon.
Maurice has mentioned that he will most likely play Raycroft in the final two preseason games.
So it’s pretty clear that Aubin will be the back up for Raycroft. To tell you the truth, I think I speak for all of Leafs Nation when I say this, I feel more confident with Aubin and Raycroft.

Defense
There were 3 spots available for D. Due to injuries, Maurice is forced to make the choice of Ian White, Andy Wozneiwski and Jay Harrison.

Ian White has had a great preseason. He’s quick, moves out of his zone creatively a la Kaberle, and he loves to shoot on net
Woz looks good on the powerplay. He’s got a good hard shot and he plays responsibly in his own zone.
Harrison is a good stay at home d man. He makes a great first pass and skates well.

As for the others….

Carlo Coliacovo will most likely play a few of games in the AHL to get his body back in form. Once he’s ready to play, Maurice will have to make a choice.

Brendan Bell would have been my choice over Harrison. Bell just adds more speed, creativety and more shots on goal compared to Harrison. Once he’s healthy, Maurice should make this switch.

Brad Brown demonstrated his physical ability last night by busting up McGratton’s face. He could be usefull against physical teams like Ottawa and Philadelphia but I wouldn’t put him as a regular roster player.

Right now, this is what D line up looks like:

Kaberle, McCabe
Woz, Kubina
White, Gill
Harrison

Forwards

The 3 that stand out to me, John Pohl, Bates Battaglia and Aleksander Suglabov.
After leading the Marlies in points, Pohl got the opportunity to land a permanent spot on the Buds. Pohl skates well with the puck, is creative, and always rushes to the net to recieve a pass or knock in a rebound.
He played well last night next to Mats but I think a suited position for him would be centering the fourth line.

Bates Battaglia also had a successful year with the Marlies and has really opened some eyes in the preseason. There is a natural chemistry between Battaglia, O’Neill and Pohl. This was the hardest working line I’ve seen so far on the Leafs. Their forechecking is excellent causing the other team to create turnovers and they all crash the net.
Battaglia has shown that he is ready to make his return to the NHL. He’s big, skates well and could score. Good fit for the squad.

Aleksander Suglabov has put on a show! I still can’t believe the Leafs picked him up for Ken Klee who no longer is playing with Jersey. Good move Fergie!
There is no doubt that this kid has skill. He’s got great hands, is probably the fastest and best skater on the team, and he could score but his passing needs work. He has to learn to dump the puck more and not always try to create a play. This could easily be coached.
I think he’s ready for prime time. Where he lacks, he could be coached but his skills and skating are at an elite level.

Forward line ups may look like this:

Wellwood – Sundin – Tucker
Steen – Peca – Suglabov
Poni – Stajan – Antropov
Battaglia/Kilger – Pohl – O’Neil

I think the days of having a goon fourth line is over. Maurice’s system is all about offense. We’ll see how these lines will work out.

thoughts?


37 Responses to Final Roster for the Leafs

  1. Biggzy says:

    Looks like another failed season for the leafs.

  2. the_word says:

    Telly's last performance was sobering, with the hype around him gone is he even tradeable?  Not like he would've fetched much anyway.  Aubin still the obvious choice.

  3. Aetherial says:

    Hey anyone know of a good stats place where I can Download stats and paste into Excel?

  4. Ortep says:

    The Toronto Star today reports the top 3 lines as:

    Poni Sundin Wellwood
    Stajan Steen Tucker
    Kilger Peca Antropov

    Guys on the bubble for 4th line:  Battaglia, Pohl, O'neill, Suglabov and Belak.

    It's interesting that Maurice has shifted Steen back to his natural position at center.  He played well on the wing last season.

    As for guys on the bubble, Suglabov has been very good offensively, but his two-way play has been a nightmare.  Unless he improves his play away from the puck, he won't have a very long NHL career.  I think Pohl actually has a better chance of cracking the lineup than Suglabov.

    It appears Maurice has been none too impressed with the play and overall fitness level of O'Neill.  He lists him as being on the bubble, but I think it is just Maurice's way of trying to motivate O'Neill and get him baclk to his form of 5 years ago.  I think he still has it in him, he just needs a kick in the a$$.

  5. simplyhabby says:

    Love the first line, decent depth at centre,, man are you guys weak on the right wing after Tucker.

    Poni will once again imporve this year.  Great 2 way player!

  6. the_word says:

    Good to see Steen back at center, he sucked on the wing.

  7. 92-93 says:

    again, a remarkably poor reading of Tellqvist – right up until is most recent start.

    Look, at think the Leafs will go with Raycroft and Aubin and i am ok with that. all i am saying is that it seems like a lot of people get their cues on Telly from the media and i think that's  wrong. Tellqvist CANNOT BE INCONSISTENT BECAUSE HE HASNT BEEN GIVEN A SHOT AT EVEN BEING INCONSISTENT OR CONSISTENT.

    people say that his starts in March last season consittuted that shot. WRONG. the guy was thrown into the lion's den. Aubin, on the other hand HAS BEEN GIVEN THAT SHOT WITH PITTSBURGH. that is all i am saying. and his last start, the game could have been 9-3 for the Sens. people look at the 26 saves on 31 shots and see a poor start. wrong again. most of those shots were extremely difficult ones (no easy saves). Telly made some spectacular saves and could really be only faulted on one goal.

    but yet we are reading that it was a inconsistent start – how is this possible? oh well.

    as for who makes the team. i think the front runner IS aubin and that is fine. I think the leafs should carry 3 goalies and trade one a month or two into the season when they realize that Raycroft is good again, and that another team will be willing to make that trade due to any unforseen goaltender injuries, etc.

    On D its a no-brainer to include White. Coliacovo still has to prove he can skate again. So its a battle between Harrison, Woz, and Brown and I think Woz wins it for now because he is solid this preseason. Bell and Kronvall are still injured but we WILL hear from them later on in the season.

    Just as we WILL hear from Jeremy Williams later on this year I believe. I still cannot believe he was cut. To me, he will have all the skill that Suglobov has, but a more complete game too.  I do believe that Suglobov will make the team and will help the leafs in a department they need help in – re: shootouts and skill. but the kid is still frustrating to watch (compared to Williams anyways).

    as for the others, it comes down to Pohl, Battaglia, Westrum, and Ondrus.

    I think Battaglia will make it on the left side and he has played solid. Pohl should also make it because of his play but I see him being sent down – along with Ondrus and Westrum. the good news is the leafs have a lot of 3rd and 4t line depth.

    Pohl should NOT and can not centre the fourth line. That would mean that one of stajan or Welly go to the wing, and i like to see both of them down the middle. however, if one had to move to the wing it would be Welly. Stajan is so much more better down the middle. that Battglia-Pohl-O'Neill line does sound like a very good 4th line to me, though I think it would beneficial to keep O'Neill beside a two-way centreman like Peca or Stajan (both of whom can pass very well). but i like the idea of giving O'Neill limited ice time on the 4th line too.

    Again, yes the Klee-Suglobov deal was a solid one for the Leafs (although i seem to remember that only Aetherial and I actually thought so back when it was done in March). BUT, at the same time, unlike the Wellwood/Steen situation last year, this IS an instance in which some leaf fans are overvaluing Suglobov's worth BIG TIME. i dont think he'll be much more than a 3rd liner or a top line AHLer. but hey, lets give him his shot … something we never did with Tellqvist.

    if you want Pohl down the middle:
    Poni———-Sundin——Wellwood
    Tucker——–Peca——–Steen
    Kilger———Stajan——-Suglobov
    Battaglia——Pohl——–Antropov

    if not:
    Poni———-Sundin——–Steen
    Tucker——–Wellwood—–Suglobov
    Kilger———-Peca———O'Neill
    Battaglia——Stajan——–Antropov

    oh, and by the way, does anyone else think its dumb that Belak is not battling for a spot (even though he is on a one-way contract)?

  8. my_sphincter says:

    weak on the right wing after Tucker?!?

    HAHAHA!

  9. 92-93 says:

    also, it looks like O'Neill is not a lock for the team – although i think he'll make it.

    another good Star article by Cox – this time on Tlusy playing for the Greyhounds or Hartsburg. Sounds good to me.

    http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1159480211312&call_pageid=968867503640&col=970081593064&t=TS_Home

  10. 92-93 says:

    actually Tucker should be on the Leaf's left side … i wonder how many Montreal players hit 28 goals and 60 points las year?

  11. simplyhabby says:

    Thanks for even further reaffirming my point.  Now I don't even have to say after Tucker.  The right wing position stinks!

    How many leaf players made the playoffs last year?

    LOL, don't you love the rivalry?  My buddy at work and I go back and forth all day long as he is a leaf fan.  Definately looking forward to our 8 games this year.

  12. 92-93 says:

    oh the playoffs, many of the leafs have a lot of recent playoff games under their belt … last year – only Peca i believe and i think he played a few games right???

    hehehe

    i cant wait until saturday night (next sat.) … again, nothing beats a leaf-hab game …not even those no-shows in ottawa.

    Right side – Steen, Antropov, O'Neill, and maybe Suglobov … yeah it sucks alright. Maybe Williams will finally be given a shot on the right side once the leafs realize that Suglobov isn't really good for much more than the shootouts.

    i'm already cringing at the site of even the more mediocre hab wingers skating circles around Gill (like Neil did the other night … chris neil!!!???).

  13. lukeleim says:

    it's spelled Suglobov not Suglabov. not trying to be a jerk…

  14. Aetherial says:

    I think I heard that Suglobov has to clear waivers before being sent down 🙁

    O'Neill was AWFUL last year. He also was benched in the most recent pre-season game. I would *love* to see them send him down but I think they'll keep him and hope he rounds into some sort of form. I really think he brings the team down.

    The rest of the forward lines suck major hardcore big time donkey ass.

    I can't see the Leafs making the playoffs with the current group of forwards and very few defensively responsible defensemen.

  15. toronto77 says:

    Where the hell is Ben Ondrus? We have a tough guy to play in rivalry games, so that's why we have Belak, but Ondrus needs to play every game, we have Peca and Tucker who are tough guy regulars but we need a younger tough regular as well.

    I don't know which line you can put him in but I would like to see Jeremy Williams in the lineup, as well as Suglobov. I would much rather have Suglobov and Williams than O'neill and Battaglia.

    Out of the 3 defencemen who are competing for the 2 remaining D spots I think Ian White is an obvious, everyone keeps saying that he is small, but who needs size when you have that kind of speed and skill. I think Coli is a lock as well, they are just looking for a spot to fill until he gets back, they are just going to fill it with either woz or harrison. Those 2 have to prove that they are better than coli before he gets back from his injury, otherwise I think Coli is going to get that spot.

  16. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    Tucker can play either wing, wellwood is playing the right side along with pohl.

    how many nhl games has the habs coach, actually coached? maurice took his team to the cp finals.

  17. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    one game does ot make him untradable. he was untradable going into the season. unless some team is desparate for a backup (in which case he'll be snapped off of waivers) he'll play for the marlies

  18. sydeburnz says:

    O'Neill WILL make the team, he WILL score 30-40 goals and the Leafs WILL make the playoffs and WILL go at least to the conference finals.
    MARK MY WORDS

  19. Huge_Polar_Bear says:

    At least Carbonneau owns 3 Stanley Cup rings.  How many does Maurice have?

  20. Huge_Polar_Bear says:

    Let me guess you were always told "Where there is a "will" there is a way"… Too bad that dictum can't make Gill any faster or give Sundin a real talented winger… Sorry to burst your buble but you WILL be crushed when your predictions come to a dead-end at the end of the regular season.

  21. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    too bad gill doesn't need speed to help his team, and sundin can stil score over a point per game without a talented winger. The leafs will makethe playoffs. If oneill scores 30 it wllbe because he played with sundin.

  22. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    as a player, nobody gives a $hit

    Maurice is a better coach.

  23. simplyhabby says:

    I like Steen,  Great prospect and this is his make or break year.

    Well at least Gill is a big but I do seem to recall Kovalev leveling him last year so he is also a pushover but an upgrade over Berg.

    We will see about those mediocre hab wingers.  Higgins, Ryder, are blue chip talents and Kovalev may just be the best stick handler in the league. 

    Hard to argue about the total goals the wingers put up (agreeing with your point) but one thing is for certain, our wingers will blow past most d-men in the league…the problem is finishing.  Can't argue with the speed the habs have, its the finish that is the issue.

  24. simplyhabby says:

    Can’t argue with the coaching experience but I really think it was a moot point in the debate about the leaf team as a whole missing the playoffs.

    Maurice is a fantastic coach but Carbs has all the tools and great people around him to succeed so give him a chance before you knock him.

  25. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    give raycroft a chance before you knock him.

  26. simplyhabby says:

    If last season is indicative of Raycroft’s future, then its a solid basis to knock him. I have no doubt that he will improve but from a year he could not even hold down a number 2 job, the question remains is will he improve to a number one or a number 2.

  27. Spitz88 says:

    All the people posting comments that Suglobov is brain dead defensively are dead wrong. I seem to remember the first pre-season game when even Harry Neale commented on how Suglobov looked responsible defensively. Don’t get me wrong he’s no Mike Peca but this kid definitely deserves his shot. He does need to work on his decision making but there is no doubt in my mind that Maurice will drill it in to his head to dump it in when there is no play. Suglobov is just what the doctor ordered for the Leafs, speed and skill. He’ll score some where between 20-25 goals this season provided he sees enough ice time, mark my words.

  28. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    wel, carbs could crash as an nhl coach, i honestly don’t thik the habs look much different, however, Raycroft has looked sharp in the preseason and Maurices leafs look much improved over last year team.

  29. lukeleim says:

    you’re an idiot

  30. simplyhabby says:

    I believe there was an article on Hockeybuzz about why there are alot leaf injuries because Maurice is pushing them hard and the ones who followed the training staff’s off season regiment are the only ones doing really well (concussions and stick slashes aside of course) That being said, there is no question Maurice will be an improvment to the leaf team.

    On the flipside to your argument about the possibility of Carbs crashing is he could pan out to be a great coach as projected. He is definately considered a blue cip prospect in coaching terms. He can draw a lot of experience from Gainey and Jarvis.

    The habs do look similar to last year on paper but this is a team that is still continuing to build upon the past. One of the youngest teams in the league and definately have a bright future with the current core group. They are still missing the franchise player like a Sundin, Pronger..etc.

  31. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    Koivu is a franchise player, he’s one of the few habs i like.
    Young coaches, coaching young teams sell disaster. Having said that the leafs are in the same scenario, except Maurice has experience with young teams.

  32. leafs_suck_sens_rule says:

    yup

  33. leafs_suck_sens_rule says:

    Mike Peca is no Andrej Meszaros.

  34. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    other way around, what was Meszaros doing during the stanely cup finals.

  35. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    are you a hockey fan, or just a leaf basher. i love how everyon hates the leafs.

  36. leafs_suck_sens_rule says:

    what were the leafs doing during the quarter-finals?

  37. leafs_suck_sens_rule says:

    both

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