One by One rating of our 2007-2008 Leaf Roster

Rather than arguing if the Leafs have a playoff capable team or not, anybody with half-a-mind knows they definitely do as long as they can steer clear of the mass amount of injuries they went through last year. However I would like to go from top to bottom and rate each “guaranteed roster player” out of 10 as for their value towards the team goes….if I slip even once there’s people on this site with nothing better to do than just point out flaws…let’s see them come to life if I slip on a player they disagree on.

Remember this is MY opinion and not “all Leaf fans” opinion…there are players on the roster I just don’t like and may hold that against them while rating them

RW – Tucker – 7 out of 10 – he’s a defensive weak spot, good on the power play but doesn’t do anything Blake or Bell couldn’t do (tap ins from the side of the net)…he gains most of his rating on annoying the opposition – I am not a huge Tucker fan

LW – Bell – 6 out of 10 – this guy could have a rating of 4 out of 10 or 8 out of 10 – it’s entirely up to him and his off-ice issues that he apparently has, that being said I’ll put him in the middle and give him a 6 out of 10 for potential…no need to go on too long about him

LW – Blake – 7.5 – Blake will be counted on to reproduce his numbers from last year, Leaf fans will be all over this guy like a fat kid on a Smartie if he goes through dry spells. Playing with a more talented centre than on Long Island it’s not unreasonable to look for 30+ goals from him

LW – Kilger – 6 out of 10 – obviously his rating is not this high based on point scoring talent, if he can continue his hard-hitting and hard shooting he can be worth more than the leafs bargain for…but this is a VERY generous 6 out of 10

LW – Ponikarovsky – 7 out of 10 – “Poni” is getting better every year, the amount of posts this guy hits is ridiculous; if he could just adjust his corner shot slightly he would be putting up very good numbers (goals), he’s aiming for the right spot on the goalies but is hitting the post more often than the main attraction at your local strip club

G – Raycroft – 6 out of 10 – Verdict is somehow still out of Raycroft, there are those who think he was not to blame for missing the playoffs and there are those who blame him entirely. Regardless he has a lot of work to do and needs to pay more attention to everything above his pads…if “saves with pads” was a category for goalies Raycroft would be tops in the NHL, but there isn’t and forwards know that he’s great with his pads and weak up top; so guess where they shoot and where the majority of the momentum killing goals are going…up top! Here’s to him turning another corner and keeping the fight for #1 as strong as it can be. It’s tough to have a full opinion on this guy; he just played his FIRST FULL season in the NHL and the “opinion sharks” are all over him. I for one do think they would’ve made the playoffs had he saved even one or two games for them.

G – Toskala – 8 out of 10 – there are those that are not sold on him and there are San Jose fans that say he’s better than Nabokov but with Nabokov’s contract it was tough to play Toskala over him and still keep a high trade value…I hope for option 2, he will be counted on BIG TIME to be 80% of why they make it to the playoffs comfortably

D – Belak – 3 out of 10 – Why is this guy still employed? I don’t care how “valued” he is in the dressing room; something tells me the team would not crumble to the ground if we lost Belak…however he can play forward and defense both at a 3-5 out of 10 for checking and fighting value

D – Coliacovo – 7 out of 10 – this is based on his play last year and his potential this year, it’s looking more and more like he’s going to be what Leaf fans hoped for; but I don’t think we expected the hard open-ice hits this guy delivers…that to me is a HUGE bonus from a non-huge player

D – Gill – 6.5 out of 10 – He was decent last year and at 2.5 million (or so) compared to some of the higher paid dmen out there he’s a decent bargain and can kill penalties fairly well with his size. Not to mention if traded he would be able to fetch at least a 3rd round pick…perhaps I am off base with that?

D – Kaberle – 8.5 out of 10 – Kaberle gets better every year and in the first half of last season I actually found myself thinking “Wow Kaberle could be a Norris trophy candidate” but as the season progressed the team starting fading which brought Kaberle down as well. He’s more and more solid each year and is a HUGE part of the team both defensively and offensively…where would McCabes Power play points be without Kaberle?

D – Kubina – 7.5 out of 10 – I’d say based on last years performance this is generous but nobody doubts that he’s a good defenseman; just that he’s not worth 5+ million. With a full season he could change the look of the team’s defensive strengths and change the opinion of many Leaf and NHL fans…this one is probably the most debatable of all rankings.

D – McCabe – 7.5 out of 10 – Fantastic for offensive ability, less than stellar defensively – which obviously happens to be his position – even still the team has structured themselves more as an offensive team which makes his style flow nicely. He will never win a Norris as long as he keeps avoiding the defensive strength of his game (which some may say is an oxy-moron), I went through a phase last year where I was embarrassed to have him on the Leafs but then watched him cover Ovechkin in two separate games and realized this guy actually has the ability to stop high-end talent, he’s just inconsistent with it…this year will be his second year of his big contract and he will likely be less pressured now that there’s dmen out there with worse or similar financial contracts to his (ie: Timonen, Souray, Visnovski, Hamrlik)…I think it’s an endless argument on the overall view of McCabe.

D – White – 6.5 out of 10 – this could change completely as the year progresses, he certainly did a heck of a lot more than anybody would’ve given him credit for last year. I’ll leave that 6.5 as a very “loose” rating as that could very easily change according to what he did last year

C – Antropov – 7 out of 10 – last year was a much better year for Antropov from a development standpoint. He pushed guys around a lot more, used his strength and although was injured as always; he was more consistently in the line-up rather than his usual in and out over and over again. Considering his injury he played well and would’ve finished with his best season yet with 50 points (according to his 61% scoring rate per game) if he played 82 games.

C – Stajan – 7 out o
f 10 – will this guy ever turn the corner? Nobody is expecting him to score 30 goals and 70 points but I still have yet to see him present the hype that surrounded him for being able to control the flow of the game and slowing down the oppositions top scorers. He’s a fantastic penalty killer (maybe fantastic is a little extreme but he’s very good) but he is progressing slower than the George Bush is making the trip to Iraq worth while…sorry that was low, no need to harp on me for that; I will ignore it.

C – Steen – 6 out of 10 – Last year was terrible and I believe it was solely on the fact that he couldn’t handle the expectations. He broke out of his slumps with a bang a few times and then went right back into hibernation…I place no expectations on him and if he reproduces last years performance I say give him Jeff O’Neil’s spot in the press box

C – Sundin – 8.5 out of 10 – this rating is tough, he has the ability to be a 9 out of 10 and according to the end of last season he was an easy 7.5 out of 10. If Sundin doesn’t perform the team will likely follow. In my opinion he is just as important to this team if not slightly more than Kaberle (as far as I’m concerned, but I’m also a big kaberle fan)…for different reasons of course. He could still put up 90 points but it just never seems to happen, perhaps if he’s with Wellwood (and he won’t be) and Wellwood has another great/good season and Blake plays accordingly he could top 90 but I think we all know he will end up with his usual 80-85 points…I’ll take it.

C – Wellwood – 8 out of 10 – This rating is slightly generous and probably has some “I’m a Leaf fan” attached to it. If I may speak for the majority of Leaf fans I’ll say that we’re beginning to put quite a bit of expectations on him as is Paul Maurice, I wouldn’t be surprised if Wellwood managed to touch 80 points, but I would be happy even if he hit 70…let’s hope for more. On a side note…besides the anticipation of how well Toskala will do; I am most excited to see how Wellwood does this year over anything else, even if the team doesn’t make the playoffs but Wellwood breaks out I will be happy with that as it’ll be nice to FINALLY have a player the Leafs drafted, farmed and developed that reaches the top point scorers list…the only other player the leafs can brag about drafting into something special is Kaberle…what was that…9 years ago or so?

Well there you have it, MY opinion of how I look at our 2007-2008 Maple Leaf roster and what I expect from them. For those of you who wish to tear me a new one for my views; all I ask is that you keep in mind it’s just my opinion and not the entire opinion of the Maple Leaf fan base. I also think Tomatoes ruin hamburgers and that Veal is disgusting…those are also my opinions…they’re just opinions, it doesn’t mean I’m walking around thinking I’m right. For extra debate I also think the Leafs will finish 6th.

Each players position was based on a cut and paste from Yahoo’s Leaf roster…if you feel it’s inaccurate tell them; not me.

Also the to HTR guys…in respect to the non-Leaf fans out there if we could just post this on the Leafs board I’m sure they’d appreciate it.

I hadn’t posted a “team/roster based” Leaf article since april 17th so I offer no apology for “another Leaf article”

Happy August 1st everyone!