The good, The bad, and the ugly start for the Leafs
An optimist could argue the leafs are a top notch offensive team waiting for the defense to find its groove before the team takes off. A pesimist would argue their a bad team on a hot streak, waiting to collapse into the basement once the scoring slows down.
I however argue that this is a team winning on pure effort, and losing because the role players aren’t filling their roles. Hall Gill has been sloppy at times on the PK, Wellwood hasn’t been able to bring the Leafs PP to life (as he hasn’t played), McCabe hasn’t been a threat from the point, and the 3rd and fourth liners havent been forechecking well.
It bugs me when people say the Leafs are making the same mistakes as last year. Bates Battaglia didn’t stumble all over the ice last year. This team has been, in many ways, worse than last year. And almost all of that, is stemming from the depth players.
Sundin- On a rampage
Antropov- What a start
Blake- Not scoring, but creating lots of offense, outstanding 5 on 5
Stajan- Finally finding his faceoff groove
Steen- defensively miles ahead of last year
Poni- Most consistent player on this team, other than Sundin
Gamache- Nice energy. needs reduced minutes, but is a handy tool to have (if i’m Maurice i’d get this guy practising shootout drills, perfect fit for shootout specialist)
Tlusty- I’m amazed at bhow well he’s been playing WITHOUT the puck. room for improvement, but another handy tool to have.
Kaberle- More minutes hurt his game, but Kaberle with a hurt game aint that bad
Kubina- Not worth 5 mil, but more ice time has helped his game.
Gill- I took a hit at him before, but he’s still been pretty good.
These players (8 forwards 3 D) have a combined 40 goals (more than the Defending Cup Champion Duchks ENTIRE team has scored), and are a combined +57
Chad Kilger- When he shows up, he scores, when he doesn’t he gets beaten easily. tough to give him more minutes. He’s also seen virtually no PK time.
John Pohl- Some predicted he’d get 50 points, i just hope he’s not causing goals in his own net now.
Boyd Devereaux- A 2 year contract has cooled the fire in his belly. Playing on the 2nd line hasn’t even helped him.
Wade Belak- need I say anything
Bates battaglia- eek, what a nightmare. he plays 2 minutes a game, and is -7
Kris Newbury- I thought this was a guy fighting to be an NHL regular, but you cant tell by his play
Brian McCabe- Every ounce of defensive play he learned at the end of last year, left with his point shot…rough start
Ian White- Played well vs the Habs, but a bad year overall. Getting decent PP minutes, but doing nothing with them.
Andy Wozniewski- Good start, but now he cant stay out of the box. once some injured players come back, dont be surprised to see him on waivers
Anton Stralman- He needs to adjust to the pro game. That means he needs to play more games, but he hasn’t played that well at either end of the ice….its a tough situation, but with all the injurys the decision is already made.
These players (6 forwards 4 D) have averaged 9 goals, and are a combined -33
Mark Bell- 15 game suspension
Carlo Colaiacovo- the injuries get worse and worse for him
Kyle Wellwood- Remember when he was day to day with a hip flexor?, that was 50 games and 2 surgery’s ago.
Darcy Tucker- The Life of the powerplay is injured.
So, what can Ferguson and Maurice make of all this? Well we know Paul Maurice likes to play his best players, so we should expect more of that. The Leafs should have this lineup against the sens:
When healthy this team has 27 roster players. Meaning as many as 4 (though likely less) could be placed on waivers.