Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Grading the Maple Leafs at the quarter point
Well Leafs Nation we have just passed the quarter point of the season and the Buds are sitting 2nd in the Eastern Conference and 4th in the whole NHL. How many Leaf fans saw this coming? Do we have any hand raising, I think not. I did feel that Buds would make the playoffs this season but did not see them being in the place that they currently are in the NHL.
I have to say it is alot more fun to watch the games this season, the team is fast, we are getting scoring and surprise, surprise we sit 3rd in the league on the PP (this is huge). This Leafs Nation is something we have been waiting for since the lockout. There is still alot of season to go but if the Buds continue to perform, April will be longer then we are accustomed too.
I now grade the club at just over the quarter point, minimum 10 games played:
James Reimer- The # 1 has only played six games due to an injury, he has not lost in regulation this season. GRADE: N/A
Jonas Gustavsson- Gustavsson has played well of late and hope this continues until Reimer returns, he lets in the odd goal that leaves you shaking your head but he is a good positional goalie. GRADE: C+
Ben Srivens- The rookie has appeared in 8 games and has played some superb rookie games but at home needs some more consistency.GRADE: N/A
Dion Phaneuf- The captain is playing at a different level not seen since his rookie campaign in Calgary, sits 5th in points from the backend and is on pace for a career year. GRADE: A
John-Michael Liles- A great pickup from Colorado, has worked well with Phaneuf on the main PP unit, tied for 6th in points from a defensemen in league. Liles is also on pace for a career year. GRADE: A
Luke Schenn- The stay at home blue liner is having a sub par year and has to regain his confidence, has had his minutes cut, lets hope he is not like pitcher Bret Saberhagen who had a good year, bad year complex. Schenn will be needed come playoff time. GRADE: D+
Carl Gunnarsson- I've said it before the best all around defensemen on the club, I don't think its a coincidence that Phaneuf is playing better along side the Swede. GRADE: A-
Jake Gardiner- The rookie has played great, leading the club in minutes played on many nights. He has pose and confidence a dangerous combination he will need it playing in one of the toughest positions a rookie can play in the game. GRADE: A
Mike Komisarek- The veteran looks to have finally turned his game around this season. An unfortunate injury will cost him alot of time on the IR. GRADE: C+
Cody Franson- This guy can shoot but boy is he soft for a big man, has only appeared in 10 games this season but has second worst plus/minus on the club, needs to learn how to play the man if he wants to stay in the line up. GRADE: D
Phil Kessel- The man has done it all, leads the league in goals and points. Where would the club be without him? Kessel for Seguin what do people think of the trade now? Kessel is on pace to score 50 + goals, that would be something. GRADE: A+
Joffrey Lupul- How many people took this man in their hockey pools? Lupul has played amazing and with an edge, playing like he has something to prove. He is 2nd in league scoring and would hit 100 points at this pace. GRADE: A+
Tyler Bozak- Bozak has filled in nicely as the top center between Kessel and Lupul with Connolly out. Bozak looks like he finely understands that you need to show up every night. GRADE: B-
Tim Connolly- Connolly has missed half the season playing in only 12 games but is a point a game player when in the lineup, if only he could stay healthy, what would we see? GRADE: C+
Nikolai Kulemin- Kulemin has the skill to be better then he has been. The power forward is on pace for just 8 goals after scoring 30 last season. Could losing his mentor Korolev in that awful Russian plane crash be having an effect on him? GRADE: D+
Clarke MacArthur- Has suffered an injury and started the season on a suspension missing six games in total but his 9 goals has him on pace to score over 30. GRADE: B
Mikhail Grabovski- Grabovski missed scoring 30 last season by just one goal, he will miss by alot more the way he is going this season, Grabovski could be playing 3rd line minutes with Bozak and Connolly performing well in front of him. GRADE: C
Dave Steckel- Has done everything the coaching staff has asked of him, this guy is a face off wizard and knows his role on the club. GRADE: B+
Matthew Lombardi- Lombardi has the worst plus/minus on the club but after missing just about all of last season with an injury, has been a decent edition to the club, youngsters though are knocking for his spot. GRADE: C-
Joey Crabb- Crabb has worked off his behind since being called up from the Marlies, 5 goals in 13 games was not expected. He is filling the bottom 6 role. GRADE: C
Matt Frattin- Frattin in his rookie year, has still not found his scoring touch, some time in the minors might be needed but boy can he skate. GRADE: C-
Mike Brown- Brown was a regular in the lineup ahead of Orr and Rosehill until his current injury, a hard working forward that does not back down from anyone. GRADE: C+
Philippe Dupuis- Dupuis is a decent PK man but is one of only two Leaf players over 10 games without a point, keeping spot warm for a youngster. GRADE: C-
Jay Rosehill- Rosehill could play the most games he has ever played in one season in the NHL. Rosehill is an enforcer but better then Orr? you decide. GRADE: C-
Colton Orr, Colby Armstrong, Joe Colborne and Nazem Kadri has appeared in less then six games so the grade is a N/A for all.
Well Leafs Nation it would be great if the club and players keep up their pace but something to ask yourselves, how far ahead would this club be if Reimer was around, while Schenn, Kulemin and Grabovski played to their level of last season?
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