Toronto Maple Leafs 2013 Roster Preview
When I look at the Toronto Maple Leafs roster, I’m not too impressed. Sure, you got the likes of Phil Kessel , Dion Phaneuf, Joffrey Lupul, but that’s where it basically ends. There are no big superstars like Sidney Crosby or Steven Stamkos. In fact, their one top scorer, Mikhail Grabovski, is probably not even too well known outside the city of Toronto. In this article, I will point out the pluses and minuses of this year’s Leaf squad.Pluses
Phil Kessel – This guy is obviously the heart of the Leafs offence, finishing second in the NHL in total points last year with 82 points (37 goals, 45 assists).,
Dion Phaneuf – This guy has proven in the past that he can be a good offensive defenceman who has a knack for the open-ice hit. He scored 12 goals while tallying 32 assists in the 2011-12 season, totaling 44 points altogether.
Nikolai Kulemin – Another under rated player in the NHL whohas shown an ability to score. He finished the 2011-12 season with a +2 despite the Leafs horrendous season.
Ryan Hamilton – If this guy gets called up from Toronto Marlies, where he serves as the captain, he may help the Leafs offence. I have watched quite a few Marlies games during the lockout, and this kid can really light it up with his goal scoring skills.
Nazem Kadri – Now that Brian Burke is no longer general manager, it will be interesting to see whether this kid will get more playing time with the big club or whether he will be stuck in the Minors for the majority of another season. Leafs fans in recent years blamed Burke for keeping Kadri in the Minors. Even though he hasn`t played with the Leafs too often, he became a fan favorite almost from the time he was drafted. It appears that Nonis’ recent transactions (trading Lombardi, waiving Connolly) will put this guy in the opening lineup.
Getting rid of Luke Schenn in the offseason – I am glad to see this guy gone. Last year I thought he was the worst defenseman on the squad. Schenn can hit, no questions asked. But he lacks mobility and speed and is often beat 1-on-1 if he doesnt line up his man. Hopefully he excels with his brother in Philly.
Goaltending – Unlike the 2010-11 season, starting netminder, James Reimer had a sub-par season last year. If he can’t bounce back this year, this 48-game season may just seem like a full 82-game schedule.
Dion Phanuef – He hasn`t been the player he was in Calgary yet. Despite racking up 44 points last year, he finished the season with a -10 plus/minus rating. Not what you’re looking for out of your top blueliner.
Phil Kessel – His plus/minus rating must get better this year. He finished the 2011-12 season with a -10.
Tyler Bozak – Tyler Bozak has proved at every level that he is a strong faceoff guy. He has yet to prove that in the NHL.
Defence – I’m not sure if the Leafs have a good enough defence to help them win games.
Well, there you have it folks. a breakdown of what I think of this year’s Leaf squad. When I look at the pluses and minuses, I give this team a B- grade overall. But, the question marks in net and on defence could prove me wrong.
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