Why Should We Keep Jason Blake?

Shane HouseAnalyst IJanuary 20, 2009

Ever since Jason Blake was signed last year, he has gotten a bad rap.

People seemed to think that he would get 30-40 goals when he came here, but to be honest, that whole thought was set up to fail.

He is a solid player. He can put the pick in the net but not 40 like he did the year before he was signed. He is just a grinder that can put the puck into the net and that's what people need to realize.

When people finally do realize this, that's when they will be happy with his play.

I know it will be hard I mean it took a couple months into the season for me to realize it too but now that I do, I can see that Blake is a good player.

Last year he still played well. Even though he was in the doghouse of then coach Paul Maurice all season, he still managed 52 points. And that came without a real linemates that he had no real chemistry with.

So, after all that went on last season, he came into this season as (for lack of a better word) a bust. He was damaged goods. He is too old and can't score anymore. That's the label that the media put on him.

But it might have been a better thing for him because now people aren't expecting as much from the 35 year old. Which means less weight to carry on his shoulders.

The thing about it was that he did not realize that till two months into the season.

But now that he has, he has been one of Toronto's best players. Ron Wilson was quoted as saying "I don't think I'm stepping out on a gang plank here or anything, but he's been our best player the past two months."

If you can get the coach that benched you at the beginning of the season to say that about you, then you are doing something right.

In the past 23 games, he has gotten 19 points and ten goals. But the one stat that I would like to mention is this.

When Blake played for the Islanders, on average Jason Blake would get around 50 PIM a season. This was when he scored 25 goals consistently remember.

Last year, Blake only got 24 PIM the entire season. He also got only 15 goals the whole season remember.

In the past three months, Blake has gotten 24 PIM in only 33 games. In those 33 games, he has 12 goals and 25 points.

The point I am trying to make is that the Blake we have seen this season is how Blake has always played. This is what he does. He plays fast hockey where he handles the puck and is willing to get rough when needed.

That's a good hockey player by the sounds of it. To be honest, I will take a gritty, two-way 25 goal-scorer any day then a finesse, one-way 30 goal-scorer because two way players prevent goals as well.

So why not embrace what we have in Jason Blake instead of criticizing him for what he isn't. I am happy with what he has done. And with a four million dollar contract in this economy, he isn't going anywhere for a long, long time.