NHL Offseason 2012: Fixing the Toronto Maple Leafs, Part 3: Bottom 9 Forwards

« Prev
1 of 12
Next »
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse the slideshow
NHL Offseason 2012: Fixing the Toronto Maple Leafs, Part 3: Bottom 9 Forwards
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
David Steckel will be a key cog for Carlyle next season.

It seems so long ago that the Leafs held down first place in the Eastern Conference and the entire NHL. Then something, or several things went wrong.

The small problems, like occasionally suspect goaltending and lacking defensive coverage, were magnified immensely for the Leafs as teams around the league battened down their game to prepare for the playoffs.

The free-flowing offence and rush attack that had made the Leafs so successful in the first half of the season suddenly became the team's biggest flaw, as it constantly led to odd-man rushes which the D and embattled goalies simply couldn't deal with.

Secondary scoring dried up, the leadership core was tested and failed to help the team rise above their struggles and "The Leafs blew up." "They collapsed." "Ran a tractor trailer off a cliff." Insert other often-used cliches in here.

The Toronto Maple Leafs let what was assuredly going to be their first postseason berth in what seems like half a century (note: seems like it, but it has only been seven long years) slip away. 

What seemed to be a simple shopping list of adding a few pieces to a core group bound for the 2012 NHL playoffs only a month or two ago has rapidly grown to missing players at almost every position. Leadership, veteran presence, scoring, defence, goaltending—all of it went straight down the tube.

This article is Part 3 of a series dissecting what I think is wrong with the current Maple Leaf roster, suggesting players (and their cost) that might be able to right the ship and get the Leafs into their first playoff spot since the lockout. The series as a whole is an in-depth breakdown of the four biggest problems the Leafs faced last year during the 2011-12 NHL season:

1. Lack of a True No. 1 Center
2. Good Goaltending
3. Secondary Scoring and Character/Leadership in the Bottom Nine
4. Size and Snarl on the Blue line 

This article will focus on Lack of Secondary Scoring and Character/Leadership in the Bottom Nine Forwards.  

As always, feel free to comment below and tell me how wrong I am or how much you'd like to see a certain player in a Leafs' jersey. Maybe I left someone off my lists that should be there. I'd love to hear your arguments for Player "X." I always try to respond, and I love a good hockey debate.

Begin Slideshow »
Load More Stories

Follow Toronto Maple Leafs from B/R on Facebook

Follow Toronto Maple Leafs from B/R on Facebook and get the latest updates straight to your newsfeed!

Out of Bounds

Toronto Maple Leafs

Subscribe Now

We will never share your email address

Thanks for signing up.