The Toronto Maple Leafs are a team that is not known for their drafting. It is a simple fact for any Maple Leafs fan to realize. But another thing that the Leafs have a habit of doing is keeping players for too long.
Whether they be prospects, veterans, or free agent signings, the Leafs have a habit of keeping players in hope that they turn it around to make the GM not look like a screw up.
But most of the time, they never turn it around, and instead of contributing on a consistent basis, they just remain there.
Anyways, here are some players that are a part of the Maple Leafs that they should just finally give up on and let go.
I never really had a lot of hope for Ondrus. With the minor-league Marlies, he is a gritty, two-way leader that is able to put the puck in the net.
In the NHL, he is slow, unskilled, and forces himself to fight almost every game just to contribute in the NHL in some way.
I believe that he will always and forever be a career AHLer who will never have any sticking power. He will rather stick with the Marlies for the rest of his career or move to Europe. Either way, the Leafs need to make room for another player to have his chance.
Career NHL Statistics: 51GP, 0G, 2A, 2PTS, -19, 77PIM
I remember when the Maple Leafs were so high on Kronwall that they considered him to be a potential top-four defenseman. Even I believed that he had a lot of potential to be a solid player in the NHL.
Well, with a couple of unlucky injuries and some lackluster showings with the big club, Kronwall played himself right out of the NHL.
He has played with the Marlies for far too long and is playing at the Maple Leafs deepest position. I honestly do not believe the Leafs will keep him after this season, and I do not see him wanting to stay either.
Career NHL Statistics: 55GP, 0G, 1A, 1PTS, -6, 21PIM
I personally love Bates and even have a drunk cap with my buddies called the Bates Battaglia helmet of awesomeness, but this respected veteran has become a career AHLer and I honestly can't stand it.
He was a great player pre-lockout. But the new NHL has made his lack of speed really stick out. I hate to say it but it is time for him to make his way out of this organization and let a younger player get his shot.
Hopefully, I am wrong and a team picks him up looking for some veteran leadership.
Career NHL Statistics: 580GP, 80G, 118A, 198PTS, -34, 385PIM
Not a lot of people know this, but Newbury was acquired in the deal that saw Owen Nolan come to the Maple Leafs. Yeah I know, tragic to think about.
But at first, I was actually impressed. In his first stint in the NHL, he showed all the tangibles to be a solid, gritty forward. He had speed; he had the ability to put the puck in the net; and he had a nasty streak that coaches love.
But after that season, he seemed to loose all of that and, instead, turn into a Darcy Tucker-type that is out of position, barely contributes, and, most importantly, can't score. He is 27 now and shows no signs of improving.
Once again, it is time to let this career AHLer go and make room for a younger player to develop.
Career NHL Statistics: 44GP, 3G, 3A, 6PTS, -3, 60PIM
Was drafted sixth overall by the Edmonton Oilers in 1996 and has never really panned out as the power forward as most hoped.
Instead, he developed into a fourth liner who is good on the penalty kill.
Nothing wrong with a player like that. He plays hard every game and brings grit to the bottom line.
The problem here is the fact that the Leafs have those types of players all over their line-up. The only difference is that most of those players are better.
So when the Leafs go into next season still rebuilding, who would they rather have in their line-up?
A skilled player they signed as a free agent, a young stud that will have a chance to develop and get better, or Boyd Devereaux? I think you can guess which choice Leafs' management will make.
Hopefully Devereaux will find an NHL team looking for a defensive player, but most likely, he will be put back into the minors, just not with the Toronto Marlies.
Career NHL Statistics: 619GP, 61G, 109A, 170PTS, -1, 203PIM
So there you have it. As good as these players might be and as much potential as they might have had, they have been with this organization too long.
Something tells me that Brian Burke will most likely let these players go, maybe keeping one behind to have some veteran presence on the Marlies.
I have a new blog and if you want to check it out you can go to http://shanegordonhouse.blogspot.com/ and see all my articles starting from March 7, 2009.