Grades for Every Toronto Maple Leaf at the 2014 Winter Olympics so Far
The Toronto Maple Leafs haven't had a lot of representation at the Winter Olympics, but the quality of play of the three participants has been very good.
The Americans have had a great tournament to date. Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk have played a big part in that. They will play Team Canada on Friday following the two teams winning their quarterfinal games.
The Russians are no longer playing thanks to some inspired play from Team Finland in a two-goal win in the quarterfinals. Nikolai Kulemin did not have the impact on the Russian squad that his Leaf teammates have had for the U.S.
Nevertheless, Kulemin was not the biggest disappointment on the Russian squad. A number of Russian players are up for that award.
Let's take a look at all three players and their assigned grades based on their play at the 2014 Olympics.
All stats can be found via IIHF.com unless noted otherwise.
James Van Riemsdyk, LW, United States
James van Riemsdyk has played some great hockey in Sochi. Much like what he's done in Toronto this season, he's been tough to handle along the wall, played a physical brand of hockey when necessary and used his soft hands to make great offensive plays.
He, Joe Pavelski and Phil Kessel have had great chemistry since day one at the tournament.
With five points in four games and a plus-seven rating in those games, van Riemsdyk is on a roll. Expect him to play a big role in the semifinal game against Canada.
He could be one of the main reasons why the United States goes home with a gold medal on Sunday.
Nikolai Kulemin, F, Russia
Nikolai Kulemin and his Russian teammates are out of the tournament. The team never seemed to fire on all cylinders despite the support of the entire Russian nation behind them.
Kulemin played third-line minutes in most games and also played on both the power play and penalty kill throughout the tournament.
He did not score a point in the tournament, earned two penalty minutes and was plus-zero. Considering his role, Kulemin's play could be considered average at best and worst.
Phil Kessel, RW, United States
Quite simply, no one has been better offensively at these Olympics than Phil Kessel. With eight points in four games, Kessel has a good chance of leading the tournament in scoring. He sits in first place in scoring currently as his team readies for a battle with their archrival, Team Canada.
This tournament has been somewhat of a coming-out party for the talented American. He's had a very good season in Toronto, but this performance in Sochi has been on another level.
If Kessel can translate his play at the international level to the NHL, Leaf fans can look forward to a successful run to the playoffs.
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