Written By: Mark “The Hard Hitter” Ritter
Acquired from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for the Toronto Maple Leafs' third-round pick in the 2008 NHL entry draft, Jamal Mayers has, for the most part, been invisible for the Leafs.
Through 76 career games with the Leafs, Mayers has registered seven goals and ten assists, good enough for 17 points. To be fair, Mayers was not acquired for his offensive prowess, rather, it was he ability to throw the knuckles that the Leafs valued.
Sure, when called upon, Mayers answers the bell and sticks up for his teammates, but with offseason additions Colton Orr and Wayne Primeau in the fold, Mayers’ playing time has quickly eroded to the point that it appears as if his services are no longer required.
Let’s be clear here, we are talking about a player that has a career plus/minus rating of minus-86, so Mayers’ absence from the lineup would be negligible. Question is, what should the Leafs do with him?
Leafs general manager Brian Burke stated over the summer that he would not hesitate to send underachievers/dead weight players down to the Leafs' AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies. Given the fact that Mayers has not played since Oct. 24 versus the Vancouver Canucks and has played in just five games total on the season, a move to the Marlies seems inevitable.
Orr, Primeau, and Mayers are all the same player—a player with little skill that’s very plodding, possesses a veteran presence, and can fight. You know, the type of player that spends more time in the penalty box than he does on the ice.
My question is, why the hesitation? An Orr, Primeau, Mayers trifecta does nothing to enhance the Leafs’ chances of winning games. Sure, an enforcer is a necessary evil, but three? Come on now! The roster spot would be better served by an up and coming prospect, three "tough guys" is one too many, maybe two too many.
Fact is, anytime Orr, Primeau, and/or Mayers is on the ice, their aggressive nature is likely to cost the Leafs in the form of a penalty kill. All three of these players brings an element of toughness to the rink, but for the most part, this threesome has confused toughness with untimely fights, which is counterproductive.
Orr, Primeau, Mayers, pick your poison; having all three on the roster is too much of a bad thing, something’s gotta give, someone has to go, and, by all accounts, it seems as if the writing is on the wall for Mayers.
Until next time,
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