Mark Bell—What Will the Leafs Do with Him?

Shane House@sghcantcopyAnalyst IJune 19, 2008

What to do with Mark Bell? That is the question, and what a question it is.

Here is a player that is a former first round pick, two time 20 goal scorer, and was supposed to be the future of the Chicago Blackhawks franchise.

What a falling when he went to the San Jose Sharks where he only managed 11 goals and 10 assists while playing on a line with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. This was supposed to be his big break, finally playing on a line with two superstar status players.

Things obviously didn't workout seeing as while starting the year on a line with Thornton and Marleau, he only got 10 goals and 21 points through the whole year. What a falling of a player with so much potential.

So, after one season, he was thrown into the deal that sent Toskala to the Leafs in exchange for a first, second, and fourth round pick. Good call by Ferguson and a rare one at that because he landed a solid goaltender, but what about Mark Bell?

He had to serve a 15 game suspension for driving under the influence and a hit-and-run accident near San Jose one night and was due to serve a six month jail sentence for his actions, but was cleared of all charges for good behavior this year, but what to think how he played last year?

Dull to say the least. Only being noted throughout the whole year for a questionable hit on Ottawa's captain Daniel Alfredsson. His years totals were four goals, six assists for 10 points in 35 games, to go along with 60 PIM's and a plus/minus rating of minus two. Not very impressive, but in all fairness neither were the Toronto Maple Leafs.

This year is a new year and with a new coaching and new management, who is to say Bell won't return to his old form.

Ron Wilson.

You do remember when his downfall began it began with San Jose and who was the coach of the Sharks that fateful season?

Ron Wilson.

But, as I said before, it's a new year with new players and new management.

With a bunch of players trying to prove they are first line players, who's to say Mark Bell isn't one of them? He has the skill to succeed, or he wouldn't have been an eighth overall pick 10 years ago and he wouldn't have gotten 20 goals twice in his career.

So, I am going to go out on a limb. I am going to say that he will rebound this year. Not to the point of a first line player, but he will be better then when he played first with Ron Wilson back in 06-07.

My predictions this year for Mark Bell are that he is going to be on a line with Kulemin and Antropov because all of them are big guys and all of them can dish out the hits. He will get around 15 goals and 35 points with a rash of penalty minutes, or do I need to remind you again of his mean streak?