Toronto Maple Leafs' Top 12 Forwards
The Toronto Maple Leafs switched around their line-up quite a few times this past season, switching through different forwards until they figured out who deserves a spot on the team.
Well judging by last season, I narrowed my top 12 forwards if the Leafs season started right now.
Granted the fact that this list might change in a few weeks... *cough* top six forward *cough*
Just Missed The Cut
Well, at least Rickard Wallin ALMOST made it....
12. Luca Caputi
Luca Caputi was brought into Toronto in the Ponikarovsky deal back on March 2, 2010.
Caputi rode the wave and played with the Maple Leafs for the remainder of the season.
He had a pretty decent run with the club and showed some signs of promise down the stretch.
Maybe he'll evolve into a better player in the future, but for now, I don't know if he'll have a secure spot in the Leafs top 12 forwards for the up-coming season.
11. John Mitchell
John Mitchell didn't have his best season with the Maple Leafs. It wasn't a full one, either, as he was plagued with injuries in the beginning of the season.
However, I feel like John Mitchell still has the potential to evolve into a possible 20+ goal scorer; he has a pretty good wrist shot.
If he can gain some size and speed, he could be a pretty decent depth player.
10. Cristian Hanson
Cristian Hanson had a so-so season with the Maple Leafs, up until the very last game of the regular season, when he netted home two goals.
Hanson is still pretty young and he does have some up-side to him. He's a pretty good skater and plays well along the boards.
With Tyler Bozak, Mikhail Grabovski, Nazem Kadri, and possibly a top center, I don't see Hanson being a HUGE part of the team next season, but I guess only time will tell.
9. Mikhail Grabovski
Mikhail Grabovski....For some reason he has gotten a lot of heat from Leafs fans lately, but I disagree with most of them.
If he can return to his form back a couple seasons ago, I would not mind having him on a third line.
Grabovski is capable of scoring 20-plus goals and would've been close to 20 goals if his season wasn't cut short due to injuries.
8. Fredrik Sjostrom
Some people may be surprised to see Sjostrom at No. 8, but a lot of people don't appreciate all the work that players like Sjostrom put into a game.
I think it's safe to say that he is the Maple Leafs best penalty-killer. Toronto's PK improved noticeably when he came into town, and although Phaneuf and Giguere came along, Sjostrom certainly made an impact on the Leafs PK.
7. Colton Orr
Colton Orr might be my favorite Leaf player right now, or at least top three.
Arguably the best fighter in all of the NHL, Colton Orr has a great work ethic and is always giving 100 percent on the ice.
The thing that makes Orr so effective is that he kind of takes on this leadership role while still knowing his place on the team and that he'll get limited minutes.
He's never afraid to drop the gloves and is the perfect player to give your team an energy boost.
6. Nazem Kadri
Although he hasn't made the team yet, Kadri is almost a sure bet to be in a Leaf uniform next season.
Kadri will probably end up playing significant minutes for the Maple Leafs.
He'll probably play third-line center and will most likely see a lot of time on the power play. Or if it ever goes to a shootout, don't be surprised to see Kadri on the ice.
The young center might be one of the best players for the blue and white next season, but since he is unproven in the NHL, I can't put him that high.
5. Colby Armstrong
If there was a definition of a "Brian Burke" type of player, look no further then Colby Armstrong.
Armstrong brings grit and toughness to the table with the addition of a decent scoring touch.
He has good size and speed and is a great checker, and he will certainly have an impact on the young Leafs roster.
4. Nikolai Kulemin
I think it's safe to say that Nikolai Kulemin is the most improved forward on the Toronto Maple Leafs team.
In the second half of the NHL season, Kulemin showed some signs of brilliance when he was paired up with Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel on the first line.
He put up respectable numbers but what made him so effective was how unbelievably good he was behind the net and along the boards...He doesn't have much size but he really knows how to get in there and create scoring chances.
3. Tyler Bozak
Tyler Bozak makes the Phil Kessel deal a little less hard to swallow.
Although the Leafs won't have Seguin at center, Tyler Bozak showed a lot of potential playing arguably the most important position up front at the No. 1 center spot for half the season...
And he certainly did not disappoint....For a rookie he put up some great numbers and he has great vision to go along with effective speed and puck control.
I'd rather see him playing the No. 2 center spot for next season, but Tyler Bozak can make any Leaf fan smile.
2. Kris Versteeg
Kris Versteeg, well, the Leafs got THE best rapper in the NHL.
Versteeg put up over 20 goals and 40 points in his time with Chicago, while playing on their third line...
In Toronto, he'll likely play first line, so that makes you wonder if he might be able to score over 30 goals and 60 points playing more minutes.
1. Phil Kessel
Phil Kessel is the new face of the Toronto Maple Leafs offense and he has the numbers to prove it.
Kessel has now scored back-to-back 30 goals while still missing a month of hockey in both seasons, and he's still only 22 years old...
I expect Kessel to be right up there in the high 30's for goals and possibly even top 40 goals next season..