Mikhail Grabovski: Going from Worthless to Priceless

Darcy FullerCorrespondent IJanuary 8, 2011

The Toronto Maple Leafs are at the moment one game away from reaching the teams half-way point. There has been many sore spots and underachievers on this club, which include one of the worst PK percentage and Dion Phaneufs lack of goal scoring to being 26th in the league at the moment. But there as least one bright spot on this young team and that is none other then Mikhail Grabovski.

Grabovski a former Montreal Canadian castoff is in his 3rd full season as a Toronto Maple Leaf. He's had a roller coaster ride with the Leafs the last 2 1/2 seasons seeing him score 20 goals/28 assists in his first full year and drop to 10 goals/25 assists in his second. After his dismal season last year there was cry's from the fans to get rid of Grabovski wether its demoting him to the AHL or trading him for a bag of pucks. Mikhail had very few fans in Toronto.

At the beginning of the year the Leafs coach Ron Wilson had said if theres one person to look out for it would be Mikhail Grabovski. Wilson stated that Grabovski had come into camp the fastest,strongest and most determined hes ever been in his current stint with the Leafs. But Leaf fans brushed it off saying Wilson must be either high or off his rocker if he thought Grabo would amount to anything productive. For the first 10 games leaf fans yelled at their television's cursing grabovski with his measly five points (all assists) and they all would have jumped at the chance to be able to look coach Wilson in the eyes and say "I told you so".

The date is January 8th, 2011 and the Leafs have played 30 games since Grabovski's goaless drought. And my oh my has the tide changed. Grabovski has the exact same amount of goals as our 1 true sniper in Phil Kessel. Did i forget to mention Grabovski makes almost half of what Kessel makes? With 17 goals and 15 assists (32 points) he sits second place in Leafs scoring, behind only Clarke Macarthur who has 33 points. So if we do the math that equals out to 17 goals 10 assists in 29 games. I think anyone would agree that, that is highly surprising. But is it? Its not only the offence Grabovski is providing but the defence as well. He's always asking for the coach to put him in defensive situations. After and offensive segment is done Grabo puts his head down and skates back as hard as he can to help out the defence. He's been much improved in his own end and play away from the puck. One of the few players who has not been a defensive liability for the most part.

When Cliff Flether traded for Grabovski there was a few gm's buzzing about the skill of this young player. He was sitting pretty low on the Canadians depth chart so they figured might as well dump him since there were problems with the Kostitsyn brothers. It cost the Leafs prospect Greg Pateryn and a second round pick. At the time every leaf fan was scratching their heads saying who the hell is this guy!?! Its been almost three years since that trade and until this season it had looked like we got beat on another trade involving draft pics and prospects once again. But to this point Pateryn has not played a game with the Candians and Grabovski has played 176 games over 2 1/2 seasons. I think its safe to say at the moment the trade has been won in the Leafs favour.

Grabovski has proven his nay-sayers wrong up to this point in the season. He has truly gone from being "Worthless To Priceless"