Toronto Maple Leafs: Why Not Alex Tanguay?

Alex MamalisCorrespondent IIIJune 4, 2011

CALGARY, AB - FEBRUARY 20: Alex Tanguay #40 of the Calgary Flames skates against the Montreal Canadiens during the 2011 NHL Heritage Classic Game at McMahon Stadium on February 20, 2011 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  (Photo by Mike Ridewood/Getty Images)
Mike Ridewood/Getty Images

We've heard Paul Stastny, Steven Stamkos, Zach Parise, etc.

And though all of those players would be nicer than anyone we could get on the free market, is it really logical to suggest acquiring them could happen?

Of course, anything could happen, but is it likely? No, definitely not.

So, if Brad Richards isn't available, and all the above names can't be acquired, who do the Leafs turn to?

The consensus around the Leafs' brass is that a No. 1 center isn't completely necessary, someone to pass the puck to Phil Kessel is. So, who's to say it can't be a winger?

And who's to say that winger can't be Alex Tanguay?

The first time you read that sentence, your first instinct is to most likely close the page, but hear me out.

Yes, he's been scrutinized (I really don't know why), been questioned, and been mistreated by any team's fans he's played for, but let's get this straight:  Alex Tanguay is not a bad hockey player.

In fact, he's quite the contrary, he's a very good hockey player, and shouldn't be overlooked.

I've heard the red flag on the Calgary Flame is that he's too inconsistent. One season he's posting 50 points, the next 80, and repeat. For that, he has been punished. His inconsistency from season to season has affected his ability to receive top dollar for his services.

He hasn't received over $2.5 million in his last two contracts, and the last time he received top dollar (3 year, $15.25 with Calgary five years ago), his point totals were too sporadic, which has now scared many teams off from paying him over $3 million. 

My question is, why do so many teams ignore this man's talent?

Sure, paying him over $5 million is a stretch, but if Burke even overpaid him on a one-year deal, perhaps something like $4 million, would you be upset?

You shouldn't be, because you're getting 50 points at the lowest, and the potential to pot 85 from Tanguay. Just look at his career stats. Throughout his 11-year career, his point totals have been below the 50 mark only three times, and two of those times shouldn't even count.

In the 2001 season, he posted 48 points while missing 12 games; surely in those 12 games he would have posted at least two points? His other two times were more recently, when he played only 50 games in Montreal and still managed to put up 41 points.

Of course, something that's keeping teams away is his 37-point failure in Tampa Bay a year ago, but shouldn't posting 69 points in Calgary a year later erase those memories?

The argument is that he was playing with Iginla all of last season. Well, a year before that, he was splitting time between the first and third lines, either playing with Vincent Lecavalier, Marty St.-Louis, or Steven Stamkos.

To the reason why he would be signed to play with Kessel, he passes the puck better than most centers. Last season, he recorded 47 assists, higher many perceived, elite centers.

To name a few, Washington's Nicklas Backstrom, San Jose's Joe Pavelski, Chicago's Patrick Kane, and even Tampa's Stamkos. And out of his 11  seasons, he's reached or surpassed the 40-assist mark seven times.

Another issue would be fitting him into the fold without completely disrupting the remaining lines. Where would Joffrey Lupul and Tyler Bozak play? What about Nazem Kadri or Matt Frattin if they're ready?

Of course, a pro towards acquiring Tanguay is that his term would be fairly short, allowing Kadri among others to properly develop rather than being thrown into the fire from the start.

I'm not saying Alex Tanguay can or should be our No. 1 center, and I personally still am not entirely on-board for signing him, but he should at least be given a look, especially if we fail to acquire Richards, or Stastny, etc., no?


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