Alex Steen Had to Leave the Toronto Maple Leafs

Mark MakuchCorrespondent INovember 25, 2008

A fan favourite, Alex Steen, is gone from the Leafs.

Many people are bemoaning this trade, suggesting that the Leafs did not show enough patience with this former first-round pick.

I would have loved to see Steen play better and stick around. Unfortunately, he had to go.

Here's why:

1. Not a 20-goal scorer

Not even close. Steen has netted 18, 15, and 15 goals in each of his full seasons with the Leafs. Over that time, his shooting percentage is 8.8 percent. He is not a sniper by any means.

I doubt he will reach the 20-goal threshold in his career. He has also never cracked 30 assists in a season. These are not special playmaking stats, if you ask me.

2. Unwilling to use his size

Steen is not a little guy. He's listed at 6'1" and 205 lbs. That's solid. Despite this, Steen plays smaller than he is, rarely winning battles along the boards.

If you're on the third line, your job is to get dirty and play gritty. Steen doesn't seem to have that capacity. Ron Wilson must hate to see a guy with this size play like such a lightweight.

3. Not fast enough

Compared to the thoroughbreds—Hagman, Grabovski, Kulemin, that Moore—Fletcher has racing around the ice these days, Steen is just slow. Sure, he was one of the faster Leafs last year—but that's not saying much.


Steen sure seems like a great guy, with great hockey genes, but I can't help but agree that the Leafs had to part ways with the underachieving Steen to make a move for a faster, more-talented player.