Toronto Maple Leafs Castoffs Prove Cliff Fletcher Right (Mostly)
Over the summer, Cliff Fletcher did all he could to remove players from the Toronto Maple Leafs that had instilled a country-club atmosphere in the team.
After a season where hard work was a joke and talent unable to make up for it, several Leafs hit the road.
Looking at those players this year shows that Fletcher chose the right players to cut loose.
Tucker was never a defensive force, nor was he ever close to being a speedster. He usually made up for those shortcomings by playing a hard-nosed and feisty game.
Last season, it seemed that age had caught up with him, and he could no longer contribute in that way.
This season, in Colorado, Tucker has lost 11 games to a knee injury, showing his fragility, and has only produced four goals and four assists, with a minus-five rating over the 25 games he has played.
Good move? You bet, even if it costs a million bucks a year.
Toronto's favourite whipping boy has new digs in Florida, closer to his wife's mommy and daddy, and out of the spotlight in Toronto.
Florida is only one point up on the Leafs right now, and while he's a respectable plus-eight with six goals and nine assists in 26 games, it's nowhere near his contract—and you have to think the Leafs are better off with Van Ryn, who, despite injuries, has nine points in 17 games.
While Toronto's defense has been absolutely porous at times this season, I'm sure Bryan is happy he's not in Toronto still—he knows everyone would be blaming him for all 133 goals against this season.
Kyle's departure was hotly contested by some Maple Leaf fans. Many thought his talent overcame his lackadaisical approach to conditioning and work ethic. To make matters worse, he started off with a bang in Vancouver, scoring seven goals in 12 games.
Unfortunately for Wellie, that's come down to six in his past 21 games, and his almost point-per game clip is now down to about half that. Hmm—could that old conditioning thing be catching up with him?
And really, isn't Grabovski a much better replacement?
Looking at Colorado's stats, you see the biggest surprise. Andrew Raycroft, second-favourite whipping boy in Toronto to Bryan McCabe, is 6-1-0 with a goals against average that's actually under 3.00.
I'm sure there is not one single Leafs fan that wants the Rayzor back—a couple more wins by our back-up would have pushed the Leafs over .500.
While Mats is not really a castoff, it's clear the Leafs were not in the mix for him. The more I see the Leafs turn into a really hard-working group, the more I realize that Sundin is not the leader we all thought he was.
Sure he was a great example, but how come that example didn't rub off on others? That's where leadership comes in, or doesn't.
As far as his "passion for playing" returning? Who cares. I want passion for winning.
I'm sure he'll do well in Vancouver, but I can't say I'm going to miss him.
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