A Sure Bet: Leafs Should Have Taken a Gamble on Andrew Ebbett

Steve McSween@dansallowsSenior Analyst INovember 22, 2009

There are no sure things in the game of hockey...see Daigle, Alexandre.

But there are some things worth taking a chance on, like in the case of the once again waived Andrew Ebbett.

Ebbett didn`t really turn heads in Chicago, scoring just one goal in 10 games, but he wasn`t given much of an opportunity either as he was delegated to the fourth line most nights.

While conditioning and drive may be questioned, his ability is not, as Ebbett is a gifted center that's play-making abilities rival that of Marc Savard.

Which makes the Leafs' decision to pass on him once again on the waiver wire all that more puzzling.

He may have been the perfect fit for Phil Kessel.

The fact is the kid racked up 8 goals and 24 assists while taking a regular shift in 48 games last season for the Anaheim Ducks.

And the thought throughout the league is that he is capable of more if he had the opportunity to play quality minutes with a top calibre goal scoring winger.

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It may be that GM Brian Burke likes to shy away from a player of Ebbett's size as he stands at a generous 5'9" and only weighs 172 lbs, but the fact is he has skill which is something that the Leafs definitely lack.

To me it makes as much sense as the cast of Seinfeld coming back for a reunion show, it most likely would be successful.

The Minnesota Wild eventually picked up the pint-sized Ebbett, after ultimately the Leafs and Canes passed, and word from the Anaheim camp is that they were set to reacquire him if the Wild didn't.

Yes, because the Leafs have been bottom feeders all season, it always seems like they should be in on the latest waiver pick and or trade talk.

But something about Ebbett's skill and potential seemed like it be the perfect fit alongside Kessel, and the fact Burke had him in Anaheim made it even more like an obvious destination.

Kessel seems to be doing well enough on his own with 5 goals in 8 games so far, but acquiring a genuine playmaking NHL center for him wouldn't hurt, especially when it would cost the team nothing.

I guess now Minnesota's struggling Martin Havlat will reap the rewards of Ebbett's soft hands and vision, and it's quite possible he is needed more there than in Leaf Nation anyhow.

In any case, I hope this is indeed a good fit for Andrew Ebbett and he can get on making magic offensively, which is what he does best.

Though he may be a wild card, Minnesota didn't risk anything to get him, and in that sense it's a pretty good bet in my books.


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