Toronto Maple Leafs Win "Battle Royal," Defeating 29 Other Teams!

Eric WarrenCorrespondent IINovember 29, 2009

SUNRISE, FL - NOVEMBER 27: Goaltender Jonas Gustavsson #50 of the Toronto Maple Leafs is congratulated after defeating the Florida Panthers on November 27, 2009 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. The Maple Leafs defeated the Panthers 6-4. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Oh man, if they could combine ice hockey and wrestling! Imagine the Blood! If John Cena and Batista played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, there is some serious truculence for ya, Mr. Burke!

On a lighter note, all seems rosy in Leafs land right now. Tomas Kaberle leads the team in scoring with 25 points in 24 games, good enough to lead all defensemen in the league.

(Mike Green also has 25, but has taken one more game to do it in Washington.)

Kaberle is also tied for 20th in the league for overall points.

Another interesting stat on Kabby. When the Leafs defeated Tampa the other night, Kaberle by himself had more points than the entire Tampa Bay defense combined.

Without Kabby, the existing Leafs defense would have a total of 37 points combined.

Niklas Hagman currently sits in the top 20 in goal scoring with 13, and he and Phil Kessel seem to have engaged in a friendly little "who can score the most" competition.

Hagman with six goals, in the last four games, and Kessel with three goals in the last three games, both have some ground to make up before they catch Kaberle to take over the team lead in points.

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Grabovski and Poni are both on pace for a 60- to 70-point season, and if Blake starts potting 10 percent of the shots he takes, wow, look out!

As I stated awhile ago, there will be some major changes in this team during the off season, almost no matter what happens this season. So, I view this year as a kind of "throw away" year.

The number of free agents on this team, both restricted and non restricted, is simply too big to list here, but among them are Hanson, Kullemin , Stajan , Tlusty, Van Ryn and White .

There is also the issue of the Monster . Don't forget, he was only signed to a one-year entry level contract, and while I don't doubt Burke will offer him a long term contract, the Leafs weren't the only team interested in his services before. There is no reason to think they won't come knocking again.

Toskala, is another one listed as a UFA. I assume that he will not be a Maple Leaf next season, but you never know.

If Burke convinced him to stay for half his current salary as a back-up, well you never know, and it isn't unlike Brian Burke to pull the odd strange move.

Another one who I don't think will return to the Blue and White is Matt Stajan . I think he is a great player, always have. I think he was mis-handled here and that stunted his development to a degree. He will sign with someone else in the off season, and he will have a career year next year.

If Ron Wilson manages to complete the turnaround, and get this team even close to the playoffs, we will hail him as a genius for all of his antics (Dodge Ball etc.), instead of criticizing his creativity.

Towards the end of the season, Brian Burke will in fact trade Kaberle, probably to to the Detroit Red Wings or Anaheim. With both teams looking to replace outgoing, aged D-men, they will undoubtedly make Burke offers, especially if they are still in a Cup hunt towards the end of the season.

And yes, Kaberle will waive his no-trade clause for an immediate chance to win the Cup but will want a new long-term deal as part of the package.

The number of RFA's in the Toronto Maple Leafs system will also bode well for Burke. With the likes of White, Hanson, Tlusty, and "The Friendly Giant" Phil Oreskovic, someone somewhere will give up some draft picks.

White, Hanson, and Oreskavic, will likely be re-signed during the regular season this year, but, as for what Burke has on his mind, your guess is as good as mine.

Either way, the Leafs will be much different, but I hope, I won't have to live through another Saturday with no Leafs!


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