Seriously, if a player from Kingston doesnâ€™t shut up Don Cherry, the man canâ€™t be pleased. Other than that, what do we need to know about McClement? Heâ€™s not overly big, he’s not overly physical, but heâ€™s not overly expensive either. The 6â€™1, 205 lb. 29 year old center is signed for the next two years at $1,500,000 a season.
Here are 7 noteworthy numbers for McClement from last season:
51.3% Face-off Percentage. McClement was third on the Avalanche in number of faceoffs last season, behind Paul Stastny and Ryan Oâ€™Reilly.
54 Blocked Shots. This number was good enough for second among Avs forwards behind Gabriel Landeskog. That number would have been third among Leafs forwards (Connolly, Steckel)
3:06 Short Handed Time on Ice per Game. McClement was far and away the leader on the Avs in this category, over double the ice time of the second place Gabriel Landeskog. Itâ€™s worth noting that Colorado was in the middle of the pack for Penalty killing last season, so this is probably an upgrade.
88.5% On Ice Shorthanded Save Percentage. Connolly was the only forward on the Leafs with a higher number (88.9%)
10:35 Even Strength Ice Time per Game. This was third lowest of the Avs regular forwards. So pencil McClement in for the fourth line, with PK time. On a side note, I can really get behind a McClement-Steckel-Brown fourth line.
10 goals. Not bad for limited ice time. One of them was shorthanded.
1 Fighting Major. Really doesnâ€™t matter, but despite only having 31 PIMs, itâ€™s worth noting he will fight if the mood strikes him. So fans of truculence – rejoice.
It seemed inevitable that the Leafs were going to bring in a bottom six forward at some point, and so far through his career McClement has shown he is capable of filling that role well, so itâ€™s hard to be too upset by this signing. Free Agency was not going to be the venue for addressing any of the larger issues with the Leafs so instead some depth has been added.
The bigger question is how McClement will fit into the lineup. The best answer I have for that is that itâ€™s July 2nd and this team sucked last year, there will still be more changes that will transition this lineup to something we will barely recognize next season.
What we can likely count on at this point is that van Riemsdyk, Kessel, Grabovski, Steckel, Brown, Frattin, and McClement will be part of the picture.
The available veterans who could fit in would be Kulemin, Lupul, Bozak, MacArthur, Connolly, Orr, and Lombardi.
The potential Marlies or prospects that could challenge for roles are Colborne, Ashton, Kadri, and Komarov.
What I would assume at this point is that it is that Burke plans on using both McClement and Steckel as bottom six centers, Grabovski is of course a lock for one of the top line duties, and it will come down to which of Bozak or Connolly can be moved, or if a true top six center can be brought in. Iâ€™d imagine Bozak would be the easier one to move based on recent performance, and his contract.
As for the rest of the bottom six, at this point Lombardi, and Brown seem to fit the mold, and some combination of Komarov, Frattin, and Kulemin will be used to fill out the rest of the spots, but of course any of those players could be gone tomorrow.
It seems foolish to go into any kind of detail on the state of the team at this point, so Iâ€™ll happily keep this short this week, but I must say at this point I am happy with how things have progressed since the draft despite the fact there is still a long way to go.
A few other things to note before the links:
The Leafs Signed Mike Kostka!- Yes itâ€™s true we won the Mike Kostka sweepstakes, and he is now signed to a two-way deal. The 6â€™2 defender is best known for helping Norfolk beat the Marlies in the Calder Cup. At 27, and having never played in the NHL, this seems to be purely an AHL depth signing so I find it somewhat wasteful on the first day of free agency.
Martin Brodeur - The Leafs are apparently interested. I am not, but it wonâ€™t stop me from picking up a Brodeur jersey. I was a fan of Brodeur pretty much up until his collapse against Carolina in the playoffs a few years back. While he certainly had a lot of help in his achievements, he was a very good goaltender. Now he is inconsistent, expensive, and certainly not the answer for a team looking for sustainable long term success.
Around 11pm ET, it was reported that Brodeur has received a two-year offer from New Jersey, so there’s a good chance he’s staying put.
Bad Signings – July 1st gave us very few horrible signings, but certainly the Whitney and Parenteau deals are risky, and I believe the Parenteau one will ultimately look pretty stupid. Also, $2.5 million dollars a year is way too much for Brandon Prust, so remember to take a moment to laugh at Montreal. Also, the Mikael Samuelsson, and Sami Salo deals seem pretty stupid.
Old Leafs, New Homes- Joey Crabb, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Brad Boyes, and John Mitchell all found homes. Hilariously, Jonas Gustavsson will be a backup in Detroit, and coming soon to the Habs Long Term Injury Reserve, Colby Armstrong. The Finger and Lebda watches continue.
Still Available – Suter, Parise, Carle, and Semin are all still available, but itâ€™s unlikely any of them will be Leafs, however the sooner they get signed the sooner the trade market begins to open up.
Compensation after tax – This National Post table has been floating around for a few days, and I think it is extremely telling. Itâ€™s data like this that Iâ€™d prefer a Net Salary Cap rather than the Gross Cap we currently have.
Vintage Leaf Memories Day One Reflections – A thoughtful look at the day that was. Personally I’d have to say the Frattin deal was the highlight for me.
Leafs Day One Recap – James Mirtle with some Burke quotes on what happened July 1st and what is still to come.
TSNâ€™s report on the Leafs signings - Who the hell is Mike Kostka and why does TSN have him listed as one of the two way signings?
Pension Plan Puppets on the McClement signing – Chemmy with a look how McClement was utilized in Colorado
Cam again with what the McClement signing means for Leafs Centers – Iâ€™d have to imagine Lombardi, Connolly, and Bozak have all been made available for some time now. Whatâ€™s most interesting to me is the additional roadblock being put up for Joe Colborne to make the Leafs.
The Sens are out of the Rick Nash Derby – And Marc Methot is a crappy consolation prize.
Pierre McGuire and Marc Crawford donâ€™t like Alexander Semin – Amazingly neither one these two people can get hired.