Last night’s 5-4 nail-biting win over the Sens further fanned the fires of the current “debate” on the role of fighting in the Leafs‘ mid-season success. In case you haven’t seen it already, here’s the video of the KO McLaren delivered on Dziurzynski. It seems like McLaren only grazes him but given the speed at which these guys are throwing down, what’s a chin to a flying fist (or sheet of ice).
Kessel also came out with his second 3-point night of the season and generally looked to have given a 200 ft. effort, along with 5 SOG. Nazem Kadri meanwhile continues to roll and shows no signs of stopping. The imminent return of fellow Marlies graduate, Matt Frattin, should have fans pretty excited since prior to Frattin’s injury, Kadri had assisted on 4 of Frattin’s 7 goals. Hopefully, the two youngsters can pick up close to where they left off as Toronto will be facing some tougher competition in the remaining 12 games in March, including two dates with the Penguins and three against the Bruins.
In other news, the most recent installment of TSN’s TradeCentre listed Bozak and MacArthur as viable trade candidates. With Stephen Weiss out for the remainder of the season, you’d have to imagine that Bozak moves up on the list of available centremen. MacArthur’s upcoming UFA status and recent performance also makes him a prime trade target with Lupul returning and if Frattin continues to show he’s the real deal. No matter where he ends up, he’ll likely get a raise on his current $3.25mm salary but in the meantime, I’m not averse to expanding his value by having him ride Kadri’s coattails.
Another point on Kadri. I recently did an NHL impact analysis of top-10 CHL defensemen in scoring and found that Morgan Rielly had big shoes to fill. I then decided to perform a similar analysis for forwards and remembered that Kadri had actually finished 5th in OHL scoring during the 2009-2010 season with 93 points. While Kadri is performing at a tidy 1.00 point-per-game pace, and could be considered for an All-Star berth had there been an All-Star game, he was left out of the study sample because draftees typically need a couple of years before they can make an impact at the NHL level. Therefore, I only looked at forwards from 1999 to 2008. Below is one of the charts from the follow-on analysis. Some of Kadri’s predecessors include the likes of Patrick Kane, John Tavares, Corey Perry, and Steven Stamkos. Check out the piece to see how the WHL and QMJHL fared during the same time period.
Thursday Morning Links:
1967ers: On Fighting - They don’t make them like they used to. Great piece by 1967ers (PPP) on a time when fighters weren’t one-dimensional.
Blue Chip Prospects: Reimer Up to Some Autobotian Heroics - Would you stick with Reimer-Scrivens or give Reimer some veteran support for next season?
Hope_Smoke: MacArthur Odd Man Out - Buy Low, Sell High, says Hope Smoke.
Vintage Leaf Memories: Respect Alfredsson - I grew up on the Leafs-Sens playoff series and learned to hate Alfie. However, Michael Langlois, over at VLM, makes the point: “there’s something to be said for honouring a worthy opponent, too” ala Vince Vaughan in Anchorman.