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2012-13 Player Reviews

2012-13 Player Reviews

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Next up on the player review list is Joffrey Lupul. It was a whirlwind season for the man who has rejuvenated his career in Toronto. Lupul signed a 5-year deal worth 26.25M, got hurt twice, suspended once, and still potted 18 points in only 16 games before notching four more points in seven playoff games. I gave Lupul a 7, which was the second lowest ranking any of the writers here gave him (Mike gave him a six, if you were wondering). A seven to me means he had a “pretty good” season overall, relative to his role. Lupul’s expected...

2058

MLHS Player Reviews is doing their best to round out the Leafs top six (hint-hint, Dave) by profiling alternate captain, left winger and pending UFA, Clarke MacArthur.   In his third season with the Maple Leafs, the Lloydminster, Alberta native tallied eight goals and 12 assists en route to 20 points in 40 games played.  Yet his season, like so many Leafs, was tumultuous, and his future in Toronto is unclear. Mostly used as a second line or ‘1A’ winger since arriving in Toronto, MacArthur was bumped up and down through the lineup this season, skating on an offense-minded third line...

Mike Kostka

937

Mike Kostka: The undrafted 27-year-old rookie defenceman who went from little-known AHL journeyman to, for a while anyway, first pairing defenceman in the spotlight of the hockey universe, soon becoming a lightning rod of criticism amid Randy Carlyle’s perceived poor roster decisions. In the interest of fairness and context, let's take this story back to the beginning of the lockout-shortened 2013 season. Coach Carlyle had to be creative in the early going - if not all season - in trying to assemble a steady top four group of defencemen. Recall that Jake Gardiner was not himself at season’s beginning, still...

537

Leo Komarov is back in the KHL. His signature for Dynamo Moscow has already been confirmed by official club sources and his own twitter account. Just like that, the Leafs will have to live life without their pesky winger. Dave Nonis: “We made him an offer that we thought was fair. If he chooses not to take it and play in Russia for more money, then there’s nothing we can do about it. I wouldn't say it was a surprise.” Komarov finished fifth in the league with 176 hits, scoring four goals and nine points. Therein also probably lies the biggest reason behind his...

1387

At some point in the near future, some of you are going to find out who the real James Reimer is. I wrote a post not too long ago about Reimer’s upside and long-term projections and made it clear that I have a great deal of faith in Reimer’s future with the Leafs. Not only does he give the team stable and consistent goaltending, he’s capable of stealing games. So at what point does the rest of the fan-base follow suit and believe? You see, this is a fan-base that has severe trust issues. After several turbulent years using such goaltenders...

735

MLHS Player Reviews turns to one of the newest in the blue and white, fourth line tough guy Frazer McLaren.  Like a lot of Leafs, 2013 was something of a banner year for the Winnipeg native statistically.  He reached career highs in games played (36), goals (three), and penalty minutes (102).  Of his three goals, two were – astoundingly – game winners; one of those was actually pretty nifty, too. But that’s not why Dave Nonis picked McLaren up off of waivers on January 31, 2013. He was brought to fight often and win, and he did just that for...

954

"Lite power-forward" Matt Frattin had an inauspicious start to his 2013 NHL campaign after getting cut from Maple Leafs out of training camp. This, after finishing the season with the Leafs last year and going on to lead the AHL in points and goals (10 in 13 games) in the playoffs prior to badly injuring his knee in while sliding into an empty net (ironically, in the process of scoring another goal). The coaching staff was less than impressed with his intensity during camp and the addition of JVR on the wing bumped Frattin from the lineup. He went...

621

A quick show of hands: Last summer, who had Mark Fraser on the Leafs opening day roster? Anyone? If you did, I have my doubts you had him in the lineup, not the press box. Of course, the law of averages say some of you had to be Mark Fraser believers, but for most of us his arrival didn’t seem to plausible until he began to establish himself as one of the Marlies top defenders in the first half of the AHL season. Fraser is a player who certainly benefitted from Randy Carlyle’s love of safe, physical play, and it...

431

In a half-season full of successes and pleasant surprises, Cody Franson's growth as a defenseman was one of the best and brightest developments for this young Toronto team. The Past The 2011 acquisition of Cody Franson and Matthew Lombardi for Brett Lebda and Robert Slaney will stand as another exemplary display of Brian Burke's trading prowess. While the other three players involved in this deal have since drifted off into the realm of mediocrity and irrelevance, the 6' 5", 25 year old Franson has solidified his role as a top four defenseman with elite offensive potential in the NHL. After leaving Nasvhille,...

1734

I'm going to make this very simple. Kadri is a young player who's stock is on the rise. There's next to no reason to try and write a detailed summary of Kadri's season. I'm going to let the highlights do that for me. I also gave him a 9 out of 10. I wanted to find a balance between my expectations and his contributions to the Leafs. I felt that 9 was a happy medium in between the two because I had expected 25-30 points and got 44 instead. He surpassed everyone's...

Tyler Bozak

1006

Tyler Bozak. Ugh. That pretty much sums up my thoughts on Tyler Bozak. His performance this season has been scrutinized heavily and he has become one of the most polarizing figures on the Leafs roster. Here we are in the off season, either putting the final nail in the coffin that has been his Leafs career or gearing up for a substantial contract that will drastically challenge the Leafs ability to fill out a roster in a tighter cap environment. The purpose here is not to assess what a Bozak contract will cost. The purpose is to look back at Bozak’s...

193

Our next Player Review takes a look at one of the newest members of the Toronto Maple Leafs, James van Riemsdyk. Acquired in exchange for Luke Schenn on June 23rd, 2012, the former second overall choice in 2007 was brought in to augment the forward corps with skill, enhanced size and net-front presence.  His regular season stats (18G 14A) were good for third in team-scoring, putting him on pace for 55 points (31G 24A) in an 82-game season, and he went on to lead the team in playoff scoring (2G, 7A). Still only 24 years old,  JVR has yet to reach his...

487

MLHS’ Player Reviews takes a look at another four-year veteran of the Toronto Maple Leafs, defenseman Carl Gunnarsson.  Perhaps the second-most famous native of Orebro, Sweden (after – hilariously – the lead singer of The Cardigans), Gunnarsson has gone from being a seventh round pick in 2007 to being on the shutdown pairing with captain Dion Phaneuf.  He battled through a hip injury, recording one goal and 14 assists in 37 regular season games en route his first NHL playoff appearance. The first thing that needs to be said about Gunnarsson’s game is that he plays a lot of minutes,...

771

Phil Kessel's detractors are really running low on material. I shouldn’t take a rancorous tone with this piece and instead focus purely on all the great things Kessel does for this franchise, and we'll arrive there eventually, but I can’t resist... Let’s rhyme off all the recycled BS that has for years surrounded Kessel’s name in hockey debates. “Streaky, inconsistent, hot and cold.” Proven again this season, Kessel is only streaky so far as goal scoring in hockey is streaky. His offensive numbers from a point production standpoint have been as consistent as the tides (and yes, we can explain those). Kessel’s four...

353

MLHS continues its’ Player Reviews with the longest-serving member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, right winger Nikolai Kulemin.  The 26-year-old Magnitogorsk, Russia native had a bounce back season, recording seven goals and 16 assists for 23 points while playing in 48 regular season games.  He struggled through seven playoff games, recording only one assist.  But it was Kulemin’s ability to do yeoman’s work in the defensive zone that made the Leafs a winner. A testament to his ability to play in all situations, Kulemin bounced around the Leafs top 9 this season.  At the beginning of the year, he skated...

Dion Phaneuf

503

Let's start this off with a bold proclamation: Dion Phaneuf's 2013 campaign was his best season in the NHL to date. I really believe that. Phaneuf has rounded into the complete, 1A defenseman that Brian Burke and Dave Nonis envisioned when they swindled the Calgary Flames into one of the most lopsided trades in recent NHL history. Phaneuf came to Toronto as a highly-touted offensive defenseman and, arguably, the most feared open-ice hitter in the league. The knock on Phaneuf, especially in his Calgary days, was his propensity for chasing big hits, sometimes leaving him out of position, and his overall inconsistent...

181

Good news, everyone! Over the next couple of weeks, MLHS will be releasing Player Reviews for the Toronto Maple Leafs 2012-2013 season.  Every day leading up the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, we’ll profile one Leaf player that will reflect upon their peaks, valleys and overall performance this season.  The goals, the hits, the glory and the heartbreak that led to the first post-season berth in nine years. But these write-ups will be different from years past, for two reasons.  The first will be the frequent use of the word ‘playoffs.’ The second will be the role we need you, the...