Photo: Claus Andersen/Getty Images
The Leafs have had a lot of positives to start this season, but the power play isn’t one of them.
Last year, Toronto’s power play was a team strength finishing tied for ninth with Colorado in the league clicking at 18.4% over 82 games. After eight games to start this season, the Leafs are currently converting 14.3% of their man advantages, which is 22nd in the league.
An annual tradition, here’s the scoring predictions for the 2011-12 version of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
I won’t get too much into player specifics since my scouting reports are in the Maple Leafs Annual with further expansion in the McKeen’s Yearbook to be released soon.
Some minor commentary on Kulemin winning the scoring title. When coming up with predictions, the hold of the top spot was so delicate any slump/streak could cost some player the scoring crown. If it wasn’t Kulemin, it could be Grabovski coming off a breakout campaign (and entering a contract year) or Kessel for a third straight season.
Photo Credit: avalance.nhl.com
According to Darren Dreger of TSN, the Leafs have acquired Colorado Avalanche defenseman John-Michael Liles for the 2012 conditional 2nd round pick acquired in the Tomas Kaberle trade with Boston. The Leafs give up a pick they likely never expected to get and flip it for their puck mover and PP QB to replace Kaberle for a season. Think of it as Joe Colborne, a 1st and JM Liles for Kaberle. The only downside here is the $4.2 million cap hit, and possibly if you are a Carl Gunnarsson fan. Liles’ contract has only one year left on the books though, so this is likely a stopgap solution while the Leafs groom Jake Gardiner on the farm. He’s not a bad stopgap at that; his 46 points last season ranked him sixteenth in points among defencemen last season. For comparison’s sake, he notched one less point than Kaberle in 6 less games. He also quarterbacked the 11th best powerplay in the league last season. He’s no defensive stud but used properly (insulated with soft minutes), he’ll serve his purpose here for 2011-12.
The Leafs’ cap situation now sits at 18.7M in cap space (with about 5 players left to sign), per mlse.