Week two of the 2010-2011 Toronto Maple Leafs schedule is in the books, and once again it was a week in which the Toronto Maple Leafs managed to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Rangers, both tough road wins in which the Leafs showed strong character.
With that in mind, here is week two of the Maple Leafs Player Power Rankings. Â The rankings will read the players ranking, their stats, as well as their last week’s position. Â Spoiler alert: There’s a new number one!
1. Clarke MacArthur: 5G, 1A (Previous ranking: 3)
Picking between which two players should occupy the number one and number two spot on this week’s power rankings was like picking a pizza. Â There’s really no bad choice. Â However, after the surprising start the season, and for providing the Leafs with secondary scoring that they sorely missed last season, Clarke MacArthur takes over the number one spot. Â Getting his name in the Maple Leafs record books didn’t hurt either.
2. Phil Kessel: 4G, 2A (Previous Ranking: 1)
As stated above, you could almost call this a 1A and 1B ranking for the first two spots. Â While Kessel perhaps falls victim to MacArthur start being more of a pleasant surprise, Phil Kessel has been dominant in every game this season for the Maple Leafs, with the exception of the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, where the entire top line was AWOL. Â Kessel was fantastic in New York last night, with 2 goals, 1 assist, and seven shots on goal.
3. Nikolai Kulemin: 1G, 3A (Previous Ranking: 6)
Kulemin has started the season off in what coach Ron Wilson would likely describe as a “coach’s dream.” Â Kulemin has been steady and dependable in his own zone, a responsible checking forward who is more than keeping up his end of the bargain in terms of goal scoring. Â At times he has looked as though he has had an extra gear while on the ice.
4. J.S. Giguere: 3W, 0L, 1.98GAA, .914 SV% (Previous Ranking: 2)
Giguere sees his stock fall a tad on the power rankings, and the reason is twofold. Â First off, he only played one of the two games the team played this week, which did hurt his chance to move up. Â However, in the game he did play against the New York Rangers, he wasn’t nearly as sharp as we’d seen him in games against Montreal and Ottawa. Â Giguere let in two questionable goals against the Rangers, but got big marks for settling down late in the third, a period which included a game saving toe save on a deflection as time was running out.
5. Mikhail Grabovski: 0G, 3A (Previous Ranking: 10)
I will be totally up front with everyone who asks. Â I am not the biggest Mikhail Grabovski fan out there. Â However, the swift skating forward has played far more contained so far in the season, is making smarter decisions with the puck, and appears to be more willing to pay the price in order to make a play.
6. Tim Brent: 2G, 0A (Previous Ranking: 4)
Brent falls a little bit in this week’s power rankings, and like Giguere, it’s more a victim of circumstance. Â Others around him have perhaps made bigger impacts this week, but Brent’s role with the team is still vital, and he’s still doing the job at a top notch level. Â He’s won nearly 45% of his faceoffs, and has gained Ron Wilson’s trust in shutting down the top lines of the opposition.
7. Dion Phaneuf: 0G, 2A (Previous Ranking: 9)
Could it be, that Dion Phaneuf is the big catalyst for this team’s early success? Â After a few years of no captain and perhaps no accountability in the locker room, players like Komisarek, Beauchemin, and specifically Phaneuf, have brought a new attitude to this team both on, and off the ice, and so far the results have been favourable for Toronto.
8. Tomas Kaberle: 0G, 3A (Previous Ranking: 5)
Kaberle has fallen a little bit from his previous ranking, and after a hot start, his play sputtered a little bit, particularly in New York where the Rangers were able to get scoring chances off his lackluster play. Â Still, there’s no need to panic. Â A rough patch notwithstanding, Kaberle looks to be more confident on the ice, and the Leafs are reaping the benefits.
9. Tyler Bozak: 0G, 3A (Previous Ranking: 8 )
Bozak drops a spot, much like Brent, as a victim of circumstance. Â Other players around him have stepped up consistently so far in the season, and that is why Tyler Bozak finds himself just inside the top ten in the Power Rankings. Â However, more nights like last night’s game in New York for the second year centre, and his stock will certainly be rising.
10. Luke Schenn: 0G, 3A (Previous Ranking: 11)
Luke Schenn is back! and he’s cracked the top ten of the Power Rankings. Â After a shaky first half of his sophomore campaign last season, Schenn took a solid second half of the year into the offseason, and put in the necessary hard work to elevate his game to another level. Â The results so far have been positive for the Leafs, as Schenn has looked more comfortable with the puck on his stick, and is also taking the body and blocking shots with more regularity.
11. Kris Versteeg: 1G, 1A (Previous Ranking: 7)
He could well have suffered the biggest fall on the list (I’d look into it, but I’m a writer, I have no clue how to add.) Â Versteeg has been a little streaky in his time with the Leafs so far. Â While his first two games looked promising, games against Pittsburgh and New York saw him struggle a little bit, and while he got his chances in New York, he still appears to be battling it a little bit on the ice. Â However, with his confident attitude, and arsenal of skills, no one is worried about Versteeg sitting this low on the list for long.
12. Colby Armstrong: 0G, 0A (Previous Ranking: 13)
Armstrong has struggled to get himself on the scoresheet four games into the Toronto Maple Leafs season, but in a third line role, he has done exactly what Brian Burke had likely expected when he signed the gritty winger in the summer. Â Armstrong has leveled opponents with a few jarring hits, including one that knocked Rangers forward Marion Gaborik out of last night’s game. Â Armstrong continues to play on the edge for Toronto, but so far hasn’t crossed it, and has helped the Leafs play early on.
13. Francois Beauchemin: 1G, 0A (Previous Ranking: 12)
What a difference a year makes. Â Last year Beauchemin admitted to be pressing to make the big plays for his team. Â This year, surrounded by capable goaltending and steady defense partners, he has settled into a role in Toronto and has delivered responsible on ice play, while chipping in offensively with his booming shot from the point. Â Beauchemin is a plus 2 on the season, and rakes in over 23 minutes a night for the Leafs.
14. Mike Komisarek: 1G, 2A (Previous Ranking: 16)
Don’t look now, but Mike Komisarek is forth in scoring on the Leafs so far. Â Not that anyone expects that to last, but Komisarek is beginning to look a little better with each passing game. Â Like the Maple Leafs, his game is still a work in progress, but he’s beginning to look more comfortable with the puck, and finally scored his first goal in a Leafs uniform last night in New York.
15. Jonas Gustavsson: 1W, 0L, 3.00GAA, .880SV% (Previous Ranking: N/A)
Though only seeing limited action, Jonas Gustavsson was finally able to rank on the Power Rankings, when he registered his first start, and win, Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. Â Looking at the stats line can tell you it wasn’t his prettiest outing to date, but he did make a few key saves when the team needed it the most.
16. Mike Zigomanis: 0G, 1A (Previous Ranking: 15)
Zigomanis continues to be an important part of this Toronto Maple Leafs team so far in the 2010-2011 NHL season. Â While the season is obviously still young, Zigomanis has provided the Leafs with the perfect fourth line role, providing a little bit of offense, while keying in on important faceoffs for the team. Â Zigomanis has won 65% of the draws he has taken so far this season.
17. Mike Brown: 0G, 1A (Previous Ranking: 18)
If Colton Orr is the sheriff, Mike Brown is the deputy, and so far, so good on the job report for the Maple Leafs resident middleweight. Â Brown hasn’t been reluctant to back down from any challenges thrown his way thus far, and has even provided the team with solid two-way play to start the season.
18. Fredrik Sjostrom: 0G, 0A (Previous Ranking: 14)
On a team that finally looks as though it has taken the shape of Brian Burke’s image, Sjostrom fits in nicely on the bottom six of the team and has provided a spark on the penalty kill for the team as well, a penalty kill that is among one of the highest ranking in the league so far.
19. Colton Orr: 1G, 0A (Previous Ranking: 17)
For those wondering, Colton Orr is another one of those victims of circumstance. Â The mere fact that a few other players have put themselves above the rest and done enough to deserve a promotion on the rankings means that a few other players must fall. Â Colton Orr is unfortunately one of those players. Â And it’s too bad really. Â In a way, Orr had a banner week, scoring a goal and getting in a good scrap in Pittsburgh, a scrap in which he was knocked senseless. Â However, Orr returned to the lineup just two days later to take on the Rangers.
20. Carl Gunnarsson: 0G, 0A (Previous Ranking: 19)
There really isn’t much of anything going right for Carl Gunnarsson so far this season. Â His disastrous start only got worse last night in New York when he was stapled to the bench shortly into the second period, where he remained for the remainder of the game. Â Gunnarsson played only six minutes last night, and on a team where Brett Lebda is nearing a clean bill of health, Gunnarsson’s days in the Leafs lineup may be numbered.
Not Ranked: Brett Lebda