One of my favourite parts about a new season is the sheer volume of roster changes. The Toronto Maple Leafs alone saw 10 players leave the fold from May till October, and have already had 9 players make their Leaf debuts. So let’s catch up with some of the site’s old friends-turned enemies and see what some of last season’s jettison has been up to in the 2013-14 season.
While only playing a mere 42 games in Toronto, Leo Komarov made a lasting impact on opposing players rib cages. Komarov has returned to Dynamo Moscow of the KHL and leads the team in scoring with 17 points in 20 games played. He actually sits ninth in KHL scoring (with Nigel Dawes of all people) as Dynamo looks to compete for their third straight Gagarin Cup in the spring. Those are all facts about a real league.
Komarov often felt underused in his brief tenure with the Maple Leafs, and he’s been offered so much more in the ever-expanding KHL. I know Leafs fans would love to see him don the blue and white once more, but I think we all know he’s happier pissing off players and fans in 8 different countries.
Perhaps not wanting to tax himself by playing for a playoff calibre team, Grabbo signed with the Washington Capitals on a frugal one year deal. After cutting through the Blackhawks like a ripe pineapple in a 4-point debut performance, Grabovski has recorded a meagre goal and 2 assists in his last 8 games. But he’s been a boon to the team’s enigmatic Eastern European depth, an area of weakness to the Capitals ever since Alex Semin departed two seasons ago.
He’ll make the first of three appearances this season against the Leafs on November, so I figured I’d get these jokes out of the way now before he annihilates the Buds.
After being spurned by the Maple Leafs, MacArthur (probably?) begrudgingly accepted a two year deal with the Ottawa Senators. MacArthur was always a divisive player in his tenure with Toronto, combining frustratingly inconsistent play with some fairly impressive underlying numbers in three seasons with the Leafs.
So it’s incredibly like him to have continued this exact style of play in Ottawa, where he anchors the second line and has provided four assists in eight games, despite having a four-game pointless streak already in this young season. If he continues at this pace, he’ll prove both fans and detractors in Toronto right for not having kept him around. How Clarke MacArthur of him.
Lost among the big names and old grudges on this list has been the stellar play of Ben Scrivens, who has a scintillating 1.22 goals against and .939 save percentage in three games played for the Los Angeles Kings. He’s also received the way awesome nickname of “the Professor,” which is so much cooler than Scribbles.
Because every hockey coach ever is pretty much the same person, Matt Frattin finds himself in Los Angeles getting limited minutes with limiting linemates after appearing poised to feature in a top six scoring role. Frattin’s found himself in Darryl Sutter’s dog house and has already been a healthy scratch once this season (see previous sentence for explanation of this sentence).
Some Leaf fans called the trade of Frattin, and the retention of his salary, a pyrrhic victory for the Leafs. But I’d say it was a cagey strategic move by Nonis and co. to pay a guy to play poorly for the opposition.
Despite plying his trade for the Chicago Blackhawks, Kostka still found a way to contribute to the Leafs porous defense this season. In spite of his game winner on Saturday, the Asgardian/Etobicoke native has been little used in the Windy City (only two games played), as the Hawks have a plethora of actual defensemen on the roster.
I don’t really have much more to report about him, other than the fact that the word spite was used at the start of both previous sentences, which sums up most fans’ feelings towards him. There’s also this:
No fucking way, autocorrect #leafs pic.twitter.com/eppU6EvmQa
— Michael Stephens (@MLHS_Mike) October 19, 2013
Despite paying down his phone bill for the next six months and leaving his number on the bathroom walls of every NHL arena, O’Byrne hasn’t received any offers from NHL suitors. He did receive offers from several people who misunderstood the context of his bathroom posting that read “Need a hole filled in your back end? I’m your man.”
– Here’s last night’s game in 10 from the 4-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks.
– Here is Phil Kessel’s hat trick for you to relive in all its glory.
– Are the Leafs interested in Dmitry Kulikov? The quote from Cox suggests there’s a pretty tenuous basis to this rumour. The Leafs have been apparently “eying him from afar for a few years” and Kulikov “might” be available. Interesting anyway.
– The Leaf Report Podcast featuring Jonas Siegel and James Mirtle. It’s a new one. And they talk about flu shots for a while. So, health and hockey then.
– Leafs itching for reinforcement in form of David Clarkson. Itch no more, Clarkson is back on Friday.
– In our attempts to illuminate our understanding of a sport with statistics, we can sometimes rely on flawed data and create our own blind spots, argues Chris Boyle, who says he will reveal his evidence on the importance of shot quality in hockey next week.