The Maple Leafs have brought back depth winger Troy Bodie on a one-year contract.
Signing Tim Leiweke’s son in law, and his inclusion in the 22-man opening night roster in October, brought about some skepticism early on last Fall, especially given the Maple Leafs had waved goodbye to Joe Colborne in the preseason.
The perception wasn’t helped by a skating stride that’s offensive to the eyes at first blush, but some fans came to appreciate his contributions on the fourth line when he was on the team (spent 47 games with the Leafs, 17 with the Marlies).
Certainly easier to watch than Colton Orr or Frazer McLaren, Bodie is a 6’5 body who can deceptively cover ground once he reaches top gear. He generated some offensive zone time for the team on occasion with balls-out forechecking, and went hard to the net to find a few offensive opportunities here and there, tallying 10 points including 4 goals in 47 games (a prorated 17 point pace over 82 games under a 8:36/game workload). That matched Jay McClement’s offensive output in 34 fewer games while playing 6+ minutes less a night.
He was one of few Leafs who made an opposing defencemen wince in anticipation when retrieving a dump in. Maybe he stood out more than usual for that reason; a Maple Leaf forward going in hard on the forecheck and separating a man from the puck to win possession was too rare of a sight last season. Bodie did it with some frequency last year.
Troy Bodie will likely serve as the 13th-14th forward for the team, and as long as he doesn’t get in the way of Carter Ashton’s opportunity or the advancement of a younger up and comer if one emerges in camp and preseason, there’s little harm in this. We’ll have to see what the plan is with Fraser McLaren and Colton Orr, but hopefully none of these three take priority over the likes of Ashton or Frattin and we see a new and improved line four next season. Injuries are inevitable, and having Bodie’s heavyweight size around to plug into the lineup when needed isn’t a bad idea.
Maple Leafs Forwards Depth Chart