Sunday, January 18, 2009

Checking in on the ex-Maple Leafs

With the revolving door installed in the Maple Leaf dressing room, it's hard enough keeping track of the Leaf lineup let alone recently departed players. You know these deals never seem to work out well for the Leafs. I think it's just bad karma left over from Harold Ballard.

Andrew Raycroft (Colorado)
By the end of last season I can't think of a Leaf player who was booed more than Rayzor. Is confidence was shot. He had to play better somewhere else. He didn't have a great start in Colorado bad suddenly put together a string of good games. After serving as the back-up to Peter Budaj through the first two months of the season, Raycroft has started in five of the last six games. He has a solid 2.73 goals-against average and .903 save percentage to go with a 9-3 record. We could use that now. Though in a start last week he stopped a puck behind the net and instead of shooting it in the corner he threw in front to Oiler Shawn Horcoff for the winning goal (see below). Sounds like the Rayzor we know.

Darcy Tucker (Colorado)
Darcy Tucker is having a Darcy Tucker year. He has played the agitator which at times has hurt his team. In a recent game against Minnesota he totally lost it and took a couple minors and a misconduct to seal a loss. No one was happy and as usual Tucker didn't really care. He is on course for a 10 goal, 18 point season which is not much for $2.25 million.

Bryan McCabe (Florida) McCabe now has eight goals and 12 assists in 33 contests this season. Although this season has been marred by injuries, McCabe seems to be rounding back into vintage form. He is a +8 and heading for a 16 goal, 40 point season and could help carry Florida into a playoff spot.

Mats Sundin (Vancouver)
It's taking Sundin some time to get into shape. In 5 games he has 1 goal and 1 assist but a -4. Not too much yet for that kind of money. Too early to say whether signing him was a mistake,

Kyle Wellwood (Vancouver)
When he arrived in Vancouver he was still out of shape as far as hockey players go and it looked like his NHL career had come to an end. But early injuries got him back on the roster and he has been very productive. He is currently 2nd on the team with 14 goals and headed for a 25-goal season. He is even a +4. However, the most recent Canuck game had Wellwood back in the pressbox which raised some eyebrows. Wellwood continues to be a one-dimensional player which means once he stops scoring his ice time disappears.

Alex Steen (St. Louis)
Steen had been struggling offensively with the Maple Leafs and was pointless in his first six games with the Blues. However, Steen has turned his season around, scoring four goals and 12 points in his last 15 games and just a -1.

Carlos Colaiacovo (St. Louis)
One of the byproducts of all their injuries on defence is that ex-Leaf Carlo Colaiacovo is playing a lot for the St. Louis Blues these days. In his first 22 games with the Blues, Colaiacovo is averaging almost 18 minutes per night and had scored eight points in 22 games, largely because he was getting time on the second power play. Trade is not looking too good so far.

Hal Gill (Pittsburgh)
Gill has been Pittsburgh's 6th or 7th defenseman this season despite the fact that the Penguins have been hit with injuries on the blue line. He has been a healthy scratch on occasion. However, he has provided the Penguins with a fair amount of toughness and has contributed with 3 points. OK, he's no Bobby Orr.

Wade Belak (Nashville)
After being traded to Florida, the Panthers signed him to a 2 year contract then put him on waivers in December. He was eventually traded to Nashville where he has continued to fill the enforcer role. His exit from Florida had nothing to do with his play. Rather he was the player designated to be the fall guy in a shake up during a team slump.

Mark Bell (Marlies)
Openings in the Leaf lineup has not provided Bell with an opportunity to return to the NHL. Instead the Leaf call ups have been Jir Tlusty, Jeremy Williams, and Andre Deveaux. Mark Bell is 3rd in scoring on the Marlies with 9 goals and 21 points in 41 games. He becomes a free agent this summer and may find a team to hook up with. But in won't be at $2.5 million.