Thirteen thoughts: McClement, the frenzy, and goaltending
I’m not going to voice my opinion on the Jay McClement signing yet. McClement was signed to be a third line, defensive centre – much in the mould of Sami Pahlsson on Randy Carlyle’s cup winning Ducks. McClement should help with the leadership void and the penalty kill, but the fact the bottom half of our forward group is starting to look like an episode of hoarders.
“[McClement] might push Steck down,” said Brian Burke. “But I think that’s where Steck probably belongs in terms of minutes, playing in the four hole, but on the first penalty-killing unit. So both those guys will probably end up with third-line minutes. He’s strong on faceoffs and in the last minute of a game, if we’re protecting the lead, he’s going to see the ice”. To tell you the truth, if we’re signing Mikhail Grabovski to a 5.5 million dollar contract and he’s putting up 50-60 pts per year, that seems like the kind of two way guy you want playing heavy minutes.
Burke seems fairly committed to McClement and Steckel as the teams bottom six centers. That leaves Tyler Bozak, Tim Connolly, Matt Lombardi, and Joe Colborne auditioning for the #1 spot. I could see Lombardi finding his way on the wing (and Colborne for another year in the AHL) but Tim Connolly looks like he’s on his way out. He’s had a tough go (In Toronto and everywhere) but he’s a serviceable two-way player with one year left on his contract. I could see someone taking him.
The biggest thing I draw from this is I had always been looking forward to the day where we acquire a #1 center and Tyler Bozak drops back to the #3 spot where he’s suited. It seems fairly clear now that if we ever acquire that center, Bozak’s days as a Leaf are numbered.
When the Leafs acquire a player, I like to talk to a fan of the team who he played on before. Here’s a text from Avs fan @desmondfrier on Jay McClement”
“You’ll love McClement. I wish the Avs would have signed him for that much. Very good penalty killer, lead the league in PK time twice. Good at faceoffs. Wore an A. He isn’t super gritty but he can skate well – when he scores (not often) it’s generally a rush or a 2 on 1. Do you want to go to the beach when you’re off work? I have a BBQ and wieners.”
#1 - The Leafs also signed Mike Kostka, a steadily improving defenseman who played with the Calder Cup Champion Admirals and will probably never make the big club. I already have issue with Kostka, not because he scored the fluky OT winner against the Marlies, but because of the ridiculous way he celebrated it. I get it – it’s an OT goal, you’re hyped. But that’s just embarassing: