March 11, 2009

A different team. Literally.

Is there anything you would rather do with your Tuesday night than watch the New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs duke it out? If you said no, much like me, you have a problem. Actually, it's more like a sickness.

I don't know why I watched the game, but I did. To no one's surprise, it was like pulling teeth. It was the Leafs and Isles, after all. Borderline AHL hockey. But, hey, the Leafs won. In overtime, of course. Mickey Grabs with the winner, eh! It's a celebration.

Anyway, while I was walking home from work yesterday, I was thinking about just how much the Leafs' roster has changed in a calendar year. Yes, this is in fact my thought process as I stroll along Yonge St. after a long day at work. Don't judge me, yo.

Thanks to Google, which has completely changed all of our lives, I pulled up the box score to a game between the Leafs and New Jersey Devils, played on March 8, 2008. The Leafs were 2-1 losers (fucking Devils). Here's the roster the Leafs put out that night:

Nik Antropov (traded)
Jason Blake
Carlo Colaiacovo (traded)
Pavel Kubina
Bryan McCabe (traded)
Dominic Moore (traded)
Kris Newbury (in the minors)
Alex Ponikarovsky
Matt Stajan
Alex Steen (traded)
Anton Stralman (is half Leaf, half Marlie)
Jiri Tlusty (owning the AHL)
Darcy Tucker (bought out)
Kyle Wellwood (waived)
Ian White
Jeremy Williams (in the minors)
Vesa Toskala
Andrew Raycroft (bought out; thank God)

Now, compare that with last night's Leafs roster:

Jason Blake
Boyd Devereaux (picked up on waivers)
Jeff Finger (free agency)
Mikhail Grabovski (acquired via trade)
Jeff Hamilton (free agency)
Pavel Kubina
Nikolai Kulemin (drafted)
Brad May (acquired via trade)
Jamal Mayers (acquired via trade)
John Mitchell (drafted)
Ben Ondrus (will never be anything but an injury call-up)
Phil Oreskovic (drafted)
Alex Ponikarovsky
Luke Schenn (drafted; thank God)
Matt Stajan
Lee Stempniak (acquired via trade)
Anton Stralman (still half Leaf, half Marlie)
Ian White
Martin Gerber (picked up on waivers)
Curtis Joseph (free agency; oops)

As you can see, the roster turnover has been nothing short of phenomenal. Granted, there have been a lot of injuries this season, as there always are. Ben Ondrus is up with the big club right now because Nik Hagman is hurt. I don't imagine Ondrus is part of the grand plans going forward. 

Guys like Stralman and Oreskovic are only up because Mike Van Ryn is made of glass, Kaberle's got a busted hand, and Jonas Frogren is done for the season. Don't forget about Jamie Sifers, who's also seen some action with the big club this year.

And Martin Gerber is a Leaf only because Vesa Toskala is injured, and because both Curtis Joseph and Justin Pogge stink.

Gone too are guys like Mark Bell (waivers), Robbie Earl (traded) and Staffan Kronwall (waivers). Rookies like Alex Foster and Darryl Boyce, who saw action with the Leafs last year, haven't been able to make the jump this year. While Tim Stapleton is down on the farm, enjoying a fine season, I think we'd all be pleased if Andre Deveaux and Ryan Hollweg (worst trade ever) never play for the Leafs again.

Ian White is one of the more interesting cats to think about, March 2008 to March 2009. A year ago against the Devils, he played 13:13. Of all the six defensemen in the lineup that night, White received the fewest minutes, even less than Stralman. Last night, White played 27:25, by far the most on the team. He has skyrocketed up the depth chart, and it's a testament to his hard work and flexibility. Also, his stache. He's rocked it like a champ all year and, make no mistake, it definitely has something to do with his success.

Clearly, change has come to Toronto. And the Brian Burke purges shall continue. I imagine it will be another busy summer in Leafs land.

Bring it on, I say.




Jaredoflondon said...

i find your lack of faith in Pogge disturbing

Stan the Caddy said...

Did Colaiacovo actually play that March 2008 game or was he getting wheeled out on a stretcher that day?

Seriously though, Van Ryn = Colaiacovo = Scott Rolen = Fuck!

eyebleaf said...

Jared: Pogge's done nothing to really deserve my faith. He won the World Juniors on a sick Canadian team. No Mem. Cup, and he's been average, at best, down in the minors. I'm hoping for Tlusty-style AHL domination from him, so I can get excited. He's not ready, and that's worrisome. He also had "his chance" this year. He could have taken that Leafs crease and ran with it this year, and he didn't. Not ready.

Stan: Carlo did actually play in that March 2008 game. He was injured shortly after, I believe. I saw a March 20th box score, and he was gone by then. Bastard.

Van Ryn def = Carlo, but I have hope in Rolen. Mostly because the Jays are winning the pennant and he will be a huge catalyst, but it's hope, regardless.

slewis said...

Pogge is not the answer. I'm sure Burke is hesitant to declare him "goalie of the future" since he once said the same about Kevin Weekes, Dan Cloutier, Johan Hedberg, and a few other bums.

Karina said...

Pogge needs more work, maybe a goalie coach who's actually good would help.
I'm still suspect of Burke's ability to judge talent in a goalie. He was lucky to have JS Giguere in Anaheim, although I do believe he was responsible for signing Hiller, so I have hope.
I can't wait to see who's left on the team come the start of next year.

eyebleaf said...

I think it's too early to say that Pogge is not the answer. Just like it's too early to say that Pogge is the answer. We've got to be patient. But, you both make good points about Burke when it comes to goalies. They don't seem to be his strong suit, and that's worrisome, because we haven't had a good goalie around here since before the lockout. And that was a bloody long time ago, now.

But I'm with you, Karina. Looking forward to the off-season, and more change.

Parth Pandya said...

Can't say I trust Pogge one bit anymore. Hasn't shown me anything anywhere. Although, I must admit he should've gotten more time on last year's playoff run then Clemmenson.

Archimedes said...

All this talk of turnover begs the question:

A year and a half from now, after Halladay, Kaberle and Bosh are all gone, who's going to be on your banner?

Parth Pandya said...

I suggest: Snider, Schenn or 09 1st round pick, and some random raptors player who is good.

eyebleaf said...

Arch, you brilliant bastard, that's a great question. One I don't even want to think about right now. But I will anyways.

Snider and Schenn are locks. Straight up locks.

And, Parth, the idea of a first round pick is GOLD!

But we gotta show the Raps some love. Jose Calderon? Everyone hates his ass now. It's most unfortunate.

Parth Pandya said...

Hopefully that first round pick is MSP or the other Schenn!

Stan the Caddy said...

go with 3 different pictures of Snider to represent the Triple Crown he's winning in 2010.

bkblades said...

Parth, I'm glad you're on the MSP train. Magnus will lead us to the promised land - another Swede superstar to take the reins? Like a storybook.

As for the banner, put the Raptors mascot on. At least he's one of the best at what he does in the league.

looshV said...

Great Blog once again, it will be even more different as you say come summer. MVR've been infected with Colaiacavitus. I think we need to sign a witch doctor in the off season this is getting to be ridiculous.

eyebleaf said...

Parth: I'll take either. I'm not picky.

Stan: Snider is winning the Triple Crown. It'll go nicely with our pennant.

BK: another Swede superstar to take the reins?

I, too, like the sound of that.

In respect to the banner, we might have to just kick the Raptors out. On behalf of their incredible suckage.

Actually, what about Jose Calderon and his 3-ball salute? I know everyone hates Jose these days because, you know, he can't play any defence at all, but, that 3-point salute is pretty boss.

looshV: Thanks for stopping by. And, yes, Colaiacavitus is a disease, for real.

Parth Pandya said...

Bkblades:He's big, he's Swedish, he's strong against the boards. Although he's not bald yet.