Finally, A Good Time To Be A Leaf Fan!

Posted: July 6, 2013 in HOCKEY, SPORTS
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

By Jason Sutcliffe

 Nonis was a busy man today, scooping up free agent David Clarkson and signing him to a seven-year deal worth 36.75 million, while also inking a five-year deal with Tyler Bozak for 21 million.

 Toronto fans seem to be conflicted and almost divided on their feelings about the deal, mostly because in order to make it happen we were forced to buy out fan favourite Mikhael Grabovski and also unload Clarke McArthur.

 As a big fan of Grabo’s work ethic and high-energy play, it saddens me to say that the move was the right one and was necessary for our team’s function. With the addition of Dave Bolland that meant that one of our centers had to go.

 So here is how that breaks down; Kadri is our second leading scorer so it wasn’t going to be him, McClement is a PK specialist and played a major part in us having one of the best PK’s in the league, so he stays, that leaves Grabo and Bozak.

 Bozak is our face-off specialist, and after the ability to sign him to a 4.2 million dollar a year contract that made him more affordable than Grabo. Also Bozak was more productive than Grabo last year and posted a much better plus/minus. So with our need to get deeper in the face-off circle it would have been counter productive to get rid of Bozak, for a player that does not meet our immediate needs and costs us 1.5 million a year more. So for these reasons Grabo had to be the one to go.

 People also feel as though we gave David Clarkson too much money. I agree but that is for the GM to deal with. I as a fan am more concerned with the product that is on the ice, and David Clarkson fits into Carlyle’s style of hockey perfectly. He scored 15 goals last year during the shortened season, not so impressive, but what about when I tell you that 6 were on the PP and 5 were game winning goals, now that sounds a little more impressive, No?

 Clarkson also lead the Devil’s in PIM’s and shots on Goal. He is a tough power forward who likes to put the puck on net. Now he is going to most likely be placed on the second line with Lupul and Kadri, how is that looking in your mind? Not to shabby, two solid power forwards and a fast, highly skilled center, that is the recipe for success.

 Nonis did not just go out and add big names for the sake of adding big names, he went out and got the pieces that we needed, the things we required. As Leaf fans we are used to being in a constant state of overhaul, while not anymore we now need to make small changes and address specific needs.

 In my opinion we are one solid stay at home defensemen and one more power forward away from being a contender. Our team is built to win play-off games, truthfully we should have done well in the play-offs this year but we had a very unfavourable draw in the first round. We had to play the team most like us and we should have won, that series was ours for the taking.

 I like where we are sitting right now. About three quarters of the way through the season last year I said there was no team in the Eastern Conference that we would have a hard time with except the Bruins (Pittsburgh included). Our strong forcheck, fast paced, hard-hitting style was built for the play-offs and after watching the Bruins dismantle a good part of their core, I feel even stronger that we could walk out of the East this year.

 We are stronger in the net with two solid goalies, and we are deeper in the front with what I think is two solid lines. Also, before the season starts we will make and addition to our back end that will have an immediate impact.

 Look out Eastern Conference our Leafs are coming and we are better than ever!

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