One Quarter in the Books


    With the Leafs blowing 3-0 and 4-2 leads, eventually leading to a 5-4 overtime loss, we have now hit what can pretty much  be considered the quarter pole of the ’08-’09 season.

    Some Quick Thoughts on what’s transpired so far:

    – Hagman: Boy was this ever a great signing by Cliff Fletcher. Currently on pace for 26 goals and 56 points, leads all Leaf forwards in TOI with over 18 minutes/night. Brings a ton of energy every night, and will only be celebrating his 29th birthday in about 2 weeks time.

    – Toskala: Not pretty. 3.23 GAA, .878 SV% coming into tonight’s play, and those stats got worse. The year Andrew Raycroft got eaten alive by Toronto fans, he put up a 2.99 GAA and .894 SV% even though Toskala has the benefit of a better defensive corps and a defensive minded coach.

    – Grabovski: Huge surprise so far this season, yet another shrewd acquisition. Despite a slow start, he is currently on pace for 37 goals and 58 points. I think he will remain a legitimate Calder all season long.

    – Stajan: What the heck has this guy been eating? 2 more points tonight, and could’ve had another one if he convereted the penalty shot. 19 points in 19 games played so far, and they really haven’t been flukes either. He’s looked very good playing on that top line.

    – Steen: Ugh. 4 points in 20 games and playing on the 4th line. Ron Wilson seems to have some kind of magic formula that he gives to players who are benched (see White, Blake, Stajan), so hopefully Alex gets a dose of that soon. His protective “prospect” bubble is slowly starting to fade, and with a new GM on the verge of coming in, he better show some signs of life soon or his days in Toronto may be numbered.

    Food For Thought: Comparisons at the 20 game mark

    ’08 Leafs: 7 – 8 – 5, 19 points, 63 goals for (3.15 GFA), 72 goal against (3.60 GAA), -9 goal differential

    ’09 Leafs: 7 – 8 – 5, 19 points, 62 goals for (3.10 GFA), 69 goals against (3.45 GAA), -7 goal differential

    Statisically, this team looks eerily similar to the team they iced last season isn’t it? The main difference? A sense of pride, enthusiasm and general optimism toward the future. These players’ best years aren’t behind them, they haven’t even begun yet.

    So what are your thoughts on the Leafs start to the season thus far? 10 Questions:

    1) Who is your 20-game mark Leaf MVP?

    2) Who has been the biggest surprise?

    3) Who has been the biggest disappointment?

    4) Is this team underachieving, meeting expectations or overachieving so far?

    5) Is Matt Stajan for real? Where do you see Stajan as a player 3 years from now?

    6) Is Mikhail Grabovski for real? Where do you see Grabovski as a player 3 years from now?

    7) Has keeping Luke Schenn up past 9 games been a good decision?

    8) Which offseason move has been the best? Which one has been the worst?

    9) Will this team make the playoffs?

    10) Predict the Leafs record at the 40 game mark.

    Always a pleasure,

    Alex Tran