The Toronto Maple Leafs as Pokemon

Jake Goldsbie over at Backhand Shelf wrote a fun post today comparing NHL figures to Pokémon. Inspired by that, I decided to write a post comparing the Toronto Maple Leafs to various fictional creatures from the original 150 list from Pokémon Red & Blue.

If you weren’t born in the late 80s or early 90s, this post probably isn’t for you, but, screw it, I don’t want to talk about labour issues. The Goldsbie post went up under the tag “No, you’re a slow news day” and, he’s right.

Dion Phaneuf = Charmeleon

Phaneuf is tricky to come up with a Pokémon comparable. He needs to be a good enough Pokémon to act as the party’s captain and lead, but also at an evolutionary stage that makes him unreliable and prone to disobedience or counter-productive aggressive behaviour. Phaneuf has a noted ability to take penalties, and sometimes picks the wrong time to fight.

The flaming red hair is more of a coincidence, but I do think that if he were a Kanto species, Phaneuf would be of the fire-type.

Jake Gardiner = Eevee

Collected at Level 25 in Celadon City in the original Game Boy games, Eevee was already at a level much higher than many of the current Pokémon in your party if you aren’t scrupulous about training, like I wasn’t. Jake Gardiner was pulled from the Anaheim Ducks prospect class and the University of Wisconsin at a higher level than many current Leafs defencemen, and jumped into a Top Four role almost immediately. That said, we don’t know exactly what will come of him. Since we only have puck possession data for the last five years, there’s a minimal amount of comparables for Gardiner looking ahead. Will be be an awesome addition to the group like Jolteon, or a disappointment like Flareon?

Mikhail Grabovski = Gyarados

In this comparison, Greg Pateyrn acts as Magikarp. Who would have thought that the useless-looking Patyrn would become something as large, menacing and powerful as Mikhail Grabovski, the best current player on the Toronto Maple Leafs? Many casual trainers are turned off of Gyarados by his weak move set, but his stats are some of the best in the game, with high attack and special rates that make his initially tame-looking talents very powerful in the long run.

Phil Kessel = Metapod

Kessel has one real attack, “carry the puck in on one of the wings and shoot” that’s reasonably successful and totally annoying to play against if you’re an opposing team. Metapod takes a while to defeat because of its one move “Harden” that raises its defence, rendering your own creature’s dumb attacks worthless.

Metapod makes things tricky, but as we’ve noted, he can’t be a #1 on any team. There just aren’t enough wingers in the game who can do the job Kessel is expected to do, which is lead a weak team into the playoffs. Also, the visual resemblance is there.

Leafs goaltenders = Voltorb

That self-destruct habit is not only annoying, but an unfortunate trademark.