LFR6 – Game 29 – Lupul Fiasco


The Leafs move up in the standings, even though they lost. Losing is the new winning! I talk about Lupul’s comeback, the trouble with Bozak, and the argument for trading Nikolai Kulemin.

Post Game Blog
Marlies Post Game

  • My takeaways from the game
    1. Lupul should be Captain. He is everything you want in a captain – literate, inspirational and a game changer.

    2. People are way too hard on Bozak. Fact: Bozak is not a great 2 way 1C but he did make a beautiful pass on the Kessel goal and actually performed in the shootout. I’m happy with his game and the value for his current salary but I’m not happy with Bozak as the leafs 1C.

    3. Phaneuf is not a great defenceman (and nor are any of the other leafs). I’m not sure why people are hard on Bozak and give Phaneuf such latitude in his game. Just like Bozak is not a 1C nor is Phaneuf a 1D. They both make their team mates worse. They are both terrible defensively but more talented offensively. Bozak is great on faceoff and Phaneuf can hit. But the big difference is Bozak is only 1M whereas Phanuef costs 6.5M. Let’s hope Nonis doesn’t give Bozak a Phaneuf like boat load contact that harms the team from bringing in better talent.

  • I can’t see the Leafs bending to huge salary demands from Bozak just because he plays on the first line with Kessel. Kessel helps Bozak’s numbers, not the other way around.

    The risk for Bozak is that they ship him out and he never again plays with Kessel level players. Also, as a second or third line center on many teams he plays fewer minutes. This could take him back to his pre-Kessel numbers of about 35 points a season.

    Few teams are going to pay $4 million a year for 35 points annually from a smaller guy.

    A 3-year, 10 million deal averaging about 3+ million a year is about the best Bozak can hope for.

    • The second line centre minutes question really depends on what you’re asking of your second line. If the second line is really just a less-talented version of your first line, then yeah, the #2 earns less time. But if you’re doing an aggressive zone matching strategy, then your #2 line (or at least #2 centre) will often have more icetime than the #1 line. (See: Vancouver, when healthy, or Boston).

      The real problem with the Leafs (aside from not playing 60 minutes) is that their #1 centre is playing on the #2 line, pulling in mainly d-zone starts and tough minutes, while their #3 centre is getting #1 icetime, tough opposition, and heavy o-zone starts, and their #2 centre is getting protected minutes but poor o-zone starts. (For those who are lost in that, Grabbo = #1C, Kadri = #2C, and Bozak = #3C.)

      As to his worth, I think that a lot of teams in the NHL (maybe as much as 1/3) would think that a #3 centre who regularly puts up #2 points (he’s averaging solidly in the middle of the 31-51 points a second-line NHL centre scores), wins faceoffs at a very proficient rate, and can play some very tough minutes, is worth $3.5 or better.

      But if the Leafs continue to misuse their centres, it would not surprise me to see Bozak get about $4.25 million with them. After all, that’s less than they will be paying for a ‘real’ #1 centre.

  • Do NOT trade Kulemin.
    He is undervalued because his point production is down but he brings solid play every night and is very strong on the puck.
    The Leafs would not get a fair return on Kulemin who, with his contract, is a bargain for them.