Leafs to re-sign Colton Orr for two years

Let’s assume for a minute that Lance Hornby’s assertion is correct, and that fighting leads to wins (but it isn’t true).

Why would a team need to re-up an enforcer to a two-year deal, even if fighting mattered (which it doesn’t).

Let’s take a look at a few transactions that happened this season, and keep that in mind when you ponder why the Toronto Maple Leafs just gave Colton Orr a two-year contract, especially when you consider that on Orr’s last contract, he was sent down to the minors in his third year.

  • On January 21st, the Tampa Bay Lightning acquired Jean François Jacques (166 GP, 197 PIM) from the Florida Panthers for “Future Considerations”
  • On January 31st, the Toronto Maple Leafs acquired Frazer McLaren (40 GP, 85 PIM) off of waivers from the San Jose Sharks.
  • On February 28th, the Washington Capitals acquired Aaron Volpatti (54 GP, 81 PIM) off of waivers from the Vancouver Canucks.
  • The very next day, the Vancouver Canucks acquired Tom Sestito (34 GP, 159 PIM) off of waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers.
  • On January 13th, Steve MacIntyre (90 GP, 163 PIM) was waived by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Nobody claimed him.
  • On February 11, Darcy Hordichuk (542 GP, 1140 PIM) was waived by the Edmonton Oilers. Nobody claimed him.

There’s no long updated list of players on waivers this season that I can remember, but generally, enforcers are a dime-a-dozen players you can find in the bargain bin. The NHL leader in fights this season, B.J. Crombeen, was originally acquired from St. Louis for a 5th round pick.

George Parros, one of the fiercest enforcers on Carlyle’s old Anaheim Ducks squads, was acquired from the Colorado Avalanche for a second round pick. The Avalanche originally claimed him off of waivers from the Los Angeles Kings.

Mark Fraser, one of the toughest Leafs this season, and one who could play a regular shift without getting killed with possession in his own end, was acquired in a minor league deal. Frazer McLaren, Colton Orr’s other winger, came from waivers as I’ve mentioned above.

Cheap or not for Orr, he’s entirely replaceable. Does he protect Nazem Kadri? Well, here is a screenshot I have of Victor Hedman punching Kadri in the face while Orr is trying to start a fight with B.J. Crombeen:

Filename: colton_orr_doesnt_protect_nazem_kadri.jpg

UPDATE: Pension Plan Puppeteer SkinnyPPPhish has compiled a spreadsheet of the Leafs’ record when Orr is or isn’t in the lineup.

  • Him getting re-signed does not guarantee a roster spot next season, mind you. If he gets outplayed by D’Amigo/Ashton/other in camp, loses his roster spot, and gets put in waivers, all of this worrying and criticism is moot.

    I look at this as the Leafs not putting all their eggs in one basket with the 4th line. It’s especially prudent now that we don’t have Komarov anymore.

    Nothing to panic about here.

    • Back in Black

      He will be outplayed by D’Amigo and Ashton in camp, because he is not as good at hockey as they are. That doesn’t mean he’ll lose his roster spot though. He spent all season in the lineup ahead of superior players.

  • You might want to have a look at the video you mention.


    AFTER knocking down Crombeen, Orr clearly goes after Hedman, grabbing Hedman’s head. LeCavalier, Salo and two linesmen then get between Orr & Hedman. Kadri & Hedman exchange a few shots, then Orr finds a way to grab the back of Hedman’s jersey.

    I’m just saying that in the clip you mention, Orr clearly tries to stick up for Kadri, but Kadri did show he can hold his own.

  • The logic of the argument that Orr doesn’t protect Kadri is faulty. For example, I can show many video clip of Phaneuf getting blown by Eller or Phaneuf coughing the puck up. I wouldn’t argue that to mean that Phaneuf is a poor defenceman either.

    Personally, I was hoping the leafs would upgrade the fourth line with more skill (a PKer) that can still play gritty. But Orr’s impact on the game whether you think it is positive or negative is greatly over exaggerated.

    The focus of the leafs should be on upgrading their defense and secondarily addressing what to do with Bozak at center (replace, resign, etc). I have yet to see a plausible solution provided for what to do with the leaf defense or even much debate. Just obsessive focus and complaints about unimportant fourth line players and not much in the way of proposed solutions.

    • The logic of the argument that Orr doesn’t protect Kadri is that Orr simply doesn’t play enough minutes to be on the ice to scare these players. No one is afraid of him, you can even watch the Bruins players in the first round making fun of him on the bench.

      One question to ask is “How effectively did Colton Orr actually protect our players?” Because having the presence of this tough, intimidating player is supposed to discourage other teams running our guys, right?

      Yet over just a 44 game sample size, we saw Lupul get concussed by a pair of Philly goons and Radko Gudas bust Bozak’s shoulder. Grabovski had to bite Pacioretty’s hand to get out of a corner scrum…

      Clearly our goons are not discouraging the opposition from hitting our players hard enough to hurt them.

  • MaxPower417

    This is a two way contract so if he gets dropped to the AHL for the second season, or even a good portion of the first (*fingers crossed*), the cap hit will be minimal.

  • @Alex,

    This is just as bad anecdotal narrative that reminds me of Healey dissing Reimer’s glove hand or those that say Kessel is streaky or that Phaneuf has too many defensive lapses. I can likewise pick up many example faults in these players games but it proves nothing. Believe what you want to believe but there are bigger problems on the leafs then Orr’s extension.

  • Back in Black

    The people who write these articles need to put down the keyboard and pick up a stick. What a joke it is too read this trash.

    Did you notice that Kadri laid into Hedman willingly? It’s cause he WANTED too and Orr was RIGHT behind Hedman and even grabbed him a few times. You guys think Orr wouldn’t tee off on Hedman if Kadri got beat? Your all delusional.

    Scrivens, Kadri, Franson, Bozak, the list goes on of players who have publicly said they like having a guy or two like Orr on the bench. If you’ve never played contact hockey you wouldn’t understand why.

    As long as Carlyle is behind the bench we will have a tough team with at least one enforcer. That’s how hockey should be played, thats why he is a successful coach. Get used to it!