After the events of the weekend and the season coming to close the one thing I know everyone wants to talk about is how the Leafs played last week and you’re curious to see where they rank. The one thing I was tempted to do was turn this into a look at how players rank over the full season, but with number of TLN season ending articles in the works I’m going to hold off on those.
For those of you hoping that this is the end of Player Power Rankings for the season, I’d like to remind you that I can’t be killed and they will continue to appear here, but not necessarily every week. Just on those weeks when you really don’t want to put up with me.
Without further adieu…
1. LEAFS LOTTERY PICK (LAST WEEK: NR)
You might be the fourth overall, but you could be the first, worst case, you’re the fifth. No matter who you are that is selected, you are our new God now and we await your commands.
2. DOUBLE GUITAR ANTHEM GUY (LAST WEEK: NR)
— Stephanie Vail (@myregularface) April 11, 2015
He looks like one of Colton Orr’s relatives, but he made the anthem rock twice as hard.
3. COLTON ORR (LAST WEEK: NR)
The last official move of Dave Nonis’ tenure as Leafs GM: Calling up Colton Orr
— Andy Dabke (@Frag_IDMA) April 12, 2015
My first reaction was to crap all over his recall and point out that the Leafs would be celebrating a guy who they paid millions despite not knowing how to skate.
I’ve had sometime to think about it and while we were sold the story that this was a classy way to send off a veteran player, the events of Sunday confirmed that making Nonis watch Orr play one last time was akin to hitting a dog on the nose with a rolled up newspaper and letting him know he needs to be better. So thank you Colton Orr for making painfully clear when Nonis, Kasper, Hughes, and the pro scouting team don’t work for the Leafs any more.
4. TYLER BOZAK (LAST WEEK: 12)
Bozak picked up two points in the final game,which was a very good point total for Leafs this week, but you know what that means.
49 points. Wow.
— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) April 12, 2015
So Tyler Bozak has still not scored 50 points in a single season despite having van Riemsdyk and Kessel for linemates. To confirm that this does not make Bozak a 50 point center I reached out to a top math guy for confirmation.
“Forty-nine is not fifty. In fact, it is less than fifty.”- Carruthers Merriweather, Emperor of Math, MIT
There you have it. Bozak will not be a 50 point center in his 20s, but I expect big things from him in his 30s.
5. CASEY BAILEY (LAST WEEK: 18)
To prove I’m not a complete monster, he’s your feel good story of the week.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) April 12, 2015
6. PHIL KESSEL (LAST WEEK: 3)
Kessel, like Bozak, also had a good game against Montreal and it was nice to see him play well in what may be his last game as a Leaf. While I don’t think any reasonable person could ever consider him a problem while he was here, a rambling post from the HFBoards (h/t to @jaredoflondon for sharing it) begs to differ.
This is just wild speculation, but the point of it is that I don’t think this team is as bad as their record shows. I think the monumental collapses over the years are attributed to a problem with the make up of the team. So this is my baseless speculation on what I think is the problem…
1. Kessel is not a leader.
2. Phaneuf wants to be a leader but is not a good one.
3. When Phaneuf is rah-rah vocal Kessel is unmotivated by it because he marches to his own beat.
4. Because Kessel is the best player on the team, the other guys look at Kessel and see he’s unaffected by Phaneuf’s leadership and they in turn are less affected by it as well.
5. The team lives and dies by Kessel’s stick and because he’s not a leader, when the pressure is on they fold.
I really think that if Kessel was on a team where they had solid leadership, he would be phenomenal. I also think that at this point in Phaneuf’s career, if he were to go to another team, he would accept a role that required less leadership because when he left Calgary he probably was thirsty for the Captaincy, now that he has had it, I believe he’d be willing to give it up for someone else who wanted it.
I think if the Leafs get rid of Phaneuf, but keep Kessel, it won’t be good. They’ll still live and die by his production and will still collapse whenever there’s pressure. Not a good environment to groom prospects. If they get rid of Kessel and keep Phaneuf, I think it’ll be even worse because Phaneuf can’t lead a team even with Kessel’s production and so without it the team will just be even worse and the media scrum will fall on other (younger) players like JVR and/or Kadri.
My solution to this team is to trade Phaneuf and Kessel to the highest bidders — whatever it takes.
Wild speculation indeed. Hopefully Kessel winds up someplace like Minnesota where there is no internet.
7. MORGAN RIELLY (LAST WEEK: 4)
Sigh. He’s not far off on this one.
Name a single Leaf player not named Morgan Rielly who had anything resembling a good year. Anyone?
— steve simmons (@simmonssteve) April 12, 2015
8. PREDS FIRST ROUND PICK (LAST WEEK: NR)
The back half or so of this list is bound to depress you, so remember that when the Predators traded their 1st round pick to the Leafs it looked like they may win the Presidents trophy. They wound up 6th overall, and face Chicago in the first round, so that pick is in a much happier place now. (See how optimistic I can be once the season is over)
9. JAKE GARDINER (LAST WEEK: 6)
We can debate whether he was responsible or whether Bernier was for De La Rose’s goal (it was Bernier’s fault), but we can’t debate that this kid is a rare athlete treat on social media.
— Jake Gardiner (@Jgardiner272) April 9, 2015
10. DION PHANEUF (LAST WEEK: 17)
Much like Kessel, Bozak, and several other veterans, there is a good chance we’ve seen the last of Phaneuf. He picked up an assist in his final game which was nice, what is less is remembering all the times he was paired with Holzer, Kostka, Aulie, Brewer, …
Phaneuf fairly emotional tonight. Said notion this may have been last game as Leaf crossed his mind.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) April 12, 2015
As #leafs exit the ice, fan yells “have fun at the golf course, Dion.” He politely responds: “Thank you.”
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) April 12, 2015
11. JAMES REIMER (LAST WEEK: 1)
This may not sum up Reimer’s week, but certainly sums up his tenure as a Leaf and I’m overrating him because I want the Leafs to keep him. Hopefully he’ll get a do-over with a new GM and coach, as well as goaltending coach. That would be his 4th goaltending coach since joining the Leafs by the way, that doesn’t seem like a good idea.
12. JAMES van RIEMSDYK (LAST WEEK: 2)
He had an assist. He’s young. He’ll either be back or traded for a much better return than Luke Schenn.
13. NAZEM KADRI (LAST WEEK: 8)
He wasn’t very noticeable this week, but really not many Leafs did and this is typically a 20 player list.
14. JONATHAN BERNIER (LAST WEEK: 11)
He’s got the toughest job in the NHL, but it was far from a good week. I hope he plays somewhere else next year. San Jose seems nice.
15. JOFFREY LUPUL (LAST WEEK: 10)
His adventures in the world of social media have been most entertaining part of the last 20 games.
@stace_ofbase umm, yes?
— Joffrey Lupul (@JLupul) April 6, 2015
16. PETER HOLLAND (LAST WEEK: 5)
Peter Holland picked up an assist. He makes very little money and his arguably been underutilized. It will be nice to see him back next season, hopefully in better health.
17. ERIC BREWER (LAST WEEK: 7)
If Brewer is going to do stuff like this to Alexei Emelin maybe the Leafs should bring him back.
Emelin hit on Brewer. Brewer’s reaction pic.twitter.com/zYaEQqKUX4
— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) April 12, 2015
18. ANDREW MacWILLIAM (LAST WEEK: NR)
MacWilliam picked up an assist Saturday. He’s back with the Marlies now, but might have shown enough to make a case for being a depth guy again next season.
19. RICHARD PANIK (LAST WEEK: 16)
He doesn’t need to Panik, but it would be nice if he showed some sense of urgency when it comes to improving.
20. TIM ERIXON (LAST WEEK: 15)
He really hasn’t been good, he’s undersized and timid, and his puck moving is on par with a guy who got put on waivers not a guy who was drafted in the first round. Still I’d like to see what Erixon can put together in training camp next season.
DIDN’T MAKE THE CUT
Zack Sill, Joakim Lindstrom, Trevor Smith, these are the names we will try to forget.
Komarov gets a pass for being hurt, and Booth, well, I never really liked him.
YOU’RE FREE, PETER pic.twitter.com/Jdy4eNZxFb
— Mike FAIL (@mikeFAIL) April 12, 2015
GO FLAMS! GO ISLES! GO BANANA!