Year-End Review of the 2001-2002 St. John’s Maple Leafs, Part 2

By Gerald Gosse

Defencemen

# 3 Petr Svoboda- D
The 6’ 3” 200 pound D from Jihlava, Czech Rep played in 74 games this season recording three goals and ten assists for 13 points. He was a minus four and collected 58 minutes in penalties. In this writer’s opinion Petr Svoboda looked lost during the season. He looked as if he was afraid to move the puck to the forwards and then when he finally decided that he should move the puck it looked like he did not know who to pass it to. In the defensive zone he can be blamed for constantly turning the puck over and in the offensive zone he would pinch at the wrong time and more often than not get caught up ice, leading to many 2 on 1’s or 3 on 2’s. Every time he touched the ice at Mile One this writer was nervous. Lack of confidence has to be the problem here. Grade F

# 6 Chris Chartier- D
The 6’0” 216 lb. rearguard from Russell, MB played in 65 games for the Baby Leafs and recorded five goals and ten assists for 15 points. He was also a minus four and accumulated 18 minutes in penalties. This D-man played good in all situations, there is nothing fancy about #6, but he gets the job done. Over the 65 games it seemed to find his grove and hopefully has come to realize that he can play at this level. Grade B

# 8 Francois Bouchard- D
Seeing that he will not be back with the St. John’s Maple Leafs this season it does not seem like his grade is all that important, but nevertheless we will do it anyway. Bouchard worked well in the corners, along the boards and in front of the net. He liked to rush the puck from his own zone and did so on many occasions. One thing that can be said about him is that he did not stick out. Bouchard played good defence, but did not get many points (eight). He looked as if he was not interested in playing hockey in the AHL.
Grade C+

# 15 Marc Moro- D
The trade that brought Marc Moro over to the Leafs was a bad one. The Leafs gave up two players that were considered to be great team players on and off the ice: DJ Smith and Marty Wilford. In fairness to the 6’1” 220 lb. Toronto, Ont. native it is hard to get a clear picture of what he is all about in only seven games so therefore a grade will not be given here. No Grade

# 20 Jay Harrison- D
Considering Jay Harrison only played 17 games here in St. John’s (seven regular season and ten playoffs) it is hard to get a reading on the young man. Any games that he played during the playoffs and any mistakes that he made were more than likely attributed to the pressure of the AHL playoffs. It would be better to wait until next season to get a better feel for what he can and can not do at this level. No Grade

# 21 Nathan Dempsey- D
The 6’0” 190 lb. Spruce, Grove, AB native was the Leafs best Defencemen this season and probably the teams best player overall. He played 75 games this season and recorded 13 goals and 48 assists for 61 points. Over the 75 games he was plus four and had 66 minutes in penalties. A fan favorite here in St. John’s for sure and that is why many here can not understand why he has not been given a chance to play at the next level on full time basis. He showed everyone during the Stanley Cup Playoffs that given the opportunity he could play in the NHL. Big loss to the Baby Leafs, Toronto Maple Leafs, and the community of St. John’s when Dempsey leaves. Grade A

# 25 Anders Eriksson- D
The 6’2” 220 pounder from Bollnas, Sweden was sent here to St. John’s because of his inconsistent play at the NHL level and because he was not in the type of shape that is required to play in the big league. It was a surprise to some that Eriksson even showed up here in St. John’s, but the blueliner came here and work hard and help the Baby Buds in the process. During his 25 games here he scored four goals and added six assists for ten points. He was plus three and served 14 minutes or less in the sin bin. The man they call ‘Bubba’ played in all situations. When called upon by the parent club during the playoffs it was noticeable that Eriksson had worked on his game and fitness while here in St. John’s and he did a pretty good job in the playoffs. Doubtful that he will be in St. John’s next season, but it would be nice. Grade B

# 26 Allan Rourke- D
The 6’1” 214 lb defencemen from Mississauga, Ont. played in 62 games scoring two goals and adding nine assists for 11 points. He was a minus one and had 48 minutes in penalties. Rourke did not play much during some stretches during the regular season, but when he did play he played well. He helped the Leafs on the blueline and up front when they were short of forwards due to call-ups or injuries. A player that can play his position and then adapt to another position during the regular season is an asset to any team at any level. Grade B

#29 Karel Pilar
The 6’3” 210 lb. native of Prague, Czech Rep played in 52 games this season netting 10 goals and helping on 14 others for 24 points. He was plus two and had 26 minutes in penalties. His shot and his ability to see the ice were his biggest assets. He was able to jump into the play and he had the ability to recover in his own zone. One knock against #29 was that his shots usually never hit the net. He was aggressive and played both a finesse and physical game, but it was not until he got his chance to play in the NHL that he started throwing big body checks. His shot can be compared to ex-Leafs Jamie Heward. Grade B


Goaltenders

#30 Sebastien Centomo- G
The 6’ 1” 196 lb. rookie sensation from Montreal, PQ compiled a record of 12-7-4-1 through 25 games. He had a 2.52 GAA and a 0.926 save percentage while recording two shutouts. The thing here that everyone has to realize is that there were no big expectations put on Centomo and therefore there was no pressure and he played hockey and had success. His positioning was great and his quick glove hand help save a few goals. Success seems to follow this netminder where he plays so hopefully it can continue here in St. John’s. Surprise of the year for sure. Went from the CHL to the AHL and a brief stint in the NHL. There are not too many goaltenders around that can say that. Grade B

#32 Mikael Tellqvist- G
In the opinion of this writer Tellqvist is not as good as he is made out to be. The 5’11” 185 lb. Swede compiled a record of 8-11-6-0. His GAA was 3.12 and his save percentage was 0.909. The expectations here in this case were too high and the pressure of being labelled the next goaltender after Curtis Joseph was too great. Inconsistent is a word that can be used to describe his season. Another year in St. John’s will help the young goaltender prepare for the NHL. Grade D

#34 Mike Minard- G
The 6’ 3” 205 lb. Owen Sound native recorded a 14-11-7 record with a GAA of 3.10 and a 0.909 save percentage. Coming off a team MVP season it was expected that “Mini” would be the man between the pipes for the Baby Buds, but things did not turn out that way. It is hard for an average fan to understand why Minard was relegated to the 3rd goaltender position, but the AHL is a developmental league and that is what they were doing with Tellqvist and Centomo. Minard should have been the man between the pipes. It will be interesting to see what happens with respect to the goaltender situation next season, but one thing is for sure; if he leaves, both the team and the community will lose. Grade B


The One Minute Mile

Don’t be surprised if either or both St. John’s natives Dwayne Norris and John Slaney find there way onto the Baby Buds next season. Currently it looks like Norris and St. John’s management are talking turkey, in what could be another step in the direction of life after Nathan Dempsey.*

*With notes from Brendan McCarthy, St. John’s Telegram.