Baby Leafs Like Parent Club Wonder What Could Have
After the parent club’s 6-1 loss in Game 7 against
Philadelphia has made Toronto Maple Leaf fans ask some
questions about next year, fans of the St. John’s
Maple Leafs have already been thinking about next year
since April began.
A disastrous first half of the season with a late
rally in the latter stages wasn’t enough for the Baby
Buds to make the playoffs this season. It’s only the
second time the Leafs haven’t made the Calder Cup
Playoffs since the club has been in St. John’s. Coach
Lou Crawford, to no one’s surprise except for Crawford
himself, won’t be back after management decided not to
renew his contract. Let’s take a look at the Baby
Leafs players and give our thoughts about the year
Mikael Tellqvist: Rating B-
The Swedish netminder saw a lot of pucks this year and
kept the Leafs in a lot of games they should have been
blown out in. His not so great win-loss record
notwithstanding, Tellqvist won the Molson Cup this
year and for good reason. Making highlight reel saves
one minute, he still lets in the occasional softie,
but you would expect him to challenge for the backup
job in Toronto next year.
Jamie Hodson: Rating C
Hodson came out of nowhere this season to unseat
Sebastien Centomo as the St. John’s backup and did an
ok job when called upon. Falls victim to occasional
bad games (like most of the Leafs did this season).
Spengler Cup experience helped the young goaltender
Sebastien Centomo Rating C
Despite Centomo’s relegation to the ECHL during the
season, the young goaltender did have a winning
record. Not given much of a chance to play in St.
John’s or Greensboro, his stock did dip, but as with
most stocks, some can recover. Don’t rule Centomo out
Brad Leeb A
Ok, so he isn’t a prospect anymore, but Leeb did fill
in nicely in the role Bobby House had. A veteran who
could put the puck in the net. Led the Leafs in
scoring with 61 points and 35 goals. Unsure of status
for next year, but why wouldn’t Toronto keep him? Then
again, you could have said that about Donald McLean
too and he ended up with Columbus.
Josh Holden A-
Holden deservedly won Team MVP honours this season
even though he was second in Leafs scoring with 52
points. Led the team a lot of nights and did get a
recall to Toronto. Status is unclear at the moment,
but Holden did a decent job on offence.
Brad Boyes A
Ok, so he isn’t a Leaf anymore. But Brad Boyes was
easily the most exciting consistent Leaf this season.
A true pleasure to watch play, Boyes brought some
excitement to fans nearly every shift. My choice for
Rookie of the Year hands down, but he was ineligible
for any post-season award honours from the Leafs
because of his trade to San Jose for Owen Nolan. Nolan
disappointed in Toronto in the post-season, and Leaf
fans are disappointed that Boyes is no longer a Leaf.
That being said, however, the Leafs played better as a
team without Boyes than with him.
Alexei Ponikarovsky B
Ponikarovsky had another decent season on the Rock and
took over in the Leafs dressing room when Corson left
the club. It would be unthinkable that Alex won’t make
the Leafs next season, especially if the rumoured
cleaning house does take place. Plays excellent
defensively as well.
Aaron Gavey C
Gavey by most people’s assessment was a bust for the
Baby Leafs this year. Expected to create some offence,
the former Minnesota Wild man only had 14 goals and
probably wishes he was still back with his old club
instead. Gavey was respected in the Leafs dressing
room however. He received the Players Choice Award.
Probably won’t be back.
Nathan Barrett C-
A hard working forward, Barrett, a former WHL scoring
champ, struggled mightily offensively this season for
the Blue and White when he was expected to provide an
offensive punch. Probably will be back next year, and
hopes are he can light the lamp for the Baby Buds next
Dwayne Hay B
An excellent grinder who occassionally showed signs of
offensive flair, the former Saint John Flame was an
excellent pickup for the Baby Leafs. Shone especially
when paired with former Leaf Brad Boyes. Not Afraid
to mess it up if needed.
Craig Mills C
The captain of the Leafs had an injury riddled
campaign, but fortunately for Leaf fans, you couldn’t
question the guy’s heart and dedication to the team.
Unsure of status for next year.
Doug Doull B
Known more for his fists than his hands, Doull tallied
15 goals this season for the Blue and White and many
nights was the Leafs most consistent forward. The
Glace Bay native also was full of dedication and
heart. Sounds like a keeper for the Leafs, we hope.
Luca Cereda D
Luca Cereda is a player that many Leaf fans are
wondering why he was such a highly rated pick. Again
struggled offensively (7 goals), but in his defence,
did play well on the defensive front. The guy made
some amazing passes this season too but I doubt the
young Swiss forward will be back after his
inconsistent play. Is to play for his native country
in World Championships.
Nathan Perrott B-
Perrott was a good addition to St. John’s after Bob
Wren flew the coop. His role was to bring toughness
and he did that in spades, but he also provided an
unlikely offensive spark on occasion. An extremely
hard working player.
Morgan Warren D-
The third year forward struggled from the get-go and
only got in the lineup when bodies were injured or
recalled. He did score 16 pts and there was no
questioning his heart, but unfortunately, heart only
does so much. Probably won’t be back.
Unable to Grade:
Anders Eriksson C-
Won Leafs Best defenceman honours, but that was only
for his offensive skills (39 points). The million
dollar man drew the ire of local fans for his
lacklustre play and giveaways not seen since the
closure of K-mart. And he still has a year left on his
contract with the Leafs, who can’t get rid of him.
Does provide a presence on the powerplay, but takes
too many penalties.
Allan Rourke B+
Rourke came into his own this season as one of the
Leafs top Defencemen, scoring 39 points and goals at
key times. Especially impressive after experimenting
at forward. Future is uncertain, but if I were a
betting man, I would suspect Rourke would be back in
Chris Chartier C-
The so called replacement for Nathan Dempsey never
quite filled the shoes. His offence was ok (4 goals
and 26 points) but there were a lot of nights you
wouldn’t notice him on the ice and his defensive play
also suffered this season. Power Play is his strength.
Regan Kelly B
Kelly impressed many Leaf observers in his rookie
campaign and could be the leading light of Leafs
Defencemen next year. Especially impressive
Marc Moro B-
The Hardest Working Player winner for the Leafs this
year, Moro punished opponents on a regular basis with
his hitting and strong defence. Leaf fans hope he’ll
Jay Harrison B-
Harrison had a decent rookie season, but like most of
the Leafs D-men, suffered from the constant losing of
games during the year. Needs to bring the offence up a
bit next year. (10 points in 72 games)
Ryan Bonni D
Bonni was a guy I hardly noticed this season and he
didn’t play a lot either. When he was on the ice, he
did little to inspire the team’s fortunes. Probably
won’t be back.
Dmitri Yakushin D-
The return of Yak to the Baby Leafs wasn’t a thing to
celebrate this season for the Blue and White as he
only played 29 games and got 3 points. His defensive
lapses were also plentiful.
Other players unable to grade:
The future for the Baby Leafs looks bright with tons
of young prospects on the horizon and the young blood
could be of significant help to a franchise that needs
it. As the last AHL franchise in Atlantic Canada (RIP
Saint John Flames), the loyal fans deserve a better
team. A new coach and a new GM (Mike Penny takes over
for Bill Watters) could be what the doctor ordered.
St. John’s fans will be seeing both the Leafs and
Raptors in preseason action this September. The
Raptors will play an undetermined Eastern Conference
team in September and the Leafs will take on the
Ottawa Senators at a game after the Leafs return from
their training camp in Sweden.
Congratulations to former Leaf goalie Mike Minard who
helped the Manitoba Moose win their first round
playoff series. Minard, who was cast off by the Baby
Leafs after a disagreement with former coach Crawford,
was easily one of the most loved Leafs, and Minard, a
true class act, not once ever badmouthed the team
after the Leafs unceremoniously ditched him. Go Mike