Clarke MacArthur: C. The impressive energy and determination he showed last season in earning a new contract has been strangely absent on too many nights – although an early season suspension and two injuries have hardly helped. MacArthur is in a similar funk to Kulemin, and it’s difficult to pinpoint which one is more at fault. Apart from one hot streak, he’s rarely produced offence and his shot totals are low given his ice time.
David Steckel: C+. The faceoff king has been as advertised on the draw, putting up some of the league’s best numbers there, and his line tends to do well in terms of possession of the puck and shots on goal. Roughly 60 per cent of the non-neutral zone draws he takes are in his own end, which explains in part why he’s a minus player, but his offensive contributions (four points) remain too low given his ice time. Wilson also likes to use him on his top penalty kill unit, something he has been better than most at.
Matt Lombardi: C+. Lombardi gets a bit of a pass given just how long he’s been out. That he’s playing at all is remarkable after missing a year with a concussion and being given up for LTIR fodder by the Preds essentially for nothing. He’s clearly not yet the player he was, something that will take another couple months, but Wilson has broken him in slowly with only 13 minutes a game. Lombardi’s plus-minus is also misleading given the goaltending has been very poor (847 save percentage) when he’s on the ice at even strength. Given his latest arm or shoulder injury will keep him out at least another month, we may not see Lombardi at full strength this season.
Matt Frattin: D. He has a great attitude but would benefit from some time in the minors at this point. Only two points in 18 games, even in only a third-line role, isn’t cutting it. There are signs, however, he may be able to fill that spot down the line.
Joey Crabb: C+. Not making the team out of camp seemed to spark him, as Crabb lit up the AHL and earned a call-up in short order. He’s still mostly just a tweener who can chip in some offence once in a while – although his play on the penalty kill could keep him in the NHL.
Philippe Dupuis: C. Not only does he not have a point after 19 games, he hasn’t even been on the ice for an even strength goal this season. Wilson still loves to use him killing penalties, where he skates well and has been one of the more effective forwards, but otherwise, not much is happening when he’s on the ice other than giving Kessel and friends a breather. He hasn’t been a liability, however. (That’s actually an upgrade over what Toronto’s had on its fourth line in recent years, by the way...)
Mike Brown: B-. Brown has been just fine in playing less than 10 minutes a night, including duties on the penalty kill. He brings energy, he fights and he moves the puck in the right direction down the ice – something that can be rare for a fourth liner. Limited upside or downside here.
Jay Rosehill: C. Well, he punches well. And he has been far less of a liability than Colton Orr generally is. So there’s that.
Dion Phaneuf: B+. The Leafs very own Neon Dion hasn’t been perfect, as in recent games there have been defensive lapses, but as Wilson’s go-to No. 1 blueliner, he has gotten the job done while providing plenty of offence. Phaneuf leads the team in ice time with 26 minutes a game and with 15 points is on pace for nearly 60 – one big reason Toronto’s power play is suddenly among the league’s best. In terms of more advanced statistics, he leads the team in Corsi, as the Leafs out shoot their opposition by an average of 31-24 when Phaneuf’s on the ice at even strength.
Carl Gunnarsson: B. The stay-at-homer on the Leafs top pairing, Gunnarsson has been a fairly steadying influence for Phaneuf, hanging back while the captain charges into the rush. Gunnarsson has been at his best when you don’t notice him – and while his offensive game has been almost nonexistent, he’s been mostly mistake-free against other team’s top lines in more than 22 minutes a night. Being a big part of a PK unit that still isn’t getting the job done bumps his grade down.