Key stat: 40.6 per cent possession rating when not on the ice with Nazem Kadri.
Nazem Kadri: B-. Don’t believe the critics. In his first full season, at 23 years old, Kadri had a fine year, with 20 goals and 50 points despite a rotating cast of linemates that weren’t always ideal. His short stint with Phil Kessel didn’t go as planned, however, and he still seems suited for a sheltered role, but the reality is he will probably settle in as more of a secondary scorer than a leading man. What rubs most old school hockey types, and especially former players, the wrong way the most about Kadri is his so-confident-it-borders-on-cocky attitude – although that may serve him well playing in the nut-bar market that is Toronto.
Key stat: 45.3 per cent possession rating, best among all Leafs forwards (albeit in some easier situations than most).
Mason Raymond: B+. For a $1-million free agent signing out of the bargain bin, it’s hard to quibble with what Raymond brought to the table, even if he tailed off as the year went on. With David Clarkson expected to bring secondary scoring on the second line, it’s a good thing Raymond was able to fill that void, contributing on both special teams and finishing fifth in team scoring with 45 points. His contributions will be less impressive when he costs more, but a find is a find.
Key stat: A 32.5 Corsi Relative on the penalty kill, top five in NHL, in limited minutes. The surprising part is he didn’t get more of a chance there than 1.3 minutes a game.
Nikolai Kulemin: C+. One of the few rock solid defensive forwards on the team, Kulemin was put in a shutdown role from the start and showed only fleeting glimpses of the offensive player he was in his 30-goal season. Getting 50 per cent of his minutes with Jay McClement as his centre didn’t particularly help, but Kulemin was pretty quiet with an awful lot of players on the whole. Could still break out next season – with a different team.
Key stat: Just 81 shots on goal in 70 games, with by far the lowest per game rate of his career (1.16 per game). Why that is, only the big Russian knows.
David Clarkson: F. Enough said.
Key stat: One point in 21 games after the Olympic break. Eleven points in 60 games overall. And $36.75-million over seven years.
Jay McClement: C-. Inexplicably given ridiculously high minutes early in the year when a few centres ran into injury problems, McClement struggled mightily under the load, with even his work on the penalty kill suffering dramatically. Part of the problem was, in McClement’s first season, he was heralded as “the answer” while shorthanded and received plenty of unwarranted Selke votes as a result. The reality was he was a better fit as a bit part, a fourth liner who chipped in on the PK, and age appears to be catching up with him early.
Key stat: The only NHL forward with more than 1,000 minutes played and 10 points or less this season.
Peter Holland: Incomplete. Acquired from the Ducks with the Leafs in desperate need of a centre, Holland had a promising start with seven points in one seven-game span early on. But he ran into some crippling health problems – a bad case of lace bite that landed him in the hospital – and was rarely used or productive down the stretch. Seems to have some real potential given his AHL totals but may also be a tweener. Still, seems worth the gamble.
Key stat: Had zero points in the 17 games he played 10.5 minutes or fewer in. But he scored at a nearly 40-point pace when given more of a chance.
Troy Bodie: A-. The big minor league veteran who became known as the “son-in-law” early on due to the fact he is married to MLSE president Tim Leiweke’s daughter certainly quieted the calls of nepotism quickly. Hard working and salt of the earth, he earned his eight minutes and near-league minimum salary every night.
Key stat: His 1.49 points per 60 minutes of even strength ice time blew away Clarkson (.65), McClement (.53) and Orr (.00).
Colton Orr: F. An inexplicable waste of a roster spot from Day 1 of the season, one that cost the Leafs worthwhile young players like Joe Colborne and ice time for developing others. And Bodie was living proof more useful toughness is readily available in the minors for an organization willing to look for it.
Key stat: Managed to go pointless all year and be outshot 2-to-1 when on the ice despite facing primarily only other Colton Orrs.