Monday, September 20, 2010

Leafs Camp Update***

Watching the scrimmage's on the Leafs website, and listening to the comments from Wilson I'm going to narrow down what I think the final roster will look like:

Nikolai Kulemin - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel

*This line finished the year off together last year and they've started training camp together. Ron Wilson seems to like these guys and hopes they can build on the chemistry that they started to establish last season. These guys are all locks and probably will be the top line to start the year.

Mikhail Grabovski and Clarke MacArthur (+Sjostrom?)

Grabovski has been the best looking forward in camp, hands down. I wouldn't have guessed it going in, but he's been amazing. MacArthur has shown that he's got a good set of hands and wheels and these two have been playing together. They could work out together for the year and Ron Wilson hinted that Freddy Sjostrom could be the other guy on that line if he's healthy for the start of the season, which he should be. That would be a speedy line.

Colby Armstrong - Nazem Kadri - Kris Versteeg

This was an interesting combo. I don't know if they'll stay together but they are a cool mix of grit and skill. By the sounds of things Kadri will be making the team, at least to start the year.

Mike Brown and Colton Orr

We already know Orr is on the team, so I'll move onto Mike Brown. I didn't expect a lot out of him but what I've liked so far is how fast he is. He's really quick out there and he looks pretty big. He's going to be a very solid 4th line winger. These guys are both locks.

So that equals 11 forwards, leaving 2 spots up front. Who are the prime candidates right now?

1. John Mitchell - He's got to be right in there, he was a regular last year and he looks pretty good, but not spectacular so far in camp.

2. Marcel Mueller - This guy can play. Here's a good article about him from Mike Ulmer

3. Wayne Primeau - not on my list below, Primeau was invited to camp without a contract. He looks really big and fast in camp and he might be the best option for a 4th line centre. What gives him an edge over guys like Mueller, D'Amigo etc. is that he's not a prospect and he could play 4th line minutes without worrying about hurting his development. He's also strong on draws which can't be said about any of our other centres. Last year he had an edge because of his PK ability but the additions of Sjostrom, Armstrong, and Versteeg should all but push him out of the penalty killing role. Still, I wouldn't be surprised to see him signed at the end of camp.

4. Jerr D'Amigo - Very interesting one, if you listen to the comments from Ron Wilson. D'Amigo was great in the rookie tournament and has turned some heads during the first days of practice at the main camp. Ron Wilson has mentioned D'Amigo a couple of times while talking to the media and said something to the effect of "I pretty much know what the team is going to look like come opening day.... I might have to make adjustments to accomodate D'amigo." So I think its safe to say he's still got a legitimate shot and should be one of the main focuses during pre-season. Keep in mind, at this time last year Stalberg was a fringe player on the outside looking in, but 2 weeks later was a lock to make the team because of strong exhibition games.

5. Luca Caputi - I still think he's got a great shot to make it, but he's got to prove his place on the team. Talent wise he's there, and I think a lot is going to depend on what kind of player Wilson has in mind to fill out the roster. Caputi has an edge because he is different. He's not a fast skater, but he has a great set of hands and could carve a niche as a player who stands in front of the net. He's got a unique skillset so a lot will depend on what Wilson wants.

6. Christian Hanson - I don't think he'll make it. He's a big guy, good skater, but his 2-way contract makes him an easy cut. I think he'll be one of the first to get called up, but I don't see him making it out of camp.

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