Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Competition in Camp and other white lies

The Leafs have invited 60+ players to this year's training camp. That's about 40 more players than they have room for.

Of the seven d-spots on the roster, at least five are already locked down:
1. Phaneuf
2. Komisarek
3. Beauchmin
4. Kaberle
5. Schenn

That leaves three bubble guys(Gunnarsson, Lebda and Finger) in the hunt to be the sixth d-man and 7thD/press-box boy. The other 14 candidates will head to the Marlies, the Leafs ECHL affiliate in Reading or their junior teams.

Up front the Leafs usually carry 13 forwards.

One look at the roster and it's clear that two thirds of those spots are filled:
1. Armstrong
2. Bozak
3. Brown
4. Grabovski
5. Kessel
6. Kulemin
7. Orr
8. Sjostrom(injured)
9. Versteeg

That means 29 forwards are "competing" for just four spots. You have to think MacArthur, Mitchell, Caputi, Hanson and Kadri are the inside favourites here - and the other 25 guys are pretty much pre-season tourists.

Six goalies are in camp, but the Leafs are set with JS Giguere and Jonas Gustavsson...

Look, I get that a lot of these kids are in camp for reasons that have little to do with the 2010-11 Toronto Maple Leafs. For some, it's about rewarding a strong rookie camp; for others it's the cliched "giving them a taste of what it takes to be in the pros." For the goalies, it's a chance to work alongside Francois Allaire. I also expect that cuts will come fast and furious, whittling down the camp to more manageable numbers.

I'm also all for a so-called environment of competition, but one look at the numbers and it's clear that any competition in camp is amongst guys who'll be playing maybe six to eight minutes a night (or sitting in the press box for long stretches).

When Ron Wilson complains about lack of practice time and the team's inability to work on systems during the pre-season I hope a reporter (or a blogger willing to post his $10,000 bond) asks why the team invited 60+ guys to a camp that has six jobs available.




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10 comments:

  1. Great post. Imagine if there were people paid to ask these kinds of questions and then report the answers. We could call them Reportingers or something. It could be cool to be able to find out this kind of information.

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  2. Did you register a new Google account to post here as Michael McManus?

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  3. Anonymous10:20 a.m.

    Maybe they have 63 guys in camp because they play 5 straight pre-season games, sure the number will fall after the first few games are out of the way.

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  4. I hope that same reporter (or blogger with Dowbiggan insurance) asks why there are so many darn pre-season games in the first place. Surely the sheer number of those games steals further from the already limited amount of practice time available to work on systems and things that MUST improve, like the penalty kill and power play.

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  5. Agree completely. Do you think camp should be smaller, and some of these guys attend a Marlie camp instead? Junior's point about systems needing attention is quite correct.

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  6. When Ron Wilson complains about lack of practice time and the team's inability to work on systems during the pre-season I hope a reporter (or a blogger willing to post his $10,000 bond) asks why the team invited 60+ guys to a camp that has six jobs available.

    Bloody brilliant, MF.

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  7. Anonymous7:05 p.m.

    Did you forget about all the Marlie jobs up for grabs?

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  8. anonymous #2 If a player's best hope is to make the AHL, why is he in an NHL camp?

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  9. The NHL camp contains the Marlies ENTIRE roster, plus an extra 10 players that will either end up in Reading in the ECHL or in another league.

    AHL Camp can't even open until the cuts happen... this isn't abnormal for NHL training camp for the record.

    Buffalo invited 58 players to it's camp. Philly invited 65 players (including 7 goalies). The Rangers invited 60 players to camp (6 goalies).

    Of the teams that have announced training camp rosters, I'm not feeling like the Leafs number is that absurd... it makes sense from a practice/scrimmage perspective, and because of the heavy game schedule you want to be able to ramp up the regulars slowly while giving younger guys an opportunity to prove themselves.

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  10. Steve AHL camps open September 19, two days after NHL camps.

    As for having 60+ players in camp making sense, we're going to have to agree to disagree. I can't see how devoting coaching time to 40 guys who aren't going to play in the NHL is a wise use of time or resources.

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