Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Competition at Leafs Training Camp?

One of the most common Leaf storylines this summer is the "more competition in Leafs camp" angle (Well,other than at least half-a-dozen or so ridiculous trade rumours - Brayden Schenn to the Leafs? Canuck please.)

With 23 roster spots to fill and maybe 28 NHL-ready bodies the Leafs have, if not a modicum of depth, at least some options at each position.

Let's put it this way: there may be competition for jobs in the Leafs camp, but it's closer to the cringe inducing early rounds of American idol than the Red v. White scrimmages at the Canadian Olympic hockey camp in Calgary.

Certainly, people are welcome to say “no jobs are safe” but that’s not remotely true. No top-line jobs are up for grabs at Leafs camp. In fact,most Leaf fans could name 16 of the 23 players that will be on the Leafs roster opening night.

The spots that are in question – the back-up goalie, 6th and 7th (and possibly 8th) D-men and a set of 4th line forwards – aren’t exactly game breakers.

Burke could invite 75 players to try-out for the Leafs and the club's spotty forward ranks wouldn't change much. The arrival of Jason Allison is just one more indication of how thin the Leafs are on top-line talent.

It should also be noted that this situation isn't exactly new.

An argument could be made that Joey MacDonald is just this year's Clemmenson (who was, what, the 2006 Aubin?). Wayne Primeau is a cheaper Mark Bell (or is it Boyd Devereaux?) and Rickard Wallin is this years’ Simon Gamache.

Let’s not forget, a year ago the Leafs entered training camp with 9 NHL-caliber D-men competing for seven spots and the club transformed that depth and that competitoin into Lee Stempniak and an 86 point season.

Something to keep in mind with 12 days to go until the Leafs' camp opens.


  1. Sigh...so true. There will be some competition on the blue line but that's about it. At forward the Leaf training camp will consist of 3rd and 4th liners and minor leaguers competing for spots on all 4 lines. Last season I think John Mitchell at some point centred all 4 lines. Players like Wallin, Bozak, and Stefanovich could just as easily be on a top line on the Leafs or the Marlies.

  2. Well we actually only traded Colaiacovo out of that depth - and added Frogren, Finger, and Van Ryn to the hold over group.

    This year we've dealt Kubina, and brought in Komisarek, and Beauchemin - which immediately pushes at least one D down the depth chart.

    Plus up front we lost Moore and Antropov and have brought in a bunch of younger players to compete. The Jason Allison thing is irrelevant as he doesn't even have a contract at this point.

    The competition will be amongst the kids for the new spots, the hold overs and vets are likely to stick unless someone is dealt you are correct.

  3. Having all the competition for the younger forwards would be less stressful on Leaf fans if there were veteran guidance kicking around on the top two lines. WHoops

  4. Paul Steckley6:53 pm

    Does anyone understand Allison's invite to camp? I know he doesn't have a contract (fingers crossed that doesn't change) but why even bother having him show up? The guy is slower than slow.

    Maybe he has incriminating pics of Burke during one of his fishing trips.

  5. Anthony Woods `veteran guidance kicking around on the top tow lines`` Enter Jason Allison.
    I`m actually excited and hope he can find his form and make the team. Yes he has been out of hockey for a while but 34 is not that old. 60 points in 66 games is not something to snuff at. Remember when the Leafs had him he was suffering from some heavy personal problems and he relied on booze to get him through. To put it bluntly (and i mean no offence to him) he was a drunk with the Leafs. I`ve heard a rumor he was playing drunk. That is going to affect your skating. Imagine what he could have done sober. As of now he is healthier then he was before he left the game and he has taken some power skating lessons. Give the guy the benefit of a doubt he could be a great storyline for Toronto and can fill a very important leadership role for the Leafs scoring youngsters. If he can return to form.

  6. Redonred - If that's a joke, I don't get it.