Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Meet The D-Men: How Many Do We Need?

The first edition of Maple Leafs Nations: Meet The D-Men is now outdated and needs revision. Specifically, my prediction was wrong and Bryan McCabe has been sent packing and is no longer a Maple Leaf. That leaves Kaberle and Kubina as the top two defenceman without a doubt. From there, it's wide open. Ian White and Carlo Colaiacovo are next in seniority with the team, but they will be challenged for playing time and possibly a spot on the roster. Jeff Finger, with his enormous high-profile contract will definitely be in the mix and should see substantial playing time. Expectations are high this year for Stralman to get increased playing time and opportunities to develop his offensive game. That's six defenceman already. I think it's doubtful that Kronwall will see any action with the big club this year, based partly on his past performance, but also due to the additions that Cliff has made and the heavy competition there will be for the remaining spots. Schenn is the future, and I'm not expecting to see him in a Leaf uniform this year, but maybe next.

In this episode of Meet The D-Men, we try to get more familiar with the recent additions to the Leafs' blue line, Josef Boumedienne, Jonas Frogren, and Mike Van Ryn. The only player I'm not covering is Richard Petiot, whose NHL career consists of 2 games with L.A. in 2006. Otherwise, he has spent the last three seasons in the AHL with the Manchester Monarchs. His AHL numbers don't impress and I think he has no chance of making the team unless Carlo somehow explodes one day and takes out himself and 3 other defenceman at the same time. Don't laugh, it could happen.

Josef Boumedienne

I'd like to see Boumedienne crack the line-up. He's got a scary look in his eyes that kinda reminds me of Danny Markov. He's also got an interesting backround:

He scored a goal in his first NHL game, for the New Jersey Devils, but that was the only game he played for them. They traded him that season (2001-02) to Tampa Bay where he appeared in 3 games without a point. This will be his 4th NHL team, although most of his career has been spent in the minors. He has not played in the NHL since 2004. That year for Washington he had 14 points in 37 games plus 30 PIMs, which isn't bad.

After playing a few seasons in Europe, Boumedienne returned to North America and had a very productive season with the AHL Hershey Bears, scoring 42 points in 52 games to go along with 81 PIMs.

Born in Sweden, Boumedienne played for the Swedish juniors, but his mother is from Finland and his father is from Algeria. He shares a last name with a former Algerian President (who I think looks just like legendary Leaf coach and scout, Tom Watt), and has expressed interest in playing for the Algerian national team. I didn't even know they had a team, or ice, for that matter, but check out their cool jerseys.Jonas Frogren
Drafted by Calgary in 1998, Jonas Frogren has yet to play a game in the NHL. His entire professional career has been in the Swedish Elite League, playing all nine seasons with the same club, Farjestads BK Karlstad. Judging by his statistics, 1 point in 47 games last year, he's strictly a stay at home kinda guy, so it's interesting that he's making the big jump to North America.

Above is a funny picture of him modelling a motorcycle helmet for some reason. Below are pictures of things I'd like to see him doing in a Leafs' uniform.
Slammin' little pukes like St. Louis into the boards.
Knockin' guys down in front with no effort at all.
Givin' Jason Spezza a stick in the face any time he gets anywhere near Toskala or Cujo. I like the way Frogren looks, in pictures at least. We'll see how he handles the Big Show if he's given the chance.

Mike Van Ryn
Van Ryn comes to Toronto from Florida in the much-celebrated Bryan McCabe deal, so he'll have some pretty big red rubber clown shoes to fill. Probably Van Ryn is the front runner of this group to crack the starting line up, but his big salary could be conveniently sent down to the minors to clear up cap room if need be (hello Sundin mid-season return, bye-bye Van Ryn). Van Ryn had a pretty decent year with the Panthers the year before the lock-out, his first full season as a pro. After the lock-out, his next two seasons were almost as productive, though his goal total did drop from 13 in 2004, to 8 in 2006, to just 4 in 2007. Last year, Van Ryn played just 20 games because of injury problems, tallying only 2 assists. He says he feels "comfortable here already", but first he'll have to prove himself in training camp, and then continue proving himself throughout the season.
The biggest question I have for Mike Van Ryn, is why does every picture of him on the internet show him getting intimate with a bottle of water?

It's a strange thing to be unique for, but I guess the Leafs have seen stranger.


wrap around curl said...

I like to think the Gatorade bottle pictures are for the ladiesssss.

Scott Baker said...

Well done, as usual. The pictures are a masterstroke.

general borschevsky said...

scott baker: Thanks, really appreciate it. Without the pictures, I think I got nothin'.
wrap around curl:Ya, I don't know what to say about that, but I'm really glad you dropped by. Cheers.

Chemmy said...

Bow chicka wow wow [/loser domi]

general borschevsky said...

I don't think I've ever seen LD in the General Area, but she'd be welcome for sure.

Bow chicka wow welcome, like that.

eyebleaf said...

yo we have way too many d-men.

white's out of the equation, too.

i don't even have room for froggy.

van ryn/finger