Monday, August 24, 2009
Will any Maple Leaf score 30 goals this season
The days keep winding down to the open of the 2009-10 season and myself like many Maple Leafs sit pondering who will score this season for the Leafs and will any Maple Leaf actually crack the 30 goal mark? The last time that this has happened in Leafland with a player not named Mats Sundin, we have to go all the way back to the 2002-03 season when Alex Mogilny scored 33. The question is will a player step up and hit the 30 goal mark for the first time in his career or will a player that has reached that plateau do it again. Jason Blake is the only Leafs player currently on the roster who has cracked the 30 goal mark when he scored 40 goals his last season on Long Island before signing a very generous contract with the Leafs but since joining the blue and white has scored 40 goals combined over the past two seasons but there is always a chance a player will crack the mark so we take a look at who has the potential to reach the this target as well look for a goal scoring highlight in every players description.
Mikhail Grabovski- The Leafs potential number one centerman will do well not take a few months off like he did in his first full season in the league when he scored 20. Offensively gifted best shot at cracking the mark.
Niklas Hagman- The Finnish winger scored 22 goals in 65 games and would have scored 28 if prorated for a full season. Hagman scored one of the best goals of the NHL season and if he gets top two line minutes should crack the mark.
Alexei Ponikarovsky- The Leafs veteran winger has scored 20 goals three out of his last four season. Ponikarovsky looked good playing along side Grabovski and Kulemin if they continue together could crack the mark.
Nikolai Kulemin- The kid can play hockey and isnt afraid to get his nose dirty, looked more comfertable with Ponikarovsky and Grabovski towards seasons end chipping in 15 goals in his rookie year. Kulemin could crack the mark if he gets top two line minutes.
Jason Blake- The only Leaf to ever surpass the mark but after the Moore trade cooled off from his hot streak to finish the season with 25 goals. Blake can skate like the wind and may crack the mark if he plays all season with the same passion he showed when teamed up with Moore as his center, linemates would feed off his energy as well.
Jiri Tlusty- Tlusty spent most of the season with the Marlies but was on fire when he was returned to them after a brief call up mid season and finished a point a game player with 25 goals in which five goals where in one game with the Leafs AHL affiliate. Tlusty will need to make the team first but with confidence and minutes he may crack the mark.
There will be 18 skaters on the ice minus the keepers come opening night against the Montreal Canadiens will any be able to crack the mark? We will have to wait most of the season to find out.