The season’s mid-way point seemed like a good enough time to evaluate our beloved Maple Leafs. We decided to use a tried-and-true measuring tool: emojis. Each member of the Blue Steam team was given full creative license. On a scale that includes ?, ?, and ??, here’s how each Leaf stacks up so far.
- ? Nick: Tears.
- ? David: Future Calder/Hart/Lady Byng/Conn Smythe/Stanley Cup winner. One, maybe two this year.
- ?❤️?? Spencer: My boyfriend.
- ??? Andrew: This guy f****.
- ? Brendan: Art in motion.
- ? Trevor: The most popular name for kids born in 2017, for both Canada and the USA.
- ? Nick: GIF machine.
- ? David: Damn fun to watch and effective.
- ? Spencer: My other boyfriend.
- ? Andrew: Marginally better than Dylan Strome, I guess.
- ? Brendan: Keeping fellow young gun Tyler Bozak’s career running for longer than originally anticipated.
- ? Trevor: Makes it look fun out there. The biggest smile on the team hands down.
James van Riemsdyk
- ? Nick: Better than Luke Schenn.
- ? David: Ho-hum, another 25+ goal season for JVR.
- ? Spencer: Offensively, he’s 12x more productive than Luke Schenn this year.
- ? Andrew: Such good hands for a big guy. As always, he’s been incredibly dangerous around the net.
- ? Brendan: Trade him for Adam Larsson.
- ? Trevor: A consistent hockey player with a beauty of a hockey dad.
- ? Nick: Performing much better in a sheltered role. Still a liability in his own end at times.
- ?? David: Eating crow here: Young Bozak is fine/good. Has a cute baby now, which is impressive given that he himself is also a baby.
- ?? Spencer: Always considered Bozo a barnacle on Kessel’s career. Nice to be proven wrong.
- ? Andrew: Doing well as a 3C. A defensive liability at times, but creates tons of offense with his line.
- ⚓ Brendan: Sometimes can weigh down linemates with poor d-zone play. Great in a sheltered role.
- ? Trevor: Reminds me of King Midas, put him with anyone and he will give you gold.
- ? Nick: Unbelievable hair and talent.
- ? David: Want to put ? here, but Babcock’s doghouse had other plans. He’s also definitely the coolest Leaf so the shades fit.
- ?️ Spencer: Not sure if he’s underperforming or AM / MM are just shattering rookie expectations. Either way, hoping for more Will Nye in the second half.
- ?♂️ Andrew: ⬅️️ The true source of his power.
- ? Brendan: Zesty in the offensive end. Get this kid the puck more.
- ? Trevor: Great athlete and ladies’ man, best is yet to come.
- ? Nick: Has officially transitioned into a great two-way center. Crazy good value.
- ? David: The perfect pest i.e. one that fills the net. Love that other teams/their fans hate him.
- ?? Spencer: Excelling in every role, doing what’s needed to win. Good Canadian Kid.
- ? Andrew: Maybe the best value contract in the league right now
- ? Brendan: Able to lock down the second best player in the world.
- ? Trevor: Never thought it would come to this… McDavid’s biggest rival. Really turned things around.
- ? Nick: Rock solid player who had shown is offensive upside in the last 15 games.
- ? David: Got his chance and is performing. Wish there were ginger emojis.
- ? Spencer: He’s proven he can compete at every level. Why would the NHL be any different?
- ? Andrew: A+ nickname, crushing it since he left the 4th line
- ? Brendan: Stock is rising. Shameful self-promotion here.
- ? Trevor: Snipeshow.
- ? Nick: Better at writing children’s books than scoring goals, but tries hard and has been better the last month.
- ? David: Used to despise Hyman, but those xG numbers corroborating his obvious puck-digging/hunting skills … I’m confused.
- ? Spencer: Does whatever’s necessary to get Matthews the puck. Not all heroes wear capes.
- ? Andrew: Makes all the right plays to get the puck, but should he be on a scoring line?
- ?️ Brendan: His grit/strength brings much-needed balance. Improving NHL17 line chemistry rating. Super important.
- ? Trevor: Absolute mucker, works the corners, 40/30 low centre of gravity Grit Grinder (credit to TSN).
- ? Nick: Best goal celebration of the year but has not been that great.
- ? David: Still hilarious but not good this season.
- ?? Spencer: Uncle Leo = babysitter.
- ? Andrew: Leo pays the iron price.
- ? Brendan: Great at being a pest, great in the locker room, not so great hockey player. I’d like to keep him around just for the novelty factor.
- ? Trevor: Spends more time on Rosetta Stone than on the scoresheet but I like what he brings to the rink.
- ? Nick: Patrick Laine probably could have used him. Too soon? Actually a much bigger fan of his since the start of the year.
- ?? David: *Team America Matt Damon voice* MATT MARTIN
- ? Spencer: I understand his bodyguard role, but still don’t think he’s worth $2.5 mil per year.
- ⚓️ Andrew: Nice guy, tries hard, loves the game.
- ? Brendan: Has twice as many fights as he does points. One piece of poo.
- ? Trevor: A fighter, a grinder, a role model, a true character for such a young team and Mitch.
- ? Nick: Babcock must be scared to send him down cause this guy is JACKED.
- ? David: http://i.imgur.com/yNlQWRM.jpg
- ? Spencer: Seth Griffith and Peter Holland each have more points with their new teams than Smith’s had all year.
- ⚓️⚓️⚓️⚓️⚓️⚓️ Andrew: Why does Ben Smith.
- ? ? ? ? Brendan: Four poos. Four of them.
- ? Trevor: Slight chance we get rid of him and bring him back again next year for some crafty reason.
- ? Nick: I still can’t get over his first goal celebration.
- ? David: Not much opportunity and, unlike Brown, flopped when he got his chance. Still think he’d be good in Hyman’s role.
- ? Spencer: The other rookies are playing so well they may have cemented Sosh in a bottom-6 role (injuries pending).
- ? Andrew: Not living up to the expectations he set last year, but come on, look who he’s stuck playing with.
- ? Brendan: Stock trending downwards since last season. GET THIS KID SOME LINEMATES.
- ? Trevor: There is some potential with this kid but he is overshadowed by the other Nikita in the room.
- ? Nick: This guy is good at puzzles.
- ? David: Meh! This is also how you spell the noise a goat makes apparently.
- ? Spencer: Another rookie making the most of his opportunity. If gets more physical he could make Martin obsolete.
- ? Andrew: Not literally a goat.
- ? Brendan: Working hard doesn’t make you a good hockey player. One poo for the fourth-line first rounder.
- ?? Trevor: One girthy workhorse.
- ? Nick: Been the Maple Leafs best defenseman. Great at carrying the puck and getting the puck out of his own end.
- ? David: Proud passenger on the Jake Gardiner hype train since 2012. Finally getting his due. Arguably the best Leafs D this decade.
- ? Spencer: Fans have been trained to sees flaws. Start acknowledging his pros and you’ll learn he’s essential, like a good pair of jeans.
- ? Andrew: Powerplay quarterback, zone exit wizard. Everything he does moves the puck up the ice.
- ? Brendan: Breakouts make me want to dance. Leafs best defenseman.
- ? Trevor: Still not entirely convinced but I like where he is trending. Great skater and a big shot.
- ? Nick: Been good, but not great. Still great upside.
- ? David: Wish he would put up more points.
- ? Spencer: Leader among young D corps. Excited for what’s to come.
- ? Andrew: He’s got chutzpah.
- ✌? Brendan: Great player, but will end up being the second best defenseman on the Leafs.
- ? Trevor: So much poise for a young stud and has still not hit his peak.
- ? Nick: Been the Leafs best D-man behind Gardiner and Rielly. Nice surprise.
- ? David: Great for a “free” pick-up. I think that and the novelty factor has some overrating his true impact.
- ?? Spencer: Best European defenceman since Aki Berg, possibly Dmitri Yushkevich.
- ?? Andrew: Nikita is a slick name.
- ? Brendan: Is he all that special? Am I missing something? Team drives play better without him than with him.
- ? Trevor: The second best Russian Leaf of all time, only to the original Alex the Great.
- ? Nick: Read below.
- ? David: Roman Poo-lak.
- ?? Spencer: 99-times-out-of-100 I’d rather have Carl Gunnarsson out there. 100th time I’d rather have Raffi Torres.
- ⚓️⚓️ Andrew: WHY WON’T YOU GET OUT OF FREDDY’S CREASE.
- ? ? ? Brendan: Can he go join Robidas on vacation? Three pieces of poo.
- ? Trevor: I don’t like how Lou makes him shave his beard because he is pretty scary with that on his face.
- ? Nick: Good in the room.
- ?? David: 7th worst regular defenseman (TOI > 400 minutes … 164 qualified) by relative shot differential this season.
- ?️ Spencer: Just put Corrado in.
- ⚰️ Andrew: No comment.
- ?? Brendan: This guy plays over Corrado? Please. Go. Away. Two pieces of poo.
- ? Trevor: At times he can be a ghost, which isn’t always a bad thing for a D-man, not very noticeable.
- ? Nick: As young D would, has been inconsistent and can struggle in his own end. Good offensive instincts.
- ? David: Bullish on Carrick. Would like to see what he could do with more offensive opportunities.
- ? Spencer: On a team with a weaker D corps, he needs to be impressing. Optimistic about the second half.
- ? Andrew: Love his upside. Hits like a truck. Makes some really smart offensive plays.
- ? Brendan: Goes missing some nights. Has not impressed this season. Has brief flashes of offensive touch, needs to get consistent.
- ? Trevor: Scrappy player with some emotion. Looking forward to more of him on the ice.
- ? Nick: Who knows?
- ? David: Injuries stink. Hope he plays over Polak or Hunwick if/when he returns.
- ☯️ Spencer: Hasn’t wowed me, hasn’t disappointed me.
- ? Andrew: Hurt.
- ? Brendan: Been a fan of his for a little while, sucks to see him struggle with injury. Could be a decent add on the back end if we get him healthy.
- ? Trevor: He scored a goal this year!
- ? Nick: He always looks sad but is playing well.
- ? David: So glad he’s living up to (outperforming?) that contract.
- ? Spencer: Expected him to get over his rocky start, didn’t expect him to play this much. Very solid despite his D6. I approve this trade.
- ? Andrew: Flourishing right now. Providing really strong support despite a heavy workload in both games and shots.
- ? Brendan: YOU SHALL NOT PASS.
- ? Trevor: One of the most effective goalies in the league.