These are the names of the Toronto Maple Leaf’s defence core. My first thoughts after typing these names down, is that someone has to go somewhere this season because what you have here is a very, young talented group of defenders. Where the first eight players that I have listed are all legit top 6 NHL defenders. In my mind someone has to be traded or sent down.
Dion Phaneuf – Team captain needs to put up better offensive numbers, but will always be a reliable force on defence for years to come.
Keith Aulie – At 6’ 5” and 217lbs, basically what you have here is another Phaneuf, but without the offensive skills.
Luke Schenn – Top 5 in the league in hits. I better see a minimum of 5 years on his next contract.
John Michael Liles – An offensive specialist 5 on 5 and on the power play. I should see a 40 point season from Liles this year. Liles becomes a UFA in 2012.
Cody Franson – A recent acquisition posted 21 and 29 points in his first two NHL season respectively. I wanted to season Franson break 30 points this season.
Carl Gunnarsson – Gunnarsson has had his up and downs and with Franson on the team bumps him down one spot on the depth chart.
Mike Komisarek – Injury plague seasons behind him? He’s still a good defender, but I have had enough with him, so I would personally want to see him down with the Toronto Marlies.
Matt Lashoff – Odd man out at the start of the season in my opinion. His first album sound decent.
Jake Gardiner – Former first round draft pick posted 41 points in 41 games last season with Wisconsin (of WCHA) before he was traded to Toronto. He’s got top 4 and power play producer all over him.
Jesse Blacker – Slowly making a name for himself after recording 54 points in 62 games in the OHL last season, with the Owen Sound Attack, along with a solid Memorial Cup run. I personally enjoy watching him skate.