The Toronto Maple Leafs might be near the bottom of their division just past the halfway point of the 2013 season, but because they play in a stacked division that also features the Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators they are sixth in the Western Conference standings and looking at a potential trip to the playoffs for the first time since 2004. While many of their young players have had great seasons, veteran center Mikhail Grabovski has been incredibly disappointing with only six goals and 11 points to his credit.
Grabovksi is the team’s highest paid player, and scored 23 goals while posting 51 points last season. He has not scored in the Maple Leafs’ last nine games, and has just one assist in seven March games. In comparison, Nazem Kadri has 10 goals and 27 points this season and makes less than a third of what Grabovski does. Matt Frattin and Tyler Bozak have been impressive for Toronto this season, and there are more young players waiting in the wings. The Maple Leafs have had a history of bad contracts in the last decade and have to be worried that Grabovski might be the latest player to sign a big deal and not back it up on the ice.
Poor play has seen Grabovski demoted to the third line, and when a shootout against the Winnipeg Jets went to 10 rounds on Saturday, he was not one of the players chosen. It might take a lot of effort for Grabovski to get out of the rut he’s currently in, but production from him would go a long way towards helping the Leafs’ playoff chances.