As we head into the 2013-14 season, Raffi Torres will be getting his first full campaign with the San Jose Sharks underway, having been traded to the club at last year’s trade deadline. Torres has already restated what he has said in the past regarding his style of play, which he is working on changing.
We heard from Torres prior to last year that he was aiming to change his style to a more controlled mode. He did a relatively decent job of that during the shortened regular season, before he was suspended for the remainder of the first round of the playoffs after popping Jarret Stoll in the head with his shoulder. Typical.
That season came on the heels of his absolutely brutal head shot to the dome of Marian Hossa, who dealt with some serious concussion symptoms for much of the time that the league was locked out, which earned Torres a pretty lengthy suspension. But until we see him do it over an extended period of time, there’s no reason to believe that Torres has changed his ways.
This is a guy that is on a level with Matt Cooke and others that simply play within a style that would be classified as anything but safe. When Torres is on the ice, players have their heads up. To a certain extent, that’s what you want from a guy like Torres. He’s the enforcer. But at the same time, his play goes far beyond the limits that it should.
Which is why there’s reason to believe him when he once again says that he’s trying to change his ways. This is a guy that has been suspended or fined more times than many care to count over the course of his career. Every time you think that he’s capable of being an asset, he catches somebody with an illegal hit, just as he did in the playoffs.
The Sharks think they have an asset with Torres, which is why they signed him to a three-year deal. They might be right, to a certain extent. But when you have a guy that is a risk to draw a fine or suspension that will cost your team on any given shift, is it really worth it? We’ll see.