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Victoria, BC • Canada • 2013 Years Old • Male
With news that Michael Peca will be heading to the Columbus Blue Jackets, the blame definitely lies on the shoulders of JFJ.

In Peca, the Leafs have lost a top-notch penalty killer, one-time Selke winner, and a guy who can play a solid defensive game; in other words, he was the kind of player the Leafs desperately needed.

In Matt Stajan and Alex Steen, the Leafs have two young players who could easily be converted into checking line forwards with the right training. Both players have shown potential to be solid penalty killers, with Stajan showing real promise at killing penalties. This is a neccessity, given the fact the Leafs' PK is among the worst in the NHL. The operative word, however, is right training. That would be Michael Peca.

It is very likely that Steen and Stajan will be on the 3rd line together. I have projected that Mark Bell will play with them; however, the line would be even better had Peca been flanked by the two young guns. What's more, we sacrificed Peca to essentially re-sign Nik Antropov. While Antropov had a solid season, and provides solid chemistry with Alexei Ponikarovsky, he is made of glass. His injuries will undoubtedly hurt his stock, and, personally, I didn't think he was worth the $2.05M cap hit, when Peca would have signed for much, much cheaper.

In the end, we could have had a solid defensive forward that could train two defensive-minded players with potential, and instead used the cap money on an easily breakable Kazakh. Instead of re-signing Peca, today he will start anew in Ohio's capital. Well done, JFJ. Well done.
August 23, 2007 11:25 AM ET | Delete
I agree, Peca would have looked good in a Leaf sweater. But Leaf fans should be glad however that at least JFJ is attempting keep as many open roster spots as possible for young players, something Leaf management in the past has been reluctant to do. We'll see if the Leafs miss Peca this season, or if JFJ uses the extra cap space effectively next season.
August 23, 2007 11:38 AM ET | Delete
I'm not too upset by passing up on Peca. Sure he would have helped our PK and chipped in offensively, but he'd be taking away ice time from a young guy. The Leafs are often criticized (by fans as much as haters) for being a retirement home and a haven for injury plagued players. Now JFJ does something that puts youth first and he gets blasted for not signing an old guy with lots of health problems.Peca could have the best season of his life...or he could do virtually nothing or get injured a month into the season. Like Nashcity alluded to: we'll have to wait and see long-term whether or not this was a good move by JFJ. Personally I like the decision already, but we'll see.
August 23, 2007 7:37 PM ET | Delete
People are talking about this "taking a young guys" roster spot crap way too much. Antropov, takes a young guys roster spot. Blake takes a young guys roster spot, Bell takes a young guys roster spot. Pohl takes a young guys roster spot. Battaglia takes a young guys roster spot. Peca takes a young guys roster spot this year, so that next year or in two years, he doesn't have to. The young guys on this team need spots, but not every single spot. Blake takes 5 spots because he's here for 5 years while Peca would have taken 1 for one year. It makes no damn sense and JFJ has once again screwed up royally.
August 23, 2007 8:01 PM ET | Delete
Well the point is Peca wouldn't have taken a young guys spot, really. He would have been beneficial on a line with Steen and Stajan, thus making our young guys better. One thing every team needs, as Anaheim proved: a solid checking line. Just one year with Peca, I think both guys could round out a fairly solid checking line. Nothing against Bell, Peca is a tried and true leader and mentor.
August 24, 2007 7:43 AM ET | Delete
I agree with Leafer_84. Given his injury history the past few years, letting him go was a logical move. Could he have continued to teach Stajan and Steen? Sure he could've, but the fact remains he just wasn't in the 'plans' this year.
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