Lee Stempniak exchanged for Alexander Steen and Carlo Colaiacovo.
I like it, and here's why:
Steen has plenty of potential. Ever since his 45-point rookie season Leafs fans have been anxiously awaiting his top-six winger potential to unleash on the NHL. Many, including myself, predicted Steen to establish himself as a 60-point guy who is responsible in his own end and can be used on the PK. Four seasons into his NHL career and that hasn’t happened. Most Leafs fans were expecting him to break-out this season, but the 24 year old only garnered 2 goals and 4 points in 20 games.
Still, I've always liked Steen's game and I think he could become an offensive force in the NHL. While it may not come right away, he's got the tools to break-out in any given moment. Blues fans should be content with this acquisition.
Colaiacovo. The first word that came to your head is injury. Like Steen, Colaiacovo has loads of potential. He hits hard, has a big shot, passes with precision and is positionally sound in his own end. If it were not for his frequent injuries, the 2001 17th overall pick would have no doubt found his place on the Leafs' roster as a top 4 defender. He will be missed, but his injuries will not.
I'd be lying if I told you I saw Stempniak in action enough to describe his game. So here's what sportsnet.ca had to say of the 25 year old:
Owns excellent speed and quickness. Can play either wing position and displays plenty of scoring potential.
Needs more refinement in his play without the puck. Is somewhat undersized, which may hinder his production in the long run.
Top six winger
Although it appears he lacks a responsible defensive game, his speed, quickness and scoring potential should make him feel right at home with the Leafs' current squad.
While he only scored 38 points last season, it's encouraging to note that he posted an impressive 27 goals and 58 points in his sophomore season.
As of now, Stempniak has 12 points in 13 games this season (11 PTS in his last 7 games...he's on fire!)
What do you folks think of the trade?
Leafs got the best player and won the trade IMO.
good to see another American on the Leafs roster
I like the move, they LEAFS continue to add more speed and quickness
What were the Blues smoking? UGH!
Steen and Colaiacovo will develop into excellent players at St. Louis.I'm curious to see who Stempniak will be paired with... Grabs and Hagman maybe?
Stemper was very responsible in his own zone without the puck. He was leading the team at one point in takeaways, that scouting report must be old. Stemper was used on one of the PK units. His speed is slightly above average--his shot is well above average--an apt passer--great defensive stick--wins more battles for the puck than his size would lead you to believe--the biggest knock I had on him was his streakyness which he has filtered this year by running point on the powerplay and showing signs of a good playmaker. The other knock is his least flattering skill which is puckhandling, which is still pretty good.
Mitchell will likely be playing with Stempniak, which is awesome becaue I think they can work well together. No use breaking up Antro, Poni and Stajan since they are clicking, and definitely don't break up kulemin grabs and hagman because they are clicjking as well, BUT Kulemin is the weakest player on that line, so they might, but I'd rather see Mitchell get a good guy to play with. Mitchell bangs the bodies, Stempniak fishes in the goals.
Lee is from Buffalo and has played pretty well in his two visits to HSBC arena as a member of the Blues. It's good to see him closer to home, it's too bad that he'll be wearing a Leafs jersey. :) I expect him to light it up against the Sabres.
I'm just regretful about Colaiacovo leaving... I know he wasn't going to get a chance with Ron Wilson calling the shots in Toronto... but the guy has shown so many flashes of dominating two way play that I feel like when (if) he gets healthy we regret this trade. Steen I feel like he's reached his plateau as a 40 pt, defensively responsible forward... don't think he's ever going to hit that 60pt level that many (myself included) predicted for him.
Solid article Ron. Lee is a fun player to watch. Given some time and the right players he will contribute well. He's not one of those players that can dominate the game alone and that'd be my biggest knock on him. Last season he got knocked off the puck with ease we hadn't seen from the kid. His height listing is generous. He is quick and skilled. He works out of the corners and side boards and creates shooting lanes for himself and quick and accurate snap shot. He played well on the point. Last season his linemates primarily were Backes and McClement. He got off to a rough start clinking more metal than a jewler and other times just flat out getting robbed. I watched him spend at least a half hour when I left after a practice, working on his shooting from one timers to curling out of the corners making sure to keep his skates moving. he can play the point on the power play as well as the half boards effectively. This season from the pre-season on he was lined up with McDonald and Boyes to begin the season. they were scoring like mad men. He got injured after the first game. When he came back he was a little fuzzy for a few games then he started on a rampage. Even with the other injuries his game looked solid finally. Then the trade.Watching Steen I thought he was just fizling out. He was so promising. Even last season I'd like some things I saw and other nights I wouldn;t even notice him. First games here it was the same thing. Then he appears to have broken out a bit.Cola is what I thought he was but even more. This kid just has to finally catch a break(or maybe not), and finally end a string of injuries that as far as I know stretch all the way back to junior.