The Maple Leafs management have grown tired over the team's lack of grit and the inability to fend off the heavyweights, or even middleweights in the league. A Jamal Mayers or a Luke Schenn can only go so far as the Leafs call up Andre Deveaux from the Marlies.
Deveaux, who has just come off a four game suspension, is set to make his NHL debut Thursday night as the Leafs travel to Ottawa to visit the Senators. Though considered an enforcer, Deveaux is fifth on the team in points (8), second on the team in goals (6) and first in penalty minutes (54). He's also one of the few players on the team who do not sit in the +/minus column. In 13 games played, he's only ten points shy of marking a career year.
The 24 year old is also in no ways a slouch in the size department. He stands 6'4" tall and carries 217 pounds with him into his power forward performance. He is considered a shut down forward with the ability to claim his territory in front of the net rather easily. Sounds exactly like the type of player Brian Burke would bring into any franchise. A big body who wants to crash and bang and plow in the garbage goals.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves; he isn't going to be a force on the second or even third line in the NHL, but he could be that fourth line player the Leafs have lacked since trading Wade Belak. Consider a line featuring Deveaux, Mitchell and Mayers. Not exactly the easiest line to play against considering all three are big bodies who want to score and love to throw their weight around.
It is abundantly clear after last night's performance against the Thrashers that the Leafs need an enforcer on the club, though many Leaf fans have been saying it since the beginning of the season.
The Leafs were always known to defeat the Senators in the playoffs because of their size and strength as they blasted bodies out of the way on route to series victories. Maybe it's time to bring some of that size and strength back into the core lineup.
Micheal A. Aldred