With NHL pre-season action fast approaching, the Toronto Maple Leafs have successfully signed another rookie. Spencer Abbott was given a one year contract with the Leafs.
The 26-year-old forward spent all of last season with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. He tallied 17 goals and 52 assists in 62 games last season. This is an excellent signing for the Leafs. At the very least, it will provide head Coach Randy Carlyle with a decent injury reserve option.
Injury Reserve Signing
That being said, I believe Abbott will be spending the majority of the season playing for the Marlies again. However, if forwards David Booth, Carter Ashton or Matt Frattin get into a slump, Abbot may get a chance to play. Regardless, I believe he will get at least one preseason game.
More Contribution from Defenseman
The Toronto Maple Leafs have a pretty decent roster of players in my opinion. Some of the players the organization has brought in will certainly help the team succeed. Phil Kessel, James Van Reimsdyk, Tyler Bozak and Joffrey Lupul will be leading the charge again for the boys in blue this season. These four guys combined for 234 points last season. I believe all the Leafs need to make the playoffs this season is some more points from the team’s top defensemen.
I really hope Dion Phaneuf has a bounce back season this year. I believe if he gets to play along-side Roman Polak or Veteran Stephen Robidas, his point tally will increase dramatically. Phaneuf did finish ninth overall last season with 31 points. However, he only scored eight goals and accumulated 144 penalty minutes. That’s just not good enough for the money he’s making in my opinion. I really hope that with a new linemate, Captain Dion Phaneuf will be able to start scoring goals consistently.
20-year-old Morgan Reilly will be expected to have a breakout year for the Leafs as well this season. Reilly finished just behind Dion Phaneuf with 27 points. I believe this kid has huge potential and will easily get to 30 points or more this season. With more ice time, this kid will certainly be able to help Cody Franson or Jake Gardiner accumulate more points moving forward.
Secondary Scoring Options
Forwards David Clarkson, Daniel Winnik and Nazem Kadri will be leaned on to provide some much needed secondary scoring options. I’m not worried about Kadri not contributing at all. He has improved dramatically and has huge potential to finish in the top three in points again for the Leafs this season. He finished with a solid 50 points last season and will no doubt increase that this year. If Clarkson can avoid injury, I believe he has the potential accumulate at least 30 points or more this season. He’s got size, speed and isn’t afraid to throw his weight around either. He’s not afraid of crashing the net and has a knack for providing decent screens as well.
Daniel Winnik will be the guy that may get to play with rookie Michael Nylander throughout the season. I don’t know how much playing time Nylander will get, but if he’s on a line with Winnik and David Booth, he’ll do well. I believe the Toronto Maple Leafs could make the playoffs this year. If they tighten up their defense and win games more consistently I believe this team could finish fifth or higher this year.