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What we missed in Adam Mair

Whenever I see the Leafs playing the Sabres, I tend to notice Adam Mair.

Now, Mair is not a guy who puts up “numbers”. He’s really been a fourth-line guy with the Sabres. He doesn’t play big minutes but he’s lasted eight seasons under a very demanding coach in Lindy Ruff, and he’s helped the Sabres have some success in the playoffs over the years.

Mair is a gritty forward. I’m not suggesting he’d be a difference-maker with the Leafs now. We already have enough guys that don’t score, though he would certainly bring a more physical edge. Mair is a guy that can make a good team a bit better as a role player.

The frustrating thing is: we had Mair. The Leafs drafted Mair in 1997. I realize it’s easy to look back after the fact and moan about how a trade turned out. That particular deal at the trade deadline in 2001 saw a young Mair go to LA for Aki Berg. The Leafs also gave up a draft choice, which turned out to be Mike Cammalleri.

While Berg was often criticized during his years in Toronto, he did play some good hockey at times and helped Toronto get to the final four in 2002. He filled a need for the Leafs at the time. But both Mair and Cammalleri are still productive NHL players.

The Leafs also made some tremendous trades in the early part of the 2000s- Alexander Karpotsev for Bryan McCabe was a steal—but I still miss Mair.

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