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Who’s the most surprising Leaf for you so far this season?

I realize that I am parroting the poll question that I have up right now here at VLM, but I know a lot of people don’t participate in polls of any kind.  So let me re-ask the question that I've posted for everyone who visits here:  which Leaf has surprised you the most so far this season, 20 games into this delayed 2012-’13 NHL season?

If most Leaf fans are honest, many of us are surprised that the team is where they are in the standings- in a playoff "spot" with a record of 12 wins and 8 losses.  (For the record, you know I have been saying from before Day One that the Leafs can make the payoffs in the East, but I did not anticipate this…) 

What I’m talking about now, though, is more “individual”, if you know what I mean.

In the poll question, I list the following players, in no particular order:

  • Kostka
  • Kadri
  • Reimer
  • Orr
  • McClement
  • van Riemsdyk
  • Komarov
  • Fraser
  • MacLaren

A name that I should have included but didn’t (I’ll blame space restrictions, but I don’t think that was an issue) was Cody Franson, who was not even signed just days before the season started, much less a sure-fire top-six defender in the brass’ mind, it would seem.

But hey, it doesn’t matter what names I listed.  Who do you see as the guy who has caught you completely off guard because of how they’ve played and the contribution they have made to the blue and white to this point?

For me, there are plenty of candidates.  But I’ll simply say that I (and this is not even close as I think about) have one guy in mind:  I did not for a moment think Mark Fraser would be on this team, much less do what he has for the Leafs (what is he, plus 14 this season?).  Now I’m thinking he better not be the guy who loses his job if and when Gardiner reclaims his place on the Maple Leaf blueline.

I won’t go through all the other names, so I’ll just say Fraser’s my guy, but you could pick just about anyone on this team (including Scrivens) and I wouldn't argue with you.

Let's create one stipulation: I'll give you one name only as your most surprising Leaf, but I'll allow one "back up" as an honourable mention.

So who’s your guy?


  1. Fraser didn't surprise me. I watched him play allot on the Marlies. I knew he was tough as nails. I think I mentioned him several times last year, and posted videos of him holding his own, fighting heavyweight, Zenon Konopka. Sure, I am a bit surprised at his +/- rating, but I thought he could be a better cheaper version of Komisarek.

    The guy that is surprising me is Kadri. I was pegging him at 45 points a season. Now I think he is a 65 point guy, and I am amazed at the defensive play and the compete level.

    It's one thing to be a star at the AHL level, it's another thing to do it against the best in the NHL. To be in the top 25 in the NHL and lead the team in scoring, while playing on the 3rd line. I never would have guessed that.

    Kostka was a bit of a surprise. Again he looked great in the AHL but I thought he might be a career AHL guy. I thought maybe he is a 6th or 7th defenseman... and I thought Orr was done.

    I was right about the Marlie kids coming in and helping, but off on many of the details.

    It's nice to have guys exceed expectations.

  2. I remember your earlier posts about some Marlies, including Fraser, DP. You'll start the voting off for Kadri and Kostka!

  3. I have been surprised by the quality of play of many of those on the list but the one who was entirely unexpected for me was Mark Fraser. With the log jam on defense I didn't foresee Fraser making the team let alone taking a regular shift. Honourable mention would be between Mike Kostka and Colton Orr. I would have to pick Orr, mainly because I did not expect him to make the team let alone take a regular shift on the Kadri line at times.

    I believe everyone on your list plus Matt Frattin deserve consideration. It is so nice to be be talking about so many players in these terms rather than analyzing why they haven't lived up to expectations.

  4. I have to say Kadri. What surprised me most with Fraser is that the Leafs gave him the opportunity. In fact had I known the Leafs were going to give ice time to Holzer, Fraser, Kostka, Komarov like they have I would have been much more optimistic about the team coming into the season. But with Kadri he has been able to be creative, defensively strong, consistent, and play with some fire. Scrivs and Reimer are doing what I thought they could do...same with JVR. With Franson we never really knew what we yes a little surprised but not totally as he showed flashes, perhaps I am surprised by his consistency. Hopefully he keeps it up....B_Leaf

  5. Agreed, Pete Cam. It's not easy to pick just one. Lots of guys have played beyond what most of us expected.

  6. I guess that's why it's a fun question, Anon (B_Leaf). We didn't know what the roster would be until the last minute, and players who were given the opportunity have generally shined in their roles. Thanks for visiting.

  7. Frattin could certainly be on the list, Chuck. (I didn't want to list the whole team!) And he's been missed while out of action...

  8. I think its Colton Orr.
    Did anybody think he would ever play another game with the Leafs after getting sent down last year?
    Did anyone think he could actually reinvent himself to become an actual hockey player and not just a goon?
    His ice time in the last 3 games before he got injured: 12:51, 10:22, 11:40.

    Seems like Carlyle is starting to trust Orr with more responsibility.

    The others on the list are good choices as well. My honourable mention is Kadri...I am not surprised by the offensive production, I always thought that he would be able to produce, but by the fact that he is doing it at center and that his 2-way game has been so strong.

  9. Orr deserves recognition, apollo678. Glad you gave him the nod.

  10. For me, it's Scrivens. Nothing I saw last year, including the Marlies' playoff run, prepared me for his solid goaltending this year. My second choice would be Kostka - wasn't aware of him, and am amazed at his poise out there. Like Gardiner (and Fraser and even Holzer, to a degree) he just seemed to belong from day 1.

  11. Komarov has been my biggest delight. When he is on, his presence is felt. Finishes checks,goes hard, no penalties, a few chances everygame. Plays with his skills and and never spews trash.Who ever scouted this player deserves a lot of credit. Does any know who sighted Komarov?
    McClement also, gutsy worker , never stops. Forechecks and has cut our goals against.

  12. Scrivens should have been on my list, too, Gerund O'. Thanks.

  13. Two very good "choices", Jerry. Don't know the scout who first found Komarov, but I believe he was a draft pick in the Ferguson years (lower rounds, I believe).

  14. I might have watched a few more Marlies games than you, Michael, so was not really surprised by anyone from that side, rather pleasantly appreciative that they are realizing their potential in the NHL.

    My surprise is actually Franson, in that I really wasn't sure what he would bring to the table after a difficult season where he had little chance to show his stuff. I was further concerned that he might have been 'alienated' from the team, but has shown that he is the bigger man and mature enough to grow and start over from a positive perspective.

    Given that he did not really 'shine' during the lockout in Europe, I really wondered what we would see when he finally made it into the roster with some regularity. I'm pleased to see him using his size more than before and being quite effective with his poke/stick checks. His positioning has also been sound, for the most part. His offense is cause for optimism going forward.

    My 'back up' is the Orr/MacLaren monster... he was not with the Marlies this season and I don't believe he played much (?) in the playoffs last season, so am pleased that he has transitioned back to 4th (even occasional 3rd) line hockey player from overly slow heavyweight side show. His quickness and general smarts are showing this season... and MacLaren has some good speed and effective checking up his sleeve, so I'm happy with that, too.

    Hope I didn't cheat too much on that last hybrid selection... :)

  15. It's not cheating at all, InTimeFor62- simply a mild 'massaging' of today's guideline!