Brace yourself, Joffrey...

Steve Lansky
February 09 2011 07:28PM

Say hello to the newest member of your Toronto Maple Leafs. He's the one on the right. Earlier today, Brian Burke closed his eyes and flung another dart at the big board of NHL talent. And the names he hit were Joffrey Lupul (pictured) and Jake Gardiner. I laugh when I read that Lupul is a "top-six forward." Nobody knows what the hell Lupul is after two back surgeries and subsequent infection problems. But, since he still obviously has designs on the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, it's a gamble Burke felt he had to take.

Joffrey Lupul was a 50-goal scorer for the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL. Before you begin to salivate over this lamp-lighting potential, I remind you that Nick Kypreos was a 50-goal scorer for the North Bay Centennials of the OHL. OK, now that we have that cleared up, Lupul is a guy who, at 27 years old, has never lived up to any potential that the NHL has assigned him.

He's never had more than 53 points in any one NHL season and (to me, this is the real tell) has now been traded four times in his seven-year NHL career. Hmmm. If I had a flag, and could wave it, it would be red. I get that the kid has been dealt a tough health hand. I get that he's only 27.

But I well remember his year in Edmonton - 2006-07. It was a season in which he clearly underachieved. He had one decent year in Anaheim and another decent one in Philly. But, if Joffrey Lupul requires optimal conditions to succeed in this league, the non-talent laden line-up of the Toronto Maple Leafs may not be his cup of tea. And Lupul indicated he liked playing for Ducks' head coach Randy Carlyle. Wonder how he'll cozy up to Realistic Ronnie Wilson.

Either way, he's going to score more goals than Francois Beauchemin did. And Brian Burke obviously feels that, right now, Keith Aulie is NHL ready and an able successor to Beauchemin. And it likely also means that...brace yourselves Mike Komisarek bashers...number 8 is going to get more minutes than he has in recent months.

The Leafs are going to miss Beauchemin. And Joffrey Lupul is going to find out what Phil Kessel and Kris Versteeg and Mikhail Grabovski have before him. That playing under the heat lamp, in the centre of the universe, can be most unpleasant when you don't do what's expected of you.

And, as usual, I'm sure Toronto fans will expect Lupul to be nothing more than a saviour.

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Steve Lansky's first exposure to the game was at storied Maple Leaf Gardens, running downstairs at the end of every period just to watch the great Dave Keon walk off the ice to the room. A decade later, while he was still in high school, Oilers' head coach Glen Sather asked Lansky, "Hey, how'd you like to be our team statistician?" In 1983, at the age of 22, Lansky became the youngest producer in the history of CBC's Hockey Night in Canada, giving him a front-row seat to the Edmonton Oilers' dynasty. Lansky also helped launch Rogers Sportsnet's fledgling hockey coverage when the network made its début in 1998. You can follow him at bigmouthsports.com and at twitter.com/bigmouthsports
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#1 A.Donnybrook
February 10 2011, 12:58PM
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Quote: "And, as usual, I'm sure Toronto fans will expect Lupul to be nothing more than a saviour."

Really? You are reading that fans think he's our next saviour? All I read is exactly what you wrote, in short, this guy was a throw in - don't expect much of anything from him.

If he bumps an AHL player like Crabb/Mitchell back down due to his play are we not ahead? That to me would be another plus on this trade. Toronto media/fans stop with the obsession that all players need to be lights out stars.

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#2 Scott in Grande Prairie
February 10 2011, 01:14PM
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Speaking as an Oiler fan in northern Alberta, let me assure you: Lupul ain't gonna be any good for you.

In his one season in Edmonton, he was almost invisible. He completely wilted under the pressure of returning to his hometown to play and, the thing is, I'm not even sure if he had all that much pressure on him.

Obviously, injuries have since conspired against him, so it's probably wise not to judge Joffrey too harshly, but ...

He was healthy when he was in Edmonton and he played like a guy showing up for the paycheque.

Better hope Gardiner's a player, Leaf fans..

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#5 Rexall Robots
February 11 2011, 10:01AM
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Have to agree with Scott in Grande Prairie on hoping that Gardiner turns out to be a player. That being said, for a young team that is looking to rebuild, trading away a 30-year old for a 27-year old and a 20-year old blue chip prospect could be a stroke of genius by Burke. I know, I used Burke and genius in the same sentence, but this move fits the Leafs for where they are at.

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#6 Pension Plan Puppets
February 11 2011, 01:46PM
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And, as usual, I'm sure Toronto fans will expect Lupul to be nothing more than a saviour.

This is horsebleep. No one's billing Joffrey Zoolander as the franchise saviour outside of the strawman you've built.

All I know is that I've never seen a sports clique that provides a knighthood to its players faster than Maple Leafs' fans.

This is of course more horsebleep. Every fanbase gets excited over players (and management!) beyond their impact. Look at Edmonton and the way they are already fitting Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle for Stanley Cup rings or the popular belief that Tambellini's definitely going to be the man to get the Oilers there.

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#7 Ben Dover
February 11 2011, 04:17PM
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@Pension Plan Puppets

I don't know which Oiler fans you're talking or referring to, but the general consensus is that Tambellini is definitely NOT the man to lead the team out of a rebuild. Certainly not all the way to a Cup. THAT is horsebleep. Sheesh. The guy doesn't velcro-strap his runners without thoroughly assessing the situation.

Anyway, good luck to Lupul. My guess is he'll perform well in TO.

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#8 I tried it at home
February 12 2011, 02:50PM
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Yeahyeahyeah, enough about Loophole, who's the blond??

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#9 flames-suck
February 13 2011, 09:36AM
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I tried it at home wrote:

Yeahyeahyeah, enough about Loophole, who's the blond??

Blondie is a pornstar named Gina Lynn.

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