It’s almost so expected.
You get just ten fights before you start serving two-game suspensions, and first-rounder Tyler Biggs got a leg-up on the competition here, getting into the first fight of the season. Ty Bilcke, who led the league last season with 37 scraps in Windsor, apparently mustered the stomach to turn down a fight with Daniel Zweep.
So a rough OHL debut for Biggs, you’d say. Well, depends who you ask.
Terry Koshan has a puzzling article in the Toronto Sun this morning, entitled, “Leafs’ Biggs shows truculence”. Well what on earth does that even mean?
If Brian Burke wants truculence, the Maple Leafs general manager might have found it in Tyler Biggs.
Lord knows the Leafs have not had much of that kind of hockey in Burke’s reign in Toronto, but there was Biggs, in his first game in the Ontario Hockey League, dropping his gloves.
Pardon me for thinking that the reason the Leafs have been bad in recent years is due to a limited number of good players, not limited numbers of guys who could fight in the OHL. Biggs’ goal this season is to develop into an elite offensive talent, not to be the next Jamie Devane.
Devane scored 19 times in his 19-year old season after being selected in the third round by the Maple Leafs. Biggs was a first round pick, selected ahead of notables such as Zack Phillips, Rickard Rakell and Ty Rattie, and ought to be expected to carry some sort of offence, particularly since he has such a well-developed frame for an OHL player. What was his overall impact?
As for Tyler Biggs, the much-talked-about Toronto Maple Leafs first round pick who finally made his way to Oshawa this summer, he started the night skating alongside Jenner and Uvira. Throughout the first period he made his presence felt down low on the forecheck and buzzed around the net on a couple of occasions. In the second, however, he made his most obvious impact, dropping the gloves with Peterborough’s Clark Seymour after the Petes defender took a run at rookie Michael Dal Colle. Unfortunately for Biggs he drew an instigator call on the play and sat out until the third.
Boone Jenner, who plays on a line with Biggs, is probably a better offensive player, even after being drafted 15 slots South.
“Truculence” shouldn’t be what the Leafs are looking for at this point. They need good hockey players. He justified his fight by saying “somebody has to step in there” after Clark Seymour threw a hit on Michael Dal Colle, a 1996-born rookie and first round pick.
I think a lot of people will defend the performance by suggesting a) Oshawa won and b) Biggs acted like a good teammate, but that shouldn’t be Biggs’ job. His job is to develop into an elite scorer, and anything else is a failed season for a former first-round pick.
Here’s the video:
UPDATE – Working with non-factual information here. The boxscore published Biggs’ boxscore as “0” minutes rather than 10, which led me to believe he got a game for the instigator. This is apparently false, as he did play past his fight, but not too well. The original post title has been updated, as Tyler Biggs was not kicked out.