Leafs Roster Preview – Joffrey Lupul

Isn’t Joffrey Lupul sweet? He’s a good looking man, he’s got Lupe’s troops and he can score goals. Hell, my girlfriend loves him. You know what else? He gets injured a lot. When he’s healthy, he’s productive and when he’s not . . . well, he’s not. And far too often lately, it’s been the latter. There’s only so much a man of his social stature can achieve when he spends a considerable amount of time in the press box.  

Down below, we’ll examine his season last year, and what we can expect heading into this upcoming campaign.

LAST SEASON

For a lot of fans, last year was considered a failure for Lupul. He only scored 44 points in 69 games, far off the pace he set 2011-12 when he scored 67 points in 66 games.  Even in the lockout shortened year, he scored 18 points in 16 games, in what was an injury filled season. But like our very own Ryan Fancey alluded to last week, we need to manage our expectations for Lupul. 

Last year was not a bad season. He scored 22 goals and was on a 53 point pace over 82 games. He’s a career 0.64ppg player. Those are very good numbers for any second liner in the league. The problem is, Lupul teased us with one spectacular season and another great lockout year – albeit he was hurt – and was handed a very fat contract. 

Just look at the chart below and you’ll realize his two big season were aberrations. Last year’s numbers were much closer to his career norm.

        Lupulpp60

We also can’t forget that last year was the first year Lupul played completely without the great Phil Kessel as  member of the Maple Leafs. When you are no longer on a line with one of the better players in the NHL, you can expect a dropoff in production. 

So long story short, last season was not as bad as everyone made it out to be. Lupul is who we think he is, and that’s a very good secondary scorer when healthy.

THIS SEASON

First and foremost, Lupul needs to stay healthy. That’s easier said than done and if you were putting your money on something, bank on Lupul missing time at some point with some sort of ailment. However, you can also bank on him making the Leafs a better team every single time he’s in the lineup. 

Like I mentioned above, Lupul is a very good secondary scorer and when he’s playing, he instantly provides depth and balance to a usually top-heavy team. He has the ability to take over games all by himself when he’s playing to his full potential, punishing people with his hard-nosed style of play, relentless offensive attack and underrated puck-handling skills. This guy’s mitts are nifty. 

There’s also been talk of him potentially moving back up to a line with Phil Kessel, pushing van Riemsdyk down the chart and creating more balance throughout the roster. This is something that can’t be expected for an entire season, but it’s not the worst idea. Lupul has had plenty of success playing with Kessel in the past and if he plays with him over an extended period of time again, it’s not unreasonable to expect him to surpass last season’s numbers.

Just don’t expect Lupul to put up 80 points. It’s not going to happen.

FANTASY VALUE

His value is largely dependent on how many games he plays, which makes Lupul a fantasy risk. If there are safer options on the board with similar talent, take them over Lupul. He’s an above-average fantasy forward who needs to stay healthy in order to stay fantasy relevant. He should score 40-55 points, but if he gets powerplay time on the first unit and stays healthy the whole season, he could score closer to 65. But that seems like an ultimate ceiling for him. He’s a good option in the middle of your draft, but there are better ones (Simmonds, Backes, MacArthur for example).

For more fantasy news, visit dailyfaceoff.com

HIGHLIGHTS

Just because all 22 goals are worth watching.


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