Who is Troy Bodie? Sadly, a lot of people don’t know because he hasn’t been a regular in Toronto’s lineup. Over the years, Carlyle has chosen to employ facepunchers as opposed to hockey players who can punch faces, which is the difference between a guy like Bodie and the likes of Orr and McLaren. Yes, he’s Tim Leiweke’s son-in-law. But no, he hasn’t been handed anything he’s been given. He’s earned his current role on the Leafs and fans should be hoping he sticks in the lineup even when David Clarkson, the guy he replaced, returns.
Bodie was recalled from the Marlies on January 18th after Clarkson’s injury and has been in the lineup every game since, registering one goal and one assist in five games. Compared to a player like Orr or McLaren, who have played 63 games combined with zero total points, Bodie has five points in 19 games. That’s not a staggering number or even a great criteria for success, but it does say something when a bottom-six forward can somewhat contribute to winning a hockey game over two players who have literally contributed nothing offensively. Zero. Which is funny since the only way to win hockey games is to score more goals than the other team, not finish with more penalty minutes or truculence points.
He’s a better skater, puck handler and shooter than Toronto’s resident facepunchers. To anyone who watches the Leafs regularly, this will be easily noticeable. Orr cannot skate down the wing and beat a defenceman to the crease, creating a scoring chance. McLaren cannot hold the puck on the side boards and help cycle the puck in the offensive zone. Yet, for everyone who thinks fighting is the only way to police and protect, Bodie can do what Orr and McLaren can. He’s listed at 6’5", 226lbs. Bodie’s no slouch and he has the ability to play that role of truculent, belligerent enforcer, with the ability to actually contribute.
The video above shows the work-ethic Bodie has when on the ice, and the ability to go into the corners with speed and win battles. He starts the sequence with dumping the puck in and winning the battle, and finishes the sequence off with scoring a garbage goal in front of the net by screening Mike Smith.
Bodie is a player who works as a prototypical 4th-liner, who brings energy to the ice, who skates hard every shift and doesn’t hinder the team defensively. He’s a +2 for penalties drawn/taken to Orr’s -8 and McLaren’s -4 which is telling because he plays the same style, which is to bring a physical, intimidating game to the ice. When your enforcers are sending your team to the penalty kill, especially when your penalty kill is as bad as the Leafs is, that’s not a good thing.
To further prove why Bodie is useful and Orr and McLaren aren’t, take a look at their goals-for percentage. Bodie’s gf% is at 60 per cent, which means for every six goals scored while he’s on the ice, only four goals are scored against. Orr’s gf% is at 35.7 per cent, while McLaren’s is at zero. Meaning McLaren has not been on the ice for a goal all year. Goals can be luck-driven, so it’s not a stat that shows the whole story. It’s not even suggesting that the Leafs will be a much better offensive team with Bodie on the ice. But it does show how much better of an option he is over what the Leafs usually emply. Also, just for fun, the Leafs record with Bodie in the lineup is 11-6-2 and their record without him in the lineup is 16-15-4. So, obviously the Leafs will win more with Bodie in the lineup (I’m kidding but not really).
Now, I know McLaren is on injured reserve and hasn’t been in the lineup much, but for the most part, he’s been in the lineup when healthy. That Orr/McLaren dynamic has been a staple of the Carlyle era, which has never produced anything more than a few punishing fights. Bodie is that bottom-six who does everything a bottom-six forward should do. He hits, he intimidates, he plays smart, he scores (sometimes) and he will fight if he has to protect his team, not just becuase he wants to or the "gameflow" dictates that it needs to happen. Orr and McLaren fight and only fight, spending more time in the penalty box than in the ice.
So when the guy Bodie replaced comes back, let’s hope Bodie doesn’t get returned to the AHL. Instead, maybe we can see a lineup without facepunchers.
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. I’m funny sometimes.