TLN Player Profiles: W Joffrey Lupul

Joffrey Lupul has a cap hit of $5.25 million this season. He’ll earn $6.75 million in salary.

Joffrey Lupul missed 27 games last season. He hasn’t played more than 70 games in a year since 2009.

Joffrey Lupul had 21 points last season. He scored one goal in his last 29 games. He’s 32.

All of these things mean that we’re going to need to establish some very different expectations for a player that is very recently removed from being one the Leafs best offensive options and while he may be better than his  21 points in 55 game performance, returning to his point per game pace or even his .63 ppg pace may be a stretch.

Origin Story

A former seventh overall pick, Joffrey Lupul has is best known for repeatedly being traded for Chris Pronger. When Pronger’s wife said “it’s time to get out of Edmonton.” Who did the Oilers settle for? Joffrey Lupul. When the Ducks said “We’re tired of winning and we really want Luca Sbisa”, who did they have thrown in? Joffrey Lupul.

Lupul broke the Pronger trend with being dealt to Toronto. Instead he arrived as a salary dump in a deal for Francois Beauchemin in which the Leafs also acquired Jake Gardiner. To the surprise of everyone, Lupul wound up putting together three and a half really strong years despite struggling with injuries the entire time.

Career Stats

If you ignore last you’re probably feeling pretty good about Lupul. If you ignore the his point per game seasons came alongside Phil Kessel you’re probably feeling even better. 

lupul2013

Lupul’s production over a three year span still has him identified with the potential to produce at a first line level. His impact on linemates however makes you wonder what the hell he’s even doing in the league. 

lupul2012

When you compare his 2013-15 numbers to his 2012-14 numbers it’s evident how far Joffrey has fallen. No longer driving play and truly being one of the great defensive sinkholes in the league (even when the rest of his game was figured out) it seems like what we’re hoping for is that Lupul can be capable of rebounding enough offensively, that it will be okay that he’s making it harder for everyone else on the ice.

Somehow, for reasons that defy any common sense, Lupul has had 41% and 39.5 ZSO% in the past few years. Perhaps with a bit of sheltering Lupul can still add some value to the Leafs.

What to Expect in 2015-16

The simple fact is that most players don’t improve at 32 once they’ve started declining and have a history of injuries. The only hope is that Lupul was so bad last season that he can rebound to something less terrible or at least maintain his minimal production. Lupul had 17 points in 26 games before his season went sideways. His previous season was around .63 ppg. A good year has him back over .5 ppg, but we still need to account for the fact that anything resembling a solid possession game has never existed for Joffrey.

The Leafs will either need to protect him via strong linemates or cushy ice time, neither of which should be a requirement for your second highest paid player. While it’s likely that every opportunity will be given to Lupul to try and make it work, it seems like the Leafs have enough strong options on wing in van Riemsdyk, Parenteau, Grabner, Matthias, Panik, and Glencross before they need to slot Lupul into space on the top two lines. 

On a team that is wondering how it’s gonna score, Lupul will get every chance to be that answer despite the flaws in his game and while going off of one split squad preseason game isn’t very telling, Kadri and Matthias look to be the kind of linemates Lupul requires to play his game without harming the team.

While that is the rosy view of what Lupul turns into this season, it’s entirely possible that a slumping Lupul could find his way down to the fourth line or press box this season, as there isn’t much else to his game. Sheltering Lupul and limiting his usage to offensive zone faceoffs and the second power play unit might be where he winds up.

As for the trade market for Joffrey, David Clarkson and pretty much every transaction since has taught us that the Leafs are capable of pulling off any move, but anyone still considering Lupul a commodity needs to quit it. As he sits right now he’s an under performing offense only player with a history of injuries and a contract that will pay him $6.75M, $5.25M, and $3.75M over his remaining three years. Not only is that difficult to trade, but it’s difficult to buyout, costing the Leafs $1.5M, $3M, $1.5M, and $1.5M over the next four years if they buy him out next June. 

Milestones

  • Silver Medalist for Canada at the 2003 World Juniors
  • 2012 NHL All-Star Team Alternate Captain
  • Is the reason why the Canadian Healthcare system costs so much

Highlights