Are you hoping to get a new Leafs jersey under the Christmas tree this year? Are you looking to buy a Leafs jersey for somebody else? Does your David Clarkson third jersey need replacing? Don’t worry, your 2015 Maple Leafs jersey buyer’s guide is here, and just in time for the holidays.
(PROBABLY) WORTH BUYING
James Reimer: It’s hard to believe Reimer’s name is one of the most appealing for a Leafs jersey given how rocky his status has been with the team over the last couple of seasons. He’s been with the team for parts of six seasons now though, three of which (his rookie season, the lockout year, and this season) he’s been the team’s MVP. He’s a UFA at the end of the year so there’s some risk involved, but at this point, even if Reimer isn’t on the team next year, it’s a jersey you can continue to wear with pride.
Morgan Rielly: He’s the best player currently on the Leafs roster that has that blend of youth and upside. He’s even got some longevity with the team now too as he’s in his third year in the NHL. He’s been among the best Leafs this year and is arguably their most exciting player to watch. Is Rielly ever going to be a superstar? Maybe, maybe not. But he’s definitely good enough that he should be with the team for awhile and he seems like the safest choice if you’re looking for a current Leaf that’s going to be with the team for a long time.
James Van Riemsdyk: He’s consistently been one of the more likable Leafs during the four years that he’s been here. He’s a consistent producer, has some personality, and doesn’t look like he’s on his way out in the immediate future. That said, he’s not exactly a star, and since he’s almost 30, he’s essentially already retired. He’s definitely a safe jersey choice, but there’s something unsexy about it to me.
Jake Gardiner: Like JVR, Gardiner’s been here awhile and has been pretty consistent during his time here. But he’s not really a star. I mean, I don’t know, maybe he’s a star. The numbers say he’s a star. Is he? I don’t know. If he is, he doesn’t get played like one, which kind of hampers some of the enjoyment of a potential Gardiner jersey buy to me. If you’re buying one, you’re basically buying a second-pairing defenseman’s jersey.
William Nylander: There’s some risk here as he’s never played an NHL game, but Nylander is a blue chip prospect that figures to be a top-six forward for the Leafs for a lot of years at some point down the line. He might end up being an NHL all-star or he might not.
Mitch Marner: Similar to Nylander, there’s some risk here as he hasn’t played an NHL game. Another concern here is there’s some uncertainty as to what his or Nylander’s number will be with the Leafs (although if history is any indicator, they’re both going to stick with the numbers they wear in preseason). Anyways, there’s some risk here because of the uncertainty. But Marner figures to be a Leaf for a lot of years, and a good one at that. This is a moderately risky buy with some high reward.
Dion Phaneuf: He’s been a Leaf for a long time so you’ve got that going for you. He’s also played a prominent role on the team for a lot of years. But he’s not really a star and arguably has never really been one with the Leafs. I like the guy, but again, to me this is an incredibly safe jersey buy. Probably the safest, most conservative choice you can go with.
Nazem Kadri: He’s been reasonably productive and tenacious over the years, and he’s been here for a good little while. And while his contract is up at the end of the year, he seems like someone the Leafs would look to lock up. Doesn’t look like he’s ever going to be the star people were hoping for, but he’s a damn fine player. If for whatever reason you’re an especially big Kadri fan, this seems like a solid jersey purchase to me.
Steven Stamkos: It’s happening.
No Jersey: Why do you want a new Leafs jersey? The team sucks, but more importantly, they’re getting new jerseys next year.
IF YOU’RE A HIPSTER
Joffrey Lupul: He’s definitely had some shining moments with the Leafs. He’s also really sexy. But he’s not too effective anymore, and hasn’t really been for awhile. However, this jersey could be a good long-term investment: you could wear this jersey on Halloween with your arm in a sling and some bandages wrapped around your face. Dual purpose!
Jonathan Bernier: He’s had his ups and downs with the team. I still think he’s a good goalie. But given how much he’s struggled this year and given how well Reimer’s played (who is in need of a new contract), I’d be wary of investing in a Bernier jersey at this point. He’s been a solid Leaf, but it’s not a really jersey you’d want to wear if he’s playing for another team.
Tyler Bozak: An unsustainable jersey buy.
Leo Komarov: He’s emerged as a top-six forward for the Leafs this year. Before that he was a fan favorite because of his in-your-face style of play. To me this would be a good jersey to have while he’s still on the team because people would “get it”, but I feel like this is the sort of jersey you’d feel a little weird wearing when he’s playing on the L.A. Kings third line in a couple of years.
Peter Holland: Good player that’s really starting to settle in as a solid contributor for the team. But not really a sexy name and doesn’t figure to really ever be one. Unless you’re Dutch and really proud of it and want the word “Holland” on the back of your Leafs jersey (see: my dad), you can do better.
PROBABLY NOT THE GREATEST IDEA
P.A. Parenteau: I don’t know, he’s been alright this season I guess. But unless you’re like…I don’t know. Yeah I don’t know. He’s alright but this would just be a weird unjustifiable jersey buy. Don’t do it.
Daniel Winnik: Who doesn’t love Daniel Winnik? The man is just a solid hockey player. But is he someone you’d want to wear the jersey of? Not really.
Roman Polak: I don’t know, he’s alright I guess, but, yeah…unless you’re a Polish Leafs fan, or really really like stay-at-home defensemen, this seems like a bad idea.
Brad Boyes: Are you a Jerome Flaake fan still holding out hope for the future? If so, this newly-minted Brad Boyes jersey might be for you. Drafted in 2000 and finally making his Leafs debut in 2015, a Brad Boyes jersey is a symbol of patience, persistence, and dead dreams somehow coming true in the most unspectacular of fashions
Nick Spaling: Don’t do it.
Byron Froese: For the loved one in your family who grossly overvalues the importance of faceoff wins.
Matt Hunwick: Decent player, but no.
Shawn Matthias: Are you related to Shawn Matthias? Know somebody who used to be his friend? Are you completely unrelated to Shawn, but have the last name Matthias out of pure coincidence? If you fit into any of these categories, this might be a decent jersey buy, but you can still probably do better.
Martin Marincin: Is there something, or someone in your life, that didn’t quite live up to the hype? This jersey might be the perfect symbolism for your failed endeavors.
Michael Grabner: Good jersey to wear if you think you’re clever and want to wear the jersey of someone who isn’t very good and who won’t be here in three month’s time. So yeah, unless you’re Jeffler, don’t buy this jersey.