It seemed odd that the Leafs were waiting so long to release their training camp roster. Almost like they had something to hide. This morning @LeafsPR tweeted out the full roster and at quick glance it seemed to be everyone associated with the Leafs. All of the players under contract (minus Horton and Lupul), all of the prospects (minus the NCAA guys and Pierre Engvall), all the players under Marlie or Solar Bear contracts, and the Amateur try-out guys. Pretty straight forward, except for one name.
First off, here’s the full list…
Like I said, pretty straight forward, but look again. There’s the name that we’re used to seeing, but shouldn’t have to see again this year…
We have debated the value that a stay at home defenseman brings to an organization often enough on this site and in other dark corners of the internet, and I’m not looking to start that debate again, but rather consider the fact that Roman Polak is coming off a very serious, and his skating that wasn’t the strongest to begin with, is now at a sub-Jason Allison level. That is not good. It also seems odd to bank on that 31 year old defenseman healing very quickly, and reaching his peak outputs again (also, please reflect on what Roman Polak’s peak outputs were).
Bringing Polak into camp seemed like it was the organization doing something nice and letting one of their former teammates rehab his injury with some on ice work. He could also serve as veteran filler to let an actual Leaf have the opportunity to sit out a meaningless preseason game. These lines of thinking were supposed to pull me in off the ledge, but…
Roman Polak is in #leafs camp on a PTO. Good bet to get a contract.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) September 14, 2017
Crap. This is something that could happen. This isn’t the Prust experiment that we all knew was going to end eventually, there is a realistic chance that Roman Polak will be brought in as a boat anchor.
We’ll look at the Pros and Cons…
He’s an older more broken version of Roman Polak that will take up a contract and potentially make the Leafs worse.
The plan could be to send him to the Marlies and play alongside some of their younger defensemen like Andrew Nielsen and give them a defensively responsible partner to learn from.
Okay, I’m still firmly in the #badidea camp on Polak, but I think I’ve talked myself into liking a Marlies contract, not a Leafs one.
No matter my thoughts on the matter, this looks like it’s gonna happen and I’ll try to make peace with it. A wise man once said…
Things it is best to make peace with now: The Leafs are going to bring in at least one defenceman you hate.
— ? (@internetfan69) June 14, 2017
Those words have never rang more true and I’m in no way reflecting on what would have happened if a horse had the same injury as Polak.