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On Pace For...

Friday, 07.01.2011 / 4:21 PM / Mike Ulmer's Blog
By Mike Ulmer  - Mapleleafs.com commentator
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On Pace For...
There are three words you should rarely invest in.

Those words are “On Pace To.”

Based on their season-opening win over Montreal, the Leafs were On Pace To win 81 more times. At game’s end, Phil Kessel, Clark MacArthur and Nikolai Kulemin were On Pace To score 88 goals this year and you have to admit that’s saying something.

Sadly, if you wish to accurately handicap the future you need a slightly larger sample and this is important: the formula should be extremely, extremely simple.

How about doubling all the figures at the halfway point of the season?

Wouldn’t you know it: the Maple Leafs play their 41st game tonight in Los Angeles.

Here’s the thing. The On Pace For theory is based on a second half of the season that is exactly the same as the first. You and I know no two games are alike, let alone 41-game stretches altered by potential trades, scoring bonuses, bounces good and bad, and injuries.

And don’t get me started about Spring allergy season.

Still…

Clarke MacArthur is On Pace To score 24 goals and remain one of the best signings of the off-season. Mikhail Grabovski, an afterthought when the season started, will collect 30 goals and 60 points.

Phil Kessel Is On Pace to finish with 34 goals which is staggering when you consider Tyler Bozak’s season-ending total of 18 assists. Luke Schenn Is On Pace to finish what has been by far his best season.

Five players, Kessel, Grabovski, Kristopher Versteeg, Nikolai Kulemin and MacArthur Are On Pace to hit the 20 goal margin. Kessel and Brett Lebda will be a combined minus -33. Tim

Brent Is On Pace to outscore Dion Phaneuf six goals to two.

Nazem Kadri will be called up for 17 games and then spend time in the press box. He won’t score but will be returned to the Marlies where he will thrive on a line with Brayden Irwin and Marcel Mueller.

Jonas Gustavsson is On Pace To play both poorly and pretty well. He will be plagued by bad numbers and a defence that sometimes tosses him live hand grenades to juggle. Because of those factors, the team will find it difficult to accurately assess his potential.

There will be more groin problems for Jean-Sebastien Giguere and another round of complimentary stories about James Reimer who will still be regarded as one of the nicest people anyone has ever met.

The Leafs Are On Pace to finish 27th and thus the Boston haul in the Phil Kessel deal will be Tyler Seguin, Jared Knight and say Gabriel Landeskog, a rugged Swede playing with the Kitchener Rangers. Seguin Is On Pace to finish his rookie season with a dozen goals.

Tomas Kaberle’s two goals will be his career low.

The Leafs defence Is On Pace to score 10 goals.

Joey Crabb and Darryl Boyce will continue to impress.

The Leafs will sign one or two collegiate free agents.

Poor Mike Brown will hurt his hand again.

Kristopher Versteeg will be the subject of trade rumours but none will prompt any players to change addresses.

The Leafs second line of Kulemin, MacArthur and Grabovski Is On Pace to score 88 of the Leafs’ 192 goals. That’s 42 percent of the team total.

Tyler Bozak will improve but finish with 14 goals and 32 points. While he is 24-years old, Bozak is on pace to play to complete his first 82-game cycle February 7 when the Leafs play Atlanta.
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