The NHL Season is quickly approaching, with that in mind we’re going to take a look at who is (likely) to be on the Leafs roster come October 1 in Montreal. Contract numbers via CapGeek.com; Regular Stats via Hockey-reference.com; Nerd stats via behindthenet.ca. For the rest of our Player Previews go here.
Jay McClement, No. 10, centre| 6’1″, 205 LBS | 30-years old.
ToT Approved Nicknames:
9 NHL seasons, split between St. Louis, Colorado, and Toronto, 601 career games
$1.5-million; UFA following the season
601 GP 71 Goals 123 Assists 194 Points
48 GP 8 Goals 9 Assists 17 Points
On-Ice Corsi: -31.73* PDO: 1047
*McClement played a lot of minutes with terrible line mates
You Oughta Know:
When you Google “Jay McClement” the top 3 auto completes have something to do with his wife Lesley. So there’s that?
Throughout his career Jay McClement has been the perfect 4th line centre at every stop. Unlike many players, he doesn’t require tons of minutes to be an effective. At every stop of his NHL career, McClement has been a shutdown defensive player that has the ability to chip in a goal when the opportunity arises.
In his first season with the Maple Leafs last season, McClement’s most notable contribution to the team was his effectiveness on the penalty kill. After years of having one of the NHL’s worst penalty kills, McClement (with a stick tap to James Reimer) was able to vault the Leafs PK into one of the league’s best. While many were quick to credit Randy Carlyle‘s “system” for the turn around, astute observers could clearly see McClement’s prowess while a man down was a primary factor.
What to Expect:
With Tyler Bozak, Nazem Kadri, and Dave Bolland ahead of him on the depth chart at centre, McClement won’t likely see much ice time at even strength at his natural position. However with Joe Colborne, another natural centre a seeming lock to make a Leafs, one of them is likely to move to the wing, and my money is on McClement.
As a winger, McClement will likely play on the third line along with Dave Bolland and Nikolai Kulemin as the Leafs shut down group. Given the extra ice time, and freedom from playing alongside Colton Orr and Fraser McLaren, McClement should continue his effective defensive play, while increasing his offensive contributions.
McClement will once again be one of the NHL’s best penalty killers, while taking more responsibility while matching up against the oppositions top talent 5-on-5. Mark McClement down for (a career high!) 15 goals and 10 assists for the season, all of course contingent on his move to the wing on the third line. If he remains in the purgatory that is centering Orr and McLaren, all bets are off the table.