A gritty two-way player, Steve Ott could fill a role provided by Dave Bolland at a potentially much cheaper cost -- Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

On to Plan B? Is Steve Ott a Fit for the Toronto Maple Leafs:


After a disappointing start to free agency that saw the Toronto Maple Leafs strike out on the likes of Paul Stastny, Dan Boyle, Josh Gorges, Matt Moulson, Brad Richards and Dave Bolland. The list of free agent options for the Leafs brass to make an offer to is running thin.

Although this years free agency class lacks potentially transcending players, it does possess quality role players who can contribute to a team in various scenarios. Albeit this is not a “hot button” aspect of free agency, it is a crucial one that pays dividends for teams during their stretch run and come playoff time. For a team like the Toronto Maple Leafs, these role players have become their reality after whiffing on the prominent names to start free agency.

After losing Dave Bolland to Florida earlier in the day and signing Leo Komarov back to Toronto, the Maple Leafs centre depth currently looks like this:

First Line: Tyler Bozak
Second Line: Nazem Kadri
Third Line: Peter Holland
Fourth Line: Leo Komarov

Needless to say, the third and fourth line centre slot could use an improvement still. Given the list of who is still left on the free agent market, the most viable centre left is 31 year old, Steve Ott.

From a perspective of filling the void left by Dave Bolland, Mr. Ott would fit in well with the Blue and White. Although Steve Ott does have a reputation for being a bonafide pest in the NHL, he is an above average two-way player that brings a versatile style of play to the ice.

As an 11 year veteran, Steve Ott’s career numbers certainly don’t jump out at you statistically. But look past his points total and you will find a very adaptable player that is used in a variety of situations. Ott’s adaptability appears all over the ice. He is capable of playing on just about any line. He also an effective penalty killer and capable of operating in front of the net on the power play. Ott’s versatility is evident through his deployment stats, where according to Extra Skater, Ott was deployed evenly in all zones of the ice throughout the year. He had an offensive zone start percentage of 30.7%, a neutral zone start percentage of 35.4%, and a defensive zone start percentage of 33.9%.

So what do these deployment stats have to do with how Steve Ott would fit in on the Maple Leafs?

Well, when you compare Ott’s versatile numbers to a former Toronto Maple Leaf, you can’t help but draw comparisons between the two.

Let’s take a look at a quick comparison chart between Player A and Player B.

Player:
GP:
G's:
A's:
PIM's:
Corsi For %:
TOI/60 Min's:
Offensive Zone Start %:
Neutral Zone Start %:
Defensive Zone Start %:
A28842444.1%14.4 Minutes22.7%41.5%35.8%
B829149244.5%18 Minutes30.7%35.4%33.9%

Player A would be Dave Bolland and Player B would be Steve Ott. Clearly the difference in games played last season is a glaring difference between the two players. But when you look at them on a three year scale of averages, they still present similar metrics.

Player:
GP:
G's:
A's:
PIM's:
Corsi For %:
TOI/60 Min's:
Offensive Zone Start %:
Neutral Zone Start %:
Defensive Zone Start %:
Dave Bolland:44.611.39.63146.1%15.5325.1%38.8%35.9%
Steve Ott:689.619113.645.7%13.228.9%36.4%34.6%

Even though the two gritty centre men share similar numbers right across the board, they will more than likely receive vastly different salaries. Dave Bolland signed a five-year contract worth $27.5 million, while Steve Ott has never signed a contract worth more than $3 million a year. Although the rumours of potential suitors for Steve Ott have been reportedly rising, the notion of Ott becoming a hot name by tomorrow are undeniable.

With cap space still available, one would have to believe that the Maple Leafs do have a chance at signing Ott. Aside from the age factor – Bolland is 28, Ott is 32 – Ott brings a very similar skill set to the Leafs that could be a suffice replacement to fill the void left by Dave Bolland. Ott’s propensity to play with an edge, provide versatility and leadership could fit in well with head coach Randy Carlyle‘s system.

With much of Leafs Nation frustrated after day one of free agency, let us know your thoughts below on who they could sign in the coming days to fill their needs. Is Steve Ott a viable option?

Let us know what you think Leafs fans!

Tags: Featured NHL Free Agency Popular Toronto Maple Leafs

  • Peter Hefner

    Coach Carlisle doesn’t use the 4th line he overworked the top line!

  • Joshua Perez

    Let’s get him!!!!

  • Shane Adams

    sold a tough hockey player, a team player, a leader sign him hes a beauty caryle type of player so many reasons to sign him im telling you!!

  • A13276

    Seems to me Nonis used boring common sense yesterday. Thank god for Dale Tallon; love Bolland but he played all of 14 games with the Leafs while healthy and that was at the start of the season. Not like he played 80 games with big minutes – some perspective please! 1st round pick Freddie Gauthier (6’5″ 225) was chosen and is being groomed to play 3rd line centre minutes; he should be doing that in a couple of seasons after some time with the Marlies. Biggest weakness to fix: 28th overall penalty kill; 2nd overall the year before while making the playoffs; Komorov was a big part of that penalty kill; Polak will help it too; big shot blocker. A third of our defense is new and has much better balance of size, toughness and veteran smarts. We now have 3 right handed shots on the blueline with Franson, Polak and Robidas; not an unimportant asset. Komorov takes all of Kulemin’s quiet minutes and Frattin takes Raymonds, who blew hot and cold; mostly cold and Frattin will be much tougher on the puck. So I see an improved PK and defense. Like to see major improvement on the cycle/boardwork in the offensive zone from the bottom six forwards. Things are still a work in progress – better to wait for an opportunity to present itself (they always do) then rush to fill a round hole with a square peg. Good work Nonis.

    • D.WAdair

      Amen

  • Jack Kirchhoff

    Steve Ott has been really tough on the Leafs over the years. Might be nice to see him on our side for a change.

  • D.WAdair

    TO. has already got a player to replace Bolland they don’t need two.