Toronto Maple Leafs 2011-2012 Report Cards: The Defencemen and Goalies
By Lukas Hardonk (@LukasHardonk)
This is part two of a two-part series in which we hand out a report card to each Leaf player who appeared in 20 or more games and ended the season affiliated with the organization based on their play, status (i.e. if the player was in their rookie season) and the role they took on during the 2011-2012 regular season. To catch up on what you missed yesterday, click here.
Franson didn’t get much playing time early in the season thanks to Jake Gardiner, but he stuck it out and managed to find a spot in the lineup eventually. Once there, he showed off his quick shot and offensive creativeness, as well as the physical presence that he can bring to the blue line.
Gardiner came out of absolutely nowhere in the fall of 2011 when he made the Leafs’ roster out of training camp and dressed for game one against the Montreal Canadiens. That was only the beginning of a tremendous rookie season which saw him put up seven goals and 30 points.
Gunnarsson was once again one of the Leafs’ more consistent blue liners, although not always the best. He contributed at both ends at times despite being a defenceman, which is something the Leafs needed given their lack of puck moving defenders.
It was another rough season for Mike Komisarek even though he took on a bit more of a leadership role with Gardiner on the roster. He wasn’t necessarily terrible, but his large salary certainly makes him overpaid. Komisarek will look for a much better season in 2012-2013.
Liles had a large impact offensively and in the room for the Leafs. His 27 points in 66 games were impressive enough while that combined with his mediocre defensive play and veteran presence was enough to earn him a new contract, albeit with a salary cut.
Many questioned Phanuef’s leadership and work ethic this season given the Leafs’ lack of success and his own change in play over the course of the campaign. However, he was still a solid contributor on the back-end, both in shutting down the opposition and in getting or assisting to get the Leafs on the scoreboard.
It was a rather tough season for Luke Schenn, perhaps his worst yet after signing a new contract in the 2011 off-season. For whatever reason, he just couldn’t seem to find consistent confidence and it showed on the ice. It’s going to take a lot of hard work in the off-season for the youngster to regain his old form.
Gustavsson had multiple chances to come through for the Maple Leafs, most notably when James Reimer went down with a head injury in October. While he had an improved season, it wasn’t a great one. A .902 save percentage and a 2.92 goals against average just aren’t good enough to be a starting goalie in the NHL.
Reimer, like each Leaf goalie, had a rough season. It started off great with three straight wins, but ended in turmoil with a .900 save percentage and a 3.10 goals against average.
Lukas covers the Toronto Maple Leafs for The Hockey Guys. You can follow Lukas on Twitter @LukasHardonk for more Maple Leafs coverage and contact him at lukas.hardonk (at) gmail (dot) com.