The Leafs and coincidental nativist renaissance
Toronto Star sports reporter Kevin McGran pointed out on Tuesday that heading into this upcoming season, the "Leafs now have two players from Toronto and seven (from) across Ontario" on the roster. On the heels of the Brian Burke era in Toronto, where Ontario born players "seemed like an endangered species" according to McGran this hyper-regionalist seachange is particularly striking.
It's just a coincidence that both Bolland and Clarkson hail from Mimico claims Leafs Assistant General Manager Dave Poulin, who is quoted in the piece saying that the Leafs take the "best player available" (and Tyler Bozak too!).
"David Bolland was an opportunity to acquire one of only eight Blackhawks who were on both Cup teams. David Clarkson was the top free agent available and fit our needs,” Poulin told McGran, "Our theory is always the best available player that fits in with our direction." We might mention that two Stanley Cup wins as a third-line centre playing behind Michal Handzus and an out-of-position Patrick Sharp on a loaded team is a revealing data point to use when evaluating players...
"It’s great to have some of us come home and play," said newly signed Leafs winger Clarkson sensibly. While McGran somewhat less sensibly wonders if the "local players on the Maple Leafs - ones who might burst with a tad more pride wearing Blue and White" might help the Leafs overcome the constant barrage of good Ontairo boys playing for other teams who "take their game to an extra level at the Air Canada Centre."
In addition to acquiring a goaltender who is good at puck-handling, and finding players who generate more "quality possessions with the puck" the Leafs have also successfully stockpiled Ontario born forwards this summer. Or in other words, they've improved in yet another area that doesn't matter.
Read the full Toronto Star piece here.