Friday, January 23, 2009

Jason Blake a Valuable Commodity?

Don't look now, but Jason Blake is on pace for 25 goals and 56 points (in 78 games).

And don't give your eyes a rub, that's actually on your computer screen, folks.

While Don Cherry is red in the face over the coaching of Ron Wilson, Blake couldn't be happier. After registering a disappointing 15-goal (although he did have 51 points) campaign in 2007-08, Blake has flourished under Wilson, scoring 14 goals so far this season.

Blake may lack the defensive game to establish himself as an effective two-way forward, but considering his +1 rating, he's obviously doing something right.

Blake is most effective, however, as an energetic forward who uses his speed and tenacity to create scoring chances down low.

All that said, I'm going to come right out and say it: Blake does not belong on this team.

I don't care how much he improves, he just doesn't fit.

Blake is best utilized as a top-six forward. So, what's the problem? The Leafs lack top-six forwards anyway, right?


The Leafs are a rebuilding team. So, how exactly, does Blake fit? He doesn't implement any sort of leadership to the line-up, and at 34, he's not exactly a young stud. Even if he was there for leadership, isn't that why character players like Mayers and May were acquired in the first place?

Wilson may be responsible for the re-emergence of Blake, but the signing was a mistake ever since John Ferguson Jr. signed the dotted line two summers ago.

Blaked is signed on for three more years after this season, possessing a hefty cap-hit at 4 million dollars. It's important to note, however, that he will be making a fair 3 million dollars during the last two years of his contract.

And this, ladies and gentleman, could play a big part in the potential trading of Blake at this year's Trade Deadline.

If Blake can keep producing as an offensive juggernaut (he now has 7PTS in his last 4GP), the Minnesota-native may generate some interest once March 4th swings around.

It's entirely possible the Leafs continue to be handcuffed with his lucrative contract, but don't be surprised if Burke ends up unloading him, even if it's for a mid-round draft pick (although I would imagine the Leafs would be taking some salary back).

So, what do you think? Is a trade possible? Do you want him off the team? If so, what type of return are you expecting?

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