Thoughts on Lupul

I have seen and heard a lot of comments on the Beauchemin for Lupul and prospect Gardiner trade with respect to Lupul’s value and most of them suggest Lupul was the cost Burke had to pay to have Gardiner included in the trade and that Lupul doesn’t have a lot of value and won’t likely score 25 goals.

From Bitter Leaf Fan Page:

Lupul may be a top six player on the Leafs but this is more a testament of just how thin the Leafs top six is, than it is an indication of Lupul’s so-called talent;

I doubt Lupul pushes the 25 goal mark as many have suggested. He’s only crested that mark twice in 6.5 seasons and it’s rare for an oft-injured 28 year old to suddenly find a scoring touch;

In general, that seems to be the sentiment though there are exceptions.  But honestly, I think everyone is down playing Lupul’s potential to perform.  If you just quickly take a look at his stats you’ll see this:

  • 2005-06:  28g, 53pts, 81 games
  • 2006-07:  16g, 28pts, 81 games
  • 2007-08:  20g, 46pts, 56 games
  • 2007-09:  25g, 50pts, 79 games
  • 2009-10:  10g, 14pts, 23 games
  • 2010-11:  5g, 13pts, 26 games

So, in 6 years he has only scored 25 goals twice and only scored 20 goals half the time, but that is in large part due to his injuries.  If we prorate his goals scored to 82 games each season his goal totals would be 28, 16, 29, 26, 35, 16.  Looking at those totals and things seem a little more impressive.  He’d have been a 4 time 25 goal guy in the past six seasons.  The two seasons he didn’t reach 25 goal pace was an awful season in Edmonton on an awful team and this current season when he has been recovering from a serious back injury and has seen his ice time fall and has played more time with lesser talented players.  Over his entire career he has scored 117g in 421 games which works out to 23 goals over 82 games.  In the playoffs he has scored 14g in 39 games which equates to 29 goals over 82 games.  Based on this there is no reason not to expect Lupul to be a 25 goal guy, maybe even more, if he is healthy.  Over the past 3 seasons there has been an average of 63 twenty five goal scorers (or just over 2 per team) and 110 twenty goal scorers (or under 4 per team) so I am perfectly happy to see the Leafs add another one to their lineup which already included 3 guys (Kessel, Grabovski, Kulemin) who should reach 25 this season and two more who should/could reach 20 (MacArthur, Versteeg).

Now I’ll grant the naysayers that Lupul’s health is a question mark and whether he can return to pre-back surgery and subsequent infection form is a question mark, but it is certainly a question mark that is smaller (probably much smaller) than any question marks that would come with a draft pick or a 20 year old prospect who has never played an NHL game (see Caputi, Luca).  As for Lupul’s salary, who cares.  Yes, it is probably $1.5M on the high side, but the Leafs have ample salary cap space this season and going forward and if they need more have the financial ability to bury contracts in the AHL (see Finger, Jeff).  I don’t see it as an issue.

All in all, I love this trade for the Leafs.  They traded a good, but not irreplaceable defenseman for a potential 25 goal winger and a good defense prospect.  They haven’t really solved their #1 center hole yet, but they have really filled in the parts around that hole nicely.  If they could just plug in Brad Richard’s I’d be more than happy with next seasons group of forwards.


This article has 4 Comments

  1. Over the past 3 seasons there has been an average of 63 twenty five goal scorers (or just over 2 per team) and 110 twenty goal scorers (or under 4 per team)

    If you’re going to pro-rate Lupul’s goal totals to address his injuries, shouldn’t you do the same league wide? I’d wager the number of 25 goal scorers would balloon. Apples to apples and all that…

  2. True, which might give you around 75 25+ goal scorers, or 2.5 per team. The point still stands that Lupul could be a valuable top six forward on the Leafs (or most teams) and comes with less risk than a second round draft pick or mid-range prospect.

  3. Lupul has value, no doubt. Using him as a top-six forward is difficult for any team, however, because you don’t know what to expect. He has bursts of excellent play and other times he goes completely snake-bitten, and other times you can’t keep him off the IR. I feel it is a huge risk to bring him into a club expecting consistent top-six production.

  4. I agree that longevity is a strength in itself, and must be included or factored-in when looking at stats totals – so saying Lupul doesn’t contribute with goals consistently is fair.

    However, Lupul’s worth is not a factor in evaluating the Beauchemin deal. I was a big fan when he came over because I was familiar with what he brought to the Ducks. But his play in TO was horrific. He is solely responsible for 4-5 of Toronto’s losses this past season with irresponsible cough-ups and errant passes that saw pucks ending up in the back of TO’s net as the game winner. Just taking him off the ice is a huge boost defensively for Toronto.

    The real trade was getting him off the ice, getting Gardiner and Lupul are just bonuses.

    But I’ve grown fond of Lupul’s physical game, and would much rather Lupul than Versteeg. Even when Lupul isn’t scoring or making plays (which he does more often as of late), he’s still throwing his body and making important things happen.

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