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Lebda Wants Bigger Role In Toronto

from Kevn McGran of the Toronto Star,

The defenceman essentially tutored under the likes of Nik Lidstrom, Chris Chelios and Brian Rafalski in his time with the Red Wings.

As great as it had been to play with them, and win a Cup, Lebda believes it’s time to fulfill the promise of his youth when he signed as a free agent out of Notre Dame.

In Detroit, ice time was limited for the slick, puck-moving defenceman, largely because the Wings had a great cast on the blue line. He played just about every game, but only about 15 minutes or so per game in his five seasons in Detroit.

He believes he’ll get his shot with the Toronto Maple Leafs after signing a two-year, $2.9 million contract.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brett+lebda

Comments

YzermanZetterberg's avatar

Like many others, I think the Leafs overpaid for Lebda. Unlike many others, however, I think he still has the potential to become a solid, top 4 or 5 NHL D-man. I wish him nothing but the best.

Posted by YzermanZetterberg on 07/08/10 at 06:10 PM ET

scotts0's avatar

If Lebda wants a bigger role, then he should maybe learn how to not lose the puck every time he rushes up ice.  But that’s just what I think.

Posted by scotts0 from New York on 07/08/10 at 06:10 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

So sick of reading “Nik Lidstrom.”

Lebda was given all the opportunity in the world. His play dictated that he continued to play regularly, but only around 15 minutes per game.

So, either Lebda wasn’t doing what he should’ve done to prove to the club he deserved 20 minutes per night, or his talent level has already maxed out.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 07/08/10 at 06:18 PM ET

perfection's avatar

“slick, puck moving defenseman”

did anyone in Toronto ever even watch Lebda play? he’s fast, I’ll give him that, but he’s far from slick or really even that good of a puck mover.

It’ll be interesting to see the Maple Leaf fans react to the frustration of watching endless Bobby Orr like dashes from one end of the ice to the other only to end in weak fluttering wrist shots directly into the goalie’s chest… every time. At least Lebda’s consistent(ly bad)

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 07/08/10 at 06:27 PM ET

TheFreak's avatar

Wonder if he can handle the scrutiny by the Toronto media, let alone Burke. Good luck Lebda, hope your skill will carry you through what’s coming.

Posted by TheFreak on 07/08/10 at 06:29 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Clear the track, here comes… Lebda.  Just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 07/08/10 at 06:29 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Let’s be fair… Lebda was a solid player for the Wings for a number of years, and even in the playoffs was very stable and important in the 5/6 role most seasons.

The problem here is that if Toronto really thinks he’s more than that… Lebda might put up a few more points playing in more offensive situations for a bad Toronto team, but I guarantee is defense won’t look nearly as good as it did in Detroit if they play him top four minutes… and yes, while Lebs made plenty of goofs in his time with the Wings, overall I think it’s fair to say he was a stable defender for your bottom pairing. Not a ringing endorsement, but let’s not call him a bad hockey player.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 07/08/10 at 06:49 PM ET

perfection's avatar

i thought he was horrible except for parts of the seasons he was paired with a mentor in Chris Chelios. These last couple of seasons he was not only not steady, but was a detriment to the team. He was a defensive liability on a Wings squad that was struggling to play the D they were previously known for, and this past year, he was a huge burden on Jonathan Ericsson’s development. As I posted in the A2Y thread, the second Lilja came back Big Rig’s game got exponentially better. This is what worries me about having Kind, Meech or Smith as a 6th dman. Unless Babs wants to dilute the top 4, Ericsson is much better served when paired with a steady, veteran defensive defenseman.

Either way, don’t get me wrong Nathan, I wish Lebda luck, but I’ve been counting the days till his release for the last two seasons.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 07/08/10 at 06:58 PM ET

perfection's avatar

just to add something: let’s not forget, all of the lambasting has more to do with Lebda’s price tag (meaning perceived value). It’s all relative. It’s the same reason I thought Bertuzzi was a steal last year… it’s relative to his perceived value. I guess Lebda isn’t a “bad hockey player” at all if you’re paying him $600,000. He’s horrible at a mil and a half.

But then again… I wasn’t nearly this kind when Sammy’s contract was announced last year and he went and proved me wrong. Perhaps Lebda will do the same.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 07/08/10 at 07:01 PM ET

Avatar

The weird thing is that in Detroit he was the 6th/7th defenseman, and he wants a bigger role, so he signed in Toronto where he will currently the be the…6th/7th/8th defenseman.

Kaberle, Phaneuf, Komisarek, Beauchemin, Schenn and Finger all have to be above him on the depth chart and even if they move Kaberle for a forward, then he’s battling Carl Gunnarsson for icetime.

I mean, I don’t blame him for signing with someone who is going to overpay for him, but let’s none of us pretend he’s going to have a legit chance to be anything more than the 6th man.

I’ll be shocked if he plays any more, per game, than he played for most of his time in Detroit.

Posted by Garth on 07/08/10 at 07:10 PM ET

YzermanZetterberg's avatar

Excellent point Garth. Even if Kaberle is traded and Finger demoted (as has been rumored), Lebda is still only looking at possibly being the 5th D-man in that group.

Posted by YzermanZetterberg on 07/08/10 at 07:20 PM ET

Osrt's avatar

They got the photo wrong too. They identify Kopecky as Lebda. Too appropriate.

Posted by Osrt on 07/08/10 at 08:20 PM ET

Primis's avatar

If Lebda wants a bigger role, then he should maybe learn how to not lose the puck every time he rushes up ice.

I wish I could mod this comment up.

Posted by Primis on 07/08/10 at 11:46 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

I don’t disagree, he doesn’t belong as the guy mentoring another player. But as a bottom pair player with a more experienced partner, Lebda played a lot of games for us, most of which were productive. It is easy to remember the shortcomings of an undersized number six d-man. But I think if you give him his due, the fact is he didn’t play on the club with the most playoff wins since the ‘07 season because he flat out sucked… at the same time I agree that Burke is overpaying and that it’s far from a concern that we lost him.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 07/09/10 at 12:19 AM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

the headline says he wants to play a pivotal role.  his own words are “4th or 5th defenseman.”  I would say 4th can be pivotal, 5th not so much.

could he be one of those players, like Samuelsson, who flourishes when he’s a bigger fish because the pond is smaller?  maybe.

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 07/09/10 at 02:08 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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