One of the things I’ve been surprised about this off-season is that, as always, it seems that Toronto Maple Leafs writers seem to know exactly how a player is going to perform when he comes to the new team. I, on the other hand, really like to see how different players react in different situations.

Simon Benoit’s experience playing for the Anaheim Ducks is not at all like playing for the Maple Leafs.

I think it’s time to give Benoit a chance to prove what he can do. He does bring a couple of assets to the team. First, he’s a very physical player. Second, he had tons of experience playing regular shifts with the Ducks.

And gosh knows the Maple Leafs could use more physicality on the blue line. However, Maple Leafs writers appear to have reservations about the signing of Simon Benoit for several reasons.

Related: After Tough Offseason, Keefe Still Maple Leafs Coach

Reasons Why Analysts Believe Benoit Was a Bad Signing

I do understand why there are a number of reasons why hockey analysts suggest that Benoit was a poor signing. In the next part of this post, I’ll share four of those reasons.

Reason One: Benoit Has Had Defensive Struggles

One significant concern is Benoit’s performance metrics, particularly his Corsi-for and goals-for percentages. The writers point out that his Corsi-for is just 33.7 percent. This indicates that his teams have struggled to generate shot attempts when he’s on the ice.

Additionally, his goals-for percentage is a mere 36 percent. That suggests that he’s been on the ice for a significant number of goals against his team. These statistics paint a picture of a defenseman who might have difficulty keeping the puck out of his own net. That’s true, but it was with the Ducks.

Reason Two: Benoit Has Unproven Improvement

While Benoit is only 24 years old and has shown some physical attributes that coaches and general managers often value in depth defensemen, his track record in the NHL doesn’t inspire confidence. The writers mention that he was undrafted and hasn’t established himself as a serviceable NHL defenseman. They are skeptical whether the Maple Leafs can turn him into a better player.

Reason Three: Where Does Benoit Fit on the Team’s Depth Chart?

Another point of contention is Benoit’s potential role on the team. The Maple Leafs already have several American Hockey League (AHL) veteran options and prospects for their minor league affiliate, the Toronto Marlies. Given this, they question why the team should have used an NHL contract on him when he might end up in a bottom-six role in the AHL.

Related: Treliving Had Done a Great Job Keeping the Maple Leafs Flexible

Reason Four: The Maple Leafs Contract Situation Is Difficult

Although Maple Leafs writers acknowledge that Benoit could be a project player for the team with limited upside, they also note that the team is nearing its contract limit. With only three slots remaining out of 50, using one NHL contract on a player who might not immediately impact the NHL roster is considered wasteful.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, Maple Leafs’ writers have concerns about Benoit’s signing and potential impact. They question whether bringing him to the team was a good thing or not.

What I have come to see over the past few years is that a player can be a star in one place and a bust in another. On the other hand, a player can have a difficult time with one team and really come into his own on another.

One of the players, for example, was Ilya Lyubushkin. The Russian Bear came to the Maple Leafs on a very small sample size at the end of the 2021–22 season. He leveraged his solid play with the Maple leaves into a very good contract with the Buffalo Sabres. However, with the Buffalo Sabres, Lyubushkin did not prosper.

Ironically, Lyubushkin was traded two weeks ago by the Sabres to the Ducks – perhaps taking Benoit’s place on the team.

I hope Benoit surprises everyone and has a solid season with the Maple Leafs. He’s only 24 years of age. He can still make an improvement. Let’s hope he can. If so, he can become a steal of a deal for the Blue & White.

Related: Can Domi Beat His 2018-19 Montreal Season in Toronto This Year?

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *