The Contrarian – Tyler the Inspiration

by Demetri Fragopoulos on December 13, 2015

How does Tyler Bozak stack up against other undrafted players?

Steve Simmons came up with a little piece this week about how Tyler Bozak inspires undrafted players. He states that other undrafted players out there “must wish they had his kind of career”.

How it starts is from a simple stat, the number of career games he has played, which is now going to be over 400.

The ground work is laid out in terms of comparing him to the 2004 draft class, “Only 37 have played more NHL games than Bozak has and here’s the larger surprise – only 18 players from that draft, just four of them centres, have managed to score more points.”

He does indicate that Bozak is not going to be confused with any Hall of Fame player, but Simmons claims that even though he is not a star, “He has been a bargain and a trustworthy player for the Leafs.”

Excuse me while I get some water to push my lunch down from the back of my throat.

This is the same player he once wrote, “He wouldn’t even dress for the Blackhawks, Pittsburgh would probably try and move him to the wing.”

Then there is this tweet:

This was in reference to a Toronto-Chicago game in which Bozak’s horrible back check allowed a Blackhawk to score with less than a second to go in the period. It may also have been in reference to a terrible penalty kill where Bozak did a poor job with the defensemen at the blue line. There he was just spinning around and waving his stick at the Hawks.

That being said, Simmons does have an affinity for Bozak. In another 2014 tweet, Simmons glowingly compares Bozak to Mikhail Grabovski.

He also is quoted within this Puck Daddy article saying “What stats don’t show – good sticks. Bozak has one.”

If it were only true.

As the Leafs were preparing for their summer of rebuilding, he tried to make a case that Bozak could be useful to teams like “Arizona, New Jersey, Minnesota, Detroit and Boston.” Lyle Richardson of Spector’s Hockey wrote a counter argument for each team.

In other 2015 Simmons’ articles (June and September) he noted, “The market for Tyler Bozak, Kessel’s centre of choice, was non-existent. The Leafs did not receive a single phone call inquiring about Bozak’s availability.” and “Offers for Bozak, who is a reasonable player on a reasonable contract, were embarrassingly bad.”

So in light of these facts, the fact that Bozak has played in over 400 NHL games is quite an accomplishment, but for different reasons.

What about those comparisons though? Well, let us do some of our own.

 

Current Year

Career

Undrafted Player (Age)

Games

Points

Games

Points

Artemi Panarin (24)

30

28

30

28

Torey Krug (24) – defenseman

28

17

188

98

Mats Zuccarello (28)

30

24

252

166


Maybe you feel that these players are too young to compare. Here are some more.

 

Current Year

Career

Undrafted Player (Age)

Games

Points

Games

Points

David Desharnais (29)

30

28

369

229

Teddy Purcell (30)

30

19

513

281

Matt Read (29)

30

8

306

149

Joel Ward (35)

28

22

545

242

Dan Girardi (31) – defenseman

30

9

681

207

Mark Giordano (32) – defenseman

28

12

538

257

Alex Burrows (34)

29

11

717

353

 

The 29-year-old Bozak has 248 points in 402 games (16 in 24 this season), but remember the vast majority of those points came with Phil Kessel.

Other than having a good stick, what else could Bozak provide for a team? What inspiring traits does he demonstrate which other players will want to emulate?

The answer is that he is the Leafs' biggest gamer. Confirmed in another article by the Toronto Star. “[Clarke MacArthur] has another gang of teammates – John Mitchell, Tyler Bozak, Mike Komisarek, Mike Brown and Darryl Boyce – with whom he satisfies his addition to the video game Call of Duty: Black Ops.”

On Canada Day Steve Simmons wrote about Kessel’s unhealthy regimen to hot dogs. Could it not be said, especially with the previous NHL highlights mentioned earlier in this article, that Bozak could use less time in front of a TV and more time exercising body parts other than his thumbs?

I understand that Bozak is not a terrible guy, but he certainly does not inspire me either.

For inspiration I would look to another undrafted Tyler… Tyler Johnson (139 points in 196 career games). Undrafted players should be emulating his work ethic.