The moment for which David Steckel is famous - or infamous - is really not his calling card as an NHL player.
That moment, of course, was his collision with Sidney Crosby during last year's Winter Classic that, in combination with another hit a few days later, has derailed Crosby's brilliant career for now because of concussion issues.
Some called it an intentional, dirty play by Steckel. It wasn't. Anybody who knows anything about his career understands that if anything, he has underused his 6-foot-6 frame in terms of physical play throughout his career.
So to be a bruiser is not the reason the Leafs picked up the 29-year-old centre today from New Jersey for a fourth round pick in 2012.
What Steckel can do is take draws as well as anybody in the league, a commodity the Leafs are in short supply of these days. In particular, the left-handed shooting Steckel is useful on draws while penalty killing, and we all know how that facet of the game has been a huge challenge for Ron Wilson's club. Win a few draws while shorthanded and your chances of allowing fewer powerplay goals increases.
Steckel had the best faceoff percentage in the league last year (62.3 per cent), and could be the best draw man the Leafs have had since Yanic Perreault.
"When your team gets competitive, you're looking for small pieces," said Leafs GM Brian Burke tonight. "I'm actually pretty excited about this move. He's been on our radar for 18 months and we finally got him."
Steckel's shortcoming is his skating, and he's not an offensive player, although he was during his collegiate career at Ohio State after being drafted in the first round by the L.A. Kings back in 2001. Unable to nail down an offensive role in the NHL, he reinvented himself as a checker and faceoff specialist.
"I like guys like that," said Burke.
At $1.1 million for this season and next, Steckel is also a little expensive for what many teams want to be paying their third and fourth liners. But the Leafs needs, both up the middle and in the faceoff circle, were significant enough they were willing to pay.
With Tim Connolly ailing, Steckel's presence frees up Tyler Bozak and/or Matthew Lombardi to play higher in the lineup in the home opener on Thursday.