Tuesday, June 14, 2011

IceHogs Year in Review: Jeff Taffe

                      Position: Center                   Shoots: Left
                      Height: 6'3"                         Birthday: February 19, 1981
                      Weight: 210                        Hometown: Hastings, Minnesota

2010-11 Stats
GP   G   A   PTS   +/-   PIM   PPG   SHG   SOG   S%
74   30  37   67     +10    22     11       1     217    13.8

If you're looking for the IceHogs' most valuable player, look no farther than Jeff Taffe. In fact, he was named the team's MVP on April 9th at the final home game of the season.

Taffe did everything for the Hogs this season. He was on the top power play unit, killed penalties, and centered the top line after Ryan Potulny was traded on February 28th. Taffe scored many clutch goals and set up a lot of them as well. He paced the Hogs in scoring with 67 points, was the only one to hit the 30 goal mark, and was second on the team in +/- ratings with a +10. He was only behind Rob Klinkhammer's +14 rating.

Taffe's 30th goal of the year came at a perfect time for the Hogs. He scored the game winner in overtime in the last game of the season against the Chicago Wolves at Allstate Arena. It was such a fitting ending to the year, considering how he was the go-to-guy all season long.

In addition to all of his on ice contributions, Taffe provided veteran presence and leadership to a young team. He also made the players around him better. The top line used to have him and Potulny on it, before the trade, and whoever was on the opposite wing had their play pick up. When Taffe was back at center with Potulny gone, both of the wingers on that line saw their play improve. Klinkhammer and Kyle Beach were just two of the guy who benefited. Brandon Pirri also did for awhile when Taffe moved onto his wing.

Taffe was recalled once during the regular season by the Hawks. He played on February 12th against the Phoenix Coyotes. The Hawks did call him up to be a part of the Black Aces for the playoffs on April 11th.

Taffe's contract is up this summer. It would be a good thing for the Hawks to re-sign him to a two-way contract for a veteran callup to have on hand and for veteran leadership in Rockford for what looks to be another young group of guys next season. 

Taffe in a game on November 27th against the Peoria Rivermen.

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