92-93's Crystal Ball for the Leafs in 2007

Just for fun, I am going to take a stab at predicting what will happen to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the next 6 months. (note: take your time reading this. get a cup of coffee and relax. Also, understand that i am fully aware that this is all wishful thinking, that there may be some errors (if anyone can correct any info in this I would appreciate it), and that i do NOT think Neil Smith is infallible.

February: The Leafs are hanging around in the playoff hunt between 8th to 13th in the East and around .500. In other words, they are in the same situation they were in last year. And, like last year, Ferguson decides to (unfortunately) stand pat at the deadline. The reality is that there is not much he can do outside of trading Tucker. Sundin’s contract is to huge to move and both Sundin and Tucker are huge fan favourites. The MLSE Board also ties his hands with the kinds of moves he could make. He is heavily criticized from all quarters but other Toronto journalists suggest that it is perhaps better that Ferguson, a desperate GM who might make bad deals out of desperation, does nothing.

March: The injury carousel continues and JFJ uses it as an excuse in interviews for the team’s continued inconsistency. In March, he signs Tucker to a 3 year $9.75 million contract, averaging out to $3.25 a year. The return of White along with the stellar play of Coliacovo keep the Leafs a high scoring team from the blue line. Wozniewski returns and admirably fills in for the briefly injured Hal Gill. But towards the end of March, inconsistent defensive play from everyone – forwards, defence, and goaltending – sees the Leafs get eliminated before the month of April even begins.

April:
The Leafs miss the playoffs and finish with a 33-34-15 record (81 pts). They finish 14th in the conference just behind the Panthers and Capitals and finish with the 5th worst record in the NHL (behind the Blues, Blue Jackets, Kings, and Flyers). Shortly after the season ends, the Leafs confirm that they will be picking up Sundin’s option which will impact next year’s cap space for $6.3 million.

May:
After weeks of closed-door meetings and rumours, MLSE confirms that they are buying out JFJ’s contract and shortly after announce that Neil Smith is the new GM of the Leafs. Smith is picked over other candidates such as Keenan and Tambellini. Yet the hiring is almost scuttled after Smith demands certain concessions. He is especially weary after his experience with the Islanders a year earlier. But his concessions, which include more autonomy from MLSE and a long term contract that is aligned with Maurice’s expiry date, seals the deal. He spends most of May analyzing and learning about the Leafs organization from top to bottom.

June: Smith quickly goes to work making his stamp on the team. At first his moves are mostly uncontroversial (if such a thing is possible in the Toronto market). Antropov, Steen, and Ponikorovsky are all resigned for $1.2 million but Poni and Steen get 3-year deals while Nik gets only one year. O’Neill is resigned for 2 years and $2 million a year. Other young RFAs (Coliacovo, White) are qualified as well.

On the 23rd in Columbus, the Leafs get their expected position and get the 5th selection overall and choose Sam Gagner ahead of names like Gillies and Alzner (Voracek, Couture, Kane, and Esposito are all chosen ahead of Gagner). But the biggest news during the day are two shocking Leaf trades.

The first trade is aided by Smith’s knowledge of the Isles organization. To everyone’s surprise, Bryan McCabe agrees to waive his no-trade clause in a deal that sends the defenceman and Brendan Bell to the Isles for Chris Campoli, Tom Poti, and a conditional 2008 draft pick (perhaps more surprising is MLSE approves of the deal). However, that conditional draft pick is key to the deal. If the Leafs are not able to resign Poti before July 1st and lose him to free agency, the conditional draft pick is a 1st rounder in the 2008 draft. If they do resign him, the pick is a 4th rounder in the 2008 draft. But Smith has absolutely no intentions signing Poti and opts for the 1st rounder instead. The Isles clear $3.2 million (Campoli and Poti) to make room for both McCabe’s contract. In an interview after the trade, McCabe says that he was unhappy about missing the playoffs two years in a row and saw the playoff-bound Isles squad as a welcome destination (along with his wife’s family ties to the area).

The second trade hinged on the Coyotes finding a way to sign Nagy to a 4-year deal worth $4.25 million a year. Once that deal is signed, the Coyotes then trade the left winger to the Leafs along with a 4th round pick in 2008 for the Leafs’ 1st rounder in 2008, Darcy Tucker, and Alexander Suglobov.

July:
Smith has effectively remade the team by the free agency period. Before that period begins he resigns depth players like Devereaux, Green, and Battaglia to one-way deals – all in the $600-$900K range. Mike Peca, J.S. Aubin, and Wade Belak all become free agents. Peca’s demands for a slight raise on the previous season’s contract and for a 2 or 3 year length doesn’t makes sense to Smith.

The top priority for Smith is to acquire a solid back-up to Andrew Raycroft, one who could potentially take over the #1 position. Biron is already gone. Instead Smith signs Manny Legace to a 2 year deal worth $1.75 million a year. In a move to appease the fans after the loss of McCabe and Tucker (and to replace the latter’s grit). Smith also signs 40-year old Gary Roberts to a one-year deal worth $2.25 million.

The 2007-2008 team is pretty much set:

Nagy (4.25)——Sundin (6.3)——Wellwood (0.8)
Roberts (2.15)—Steen (1.3)——-Antropov (1.2)
Poni (1.2)——–Stajan (0.8)——-O’Neill (2.0)
Kilger (0.9)——Green (0.7)——–Pohl (.45)
[Battaglia (0.8), Devereaux (0.6)]

Kaberle (4.75)———————–Kubina (5.0)
Colaiacovo (1.0)———————Campoli (0.5)
Gill (2.1)——————————White (0.8)
[Wozniewski (.475)]

——————–Raycroft (2.0)
——————–Legace (1.75)

Payroll: $41.925 million; cap: $47 million; $5 million cap space

The Marlies also introduce a slew of newcomers for the 2007-2008 season. am Gagner remains in the OHL for another year but will soon join the Marlies. Goaltender James Reimer stays in the WHL but is making some positive advancements with the Red Deer Rebels:

Newbury——Westrum——Engelhardt
Tlusty——–Williams——-Kulemin
Earl————Foster——–Gagner
Nash———-Mitchell——-Aubin
[Murphy, Ondrus, Corey, D’Amour, Leeb]

Harrison———————Kronvall
Stralman——————–Harrington
Oreskovic——————-Vorobiev
[Moro, Sifers, Cloutier, Brown]

—————-Pogge
—————-Racine

The Leafs enter the 2007-2008 season with a good coach behind the bench, a better GM, and have one of the youngest, cheapest, and most mobile defense corps in the game. Their tandem in net is much improved and the Leafs have just as much grit up front but have more skill – especially on the top line. The team had no trouble scoring the previous two seasons, and will only score more with this team and under Maurice’s two-man forecheck.

Concerns over the PP (deletions of Tucker and McCabe) are answered quickly now that Nagy and
Roberts help out on the first and second PP units. The maturing young forwards – Poni, Steen, Stajan, and Wellwood – also help the PP’s success. Meanwhile, the PK is not that bad considering Peca’s departure. It has become obvious that players like Steen, Stajan, Devereaux and Green are cheaper and younger PK forwards than Peca and in a cap era, that is a very important realization.

The 2007-2008 Leafs are cheaper, younger, more skilled, and playoff-bound. Furthermore, despite their deal with the Coyotes, the Leafs do have a first round pick in 2008 to look forward to thanks to the deal with the Islanders.


64 Responses to 92-93's Crystal Ball for the Leafs in 2007

  1. lukeleim says:

    Ian White, Darcy Tucker & Chad Kilger for Andrew Cogliano, Joffrey Lupul & Oilers' first round pick of 2007.

    then…
    Hal Gill, Aleksander Suglobov & Jeff O'Neill to Pittsburgh for Kristopher Letang & Penguins' 3rd round pick of 2007.

    lineup

    Alexei Ponikarovsky – Mats Sundin – Nik Antropov
    Alexander Steen – Matt Stajan – Joffrey Lupul
    Bates Battaglia – John Pohl – Boyd Devereaux
    Kris Newbury – Travis Green – Ben Ondrus
    inj: Kyle Wellwood & Mike Peca

    Tomas Kaberle – Pavel Kubina
    Bryan McCabe – Carlo Colaiacovo
    Wade Belak – Brendan Bell

    Andrew Raycroft
    Jean-Sebastien Aubin

    Offseason
    Let Travis Green, Bates Battaglia, Nik Antropov & Jean-Sebastien Aubin test UFA

    2 first round picks of 2007.

    Sign Chris Phillips
    Sign Paul Kariya
    Sign Curtis Joseph

    lineup

    Paul Kariya – Mats Sundin – Joffrey Lupul
    Alexei Ponikarovsky – Kyle Wellwood – Alexander Steen
    Boyd Devereaux – Mike Peca – John Pohl
    Kris Newbury – Matt Stajan – Ben Ondrus
    ————————————————–
    Jiri Tlustly – Andrew Cogliano – Wade Belak

    Tomas Kaberle – Pavel Kubina
    Carlo Colaiacovo – Bryan McCabe
    Chris Phillips – Kristopher Letang
    ————————————
    Brendan Bell

    Andrew Raycroft
    Curtis Joseph

    Cup?? jk lol

  2. lukeleim says:

    I'm not looking into my crystal ball or anything here. Just proposing some half realistic trades that Toronto could do to improve the team. Furthermore, I'd like to mention I would not be surprised to see Mats Sundin traded near the trade deadline.

  3. 92-93 says:

    Rebuttal:

    1) are you not the one who has ceased to be a leaf fan and said that this years team sucks?

    2) Bertuzzi? you'd rather have a dirty player like Bertuzzi instead of a young skilled player … Leafy, you are being moronic (yet again).

    3) Keenan? who has left devastation behind him with the exception of the Rangers? look at the Blues and Panthers? are you kidding me?

    4) Peca will likely demand a raise

    5) no it doesn't. its realistic. BUT LEAFY – i'll put this in bold – did you even read my article? no because it has words in it right? well i give you the jist of it: IT WAS A COMPLETE FANTASY ARTICLE. I STATED SO FROM THE OUTSET … READ the article first, then make your opinions on it … moron.

    6)i dont think Taveres is elligible for the draft until 2009

    7) Poti does suck. do you see Poti on the team – even a team that is based on a far-fetched scenario that i constructed? nope. (gee this is easy – you and muckies must be long lost brothers or something).

    8) yes, we've already discussed that in a post above.

    9) MLSE WONT resign JFJ because they are too stupid …  huh? do you mean to say that they WILL resign them because they are stupid … because the way you worded it , it sounds like MLSE would be dump NOT to resign him … you like JFJ do you?

    10) fine, lower the amount … moving on,

    11) i bet you would rather see tucker and not Nagy – typical leafy. oh, and i bet you'd rather see Steen in another uniform too right? because he sucks right?

    Jeff O'Neill has slowly gained my respect … but last year he wasn't bashed by me – but he certainly didnt deserve praise. this year he deserves it. dont act like some prophet here … you cheered the guy when he was crap last year. i felt bad for his situation – i've been there before. but i wasnt going to say he was 'a good player' when he wasn't. this year he is better.

    STOP ROMANTICIZING THE QUINN ERA LEAFS!!! youre like some nostalgic adult who grew up in the 1950s and believes everything since is crap. GET OVER IT. its over – and its for the better.

  4. polastem says:

    That's what I meant.

  5. LeafyMcLeaf says:

    1) Half true, I said the team sucked.

    2) I'd rather have a point per game dominant power forward than some kid who we're going to wait 8 years to develop, before even seeing a 15 goal season…

    3) Keenan? Who has won a cup…

    4) I doubt it, and even if he does, he should get it.

    5) Yes, the team sucks, you're a moron.

    6) You're right, he was born three days after the cut off day.

    7) So? He still sucks.

    8) I… don't remember what you're arguing, so I'll leave it at that.

    9) I meant they won't fire him, it was a typo, and you know what I was *****ing talking about..

    10) Tucker has balls, Nagy has none, plus, he sucks. Have you ever read anything I've ever written? Stajan is the only young forward I wouldn't trade.

    He was playing the year with Domi, Kilger, Stajan, and Steen, you try putting up numbers like that! He's finally got a center! He should've been put with Sundin from day one.

    The Quinn and Fletcher eras are the only times in the last forty years the Leafs didn't totally suck balls. The current Leafs, and the Leafs you want, do suck balls. Sorry.

  6. GoalJudge says:

    Based on information I have read (sorry I lost my source, but I think it was from a spectors's blog) Sundin's option as a TEAM OPTION is a contract extension whereby Sundin gets roughly 1 million if the team declines it.
    By paying out the 1 million on the option, the club is effectively buying out the contract.  The new CBA stipulates that players who are bought out by a team cannot resign with that team for 1 year to the day.

    Therefore for all discussions going forward this should be kept in mind, and not entered for debate.  If Sundin is a Leaf next year it is for 5+ million and 6.3 million against the cap, period.
    If the team declines the option, then Sundin is no longer a leaf.

    However, it is unclear whether that counts if he is traded.
    If he is traded, presumabely his new team gets rights to the option, and and may then decline it. Making him resignable by the leafs, but not by his new team.

  7. lukeleim says:

    Though, I disagree with 92-93's desire to obtain Nagy for such a high price, he is probably one of the more knowledgable Leaf fan on this website. Whereas, LeafyMcLeaf, you are undeniably one of the most retarded people to post on hockeytraderumor.com. You're annoying…

  8. 92-93 says:

    you are exactly right.

    and one of the scenarios i thought up was one in which Sundin would be traded to a team like Anaheim for Perry, Marchant, and a 3rd rounder or something … so he plays with the Ducks for their playoff drive.

    THEN, its the Ducks who have to make the decisions. would they want to pick up the option and count $6.3 million against the cap. regardless of what Sundin does in the playoffs for the and knowing Burke being the GM, i dont think so.

    That would mean that the Ducks would decline the option, they couldnt resign him and Sundin is a free agent, likely headed back to the Leafs for $5-5.5 million a year.

    its a far-fetched scenario, but it is possible.

  9. 92-93 says:

    2) what? Nagy will take 8 years to develop? Leafy PLEASE do the research before you post — Nagy is already leading his team in points and is already a top line player. sheesh!

    3) Keenan – who has left a trail of devastation everywhere he's been. Gretzky, Hull, everyone who has ever played for him or had him as GM says he is a cancer. moving on …

    4) Wrong! man i am glad youre not a GM

    5) um, ok, so we'll go with your team with Bertuzzi, Peca, Tucker, Domi, Lindros, Allison, and Belfour in the net with Cujo backing him up … hmmm. (LOL)

    7) yeah, Poti sucks. and he isnt in my plans.

    9) just focus on your wording better leafy. take your time writing these posts. and use your brains more.

    10) Nagy sucks because he doesnt have balls? could you be any more vague (and any less knowledgeable about the game) Leafy? i dont think so.

    NO. O'Neill was clearly a very very bad player last year for the leafs. the only reason why he is still with us – a 2 year contract and Maurice's hiring. and he is playing better because of Maurice and his own determination.

    The Quinn and Fletcher eras are the eras YOU GREW UP IN LEAFY. that is the point. you romanticize it because that is the period you associate yourself too. but it also means that you dont know crap about any of the eras before the leafs (other than what you read in books and i have a feeling you dont read books) .. . and it means that you dont have any 'big picture' perspective.

    again, i'm glad youre not the GM Leafy. i think JFJ is bad but then i think, it could always be worse.

  10. LeafyMcLeaf says:

    2) When did I say Nagy would take 8 years to develop?

    3) When did Gretzky say that?

    4) What did I say that was wrong? What makes me wrong.

    5) Who would want Allison.

    7) For Christ's sake, we've established, Poti sucks.

    9) You're pointing out stupid holes in my writing, instead of my argument.

    10) Nagy is a *****in pansy, we need Nolan!

    O'Neill played fine last year.

    No, I just want the Leafs to suck anymore, and it was the Quinn and Fletcher eras they didn't suck in. Had they both been given more time/money to do their *****ing job, we'd have won half a dozen more cups by now.

  11. 92-93 says:

    ok … Nolan?!!! ok, i'll just stop this right now because i know youre not getting it.

    but yes, its agreed – Poti sucks.

  12. mojo19 says:

    Antropov is just filler??? Are you serious Goal Judge. I'm sorry but you sound really stupid right now. Antropov has been a top 5 Leaf this year when healthy. My only knock on him would be his injuries.

    Even Paul Maurice said that 3 or 4 games this year Antropov has been their best player. Its no coincidence he was matched up against St.Louis and Lecavalier in the 3rd period vs. Tampa. Nik's outstanding career +/- is always at the top of the team. He's the teams best positional player and exactly the type of guy a tactical coach like Maurice needs.

    I hope that JFJ resigns Antropov at the end of the year for 4 years $6 million.

  13. mojo19 says:

    When asked in training camp which forward they would most want on their line, almost every leaf forward listed Antropov as #1. His puck control and set up abilities are second to none on the team. (Wellwood sets 'em up too, but doesn't have that control)

  14. mojo19 says:

    92-93 is good. LeafyMcLeaf is an idiot (most of the time), every once in a while he makes some sense.

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