A realistic look into the Leafs offseason.

The way I see it is that we are going to welcome back two past players. Both of whom want to be with the Leafs. Better get a drink this is a long one but a good one.

A realistic look into the Leafs offseason

The way I see it is that we are going to welcome back two past players. Both of whom want to be with the Leafs. Better get a drink this is a long one but a good one.

To start….I know for a fact that Raycroft isn’t going anywhere and that Sundin will certainly be back. The fact that Sundin has not gone back to Sweeden says that he is sticking around. The plan is and the Leafs have the NHL’s approval to renegotiate Sundin’s contract. As for Raycroft he isn’t going anywhere because JFJ traded for this guy and he wants to try to prove that it was a good deal. It is his own ego that wants this to work.

Now….JFJ did say on the Leafs channel that he will be looking for an experienced goaltender this offseason who can play about 30 to 35 % of the games and take some off the pressure of Raycroft. Boy do I got a name for you Leaf fans. CUJO!! He said at the end of this season in the Phoenix newspaper that he either wants to play for the Yotes or return to Toronto. I smell a hometown discount coming. Cujo would be a pefect backup to Raycroft as he could help him deal with the pressure of playing in Toronto and be an effective backup in Toronto. As for you who think this would not be good you can try watching some Yotes games from this past season as their defence was awful and Cujo made a lot of great saves that we did not see this year from Raycroft. Cujo is in the later stages of his hockey career but can certainly still get the job done. Cujo also still has a home in the Toronto area and is still active with local charities. Would be an ideal fit for both Cujo and the Leafs.

As for up front we can certainly say goodbye to everyone who is a free agent except maybe Battaglia, Devereaux(now that he has signed), and maybe Antropov. Unless Battaglia wants far less then a million per year then he should stay. As for Antropov I for one would not resign him. Case being that he is often hurt and knew he was playing for a new contract this past season. Especially a free agent one. The Leafs should get wise that he will just sign a nice big deal and be hurt again next season. This guys whole past has been him being injury prone. Do you want 1.5 to 2 million not being on the ice for the bulk of the games? That money would be better spent elsewhere. As for the rest they are all goners.

Who to sign? I hear a lot of Bertuzzi wanting to play for the Leafs. I think I would pass on this. He has never recovered from being off from the whole Moore thing. Also never recovered from his back surgery. So I would pass.

Ryan Smyth is another name that is being mentioned. He would be a great signing but may cost too much to get. He is looking for McCabe money and with both McCabe and Kubina making close to that kind of money the Leafs may not be able to afford him. I think the Flyers are going to land Smyth as they would be crazy not to try and sign him with their large amount of cap space. He is also a Flyers type of player….cut right out of the Philly mold. Also hearing that Calgary has a shot at him. So the Leafs would do well to land him but realisticly I don’t think they can.

Shanahan should be another one the Leafs should go after as he is unrestricted and is still a great player with a nose for the net. His 29 goals and 62 points prove this. He did this without playing with a true number one center. Put him with Sundin and the points will start to pile up.

Another name that sparks interest for me is Gary Roberts. This guy wants to play for Toronto so bad he waited to see if the Leafs would make a counter offer for him when the trade to the Penguins came down. He also may have been waiting to see if Ottawa was going to bid too but none the less he wants to play in the Ontario region. His playoffs were great as he was a force for the Pens. He is still a good NHL player and his leadership is second to none. He would be a huge influence on the Steens and Stajans of the lockeroom who don’t play every night.

Sorry folks but these two disappear more then a bottle of pills at Courtney Love’s house. They were hardly noticable for the last 12 games of the season. Both mired in what was being called huge slumps. Sorry a person in a slump is doing other things well….look at Sundin…he was in a scoring slump but was still making a lot of assists. These guys were hardly mentioned. Maybe a trade of both of them to Edmonton for Torres and Lupul along with the exchange of some picks would do well. All four are young and need a change of venues. Torres is a tenatious forechecker and would fit in real well with Maurices style of play. Also Lupul is a promising young star and is kind of the same player style as Steen. Except Lupul does not shy away as much from the physical play(notice I said as much). I also really like Torres and his style of play which is hard checking and hard working. This guy certainly did have a bad year but everyone on the Oilers did.

I know what you are thinking. Most of the players you have pointed out are older. Well they are but Toronto has some youth that needs a season or two to mature. So another year in the minors is not going to kill them. Rushing them along is not good as we have seen with Antropov as he should have spent some time in the minors. Took the time to mature his game.

That being said I would certainly promote Jeremy Williams. He is a young center(23) who deserves a chance to play in the NHL. He has scored at all levels and the few chances he has got to play with the Leafs he scored goals. Two games played in the NHL and he has two goals. Not a bad average. I know he is not going to keep this pace up but at least give him the chance to play. He also plays well in his own end as in the 2005-2006 season he was a plus 2 on a bad defensive Marlies team and managed to get 56 points in 55 games played.

As for the defence….well don’t hold your breath looking for a change. Contracts that were given to both Kubina and McCabe are not going anywhere. And those of you who want McCabe traded elsewhere….he is not going anywhere. Maybe he might be traded to the Islanders but he would have to first waive his no trade and I don’t see that happening unless it is to the Islanders as that is where his wife is from and people close to him believe he would accept a trade there. But with a bunch of other loaded contracts on the Island they are not going to bring in his as well unless they could maybe dump one in return.

Say what you will about the Steen and
Stajan part but Stajan at least has been given all kinds of chances and he has not improved much. Make him trade bait….but Steen might yet come around as he is still quite young. I see Steen on the power play and he is afraid to stand by the net. Healy pointed this out on TSN that he is half way between the corner and the side of the net. How in God’s name are you going to score from here? Steen has shown flashes of what might be but like Stajan he can not do it so far on a regular basis. He should have been packaged for Pronger last summer when the Oilers asked for him. God knows Pronger would look much better on the blueline then McCabe or Kubina combined have looked. Burke pulled the trigger and look where the Ducks are….but that rant is better served for JFJ….who is too afraid to pull the trigger on a huge deal. We have to stop falling in love with our young playes who show something every dozen games or so and get some proven young talent in return.

So this is how things shape up.

Shanahan – Sundin – Tucker

Roberts – Wellwood – Ponikarovsky

Torres – Pohl – Lupul

Kilger – Williams – Devereaux

Defence the same.

Raycroft and Cujo in nets.

18 Responses to A realistic look into the Leafs offseason.

  1. Sedin23 says:

    That is a better team, but not a Cup contender.

    P.S. Lowe is asking for A LOT in return for Lupul. He was trying to get Pitkinan for Lupul straight up, so even though I think your deal is pretty fair it won't happen. You would have to traded Wellwood for him, which in my mind is actually a good trade for the Leafs, but it would be more of a gamble. Wellwood has shown he'll be a 70 point scorer, and Lupul has showen he COULD be a 100 point scorer. I wouldn't take the gamble, but it's not a bad one.

  2. buds8 says:

    Nothing is going to happen, except the exact following, sorry…

    Mats, Antropov, Battaglia and Peca will be resigned, the D will remain the same and Kevin Weekes will be signed (played for Maurice in Carolina when they went to the Cup).  There will be one somewhat big name signed and it will be a forward, most likely Doan or Bertuzzi.  That's it, nobody wants to come here and lose, they can't rebuild after the contacts they've handed out, they will be the same team that will miss the playoffs or sruggle to make it in eighth place for the next 3 years or so, they had the chance to rebuild last year but didnt take it, so tey have no choice but to resign Mats.  Sorry to burst the bubbles.

    Why would they need to make the playoffs when idiots like us keep following them avidly…..no Cup parade for sometime unless there is some miracle.

    If I were the GM last year I would have not resigned McCabe and not sign any FA's….just develop….trade Mats and Tucker and let the young guys play and learn and mold a good young team…make Kaberle the Captain and wait for Pogge or Rask to become a #1 starter…..ala Pittsburgh or Ottawa……….TOO LATE for that.

    So here's the lineup come October:

    STEEN                PECA           KILGER
    DEVEREAUX        STAJAN         POHL

    KABERLE            KUBINA
    McCABE             COLAIACOVO
    WHITE              GILL



  3. Go_Leafs_14 says:

    wth is with your name, realisticleaf?

  4. Glucker says:

    thank god you're not the leaf's gm…

  5. Glucker says:

    if cujo comes back, i'll loose the little faith i still have in JFJ, hes done, and he would be a horrible back-up, when we had potvin, he proved he couldnt compete with another goalie, which is why we eventually let potvin leave. cujo and raycroft would be destructive, not constructive, same as bringing back belfour(raycroft-belfour bar fight any1?:P)   i would actually like seeing shanahan and roberts as leafs, but i think roberts wants to stay in pitts, and i think that rangers are gonna go all out for shanahan

  6. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    i don't want cujo. face it, he can't play 30% of the games. Leafs should go after Garon. Besides, if Cujo comes back, raycroft will have to face fans that don't like him, and love his backup. bad mix

  7. LeafyMcLeaf says:

    I like Shanahan and Roberts…

  8. RealisticLeaf says:

    Honestly…this team would have to remove the salary cap and sign all the great free agents to become a cup contender. I was looking at making the team better.

    You are right…Lowe does think a lot of Lupul but he also likes Steen as shown in the proposed pronger trade. Steen was the deal breaker. And where Steen is younger thought it might all wash out.

    I would not even think of dealing Welly right now…he has too much upside to consider this. He is our legit 2nd line Centerman we have been looking for. Who will score and put up numbers.

  9. RealisticLeaf says:

    LOL…i second that.

  10. RealisticLeaf says:

    You still have faith in JFJ….man you are brave.

    Cujo can certainly play anywhere from 25 to 35 games in a season. Also he is a solid team player and would know his role coming in.

    You can not put Belfour in the same mold as Cujo….cause Cujo is two arrests down and has always proved to be a team player.

  11. RealisticLeaf says:

    True about the love for the backup but Cujo can still play 25 to 35 games in a season and be effective. Look at the poor team he played for last season…he was facing a lot of rubber. Toronto is better defensively now then when he was last here. Cujo did not look too out of place on a bad Yotes team. he is still a good NHL goalie…but certainly not a starter.

  12. intothevoid001 says:

    pretty sure doan already signed a 5 year extension also…

  13. intothevoid001 says:

    "Toronto is better defensively now then when he was last here."

    you're telling me you wouldn't rather have aki berg, cory cross and dimitry yushkevich over mccabe, kaberle and kubina… i think most of these fans should stop whining about how much kubina and mccabe "suck" cause, maybe with the exception of yushkevich in the playoffs, they're a hell of a lot better than those 3 were.

  14. mojo19 says:

    I don't know, its not that great without Nik Antropov, he was pretty much our winger for most of last season. And when he's hurt, his salary won't count against the cap. But be positive, hopefully he can stay a little more healthy next season.

  15. mojo19 says:

    Personal life aside, Belfour is a much better goalie than Joseph. I would feel more confident with The Eagle between the pipes because he proved in Florida that not only can he still make some good saves, he can still steal a game every so often too.

    I just don't think Joseph holds up to Belfour at all. Joseph plays way too far back in his net, which is good for passes across and getting over, but since his reflexes aren't quite what they were before his style of play doesn't work that well. Everytime he gets a little piece of something but it trickles behind him, its in the net, where as Belfour is out a couple more feet and when something trickles behind him, he still has some recovery time. Belfour is just such a positionally sound goalie.

  16. mojo19 says:

    We had Kaberle and McCabe when Joseph was here.

    You should have said Yushkevich, Berg, Cross, or White, Colaiacovo, Kubina.

    On a related note, I like the young guys and Cross did suck, but Berg was better than people said. I think a lot of leaf fans just repeat eachother and don't really know whats going on a lot of the time. I recently had an argument with someone who said that Robert Reichel only ever put up around 30 pts for the leafs, but he infact put up over 50, and especially in his last couple seasons with Toronto was a really good player. He killed penalties for Quinn, and was smart down low, and he had a great series vs. Philly in 2004.

  17. intothevoid001 says:

    i said nothing about Reichel, his last year with the leafs was not much to write home about, but he came to the leafs and did pretty much exactly what was expected of him. no quips there.

    as for berg…  i think it was more of  being in the wrong place at the wrong time, most of the time. he must have done something right to make it to the nhl in the first place, but there were certainly better options that could have been had at the time for the money. I know he was brought in under Quinn when he was still GM, but JFJ dropped the ball in regards to not buying out his contract when he had the chance. that and signing an aging, mediocre veteran in khavanov. these are 2 prime examples of immobile defencemen that can't play effciently enough to strive in what the nhl is today. much like gill, even though i think he's a decent defender, they got caught flat footed too many times.

    yushkevich was a workhorse in the playoffs, that was definitely his prime time. I'd still take white and colaiacovo over the other two though. no contest.

  18. kabbyrules07 says:

    bertuzzi is an old washed up forward who still hasnt recovered from the moore incident..he would end up getting hurt or gettin mayybe 30-40 points for the buds. besides he would be askin for to much money, some one more relistic to pick up would be smyth, for about 6 million for 2 years, he can put the puck in the net, and hes smart wiith or without the puck. throw him on the first line with mats and tucker, that would b sick..

    the leafs should also go for cujo i think he would b a great addition for backup he could guide raycroft in the right direction. only sign him for a year then go for some1 like roberts, great leadership and everyone in toronto loves him..sign peca too hes a great penalty killer and there u go good team i think

    smyth  sundin   tucker
    poni   wellwood  antropov
    roberts  peca    stajan
    steen   pohl   kilger

    kabby  kubina
    mccabe  colaiacovo
    gill    white


    subs: battaglia, belak, devereaux

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