Alternative Approaches for Fletcher, Trade Everyone

Whats the point of holding on to Antropov, Toskala and Kaberle if the Leafs can’t build around them? The Leafs clearly have no future and the conventional wisdom in addressing the team’s many issues is trading Sundin in order to get a couple of draft picks and prospects, however this isn’t the best course of action. Shallow depth within the farm system isn’t the obstacle to future success, bad contracts are. This being the case, the most pressing concern isn’t restocking the farm system but getting rid of the likes of Blake, McCabe, Tucker and Kubina. This is a tall order, but not an imposibility. To achieve this end, Fletcher must aggressively attempt to rid the Leafs of all asset, there are no untouchables on this roster or within the farm system.

Sundin, Toskala, Antropov and Kaberle all have solid trade value, Fletcher should focus on packaging each one of them along with a bad contract (McCabe, Blake, Tucker or Kubina). As for Raycorft, the Leafs can afford to eat the two million and put him in the minors.

For example, McCabe has pretty much no trade value, but packaged with Kaberle, a team looking for a top two pairing could be very interested in a Kaberle/McCabe or Kaberle/Kubina package. Its not like there are better deals to be found in the UFA market (look at last off season, Hamerlik making 5.75 a year, the market for UFA defenseman is ridiculous). In this type of deal, the Leafs would have to take salary back, maybe McCabe and Kaberle to SJ for Marleau and a 2nt round pick, or a simillar type deal with whoever the interested party may be.

Other deals could involve packages such as Tucker/Sundin to Calgary for Tanguay or Blake/Toskala to any team in need of goaltending or package Blake with Wellwood and or/Steen, hell package him with Starlman or Kumelin if it results in getting rid of Blake.

The key to these deals are to have lower expectations in the return. Asking price shouldn’t be top propects and picks but rather manageable contract players. Clearing the team of bad contracts is more valueable to righting the ship than simply getting a good prospect or two and late first round pick (the typical type of speculated return for Sundin).

This should effectively put the Leafs in the cellar for the next couple of years where they could possibily land Tavares and Stamkos. The Leafs shouldn’t be in a rush to restock the farm system via trades. They can do it over the next couple of years with their own draft picks.

In fact hodling on to the likes of Kaberle, Toskala and Antropov hurts the Leafs chance of landing a top five draft picks. Holding on to them in the long term does more harm than good. The Leafs should be willing to give up on next season in order to move forward.

Now consider the alternative, hold on to McCabe, Kubina, Kaberle, Toskala, Antropov, Blake and Tucker. Continue to be just competitive enough to keep themselves out of the playoffs and out of a great draft position. Trade Sundin for a couple of good prospects and picks that are long shots to become impact players. Holding on to Kaberle, Antropov and Toskala is a waste as it keeps the status quo. The Leafs can’t pick and choose which contracts they can deal and which they can keep, but trading the good with the bad is a possibility. The need is to dismantle the core.

Starting from scratch is the best to way to lure an A list GM and has great upside for building for the future. If Fletcher is to play the role of Wayne Embery in an attempt to land a Colangelo type GM/president then he must aggressively tear apart the current foundation of this organization. The only untouchable asset within the organization should be the Leafs’ own draft picks. Creating a blank canvas, this is the solution.


62 Responses to Alternative Approaches for Fletcher, Trade Everyone

  1. DJTOKid says:

    I was just naming a few guys that yes MIGHT be free agents. You accuse me of assuming ALL of these guys will be free agents and then you turn around and pretty much predict the future and tell me they will all be signed. How do you know that? Wouldn't you prepare for a chance to sign Lecavalier or Malkin? Aren't these the type of players you can build a franchise around? Plus I didn't even mention UFA's and RFA"S such as Afinogenov, Havlat, Lehtinen, Cammalleri, Jagr, Kopitar, and Pomminville.

    I just don't think you completely blow up this team. There ARE good pieces here with contracts that are feasable. Looking at next years payroll, if the leafs resign Stajan, Wellwood, and Steen for around 1.1mil per year for one or two years. They would have a full roster at roughly 45-46million. Then with Antropov, Bell, Kilger, Deveroux, Gill, and Raycroft to be free agents after the 09/10 season the leafs will have(if the three RFA's are signed for two years) 8forwards, 6 defensmen, and 1goalie for around36-37million.

    This is just an example of how a gm can rebuild this team in the next two or three years with out moving major contracts. If he can then the situation will only get better but I find it very unlikely the likes of Kubinad nd Tucker can get traded.

    thanks to nhlnumbers.com for the payroll stats

  2. Hoondog2 says:

    Plain and simple the players that should be moved are Sundin, Tucker, Blake, Kubina, White, Ponikarovski, Gill, and the waiving of Raycroft, and Woz.

    I see no point in trading the likes of Tlusty, Steen, Stralman, Kulemin……

    Surely you could package Tucker with Ponikarovski to a team looking to make a playoff run, but wanting to keep the future in mind.  Adding Poni, and Tucker makes any playoff team significantly better, and if they want a Tlusty to make the deal happen then the trade deadline is completely different then the one we saw last year.

  3. arigold says:

    I agree, but simply writing off the next few seasons waiting for an opportunity to sign players that may or may not be available doesn't sound like a respectable game plan.

    I also want to state that i don't totally buy into this building a team around certain players.  I think teams should be taking the necessary steps to better the team all the time, and not necessarily look to build around a few key players.  The teams who have experienced the most success over the last few years have done so by having 4 solid lines.  Depth is the key, not superstars.  An all around good team will cause great matchup problems for teams with 3 or 4 stars and a bunch of filler. 

  4. arigold says:

    Everything going on in the hockey world these days and thats what you look at, please.  Worst job, give me a break.  Hardest job, definitely, and only truly quality gm's would be interested.  The big mistake when it comes to hiring JFJ, is that in this position, there is simply no room for development.  The job of Leafs GM requires only a veteran GM.  We'll see if Brian Burke thinks its the worst job when he takes over.

  5. Quebec4Life says:

    Well then you're one big jealous moron man have you seen their hits man they both live together now in Montreal and go visit Kovalev often and its proven to be great look at Andrei in the last game he's getting some crazy hands man and he's hitting hard so did Sergei. I think you simply don't watch Habs game which I understand, but geez don't be a prick about it.

  6. mojo19 says:

    One big problem in packaging 2 players like this would be the giant cap hit. Maybe these deals could be made in the offseason, but certainly not at the deadline. Imagine a team taking on McCabe and Kaberle, that's $10 million against the cap in those 2 players, even if the Leafs do take some salary back, holy!

    But I like your idea, I actually really hope this is what happens. However, if they're trading for Marleau and Tanguay (as you used in your example) you might as well hold onto Antropov and Toskala.

  7. wingedim says:

    This goof as you point out is having the year that was expected of him from day one. He has finally been able to avoid being bit by the injury bug for an extended period of time. As a result, his value has gone up as a player. Is it possible this is a fluke year and next year he'll be injury ridden again? Sure it is, but why not trade him when his value is high and possibly avoid a repeat. Worst case he'll flourish like most other 'high expectation' players did when they moved on to other cities. (ie. Freddie Modin, Steve Sullivan, Kenny Johnson)

  8. goose says:

    for the next couple of weeks im going to be really focused in on the hockey world, and i want a chance to see what Fletcher can really do, and hope that he can make some outstanding trades!

  9. the_word says:

    This plan, like any others has its obstacles, however this is the only way to blow up this roster as I see it. Tanguay and Marleau may be a litte optimistic, I'm fine with the Leafs taking back depth players so long as they have good contracts. For example, deals simillar to Ottawa moving Havlat for Corvo and Priessing. Ottawa took back two solid defense at reasonable deals. Could the Leafs work out three way deals to move players? It'll take creativity, but these are the types of deals I can see Fletcher pulling off.

    As for holding onto Antropov and Toskala we have to give up on the idea of having pieces that we can build around. The immediate goal to be pursued is to clear the deck, and pick up the pieces however they lie afterwards. We have no future as it is, so the notion of having untouchable pieces to build around is illusionary.

    Might as well be purposeful in giving up the next few years, get younger and cheaper in the meantime. The organization needs to redefine itself and not in moderate fashion.

  10. Bleeding_Blue says:

    First of all history isnt bound to repeat itself, so dont sit there and say that the leafs will continue to make mistakes in resigning huge contracts. With JFJ out of the picture i belive cliff can make a difference. I also agree with the point (although as a huge leaf fan it pains me to say) that we need o give up on this season and next and set to rebuild for the 2010 or 2011 season. As far as who should stay…Toskala, you dont trade him. He has a decent contract and has proven that he is a stud in between the pipes. The fact that he does what he does with the crap defense he has infront of him speaks for itself. The only defensemen i wouldnt trade are Kaberle and Coliacovo. Kubina isnt necessarily a bad defenseman just he shouldnt be making the money he is (obviously). Trade him! he could be a decent top four dman for a team looking to make a run. Mccabe, Blake, Tucker should all be moved. If Sundin says he'll look at being moved… MOVE HIM! dont trade robbie earl, tlusty, stajan, steen, or devereux as these are all young guys with cheap contracts that look like they could make up decent 2nd or 3rd liners in the future. trade what you can for prospects and draft picks and give up on the next few seasons. Ive been waiting for a cup in T.O my whole life and it wouldnt kill me to wait 2 or 3 more years!

  11. Bleeding_Blue says:

    First of all history isnt bound to repeat itself, so dont sit there and say that the leafs will continue to make mistakes in resigning huge contracts. With JFJ out of the picture i belive cliff can make a difference. I also agree with the point (although as a huge leaf fan it pains me to say) that we need o give up on this season and next and set to rebuild for the 2010 or 2011 season. As far as who should stay…Toskala, you dont trade him. He has a decent contract and has proven that he is a stud in between the pipes. The fact that he does what he does with the crap defense he has infront of him speaks for itself. The only defensemen i wouldnt trade are Kaberle and Coliacovo. Kubina isnt necessarily a bad defenseman just he shouldnt be making the money he is (obviously). Trade him! he could be a decent top four dman for a team looking to make a run. Mccabe, Blake, Tucker should all be moved. If Sundin says he'll look at being moved… MOVE HIM! dont trade robbie earl, tlusty, stajan, steen, or devereux as these are all young guys with cheap contracts that look like they could make up decent 2nd or 3rd liners in the future. trade what you can for prospects and draft picks and give up on the next few seasons. Ive been waiting for a cup in T.O my whole life and it wouldnt kill me to wait 2 or 3 more years!

  12. mojo19 says:

    Hmmm, I guess so. I would still keep them, 3 or 4 years from now, with a couple high draft picks in there we might be a team similar to what Chicago is right now. And maybe just a couple moves away from being a young team on the verge of contention. It would be nice to have a goalie like Toskala who can't be attained that easily.

    On the other hand if we get rid of Toskala and Nik, we'll probably sink right to the bottom for the next couple seasons and surely draft top 5. So i don't know….either way I guess.

Leave a Reply