Argument: Leafs Only Option is to Clean House

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With expectations high, there is disappointment in the air in taking 9 of a possible 20 points in the first 10 games of the season. As a result, there has been plenty of calls for change by Leaf Nation for their beloved Toronto Maple Leafs.

With 8 of those 10 games at home, Leaf Nation has had a chance to see clearly how bad things are for their team and this has lead to the vultures coming out ready to chase just about everyone out of town.

The opinions have been wide spread. Trade Bryan Mccabe and Pavel Kubina, fire John Ferguson, fire Paul Maurice, trade Andrew Raycroft, get more defensive help, get more offensive help. Everyone seems to have their own wish list as to what they would like to see happen to shake up the team and try and salvage a season that has a long way to go.

Unfortunately no one change will make all that much of a difference to a team that has sputtered and dithered their way to 40 years of futility. The only change that seems plausible is one that involves a fundamental shift of the way the team has always done things. It involves a complete change in the current culture and philosophy of the team which has been around for decades and clearly has never succeeded.

Nothing short of a wholesale housecleaning will save this franchise from being nothing more than a middle of the road team. Too good and too arrogant to finish at the bottom rung of the standings, foregoing opportunities to pick up prize prospects available for the taking with high draft picks, too bad to finish anywhere other than in a dogfight for 8th place year after year.

But this alone wont do any justice unless they also give the replacement(s) the kind of power and autonomy to do as they see fit as to how to build and mold the hockey team. They need to remove the current setup of having meddling owners who know nothing of what it takes to build a good hockey team, and allow real knowledgable, respected hockey people do their jobs without having to answer to anyone. The organization is capable of doing this. Just look at the turnaround their basketball team has gone through bringing in the best possible candidate to their franchise and allowing him to bring respect and success to the team.

We’ve seen what the latest ownership groups have accomplished. A team of GMs (The Mike Smith/Bill Watters/Pat Quiinn/Anders Hedberg/Ken Dryden era) because no one could decide who was best for the job. A coach who became the reluctant GM. A green, inexperienced GM who was way over his head and was not even the top choice to begin with when he was hired. And two members of the board (Larry Tanenbaum and Richard Peddie) making the final decisions without being able to tell a puck from a basketball and who’s minds are on real estate, condos and lining shareholder pockets.

Its clear the current group in place and how things are set up cannot get the job done. Ferguson has done a horrible job as GM. He is probably the first guy who needs to go. Not only because he has done a terrible job at building a team that has no identity or purpose but also for the way he has gone about it. Also, considering what he has already accomplished, there is no sense in allowing him to do any more damage as the organization has suffered far enough.

His biggest complaint when he came aboard was simply not having enough stroke to do the things he wanted thanks to the presence of Pat Quinn. But once he forced Quinn out, he’s only made things worse.

He overspent, he depleted an already thin farm system, he parted with high draft picks for players no one would consider top end talents, he was gunshy in making big moves settling for middle of the road players just to make change for the sake of change, he ushered in the era of no movement clauses that clearly cripple teams both in flexibility and in terms of cap space. His team has gotten progressively worse since he took control from Quinn never making the playoffs and likely missing this year as well. He showed clearly he had no plan whatsoever dithering and bumbling around basically reacting off the cuff without any purpose or direction.

His hand picked coach has not gotten the job done. Maurice came with a reputation as a defensive coach. The result? The worst defensive team in hockey. But that was never a secret to begin with. The team has been futile in the own zone for a decade. But Maurice has poorly managed his goaltending going from one extreme of playing a goalie to death because he didnt trust the backup, to one where he flip flops goalies every game sort of showing he trusts neither goalie altogether. He wasted traning camp looking at players who a)would only be filling in 4th line/spare part rolls to begin with and b) auditioning for jobs taht were already going to be filled with players on 1 way contracts. He never got his full lineup to play together until the beginning of the season and this lack of chemistry has been seen early on this year. He wastes regular season games trying to find that chemistry augmenting the lineup on a daily basis. He’s degraded the powerplay to the point where it is one of the worst and far too predictable after being one of the best. The PK has never been good and is overworked because he cannot get his players to stop taking penalties, rewarding them with top line status instead of benching players despite routinely taking foolish penalties.

A fortune was spent on the current goaltending setup. 4 draft picks were sacrificed for two goalies whom have yet to prove they are worthy number 1s. The kicker is that two proven top 10 netminders were available at the time and were traded to other teams while the Leafs passed on their services. I am speaking of Roberto Luongo and Tomas Vokoun.

An even greater fortune in terms of money, contract length and job security was spent on the team’s defence. The Leafs currently take a 20 million dollar cap hit from their blueline and none of them are capable of actually playing defence. Lets not forget the No trade clause that Kaberle got and the No Movement clause to Mccabe. They are unmoveable parts until basically when their contract ends. During that time, he passed on acquiring two of the top 3 blueliners in the NHL at the time, in Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer, who were available and eventually joined forces to bring the Stanley Cup to Anaheim.

The team has constantly dithered in finding legtimate linemates to play with their best forward who is now aging and soon likely unable to carry the team for much longer. Most of the forwards are one dimensional offensive minded folks who seemingly think taking penalties is the best way to backcheck.

The core group the team has committed to:

Mats Sundin, Darcy Tucker and Jason Blake up front

Tomas Kaberle, Bryan Mccabe, Pavel Kubina on D

Vesa Toskala and Andrew Raycroft in goal

has shown that a) they are clearly not worth the money they are being paid (roughly 30 plus million combined) and b) are simply not good enough to be nothing more than average at best. Together they dont bring the Leafs any identity other than one that can score but are soft and cannot defend.

Therefore a roster overhaul in conjunction with the changes to the front office and behind the bench are all necessary to make change worthwhile. If the organization can get competent people to make those changes, then the results can only be positive. It certainly cannot get any worse than what it is now.

It would be counter productive to allow Ferguson to continue on even further and try and salvage the season and the team. He’s already shown he cant do that job based on all his moves and it can only make things worse for the Leafs.

Sure he was forced into a situation where he was working on a 1 year mandate to get into the playoffs or else (yet another failure of the organizati
on) but he even messed that up too. Even when he given this mandate and clearly knew what he needed to accomplish, he even frittered that opportunity as well, not doing what it takes to make the Leafs successful now when that direction was laid out to him. The environment of working in a lame duck status didnt help, but neither did his incompetency.

Its clear they need to start fresh. And thus the only change is to start with a clean slate, with fresh minds and fresh ideas and new philosophies and directions put in place to clearly give the Leaf organization a purpose and a plan moving forward. There is no guarantee this would work out and instantly make the Leafs a contender or even win them a Stanley Cup. But for now, the team is rock bottom and has no future beyond this season. The work will be plentiful, and the results may need time to come to fruition but considering 40 years of failure have come and gone already, I am sure a few more years of waiting is not going to make much of a difference. This is true if it means strong positive steps going forward. Only the backwardness of MLSE and the way they do things will keep them going in the opposite direction.


97 Responses to Argument: Leafs Only Option is to Clean House

  1. nordiques100 says:

    well leafy the last two games mean shit now thanks ot the last outing. cant argue that "it was jsut one game". thats a crock of crap. the team cannot find consistency. its capable of playing very well, but have neither the talent or smarts to keep it up. its unfortunate but change is clearly needed with the way they responded tonight. atypical of the ferguson era to once again get too *****y after 1 or 2 good games and to think they can roll over anyone without trying.

    its that culture within this current group that creates such poor efforts.  the arrogance of ownership that feeds all the way down to the team  is such a horrible atmostphere. no wonder they succeeded getting away from tdot.

    now more than ever change is needed. big wholesale change that is.

  2. leafy says:

    Woz was very good in the pre-season, but then took a turn for the worse immediately thereafter.  Hard to figure out.

  3. RealisticLeaf says:

    Nord100….i am glad someone else is saying what i have been saying for the last two years. People on here have made fun of me constantly for saying that this team needs to start over and build through the draft and quality free agents. Not the Kubina's and Blake's. but the Brier's and possibly the Spezza's.

    Philly totally rebuilt themselves in less then a year. Why can't the Leafs?

    You know what…i seen this coming…the Leafs would think they will walk over the Caps after their last two games.

    I agree…we need to rebuild. Complete overhaul…from the GM down to the 4th liners. Gut it and start over!!

  4. leafy says:

    Clearly Maurice has lost control of his D.  Ill-advised pinching as if it's a high school game, it's a disgrace. 

  5. RealisticLeaf says:

    Yeah if he means Woz then he is right. But none of the rest of em are doin any better…like WTF both Kubina and Kaberle caught up ice when they were on the power play? Leave Blake to play D….just another Kubina brain fart!!!!

    The puck is smarter then kubina!!!!

  6. nordiques100 says:

    i just hope people dont perceive that this will happen overnight. thats the key. yes philly turned over in a year as have others, but it could take longer for the leafs.

    they need to do things right when they search for someone new to run things. they cant waste finding a mentor or another puppet. they've got to go out and get a ken holland or a neil smith or a guy who has won and been successful and be given the power to do whatever.

    gutting those contracts will be near impossible. and it could take years to find the next sundin type player.

    goaltending is ok, young support scorers are there, offence from the D is there too. they need now grit, go to players with high end skill to join/replace sundin, defensive presence at all positions….and the cap space to make these moves. could take years but starting hte process sooner, the better.

    one thing they need from a new hockey guy….guts. guts to be willing to say mats i need to move you, or be willing to trade kaberle despite 99 percent of the fans saying NO to any deal involving him. if this brings great, youthful return, its a start.

    they dont need another guy to gut the farm system for two unproven goalies and a rental like yanic perreault.

  7. nordiques100 says:

    i guess he's just one of those preseaons guys. remember brandon bochenski? he was suppose to be a superstar in ottawa with heats and spez. turned into garbage when the games started to count. woz is another. every team has one….its just that they dont use them as the key shutdown defender an top pair PK on the blueline like toronto does with woz.

  8. nordiques100 says:

    its true about gainey and the habs. they wouldnt give that to andre savard when he was GM and he made some terrible moves for the team itself….probably cause he had to answer to someone…

  9. RealisticLeaf says:

    Wow 7 to 1.

    This team has NO direction, identity, and worst of all….no heart!!

    They look like a team that thinks they can slide by on talent alone. And only a few got that kind of talent on this team.

    Again…(story of each home game)….the D does no favors for the goaltenders. What is with leaving the sticks in front of shots and shying away from the shot. I think there was 3 goals tonight because of this. I will play for 200 grand and be a shot blocking machine.

    Makes me laugh to see Woz…Kubina….Gill…shy away from a shot. So what they get hurt at worse. These guys are missing out on some good stats when they tip the pucks in their net!! Just another example of no heart!!

    I FEEL SOO BAD FOR FELLOW LEAF FANS AND ESPECIALLY FOR THE FOOLS WHO PAID TO SEE THIS GAME. Wake up MLSE….fire em both(Fergie and Maurice) and clean house!!

  10. leafy says:

    A complete overhaul is coming sooner or later.  Just delaying the inevitable at this point.

    Let's see how things go into the New Year.  If the team is on pace for <90 points, then kaboom!!!  Blow it up.

    The question is, if you do a full re-build, who are the keepers?

    I would consider moving everybody except:

    Tlusty, Steen, Stajan, Calaiacovo, White, and Stralman.  (Quality players under 24)

    Players in their prime who could be used as trade bait (full re-building job):

    Kaberle and Antropov — these 2 would fetch the most on the open market – at least 6 quality draft picks or prospects right there! 

    If you are re-building, you may as well move both those guys.

    Other players who might be used to acquire good picks/prospects:

    Sundin, Blake, McCabe, Kubina, Poni, and Gill.

    Other players who might be used to acquire decent picks/prospects:

    Tucker, Kilger, Pohl, Devereaux, Battaglia, Raycroft, etc.

    Thoughts?

  11. RealisticLeaf says:

    I couldn’t agree more…you are so inside my head here it is crazy!!!

    You are bang on the money.

    I would not change a thing you said.

    I most of all agree…they need someone like what Colangelo did with the Raps and go in a say I am here and I am running the show now. And pull a Chris Angel and make the contracts vanish.(i know that might be a bit much to ask but hey….there is always hoping) They DO need someone with the balls to say…Mats thanks for everything…..BUT….were are moving you.Where do you want to go? McCabe where do you want to play hockey now cause your not here anymore….Kubina your on waivers…..Gill your on waivers too. Tucker your gone out west.Raycroft your off to LA. Blake where do you want to go?

    Realy like that you mentioned Neil Smith. i think he is very under rated. he did a great job on the Island in the short time he was there. Sogning Witt…and a few other good moves. Yeah he had the money in NY but he also knew what it took to build a winner. Make some key moves to bring in talent.

    Another name (gimme your opinion) is Glenn Healy of TSN…I think he could be the next Garth Snow. He is very smart and knows when players have to be moved and won’t mind makin the deals. He is most of the time bang on. Said the Leafs D would struggle this season and the Leafs would miss the playoffs. He seen what the current GM could not.

  12. senators101 says:

    Pepole you consider keeping: I'd add wellwood, antro, and kabby to that list.  At least you know you've got ur puck moving defenseman, playmaking centre, and big bodied centre.

    Sundin would give decent value, even if it is only for the stanley cup run.  There's a reason Blake signed for 4 million in toronto, that's probably because nobody else offered him that much.  I don't see him going anywhere.
    McCabe and Kubina: Because of this salary cap era, to drop those guys, you're gonna have to eat salary on the way back.  Even Phoenix, with the need for a goalie, said that Ottawa would have to take Derek Morris to dump Gerbs.  Because both have been pretty lousy over the past year and 10 games or whatever, I don't see why teams would be interested.  And again, if they are, you're eating salary back.

    Tuckers expensive.  I don't see a team dishing out the money for him.  He only played well on the PP, where anyone with little talent could have been successful given his powerplay minutes last year.  This year he looked really soft now he's injured.  Better assessment on him will be when he returns. 
    Battaglia, Devereaux,  Kilger.  Why would teams go after them?  Contendors wouldn't pick them up.  Non-contendors would wait for UFA time so they don't lose any picks for them.  4th liners for all teams.

  13. leafy says:

    Two days ago, I was watching a vintage playoff game on ESPN Classics – Vancouver vs. NY Islanders from 1982.

    You mention how the Leafs lack heart – the Isles were the complete opposite.  Guys like Morrow, Lane, Potvin, Tonelli, Bourne, Sutter, etc, blocking shots left and right like their life depended on it.

    Then watching the Leafs right after, boy, you really notice the difference.

  14. RealisticLeaf says:

    I don’t see us getting much for McCabe…I would just be happy with a Timbit if someone would take his contract.

    I would also keep Antro…he is still kinda young and plays a solid game. He is also playing really nice since going back to center. Also his contract is affordable.

    But you are on for the rest of em. I can see Sundin… Blake… Kaberle… Poni… and Tucker bringing in some really nice pics.

    Then you have Gill… Kilger… Raycroft… and maybe McCabe( because of his contract) being like the B guys in trades.

    The rest would not get you a bag of pucks. Just trade em for middle round pics and hope for another Kaberle out of the bunch.

  15. leafy says:

    I completely forgot Wellwood – certainly he's a keeper.

    Certainly Antropov and Kaberle are likely also keepers, in terms of being the most valuable players.  But you never know.  Hey, if Gretzky can get traded, then everybody is fair game – depends on the offers…somebody might knock your socks off.

    Yes, don't remind me of McCabe and Kubina – we're stuck wit those guys like luggage.

    They had many chances to trade Tucker in the past, when he would have provided a hefty return.  Now with his large contract and poor play, good luck with that.

  16. nordiques100 says:

    its going to take a while.

    some idiot team may take kuby at the deadline. 2 years left at 5 mil isnt so bad considering van ryn makes 3 over the next 4 years, sarach make close to 4 in the next 4 years, hamrlik over 5 til age 39, d is in demand.

    mccabe isnt going anywhere. the cap hit of 5.75 is the problem. paying him 14 mil over the next 3 years after this one is a bit of a problem but not that bad considering some of the other deals i mentioned. his last two years at 4.1 are reasonable but again the 5.75 cap hit is brutal. hard to find both a team he is willing to go to, plus that team having cap space.

    gill has some value as size/depth on D is on everyone's wish list for the playoffs. with 1 yr left after this one, not a bad contract to take on. getting a 3rd or 4th of a mid range prospect would be a steal for hte leafs if they could manage that.

    raycroft, hmm….tough call on him because his value is degrading with every game. its unfortunate. he's meant for a non-hockey market where no one knows him from carlton the bear. but teams do need goalie help. nashville, pittsburgh, TB, colorado, atlanta, phoenix, LA all are in need of some form of goaltending help. so who knows….one of them may take a chance. but the value in return will be minimal.

    kilger, devereaux, belak, newbury, ondrus, battaglia, wozniewski, harrison all pretty much have zero value right now to try and get a return. it sounds laughable but some team needing toughness would part with a mid round pick for belak.

    its worthy giving pohl, williams, tlusty, gamache playing time over these other blokes who really are a dime a dozen in this league. dont forget, bell is going to create an even bigger logjam in terms of role forwards, when he returns.

    it would be a miracle if someone took tucker. he has value……on a contender because of his PP prowess and grit. he would be a spot player. but paid like a star which is a big roadblock. the fact he can control where he goes is another huge problem. likely will never choose to leave toronto thus leaving the leafs stuck with him and his poor defensive play for the next 4 years. the time to trade him was last spring

    i like hte idea of trading sundin, kabby and antropov if a full rebuilding was the way to go. the return is very high on those guys right now. the problem is that it seems sacreligeous to even mention those players names in trades. owners buy into that thus forcing the GM to NOT move those guys thinking they are doing good for the team. instead when they get beloved, they give those types big raises instead of moving them with high value (see mccabe and tucker and see the forced deal bt the leafs to bring back wendel clark in 1996. this crap has been going on for years). its a byproduct of leaf nation.

    this is why a GM with autonomy and guts to do as he sees fit no matter if its makes him enemy number 1 is what the leafs need. he's got to do the job that he feels is right without restraint. kabby, sundin, they're among my favorite players but its got to be team first and if moving them is best for the team, so be it.

  17. nordiques100 says:

    hey, dont short change the nucks, guys like smyl, rota, snepsts etc were willing to go into the trenches no matter what. and they were far inferior to the isles in terms of talent  but played gamely.

  18. senators101 says:

    Yeah, they had a couple chances to get rid of Tucker.  His numbers were deeply inflated so thats why he got his contract.  He's probably worth half of that. 

    Kabby and Antro could be traded, of course.  I just dont see it happening. Trading Kaberle for a bunch of picks doesnt make sense to me cuz he's great.  You don't wanna take the chance of losing quality like him for a couple picks.  As with Antro.

    Whats the rule for buying out contracts? They should really consider buying out Kubina/McCabe's contract and pay the portion they gotta pay (i think its half).  I know it sucks that its for a long time, but McCabe is making 5.25 (?).  Assuming it is half, only 2.625 is on the cap.  Do the same with Kubina, saving another 2.5 mil.  Use the 5.1 mil remaining and sign Markov (or upcoming UFA), still keeping 2 mil for yourself. 

    Esp with the cap upcoming cap situation.
    Apparently they got 42 mil spent for next year:

    Goalies
    Toskala, Raycroft (they'll try to trade him)

    Defense
    McCabe, Kubina, Kaberle, Gill, Kronwall, white, stralman, Coli

    Forwards
    Blake, Tucker, Poni, Antro, Bell, Kilger, Tlusty, Gamache, Battaglia, Newbury and Devereaux.

    Meaning, you've got 8 mil to spend to keep Wellwood, Stajan and Steen and you'd still be down your first line centre, cuz Sundin's contract expires.

    Welly, Stajan, and Steen are all RFA's – Either a deal gets done, arbitration happens, or expect offer sheets thrown out at them cuz the Leafs will have a hard time matching all of them.

  19. nordiques100 says:

    for me, i'd rather see an established guy in there instead of another raw rookie. heals certainly would meet the guts part of what i would like to see a new hockey boss for hte leafs have.

    but i'd only take another raw rookie if he was working under scott bowman or something as an assistant to eventually take over. (see yzerman in det, francis in car). or simply part of a strong hockey dept (david conte in NJ, jim nill in det, etc)

    if you're preference is sharp young hockey minds….see igor larionov, adam graves, and even gilmour has some potential.

    but my preference is a proven winner who has built a winner before.

  20. leafy says:

    Very thorough look at the situation.  Well, at least we have our health, no?

    I'll just add that they have to move Sundin by the deadline if they're out of it.  Can you imagine if they miss the playoffs again and get nothing for Sundin as he ages further?  You right that it's almost sacreligious to move him, but then again, consider some other players the Leafs traded while still on top of their game: Darryl Sittler, Lanny MacDonald, and Frank Mahovlich are the guy who come most immediately to mind.

  21. leafy says:

    Yes, that was a very stubborn Canucks team that almost pulled out a victory in Game 1 on Long Island – a place where it was almost impossible to win in those days.

    Just one mistake by Harold Snepsts – blind pass to Bossy's stick in OT.  Bingo!  Game over.

  22. RealisticLeaf says:

    Quoting Nord100 ” its a byproduct of leaf nation ” MY GOD were truer words ever spoken?

    Man you are SOOOOOO on the money it is crazy!!!!!

    Toronto fans become too attached to these players. They don’t see that the time is now to make a change for the future.

    By the way…if Fletcher did not have the balls enough to trade Clark when he did then we would not have had Sundin for all these years.

    Leaf fans need to look at this when they think of Sundin moving.

    I would still like to keep Antro as he isn’t that old remember. He started VERY young. He has only started with his great play. Also his contract is acceptable.

  23. RealisticLeaf says:

    Ya those Islander teams were about guts and determination.

    Also like the workman like attitude the Devils had for their runs. Just hated the defensive game they played but they worked the system well and played really tough!!

    Or the Avs first cup win. Guys like Foote and Ricci. Them guys were some meat and potatoes. That whole team just played tough that whole playoff run.

    Last but not least….what about the Orr lead Bruin teams….Jesus they were tough and blocked A LOT of shots. Terry O …. Johny B… Espo… now that was a hard nosed team!!

  24. leafy says:

    I think you're right on the buy out rules.  You're on the hook for half the player's salary and on the cap hit, i.e., the Isles with Alexei Yashin.

    You raise a very valid point with using the money saved from the buyout to sign Markov.

    Agreed on Antropov and Kaberle.

  25. leafy says:

    And Philadelphia of the mid-70's with Moose Dupont, Jim and Joe Watson, Gary Dornhoefer, and of course Bobby Clarke.  Lot of grit there.

  26. leafy says:

    A recent example is Suglabov.  Good pre-season, then vanished like Anastasia.

  27. mojo19 says:

    Nordiques100, you are absolutely correct. They need to revamp the whole front office and take it from there.

    This from last week's 'why JFJ should be fired' article by Steve Simmons: When Brian Burke took over in Anaheim he had 6 different starting defensman from when he took over the team.

    That's pretty much what the leafs need, a huge change, a complete revamp.

    Sadly I think they should move Sundin to a contender and the way he's playing they'll get more than what St.Louis got for Tkachuck last year (3 picks, prospect, roster player). Dump McCabe if possible, Kubina, Gill why not? I like Gill but we'll get something for him and he's not amazing so let's rebuild already. Tucker we'll get something for, let's move him. Raycroft let's take what we can get. Other than that just keep the rest for now, trade those 6 guys to dump a bunch of salary and build with younger guys, prospects, and draft picks. Maybe this offseason make a pitch for a UFA like Hossa or Demitra if they're still available and the management thinks they can do a quick turnaround a la Philly, maybe even bring Sundin back next year….

    Thoughts?

  28. leafy says:

    Yes the cost of the buyouts would be worth it and free up cash.  If the team can't make any progress by December, I'd strongly consider this.  But it might make too much sense for the Leafs to actually do it.

  29. senators101 says:

    lol…that fergalicious for you.

  30. leafsfan86 says:

    I think JFJ needs to trade Sundin. I know you guys are gonna get mad by reading that but think about it, Sundin is among the NHL scoring leaders we could fetch a good deal for this man even though he is past his prime. He has had 13 straight seasons with atleast 70 points that says a lot if you ask me. I love Sundin with all my heart but I love the Leafs as a team even more. JFJ should look to get a stay-at-home d-man, a first line up-and-comer and a couple of picks. Remember….Sundin is on fire but Leafs will still get below market value.

    Seeing JFJ’s track record…i’m not even 1% confident he will do something smart to make sure this team re-builds.

    LET THE YOUNG KIDS PLAY!!

  31. leafsfan86 says:

    hey i have a great idea…why dont you apply for the gm position i mean…how much more worse you think the leafs situation can get? you are right on everything there man. i am a hardcore sundin fan but he does need to go if we want even the slightest chance of being a half decent team next time around antropov can take his role at first line centre he has the same size and he get adapt some skills of moving the puck behind the net and setting up plays

  32. nordiques100 says:

    yeah i agree with moving sundin if he approves of it. many will feel it is sacreligeous to move him, and moreso if they move kabby. i however would be just as happy regardless if it means something meaningful coming out of it.

  33. nordiques100 says:

    it all depends on what happens at the top.

    once they make the change there, then how they proceed in terms of what kind of coach they want, the players to follow suit will fall into place.

    part of the culture change is avoiding the quick fix. unless it is meaningful, there is no point in grabbing all free agents available. its probable, like in philly, but keep in mind they have also brought in youth in terms of hartnell, upshall, lupul to supplant briere, smith, timonen who they also brought in. they also had the assets to make such moves.
     
    like i have said, this overhaul may take longer in toronto because the team has more immobile contracts than the other teams who managed quick fixes.

    the ducks turnaround was managable because a) prospal was someone tampa always liked so they were an easy trading partner b) sykora had 1 year left on his deal so he was easy to dump c) the jackets made a big splash already getting foote and when they started to slide, they got desperate and wanted another big name and scooped fedorov. they had the cap space to do it too. plus i dont believe feds had a NTC which allowed the ducks to move him anywhere without resistance. columbus isnt a hotbed for hockey players but feds had no choice but to go there.

    same with philly with forsberg's contract coming due, trading a veteran dman with a short, not so taxing contract in zhitnik and haivng several draft picks accumulated in other deals to allow for aquiring a guy like biron. plus their cap situation cleared up significantly thanks to injury (rathje's career is over and so thus is the 3.5 million cap hit of his)

    the situation was far more favorable to those teams. the leafs have many guys with 3-4 years left on their deals making them much harder to move. the fact they arent playing that well makes it even that much harder. and to top it all off, the team needs permission from 1/4 of their team on whether they can move them or not. instead of a sample of 29 other teams to make moves with, they may be limited to 2-3 teams which makes getting good return tough. sundin could bring a forsberg like package in return, but mccabe, kubina et al likely will not have any value at all. 

    they also need to get over the idea of being more receptive of the devil they know than the devil they do not. because MLSE feeds of the fans attachment to the players the team already has, it leads to dispute on whether to move these players or not and in the end they do nothing.  

    for example, fans are adament that kaberle should NOT be moved. i agree to some extent but say the sharks for example offered vlasic, bernier and an 1st for kaberle, if a team is willing to fork over 2 good prospects plus a 1st and more, the leafs have to listen. they cant dismiss this just because the fans love kaberle.

    its all part of the culture change. thats one of the big things that needs amending before any actual personnel changes are made.

  34. mojo19 says:

    yeah, you’re right. I do think Kubina could bring in a decent player to a team that could use his shot for their top PP unit. Kubina isn’t valueless in my opinion, 9 pts in 13 games so far this year, plays with an edge, I don’t like him but I think there has to be a couple teams out there who might want him, maybe if the leafs have to take back some salary too, like a an overpaid player making $2.4 mil or something and a 2nd round pick for Kubina, so it’s still a salary dump, but you get that draft pick.

    Same goes for McCabe, like I could see him going to Chicago for Marty Lapointe (I think he makes around $2.4) and a medium prospect/3rd round pick or something like that.

    I don’t think they’re valueless if the leafs take some salary back, preferably guy’s who have 1 or 2 years left on their contracts. What do you think Mr.Nordiques?

  35. mojo19 says:

    You’re right. The Leafs aren’t going to win the cup so we have to trade him. Even if he’s not still in 2nd in the scoring race by the deadline, there will be a bidding war for him. They’ll easily get a top prospect and a first rounder on top of other stuff, like how Philly got Upshall along with picks, Sundin would fetch a massive package to help rebuild and if he wants to retire a leaf, he’s only on a one way deal so there you go.

  36. mojo19 says:

    Hossa, to a lesser extent one of Langkow or Huselius will probably be let go of since Kipper got his raise, Demitra and/or Rolston could be available, lots of support players like Shanahan, Ryder, Satan, Comrie, Prospal, Naslund are all up after this year.

  37. habsgod says:

    mccabe has a no movement clause which also prevents him from being bought you sent to the minors or be trade!face it your stuck with him!!

  38. habsgod says:

    mccabe has a no movement clause which also prevents him from being bought you sent to the minors or be trade!face it your stuck with him!!

  39. buds8 says:

    you guys kill me, RELAX! here's the lineup when healty:

    Ponikarovsky-Sundin-Antropo
    Steen-Wellwood-Blake
    Bell-Stajan-Tucker
    Kilger-Pohl-Devereaux

    Kaberle-Kubina
    McCabe-Colaiacovo
    White-Gill

    Toskala
    Raycroft

    Subs: Battaglia, Belak, Wozniewski

    IMO not a bad lineup at all, the injuries are hurting us….the only change I would make is to get rid of Raycroft and get a solid stay at home d-man, NOBODY is gonna take any of our d-men with the exception of Kaberle…face it this is the lineup we are stuck with…JFJ has done a great job in protecting himself, what GM is gonna wanna take this job with 90% of the salary cap committed in the next two years, NOOOOBODY!

    the team is pretty good as we have seen on occasion this year, trust me and stay faithful and loyal, they will make the playoffs, they just gotta hope the injuries stop and they get healthy!

    GLG!

  40. mojo19 says:

    Take out John Pohl for Gamache. Pohl's only good game this year was vs. the NYR, then move Kilger or Devereux to centre. Also Nik's been more effective @ centre how about this:

    Blake – Sundin – Poni
    Bell – Nik – Wellwood
    Tucker – Stajan – Steen
    Kilger – Devereux – Gamache (fast skating, hard forechecking, energy line)

  41. 92-93 says:

    I admit, I didn't read the whole article.

    'cleaning house' can mean so many things… some might interpret that to 'blow things up' while others might interpret it as making significant changes but not wholesale firesale (i like the latter option myself)… so without further ado::::

    Band aid solutions for the immediate future:
    – sign Mike Johnson for league minimum
    – waive/demote Wozniewski, Belak, Gamache, and Battaglia

    Long-term solutions:
    – Fire JFJ, new GM must be a solid hockey person with whom the owners give full autonomy. My pick right now, either Bowman or Neil Smith.

    – everyone is on the trading block for this new GM, with the exception of Kaberle and the young players but even these guys can/should be traded if the return is decent or brings in more young players, prospects, picks.

    – trade Sundin and Coliacovo to Anaheim for Beauchmin and Marchant. (6.3-4.15)

    – trade Tucker and 2009 2nd rounder to Vancouver for Willie Mitchell (3 – 3.5)

    – trade Kubina, White, and Raycroft to Tampa Bay for Denis, Lukowich, and O'Brien (7.9-5.4)

    – trade Gill to Atlanta for 4th rounder in 2009

    So, $19.3 million goes to these 4 teams and $13.1 comes back the other way. The revised line-up:

    Blake-Wellwood-Antropov
    Poni-Marchant-Steen
    Tlusty-Stajan-Johnson
    Kilger-Pohl-Bell
    [Devereaux, Battaglia/Gamache]

    Kaberle-McCabe
    Beauchemin-Mitchell
    Lukowich-O'Brien

    Toskala
    [Denis]

  42. 92-93 says:

    In the 2008 offseason:
    – trade Denis to Nashville for 3rd rounder in 2009 draft.
    – resign RFAs (Wellwood, Stajan, Steen and maybe Harrison)
    – resigin Woz but keep him with the marlies
    – resign Sundin to one year deal worth $5.5 million
    – resign Pohl for 700k and Johnson for 900K
    – sign a solid back-up goalie or keep Clemmensen, either way, the back-ups are signed to the league minimum

    Revised roster:
    Blake (4)-Sundin (5.5)-Antropov (2.1)
    Tlusty (0.8)-Wellwood (2.5) -Steen (2.5)
    Poni (2.1)-Marchant (2.5) -Bell (2.1)
    Kilger (0.9)-Stajan (2)-Johnson (0.9)
    [Pohl (0.7), Devereaux (0.6)]

    Kaberle (4.25)-Beauchemin (1.7)
    McCabe (5.75)-Mitchell (3.5)
    Lukowich (1.6)-O'Brien (1)
    [Kronvall or Stralman (0.7)]

    Toskala (4)
    [Clemmensen (0.5)]

    Total cap space: 51.7 (cap should be at least $52 million next year)

    In the 2008 draft, the Leafs do not have a 2nd round pick, but in the first round they select David Toews (LW). In the remaining 5 rounds they select 2 centres, 2 goalies, and a defenceman. In the 2009 draft, they have all of their picks – excluding the 2nd rounder (thanks to the Vancouver trade) and including their 4th rounder (thanks to the Gill trade), along with an additional one in the 3rd round (thanks to the Denis trade), for a total of 8 picks.

    Therefore, their farm system is being replenished and then some, their defence is pretty much set for the next few years (McCabe/Kaberle until 10/11, Mitchell and Lukowich until 09/10, and Beauchimin and O'Brien until 08/09) and their forwards are flexible in terms of their tradeability and UFA status. Kilger, Pohl, Sundin, Antropov, Bell, Devereaux are all free agents, totaling $11.4 in fluid cap space heading into the 2009 offseason (along with Battaglia and Gamache, who are in the minors).

  43. mojo19 says:

    looks good to me. I don't love Willie Mitchell, I think he's a little overpaid for what he does, but other than that I like it.

  44. 92-93 says:

    well, everytime i watch the Canucks, he always makes a play or two in his own end during a game that is just so damn smart.

    i keep thinking, 'man this is EXACTLY the kind of guy the leafs need.' i dont mind his contract at ALL. he is making less than Kubina and is better in his own end, and the same amount as Rivet.

    Also, having Mitchell and Kaberle (combined $9.25 mil) is not to bad, and Beauchemin and McCabe (combined $7.5 mil) … a solid top-4 D for about $17 million with $52 million in available in cap space??? sounds Great to me.

  45. 92-93 says:

    sorry, a combined $15 million … thats even better.

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