Hope already building for next year for the Leafs

Not that it will ease the considerable angst of a fan base headed for its seventh consecutive year out of the NHL playoffs, but the latest noble-but-doomed effort by the Toronto Maple Leafs showed a team headed in the right direction.

Yes, we know that direction for now is the golf course but bear with us.

If, of course, if the Leafs managed to beat the Detroit Red Wings last Saturday, their 4-3 win Tuesday night over the eighth-place Buffalo Sabres would be real cause for excitement. They are still mathematically alive in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt but sitting five points behind the Sabres with only five games left in the regular season does not leave a lot of room for hope.

Better the fans should turn their gaze to next season (I know, you’ve heard that enough), where the real hope starts.

Leafs general manager Brian Burke may have as much as $25-million (all currency U.S.) to spend if the salary cap gets to $63-million or so and Tuesday night’s win over the Sabres provided the latest evidence where the spending priorities lie.

There are some pending restricted free agents on the roster that Burke has to look after. But only defenceman Luke Schenn will make a sizable dent in the budget. Winger Clarke MacArthur may also cost a couple million and goaltender James Reimer can expect a healthy raise but Carl Gunnarsson and Tyler Bozak will not break the bank. Especially Bozak, whom we’ll get to later.


387 Responses to Hope already building for next year for the Leafs

  1. Boston_Bruins says:

    Haha told you. Although that's alot more goals than I expected.

  2. Boston_Bruins says:

    Meh it should be expected with Julien. I was really pissed when Julien was giving hom under 10 minutes consistently when he deserved more ice time, but we were winning.

  3. leafy says:

    The thing is both Buffalo and NY are very good teams.

    Back in early January, when Buffalo was around 13th in the conference and way out of it, I predicted that they (and Calgary) will make "a move up the standings".  Am I good or what?

  4. leafy says:

    The Lupul trade has worked out very well so far. I think Anaheim got swindled in that deal. Beauchemin is clearly on the decline.

    How many of you would take Lupul over Versteeg? The choice is clear I think.

  5. cam7777 says:

    You predicted the team with the best goalie in the league could sneak into the playoffs?  You're a clairvoyant – that's for sure, lol.  Now Calgary I will give you.  I thought they were total shit.  However, are the Flames not the mirror image of the Leafs post lockout right now?  Aging star doing all the work (Iginla vs. Sundin), and rag tag free agents (Jokinen, Tanguay, Morrison vs. Allison, O'Neil, Lindro) holding together a subpar (Moss, Glencross, Backlund vs. Stajan, Steen, Wellwood, Tlusty) or injury ridden (Langkow vs. Colaicovo) group of homegrown talent.  Throw in the enormous contracts no one wants (Bouwmeester, Sarich, Stajan vs. Blake, Kubina, McCabe), and guys you can't drop on the waiver wire, or even re-entry (Hagman, Kotalik).  Wow. 

  6. cam7777 says:

    People keep saying this, but the NHL and NHLPA agreed there would be no more deals of this nature.  No one will offer him that term if they can't front-load the deal – that was the ONLY reason those deals were happening.  Now that they've all agreed to pay severe punishments if they do this, you can expect Richards to take a more reasonable deal.  Whatever he gets paid, that's pretty much going to be his cap hit. 

  7. cam7777 says:

    On attitude alone, it's an easy choice.  I don't know if anyone remembers, but I really disliked Versteeg in Chicago.  I put my dislike aside when he was acquired, and even defended him early in the season when Stalberg was outscoring him (I knew he was better than Stalberg, who was playing with Toews and Kane at the time).  But his comments after the trade, and the team's response shows you what kind of guy he was.  He frequently said things at odds with Wilson just to be controversial.  Lupul's hardships bring everything we could hope for attitude wise.  These kids now get to look at a guy who almost lost it all, but battled back.

  8. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    Agreed doorman. Plus, the whole debate was based on giving Richards a grossly overpaid $9mil per season. I do not want to pay more than $7mil for 4 years…I wouldn't have debated so long if we were talking about $500,000 more a year, $2mil more per season is another story.

    Richards will be 31 in May, as you stated if we are spending that kind of money, given a choice, I would rather go after a young restricted guy with an offer sheet.

    IMO Reimer (again in agreement with you) could use a veteran presence for another year and I do not think our defence is a sure thing either. We could use a little insurance back there. I'm not even going to bother responding to the Philly justification thrown out there. The goalie market has dried up part, threw me a bit though…I know they don't get paid as high as they used to right now, but if it dried up…why have we been signing so many young ones? I thought they were good assets to have because most teams want them for the future. I can't remember a team trading for a young unproven goalie for a cup run…don't they usually go after a veteran?
    I thought guys like Niemi were the exception not the rule. Maybe that's changed as well, time will tell.

    To Cam,
    I respect your opinion and your confidence in your plan…I just don't agree with you (it's obvious you hate it when people don't) that's all.

  9. cam7777 says:

    It seems to me it was ownership more than Julien.  Julien can only do so much with a kid who isn't quite ready for the show.  But you can't sell jerseys if the kid's in juniors.  I think they would have been surprized how much attention he drew financially if they had put him on the Brayden Schenn track though (9 games in the NHL, 2 weeks "conditioning" in the AHL, juniors, WJC, juniors, called up to the show in playoffs).

  10. leafy says:

    Cam, now this is why I honestly feel psting stuff on this site is a goddamn waste of time!!! Too many people afraid to give proper credit because of their colossal egos.

    Check out my predictions on JANUARY 6th below (see link). At the time, Buffalo was WAY WAY out of it…swimming in the basement with the Leafs, New Jersey and Edmonton.  CHECK IT!

    Are you telling me YOU predicted a Buffalo resurgence?  Prove it!

    Same thing with Calgary. They were swimming with Edmonton in the West in 14th place. I predicted they'll move up…and they did!

    Check it out, I also predicted Atlanta and Dallas will fall…at a time when Atlanta was leading their division and on pace for 100 points, and when Dallas was WAY ahead in their division and also on pace for well over 100 points.

    Read my predictions of January 6th. Give people the proper credit they deserve. (What's the point, with babies it's probably asking too much…I really don't know why I waste my time here. I should take up some hobby.)


  11. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    Lupul without a doubt. Gotta give MOJO credit again on calling that trade and he figured Lupul would work out. 
    As for Versteeg, I honestly felt Versteeg was a dime a dozen kind of player…nothing special. When some didn't want to trade him, I was all for letting him go and went as far as saying that with him gone our wins total would not be affected at all. Of course, I never saw the win streak since the trade dealine happening at the rate it has…honestly, who did.

  12. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    Leafy…All good calls.
    I wouldn't expect too much credit from some on here though.

  13. cam7777 says:

    I wasn't posting here then man.  I completely believe you, but I have my own list of ridiculous predictions that came true, and no one cares about those.  I said I was impressed with the Calgary prediction – what do you want from me?

  14. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    Hey Doorman,

    I agree with the three scoring lines and an energy line. Check out the post that started this conversation…doesn't my scenario accomplish that and keep us young to grow? Curious on your opinion.

  15. leafy says:

    Thanks realistic_leafs. And you're right, this site is meaningless when it comes to showing your hockey smarts.

    Even if you predict the coming of Elvis, nobody here gives a shit.

  16. nordiques100 says:

    Lupul, Kulemin and Armstrong are all good size forwards and Lupul finally gave that top line some size.

    That's why Wilson went with Crabb there. They were desperate.

    with everyone else besides the brawlers either really small and/or soft, there just wasn't enough balance to compete size wise.

    The Habs will tell u otherwise, but size matters.

    Lupul is starting to find his legs after all those injuries. But, he is a nice fit because Kessel isnt big enough to battle. Lupul, going to the net, gives the team that presence, giving kessel just a big more room, which is really all he needs. 

    Versteeg is a good player. but he is too much like grabs, kessel, mac, small, shifty guys who need the puck. He wasnt the right fit as Burkie said.

    It was reminiscent of when there's Blake and Tucker, two smallish left wingers who on the PP preferred to stand to the left of the goalie. It made no sense.

  17. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    You and I don't always agree, but I think there is a mutual respect for hockey knowledge.

  18. leafy says:

    So nobody cares about predictions? What the hell are you talking about?! What's the point of being a sports fan if you can't make predictions and compare with others?  I don't get it.

  19. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    Hey Nords,
    The points on Versteeg you made are exactly what I said about him earlier this year, which is why I said he is dime a dozen and we already have enough players like him. That's why he was expendable…I also predicted he would go to Philly because they did not have many players of his type.

    Yea, Crabb was by default and Lupul has really helped open room for Kessel.

  20. cam7777 says:

    No, we care, but we don't post here because we expect recognition.

  21. reinjosh says:

    Congrats, but you don't have to go pissing on people for it. You can't blame someone for not remembering your predictions from 4 months ago. Want to post how you were right? Go right ahead. I have no problem with that. Stop acting like a whiny ***** though, acting like your the only one that deserves credit. Other predicted things that came true too. If you want people to go following your every move, your not getting it here. I have no problem giving you credit (you were right about those predictions, props). Don't act like your the only one though. You want credit, talk about it. We had a friggin discussion on it the other day and you didn't post there.

  22. cam7777 says:

    Go to mapleleafshotstove.  It's a solid community with a much higher and more frequent post count.  Your input would be highly appreciated there.  HTR is my backup site.

  23. reinjosh says:

    He seemed like kind of a douche. Just didn't have that type of personality that gets along with people easy.

  24. reinjosh says:

    YEah he didn't gain chemistry with guys and I think that had a lot to do with his attitude. I thinks it very possible he just rubbed some guys wrong.

    I think a lot of people on here were starting to think he would be gone before he was traded. He was ultimately replaceable and could provide the Leafs with more value back than he had with them.

  25. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    Mojo… earlier in the year when I said it would take 92 pts to make it you told me 88pts would get us in…LOL  just a little friendly jab.

  26. reinjosh says:

    I apologize for the harshness of this comment. I'm just annoyed with your comment. Its needless.

    Were not bad for giving credit when credit is due. But come on dude, what do you expect of us? Were not going to go back and look at every article for the past year looking for predictions that went right. Thats just not viable. The big predictions are the ones that get noticed and remembered. Give people a friggin break for not remembering your entire standings predictions.

    Standings are a particularly polarizing subject. Its not hard for a rationale fan to pick 3 or 4 teams that place where they say they are. The Buffalo and Calgary predictions we astute though, so good call.

  27. leafy says:

    I didn't ask people to remember my predictions. I'm asking people to give other proper credit for their predictions, not downplay them as if they were obvious from the start.


  28. leafy says:

    Another joke comment from another user with a colossal ego.

    I think I've had enough with you idiots. Only fu ckheads with continue to hang around this site. 

    Even when you post something intelligent, nobody gives a shit. The douchbag generation.

  29. leafy says:

    Well if you post predictions here and don't expect some sort of acknowledgment of posting something correct, what's the point of debating anything? Explain.

  30. TheLeafNation91 says:

    How the hell did you find that? lol. Good prediction though.

    I actually wonder how productive my life would be without this site…But then again, it helps when I want a break from studying or writing an 1000 page essay. I need to find a hobby though, already do rugby and university, maybe take up curling

  31. TheLeafNation91 says:

    I don't predict for these reasons or post trade ideas, I just try to state my thoughts…and feelings????

    Also, I think I try to avoid onslaughts of opinions by HabsRuleForever, lafleur, mojo, etc. I don't like my insinuations being attacked.

  32. TheLeafNation91 says:

    I had no idea that Kessel was over 6 foot and 200 pounds…

    Could of fooled me

  33. TheLeafNation91 says:

    If he was still here. would you say that?

  34. leafy says:

    Thanks Nation, appreciate the support.

    Want to know how I found the link? Because I book-marked it 3 months, knowing 100% that people will downplay these predictions. People here are so friggin predictable! lol

    The irony is, when people act like these two guys, it makes others be like them. It's a vicious cycle.

    Here's the bottom line: It is totally classless to downplay another person's display of good hockey knowledge. Notice how these 2 guys turn it around and call me "whiny"?  That's how people like them operate.

    Don't waste your time bud.

  35. leafy says:

    That's a smart approach, or avoiding the site altogether.

  36. nordiques100 says:

    i didnt say that.

  37. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Oh no, I totally agree with you.

    What I meant, for his play, you would think Kessel was a lot smaller than his actual frame.

    More like a knock on Kessel.

  38. cam7777 says:

    Even I was losing my patience with him while he was here, and I'm the eternal optimist.  He was/is a bit of a douche.

  39. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Granted, he is a douche.

    My point being, their was not one mention of it when he was here.

    Losing patience with him because he's not performing and actually not being a team player are two different spectrums when it comes to losing patience with a player.

    Their was no real evidence of the latter, until he left.

  40. dumbassdoorman says:

    I will have to go back up way up and reread it…..lol….but when I do i will give my 2 cents lol

  41. dumbassdoorman says:

    Hey R_L_F, I dig what you are proposing, I would prefer Dubinsky(gritty) out of them all. He is more consitent and proven. But if we were gonna do that I would still prefer trying to pry Stastny away….lol. I could also live with a number of other options….like maybe Oshie outta STL.? Hedberg or Conklin are exactly what this team needs back there, good solid and great team guys. All in all i think this is going to be the best off-season in a long time for us. I just hope they keep making solid choices……go leafs go.

  42. nordiques100 says:

    ah i get it.

  43. reinjosh says:

    No I get that. And I fully stated that your predictions were smart above.

  44. reinjosh says:

    Oh give me a break. i gave you the credit and yet I stated my opinion on a subject. Am I not allowed to have those? I stated that not every predictions is smart. If you don't want to see that, your being ignorant. But hey if you don't want to accept the credit I GAVE YOU, than don't. I don't care.

    You don't want to be here, leave. I actually always liked reading your comments. You brought knowledge I didn't have and you brought a viewpoint I didn't have either. I may not agree but when the hell haven't I given you credit for something you said?

  45. reinjosh says:

    Its a completely fair and smart point. If he was still here, quite honestly, no I wouldn't have said anything. To be completely honest, I had the thoughts every once in a while but pushed them away because he was a Leaf. Funny how a player not being on your team changes your views.

  46. reinjosh says:

    He's over 200 pounds!? Wow, I completely agree, it does not seem like he has that much weight on him.

  47. reinjosh says:

    Yeah, I hadn't thought of it that way. I just assumed because of his high draft position and Sutter loving him, he just got it easy. The first year making his expectations huge makes a lot of sense. Good call.

    And I completely agree more time is needed. I will admit that I tend to get a little ahead of myself with Leaf players. Its good when others say "slow down a bit and take a little more time to evaluate". Thanks lol. This site has helped a lot with that haha.

    Smart points all around.

  48. reinjosh says:

    Yeah I have liked some of his shootout moves. I think its really similar to Kadri, just Seguin spent time on the Bruins and Kadri spent it in the AHL. I'm no coach so really my comments mean really little haha. I was just unsure how well his development was going.

  49. reinjosh says:

    Haha yeah its looking like you were spot on with that. Ah it was fun while it lasted.

  50. reinjosh says:

    Spot on with Kulemin. He does everything well but does is quietly, good call.

    And I agree with you on Schenn. The guy has seemingly taken a huge step in puck movement. I don't know what it is, maybe he didn't feel he could take the chances before or he felt his coach didn't want him to but he is and he's moving the puck real well.  

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