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. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Yeah, he plays like he's 5'11 180 pounds sometimes…

  2. TheLeafNation91 says:

    I wish I bookmarked the comment I said early in the season about Grabo getting ample chances and will breakout and go on fire…

    I was reemed for that 1

  3. reinjosh says:

    I'm definitely down with this idea. I'm very apprehensive to overpay for Richards. I think the guy is a legit top line player no doubt but I don't want to spend huge amounts on the guy. It's going to hurt us later I think.

    I like the three scoring lines. Personally I'd prefer a little more scoring on the third line but I can live with that. I assume you want Clarkson to let Kadri take offensive chances without getting killed? Toughness to back him up?

    I really like the idea of Anisimov or Boyle. Anisimov has size, speed and skill and I would love to get my hands on him. Boyle is also interesting. A late developing player from the 2003 draft, he could very well turn out to be a very talented player. There is some thought he could be a top 6 center with ease. I'm not sure I agree but I'd be willing to give him a shot. If worst comes to worse and he can't fill it, he's more than capable of filling the third line spot when Kadri graduates to the top line center spot (of course assuming he does).

    I don't think that trade with Rangers works though. I think New York would rather just buy Drury out. It would cost less than Komisarek and they wouldn't have to take on additional salary for years and give up a nice player. Maybe just taking out Komisarek would work though. Give them a first to use to get Richards' rights. Get rid of 7 million without having to buy Drury out. They lose a little center depth but with Stepan and one of Anisimov/Boyle its something they can take the hit on.

    I like the defense too. Keeping the top 4 the same so they can continue to develop.

  4. reinjosh says:

    yeah no kidding.

  5. reinjosh says:

    To be fair to him, while it is a knock, at the same time its impressive he can skate like he's 180 pounds while really being 20 pounds heavier.

  6. reinjosh says:

    I would have agreed with you! Good call though.

  7. reinjosh says:

    Yeah he has made a ton of good trades (although a lot of that credit should go to Nonis, but I digress). I would even argue that he unfairly gets some flack for the Kessel trade.

    He has made the future a hell of a lot brighter for sure.

  8. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Hard to justify when 5'11 170 pound plays like Cam Neely…lol

  9. blaze says:

    lol is this obvious sarcasm? Kessel is probably only 180 if he fell in a pool with his gear on.

  10. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Lol. A little honest, no Kessel is actually listed at 6 foot and 200 pounds sadly

    I think he gets the extra weight from the 180 to 200 when he falls into the pool.

    If he truly is that frame, I would love to see him play with it a bit.

  11. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Kessel needs to pull an Ovechkin and learn how to play better defensively this offseason…And maybe get a little stronger. He looks kind of fat….Wow, that was pretty Haha.

    But in all seriousness, has anyone else noticed that no matter what line he's on the whole line completely collapses defensively???

    Ask Grabo and Kulemin

  12. dumbassdoorman says:

    Sadly the extra weight did not come from the pool but his wallet

  13. mojo19 says:

    Well I was just doing the math and at the time that's what it projected to, 87-89 range. But who would have guessed that Buffalo would get as hot as they did, and that New York after slumping would get back on track with such a vengence. Not to mention Toronto and Carolina's surges. I guess you did, but at the time those numbers were an accurate projection.

  14. mojo19 says:

    I can vouch as well. I was wrong about Mikhail Grabovski, TheLeafNation91 definitely called that this guy would be a very reliable scorer for us this year.

    As for Leafy, ya he predicted Calgary and Buffalo, also I believe he said around that same time that the Ducks would falter. But Leafy, the word, and I were the only one's who seemed to think that Calgary would have a really good team this year, most people thought they'd be fighting for last, I guess the truth came out somewhere in the middle, once they got past some early struggles (and got rid of D.Sutter, and Ian White) they've been pretty damn good.

  15. reinjosh says:

    Haha fair enough. Or when a 5 foot 7 player throws his body over the ice. Gerbe is crazy

  16. reinjosh says:

    I've seen some defensive improvement. It hasn't been amazing but it's been better than seasons past.

  17. mojo19 says:

    Ya he's a little tubby and defnitely has some holes in his game. But the fact that he hasn't looked like he's been at his best consistantly this year and he's still sitting at 30 goals is a nice sign, you know for a player who is 23 years old.

    I agree he's gotta iron out some wrinkles in his game, maybe get a bit stronger, but you gotta love that talent level.

  18. reinjosh says:

    Leafy also called the Leafs being so bad last year. I was there with you guys at the start of the year. I didn't think they would be amazing but I didn't think they would be terrible.

  19. reinjosh says:

    He showed that he really wanted to be fit this summer so I think the drive to be better is there. The talent is huge, if he can continue to grow, we should be more than happy.

  20. mojo19 says:

    Since everyone is getting so pumped up about predictions, I will start the official playoff predictions pool for HTR again this year. Reigning champ is our very own Leafy who correctly called 13 of 15 playoff matchups. You pretty much have to go perfect, only get 1 series wrong in the entire playoffs to beat that record.

    We'll get that up for next week.

    Also here's a cool fun fact. The last 3 Canadian cities to host the Olympics were:

    Montreal 1976
    Calgary 1988
    Vancouver 2010

    In 1977 the habs won the Presidents Trophy and Stanley Cup.
    In 1989 the Flames won the Presidents Trophy and Stanley Cup.
    In 2011 the Canucks won the Presidents Trophy.

  21. mojo19 says:

    Leafy makes a lot of good predictions and also admits when he is wrong. Respect.

  22. Boston_Bruins says:

    Gerbe is 5'5 haha

  23. mojo19 says:

    Oh ya, props. 😉

  24. Boston_Bruins says:

    He's literally the only Bruin that can get it done in the shootout. Everyone else on the team is terrible at it.

  25. Boston_Bruins says:

    I think this could help him though. What does he have to learn in Juniors? He'd just develop bad habits.

    The thing I hate the most about how Julien is handling him isn't the lack of ice-time, but more how he's constantly switching him back and forth everywhere. He never has steady linemates and he's flipping between center and wing (and even flipping between left and right) like every week. Only recently has he settled in with Peverley and Kelly. It's tough enough learning the NHL game, but even tougher when you're being switched everywhere.

  26. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Ooops, I was going to reference Giroux

  27. JoelJoel says:

    Hah, yeah interesting 'joke'. Just thought I'd clear things up as half of what he said was true, but I didn't want to be labeled someone who threatens life (that was a bit unfair).

    Also, he was ripping on an older guy because he likened his opinions and prose to that of a 15-year-old.

    Finally, I agree. Anyone outside of my demographic is out of touch. : p

  28. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    D.A.D LOL. I would also prefer Dubinsky. Being their top scorer I didn't think they would move him. Other guys you mentioned are good ideas as well…I think Stastny would be more expensive to get though(trade wise). Hedberg or Conklin…I could go for that at the right price.

  29. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    Agreed Josh. Richards deal could hurt us later if we overpay.

    Yea, Clarkson to protect Kadri and I believe he could get 15-20 goals again with the right guys.

    I also agree that it would make more sense for the Rangers to buyout Drury…I was taking into account that Sather is still the GM. It seems he likes to move big contracts(Gomez) or bury them(Redden) over buy them out. He is also good for one bonehead move a year at least.LOL
    And you hit deadon why I figure one of them may be available.

  30. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    All in good fun. That's what this should be like.

  31. dumbassdoorman says:

    I think Stastny is where they should look, he is a passer and scorer, so that could make that whole line 30+ goal scorers, that would be the bomb even at a heavy cost. Even with his 6.6 cap hit i think he will be almost 2mil a season less then Richards.

  32. leafmeister says:

    Interesting. I hope the Nucks break that trend though. I dont want them to win. Their fans are to obnoxious.

  33. Boston_Bruins says:

    Bruins sign Carter Camper out of college. That has to be the worst name I've ever heard.

  34. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    it's not the salary…it's what we have to give up to get him that worries me.

  35. DannyLeafs says:

    I am not saying it's simple. When the deal involves a hunch or something along those lines, yes we can evaluate whether that hunch was right after the fact, but the fact is we still base the validity of the deal on the knowledge available at the time it was made.

    I am simply saying that when you evaluate a deal, you need to consider what we knew at the time of the deal, not evaluate it on what happens afterward. If a deal does hinge on a hunch by a scout or GM, then you do need to wait. I don't think the Kaberle deal was that complex. Toronto needed a big center prospect, while Boston dealt away from their deepest area. To me, this deal makes sense no matter how things play out.

    So what I am getting at, is when a deal turns out one sided, you need to look back at the time to truly evaluate whether it was a bad deal. For instance, the Letendress for Pouliot deal, this deal made perfect sense at the time, and I wouldn't say it was a bad deal for Montreal since Letendresse would not likely have come into his own in Montreal.

  36. MystifoLeafs says:

    Off topic:

    Who do you guys have picked to win this years Masters?
    I personally think its Phil Mickelson, he has all the momentum from Houston and with Tiger not playing at his best I really can't see anyone really playing strong.
  37. nordiques100 says:

    its historical with the Bruins.

    remember Wacey Rabbitt?

  38. nordiques100 says:

    One of these bloody majors Lee Westwood has to win. He is freakin' due.

    If he had like 1/1000000000000000000000000000000000 of tiger's closing ability, he would have won by now.

    He just can't seal the deal for some reason.

    Think the green jacket is going back to Europe, perhaps Justin Rose or Westwood.

    Poulter may have screwed the field though saying "tiger wont finish in the top 5". Him and Sabbattini are the biggest meatheads on tour. you do not provoke a tiger!

  39. Mapleleaves says:

    I assumed that but my question was what determins them going, is it because they hit 90 first, is it because they beat us more then we beat them this year, theyre goals – goal against are better im sure theyre are many more possible reason but i just wanted to know the determining factor when your W – L – OTL are all the same.

  40. reinjosh says:

    That was a crazy run by Leafy.

    Thats a weird little fact. It would be sort of cool to see the Nucks win.

  41. reinjosh says:

    Yeah he really does. I will admit I got a little hot headed above. If you see this Leafy, I apologize.

  42. reinjosh says:

    Haha fair enough on Sather. To be fair to him, his boneheaded moves are his signings. The guy is the king of trades.

  43. reinjosh says:

    Ah haha. well that makes my point even more. Feisty little devil he is.

  44. hockey_lover says:

    HA!  Thats rich.

  45. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Now, it's the great time of the year where we all reflect and wonder all about the lost wins due to really bad losses by the Leafs that they should have never lost in the first place…lol

    And begin…

  46. nordiques100 says:

    Basically from mid October to New Year's day the Leafs were pure and utter crap.

    Really no point to delve in to this game here, or there, for 2.5 months they shit the bed. You deserve to miss the playoffs when you go 5-9 at home in November/December. Pathetic.

  47. TheLeafNation91 says:

    I think they had 3 losses to the Rangers in that period

  48. nordiques100 says:

    If you actually go from Oct 18th where Brett Lebda took a dumb penalty in OT in his debut loss to the Isles to January 19th when they lost 7-0 to NYR, that's 41 games, they went 14-27 or 14-22-5. Out of a possible 82 points, they managed 33.

    Around that, they're 23-16 or 23-10-6 with 2 more games left in the year. Thus out of a possible 78 points, they've managed 52.

    there probably is a game here and there where you could say should have would have could have.

    but really, that block of 41 games and getting 33 points was hideous.

  49. nordiques100 says:

    they did indeed. this was after that crazy win they had in ny to go to 4-0

    but i think people will look to these facts:

    *2-6 vs the state of Florida. including 4 losses to Tampa.

    *5 of their OT losses came against 5 of the 8 worst teams in the NHL (atl, ott, nj, the isles twice)

    *there were 10 games: 2 vs Ott, 1 vs CBJ, 1 vs Edm, 2 vs FLA, 2 vs ATL, 2 vs NYI where they managed 3 points out of 10, were shutout 4 times and were outscored 35-12.

    *Brett Lebda sucks worse than John Mitchell, and that's BAD!!!!!!!

  50. TheLeafNation91 says:

    I would kind of put Komisarek in that category as well lol.

    But apparently he's a great guy in the locker room and they all love him.

    But that does not justify his bad play, but it's harder for the team to lose that.

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