How I could have built the Leafs better

I submitted an article about the mistakes I think the Leafs have made in building their team. After that, I wanted to take a look at what they had, and what they needed and how I could have done it better.

1) Buyout Belfour and Domi (done)

2) Don’t re-sign McCabe, Antropov or Tellqvist

3) Don’t sign Michael Peca (they need 5 on 5 scoring!)

3) Don’t sign Kubina or Gill

4) Don’t trade Rask for Raycroft

5) Send O’neill to the minors. This guy sucked all last year

OK, now I have a buttload of money to spend but a few holes to fill. I figure I will need a couple wingers for Sundin, another winger for the second line, 3 defensemen and a starting goalie.

Sundin’s new wingers are Brendan Shanahan and Peter Bondra. You get them for 1 year each. I think each has enough left in the tank. Shanahan can be had for 4,000,000 (same as Rangers Paid) and Bondra you could probably get for 1 million.

Sign JP Dumont. He got 2,25 in Nashville, so let’s say you have to pay him 2,5 to get him (because Nashville has a brighter future)

My 3 new D-men are McKee at 4 million (same as St. Louis paid), Corvo at 3 million (he took 2,625 to go to Ottawa) and Pothier at 2,5 (same as Washington paid)

Sign Manny Legace for 1,4 (same as St. Louis paid). He is worth that and is serviceable.

Up front, my new leafs are:

Shanahan – Sundin – Bondra

Steen – Wellwood – Dumont

Ponikarovsky – Stajan – Tucker

Kilger – Williams – Pohl

EXTRAS: Belak, Suglobov

My new Leaf defense is:

Kaberle – McKee

Corvo – White

Pothier – Colaiacovo/Kronvall (counted Colaiacovo’s higher salary)

EXTRAS: Belak, Wozniewski

Goalies are Legace and Aubin.

My Leafs have a total Cap commitment for this year: 41,750,000 for the 23 man roster including buyouts and extra players listed above and counting Colaiacovo (more expensive) instead of Kronvall.

My Leafs are faster with more scoring punch balanced in the lines. I am only committed to Bondra and Shanahan for one year! I am slightly younger on the blueline and have 13,850 tied up for 4 years in 4 d-men instead of 17 million tied up for 3 years and 14,9 tied up for 5 years on the current Leafs Defense. I like my defense at least as much as the current one. In net, I may be weaker, then again, I may be stronger!? We just don’t know which Raycroft we got.

Finally, I desparately wanted the Leafs to deal McCabe at the deadline. Look at what Weight got? McCabe would be at least comparable given the season he was having last year. Let’s say that we would get an extra 1st round pick at least. In addition, I still have Rask to develop or deal next year if it is necessary.

The point is, I am in a better cap position now AND in the future and spent my money in a more balanced way. My defense is not worse than the current Leafs and my offense is better. I have brought up two forwards and a two Defense. I can replace Williams with a cheap journeyman center if he simply is not ready at all.

Nothing I have done is unreasonable. I allowed that I would pay a premium for players who signed with better teams and these guys were all UFA’s (except Dumont, but you knew someone was going to be available from Buffalo)… or at least JFJ SHOULD have known!

I am NOT claiming this team wins the cup or is even a guarantee for the playoffs. All I am saying is that it is not weaker and it is much better positioned cap-wise this year and in the future and has more young assets (Rask and at least 1 pick for McCabe)

10 Responses to How I could have built the Leafs better

  1. wingedim says:

    I agree with you points and your anaylsis.
    I agree that we’d have to pay a premium for the players you have listed, however, (playing devils advocate here) that’s assuming that money was the only factor in the player’s decision.

  2. Aetherial says:

    I believe Toronto is a “OK” destination.

    The players that went to Ottawa and Nashville maybe would be hard to pry away.

    Even so, I could go a few different ways and accomplish the same thing. It is unreasonable to think that “no one” wants to come to Toronto. McKee was vocal about wanting to come here. Shanahan was also interested.

    So maybe I get a couple different guys. Maybe I get a cheaper Sanderson instead of Dumont, or a cheaper Dempsey instead of Corvo? Hell maybe I go all cheap with journeymen D … and bid on Elias!

    The point is, what the Leafs got are 1 good, 1 average and 1 well-below average NHL defensemen for 13 million a year.

    One goalie with a lot of question marks at the cost of one of our top prospects, and NOTHING to help up front.

    Sorry, but I seriously believe I could have done better.

  3. mojo19 says:

    I would have rather the leafs done this also. But what happens when Shanahan turns down the leafs offer, and everyone else is signed elsewhere, and you’re out of options except Dumont, Carter, and Bondra (the guys who were still around at the end of the summer). Great team in theory, but you can’t guarantee you’d have gotten those guys except Legace who patiently waited for offers before signing one of the first ones he got.

  4. mojo19 says:

    I totally agree about Manny Legace. Keep Tuuka Rask, and sign Manny, since this is just a band-aid goalie while we wait for Pogge anyways.

  5. koolcracker says:

    Its easy to say this after everything panned out. Its a good plan, and I was all for trading McCabe too. He is a brutal player and the contract is unbelievable. No movement at all, no trades, no waivers, no minors. Could you ahve done this before the free agency period though?

  6. Aetherial says:

    I will try to put up one blanket comment because the general consensus is that maybe I could not have done that. The obvious answer is, you’re all right. Maybe I could not have.

    BUT… the point is, look at the what the Leafs did and look at what they could have done.

    The DEFINITELY could have accomplished the following:

    2 decent wingers for Sundin (better than what they have anyway)

    3 D-men, even if they are just average D-men at a low price, or upper-middle of the road D-men like I have listed.

    Got something for McCabe

    Kept Rask and plugged the goaltending hole with a “decent” goalie. There are a lot out there, if there weren’t we would see a market for Tellqvist.

    Stayed WELL under the cap.

    Nobody can tell me that NO players wanted to come to Toronto especially when some specifically expressed an interest in coming here. Nobody can tell me they couldn’t let Antropov and Tellqvist go.

    There were sooooo many options most of which would have yielded a betetr future in terms of extra picks and retaining Rask AND a MUCH better cap situation going forward. Finally, there are a lot of combinations that would have iced a team at least this competitive.

    That was my point, not my “specific” plan described above.

  7. wingedim says:

    I agree with your statement that things could’ve and should’ve been done better. I was just saying that, while money is one of the primary factors for most guys (especially the younger ones), there are other factors that they will weigh. Such as the school systems in the area if they’ve got kids, safety of the area for the family, what kind of role they feel they can play on the teams that are inquiring, etc.
    I’m a Leafs fan myself, but, I’m not one of those who think that ‘EVERYONE’ wants to play in Toronto. I’m a realist in that sense, but, agree that Toronto isn’t the ‘butthole’ of the NHL either.

  8. wingedim says:

    I understood that point with my comment, sorry if it didn’t come across that way. I was just pointing out the fact that Money isn’t the only factor in a players decision was all.

  9. mojo19 says:

    Absolutely Aetherial. Lots differently could have been done, I’m not a big JFJ fan either. But lets say, 1 winger for Sundin, because I like Wellwood up there. And one winger for another line. Good article though.

  10. Aetherial says:

    True, it isn’t the only decision, however I see no indication that these guys would avoid the Leafs, and as I pointed out, some of the were vocal about Toronto being a favored destination.

    You are correct though, some of what I wrote specifically may not have been possible. There were options though.

    I could have summed this up one way:

    JFJ blew it against the cap. The exact same way Bobby Clarke did and Lou Lamoriello did. Clarke however had more talent throughout his team and more top notch prospects than JFJ does, AND he only locked in for 3 years, not 5. Lamoriello got very very lucky to get out of his situation. I doubt McCabe Kubina or Gill is retiring soon or that one of them will go down with a LTI.

    It is unforgiveable. IT is his job to KNOW the cap and understand the impact bad decisions can have. These were bad decisions.

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