If I happen to be Leafs GM.
This maybe a pretty stupid idea. You’ve been warned! Selling off the whole team isn’t the answer, when your still in the hunt for a playoff spot. If anything the leafs should be buyers. If your fighting for a playoff spot is obvious your a decent enough team, you just need a few screws tighten up.
Tucker is a pretty decent winger that other teams would prolly have some serious interest in. Like I’ve posted before I’d try to swing a trade involving Tucker and maybe a later round pick for the Islanders Satan. If this trade went throught I’d also move Bates Battaglia up to the first line on the wing with Sundin at center of coarse and Satan on the other wing. Battaglia inst known for putting up big numbers but in the 2002 season when the hurricanes reached the cup finals, Mr. Battaglia did acheive 46 points, and two years before that in 2000 he obtained 34 points. Although he is getting up in age at 32 years young. If he wants to stay in this league he’ll have to adapt his game. I believe Battaglia can easily molded into the bigger stronger Holmstrom of the league. Creating much traffic and screens in front of the net for Snipers like Satan, and McCabe at the point. Also making more ice for play maker/sniper Sundin who is also a very big man. This team is about a goal scorer away from breaking out from the rest of the pack.
People often say nasty things about this defense that is over payed. The facts are though, they still are good. Before I briefly talked about McCabe and him scoring. McCabe was signed that amount of money to score and put the points up he had last season. Not his defensive ability’s. Kubina was brought in for his all around game and size. He’s not known to be very offensive. His rough average of points per season he’s played is only around 30 points a year. He is also a +/- (-100) for his career. Of coarse almost all his time was in Tampa bay where he was one of the best defenders on the team. He’s pay’d for his defensive skillz/size, yet over paid is still over paid, this is a management issue and not his fault he was signed for that amount of money for the numbers he usually puts up. Kaberle is there best all around deffender. White/Covalico(spelling) are playing good for the ice time they’ve gotten. In fact only McCabe, Covaliacovo, White, and Gill are the only defenders in positive +/- numbers, and not by much.
Raycorft is just your average goalie getting around, oh… around 30 shots a night, an average goalie is well going to look average at best facing that many shots per night with the talent int he league today. You have to look no futher than St. Louis Manny Legace. When he played with Detroit he had about 26 shots on average on him. This year he averages about 29 shots a night. Only three shots more on average, some say so what? His gga last year was 2.19 compared to this years 2.75 gga. There are a few other factors that go into this like the type of quality shots Detroit offered compared to St.Louis, But point being that less shots usually means less goals.
Now to fix this problem of 30 shots a night on Raycroft the defense does need to step it up. One trade can make all the differance in a situation like this when a team is on a balance beem between playoffs and golfing. If I was to make a trade, and only one. I’d offer up Gal Hill, who leads Toronto’s defense in +/- with (10), and a 2rd round draft pick. For Andy Sutton. Sutton is proven success for Atlanta, Last year when Sutton got injured the Thrashers fell i believe 13-out of 19 games played. This was also after Atlanta’s starting and backup goalies fell to injury. The team also averaged more shots with Sutton out of the lineup compared to when he was in. He’s not a very big offensive threat as in the last four years he’s only average roughly 21 points, But in those four season he’s a +/- (12) on one of the worst defensive teams. Sutton is one of the most underrated defensive defensemen in the league and when he’s on the ice numbers show the puck ends up in the net less often. Oh he can also hit and knock you on your ass, something the leafs really need. Now I know a second round pick for the type of player Sutton is might not be wise. If anything the leafs need more draft picks, But in this case your giving up a guy that is much less defensively talented than Sutton and also Hill is payed more than Sutton is. The 2nd rounder is there to just insure that the trade would go through. Maybe I’d offer a 3rd or 4th rounder first because a 2nd round is pretty high. In coclusion this is what the leafs would add to the line up.
1st Battaglia – Sundin – Satan
2nd Devereaux – Steen(Untill Peca’s return) – O’neil
3rd Antropov – Stajan – Wellwood
4th Slugobov – Pohl – Kilger/Ondurs ( Battle for playing time )
All lines seem to have a perfect balance of scoring, and Grit. Even the 3rd and 4th lines have some offensive up sides in Stajan, Wellood on the third, and Pohl being center on the fourth. I put Devereaux on the second line because right now he is motivated and I believe if given the ice time he’ll put up some good numbers like he did once in Detroit playing with Hull/Datsyuk.
McCabe – Sutton
Kubina – Kaberle
White – Covaliacovo
All defensive lines have an offensive player and a decently good defensive player. McCabe provides the offense front he point while Sutton is to provide the defense, checking, and blocked shots on net toward Raycroft. When Kaberle is on the ice it doesn’t matter who else is out he makes them look good and makes up for most of they’re mistakes. White and Covaliacovo are the only two defensive pair that actually have positive +/- numbers which means they seem to play well with each other, and that more goals are going in the oppents rather than their own when they are on the ice.
This is just what’d I’d do if I happen to be leafs GM. Its not full proof by any means but assuming these certain trades went through it’d be interesting to see where they’d end up.
Give me your personal thoughts/Opinions, or simply what would you do, or do different.