My initial reaction to what the Leafs did.

What the hell happened there? John Ferguson didn’t get younger, he didn’t load up to make a playoff push/run, he didn’t cut ties with bad players, and kinda semi-rebuild. He did nothing.The two Leaf trades were.

To Toronto: Luke Richardson

To Columbus: Conditional 4th Round Pick

To New Jersey: Ken Klee

To Toronto: Alex Suglobov

Now, what they’ve done, is down graded their defense for this year, and aged it by 3 years, adding a prospect that has been noted for constant problems with being constant. Consistancy is a huge issue for Alexander Suglobov.

Klee vs Richardson. In their prime, Richardson vs Klee, Richardson wins. But Richardson is 37, Klee is 34, and Richardson is more expensive.

Now really look at this deadline. They had three options BETTER then this option.

a) we could trade Belfour, McCabe, Tucker, Domi, Sundin, Allison, O’neill and the rest for high picks and prospects.

b) Load up on names, with 1.5 million in initial cap space, and an extra 1.5 million due to the injury of Lindros, and a player after the deadline costs 20% of their normal salary according to James Duthie. That’s about $15 million in base salary space they could have used to pick up Carney, Comrie, Bertuzzi, Ozolinche, or another big name.

c) Cut ties with worthless overpayed players such as Berg, Antropov, and the likes, and replace them with better younger players and/or prospects.

Last night I looked at this deadline and I thought, ok, they’ve kept themselves as good as they were before, Richardson is just about as good as Klee, and we get a prospect. But one prospect with consistancy issues isn’t gonna help our future, and Richardson over Klee is not terriffic for our presence.

I think what the Leafs really need is to hire Donald Trump to randomly select John Ferguson to be a contestant on the show “The Aprentice”, Ferguson would quit his Leaf position to get a job with the Don, and then get fired.

Am I the only one who wants Grapes as GM and Coach? If not as both then get Brent Sutter as coach.

Life’s tough when you’re a Leaf fan.

-L


7 Responses to My initial reaction to what the Leafs did.

  1. curtman96 says:

    Your right in some ways but the leafs are stupid to trade tucker and nobody wants belfour with his next years option. No teams want an overpaid enforcer, allison wouldnt attract much with his contract so your better off keeping him, and there not going to trade sundin hes still an elite player playing with the shittiest linemates. I agree they should have tried to trade mccabe, especially after seeing what Witt went for wow…we could have gotten much more for mccabe and maybe resign him in the summer, although by trading mccabe it shows that Fergusson has lost all hope in his team for making the playoffs and i have a feeling his job is on the line if he doesnt make the playoffs so it probably wouldnt be a good move for him. As for Suglobov i dont know much about him but from what i hear it was a steal for toronto and u cant bash the guy already when he hasnt had his chance to prove himself yet, hes still a prospect and improving, good move for fergusson there. The leafs were smart by not tinkering too much and giving up any picks but for sure this summer change has to be made and bums like berg and belak should deffinately not return along with a few more players.

  2. the_canadian_game says:

    jfj admitted that he had recieved offeres for belfour, but rejected them. WHAT IS HE THINKING? NOW EVEN IF WE DITCH BELFOUR IN THE OFF-SEASON, ITS STILL 1.5 MILLION AGAINST THE CAP! I WOULD HAVE TRADED THIS GUY FOR A 9TH ROUND PICK IF I HAD TO!

  3. PaulK123 says:

    The reason Belfour is so in-consistent is because his defense is in-consistent. This guy can

    single handidly carry a team through the playoffs

    and he is going through a slump. Remeber when Detroit brought back the Dominator and he struggled, look what he is doing with Ottawa! Stop

    comlaining about Belfour!

  4. Aetherial says:

    At least 2 teams wanted Belfour… the Leafs asking price was too high, given his contract.

    The Leafs would rather sit on him this year and they buy him out for 2 million against the cap, OR pay him to play 4+ to play again next year. Than get rid of him for some future.

    THAT is the biggest mistake the Leafs made.

  5. Aetherial says:

    That is not the point.

    The point is that right now, with the Leafs, he is not going to help. Whether it is his fault or not, who cares.

    The fact is, they could have received something…

    instead they PAY the million or so he is still owed this year and THEN, they pay another 2 milion to buy him out or 4+ to have him play…

    when they *could* have had at least something for him.

    JFJ, or MLSE, really blew it here.

  6. robb01 says:

    You are correct….JFJ missed the boat. He did nothing to improve thie team for the remainder of the year, if anything we took a step backward. He did nothing to improve our team heading into next year, the best thing he could have done was unload Ed Belfour to rid the Leafs of the 1.5 million buyout for next year. Personally I would have taken a pail of hoceky pucks for him….the Leafs will not resign him next year at 4.8 million and if they then JFJ has totally lost it….JFJ has to be accountable for his mistakes and the contract he gave Belfour was a large one….he could have bought him out and he didn’t at start of year, he could have traded him yesterday and didn’t……and he will never be able to trade him at the draft so in effect I truly the think the Leafs have more money than brains becuase they will give Belfour a cheque for 1.5 million next summer and tell him thx for coming out but we don’t want ya……maybe that is why Like Richardson is coming back he wants a contract like that as well…….JFJ totally blew it yesterday, partially because I think he is scared to take the step to rebuild, he had a difficult decision to make and he chose to be a coward and std still…..trust me that will cost him his job in April…..maybe he knew it. His belief is that the Leafs can return to form they displayed in early January…I highly doubt it….I think when the season is over JFJ and Pat Quinn will be replaced…..Toronto not only needs a new direction….they need a hockey plan, something that they clearly don’t have in place now.

  7. 92-93 says:

    “No one below the level of ownership, in my opinion, is safe beyond this season. That includes CEO Richard Peddie, GM John Ferguson, coach Pat Quinn, Quinn`s assistants, Rick Ley and Keith Acton, and perhaps 60 percent of the players on the current roster. This is not to imply that any of the aforementioned are specifically to blame for what has transpired. Or that, individually, they are incapable. As a group, however, they have been a colossal failure in a hockey market carrying the baggage of a Stanley Cup drought approaching four decades. Therefore, no one should be surprised if the composition of this group, next autumn, bears little resemblance to the current cast.” – Howard Berger

    Dear John Ferguson Jr.,

    For the most part, Howard Berger is right John. But I do believe that you should be given a fair shot – and two seasons, along with a wholesale shift in an economic system smacked-dab in between these two seasons, does not count as ‘a fair shot.’ Based on some of the terrible moves you’ve made and the smarter ones that you have done from an organizational perspective, here are some suggestions for this offseason. Yup, another Leaf fan playing GM but know that for all the times that I have criticized your moves (i.e. at the deadline), I have also defended your other moves/decisions as well (especially from an overall Leafs organization standpoint). Each position is do*****ented below with a few steps laid out in chronological order. Note that I purposely overestimate most of the RFA and UFA signings/re-signings and made the assumption that the league minium would be raised to 500K.

    Goaltending===========================================================

    1. Buyout Belfour at a cost of 1.54 million:

    Seems like a no-brainer I know. Maybe offer Eddie a lucrative position as goaltending coach within the organization so he can coach Racine, Pogge and Rask. You know Ed thinks so fondly about Tretiak and his influential role as a goaltending coach and teacher, maybe now the pupil can become a teacher himself.

    2. Say goodbye to J.S. Aubin:

    Your goaltending tandem in the NHL will be set (re: step 3), your AHL tandem should be Racine and Pogge. Why do you need Aubin? For experience when Telly goes down? No. Aubin did an OK job for the Leafs in the few games he played but it should be Racine and Pogge that get called up when your 2 NHL goalies go down, not Aubin.

    3. Sign a free agent goalie for 3 million or less:

    I know a lot of people are calling for Joseph, but look around. If Joseph is really that desperate to play in Toronto – fine. But if there is a younger, cheaper netminder out there (Hedberg, Garon, Denis), go for them. Martin Biron might be a possibility, but Buffalo might not want to part with him and he might not be so cheap.

    4. Play Tellqvist more:

    Makes all the sense the world. Mikael will cost you a meager 569K and his numbers are about the same as Emery’s in Ottawa. Give him at least 35 starts and as many as 50 (depending on who is having a better year – the free agent goalie or Tellqvist).

    Total goaltender payroll: approx. $5.47 million

    Free agent goalie [approx. 3 million], Tellqvist [569K], Belfour [1.54 million buyout].

    Top 5 free agent goalies: 1. Gerber 2. Biron 3. Joseph 4. Legace/Osgood 5. Grahame

    Top 5 most realistic/sensible free agent goalie signing for the Leafs: 1.Joseph 2. Biron 3. Hedberg 4. Denis 5. Garon

    Defence==============================================================

    1. DO NOT resign Khavanov, Berg, and Richardson.

    This might seem as common sense to a lot of people – especially considering that your younger D-guys outplayed these older, more expensive defensemen (this would also save you $4.5 million!). But John, I have a sinking feeling that you are thinking of resigning one of these guys. I know the panic you’ll feel after seeing that you have so many spots open on your D, but please read further and look at the following steps. There have been reports that Berg wants to retire and that Khavanov will not be retained – all of which I hope is true. I have faith in you John, you did a superb move in dealing away Ken Klee who has slowed considerably last season, for an excellent prospect in Suglobov. The Leafs playoff fortunes are not going to be tied in any way to whether or not you keep these slower, ineffective D-guys. Its time to remake this defence – read on to see how:

    2. DO NOT RE-SIGN Bryan McCabe:

    As controversial and unpopular this decision might be, it is time to say goodbye to the offensively gifted, defensively inept, one-dimensional, Bryan McCabe. If the leafs re-sign McCabe for 4.5 or more, the Leafs will be saddled with a long-term contract and will have their hands tied for the rest of next season and beyond. Resigning Kaberle to that huge contract might have ruffled some feathers but you chose the right player to re-sign. His style of play in the new NHL, combined with his age, represents the future of the offense that will come from the leafs’ blueline (Kaberle is on pace for 70 points and he is 27 years-old). I do not want to minimize Bryan’s accomplishments or his worth to the team this year. But this team DID NOT make the playoffs for a lot of reasons and one of the biggest had to do with the lack of defensive effectiveness in the Leafs’ own end. It is time to free up this cap space, bring up the young guys, and sign a couple of effective, lesser-known, more inexpensive, free agent defensemen that get the job done in their own end and play smart. Of all the decisions that you will make this offseason, this is the most important one. It sets the tone for what this team will be like next year and in seasons to come.

    3. Sign two free agent D-guys:

    Both of these guys will like to hit, they will rarely let anyone go to the net without making those forwards pay. In other words, these free agent defensemen are everything that the Leafs’ D weren’t this past season. My suggestions: Nolan Baumgartner and Jay McKee. But please, feel free to add any other defensive, physical, defensemen that are not too slow. The cost of the free agents should not exceed 4.5-5 million (essentially, what you would have paid McCabe right?). The truth of the matter is that I don’t even know if you need to sign TWO free agent D-guys. Maybe one is enough considering all the young D-guys battling for the spots in the NHL and considering the possible return of Pilar. There has been a lot of talk that has assumed that if you let go McCabe, you should replace him with Jovanovski or Chara. I would love to see it but I really don’t think its that necessary and it will be too expensive and the team’s depth will likely suffer as a result. Just get a couple of solid D-guys that won’t cost you too much and go from there

    4. Let the young kids play in the remaining 3 Defence positions:

    My three choices are Kronvall, Harrison, and White. However, I understand that Coliacovo will get the nod over other young D-guys (if he is healthy). Other defencemen include Wozniewski, Bell, even Vorobiev. In other words, you have a wide variety of young defencemen you can insert into your line-up beside Kaberle and your two free agent signings or Pilar. I notice that Bell has been given the nod over White – is this because his size? Thankfully, Khavanov went down with that injury so that you could see how good White is. His offense won’t replace McCabe’s but it will give them another speedy, offensive weapon from the blueline (so will Bell for that matter, and don’t underestimate Kronvall’s size, speed, and offensive skills).

    5. Assess the health situation with Pilar and Coliacovo:

    Karl Pilar looks like his heart problems are behind him but you never know. Maybe include him as a 7th Defencemen and slowly work him into the line-up. Clearly, Pilar is an NHL-calibre D-guy and would be an upgrade from the likes of Berg, Richardson, and Khavanov and, like White, would provide another offensive option from the D. All the reports on Carlo have been quite negative, and it is beginning to sound like this injury might be one that keeps Coliacovo out for many, many months. I hope not. He’s a wonderful offensively-gifted, and hard-hitting D-guy. Again, yet another offensively talented D-guy – can you now see why McCabe is not necessary in Toronto – or, at least, certainly not worth resigning for more than 4.5 million?! If Coliacovo can’t play, there’s other young D-guys that can take his place..

    Total payroll for Defence (assuming Coliacovo and Pilar are healthy: approx. $10 million

    Kaberle [4.25 million], free agent D-guy #1 [Dempsey? – approx. 1 million], free agent D-guy #2 [McKee? – approx. 2 million], Pilar [750K] Coliacovo [approx: 1 million], Kronvall [500K], Harrison [500K]

    Top 5 free defencemen: 1. Lidstrom 2. Chara/Redden 3. Jovanovski 4. Blake 5. Mitchell

    Top 5 most realistic/sensible free agent defencemen signings for the Leafs: 1. McKee 2. Lydman 3. Zidlicky 4. Dempsey 5. Baumgartner

    Forwards=============================================================

    1. Decide on who to resign – Jason Allison or Eric Lindros:

    John, the reality of the situation is simple: chances are, Allison will be demanding more money next season (at least 2 million or probably much more). If that is the case, then its time to say goodbye to Allison. Again, a lot of Leaf fans will point to McCabe and Allison’s stats and say that these guys should be kept. For the most part, I agree with them, but only if they are willing to sign for a lot less – and they won’t be. Why sign for less when you are putting up 70 pts? Well, as others have pointed out, these players have also costed the Leafs plenty of goals as well (errant passes, poor defensive zone coverage, apathy in their own end, etc.).

    Although I would rather keep Allison over Lindros, I know that Lindros will probably resign for the same amount and term he had last year because he really didn’t prove anything this year. Keep that 1.5 million open in the cap space for when Eric returns from his injury in September, October, or November. Slot him in as the 2nd or 3rd line Centre. If he works out great. If he doesn’t or gets injured, that would free up the 1.5 million to get someone else. There really is no point in not trying him out again next year if he is willing to sign for less.

    2. Do NOT qualify RFA Nik Antropov:

    Well John, Nik had an improved season this year but one that was plagued by injuries too. He’s young, but his knees are not going to hold up much longer. Moreover, you need more speed and skill on that right side and Suglobov seems to be the ideal guy to replace Nik (and he is cheaper too). Again, you could have dealt this guy at the deadline but you decided not to (I heard that Malone and Arnason were some of the names being thrown around). If you can trade him now, all the better.

    3. Waive Wade Belak but resign Clarke Wilm and Kilger:

    Belak is your tough guy and I understand that. But if your tough guy is only taking dumb penalties and turning the puck over and is not contributing anything to team, its time to discard him. His salary of 665K doesn’t make you look too good especially considering he was signed for more than one year (what were you thinking John!?). Wilm can be signed for near the league minimum and is an awesome extra-forward/PK guy. We all know the good year Kilger had and he will be due for a bit of raise as well. He is another key 4th line-type player.

    4. Assess the situation with Jeff O’Neill and Tie (the whiner) Domi:

    Your core is already set John – Sundin, Tucker, Stajan, Steen, Wellwood, Kilger, and Ponikorovsky. Add in the players we don’t want but are stuck with – O’Neill and Domi – and you have 9 forward spots taken up with a position left open at RW, LW, and Centre. But you and I have both heard Jeff’s speculation to the media that he might retire. If he does, that’s another 1.5 million freed up. If he doesn’t perhaps you can force his hand by waiving him to the minors or by letting him know that he will be an extra forward as opposed to receiving regular ice-time (and why not really – he doesn’t deserve regular ice time). That being said, we all feel bad for the cir*****stances surrounding O’Neill but it is painfully clear that he needs some time away from hockey to deal with matters. However, if he does come back and plays better at both ends of the ice, maybe he could have a regular role with the Leafs in the future.

    You can do the same thing with Tie Domi as well. Tell him he is an extra forward or waive him to the minors. He’ll like retire and make a lot of noise about it too (like he did with Quinn – backstabbing the coach, pouting at his hotel room before making his way down to the game in which his team was losing badly). Although some people would say that is a poor way to treat a veteran in likely his last season of hockey. Not me. I am sick of Domi’s whining and sick of his sense of entitlement of being on the Leafs and threatening retirement if he were traded. Domi was once a key player for the Leafs, but when his fighting skills went, all that was left was just this guy that always mouthed off. Let him go.

    5. Sign a free agent winger:

    You have heard the calls from many in ‘Leaf Nation’ for Sundin to have a winger. You have also heard calls to trade Sundin. You and I know how ridiculous the latter statement is (because his contract is NOT easy to trade away and because Sundin IS the heart and soul of Leafs and is still a very good, point-a-game player). So you are “stuck” with Sundin, why not pair him up with another solid winger like a Patrick Elias until the end of his contract in Toronto? (insert your own free agent winger of choice here). Do what the new NHL requires, load up your first line with firepower. If you are going to proceed with the steps below (young defence, younger forwards), why not go with some experienced firepower up front? You have the flexibility of signing a free agent LW or RW because Tucker can play either wing making room for which ever winger you acquire.

    6. Bring up 2-4 more Marlies’ forwards for 2006/2007 season:

    Keep the process that occurred this past season with Wellwood and Stajan – re: adding in young forwards. John, you have a few to choose from in your organization, but my choices are Suglobov and Pohl (to replace Antropov and Allison). Of course these guys won’t have the numbers of the guys they are replacing, but they are needed to revitalize the forward lines and keep you beneath the cap space so that you can resign that big free agent winger. Suglobov makes sense because he represents everything the leafs lack: skill on the right side and a good guy to have for shootouts (you’ve said this yourself recently). Pohl is not going to put up his AHL numbers on the Leafs’ fourth line but he deserves a shot and I think he’ll do well. If he doesn’t work out, bring someone else up or simply use Wilm on the fourth line. If O’Neill retires, you could also add in Battaglia as a depth forward as he has played quite well under Maurice with the Marlies. Another sound addition is Ondrus, who we all saw as a much more effective spark plug than Domi was last season.

    7. Possibly trade Tucker at some point during the season:

    Of all the Leafs that are ripe for a trade next year and one of the most valuable trade assets the Leafs had, Tucker would be at the top of that list (which isn’t very long). Considering that Tucker will likely look for a huge raise over his 1.6 million in the 2007 offseason and the fact that he is going to be 32 years-old, I think it would be wise to deal him at or before the 2007 trade deadline next season. Depending on the development of both Rask and Pogge, I suggest that you bring Rask over to the AHL some time in the next 2 seasons and package Tucker and Pogge to another team for one of their highest prospects. The most ideal team to trade Tucker and Pogge to are the Ducks who are suffering in terms of goaltending depth but plentiful in terms of top-notch forward prospects. Both teams need to diversify the depth in their system. Perhaps Tucker and Pogge is something Brian Burke would be willing to consider in return for Corey Perry. Perry would be amazing playing besides Sundin on the first line. Perhaps some high-round draft picks would be exchanged as well. Who knows – just something to consider.

    Total payroll for Forwards. $24.175 million

    LW: free-agent winger [approx. 5 million], Steen [720K], Kilger [approx. 900K], Ponikarovsky [700K], Belak (waived) [665K].

    Centre: Sundin [6.84 million], Wellwood [approx: 1 million], Lindros [1.5 million], Pohl [500K], Wilm [500K]

    RW: Tucker [1.6 million], Stajan [approx: 1 million], Suglobov [500K], Domi [1.25 million], O’Neill [1.5 million], Ondrus [500K]

    Top 5 free agent forwards: 1. Sakic 2. Elias 3. Savard 4. Briere 5. Arnott

    Top 5 most realistic/sensible free agent forward signing for the Leafs: 1. Elias 2. Afiniganov 3. Langdenbrunner 4. Carter 5. Connolly

    [Elias?]—————-Sundin—————-Stajan

    Steen——————Lindros- ————-Suglobov

    Ponikorovsky——–Wellwood————–Tucker

    Kilger——————-Pohl——————Ondrus

    [Extra forwards: Wilm, Domi, and O’Neill (the latter two will probably retire when they find out that they will be extra forwards. In that case, bring up Battaglia as another depth forward.]

    ————-Kaberle————-Kronvall————

    ————Coliacovo———–[McKee?]———–

    ————Harrison————-[Dempsey?]——–

    [Extra D-guy: Pilar. Other young guys that could be inserted if Coliacovo or if Pilar do not make full recoveries: 1-White, 2-Bell, 3-Wozniewski, 4-Vorobiev.]

    ———————–[Joseph?]———————–

    ———————–[Tellqvist]———————–

    TOTAL—————————————40.5 million

    Well, John that’s the line-up and that’s the payroll. You are going to do two things with this line-up that are the exact opposite from this past season: 1) you are going to load up your first forward line (although your other 3 lines are strong too) and 2) you are going to spread out the work and minutes on defence (no more McCabe and Kaberle getting 28 minutes a game).

    As for the payroll, there’s some breathing room under the cap and that is something you didn’t have this past season. This plan is hardly unrealistic. I’ve limited the amount of moves you have to make: you have to make just 4 (and possibly just 3) free agent acquisitions – a goalie, 2 (or 1) D-guys, and a 1st or 2nd-line winger. At the start of the season you have to bring up a bunch of young guys from the Marlies who could perform better than the guys that they are replacing, and not resign a bunch of guys. Simple as that. No major blockbuster trades involving unrealistic and complicated maneuverings, etc. Just shrewd decision-making, with some cap space left. Of course it is not really that simple, but it is realistic. Contrary to popular opinion, the Leafs won’t have the cap space to afford the luxury of loading their team with free agents. It is for this reason that they need to revitalize their team with up-and-coming prospects and combine them with the core that they already have and – at most – sign 4 free agents.

    Assuming that the cap is $42 million, you do not have much room to move here and this is something you were supposed to improve on from last year (it is suggested that teams leave themselves at least 10% or 4.2 million between their payroll and the cap ceiling – meaning a total payroll of about $38 million). However, you have options here:

    1) You could be waiving guys like O’Neill, Domi, and Belak. If someone picks them up you don’t have to pay their full salary. If someone picks them up and they threaten retirement, let them retire. If no one picks them up, at least you tried.

    2) Also, remember that I mentioned earlier that most of my free agent signings and RFA re-signings were purposely over-estimated. So if you can do a better job at resigning these guys for less, then that is that much more cap space available for you.

    3) You could just sign one free agent D-guy (a guy like McKee) – especially if Pilar is healthy.

    4) I assumed that the cap floor would be 500K – if its less, that’s more money to work with.

    John, 2005-2006 was a positive year for the Leafs. I know there are fans out there that consider a season without a cup win a failure (I guess the 1992-1993 Leafs are failures, even though the returned the franchise to respectability). Missing the playoffs isn’t the end of the world (well, it might be for MLSE and certainly many Leaf fans have forgotten about this year being a transition year). But you and I both know that anyone who thinks that the people you work for do not care if the leafs win the cup are morons – simply because it is clear to everyone that the revenues generated from 4 series in the playoffs and the merchandise of a cup winner – especially won in Toronto – would be astronomical. You had 2 rookies in the top-10 in rookie scoring, you saw the emergence of guys like Kilger and Ponikorovsky, you had 2 defencemen in the top-5 in defencemen scoring, the scoring on the Leafs was well-balanced, Tellqvist showed that he can carry the load, you saw how good your Marlies defencemen really were (or how bad your NHL defencemen really were). There were so many positives from this year that others just wouldn’t recognize or give enough credit. That’s fine, but you and I both know that going forward you have a pretty good core here. It is time that you give these kids a larger role and time to try and trade some of your vets for younger prospects from other teams (the Tucker-Perry trade mentioned earlier is just one example of this). It is also time that you get rid of those veterans who are at the bottom of the league’s +/- list, who don’t carry their own weight, and only keep those veterans that will help the club going forward. Paul Maurice as coach means that many of the younger guys will be familiar with Paul’s coaching style and the work ethic of the team will instantaneously improve.

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