My Leaf plan

Prepare for an exsessively long article about the relatively short team future of the Leafs.Year 1:

We can’t spend too much money on players, because of the cap, but I say we load the coaching staff, we’ve worked on this with the scouting team, which has made our young core great. Hire Don Cherry as head coach, Brent Sutter to work with the defense, and Paul Maurice will work on the offense. Paul Maurice knows how to get Jeff O’neill going, if he decides not to retire, he may become a valuable comodity. Maurice also knows the important of youth, and won’t bench Stajan.

Lets assume our draft position stays the same, we’ll be in 10th in draft position, assume we don’t win the draft lottery, which would move us to sixth. (Draft lottery only moves you up 4 spots.)

Alot of top five players end up dropping, and we may drop in the standings, so I’d say we make our target Jordan Staal, but a more realistic situation is defenseman Bobby Sanguenetti, from Owen Sound.

After the draft there is the free agency season.

Our free agents are:

Unrestricted: Allison, Belfour, Berg, Brown, Khavanov, Kilger, Lindros, McCabe, Richardson, Wilm,

Restricted: Hoffman, Leeb, Moro, Pohl, Antropov, Aubin, Bell, Colaiacovo, Harrison, Kukumberg, Pilar, Racine, Stajan, Suglobov, Turon, Wellwood, White,

Our current salary situation is $19 665 000 assuming we buy out Belfour, the team looks like this:

Forwards: Domi, Ponikarovsky, Belak, Sundin, Ponikarovsky, Steen, O’neill,

Defense: Kaberle, Wozniewsky

Goalies: Tellqvist

The returning free agents include Lindros, at league minimum, he’s not worth the risk of giving him more, so give him $450 000.

I failed to mention this earlier, but Belak is waived, then sent to the minors, he is worth nothing to us.

Re-sign Kilger, Wellwood, and Stajan at $700 000 each, and Clarke Wilm at $450 000. This keeps our young guys, and our checkers, Kilger, and Wellwood.

Re-sign Ondrus at $450 000, he’s a good young checker.

The defense we re-sign are Luke Richarson for league minimum, and Colaiacovo at $700 000.

That leaves the team looking like this:

Forwards: Sundin, Lindros, Domi, O’neill, Stajan, Steen, Wellwood, Wilm, Ondrus, Kilger, Ponikarovsky

Defense: Kaberle, Harrison, Colaiacovo, Richardson

Goaltender: Tellqvist

That leaves 2 forward spots, and 3 defense positions and a goalie, with a little more then $20 000 000 to spend.

Oh, prospects not mentioned are re-signed to stay with the Marlies.

This means saying goodbye to Allison, McCabe, Berg, and Antropov.

Free agents to sign include defensemen Pavel Kubina, at 3 years, $3 000 000, and then Kim Johnson at the same for four years, add in Kenny Jonsson at the same except a half million more per year.

That gives us a Swedish defense pairing, and a Czech one, as the Rangers showed, grouping together fellow countrymen works.

Then sign Patrick Elias at $5 000 000 for five years. Elias is a dynamic forward, and would do wonders on a line with Lindros or Sundin.

The final forward we’ll add is Joe Sakic at $8 000 000 a year, around 2 or 3 years, I know he’s old, but he’s incredibley effective, he brings a captain, and he played very well with Sundin in Quebec, and can show Kyle Wellwood how a small centreman can dominate. I know it sounds impossible, but as my math teacher said, if impossible wasn’t possible, then Gretzky’d have died an Oiler.

Add Curtis Joseph to split time with Tellqvist. Same money as this year, $900 000, this leaves very little cap room (estimated $47 000 000), but it is a good team to begin with.

Sundin-Sakic-O’neill

Elias-Lindros-Tucker

Steen-Stajan-Kilger

Ponikarovsky-Wellwood-Domi

Ondrus

Johnsson-Jonsson

Kubina-Kaberle

Richardson-Colaiacovo

Harrison

Joseph

Tellqvist

That team should come in around 4th, maybe 2nd round, Conf Finals.

Yearly Payroll $46 815 000

Year 2

Ok, well I don’t know who we’re going to be able to draft at that position.

This year, Richardson will likely retire at the end of the year, and Richardson was a short term kind of thing, this allows Harrison and Kronwall to move up.

I think this’ll also be the year Domi retires, call up Suglobov to take his spot.

Then we let go of Wilm, sorry man, I like him, and it’s been real, but he ain’t gonna fit. John Pohl can take his spot, Curtis Joseph retires, and JF Racine can come in, Pogge and Rask are gonna be the Marlies goalies.

No major UFA deals this summer, if O’neill doesn’t turn it around, let him go, but if he does, which he should playing with Sakic and Sundin, he should be re-signed at the same price.

Sundin-Sakic-O’neill

Elias-Lindros-Tucker

Suglobov-Wellwood-Steen

Ponikarovsky-Pohl-Ondrus

Kilger

Johnsson-Jonsson

Kubina-Kaberle

Colaiacovo-Harrison

Kronwall

Tellqvist

Racine

Year 3

Kilger will retire or move somewhere else. Add in Pavol Demitra at $4 000 000. With the loss of Richardson, the Belfour buy out, about $450 000 on CuJo, and the loss of Domi, we should be able to pay for him.

Sundin re-signs, 2 years, at a pay cut. This is Sakic’s last year on his contract. Lindros is gonna be kept aboard at a low price at as long as possible.

That makes our lines…

Sundin-Sakic-Lindros

Elias-Demitra-Tucker

O’neill-Wellwood-Steen

Suglobov-Stajan-Ondrus

Foster

Jonsson-Johnsson

Kaberle-Kubina

Colaiacovo-Harrison

Kronwall

Tellqvist

Racine

Year 4

This year we let Sakic retire. clearing up some major space, and Kubina is let go as a free agent. Racine is traded to get a draft pick, and Rask is moved up.

This will also be Sundin’s final year.

Lindros-Sundin-O’neill

Tucker-Demitra-Elias

Ponikarovsky-Stajan-Wellwood

Suglobov-Pohl-Ondrus

Foster

Johnsson-Kaberle

Jonnson-Colaiacovo

Harrison-Kronwall

Sanguenetti

Tellqvist

Rask

Year 5

Ok, Sundin, and O’neill, are let go, I guess they can retire, or what ever. Sundin will likely retire at that point Jonnson, and Jonnson are gone I’ll assume, Hossa is signed at about $6 000 000, and move Tucker back to his natural position, centre. Sign Gonchar, low contract, but it would be a good guy to sign. It’s obvious Redden and Chara will have five year contracts, so get them this year. Redden I guess.

Steen-Demitra-Ponikarovsky

Hossa-Tucker-Elias

Stajan-Wellwood-Suglobov

Foster-Pohl-Ondrus

Kaberle-Colaiacovo

Redden-Gonchar

Sanguenetti-Kronwall

Harrison

Tellqvist

Rask

So there you have it, a long term Leaf plan. I know wecan’t predict that far into the future, but it’s all cool. I figure, if none of these teams can win a cup, we’re cursed.

-L


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