NEEDED! Defensive defencman – What a concept

With the forward position basically set and goaltending already in place the one place that will see movement from here to training camp will be the defence. With 9 NHL caliber d-men on the roster (10 if like me you consider Jay harrison a very solid player) and a max of seven spots available. Here is a quick look at the contenders.

McCabe – clearly trying to be moved. If he wont budge look for limited ice time and a buy-out following next season. Not in long term plans, this year is only question mark.

Kubina – I believe Cliff and Ron like him but if McCabe wont go he may have to be dumped to clear some space for younger, cheaper players who fit in long term plans. Also selling high with him is a pretty good option right now.

Kaberle – Best player under best contract. Value is severly high. Although I doubt management has the guts a trade could be positive down the road. Could have fetched Jeff Carter at deadline, value is similar now. If he would waive what a return we could get. He will be 30 and getting along.

Finger – Type of d-man we want. Little overpaid yes but not as outrageous as some people believe. Will be a solid pro and top 3 man on any NHL corps in a few years.

Carlo – maybe most talent as a two way player of the bunch but injuries have hampered. He is one reason why this depth is so useful. If he can stay healthy is a BIG part of the future.

White – Good puck mover and should get better with confidence, needs to be paired with a player like Finger but should be on Leafs when season opens.

Stralman – proved he was NHL ready if raw at the end of last year. Great World Championships and should have new confidence and experience entering camp. Projects to make squad.

Kronwall – Showed physical flashes last year that match his responsibility. He appears to have an NHL career but this could be a tough crew to bust into.

Frogren – Risky by Cliff to say he will play in our top 6. Seeing he is 28 how big will his impact be when we are competitive? Interesting pick up. No offence. If he has a bad start could be a bust.

Harrison – Bruiser whos skating has improved dramatically. Should have gotten some sort of chance last year. Will start year with Marlies but hopefully new regime will see his hard-nosed play and give him a chance if injury or poor play sets in.

All in all I believe McCabe and Kubina will likely be shown the door.

Kaberle Carlo
Finger White
Stralman Frogren
Kronwall


74 Responses to NEEDED! Defensive defencman – What a concept

  1. lukeleim says:

    Jeff Finger a little overpaid? The Finger signing is the worst signing of the summer!

  2. Steve362 says:

    ok from what i hear Frogren is a very solid player did well in the world championships could be compared to a Scott Hannan, he was specifically brought in to be paired with stralman… McCabe is going to be delt probably for a 2nd round draft pick and maybe a 2nd line player… i would take a guess that they'll ship him out of conference.. Phoenix will take him as Wayne is very pro McCabe *see olympics… as well as they have a couple of top 6 spots to fill since the jokinen trade

    To Pho: Bryan Mccabe

    To Toronto: Daniel Carcillo , Niko Kapanen , and a 2nd round pick 09

    Hagman -Steen- Kapanen
    Blake – Antropov – ponikarovsky
    Tlusty – Stajan – Grabovski
    Bell – Carcillo – Mayers
    depth:
    Earle – moore – williams
    kulemin- Deveraux -hollweg

    Defence:
    Kaberle- Kubina
    Finger – Coliaccovo
    Stralman – Frogren
    White – Kronwall

    Toskala
    Joseph
    Pogge

  3. the_next_agent says:

    McCabe is gone for sure, i am sure he is finally goin to realize that no one in this city wants him.  I am not sayin he isn't a good D-man, he is, just not at 5.75 a season.  White is also gone, all he is good for is moving the puck up the ice and a hard shot from the point.  The Leafs already have guys like Kaberle Starlman and Colaiacovo.  With McCabe gone, Kubina might show is true potential.  Look for Ponikarovsky and Blake to also be traded. 

  4. JuicemaN says:

    There's no way Hagman, Steen and Kapanen would be the 1st line.

    Not to mention the leafs wouldn't get that much for McCabe and he probably wouldn't got to Phoenix.

    Not trying to start an argument but there's no way anything in your post would happen.

  5. leafy says:

    We'll find out if that's true once the season starts.

  6. JuicemaN says:

    And if by "Greztky is very pro McCabe, see olympics" you means playing him in two games and all but completely benching him for the rest…then yes he's very pro McCabe.

  7. Steve362 says:

    he was the GM not the Coach

  8. leafy says:

    Overall good points on Toronto's 10 D.

    Re: Finger, the bottom line is WE DON'T KNOW!  How many Leaf fans can honestly say they've watched Finger play in even 1 game, let alone for any lengthy period?

    Most of what we know about Finger is based on rumors, hype, or slander.  Either from fans or media.

    Only when the season starts will we know if he's Silvain Lefebvre….or Anders Erikson.

    Re: Kubina and McCabe, if the Leafs were Cup contenders, I wouldn't be so hasty to move both those guys.  But since we're re-building, I agree.  There's no sense in using up over $11M of payroll.

    Don't count out Luke Schenn from making the team, although he might need a year of seasoning.

    Glad you didn't dismiss Ian White as dog terd.  He's actually has some excellent skills, both skating and handling the puck.  The problem with him is he's a little under-sized and sometimes makes decision-making errors, which could be overcome with experience.

    Re: Frogren, again see Finger.  We simply don't know.  I don't even think Fletcher knows if he's a good fit.  It's simply a case of taking a chance on a potential good player.  Let's wait and see.

  9. arigold says:

    Ian White cannot be on this team.  He makes everyone he plays with worse.  He was brought into this team way too early, and hasn't developed at all.  Much of McCabes problems last year stemmed from the fact that he was pulled away from playing with Kaberle.  This change was made to try and up Kubina's trade value, and playing with Kaberle his #'s improved.  If you play with Ian White, you will suck.

  10. JuicemaN says:

    Oh yeah, good point.

    My bad.

  11. simplyhabby says:

    The UFA market overpid pretty much everyone.  Huet got more then Marty!

    Strip the salary off Finger and you got a depth defenseman.  Top 3 defenseman on any team ina  few years is a real stretch..a outside possiblity but the guy has little experience in the NHL and not much of a resume of potential to confirm his top 3 future.

  12. nordiques100 says:

    its unfortunate that the only time saw him was in the playoffs and he was atrocious. i did watch that game where he made that blunder that resulted in him getting benched. doesnt really inspire me.

    and that argument made by dan tolensky on hockeybuzz was quite telling. 

    some of the arguments are valid. 3.5 mil for 4 years for a player who has just played 94 games? a player who is 29 and who has been a career minor leaguer? 

    i think this guy is set up to fail with the kind of money he is making. its also another example of this team not knowing how to spend 

    as for frogren, at 1 mil or less, thats a far better risk/reward than the money they spent on finger.

    he could not work out and that would be ok. the leafs wouldnt still have to owe over 10 million for 3 more years like they would with finger.

  13. leafy says:

    You must have forgotten 4-5 years ago when we had Cory Cross, Aki Berg, Anders Erikson, Alexander Khavanov, Nathan Dempsey, etc.  Ian White is 10 times better than each of those guys, and he's also paid cheap.  White is not the problem with this team.

  14. canuckstocup says:

    It funny that you note that 'Will be a solid pro and top 3 man on any NHL corps in a few years' as unless you are an Av's fan I doubt you have ever seen him play. This isn't a diss at you personally but I always chuckle when I see people talk about him. Being a canuck fan I watched them play the Avs probably 3 or 4 times last year and I can say in all honesty I have no memory of him playing and his name didn't even register as familiar when the leafs signed him. This isn't to say Finger is a bad player, in fact he could be another Adam Foote who does his job so efficiently that you don't really notice him on the ice but realistically I don't think anyone on this entire board can speak about Finger with any sort of authority outside of Av's fans that have been watching him the past couple of years.

  15. leafy says:

    My thinking on Fingers is the same as yours.  It seems like the Leafs over-paid.  Having said that, Al Coates who's familar with Finger gave him a ringing endorsement.  I don't know what to think at this point.

    Frogren looks like a risk worth taking.  Could be a hidden defensive gem. Hopefully.

  16. nordiques100 says:

    harrison isnt with the team anymore as he was a group 4 free agent and left for europe.

    mccabe is obviously the guy they want ot move. but between his restrictive contract and the way the leafs have handled this, completely devaluing him, its doubtful he goes anywhere.

    their only recourse is to play him. clearly the guy is overpaid. and overrated. but maurice was wrong to immediately split him and kaberle up to start. he put them back together but it was too late. mccabe lost confidence, got hurt and simply sucked in the maurice era. on a good team, mccabe could do ok i think in the proper role. if he gets big PP minutes, plays on a good defensive team with a bail the team out goalie, he could succeed. he is capable of 50 plus points and 25 minutes a night. playing on the pathetic leafs will only expose him further. hoepfully the guy can still put up big point totals and increase his trade value. i think he'll get sick of losing and want out.  

    the team has less than a month to explore all kubina trade options. hopefully they will actually make that move.

    there is some competition however. schnieder from anaheim is available, maybe bouwmeester will be moved, its possible the hawks could explore moving a seabrook or a barker to fill other needs, and the pens could potentially part with whitney to clear up some cap space. and others like bieska, leopold, smid could be had. 

    defencemen are coming at a premium as we saw the value from the boyle trade. the leafs could get a good return, provided they actually do activity try and move kubina. if they sit on their hands with this one, it will be a mistake they will regret. 

     

  17. lukeleim says:

    Predicted opening season defense lineup:

    Tomas Kaberle – Bryan McCabe
    Anton Stralman – Jonas Frogren
    Jeff Finger – Carlo Colaiacovo
    ————————————
    Staffan Kronwall

  18. arigold says:

    Although he may not be the problem with the team, thats still no excuse to keep a shite player.  The fact that the team has had poor defencemen in the past is no excuse either.  All of the players you listed did perform poorly, but that doesn't mean White should get a free pass.  Who cares if he's cheap, he sucks.  Being better than the guys you listed is no accomplishment.

  19. nordiques100 says:

    the money is going to kill this guy because he's never going to hear the end of it right from day 1.

    i remember gill's first game and when chris neil blew right past him. a collective groan was let out and while he played ok in his time in toronto, he could never be good enough because he was paid well, couldnt skate and maybe cause he was american.

    finger i think is in the same boat, but worse. at least gill's contract was not as big of an albatross and he was proven.

    i dont think leaf fans and media will let that go. this unless he puts up major numbers like say 25 points, a plus 20 and plays physical every single night. only a monster year will save him i think. the poor guy is public enemy number 1 before he even finished signing the contract.

    you know full well that first blunder we'll hear 14 million reasons why this was bad.

    i think it would have honestly made a difference if he was canadian. and especially GTA born. i think we appreciate and support local products more and if he was, i dont think he would be so villified plus i think we'd be more inclined to give him a chance.

  20. leafy says:

    I disagree that he sucks.  As I say, White makes decision-making errors (ie, pinching at the wrong time), but that can be corrected with experience.

    He has good skills, both skating and handling the puck….stuff that's hard to learn.  That's why I disagree that he stinks.

    Now the other guys I mentioned earlier, THOSE guys stink.

  21. oilcountry88 says:

    to COL:                        to NYI:
    Kubina                         Mccabe
    to TOR:                        to TOR:
    Svatos                          Hunter

    Nicklas Hagman-Nik Antropov-Marek Svatos
    Jason Blake-Matt Stajan-Nikolai Kulemin
    Alexei Ponikarovski-Alex Steen-Trent Hunter
    Mikail Grabovski-Jiri Tlusty-Jamal Mayers
    ———————————————–
    Ryan Hollweg-Boyd Deveraux-Mark Bell

  22. leafy says:

    Yes!  As soon as Finger signed for that much, that's the first thing that went through my mind.  What's the reaction going to be when he makes his first gaffe?

    He going to be coming into a pressure cooker.  This has trouble written all over it.

  23. arigold says:

    Personally i thought he could have used a lot more time with the Marlies.  The transition hasn't paid off for him as well, and maybe it isn't all his fault.  But he brings down the performance of whoever he plays with and that is unacceptable. 

    Mind you he has put in some time with the big club, although it was undeserving, and maybe he should get a chance this year.  However, i personally dont' believe this team is going to be as bad as everyone is predicting, and we don't need a guy like this playing regular minutes and bringing everyone around him down to his level.

  24. pezzz says:

    0, zero, niet, nein, nul

    Colorado doesn't need another d-man and NYI already have their McCabe in Mark Streit.

  25. Plekanec says:

     "Finger" a top 3 dman on any NHL team? Fat chance, he made is NHL debut at 28, only played around 85 NHL games and has shown as much talent as a Young Patrice Brisebois ! Finger might become a top 3 defenseman in a couple years but only if remains with the leafs.

     these are the teams as of right now with at least 4 defensemen better than Finger, Montreal, Detroit, Avs, Dallas, Boston, Pits, Ottawa, NJ, Ana, LA, St Louis, Chicago, Calgary, Minisota, Edmonton, Vancouver, I probably forgot some but my point is, Finger is S–T and WAY Over-Paid, That contract make the Ryder's contract look like cream! At least Ryder score 100 goals in a 4 year career! At least the Leafs where smart enough to trade for "Schenn" he look vicious and man enough to make his NHL debut as soon as next year! Will be the Leafs leader for years to come.

  26. brianc689 says:

    Fletcher has destroyed McCabe's trade value by what he's done over the past couple months, so we will not get that much for him.  Everybody knows that the Leafs are desperate to dump his salary and will not give much in return.  From what I heard, the Islanders were asking for a draft pick along with McCabe just to take his contract off our hands.

  27. brianc689 says:

    Lol, yeah I think Ian White was the one that told McCabe to shoot the puck into his own net.  White isn't the problem with this team.  He's a decent puck-moving defencemen to play in the third-pairing.  I agree that he can't be on this team though.  We already have two puck-moving d-men with no physical game in Kaberle and Stralman.

  28. arigold says:

    No, he didn't, but his consistent poor play put unecessary pressure on whoever he paired with.  First half of the season he played with Kubina full time, and he was brutal.  Switched over to McCabe, same deal.  We can't take that chance again, and the players around him deserve better help.

  29. leafy says:

    Just a general statement……unlike past seasons, the main reason for the Leafs collapse last year was the FORWARDS, not the defense.

    Our forwards were horrendous, both offensively and defensively, and without Sundin's and Antropov's work, we would have drowned below Tampa.

    Now compare the Leafs defense of last year to their defense in 2002 which made the Conference Final and got 100 points:  In 2002, After Kaberle and McCabe, we had Cross, Berg, Erikson, Demspsey, and Lumme.

    Ask yourself, which defense is better, the one we have now, or in 2002?

    Our defence is WAY better now.  Yet we can't even make the stupid playoffs now!!!  WHY?

    Because our forwards have been awful.  If you're not dangerous on the attack, it's incredibly easy for the opponent, even if you have Savard, Robinson and Lapointe on the blueline.

  30. oilcountry88 says:

    Toronto should be thinking of trading their bigger name defenecman for more offence. They will probably be a terrible team this year and at the draft they should take Hedman.. Hedman and Schenn would be crazy together.. leafs shou;d forget about Tavares.. I think St.Louis will be getting him..if they win the lottery

  31. Archion113 says:

    I think Toronto's offense is lacking power. I just hate their forwards.

    I would not want to go into next season with that pathetic excuse for an NHL roster.

  32. Archion113 says:

    Hell.. i'd take the Flyers top 4 over paying Finger that crazy amount.

    Timonen, Coburn, Hatcher, and Eminger.  Finger didn't impress me enough.  He got benched for most of the playoffs if not the entire playoffs because of his poor ass play.

    He must have been shocked when the leafs offered him that amount.  If i was him i would had a heart attack.

  33. leafy says:

    100% completely right about last year's team.  Now we need to see if the same is true this year.

    A lot will depend on how the young guys like Stajan, Steen, Tlusty, Kulemin, etc. perform/develop. 

  34. leafy says:

    That means Kubina and White would be traded, which is possible.  But if I were the Leafs, I'd wait until training to see how these guys play.  What if Finger can't play as well as advertised and Frogren is another Alexander Khavanov?  I'd wait if I'm the Leafs.

  35. leafy says:

    You could say the Leafs paid an arm and a leg for Finger.  Haha!

  36. Radio says:

    In any case, you guys still aren't making the playoffs.

    Go hibernate for another season, laff fans.

  37. Radio says:

    For 3.5 million, shouldn't you know?

  38. LeafsNation91 says:

    Yeah…Mark Streit is a d-man turned forward to whatever. I wouldn't consider McCabe in the same terms as Streit

  39. goose says:

    LEAFs need a NUMBER #1, CENTER!, so either trade for one or sign one.

    – A good centreman thats left on the free agent market is David Vyborny.

    – trade: to toronto- lombardi, for to calgary- newbury, and kubina
    or
    – trade: to toronto- stastny, and svatos- for to colorado- stajan, kubina, white, and a 2nd
    or
    – trade: to toronto- hunter and 3rd, for to islanders- mccabe

  40. LeafsNation91 says:

    Your Sens aren't any better.

    They suck and don't even realize it, that 15-3 or whatever record at the begging was a joke and the only reason they qualified for the playoffs.

  41. Archion113 says:

    I have never been impressed with Stajan.

    Steen i don't think is more then a 2nd or 3rd liner. 

    Having no centers that can play on the 1st line is going to hurt. 

    I actually hate leaf fans, but don't mind the team.  I like how they play.  Just don't think they have the talent to win.

  42. arigold says:

    For starters, you forgot Robert Svehla, who wasn't half bad.  We also had a guy in net by the name of Belfour, who i think it's pretty safe to say stole the show for that team on most nights.  I like Toskala, but he's no Belfour. 

    I agree the same problem with the Leafs the last few seasons is that the only players who produce are the ones who get to play with Mats.  We could use at least 2 players on 2nd and 3rd line who are capable of improving the play of the players around them. 

    However, if there is a glaring problem in any given area, i think it should be addressed regardless.  I really like the moves we have made at the back this year, and simply put, i don't think its fair for any one of the other 5 guys in the back to have to make up ground for Ian White. 

    Therefore, although the team is currently addressing many problems, we can't just attribute the lack of success over the past 3 years to one specific area.  More forwards that can create offensive opportunites probably would have put us in the playoffs last year, i agree.  But a D that didn't put us under so much pressure could have compensated for the lack of offense as well.

    Bottom line is, moving forward, this guy doesn't work.  I would rather give Schenn a full year that waste any more time on him.  If there is some other sucker team out there that thinks this guy may be good, i say lets unload him now, or bannish him to the Marlies.

  43. brianc689 says:

    Hahaha that defense looks like the hall of shame.  That's a list of the guys me and my buddies make fun of when somebody screws up on D.  Didn't we have Reichel, Renberg and Hoglund on offense that year too?  How did we even win a game?  That year was all Cujo.

  44. brianc689 says:

    Svehla and Belfour joined the team in 02-03, we made the conference finals in 01-02.  And considering nobody ever heard of him again after that year, Svehla was no prize.

  45. brianc689 says:

    If it was possible I would wait too.  But we can't wait with Kubina.  Trade him now before the NTC kicks back in.

  46. brianc689 says:

    Vyborny signed in Europe, and none of those trades are realistic.  Plus, even if for some reason those teams accepted those trades, none of the guys the Leafs would be getting are first liners anyway.  Stastny is the only one that might be good enough to play on the top line.

  47. Radio says:

    But you don't see anyone over-hyping the Sens chances year-in-year out, especially this year.

    That's par for the course for the Leafs.

    Even Montreal fans shut up in the off-season.

  48. ranger_fan says:

    To the NYR
    Sundin

    To Sundin
    A shiny 1979 Susan B Anthony dollar.

  49. ranger_fan says:

    Ill trade you Artem Anisimov for a first round draft choice next year.

  50. foppa_roy_alty says:

    If you enjoyed reading this and want more, come check out HTR's sister site wowhockey.com.

    Writers Wanted!

Leave a Reply