Oilers fire Tambellini – Hire MacTavish

With the Edmonton Oilers eight points out of a playoff spot with just seven games remaining, general manager Steve Tambellini was fired on Monday. Former Oilers player and head coach Craig MacTavish has been named the new general manager. Watch the news conference live on TSN and TSN.ca NOW

179 Responses to Oilers fire Tambellini – Hire MacTavish

  1. leafs_wallace93 says:

    Edmonton is in an interesting position. I’ve always looked at their rebuild as the anti Burke rebuild. A lot of high end draft picks, a neglected blueline and no depth. Edmonton and Toronto are basically opposite teams. Edmonton has horses but nothing to pull whereas Burke built the cart before having talent to carry it.

    Now MacTavish is talking ‘bold moves’ that ‘expose the team to risk’. The Leafs have what Edmonton lacks and Edmonton has what the Leafs lack. On paper they should make excellent dance partners.

    Now it was laughable a week ago but is a Yakupov on the market in the off season? This is the kind of deal that Nonis could potentially justify his job title with.

    If the Oil are looking for a radical shake up, Nonis needs to be in on it.

    • doorman says:

      I think there could be a match there for these teams. I am kinda surprised that MacT in the new G.M., especially with Howson as an advisor,. This is a team that desperatly needs to do something. The fans are not going to be happy like this much longer and that new arena will be hard to fill if they aren’t winning.

      • leafs_wallace93 says:

        What if they brought in Burke? He’d be a great GM for the latter half of the rebuild. Who does bold trades better?

        What could that potentially mean for him and Nonis? I can’t see Burke being hot on a guy like Yakupov.

        • Gambo says:

          The thought of Burke working for Lowe is hilarious and I wish it would happen, those interviews would always be great. He’d help them out for sure, but they’d have to sort a few things out in the barn first.

          Who would have won in that fight? My money is on Burkie. Truculence. Pugnacity.

    • reinjosh says:

      I would contend that the Oilers have what the Leafs lack. The Leafs are top 10 in scoring and the only real thing we lack in the forwards is a big center, which is exactly what teh Oilers need. We don’t have much need for a scoring winger.

      Plus we need a dman just as badly as they do. Well maybe not as badly, but its arguably our biggest need right now.

      Oilers/Leafs don’t make great trade partners. Not that I’d turn down a Gardiner for Yakupov trade but I can’t see that happeneing

      • DannyLeafs says:

        I would agree with that assessment. Realistically high end skill isn’t what the leafs are lacking most. A good playmaking centre with size for to play between Kessel and van Reimsdyk and maybe winger with a little more finish or vision to play with Kadri and Lupul. Both would be nice, as the Leafs don’t seem to have anyone in the system that will be ready for either role too soon (winger maybe, centre, doesn’t seem likely).

        That being said, it isn’t the Leafs most immediate need. A second pairing D-man that is steady, can log big minutes, and can skate and at least get the puck out of their end would be the biggest need in my opinion. Hardest part of looking for that is the Leafs have a ton of talent in the system that could eventually fill that role. To me that’s a problem of it’s own. If the leafs trade for a guy, the pieces they would be willing to move for it, likely only project to be similar talents down the road. Not enticing if they went for say a guy like Klein out of Nashville.

        To me what makes more sense would be a veteran, on a shorter term, either trade or signing. Signing options would be guys like Streit, Regehr, Hainsey, Whitney, Scuderi.

        Looking at those, Streit isn’t exactly what the Leafs are looking for, Regehr and Phaneuf might not be a good mix, Hainsey would be good, but at only 32, he may be looking for term longer than 3 years, Whitney isn’t really what the Leafs are looking so Scuderi might be the most likely fit.

        The trade options are a little more interesting. Targeting teams that are likely thinking of going for youth and picks, I think there are some that would shed good veteran defensemen.

        Tampa has Brewer and Salo who have two and one years left on their respective deals after this one. Both would be solid fits for Toronto’s needs. I think Salo would obviously be cheaper, but since the leafs are looking for solid consistency, a guy with an injury track record like that might not be the best use of assets.

        The Flames have Giordano, who I personally believe would be perfect if they decide to go full on fire sale. Perfect second pairing guy, all around defensemen, kind of what we hoped Schenn was going to be. Team leader, warrior, Toronto boy. 3 years at 4 per is reasonable. He would even be worth paying a little more to get.

        There are others, but those seem like the best fits, and could possibly be available.

        • reinjosh says:

          As much as I’d like to replace Bozak with someone, it’s hardly a pressing need. Definitely not near the need we have of a steady top 4 guy.

          Giordano would be a perfect fit but judging by the way Feaster said he was untouchable save for the largest price, I’m not sure he’s an option. Unless someone is willing to offer up Gardiner, which I can’t see Leaf Nation being a fan of.

      • leafy says:

        I also agree with Reinjosh. If I’m Nonis, that’s my shopping list, but it’s a tall order.

        About 6 or 8 weeks ago, I disagreed with you about defence being the Leafs’ biggest need, but in the end, I think were right and I was wrong. What’s fair is fair, I point out when I’m wrong.

        • DannyLeafs says:

          It’s a weird thing. The leafs are in a weird spot developmentally. On their current roster their biggest need is D, however in the system with guys like Rielly, Finn, Percy, and hopefully Gardiner finding his form, it doesn’t feel like as big an organizational need. The problem is with no guarantees, and the team looking to build some very important playoff expereince and continue to ride that momentum next year, D becomes very important, and we simply can’t just wait.

          On the other hand, we have a pretty good Top six. It has holes, but not massive ones. With Kadri playing so well, and Bozak continuing to improve, not having a big bonafide centre isn’t hurting like it did. Also, Kulemin is a good stand in for a top six winger to play with Kadri and Lupul. It would be nice to upgrade that portion of the team, however the problem is that upgrades are hard to come by, and very costly. It is an area the Leafs could wait for development, but there is nobody in the system that has a high probability of developing into those roles.

          It’s weird to be in a position where your biggest holes are where you have development depth, and the places you can wait on you don’t.

          • reinjosh says:

            It is a little weird. Organizationally we are very deep at defense, but in the top 6, we are very much lacking a guy or two between Phaneuf and Franson.

            Phaneuf is our top pairing guy, and ideally I see Franson as a PP1 specialist and stalwart third pairing guy. With Gunnarsson probably slotting in as a 2nd pairing number 3 guy, we’re missing a top pairing 2 guy, and another top 4 player.

            Liles fit that before he went down for injury last year. Since then he’s been…well bad. O’Byrne isn’t really playing a top 4 role well so we still have those needs.

            I have a feeling this playoff run might determine what Nonis does. Depending on how the team does, it might be the time to make a big move for a top 4 defender using some of the defense prospect depth. Not a youth for an aging vet deal but something else that might work for us.

            Youth for youth like the JVR/Schenn trade. What that might be I have no idea but something like that.

        • reinjosh says:

          Appreciate that man.

          Yeah I hope Nonis focuses on it.

  2. nordiques100 says:

    I would assume everything and anything is in play for the Oilers save for probably Hall, Eberle and RNH. But hey, never say never.

    I think Yaks is definitely available. Even though he is hurt, I really think they should have taken Murray with the top pick instead. He is what they need. A horse on D, a guy who can be a leader.

    I think their upcoming 1st is also in play.

    They do need to be bold and to act.

    I would though take their situation over the Flames any day of the week.

    At least they have that going for them.

    Maybe they boldly try and package Yaks and their 1st for the 1st overall and get Seth Jones. I think they need to revamp and repair their D.

    J. Schultz fine, but not a no. 1. Smid fine, but a no. 4 really, not a top pair guy. Everything else is pretty weak until some of their kids can step up.

    I think they need to get rid of some dead wood. Hemsky for sure gone, same with Horcoff and Smyth.

    And what to do with goaltending? Dubnyk ok but not consistent enough to have the team hide behind. I think they need to go hard after a Bernier.

    I think they need to get nasty again too. Remember when they went to the finals in 2006? Peca, Pronger, Jason Smith, just a vicious team. They need like 4 or 5 big guys to give their young flashy forwards space. I know, that sounds so Cherry, but its true. This team is too Euro, too soft, too much of a pushover.

    They need an infusion of Brandon Prusts or Patrick Kaleta’s or Cal Clutterbucks and lots of them. Not just thugs who fight, just guys too who care who will play with heart. Mike Brown was a good start. Heck even if they had 2 lines full of these players that would be fine. They need to be able to push back.

    and if possible, get a power forward. Not necessarily the next Lucic who can fight, score etc. But even a softer power guy like a JVR type. Just a big guy who will go to dirty areas and play big. Every one of their kid forwards are the same. great stick, high skill, imagination, but small, a bit soft too. No real power and strength except maybe Hall.

    • leafs_wallace93 says:

      When you think of it, they have to go the trade route as they can’t shoot themselves in the foot and overpay UFAs given their young talent they’ll have to look up in the near(ish) future. A Phaneuf for spare parts type deal.


      • nordiques100 says:

        I dont think any free agents really want to go there.

        So trades are their only route of improvement.

        But with everyone under the sun with a NTC/NMC it gets tricky.

        MacT better decide soon what kind of team does he want?

        I think the Oilers have Jason Blake disease. That is the term i used way back when the Leafs signed Blake. It actually describes how a team can keep acquiring the same kind of player. The Leafs had McCabe, but then signed Kubina for reasons no one really understands. They had Tucker but then signed Blake. They got the backup Raycroft and then got backup Toskala. You left your team with a multitude of players doing the same thing and holes in other areas not getting players with other requisite skills in other facets. It was a hypothesis that they could just add guys with skill and they could just throw them together.

        The Oilers drafted Hall…then RNH….then Yakubov. They all offer the same thing. Speed and skill. But there is no grit, there is no one really from their list of “star” young players who offers any leadership of any kind. There is no toughness. They don’t have a guy with big size in combination with high skill.

        Well the argument is you can never have enough skill. Well didn’t they already have Eberle, Gagner, Hemsky, Paajarvi more of the same kid of smaller/softer skilled forwards?

        The otehr argument is that well Quebec and Pittsburgh did the same and won. They didn’t though.

        Quebec was quite fortunate to have a dick like Lindros who wanted out. It landed them a whole slew of players to fill many roles from Forsberg at centre to Ricci the checker to Hextall a no. 1 goalie.

        Pittsburgh with their slew of draft picks did go with all centres, but all brought different elements. Plus they did draft a goalie 1st overall in Fleury. They were far from being the same kinds of players. Crosby was the super leader, Malkin the big and skilled, Staal the defensive conscience.

        The Oilers were simply hoping to suck bad and get a whole lot of skilled guys to recreate the 80s team. Ha, what a farce. Gretz was the thinker and the absolute best, Mess added the power, Coffey the grace on D, Fuhr the stud in goal, Kurri the ultimate 2 way player. The lot of players they have now are to me, all the same.

        I think thats why they stink 5 on 5. All the players seem to go to the same spots and crowd the same areas because they are essentially the same people.

        Maybe BB is the guy. Maybe with these assets at his disposal he can change it all around, and quickly. Its a lot more to work with than having the best trade chip be Antropov.

        Odd that I mentioned Quebec. They picked Sundin, then Nolan, then Lindros, then Warriner. All 4 were traded before they won in Colorado.

        • leafs_wallace93 says:

          Good post, that Quebec connection is eerie, especially given you’re user handle, which I never understood given you’re a Leafs fan..

          We’ve seen this in Leaf Nation over the last few years. Fletcher came and we’re suppose atone for the sins of the past and do a proper rebuild ala Tank Nation though are we really that screwed for the approach Burke took?

          You hit the nail on the head, one dimensional thinking doesn’t build championships. Edmonton has been ever TSN monkey’s internet fantasy rebuild approach and yet the Leafs turned it around faster than Edmonton despite Edmonton rebuilding since their Sam Gagner pick.

          That said, as we’ve discussed over the years Burke’s downfall was his refusal to offer competitive contracts to superstar talent, that he was easy for blueliners and 2nd rate talent (i.e. no cheater contract in favor of scrubs). He shoot himself in the foot for not being flexible.

          Edmonton can hope to be the next Senator IMO, not Colorado or Pittsburg (really makes you wonder how many failed rebuilding teams there has been). Even those Sens eventually had to make radical trades.

          • nordiques100 says:

            The Nordiques is b/c of one thing, Joe Sakic. Fav player ever.

            Success comes from having some identity. Burke’s team had no identity in Toronto b/c his best friend coach thought one way, he felt another and they agreed to disagree. Their identity was with him, himself.

            Edmonton is the same. What team do they have? Who knows. MacT needs to figure that out fast to know then who to keep, who to cut. The Oilers current identity is living in the past, trying to re-create the impossible.

            Nonis, though you dont like him much, has become such an important figure IMO in that you don’t hear from him much. We needed that kind of leadership up there. I felt BB was too much about himself. Too much a distraction.

            And Nonis created the identity simply using the guys BB already brought in. He listened to his coach. They created a team more uniquely Canadian kept the best 25 or so guys who’d fit what the coach wanted and who earned it and who’d wear the jersey with more pride than anyone else.

            The dropping the deadwood moves (Connolly, Komi) is every bit as good as a big trade or free agent signing. A refreshing change here.

            While the arguments were made that BB did bring in Franson, Fraser, Kostka, Kadri etc. so thus his team, the question is, would they have gotten the opportunities they’ve had this year with BB still in charge? I don’t see it. I don’t see Connolly cut b4 the season. I don’t see Komi not only being benched if healthy, but demoted and stripped of his letter. I don’t see #freejakegardiner too b/c I dont see him ever playing with the Marlies no matter how poor he is with the Leafs. And Liles getting 13 games in the press box? Never.

            No matter what it is, if someone is earning their stripes, earning their keep, doing whatever is asked but not rewarded for it, it will cause friction and discontent. Burke creates that atmosphere. That famous stubborness and loyalty he has is admirable, but not conducive to winning at all costs. Tim Connolly is a 10 year vet, a proud member of USA hockey and a multi million dollar player. He gets all the time he deserves cause his past says he earns the benefit of the doubt. That was the identity of this team.

            Now, its not about the GM, its about the name on the front. No players are on pedestals. A change in direction can make the world of difference.

            Edmonton needs to create a new, fresh identity with what they have. They have to figure out what they want to be. Everything appears slabbed together and its like that house that looks newly built and impeccable on the outside but with a crumbling foundation on the inside.

            You need a bit of everything. Burke had only good big trades, like how the Oil have great 1st round draft picks but just zero to show for anything else required to be done by a GM. I am hoping MacT has the balls to do something to make this a team. we’ll see. But again, he must must must know first what team he wants. And have an idea on how to get there. And be open minded to anything.

            • coyotes_bettman says:

              Upon this hiring I laughed out loud over the fact that the “biggest” joke in all of Hockey has his New York Islanders sitting in 6th place 4 points out of 5th in the Eastern conference – and the Edmonton Oilers are now hiring a guy who was a coach that left town disgraced with his tail between his legs to be the GM and Howson who was ran out of Columbus as well?

              Which organization is a joke again?

              Go Isles Go!

          • DannyLeafs says:

            I think Burke’s downfall was the signing he did make, and his mouth, with his mouth being the far and away number one reason. I said it all along, I didn’t dislike the way Burke did it, right down to the Kessel Trade. He added really good pieces, however his talk and actions could have been better aligned. He made every move sound like the intent was to win now, so when you say that and give up picks, people are edgy. The way I always took the Kessel trade was that it was giving up two firsts for a sure fire star forward, so even in a rebuild it could make sense, but as soon as he started talking about winning now it takes on a whole new meaning an urgency.

            As for the big deals to superstars, I have to disagree. There isn’t a single one of those deals that I would have wanted Burke to make. The truth is there wasn’t a lot of talent available, there was one maybe two good players an offseason, all of which are terrible contracts that almost no team would want right now.

  3. Gambo says:

    I think we broke two threads now..

  4. nordiques100 says:

    Interesting. Who knew Carl Gunnarsson was such a glue guy? Those who wanted him bench sure didn’t.

    He really is such a big player helping Dion. Clearly no one else can play with Phaneuf on the roster. They have no shutdown pair and their best D looks extremely uncomfortable without him.

    Jake Gardiner looks lost. He will be a good player still. Just not this year. Time to hit the reset button for Gardiner.

    • leafy says:

      Agree with everything you said, but when Carl Gunnarsson is a valuable shutdown guy, you know it’s important to add a defenceman or two during the summer!!!

    • leafs_wallace93 says:

      Who could have guess that Phaneuf would be hands down our best defenseman and Gardiner not live up to the hype????

      Hope to see Phanuef, Kadri and Kessel locked up this summer.

      • nordiques100 says:

        Phaneuf has been good. But he isn’t when he has rotating partners.

        Some guys just work well together and feed off eachother. See Shea Weber and Suter. Weber misses him, Suter seems to be rolling fine in Minnesota.

        Gunnarsson’s value is undermined. He is just a calming influence on the ice for Dion and it allows him to play his game. Right now, he looks terrible b/c he is trying to compensate for crappy partners. He had Liles for a bit last night too. oh boy, thats not good.

        • reinjosh says:

          They need to find a top pairing guy to play with Phaneuf. Gunnarsson is good but not ideal. Ideally you find a guy that plays a similar game to Gunnarson but at a top pairing level allowing gunnarsson to play on the 2nd line with a guy like Gardiner (to help givve him a calming influence).

          • Gambo says:

            I’ve always thought the perfect partner for Dion would be Girardi from NYR. I don’t see them ever trading him, but that’s what his ideal partner plays like.

          • leafy says:

            I might be in the minority, but I don’t like Gunnarson at all. Maybe it’s hip injury related, I don’t know.

            Just because we’re short on the blueline does not mean Gunnarson is good.

          • nordiques100 says:

            oh i didnt mean to say he was ideal. I just said of what they have now, he’s the guy and totally the guy bar none.

            I don’t think there is anyone else on the roster Dion can really play with.

            they cannot succeed without Gunnarsson or expect to win anything with their current top 6 D excluding him.

            If they can find an upgrade great, but in the meantime, for the balance of the season, they need CG.

            • leafy says:

              Well Franson and Fraser for my money are much better than Gunnarsson, but I totally see your point. Someone capable has to play with Phaneuf.

              Going into this season, I used to think defense was our strength. I hope Gardiner and Reilly are important pieces for the future. But for next season, I really hope we upgrade on the blueline.

              • nordiques100 says:

                There’s a comfort level with CG for Dion. Dion did struggle too with Kostka and playing the left side.

                O’Byrne can’t play those minutes and Fraser/Franson are much better together than apart.

                That leaves everyone else for Dion. Its gotta be CG. i know, when you think about it, thats pretty sad, but, it works and works well for this team.

                JG and Reilly, that will take time. They’re Dmen. Development of these players can take time. Not everyone is Erik Karlsson.

                • LN91 says:

                  Not even Erik Karlsson was Erik Karlsson until last year.

                  Jake Gardiner is going through a sophmore slump, something we have seen with many Leaf players.

          • mojo19 says:

            I think Gunnarsson is developing into a Dennis Seidenberg type. He’s really steady out there. Although he needs to clean it up a little. I think he’s been battling that hip all year.

          • DannyLeafs says:

            I think Being too specific could hurt the search too much. I think the leafs should be looking for either a guy that can play with Phaneuf, or a guy that can be your go to second paring guy. Either or would be a great improvement. Personally, even if the Leafs had a better D than Gunnarsson, i would probably put him on the second pairing. Gunnarsson-Phaneuf is a good pairing, our third pairing is very steady, adding a very good player for our second pairing would be a massive upgrade.

  5. 93killer93 says:

    I really want Tavares to win the Richard trophy. I think he also deserves to be one of the hart nominees. The other night all the analysts liked to point out that Ovechkin has 20% of his teams goals, but so does Tavares, and that’s without a premiere set up man like Backstrom.

    • Gambo says:

      For some reason I always cheer for Ovechkin to win awards. He’s just so exciting to watch, always has been.

    • reinjosh says:

      Tavares put on a show last night. As dissapointed as I was to see the Leafs lose, Tavares was great.

      I think the Hart nominees should be Ovie, Tavares, and Bobrovsky if the Blue Jackets make the playoffs. I’m not sure anyone has done as much for their teams as these three have.

      An aside to this, how good has Moulson been? He has an outside chance of hitting 30 goals for the fourth straight time, but more impressively this will be the 4th straight season he’s improved his ppg pace and his assist pace. He’s on pace for 51 assists! Unreal. Yeah Tavares has been a big help but Moulson has got to be one of the most understated players in the league.

  6. reinjosh says:

    Fun fact of the day.

    Since the start of the 2011-2012 season, Kessel is 4th overall in the entire league for points. Only 8 points behind Claude Giroux.

    He’s 11th in assists and 7th in goals. He’s one of only two players in the top 15 of both of those. The other? Malkin.

    • Gambo says:

      Trade him. He sucks. Easily replaceable. He’s too slow and his shot is only good in the ahl.

    • leafy says:

      Am I missing something? Is there some kind of controversy on whether Kessel is a good player?

      • reinjosh says:

        SOme people still cling to the idea that he’s useless because he can’t defend.

        • LN91 says:

          Their has never been any argument if Kessel is a good player or not.

          The debate has been “Is this a type of star player you can win a cup with?”

          I don’t see it, sad as it sounds. He needs to play with other good players, like Jarome Iginla now in Pittsburgh, to be a Stanley Cup winner.

          In other words, Toronto needs a #1 center or a Patrice Bergeron type player to win the cup. Good luck.

    • leafs_wallace93 says:

      Giroux is amazing cause he does a bunch of phaggy dangles and Kessel sucks because Seguin puts up half as many points as Kessel.

    • LN91 says:

      I like how you use stats, it’s to prove a point…But when me or leafy does, completely irrelevant.

      If you give me a choice between Malkin, Kessel, or Giroux. 1) Malkin, 2) Giroux, and 3) Kessel.

      I don’t care about points…It’s easier to build around a cup contender around a Giroux, Malkin, Toews, or Tavares then a Kessel.

    • nordiques100 says:

      Lets give some credit to Randy Carlyle.

      Today Kessel is a hockey player. Prior to this year, he was just a scorer. He could dangle and be dangerous one half of the rink, the other half he was a liability. He was lazy and could get away with it because of the element of skill he brought. And because coaches let him.

      Carlyle though has preached for him to play a 200 foot game. He’s doing it and to his credit, he’s keeping it up.

      Does he still make defensive mistakes? Yes. Is he still soft? For sure. Can he get pushed off the puck? Sure he can. But most smaller forwards face those same problems. He’ll never win a selke. But, he can’t take shifts off defensively. Carlyle wouldn’t let him, and Kessel has been much better. Its a credit to him to make an effort to be less soft more defensive aware.

      I would just like to see Kessel stop yapping at the refs every time he’s touched. Just keep those feet moving and keep playing.

      • DannyLeafs says:

        What I love about Carlyle is he isn’t asking players to re-invent the wheel, just use what they have to do all the little things. Carlyle hasn’t asked Kessel to hit and block shots, just skate to get back in the play, use his quick stick, and make short hard passes to get it out.

        Kadri has benefited from the same type of mentality. Wilson made the mistake of asking too many guys to do things they weren’t equipped for, and it never worked. Carlyle seems to simply just get the most of what a player is capable. There have been some growing pains, as evidenced when Phaneuf was relied on for 30 minutes a night, but since he has found that 25 minutue sweet spot, playing just enough in all key situations, and pairing him with Franson on the PP, you could argue that Phaneuf has been one of the best D-men in the league over the last 33 games. He has played far and away the best hockey of his career over that span.

  7. Gambo says:

    Pierre LeBrun has Jay McClement to win the Selke.

    • nordiques100 says:

      the award usually goes to a guy who puts up points too. That doesn’t make sense since its the best defensive forward but someone who gets squeezed out of the Hart usually gets nominated here.

      I see it goes to Toews. or Datsyuk.

      • Gambo says:

        Yeah my bets on Toews. It’s just cool to see a leaf player getting some recognition like that.

      • DannyLeafs says:

        I really wish they had an award really designed for those third line heart and soul guys. It’s so true about the Selke. I mean it will be just such an odd coincidence if Toews manages to get nominated for the Hart but then all of a sudden doesn’t get the Selke this year.

        I mean for any team has there been a more important third line player than McClement? Aside from the PK, is there a better player in the league at closing out the last minute of close games. Three empty net goals may sound like a guy who just gets lucky on the score sheet, but I think it’s evidence of how good he is in that final flurry.

    • mojo19 says:

      Bought my McClement jersey early in the season. I love the way this guy plays.

  8. toronto77 says:

    Carrick, Ross, McKegg, Rielly, Broll, Leivo, Biggs, Percy, Sparks and Finn maybe as well, all players that were drafted within the last 3 years all getting playing time for the marlies and will get great playoff experience. This is great for all their development.

    Leivo by the way is quickly becoming one of our top prospects. Was a force when he played for the Kitchener Rangers and already 2 assists in his first 2 games with the marlies.

  9. nordiques100 says:

    Some people don’t like tanking but I can’t see Flame fans being very happy now that their team has vaulted outside the top 5.

    They could be picking 9th overall when it’s all said and done.

    There doing themselves no favors showing this perceived “heart and guts” winning and perservering when it really doesn’t matter.

    It’s great and all Kiprusoff went out at home winning, but they will seriously regret it.

    They’ll still likely end up with a good player. But one probably 2-3 years away than one who can step in right away.

    • mojo19 says:

      Who knows, maybe it works out for the best in the long run. I remember when we drafted Kadri I was really disappointed because with 2 or 3 more losses we could have drafted Evander Kane. But now, it looks like they’ll both be great players and Kadri might even be better.

      Tanking does make the most sense, but often things just play out unpredictably.

  10. lafleur10 says:

    what do the leafs need to clinch a playoff spot? 1 win,2 wins? how do you think they do tonight against ottawa?

  11. leafmeister says:

    Anyone think the Flyers would be willing to part with Couturier for Gardiner +? Couturier would be an excellent potential solution to the top 6 center issue, but he would cost a lot. I would be interested in a deal like that if I were Nonis.

    • mojo19 says:

      Couturier is interesting, sure. Gardiner for Couturier straight up is pretty much fair value, one would think.

      • Gambo says:

        I still wish the leafs had both Luke and Brayden Schenn.

      • lafleur10 says:

        it would cost you gardiner and something like a pick gardiner still hasn’t put it together yet and big centers like courterier are more valuable and are worth alot.

        • leafmeister says:

          I would be willing to add more pieces to Gardiner to make that deal work. Couturier is gonna be money.

        • DannyLeafs says:

          I would have to totally agree with you there. Big centers that can play both with good offensive upside are quite rare. As much as I like what Gardiner could be, defensemen seem to have a harder time adjusting sometimes, and even when they have some success at the NHL level, it isn’t a guarantee it can be repeated.

          Also, for the Leafs, Courturier isn’t as much a gamble. Playing between van Reimsdyk and Kessel would make the offensive game a little easier, and having Kadri developing nicely there wouldn’t be as much of a burden on him to be an offensive juggernaut. He wouldn’t have to be amazing, just good.

          I would love to make that trade though, just because I see Courturier as more of a sure thing.

  12. mojo19 says:

    Seriously though, if Gardiner can work some aspects of his game, he could be a big time stud, so I am hoping to hold onto him. I mean, we’re talking about a 22 year old defenseman here. There’s still lots of room for him to grow.

    • leafmeister says:

      You have gotta give quality to get quality. Gardiner can be replaced within the system, there is no talent comparable to Couturier in the Toronto system.

      • mojo19 says:

        I hear you, obviously defensive depth is a position of strength. But a bird in hand is worth two in the bush.

        I also remember dealing Tuuka Rask, since Justin Pogge was higher on the depth chart and “you only need 1 goalie”…. I would hate to move Gardiner under the assumption that he’s easily replaceable within the system. It’s still very risky.

        Having said that, I liked Schenn for JVR, if a Gardiner for a star young forward were made available it would definitely be enticing depending on the details of the deal.

  13. leafy says:

    Congratulations to the Toronto Maple Leafs for making the playoffs!!!

    At long last, after 4 coaches and 3 Popes, it’s finally happened.

  14. leafy says:

    The last time the Leafs made the playoffs, if you wanted to watch Darcy Tucker cream Sami Kapanen, you had to download it off Kazaa.

  15. leafy says:

    Reimer baby. 50 shots, 49 saves! Just another day at the office.

    Fairly obvious what’s the no. 1 reason for the Leafs making the playoffs this year.

    • nordiques100 says:

      Pretty high on the work the coaching staff has done too.

      They commented on how Reimer has changed under St Croix.

      And we’ve seen how well Kadri and Kessel have played.

      And Lupul seems to have taken it up to another level. Same with Dion.

      While they’re still issues, this is a close knit team, with an actual system in place and one that if it works really hard every game, they’ll give their opponent all they can handle.

  16. toronto77 says:

    the reason the leafs are getting outshot is because the opposing teams just take lots of shots hoping one will go in. Ottawa had 50 shots last night, but only about 25 were quality scoring chances.

    The leafs cycle the puck and pass the puck WAY MORE than most teams and don’t take a shot for the sake of taking a shot and try to create a scoring chance.

    Sens 50 shots but 25 quality scoring chances
    Leafs 22 shots on goal but maybe 15-18 quality scoring chances.

    25-18 not such a big difference.

    • leafy says:

      The Leafs are a very unusual breed. For a team to get constantly outshot day in and day out, and still make the playoffs, that is very unusual. In fact, the Leafs have the largest negative shot differential of any team making the playoffs in the past 11 years.

  17. toronto77 says:

    The first goal still should of counted! Komarov didn’t really interfere with Anderson. Komarov skated into the crease and Anderson cross-checked, so it was 50/50, and then Phillips chained him to the post and it was Anderson’s fault the puck went in because he was still pushing Komarov, if he had been paying attention he would have the made the save from Phaneuf.

    It was deemed as a good goal by the refs, and I thought plays where there is goaltender interference is “unreviewable”? The refs should have deemed the interference right away but they did not. Even though there was a little interference the goal should have counted b/c the refs did not initially call it untill the sens started whining.

    I thought Lupul was going to be stapled to the bench in the 3rd. Excellent play by Grabo, instead of clearing the puck down the zone which would give the puck back to the sens, he makes a nice short pass to Lupul which would allow the leafs to carry the puck out of the zone. It was Lupul who failed to look up and realize that there was no one around him and lazilly cleared the puck right to the sens d-man that led to their first goal to give them life in the dying seconds of the 2nd. Lupul was wide open with no pressure around him, he had time to carry the puck out.

    Reimer who was drafted in the 4th round in 2006, and took 4 years to make it with the marlies and one more year with the leafs. How about Sparks??? drafted just 2 years ago in the friggin 7th round, backed up Team USA in the IIHF, one of the best goalies in the OHL, already signed to an entry level contract and now that his OHL team is eliminated he is up with the marlies, though he allowed all 3 shots in the shootout yesturday he had a fairly solid game. What a 7th round steal!!!

    • leafs_wallace93 says:

      Really impressed with Phaneuf’s squeezing that opportunity to just put it on net. Everyone talks about how Phaneuf can’t hit the net but that was an example of his hockey IQ and talent (he also holds one of the top shooting percentages among defensemen).

      Garbo’s give a away cost Riemer the shutout but really all good problems to have I suppose.

      I was surprised to see the shot count at the end of the game, Ottawa had a couple of good scoring chances but all their shots were nothing plays where they put the puck on Riemer’s chest. It’s credit to a blueline that gets out of the way and let’s Riemer and Scrivens see shots.

      Now if our goaltenders have a bad game we get killed but that’s true of every team in the league. Riemer and Scrivens are playing adequate that’s all this team needs from them.

      It’s quality of chances we give up not quantity.

  18. leafmeister says:

    Reimer’s importance to this season, especially of late, cannot be overstated. In my mind, he has worked his way into the team Canada 2014 talk. Not as a starter, but maybe as the 3rd goalie. I mean, the goalies in discussion are really Price, Fleury, Ward and Luongo. Reimer has been the best of that lot this season, and if he continues it next year, I could see him making it as the 3rd goalie. He has a long way to go to get the starting job, and I feel that Luongo will be brought for veteran leadership and experience, but I think he could grab that 3rd spot.

  19. leafs_wallace93 says:

    And I don’t understand how quality of chances vs overall shots against baffles Leaf fans. We’ve seen Paul Maurice’s Leafs that were terrible but routinely out shot opponents and were terrible. Pretty much every game you the Leafs you see the Leafs produce a number of quality chances and score despite not producing a bunch of shots. Teams that don’t have a ton of skill (i.e. Ottawa or the Leafs for the last 7 years) just put the puck on net and hope for the best.

    If Riemer played head and shoulders above Scrivens this season, I’d agree that SA would be concerning but Scrivens has proven capable even when Riemer went down.

    SA is just a stat for Leaf fans that must declare the sky is falling to feel smarter than they actually are.

  20. Gambo says:

    If Martin St. Louis wins the Art Ross he’ll be the oldest player to win it by 3 years! Howe is currently the oldest to win it, he did so when he was 34.

  21. coyotes_bettman says:

    Good to see that the Leafs have qualified for the chance to play in the post season, just think that the last time if you wanted to watch a replay of the Darcy Tucker hit on Kapanen you had to download it on Kazaa, 3 popes, the second bush term and the Obama first term…

    Congrats Leafs nation you have been patient and deserve this.

  22. Gambo says:

    I know that Doorman is a huge fan of Kerby Rychel, I was researching some of the players who should be later 1st rounders this year and he’s the guy that I’ve been most impressed by. He wasn’t good at all in his rookie season, then out of no where had 41 goals the next season. This year he’s put up 40 goals again, but also increased the amount of assists by almost 20. He looks to be a solid pick for whoever gets him.

    Kerby Rychel and Bo Horvat are the two players that the leafs have a shot at who impress me most.

    But first lets focus on the road to kicking Montreal’s butt in the playoffs.

  23. nordiques100 says:

    I hope the Leafs will take these next 3 games somewhat seriously.

    Perhaps the game against the Panthers will be one they can rest a few guys, but really, the team needs to work on its game.

    They should have 2 good practices and they can hopefully use those things they’re working on during the two games in Florida.

    For the Panther game, I think a few players could use a bit of rest.

    Probably Carl Gunnarsson can rest for those two games and play in the finale against Montreal.

    I think Mike Kostka should draw in and Gardiner too should be in the lineup.

    And certainly Frattin and Colborne should play.

    But for the Montreal game, after 5 days of working on things like 5 on 5 play, the team should dress the group that will likely play game 1 of the playoffs.

    I don’t believe Orr and McLaren will both play. I have to believe the team will either want scoring depth in the lineup (Frattin) or an extra penalty killer (Hamilton) who can also play wing or centre.

  24. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    Stats are often used as a way to support an argument even when they don’t tell the real story. Indivudual stats don’t always tell how well a player is contributing…you really have to watch the guy play.
    Team stas don’t always tell the story on how successful a team is either. Sometimes things like goals against, save pct’s, offensive/defensive zone starts, shots on goal, plus/minus and even goals and assists don’t usually tell the whole story.
    Things like PP pct, PK pct, time of ice, blocked shots, hits, giveaways etc are pretty hard to refute, but one team stat that I think tells a huge story and doesn’t get talked about enough is puck possession time. The Leafs are bottom feeders and we have managed to win despite that. Having the puck allows you to control the game, create more scoring opportunities, keep shots against down, take less penalties, reduce fatigue and wear and tear especially on your D-men, wear down the other team and normally relates to wins.

    The Leafs number one priority should be improving puck possession. This is especially true in the playoffs where increased games over less nights is the norm. Our shots against are a direct result of how little we control the puck. To be successful in the playoffs, we need to control the play more. Below is what we need to do better.IMO

    1) Stop just chipping the puck out and come out of our end with possession more often. Chipping it out is safe, but just gives the puck back to the opponent allowing them to continue to press and keep our tired players on the ice. We need to come out with possession, get proper player changes and then press their D.
    2)Win more puck battles. With possession of the puck we cycle fairly well, but we do not create enough turnovers or win enough down-low battles in order to create enough cycles.
    3)Pressure opposing wingers more in the offensive zone. We need our D to be more active on pressuring wingers along the sidewalls on attempted breakouts. Too often our D backs off when they have support and could pinch down to keep the puck in the offensive zone.
    4) Reduce the turnovers. Fairly simple, just make better decisions with the puck so we retain possession.

    Simply put, if we have the puck more it means they will be chasing us, not the other way around. This should result in more power plays for us, we will play more our style over defending their’s, reduce our shots against and increase shots for, and most importantly in a short playoff series…wear down and tire the other team out.

    I’m not knocking Carlysle. I liked him as a pick for Leafs coach from the start and it’s hard to question his decision making, (even though I still do sometimes:)), when you consider the win totals of the Leafs. I do believe this is a huge concern of his as well though and I hope he can get some of it sorted.

    • leafy says:

      “The Leafs number one priority should be improving puck possession.”

      Exactly! That’s the main point. Now you’ve nailed it! It’s NOT so much the shots per se that bothers me. It’s the fact that when you get constantly outshot every game like Toronto has this year, shots are a MARKER that the other team usually has the puck. Otherwise, who really cares about shots if you’re not scoring? The Leafs have got to improve their puck possession game for next year via some smart personnel moves. Big test for Nonis.

      • leafy says:

        I’ll also add that maybe personnel moves aren’t neccesarily needed in many places, since the younger players may very well mature.

      • mojo19 says:

        Ya I would tend to agree. I really don’t care too much about the shots. Scoring chances, and the quality of, much more important.

        Also, I definitely agree that our number one deficiency is that we lack a cycle game which results in quick offensive zone turnovers all too often, which leads to bad possession numbers.

        What we could really use is a couple of big forwards who can work the boards. I feel like the usual suspects are always responsible for being the play killers. It’s my number one problem with Bozak. As much as he does well, he’s always getting worked down low, and often not in the right spot on offence. Not to pick on him, it’s a team problem that Carlyle has been harping about but can’t seem to fix….yet.

        • DannyLeafs says:

          I think a definitive third line could help. Not a big fan of MacArthur and Grabovski in checking roles. I would really like to see a good offensive winger added to Kadri and Lupul so that Kulemin could play with Komarov and Mcclement full time on a checking line. I think that would be the best result for assets as a good winger is easier to find than bonafide 1/1A centre with size, and it would strengthen two lines at once, where as replacing Bozak pretty much puts him off the team IMO.

    • leafs_wallace93 says:

      This team is reminding me of Cujo’s Leafs, how many times did we watch Ottawa in the playoffs basically live in our zone, the Leafs veterans burying chances on their handful of chances.

      The offense has been there all season, Riemer & Scrivens get run support each game, I’m not concerned. It’s not like the Leafs can/should be reinventing their game going into the playoffs. Stick what brought you to the dance and take the off season to address any holes exposed in the playoffs.

      • realistic_leafs_fan says:

        I don’t think anyone is suggesting we reinvent the way we play. It’s more about what should be worked on. As you said, Cujo’s Leafs were a team of veterans, this is a team of playoff rookies and are more likely to crack under continued pressure in our own end during the playoffs. Carlysle has some practice days to work on things and this should be his top priority.IMO

        • leafs_wallace93 says:

          Look around the league are there a ton of dangerous veteran teams? Veterans are still young players like Toews and Kane, it’s a different league now.

          Though to counter my own point, looking forward to Lupul, he was beast for the Ducks in his early career through their playoff runs.

  25. leafmeister says:

    Poor Calgary. They are already up to the 7th overall pick. No Jones, MacKinnon, Drouin, or Barkov. They will probably get Monahan, Lindholm, or Nurse. My understanding is that it is quite a deep draft, so it could be worse, but this pointless little hot streak at the end may be the difference between a good hockey player, and a franchise hockey player.

    For young teams like the Leafs and Oilers, there is purpose to getting those wins. But Calgary has essentially no pieces in place, so why should they care if this group feels shitty about themselves? I know that no pro-athlete is gonna throw a game, but this hot streak could not have come at a worse time.

    • leafs_wallace93 says:

      I’m happy to see this happen to another team’s fanbase.

      • leafmeister says:

        Yeah I guess. I am not particularly fond of Calgary. In fact, the only Canadian teams I like other than Toronto are Winnipeg and Montreal. I only like the Habs cause they are so classic and such great rivals.

        The Canucks are my least favorite team by a mile.

  26. Because simply put – You’re not allowed tank in the NHL. Too many people are watching you. It not like you can say “Hey, do me a favor and turn the puck over for 3 breakaways. Don’t worry, you’ll still get your money when we have to re-sign you.”

    • leafmeister says:

      Yeah I was more lamenting their bad luck than suggesting that they should actually throw games. Cause it is seriously shit luck.

      • nordiques100 says:

        cant say they haven’t tried. they played Joey MacDonald the last game and he came up with a 38 save performance to steal the win from Minnesota.

        And Kipper the previous two games played his best two games of the year arguably.

        I guess the only possibility would have been to play Irving or another one of their younger goalies and hope he gets shelled.

        Not much you can do when a team has nothing to play for. We’ve seen it a lot in Toronto. They have zero pressure and can just go out and play. Not think too much out there.

        • mojo19 says:

          It’s one of those funny things. The pressure is completely off, many of the veteran star players have been shipped out, and all the sudden the team starts playing good hockey. It’s just the way it goes sometimes.

  27. leafs_wallace93 says:

    Washington has three games left and it’s Winnipeg, Ottawa and Boston. Winnipeg and Ottawa will be playing desperate to claw in. Boston should be playing for the division title. Hope the Caps cool down this week, don’t think anyone wants a piece of Ovie in the playoffs.

  28. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    Steve Mason with Philly…2W, 2L, 2.09 GAA, .931 svpct. I thought it was a good move by Philly to take a chance on this guy, I have always liked him but think he was too rushed in Columbus. I hope he keeps it up…just never against us.LOL

  29. nordiques100 says:

    I am sure the TV networks are on the edge of their seats waiting to see how the rest of the season plays out and how the playoff matchups line up.

    The CBC and TSN are certainly hoping for the Jets and Ottawa both to get in.

    It would guarantee a Canadian series on TSN and it would guarantee more Canadian teams on CBC generating a greater audience.

    On the other hand, NBC and the NHL for that matter are really pulling for the Rangers and the Red Wings. If they had their way too, the Flyers and one of the Florida teams would be in and both Ottawa and Winnipeg would be out.

    While it would be great for hockey to see the plucky and pesky Jackets make it, I am sure the NHL’s preference is for the Wings to make it.

    A series between the Wings and Hawks, and on the other side, the Pens and Rangers, would be orgasmic for the NHL and NBC.

    A series between Montreal and Toronto would be a huge boon for CBC. Its guaranteed that the CBC with the 1st choice will choose any series with the Leafs and have huge audiences.

    But a Habs/Leafs tilt would be off the charts.

    As consolation, I think the CBC would accept even a Habs/Sens 1st round tilt.

    TSN by the looks of it is guaranteed a Canadian series no matter what. So, after the success they enjoyed with the Habs/Caps series a couple years ago, they will be ecstatic to broadcast one of the Canadian teams.

    Its looking like there will be a lot of great hockey regardless in a week’s time.

  30. leafy says:

    Wednesday’s game is an absolute 100% must must-win.

  31. leafy says:

    Trivia question: When was the last time the Leafs made the playoffs and Detroit didn’t?

  32. leafy says:

    Man I hate this Blue Jays team. I like last year’s team way more.

  33. nordiques100 says:

    Isles clinch, Jets in huge trouble, Panthers look like they’ve helped the Sens and Jets beating the Rangers.

    Winnipeg to get in needs to beat the Habs while having Ottawa and the Rangers get only 1 point in their remaining games.

    They win the tiebreakers with the most ROWs.

    That may be too much to ask with Ottawa having 3 games and NY with 2 soft games against bottom feeders.

    But, Ottawa is on the road in Wash and Boston with their home game against the pesky Flyers.

    The Rags face a Canes team who did beat the Isles tonight, and the Devils who beat the Habs. So you never know.

  34. DannyLeafs says:

    The East does not seem like it will be down to the wire at all. The bigger drama is that 2-4-5 positioning. Toronto has what should be two soft games against Tampa and Florida, if they get 4 points they get to play Montreal for the opportunity to pass them in the standings, regardless of what Montreal does in their second last game.

    It would be really exciting to see Toronto-Montreal playing a meaningful final game for home ice advantage before meeting in the first round. To me that is the most interesting scenario in the East, bias or not.

  35. LN91 says:

    I think this has been a great season for teams like Toronto and Montreal, it’s a great learning experience for their young players and hopefully they can grown from this experience.

    However, as the few last weeks have looked for both squads, I think it’s important for these fan bases to keep their expectations next year at a reasonable level. A lockout season (in any sport) is kind of a facade, you really have to put things into perspective the following season

    In a full 82-game season, I cannot, nor should any fan of these two teams, suggest that they will improve next year or possibly be a sure-fire playoff team.

    It’s a step in the right direction and great learning curve, but both teams still have ways to.

    • leafs_wallace93 says:

      Surprise, surprise wet blanket time.

      How good have the Leafs been this year? Boston and Montreal are only ahead of them on gimmick shootout points. The Leafs have a couple of losses to the South East, it’s not a fall from grace like Montreal or Boston who just aren’t an offensive threat.

      Philly, NJ, NYR, Washington have proven that any team outside of the top two in the East aren’t playoff shoe ins in any year. The model of rebuild through consecutive lean years is simply out dated and doesn’t work nor can it be achieved deliberately. Contending seasons and rebuild seasons will become the new models.

    • reinjosh says:

      LN91 giving the leafs a compliment? Oh wait, it comes with pessimism. Quintessential Ln91 post, forever the pessimist. Not that it’s always a bad thing. You were bang on last year about the leafs being a bad team even though they started strong. Wrong about Kadri. Win some lose some.

      But good post. I’m not sure i agree with not expecting improvement (to a point of course), but I definitely agree with the expecations need to reigned in.

      • LN91 says:

        Meh, you win some…You lose some. I’ve made many hits and you lose one every once in awhile.

        In a lockout year, everything has to be taken with a grain of salt…I know that sounds weird, but 48 games is not telling of an actual 82-game season.

        Yes, you may see some improvement…But that improvement could be a 7th/8th seed because we do not know what the Leafs seeding was.

  36. leafy says:

    I think that’s a very fair assessment LN91. The Leafs have taken a major step forward and clearly moving in the right direction.

    In the meantime, fans need to have reasonable expectations and remember this is a young team. I’m glad how the season has progressed and no matter what happens in the playoffs, this has been a successful big step. Any additional success in the playoffs will be a huge bonus.

    The year ahead will be a big test for Nonis, as this team is a few really smart moves away from being a bona fide contender. I think most fans know what the shopping list should be.

    • nordiques100 says:

      I think the Leafs could very well mirror how the Kings went about things.

      LA missed the playoffs 7 years in a row. Then after a couple of first round losses, they moved swiftly and boldly getting Carter and Richards.

      They spent time maximizing assets and then striking when the time was right. They saw Doughty, Kopitar and Brown start to really mature and they felt Quick/Bernier were solid in goal albeit inexperienced. Sounds familiar eh?

      They are also a big team that doesn’t get pushed around and values guys who are hard to play against.

      When the time is right, Nonis best step up and have the Joneses to go for it.

    • LN91 says:

      Thank you.

      I just look at things like puck possession, shots for and against, and the Leafs struggles with playing a North-South game and it’s going to be very hard to repeat if these numbers do not improve.

      Let’s just look at Florida…3rd last year…Dead last this year. The Leafs have the kind of team that can finish in the middle of the pact…But also finish dead last in the league.

      Time will tell, but let’s keep expectations reasonable.

      • leafmeister says:

        They need to add more over the off-season. I would like them to add a veteran top 6 forward to temporarily replace Bozak’s scoring (Briere, if he is bought out), and another top 4 defensemen if possible. (Robyn Regehr would be ideal if he isn’t too expensive) I think they should try and get guys even more suited to Carlyle. David Clarkson comes to mind.

        Anyone think Nashville would trade Gaustad for Grabovski? Maybe the Leafs would have to add something real minor, or eat some of Grabo’s salary, but I am a big fan of what Gaustad could bring to Grabovski’s current role.

        We have to prepare for a serious decrease in Kadri’s scoring, and add assets to replace it.

        JVR – Briere – Kessel
        Lupul – Kadri – Kulemin
        Clarkson – Gaustad – Frattin
        Komarov – McClement – McClaren

        Regehr – Phaneuf
        Fraser – Franson
        Liles – Gunnarsson


        Carlyle could do some damage with that size and physicality.

        • nordiques100 says:

          while fine players in their own right, Clarkson, Gaustad and Regehr are 3 very slow skaters. And, they are aging. I am not sure how much Clarkson has left in the tank. I think his style of play leaves him to possibly be broken down much sooner than later.

          I am not sure I’d bring them in.

          I think the preference is younger players with more energy. I think they need to find what LA found with young Clifford, Nolan and King to provide that energy and size up front if that is what they want to turn to.

          I think too I’d much rather keep Bozak than get a Briere. Briere is too injury prone at this stage in his career and like former centres like Ray Whitney and Steve Sullivan, he may be more suited to play the wing at this stage of his career.

          The top line will eventually need a centre who can play all 200 feet. Bozak can do that, Briere and even Kadri cannot.

          As for defence, it will be tricky to find someone who can mesh with Dion. Since he has arrived, the best fit seems to be Gunnarsson. I think his injury is hampering his play. Once he returns to 100% I have no problem believing he will be solid. But adding another Dman would be ideal. The best case would be someone within emerges as a huge surprise much like how Fraser stepped in and played.

          • leafmeister says:

            The Leafs are a young team. They could use some vets to balance with.

            I don’t think Bozak is that good defensively. His faceoff skill is valuable, but beyond that, he is all-around average. The team that pays him 5+ this summer is a major sucker.

            If no better options present themselves, then that team may be us. It is just unfortunate.

            If I were Nonis, I would be thinking about getting really creative this summer.

            • If you can get a 2 year deal out of Bozo (yeah, I’m calling him that), wouldn’t it be better to just pay him what he wants, assuming you have the space? The 2 year deal wouldn’t hurt you guys that much, and rather than down grading to an option cheaper and slower, you should just eat the 2 year deal. Assuming a valuable center doesn’t emerge as an option.

              • leafs_wallace93 says:

                I’ve said to take this approach from day one but you know how Leaf fans can be, if they have to over pay it’s unforgivable, they’d rather dead cap space instead in hopes of that perfect center that doesn’t exist let alone coming to this team.

                • Gambo says:

                  A 2 year over payment for Bozak is the best option. The team isn’t hurting cap wise, there aren’t any answers for a number 1 center and Bozak has proven he can play top line.

                  While Bozie isn’t the ideal first line center, he’s the only option. It wouldn’t be impossible to trade him either if someone else becomes available. Besides, he deserves to be over paid, he’s been the first line center basically since he got here while only making a 3rd liner’s salary.

                  I just really hope Toronto can trade Grabovski sometime at the draft or this summer. I can see him going somewhere like Dallas or Nashville and really doing well.

          • LN91 says:

            Am I the only 1 that has liked Colborne over the last few games? Bash him all you like, but his line has probably been the only one that can sustain a forecheck over the last couple of games.

            The issues start with this team down the middle. Toronto really cannot expect to win with a Kadri-Grabo-Bozak combo. Kadri is staying, so this offseason…They have to decide between Bozak and Grabo.

            On the wings. A group of Lupul, Kessel, JVR, Kulemin, Frattin, and Komarov is solid. Mac should be a goner. Might see a prospect jump into this group, not safe.

  37. leafy says:

    I just don’t understand what Leaf fans like about Carl Gunnarsson. Easily he’s the Leaf’s worst defenceman. I honestly just don’t get it.

    • LN91 says:

      Well, Kostka. I’m not sure what Carlyle thinks at times

      • mojo19 says:

        Kostka is our 8th Dman, no question. He got a lot of minutes early in the year, when he played really well. I think he had an advantage because he had been hot with the Marlies when the NHL season started, and he was able to steal a roster spot. But as the year went on and everyone started getting their legs under them, you could see Mike Kostka get overwhelmed, and the play was just too quick for him.

        Still, glad Carlyle got him into a couple games before the playoffs, keeping everyone fresh.

        One advantage Kostka has over O’Byrne (to compare the depth R-handed shooters) is that he’s a bit quicker and better with the puck, but with O’Byrne’s big frame, I have to say the big man is more solid and effective overall.

        My depth chart would be


        Mark Fraser was a big steady horse for us all year. He’s generally really good at making up for his lack of mobility and limited skill set with his physicality and by making quick decisions the puck. He’s been a real unsung hero, delivering steady minutes on the back end.

        John Michael Liles has been really good for the last few weeks. He’s playing with an edge and he’s moving the puck really well. I like when he plays like this. Liles you want to really notice out there. You want to see him rushing and making smart pinches, and throwing some borderline bows, when he plays like that he’s a beast. Unlike a Gunner or Fraser who blend in quietly and get the job done, John-Michael Liles is at his best when you’re really noticing him a ton.

        • lafleur10 says:

          where you you place komisarek on your depth chart? wouldn’t you place him ahead of kostka,maclaren,o’byrne?…or do you think he’s done as a defenceman in the league?

    • mojo19 says:

      Gunnarsson is arguably our best defenceman after Franson. Dion Phaneuf is very effective, I can’t stand his hands of stone, but he and Liles have been solid veterans this year.

      But ya, Leafy, watch what Gunner does in the corners in our end. Lidstrom-style positioning on the puck to give himself some room, one smoothe stride and a smart pass. Simple, controlled, can’t ask for much more.

      He’s not flashy, but he’s silky smooth at times. He’s struggled with consistency this year, but he’s also been dominant some nights. If he can get it all together, you’ve got a top end minute eater in the mould of a Dennis Seidenberg or Niklas Hjalmersson. Somewhere in that mix is a good comparison for Gunner.

  38. mojo19 says:

    Nice comments about tampering expectations, everyone. To me, the number one thing to take from this year is that Randy Carlyle has instituted a new culture, which hopefully will continue into next year. If we play with this type of edge and with the aggression Carlyle has the boys playing with, we should be a competitive team again next year.

    Carlyle deserves serious Jack Adams consideration for the work he’s done here.

    • lafleur10 says:

      and we will get some consideration for the jack adams,therrien,maclean,and carlyle will be the finalist from the east

      • mojo19 says:

        I agree with those choices.

        • lafleur10 says:

          those are the 3 obvious choices to mojo i think therrien and carlyle will get the nod over maclean and will be the finalists for the jack adams look what carlyle did for you guys, took a team that was terrible and took them to the playoffs ,same with therrien he took us from worst to first maclean did really well with most of his top guys missing for a good part o the season but they were in the playoffs last year and nobody picked us or you guys to be there this year and we are and that can’t be ovelooked.

  39. kessel_leafs81 says:

    if edmonton does want to trade an elite forward for depth, first i think it is a good idea because depth is equally as important as star power (look at NYR after trading gaborik for example) i think toronto has enough depth to over pay for a young stud like yakupov and still have good depth after that will extremely help our team.

    to edm: gardiner, gunnarson, finn, kulimen, frattin, 2nd

    to Tor: yakupov

    this is a huge risk, but i love the way yakupov plays, dont think he’s gonna be a bust at all.. he makes things happen and this package will force edmonton to make the deal while yakupov will be at least a 30 goal scorer minimum, and if he grows into his full potential it will be bonus.

    resign macarthur, bozak, o’byrne


    kessel – bozak – JVR
    lupul – kadri – yakupov (most dangle, snipe, celly line in the nhl, fun to watch)
    komarov – grabo – macarthur
    mclaren- mcclement – orr

    phaneuf – o’reilly (if he makes the team)
    liles – o’byrne
    franson – fraser

    kotska/ holzer


  40. Gambo says:

    If Bryzgalov gets bought out this summer I hope one of Toronto or Detroit pick him up just so he can star on HBO.

  41. leafy says:

    Toronto-Boston in round 1.

    The Habs would have been the best matchup for the Leafs, mainly due to Montreal’s goalie issues flaring up at the wrong time of year.

    The Bruins are a tall order to say the least. The Leafs can give them a challenge for sure, but the only way the Leafs win this series is if Reimer steals it (which, by the way, cannot be completely ruled out).

    • toronto77 says:

      I think it worked out for the best. Even though Toronto stands a better chance at playing Montreal, I think it’s a better learning experience for us to get beat by a team like Boston in 4 or 5 games than to beat Montreal in 6 or 7.

      I’m super excited to play Boston just because of the learning expericne that we can take into next year, especially for a young team like Toronto. If the leafs are ever winning in a game against the B’s at home, let’s start the “Thank You Seguin” chants. We owe it to Kessel.

      The islanders are super pissed at the sens! now the isles have to play the penguins, though I think the islanders are physical enough to compete with the Pens, it’s a sure first round exit for them.

      Tonight was a must win for Ottawa! Instead of playing the Pens, now they put themselves in a really good position to play the Habs( a team they can definatly beat) and wouldn’t be surprised if they make it to the 2nd round, but may have to play the Pens anyway.

      I hope the Rangers beat out the Caps just because i’m pissed at the Caps for getting the home ice advantafe by default. They finished 3rd, but really they should have finished 5th.

      It should really be:
      Pens v.s Isles
      Habs v.s Sens
      Bruins v.s Rangers
      Caps v.s Leafs

      They should just have 2 conferences next season and that’s it! None of this who finished at what position in their division bullshit, get rid of the divisions!

      Next season the top 4 teams in each division in the conference make the playoffs. So say for example the leafs finish in 5th in their division with 80 points and the Caps finish 4th in their division with 75 points. The Caps would make the playoffs over the leafs. That is retarded. Points are points! why should the leafs miss the playoffs just because they are in a tougher division! The leafs have clearly proven that they are a better team then the Caps(in my example).

  42. lafleur10 says:

    here’s my picks for the east and west in the playoffs
    pittsburgh(1) vs nyi(8)
    pens in 4
    montreal(2) vs ottawa(7)
    habs in 5
    washington(3) vs nyr(6)
    rangers in 7
    boston(4) vs tor(5)
    bruins in 5
    chicago(1) vs minnesota(8)
    hawks in 4
    anaheim(2) vs detroit(7)
    redwings in 7
    vancouver(3) vs sanjose(6)
    canucks in 6
    st.louis(4) vs los angeles(5)
    blues in 7

    • leafmeister says:

      Fuck that third wheel team from Ottawa stealing the series that had Leaf fans licking their lips and Habs fans shitting themselves.

      I am not sure who I like in the Ottawa-Montreal series. On paper, Montreal looks better everywhere but goaltending. However, Ottawa has proven to be a dangerous team, and Montreal is having goaltending issues.

      Kinda sucks that we have to play Boston, but maybe it will be like how Ottawa used to own us in the regular season and lie down in the playoffs. One can only hope. Either way, the playoff experience is valuable.

  43. lafleur10 says:

    habs fan weren’t shitting themselves we welcomed a series against you guys just to knock you off would’ve been icing on the cake but oh well we’ll beat the other team from ontario! we are a better team than ottawa in every aspect they will give us a good series but we’ll beat them in 5
    as for the bruins good luck you guys are really in tough and this series will be over quick don’t think it’ll go more than 5 the playoff experience will be valuable for you going forward but the bruins too are better in every aspect and are a far deeper team

    • leafmeister says:

      Tell me, what is a better save percentage, .905, or .941? Price also is not great in the playoffs. He has won 1 series back in 08′, and almost blew it. Ottawa has had the best goaltending in the league this year. Price can’t even crack the top 30 for save percentage, and despite being on a division winning team, is 29th in GAA. Those are spectacularly average numbers. You could even call them bad considering how well the team played.

      The Bruins will may emerge from the series, but they will be battered and bruised.

      • mojo19 says:

        Price is the biggest choker in hockey, today.

      • lafleur10 says:

        price only went in a slump in the last 2 weeks of the season ,after we clinched on april 11th he was near the top in every category for goalteanding he even was leading in wins too but the slump hurt those numbers but he came out of it and has really started to play the way he was before the slump and that bodes well for us,plus he’s got alot to prove he e’ll rise to the chaallenge he won that series in 08 and had 2 shutouts that year 1 of them was game 7 and 3 years ago he was in net and lost game 7 in o.t to the bruins and his sv% that year was the best in the playoffs it was better than thoma’s eventhough they won the cup every goaltender and team go through it… we’ll be fine yes andersen is a very good goaltender and had the best save% in the league but i still like our chances against ottawa yes the leafs -bruins series will be really rough and tough the winner(bruins) will be so battered and beat up they’ll lose in the second round to whoever they face.

        • leafmeister says:

          Going into the blowout against Toronto, Price had a .912 save percentage. By the end of the year standards, that would put him squarely in 25th. Behind such goaltending masters as Ben Scrivens and Devan Dubnyk. But sure, call it near the top if you want.

          His save percentage has been average since the beginning of March, and before that, it wasn’t even that good.

          His GAA was good, for sure, but he was on a top ranked team, his GAA should be good.

          He hasn’t exactly come out of his slump either. One win against Winnipeg and everything is good?

    • mojo19 says:

      I guess you’re really relieved to see Ottawa win tonight, eh lafleur? Now you guys have a chance to win a playoff round. Good luck.

      • lafleur10 says:

        we would’ve won either way no matter who we would’ve played sens or leafs mojo
        good luck against the bruins your chances are very slim against them

        • leafy says:

          Although I agree the Bruins are the clear favorites, there are 2 positives for Leaf fans:

          1. Reimer is capable of stealing a series, like we saw a decade ago with Joseph and Belfour.

          2. If you’re ever gonna play the Bruins, this is a good time. I can’t put my finger on it, but they don’t seem to have “the kavorka”. They don’t seem to be clicking or creating sparks. They certainly control the game alright, but they can’t light it up like in recent years.

  44. leafy says:

    The official Leafy picks for 2013 first round

    Pittsburgh in 6
    Montreal in 7
    Washington in 7
    Boston in 7

    Chicago in 5
    Detroit in 6
    Vancouver in 6
    Los Angeles in 5


    I said Boston in 7 due to the Reimer factor (he can steal a series), and also because the Bruins don’t seem to be as potent offensively as in recent past.

    The Isles will definitely give the Penguins a challenge. Remember David Volek.

    Bad luck for the Caps to have to face the Rangers. They could be a sleeper this year. But I’m picking the Caps because they’re really on a roll.

    If Price can’t find his game, the Habs can be in deep trouble. If goaltending is equal, Habs win for sure.

    This is Chicago’s year. Not losing in the first round.

    Detroit is starting to come around. Anaheim is nowhere near as good as their record.

    San Jose can’t win after May 1st.

    Los Angeles can repeat if they can get by Chicago.

  45. LN91 says:



    1) Penguins vs. Isles = Penguins in 5

    The Isles have been great all year, good, young squad that is an improved D from contending. However, all the Pens are back and they have the experience.

    2) Canadiens vs. Senators = Senators in 7

    Shocker eh? Not really. Anderson is the better, more experience of the two in the post season. Not to mention MacLean’s team plays tough and physical playoff hockey. Also, Karlsson is back…He is possibly the best player in the NHL.

    3) Capitals vs. Rangers= Capitals in 7

    Huge series, both are veteran teams and have seen each other many times. One thing is for certain, like all their series, this is going to 7. However, one team is much deeper and has more talent and that team should come out on top.

    4) Bruins vs. Maple Leafs= Bruins in 7

    As a Leaf fan, this is the best I could do. Experience, tougher, more physical, Is Kessel even going to score a goal? Even saying in 7 is a stretch. I think it might be Boston…In 4.


    1) Blackhawks vs. Wild= Blackhawks in 6

    Minnesota is a good, tough team. However, the Blackhawks have been stellar all year. They’ve been their before and that will take them over the edge.

    2) Ducks vs. Red Wings= Red Wings in 6

    Shocker eh? I think the Ducks lack of depth will catch up to them. Red Wings have been better as of late to overcome a more inexperienced Ducks squad.

    3) Canucks vs. Sharks= Sharks in 7

    I really like the Sharks team this year. They feel so comfortable at D that they moved Brent Burns to forward and it has been working out. They run 3 C-deep (Thornton, Couture, Pavelski) and Raffi Torres was a great addition at the deadline.

    4)Blues vs. Kings = Kings in 7.

    War of attrition, best series of all these matchups. These two teams are clones of themselves and they will hit, score, defend, etc. This should be a conference final matchup more then anything. I will go with the Kings, the lockout got them well arrested and very few holes in the lineup.

    • leafy says:

      Haha! That was exactly my reasoning on the Leafs-Bruins. I tried to be as optimistic as possible and said 7 games.

      Expect the Leafs to be badly outshot and out chanced, and Boston holding huge territorical advantage. I think Reimer is the wild card though. If he’s terrific, all bets are off.

  46. mojo19 says:

    Here’s my picks –

    Chicago over Minny in 7
    Detroit over Anaheim in 6
    San Jose over Vancouver in 6
    L.A. over St.Louis in 5

    Pitty over Long Island in 6
    Ottawa over montreal in 5
    New York over Washington in 7
    Toronto over Boston in 6

    Boston is not the same team this year that they’ve been in years past. There missing a certain something. I can’t put my finger on it, but they used to scare me, now we can play with them. Maybe it has more to do with the way the Leafs are playing this year.

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