Quit Bashing JFJ

I can’t believe how much I hear people whining about JFJ. Every time I look at this site, there are people blaming JFJ for the leafs not making the playoffs 2 yrs in a row, blaming him for Raycroft’s inconsistency, even for Bell’s suspension. WTF is up with all that shit??? For a guy who had not been a GM at this level before, he is doing a good job in one of the league’s most difficult markets to please (Toronto).

We’re talking about a guy who was hired to be a scapegoat for the leafs while they struggle to adjust to the salary-cap system. When he was hired before the 03-04 season, there may not have been a salary-cap but you can bet that the Leafs brass knew it was a likely possibility. They hired JFJ just in time to get some experience before the lockout. After the lockout ended and the NHL resumed operations in the 05-06 season, JFJ had the task of taking a $62.5 million dollar team and making it a $39 million dollar team. There is no way that he could duplicate the performance of the pre-lockout leafs (4th in the eastern conference and 5th in the NHL) with a post-lockout salary-cap. The leafs were expected to struggle with a cap, and struggle they have. In order to have a competitive team with a salary cap, you must be able to draft and develop young players. This is evident looking at the teams that have been successful with a cap (Anaheim, San Jose, Buffalo, Ottawa, etc) The leafs aren’t exactly known for developing their young players, so it obviously takes some time to adjust. JFJ was hired to take the blame for the growing pains and will probably be fired before the leafs see the fruits of his efforts. And just to cap it off, I took this quote from JFJ’s bio on the leafs site “During Ferguson’s tenure the Maple Leafs have established franchise records for points (103), wins (45-tie), home wins (26) and road wins (23) in a season.”

As for Raycroft, who expected this guy to win 37 games last year? NOBODY! He was clearly overworked, playing 72 games, and it showed when it came down to the wire (9 of his 25 losses were in overtime). Only Brodeur, Luongo and Kiprusoff played in more games than Raycroft and we all know he is not as good as any of those goalies. Not yet anyways, you never know what might happen in the future… he just turned 27. When Luongo was his age (a yr ago) he only won 35 out of 75 games, I know it was with Florida but still. My point is, Raycroft is not as good as any of the other goalies mentioned in this paragraph, but he is still a solid young goalie with a HUGE upside. Now add Toskala to take 30-40 of the 82 games and see the team roll until they tear their groins or the PK hangs them out to dry. (stats acquired from tsn.ca)

And lastly, the Bell issue. Of course JFJ knew this guy had these issues to deal with, but he obviously knew more than any of you about the situation and decided to take a chance on a young guy who has lots of potential but needs to get over the drinking/legal issues that side-tracked him last season. Sure he made a HUGE mistake with the drinking-and-driving hit-and-run, but even though Bell has been suspended indefinitely, according to reliable sources (NHL Spokesman Frank Brown) “There is no expectation on our part that (his suspension) would extend into the season” (http://www.thestar.com/Sports/NHL/article/253304)
Stop speculating about how much time Bell will miss or how the leafs will use the salary cap space, or any other nonsense like that. Even if Bell does miss time, it won’t be significant and the leafs must retain the cap space for suspended players in the event that they are able to return. They cannot spend the money tied up in Bell, and for any of you out there thinking JFJ made a bad decision taking Bell, try looking back a yr to when Bell scored 25 goals with Chicago. If he can score 25 in Chicago, imagine what he can do in Toronto if he keeps his focus. If he doesn’t keep his focus, he may be a negative distraction to the team which could impact a relatively young group.

That’s the end of my ranting about your whining, for now. If I keep hearing you naggles crying about how Sundin is a bad captain, then I might have to write one of these about the best European captain ever to lace them up.

* leafs 03-04 salary taken from http://www.usatoday.com/sports/hockey/nhl/salaries/totalpayroll.aspx?year=2003-04


144 Responses to Quit Bashing JFJ

  1. jpmac says:

    I thiink he is saying he won't do as well because san jose is a legitmate cup contender while toronto will be fighting for a playoff spot.  Toskala is a good goalie no one can deny that and they better be an excellent tandom because for the two goalies the leafs have now cost them a top rated goalie prospect and three draft picks.

  2. jpmac says:

    no jfj made this move because his job is on the line, not to correct it.  If he had jib security he would have bitten the bullet and rode out raycroft until pogge was able to play then he would have three more draft picks as well.

  3. leafy says:

    Perhaps, but either way, it was blatantly obvious that the Leafs would have been life and death to make the playoffs with Raycroft.

  4. mojo19 says:

    Okay, I agree JFJ isn't the worst GM in the league, but he's nothing special. He's not doing anything hundreds of guys out there couldn't do.

    I think he should be fired for trading an outstanding prospect in Rask for a below average goalie in Raycroft. Raycroft is the reason the leafs missed the playoffs last year because everything sailed by his glove hand.

    Won 37 games? – Don't care. He won when the team played well, he lost when the team played poorly. He was never the difference. He never stole any games they should have lost. He's average.

    Hopefully as a tandem goalie/backup goalie he'll be better. Plus I heard he was working hard on improving his glove quickness in the offseason. Fingers crossed.

  5. Hoondog2 says:

    Wow, you've got their whole careers planned out for them.  Bottom line is, you don't know sweet d1ck about these young players, you can't because no one knows what they're capable of.

  6. jpmac says:

    two years ago the cnaes won the cup and this year they never even made the playoffs.  So what i am saying is that you don't know what is going to happen in two years.  You are just making an prediciton with no base..what honestly makes you feel that toronto will make the confrence finals in two years..are you a propeht or something..here want my email i bet you montreal will be there in two years too, and then you can get back to me.

  7. jpmac says:

    how..please explain…how was quinn's job security or anyine for the past 40 years.  you have to face the fact that there are 29 other teams in the league and it will take more than someone with job security to get the leafs the cup,.  for starters get rid of the management like peddie and co.

  8. jpmac says:

    HALF OF THE LEAFS INJURIES WENT TOWARDS ANDY WOZNESKI AND "SCRIBS WHO DIDN'T CONTRIBUTE…QUIT BLAMING THE LEAFS PROBLEMS ON INJURIES

  9. leafy says:

    I think you hit the nail on the head there Mojo.  I could not have said it better myself.

  10. jpmac says:

    what is so great about slipping in by 2 points and getting demolishged in four games…i know anything could happen in the playoffs…but realistically the leafs best chance to win the cup is in about three or four years, when these draft picks would be developed, the only reason why jfj pulled thr trigger on the toskala trade is because if they slip into the playoffs his job is half way safe, if they miss then he is toast for sure…that is the problem with the leafs brass zero patience and it bites them in the ass every time

  11. leafy says:

    I agree with you that this is no way to build a championship.  But don't be so quick to dismiss the Leafs his year.  In today's parity NHL, almost ANYONE who gets into the playoffs can win the Cup.  Look at Edmonton 2 years ago.  They barely made the playoffs in the last game of the season, then came within 1 game of winning it all.  With good solid goaltending – which the Leafs have now – you never know.  I'm telling you, this team is going to surprise a lot of people.  They are a solid team.

  12. Hoondog2 says:

    So you are saying Kaberle, Kubina, Sundin, Tucker, Wellwood, Antropov, Ponikarovski, White, Colaiacovo are scribs who wouldn't have contributed even if they were healthy all year? 

    Your comment speaks volumes about how much you know about the Leafs.  I'm not saying you have to know about the Leafs, but I certainly wouldn't blather on about something I know nothing about with people who are otherwise knowledgeable on the subject.

  13. MR40 says:

    So that makes them superstars?

  14. MR40 says:

    Did anyone else notice that whenever AntMonkey realizes he's wrong, he just stops responding, and doesn't even say "okay I was wrong, my bad" or anything like that?

    If you even admit it when your wrong you'll gain my respect.

  15. CaptainAvery says:

    JFJ ain't the problem, Peddie and the rest of dumbshits running the organization are making life as G.M. a not so fun job for Ferguson. If he didn't have to clarify every *****ing movement he does within the organization then he could quite possibly be a somewhat good G.M., but until Peddie and the rest of those ass clowns give this guy more power, then yes the Leafs will continue to be run by Peddie and the rest of those *****nuts in MLSE.

  16. Hockey_Insider says:

    Dude I didn't even notice anything, and I dont think anyone else did becauses it's impossible to keep up with everything. These strands go on forever, and there are too many. If I wanted to read something that is long, and would give me a migrane, I'd read the biography of Gary Bettman. 

  17. Hockey_Insider says:

    Please, for the sake of HTR still being a half decent hockey site, stop putting ******, or ****. You also don't need to use foul language to state a point or argue about a topic. Not even Avery would have that spilling out of his mouth(or onto his keyboard) when he's at least off the ice.

  18. Hoondog2 says:

    Did I say they were superstars? NO, all i said is lets not peg Pogge as a "backup gaoalie", until we actually see what he can do.  Take your blinders off man, just because they're Maple Leaf prospects doesn't mean they're automatically bad.

  19. 92-93 says:

    hey, i agree, he isn't a good enough GM for this very good toronto hockey market.

    plain and simple.

    my beef is with how simplistic people are in blaming everything on JFJ and not looking at the whole situation in Toronto (re: MLSE, etc.).

  20. 92-93 says:

    ok.

    what about the context in which that 'terrible' GM operates in?

    your comments are valid, but its like looking at the outside world through a pair of binoculars. what is beyond the frame of this argument of JFJ being a bad GM?

    how have his choices been defined or limited by the context in which he operates?

  21. mojo19 says:

    So the owners saw it coming and hired JFJ to blame for when the salary cap came in. ???? NO! I'm sorry antmonkey but that is a crackpot conspiracy theory if ever I heard one.

  22. MR40 says:

    I totally agreee, that's why I describe him as an average starter, who also got 7 shutouts in like what 35 games or something a few seasons ago.

    I didn't label them as bad prospects I labeled them the same way pro scouts do. They gave all of your players pretty much the same rating as I did. If you want one website that rated them about the same go to http://www.hockeysfuture.com

  23. my_sphincter says:

    And God knows that all of his signings turned out so much better than the Samsonov signing.  At least he should have seen the Lindros/Peca injuries coming.  Bell was a problem before he accepted him in trade.  Kubina was always a 35 point guy, so why the 5 mil?  Raycroft couldn't even make it as a backup on a weak Boston team (yeah, he was woth Rask).

  24. antmonkey says:

    I stop responding when I realize that you're just beating a dead horse. No matter what I say, you'll have a half-witted come back like "raycroft sucks" or "JFJ's the worst GM in hockey". If you want to say something to me, send me a message. don't just cry like a child to the rest of the ppl on HTR about how sad you feel about not being able to convince somebody that their opinions are wrong.

  25. Aetherial says:

    We don't know that to be sure.

    It is possible, likely even, that JFJ has his hands tied by MLSE.

    But,

    I didn't like the Raycroft deal. The Brendan Bell deal was a complete and total joke. The McCabe deal actually doesn't look bad in hindsight, but the Kubina deal does. I doubt MLSE pulled the strings on all of those deals, although you never know.

     

  26. antmonkey says:

    answers like that make me wish that I could choose which ppl were allowed to respond to my thread. it's refreshing to hear somebody that seems to know what their talking about. There are too many wanna-be's on this site that can't seem to accept ppl having a different opinion than them. Keep up the good responses. Hopefully we can sift out the ignorant responses or possibly get some ppl to take more english classes so they don't misconstrue everything that's being written (nevermind them repeating everything they say 20 times and making us repeat ourselves endlessly)

  27. antmonkey says:

    at the beginning of his tenure, quinn's job security was great and so was the leafs performance. As his contract wore out and management refused to give him an extension, his long term plan went out the window and the "win now" curse hit in full stride. They traded away their future for a cup run that never materialized and now they suffer the consequences.

  28. antmonkey says:

    you are a hind-sight scout. from all that I've read from you, it seems that you look at players at the end of their season and assume that ppl expected them to be good players if they play well and bad players if they played bad. one yr doesn't make a guys career and anybody can just a guy's play after the season is over. do everybody a favour, and get a clue.

    p.s. just b/c a guy can play well on a 1st line for 5 games doesn't mean he can do it for 82 games against the every top line in the league. cooke on the first line in VAN would get destroyed by his divisional rivals (tanguay, langkow, iginla on CAL, smyth, sakic and hejduk on COL, gaborik, demitra, rolston on MIN) the only team he might be able to keep up with is EDM, and I stress MIGHT. It's one thing to have him play well in playoff hockey when all the stars are focused on so heavily, but he'll never be able to play a full season on a top line.

  29. antmonkey says:

    5 guys suddenly make up the only credible hockey minds in the world. thanks mr40, once again you have blown my mind with your ignorance.

  30. antmonkey says:

    wow, way to repeat yourself asking the same question I JUST ANSWERED. go back and read (assuming you can read).

    Allison scored 60pts on a $1 mill contract (slow or not) so he obviously wants more money. Since he has only played 63 games in the past 3 yrs and is obviously slow (but dominates on the pp) then teams would obviously be reluctant to sign him to a 3 million dollar deal (pretty standard for a 60 pt guy) If you ask why ppl didn't sign him again, then you're obviously not educated enough to read so why bother responding to you anymore?

  31. antmonkey says:

    if you don't think that is likely, then you don't know the type of ownership the leafs have. they could care less if they lose, as long as they can convince their fans that they'll win the cup the next yr (which for some reason leaf fans seem to believe every yr) whether they blame the losing on the goalie, the coach, or the GM they never seem to blame the ownership. and when they do blame the owners for losing, it gets swept under the rug and the attention is brought back to "new signings, the new coach, or the new GM" or wtvr new gimmick they've thrown out their to convince the fans they'll win the cup next year. *cough*toskala*cough*

  32. 92-93 says:

    I have a bit of info from the 4-0 win today but not the official boxcore so this is unofficial:

    Cashman: 2 goals, 5 pts
    Boyce: 2 goals, 4 pts
    Leveille 1 goal, 4 pts
    Tlutsy: 3 goals, 3 pts
    Earl: 2 goals, 3 pts
    Foster: 1 goal, 3 pts

    Walker: 2 goals, 2 pts
    Stralman: 1 goal, 2 pts
    Holzer: 1 goal, 2 pts

    Doig: 1 goal, 1 pt
    Gauthier: 1 goal, 1 pt

    Perry: 1 assist
    Mitchell: 1 assist
    Oreskovic: 1 assist
    DiDomenico: 1 assist
    Aubin: 1 assist
    Tregunna: 1 assist

    In any case, as the camp progressed the rookie leafs improved. Pogge got a shutout while Reimer was inconsistent (not surprising at this stage in his career).

    After a few shaky periods, Stralman improved (amazing how many people are jumping on this guy – Berger, etc. – he is going to need a few games to adjust to the North American ice surface and style – take it easy on him). Cashman is quickly becoming the key D-man to watch on the Marlies this year. After Kronvall, Stralman, and Oreskovic/Vorobiev, he might be the best D-prospect and is certainly showing some very good 2-way skills.

    Good to see some of the recent draft picks pick up some playing time and points (Mitchell, Didomenico).

    Tlutsy is far and away the best prospect the Leafs have from an offensive standpoint and it just looked like he was almost going through the motions in this rookie tourney. I am anxious to see if he turns some heads in the main camp. Earl continues to progress nicely and is really rounding out his game, which was fairly one-dimensional when he arrived in Toronto last year.

    And seemingly out of nowhere came Boyce and Leveille to impress in this camp. I am not sure if there are any expectations out of these two, but they looked pretty good and certainly turned some heads this past week. Surprised we didn't hear more from Aubin in terms of his contributions on the scoresheet – I know that he is focussing on rounding out his game and paying attention to his defensive responsibilities a little bit more.

  33. 92-93 says:

    well both deadline deals weren't really destructive IMO. but they didnt do anything either and they seem indicative of a GM who is uncertain of himself and has his hands tied to go in one direction or the other and who has no clue of how his future will pan out.

    McCabe's no-trade movement stinks … i never disliked the term or the amount – just the clause.

    the point is not necessarily MLSE approving or disapproving deals, its more of an issue of not giving JFJ either

    a) (a reasonable amount of) job security to make more shrewd moves for the future
    b) to fire him outright after last season's failure

    To me, he is actually getting better as a GM. but the point is that they should have made their decision a year ago and not leave him hanging in the wind. Even more important is the fact that they should have never hired a rookie Gm for this market in the first place.

    So for people to simply dump on his decisions seem to ignore the wider context in which those decisions were made. A more autonomous environment from the get-go would have certainly allowed JFJ to play to his strengths (re: his scouting background) and build long-term. The reason why all of his decisions seem unnatural and narrowminded and bric-a-brac has to do with the fact that he is being thrust into a context (think of only today,not tomorrow) that goes against his very being and training as a hockey man and scout.

    Btw, the Raycroft deal is still yet to be determined. The deadline deals werent bad or good – they were meaningless in the long term IMO. it was the non-deals (not trading McCabe, or Tucker, etc.) that seemed to be major mistakes (again – tied to job security, win-now philosophy). It is lack of creativity that has done him in and this offseason is no different. This is a GM that cannot make a creative, ballsy trade (like Lowe for example) – but a lot of that has to do with his inexperience and the situation he is in.

    Worst moves:
    1. Kubina
    2. McCabe no-movement
    3. Domi (Tanenbaum anyone?)
    4. Belak
    5. not making creative/sometimes risky trades

    Best moves:
    1. Hiring Maurice
    2. Signing Kaberle
    3. Tucker signing is pretty cheap considering his production
    4. moving Marlies to Toronto
    5. not trading what few young players he has and drafting Pogge/Rask to give him the option of trading one of them (although, like you, i think traded the wrong goalie, it remains to be seen).

  34. MR40 says:

    No actually your wrong.

    I gave reason's for what I said. I used facts and more then just the words "Raycrap sucks"

  35. Gretzkin says:

    That's why I just can't get behind the Leafs (as an organization).

    But I do like the players, and winning is good for the city.
    Remember the flags?
    It's been too long.
  36. 92-93 says:

    with yesterdays full box score:

    Cashman: 2 goals, 5 pts
    Boyce: 2 goals, 4 pts
    Leveille 1 goal, 4 pts
    Tlutsy: 3 goals, 3 pts
    Earl: 2 goals, 3 pts
    Foster: 1 goal, 3 pts
    Aubin: 3 assists

    Walker: 2 goals, 2 pts
    Stralman: 1 goal, 2 pts
    Holzer: 1 goal, 2 pts

    DiDomenico: 2 assists
    Tregunna: 2 assists
    Doig: 1 goal, 1 pt
    Gauthier: 1 goal, 1 pt
    Perry: 1 assist
    Mitchell: 1 assist
    Oreskovic: 1 assist
    Regan: 1 assist
  37. antmonkey says:

    GO TLUSTY! Ever since the leafs drafted him I've been curious about how he will develop with the team (hopefully he isn't traded). Just the fact that he is a young guy with strong legs and quick hands makes him worthy of keeping an eye on, but the fact that he was the captain of the Czech junior team makes him even more valuable. Any young player that's named the captain of an international team not only has leadership skills, but has to have good work ethic too. They wouldn't put the focus on a guy who isn't going to handle it well, and I hope he develops into a key part of the leafs group of youngsters (wellwood, steen, stajan, white, coliaicovo, etc)

    If he makes the team (not very likely cuz they'll probably want him to get more ice time with the marlies) I could see him scoring about 10-15 goals as a rookie, depending on his ice time. If he works his way onto the 2nd line (not very likely with toronto's depth of big wingers) he might be able to reach 20 goals. I don't expect him to make the club until next yr, so this is just wishful thinking.

  38. mojo19 says:

    I love Jiri Tlusty. He is so talented.

  39. nova_scotia123 says:

    Either way JFJ is still not a good GM. I am sure alot of people on this site could go into his position and complete many of the trades he has, he needs some balls and really try to make a mark. He should be trying to change the face of the team because they have won nothing in a very long time. They have not even won a playoff series in quit some time.

  40. 92-93 says:

    have to agree with both of you.

    amazing that the leafs got him at the 13th pick overall (certainly would be nice if they had him, Esposito, and Rask all in the organization – but heck, Toskala/Raycroft is not a bad tandem i guess).

    In any case, Tlusty wont make the team this year, but just the fact that people are even discussing that is remarkable. He'll put up some decent numbers with the Marlies this year. What is great is the fact that I think Jeremy Williams, Tlusty, Earl, and Kulemin are all potential first and 2nd line stars.

    a lot of people might disagree with Earl and Williams in that group but i am really liking the way Earl is rounding out his game and not just focussing on scoring. let him fly under the radar, he'll be a solid player like Steen (IMO).
    but Tlusty is far and away the best forward the leafs haven and I do think he can play in the NHL right now, but he shouldnt for reasons already stated.

  41. Aetherial says:

    The deadline deals, or lack thereof, and the trading of Rask, weren’t “bad” in and of themselves.

    They were bad in light of the position that the team is in.

    The Leafs were not, and are not, anywhere near winning the cup. They have mortgaged the future, once again, for the present that isn’t there, once again.

    Bell, 3 draft picks, a losing exchange of picks (perreault/bell deal), Tuuka Rask, failed opportunity to get sizeable for McCabe (compare him to who has been traded at previous deadlines and what they commanded). Not trading Tucker for someone.

    tieing up 33% of the cap in 4 d-men… so they can’t sign any big name players, last year, this year, or next year, at least!

    In ALL of these decisions he either gave up some of the future or passed up the potential to get more of the future.

    Whether or not he is responsible for the direction the organization has chosen, I don’t know. What I do know is that they had a chance to truly start rebuilding WITHOUT a wholesale, firesale. They could have stockpiled some good young talent and/or picks.

    Instead… they have the same cast of characters, precious little cap room in the forseeable future, a VERY thin farm system with MAYBE one or two *star* prospects… and the team has not made the playoffs 2 years in a row.

    Sorry… but either he is among the worst GMs in the league, or the organization as a whole is a joke (probably the latter). I don’t see a great deal of hope for any championships now, or within the next 5 years.

    nothing now, nothing later.

  42. Aetherial says:

    The odds of Stralman displacing one of the current D-men hopefuls are slm and zero.

    Yes, he needs more experience. I also think he will need to bulk up more.

    I would say he needs 2 years at least, maybe 3, but he might be a pretty good NHLer one day.

  43. 92-93 says:

    i dont know if it will take that long.

    what are the chances one of the top-6 D sustain an injury?

    then Stralman's or Woz's or Kronvall's chances are still slim and zero you think?

    and how many D-men were injured last year (white, coliacovo, kaberle, kubina – all injured). soooo….

    and i dont see Stralman not making the leafs in the next couple of years because if he doesnt by the end of next year, i see him staying in Sweden or moving on to another organization.

  44. jpmac says:

    Woznieski 59 games
    Peca 47
    Wellwood 34
    Coli 34
    Antro 24
    Tucker 26
    Kubina 20
    Poni 11
    Kaberle 8
    Sundin 7
    Misc Srubs 79
    Your comments speak volumes about how much YOU know about the leafs

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