Revised Rebuilding Plan

Disclaimer: This article contradicts many things I have recently posted and simply being put out for the purposes of speculation. I do not demand that the approach I’ll be suggesting need to be pursued or that it is the best solution.

Leafs fans yet again are in the midst of watching a season that isn’t going according to plan. After an offseason of alterations to put together a roster that would be defensively sound but with inept offensive, the Leafs performance once again is showing signs of refusing to commit to the script layed out for them, once again the Leafs are looking like a ninth place team.

With a relatively deep blue and strong goaltending, the Leafs remain weak up front. There weren’t supposed to be any decent top six forwards outside of Antropov on this team. The emergence of the Hagman-Grabovski- Kulemin line though has presented an issue to this identity. The dynamic play of this line has shown that it could very well be a capable second line on in the NHL. Especially considering the upside of each player.

So, seeing how the Leafs may not be a lottery team, the ready made solution of simply picking up another cornerstone to compliment Schenn in order to build the foundation for the future is becoming less likely. Fletcher then may have to resort to plan B. The question becomes what is plan B?

Now considering Antropov could be resigned at a decent price, that the Leafs have a decent back end, a capable goaltender, relatively decent bottom six forwards and good young second line this team could be only two players away from becoming a contender. That is to say, if the Leafs could land a franchise type forward in the UFA market or by means of a sensible trade this team could compete short term while rebuilding the farm system. So long as the Leafs follow a Montreal type model of never sacrificing their 1st round pick. They could add talent to the system each year without having to tank.

09/10 Lineup

Colaiacovo trade for a propect of mid round pick….

Antropov – ? – ?
Kulemin-Grabovski-Hagman
Blake-Stajan-Poni
Moore-Steen-Tlusy
Mayers, Mitchell

Kubina-Kaberle
Shenn-MVR
Finger-Starlman
Frogen

Toskala/Pogge

Perhaps hand this roster over to another GM (ah, Burke) wait to 2010 and make a pitch for Nash, Kovelchuk and/or Savard, drafting two forwards with the 09 and 10 1st round picks.

Have a better plan B in mind? Enlighten me….


122 Responses to Revised Rebuilding Plan

  1. mojo19 says:

    NOOOO!!! After doing all this sticking up for big Nik tonight I never want to see him traded. He's my 2009 edition of Mats Sundin (although secretly on deadline day I was hoping to see Mats traded out of curiousity of the huge package we might receive).

    I have 2 cool t-shirt idea's check it:

    Front:

    Nik Antropov
    Toronto Maple Leaf
    est.1998

    Back:

    LEAF FOR LIFE

    And my other one is a T-shirt with Nik's smiling face on it. Like just a plain white T, but with Nik smiling.

  2. the_word says:

    Weird, I bought my Steen # 10 Marlies Jersey three years ago.

  3. GoLeafs13 says:

    this line-up is worse than this year. i'm not saying there is anything wrong this year but come on jordin tootoo, loui eriksson. why would we want them they suck!

  4. cam7777 says:

    Tootoo is a much better enforcer than Ryan Hollweg, and he's actually capable of scoring goals and skating fast.  He'd be a great pest.

    Eriksson is a speedy guy who I think has a lot of potential.  He's young, and so he has time to build, and he's already probably about as effective as Poni ever will be.  He's also an old teammate of Hagman's, and the way Hagman is leading the charge right now, building some quality role-players around him probably isn't a bad idea.

    Bobby Ryan just gives us another option over Jiri Tlusty, incase he is again not ready to go at the NHL level next year.  Bobby Ryan is ready, Anaheim just has no room for him.  He could probably be had for less than  1st round pick if Burke continues to fail to bring him into the lineup. 

  5. nordiques100 says:

    I watched the hit on youtube like a dozen times.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNJ3X9tHqf0

    you see van ryn just pass the faceoff dot in the circle and turn his head. thats where he knows kostopolous is behind him. 

    moments later, van ryn fishes the puck from the corner. kosty hastnt passed the goalline yet. but van ryn isnt even looking at him. he is completely facing the boards.

    at this point, kosty is probably going to assume van ryn is going to head towards the net and go behind it. but he doesnt. he looks like he did a stop and start but never got to start again before being plowed into the boards from behind. i guess tahts where he supposedly "turned"

    from the faceoff circle to the boards, van ryn completely has his back turned to kosty. kosty had all that time, yes just merely seconds but thats quite a bit in hockeyt to decide not to kill MVR. but it was clear that once he was going in, he was going to hit van ryn. considering mike had his back turned all that time, it was poor judgement by tom to continue that route. he oculd have just been as easily effective engaging him with his stick  

    but again, a guy like kosty is only in the league because he hits people. he has to because he lacks skill. a problem that wouldnt happen if it were a 24 team league that filters out players like this.

    instead, there would be more iginla's lecavaliers, who are big and can play physical but dont veer on the dirty side or need to to save their careers.

    there is no place for the likes of kosty, hollweg or other cheap shots. but we insist on their presence as there is some insane need for excessive violence.

    i dont know aobut you, but i like watching a team like detroit where they play with pure skill and speed. but are not shy physically as seen by some beauty hits by kronvall.

  6. cam7777 says:

    Kronwall's the only one who hits on that team.  I hate watching Detroit play, because it's usually a bore fest.  Not because they don't hit, there's plenty of games I can enjoy without hitting and fighting.  It's because they are just so damn boring with their ultimate puck possession game, and their insane ability to never got caught for penalties.

    They handle the puck the entire game, looping it back into their zone waiting for the perfect breakout oppurtunity.  Then, on the rare occassion they do give the puck up, the other team comes back, runs into a collapse in the neutral zone, tires to flip it into the corner, and the D-men just grab on, hold the attackers and interefere horribly, and never get called. 

    This usually gets the other team riled up enough to start throwing hits, because, how do you get a game going once it turns stale?  you start throwing the body.  Except you can't against Detroit, because they really do turn away from every hit.  And there guys are such panzies, they'll never engage anyone in a confrontation. 

    Every time I have this argument, I think about Wayne Gretzky's quote about if you're not cheating, you're not trying.  Well, the Wings, in my opinion take that to the absolute extreme.  They don't go out there and think "How are we going to have to play to win this game?"  They say "How are we going to have to manipulate this game so that we can play it the way we want to?"

    But then every once in a while, Hossa, Datsyuk or Zetterberg will score a highlight reel goal, and everyone thinks everything is honkey dorey in Detroit.  But there's a reason they can't draw anyone to see their games even after winning the Stanley Cup, and it's because they are Snooze Town.

  7. cam7777 says:

    Ideally there'd be a situation like where Bernier gets injured late in the season, and the Nucks need a replacement for the playoffs.  Then we could send Antropov their way without resigning him.  Then just resign Antropov in the off season.

    Eriksson – Stajan – Antropov
    Hagman – Grabs – Kulemin
    Steen – Mitchell – Bernier
    Boogard – Moore – Tootoo

    I think I'm just on a violent streak with the additions of Boogaard and Tootoo though. I really really disliked the way Montreal was allowed to just run free against us on Saturday night.  Friggin' refs…

  8. mojo19 says:

    Let's get one thing straight. Tootoo and Hollweg are not enforcers. They are energy players. There's a difference. And I'm with you – Louie Eriksson is sweet.

    And the deal on the table for Ryan that Burke turned down was a 1st for Ryan and Schneider. Now I don't know if Schneiders contract hurt the value of the trade for Anaheim or what? And Burke turned the trade down, so its hard to say what exactly it would take to land Ryan.

  9. ottislu says:

    Ya, you're right, just shy of 62 pts a season, still, EVEN at that production he'd score less than 50 points a season based on his previous injury track record.  Regardless as I mentioned, we simply disagree.

    I also put that bit about my fav leafs at the end to concede the debate on an "agree to disagree" basis.  I realized the same thing about our different views.  Tucker was my favourite leaf but he was no longer producing.  McCabe I still feel was a scape-goat and that was it.  Van Ryn wacked the puck into his net the other night but it wasn't plastered all over the front page, but I also like Van Ryn.  I'd imagine you would be about to buy a Kubina jersey? I on the otherhand would have much rather had Maurice let McCabe and Kaberle play together rather than split up the pair and get Kubina out of there. Wellwood was my third favourite, softest hands I've seen on the leafs in my lifetime and a poor time to can a guy after a reoccuring sports hernia problem, IMO.

  10. the_word says:

    Totally agree, the finals were so boring last season. It always seemed like there were seven Wings on the ice and three Pengeuins. Watching them play is an exercise in masochism. Terrible when you consider that they're the model for the rest of league. Say what you will about the Habs, at least they're entertaining.

  11. cam7777 says:

    I've been glad to see so far this year though, that most teams have actually abandoned trying to be like Detroit in terms of their style of play.  Teams like Atlanta, and even Florida decided to turn their tempo up a bit and go with a more offensive style. 

    I was really worried that we'd see 30 teams this season trying to play puck posession, clog the blue line, and interfere with everyone hockey.  I guess everyone realizes that no one does that better than Detroit, so we midas well find another way to beat them. 

    Personally I think Pittsburgh should have just opened it up against them last year, abandoned their defensive system, and just run and gunned it at Osgood.  Fleury was playing amazing, and probably would have done a better job handling Zetterberg and Datsyuk than Osgood would have done handling Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Malone, Hossa, etc… Instead they tried to play Detroit's game.

    Oh well, the magic of retrospect…

  12. nordiques100 says:

    None of this really makes much sense. why extend antropov to trade him and for a lesser player for that matter?

    you really only trade antropov if he refuses to extend before the trade deadline.

    the likes of bell, devereaux, earl, kronvall, hollweg have no value.

    kubina is not quite worth both a top prospect and a 1st. maybe one or the other but not both.

    quite a bit is just trades for the sake of trades.

    The team is pretty much going to stay the same right through til past the holidays. then decisions decisions.

    13 of the next 20 games are on the road and they have these tough trips to both western canada and california. we will then see what the leafs are made of.

    until then, its early to start making decisions.

    the main goals in the new year are going to be based on how well the team is faring at that point. if the next 20 games proves difficult and trying, that could disspell any notions of the playoffs and get them to start charting another course of selling off assets at the deadline.

    if however the team continues to surprise, that too could change things. ideally a plan for the future should still take precedent but knowing how MLSE has been, its hard to say whether they can resist trading futures for the quick fix. wilson, fletch, etc etc all deny they'd have any interest, but when push comes to shove and when the smell of playoff profits is plausible, the teachers simply may force the issue. considering the team hasnt played a playoff game since 2004, that too could lead to impulsive, impatient decisions.

    really, leaf nation had better hope the team falters. but right now, this group is separating themselves from the previous regime who accepted failure easily and passed blame on others or leaned heavily on excuses. 

  13. mojo19 says:

    lol, actually ya Kubina is a stud imo!

    And Van Ryn scored on his own net, no big deal. McCabe scored on his own net after playing terrible for so long and his ridiculous contract helped him become the "scape goat". When you're the top payed guy you need to be at least good. He was terrible.

    Darcy will continue to hurt the Leafs for years to come thanks to his buyout. I liked Wellwood too, but I think he needed a change of scenary to wake him up.

  14. cam7777 says:

    yea, i agree about the teachers. it could be scary, especially since they'll undoubtedly go after the wrong guy for the team (gaborik, kovalchuk). 

    i thought that bernier was a far more accomplished talent than i was lead to believe.  i don't know why, but i thought he was more like a 65 point guy at 23 years old.  But he is more like an overpaid Steen with more potential.  So scratch that, but the idea would have been that Antropov is worth much more locked down to a long-term deal (so resign him, and then deal him for a bigger package). 

    i also think that bell will get moved at the deadline for something, even if it just a very late pick.  he's a big body, with potential to score, and he will be extremely affordable both financially and asset wise.  someone will take the chance.  and if kilger and gill can be moved, so can devereux.  one or both of those guys will still likely see ice time if any forwards go down.

    overall though, you're all right, that was a total gibberish plan…

  15. mojo19 says:

    I think Bell will be moved too. Something tells me someone will pick him up as a depth move to gear up for a long playoff run, possibly Calgary.

  16. nordiques100 says:

    hard to say. he is a rental so that may help in moving him. getting a 4th or 5th for this guy would be a miracle. but if he shows nothing in the A, he's done.

    blake isnt playing tonight. healthy scratch. white stays at forward, hollweg draws in and frogren is the 1st replacement for van ryn.

    looks like blake's days are numbered.

    again, the absolute worst signing and worst move ever by JFJ.

  17. nordiques100 says:

    well with 13 of 20 on the road and just merely 6 points ahead of the 30th place isles, i think the next month and a half will define where the leafs go starting in 2009. we really could see the floodgates open at that time for trade.

  18. HABSSTAR says:

    Unreal…. there is no damn way in hell this team is two players away from being a contender unless those two players were Gretzky and Lemieux in their prime. 

  19. 9293 says:

    well, that is certainly something that some commentators are saying early on about this leaf team.

    that being said, i dont think we can draw a neat line between rebuild/finish 26th-30th and 9th place in the East and finishing out of the top-10 considering how deep the draft is supposed to be this year.

    my hope – and this is what it all boils down to – is that Fletcher is not shy about trading the tradeable assets at the deadline.

    the key point is this: the leafs still do not have the depth necessary to be a long term contender with regards to their prospects. trading the likes of Antropov, Poni (even Stajan and Steen), Kaberle, Kubina, Van Ryn, Toskala (and not necessarily ALL of these players) is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing that Fletcher can and should do over the next few months and the next offseason.

    Burke doesn't get me excited and not much else does either as long as the Leaf management seem incapable of establishing a plan and not following through on it. i know they cannot ignore what is happening on the ice with regards to the record. But they need a longer term vision and they must STICK to that vision.

    If guys like Hagman or Finger or Van Ryn surprise them and, all of a sudden, become integral components, the plan should be flexible enough to be revised to include them long term (Finger and Hagman are around for 4 years so they better be integral). the same can be said with the mid-20s 'young players.' as i have always said, if they do not show the development that they need to show, release or trade or demote them for someone who might.

    but the longterm plan must
    a) be articulated clearly enough and often enough for fans and media to understand
    b) be adhered to over the course of 4 or 5 seasons (hence the importance of a guy like Ron Wilson to have a 4 year contract).

    so to answer the article: the leafs can be competitive now (and in this parity era, its hard not to be 'competitive') while still trading assets for future components.

  20. 9293 says:

    agreed. Blake is here for another 4 years unless a buyout occurs. and while i have always cringed over the buyouts the leafs have done – especially longer term buyouts (see Tucker, Raycroft, etc.), Blake seems like a player who might be a negative influence in the locker room.

    Blake is UNTRADEABLE … unless he magically begins to produce.

  21. mojo19 says:

    I'm with you. I love some of them but I think no matter where we are in the standings, even if we're sitting at 8th at the deadline, we should shop these guys, pick up something for Kaberle

  22. 9293 says:

    Kaberle has been my favourite leaf along with Sundin since 1998. I love the way he plays – he is a joy to watch. His contract right now is one the best deals around and JFJ should be given way more credit for it than he has in the past.

    that all being said, if the leafs can get a top prospect, a first rounder for Kaberle, that is move that must be made.

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