Some good news for once
The Leafs are in a position to have a good season in 08-09, but not in the standings.If ever there was a year to let the youth get some playing time, it was next year.
Justin Pogge looks like he will be NHL ready next season, though likely not ready for a starters role.
Anton Stralman deserves at least a chance to play 82 games next year.
Dimitry Vorobiev is having a great year in the RSL, and is as ready as he’ll ever be.
Jeremy Williams has paid his dues in the minors, and is starting to get healthy.
Jiri Tlusty has showed everyone how versatile he is.
Nikolai Kulemin was ready this season, but decided to play one more year in RSL.
And consider that White, Colaiacovo, Stajan, Steen, Wellwood are all still in the Learning Process.
This season has been the opposite. Paul Maurice has relied on the veterans and the development of the young players has taken a back seat.
Heres a posible idea moving forward.
Buyout Kubina’s remaining 10 million dollars and pay the full 6.7 million next season (an option in the CBA, better than spreading it out over 4 years)
Buyout Raycrofts remaining contract and pay the 1.3 mil next season.
Trade Sundin, Tucker, Blake for picks and newly drafted Prospects at the Deadline.
Wellwood 3 years 4.5 mil
Steen 3 years 3 mil
Stajan 3 years 3 mil
Vorobiev 3 years 3 mil
Buyouts 8 million
Cap hit: 43.4 million
Will this team likely make the playoffs? No.
Could this team finish last? Yes
But what it does is it lets the organization see who’s really ready for the NHL, and lets the team get lucky. The Leafs need to let some of these kids get a chance over an 82 game season (not a 10 game stint) to prove their worth.
Pogge could crumble, Vorobiev could be too slow, Stralman could get pushed around, Kulemin could take too many penalties, Tlusty could be -20, and Williams could get injured again.
But what are the chances of ALL of that happening. And what are the chances that one or two of those players show top line talent. Look at the habs and coyotes. They tried young player after young player and some aren’t making an impact. But some are turning into top end players.
For full reports on these young players: