That's it for the Leafs!
John Ferguson has said that he is done revamping the the Leafs for this season unless some crazy trade purposal comes along.
Matt Stajan is the only one left to sign and JFJ is very confident that he will.
Now the real question is: Are the Leafs any better this year than the last?
I’m sure 60% of the fans will “yes” and 40% will say “no”.
Well, lets take a look at the Pro’s and Con’s of some of the movements JFJ has done this off season.
Pro’s on releases
He let go of Ed Belfour, Tie Domi, Aki Berg, Alex Khavanov, and Luke Richardson.
You had to start by getting rid of the players that were costing the team money and any sort of success on the ice.
Jason Allison – He put up some points put in the end he cost more points than he put in and when he got injured the team jumped a notch in speed so that just says he’s too slow for this style of game. Don’t get me wrong though, he could be a great fit for a team that needs powerplay help.
Pat Quinn – He did a lot for the organization but it was evident that the team needed some drastic changes starting at the bench.
Con’s on Releases
Let Eric Lindros go. His time with the Leafs will be remembered. I could still hear the chants in crowd at the ACC when he hit the ice in the early games of the season …… but he is one hit away from ending his career so this may not be a total con.
PAUL MAURICE!!!! The biggest move JFJ did and no one with half a brain could deny this fact.
Andrew Raycroft – For the cost, you can’t go wrong. I wouldn’t really say he had a bad year last year considering he didn’ t even play an entire season. His Calder year will still strongly out weigh his sub par 30 games last season and I wouldn’t blame those bad games entirely on him considering the team he had in front of him.
Kubina and Gill – I don’t care what people say about being over paid because everywhere in professional sports players are overpaid. Here is a question for everyone who thinks they are overpaid: Do you really think that if JFJ said “Here is my only offer – $2Mil to anyone that wants to play for Toronto!” Do you think anyone would have signed with 6 – 10 other teams willing to offer more?? I’ll tell you right now JFJ would have got no one and you still would be complaining because the Leafs got nobody….. and NO JFJ would not have got McKee for $2MIL.
With these acquistions we have a 2 solid defencive lines that will be great on the power play which would leave 3 possible slots for Harrison, Bell, White, Kronwall, Coliacovo, and Wozniewski to fight over….. it’s going to be a fun camp!!!
Michael Peca – His performance in the playoffs proved to everyone that he could still be an effective two way player. He took a pay cut and he’s on board for a year. If this 2 time Selke winner could step his game up this season, we could have found our second solid centre.
They didn’t get a winger for Sundin. Due to limited funds the Leafs could not afford to pick up a winger this off season but that doesn’t close the door on a possible trade in the future. The Leafs have a handfull of young players and a goalie by the name of Mikael Telqvist that could easily be used as trade bait.
Not picking up a winger, which in my eyes the most effective player for Sundin would have been Elias, means that this will allow the young players to step up. Wellwood and Steen had decent rookie years and I’m sure given the ice time, which we knew Quinn was reluctant to give, they could produce a lot more this year.
Poni stepped it up this past year scoring over 20 goals and Stajan ranked 1st in the league shorthanded goals.
Tucker scored 61 points this past year and McCabe racked up 68 points putting him 3rd amongst all defencemen.
So my point is, was scoring really the issue last year or was it defence…. or was it coaching?
Well the team ranked 9th in overall scoring so I don’t think that was the real problem.
Kubina and Gill are definite upgrades from Berg and Belak so you could say we got that area covered.
Maurice is coaching style will definitely make sure that the players will be well conditioned to play this new style of play so that area is covered.
Raycroft is young and healthy and ready to prove to the Leafs Nation that he could be better than his Calder Trophy year. He will have to watch his back though because JS Aubin will be right behind him and he knows that he has become a fan favourite.
So this area is also covered.
In conclusion, the team could always look better…. any team could look better but more importantly, it IS an upgrade from last years team. The team is younger, tougher and quicker…. but I’m sure many of you are not convinced.
I guess we’ll have to wait and see.