The Leafs Are Free Fallin


Now that that is out of the way i will get to the point of this article and that is, as stated in the title, that the Toronto Maple Leafs are Free Fallin fast and at this rate the playoffs will once again be a thing of the past for the Leafs. Now we are left to wonder what happened to the jump that this team had early in the year, back when they were averaging over 40 shots per game which i might add was a result of the team playing a full 60 minutes(or pretty close to a full 60 minutes).

It’s pretty clear that the struggles began with the return of Sundin, which is very strange. So i have came to the conclusion that maybe the Leafs all individually decided when Sundin came back that they didnt have to do as much as they now had Sundin to do some of they’re part for them. I must add to that, that yes they do have Sundin to help them do their part now but that in no way means they should let up, and also Sundin, although still a good player, is not as good as he was so he cannot carry the load for this team, he needs help.

So now Fergy has to make some decisions, is he brave enough to make some trades either to help this team this year or even put this team in full rebuilding mode?

What do you guys think the Leafs can do/should do?
Should they make an attempt to salvage this year with the team they got, sould they try and make the team better, or should they completely rebuild and maybe build around a certain player(who should this player be)?

79 Responses to The Leafs Are Free Fallin

  1. 92-93 says:

    yeah the decisions MLSE make (i.e. hiring Ferguson) dont seem to make sense and certainly point in the direction of saving money, etc. but again, i really doubt that they do not care about winning a cup considering all of the merchandising opportunties and publicity surrounding such an event.

    yes i know they dont need the money, but as anyone knows about capitalism and capitalists, they are never satisifed with what they have.

    also, i think the organizaitonal moves that they've made since the hiring of Ferguson (i.e. the hiring of some of the best scouts and coaches, even the hiring of Colangelo with the Raptors) point to an organization that is beginning to understand what it takes to win. but its a slow process, especially for people who are not 'hockey people.'

    there is more and more proof that a long-term focus is beginning to take hold within MLSE. the fact that they havent flat out extended Ferguson's contract beyond next year for example, the fact that the Pronger-Kaberle/Steen deal didnt go down, etc. Even the Rask-Raycroft deal had some element of foresight in the sense that Ferguson was trying to go after a goaltender who was still young and promising and could play until a top goalie prospect came up (my preference would have been for this trade not to happen, or include Pogge instead of Rask though).

    now dont get me wrong, i dont like MLSE and i dont think the people running the leafs are the right people to do it, but i also cringe when i see people say 'they dont care about winning' (these people include some prominent journalists and it trickles down to many within the leafs nation). its really not that simple and a lot more complex than that. and i am beginning to get sick and tired of people looking at issues in such evil-good ways (now this is becoming a diatribe that can be applied to other things that i am seeing, but i digress).

    so yeah, the situation with the leafs is not that great, but its not hopeless either. things change, even the Maple Leafs. and considering the age of Sundin, considering that no one can deny that there IS a new philosphy with the Leafs (they were forced to adopt the philosophy because of the cap), considering that there are (a few) promising young players on this squad and on their way up, i have more hope as a leaf fan now than i did 3 years ago or 6 years ago. why? because i see that they just cant do whatever the heck they want. as frustruating as it is to watch Ferguson, he and every GM in the league has to take measured steps, … and these kinds of considerations were obviously NOT going down 4 years ago when Leetch or Nolan came to toronto … instead of needed stay-at-home defeneman.

    i knew they were going to win the cup then, just as i know they wont win it right now. but at least now, there is a process. its not all just one big dead end.

  2. 92-93 says:

    well i'll divulge some bad news for you about Nagy. Teams like Edmonton, Detroit, and Montreal are all very much interested in Nagy … this is bad news because the GMs of these teams are very smart and clever. and whenever these teams are involved in something, you know that Ferguson is no where to be found.

    you look at Lowe and Gainey, etc., the only predictable thing about ferguson is that you know he'll do the opposite of these GMs and its usually the wrong move. in other words, acquiring Nagy is too smart for JFJ. sorry if i sound a little pessimistic.

  3. the_word says:

    Ok, keeping with the theme,ahere is a ridiculous trade that won't happen, but would make sense.  Send Kubina & Steen (regardless of his supposed potentail, he is no longer untochable) to St.Louis for Eric Brewer.  If the leafs want to dump Kubina's salary (even though he has the leafs' best defenseman in their own end, he's not be worth 5 million, but is by no means a useless player), they'll have to package it with a prospect.  In return they get a great defenseman with an expiring contract. If he under performs they can simply walk away with caproom or if the Leafs tank the season by the deadline they can ship Brewer off as a rental and fetch a good prospect or pick. 

  4. Aetherial says:

    The only thing I like better than 3 years ago is this…

    As a Toronto fan, I did not ever want my team to win because they bought a championship. Now the playign field is mostly level, they cant win that way any more.

  5. 92-93 says:

    exactly. they cannot buy the championship now that is for sure. but, as the cap continues to increase, the leafs would seem to have more economic advantages on the ice (as opposed to off the ice with scouts and coaching). however, we all know that just because you have a budget it does not automatically mean championships especially if you have a bad GM at the helm.

    the thing i dont like about the leafs now is their 3 D-guys: McCabe, Gill, Kubina, their lack of forward depth with the Marlies and below, and John Ferguson Jr.

    but there is a lot to like compared to the pre-lockout leafs. everytime i went to a bar and saw the playoff games back in 2002 and 2003, i looked around and thought ' are we not all deluding ourselves thinking that this team is a cup contender?' i mean, dont get me wrong, i cheered and hoped and everything. but the team had no D. it was all vets, no youth. and you knew that their was no accountability.

    there's accountability now (although the presence of Belak and others kind of undermine that notion a little).

    i still cant believe that we could have McCauley, Boyes, Immonen and another early round pick that could have been Perry or Richards. it still baffles me how short-sighted the franchise was back then … if baffled me back then too. but it didnt sting as much because the system seemed like it would continue in the leafs so-called favour.

    well its different now, they cannot trade Steen thankfully. and they wont trade Tlusty.

  6. wingedim says:

    And what planet are you from? There is NO way Columbus would go for that deal. Giving up 4 of their first round picks and young budding superstars for a bunch of older players, one of which you could probably end up keeping long term in Stajan. Sundin won't waive his no trade clause to go to CLB anyway.

    Think about what happens in the real world and not NHL 2K or NHL07.

  7. wingedim says:

    McCabe will not be moved. He's got a 'no movement clause'. Meaning no trades, no waivers and he can't be sent down. I doubt, unless he decides otherwise, he'll finish in Toronto. We're stuck with him, get used to it.

  8. wingedim says:

    That short sightedness has been around for as long as I really started watching hockey again during the 'Trader Cliff' era. Yes I realize it was about 'buying' a cup back then, but, Quinn wasn't making any smarter decisions either as you've pointed out. Trading Boyes, letting McCauley go AFTER he had an amazing run during the playoffs that year, signing Kidd instead of resigning the old backup (name escapes me right now).
    Yes it hurts watching the Leafs right now, but, they are not the only team still adjusting. Look at Philly this year, they are actually worse off then the Leafs are at this point. At least it's something….

  9. 92-93 says:

    i think the other back-up was Schwab, who went on to play amazingly for the Devils (during the rare instances that he did play when Brodeur sat out of course).

    yeah, and i forgot about how good McCauley and Roberts were in the playoffs 2002! and they traded him! unbelievable.

    the adjustments are being made but i dont see JFJ being the right guy to make them – especially when it comes to shrewd trades. but i DO see Maurice as the coach for the leafs at least for the next 5 years. Mike Peca said it best in the Star today:

    ""It's been a difficult thing for Paul, I think," Mike Peca said. "For years, it was a very subdued environment around here. Guys referred to it as a country club. So to have a coach demanding accountability is something new to some of the guys. But in this league the way it is now, you need to have accountability across the board.""

    I think the answers are trading guys who are valued by other teams and who are NOT young at this year's deadline (Tucker, maybe Gill if someone wants him, maybe Antropov) even if that sends 'the wrong message' to leaf fans. (WHO CARES about some leaf fans, half of them think Tucker is god anyways and a lot of them dont care about the long-term picture. make the right trades for the future and that should be the first priority. they didnt do it last year with McCabe, they better do it this year with Tucker, who's value and salary is VERY attractive to most GMs).

  10. LeafsLegacy says:

    You'd be surprised how much Tucker is being asked for, and Sundin still has an option next year, so he wouldn't be considered a rental player

  11. LeafsLegacy says:

    You'd be surprised how much Tucker is being asked for, and Sundin still has an option next year, so he wouldn't be considered a rental player

  12. LeafsLegacy says:

    All the leafs need to do is trade Sundin and Tucker at deadline for prospects and just rebuild their farm team and their team

  13. wingedim says:

    Yeah it was Schwab…like I said, brain cramp there…
    I thought McCauley went via free agency not via trade, but, knowing me I'm wrong with that. I know Boyes was part of the Nolan deal, the of course Johnsson for Clark…etc

  14. PhanufRoxs says:

    I agree, Sundin the only good player going to Columbus is only gonna be a rental player, because he wouldn't stay in Columbus. Why does everybody want to get Doan? Like he's not a bad player, but what has he done lately?Jeff O Neil wouldn't be bad to keep for maybe $500 000, and why not try to get Mccabe to waive his no trade clause? The managment could do something, like what just happend with Allan Iverson (but he doesn't have a o trade clause).

    To Pittsburgh: Brian Mccabe
    To Toronto: Jordan Staal, Michael Oullette
    -gives Pittsburgh a solid defense
    -Pittsburgh get's rid of a centre, and still get something in return
    -Toronto get's rid of an overpaid, but pretty good d man
    -Toronto get's a second line centre
    -Toronto get's a thirdliner
    -Toronto dumps salary

    To Tampa Bay: Andrew Raycroft, Hal Gill
    To Toronto: Marc Denis, Flip Kuba

    -Kuba replaces Mccabe
    -Tampa get's goalie help (but not much more)
    -Toronto dumps Gill's salary, and speed (but not alot of speed to give up lol)
    -Denis is more consistant, yet still not as good as Raycroft
    -Give Toronto a d man that can skate

    Resign Sundin, and trade him, just so people will give more something up, because he wouldn't be a rental player.

    New York Islanders: Alexai Yashin
    Toronto: Mats Sundin

    -Toronto get's a new francise player
    -New York dumps salary
    -Less risk for New York
    -Toronto might by far get a better deal (if ashin get's up the good work)
    -New York get's a leader

    To Detroit: Nik Antropov, 2nd rounder
    To Paul Kariya(I don't think he'll stay, but he might stay till the end of the season)

    -Toronto get's a good rental player
    -Nashville something for Kariya
    -Give Toronto an edge ahead of everyone to try and resign him
    -Nashville get's a good third liner

    To Columbus: Kyle Wellwood, Carlo Coliachvo
    To Toronto: Nikolai Zherdev

    Kariya 5.0-Yashin 7.5-Tucker 3.0
    Ponikarovski 1.0-Staal 0.5- Zherdev 3.0
    Kilger 1.0- Steen 1.0-Michelle Ouelett 0.5
    Battaglia 0.5- Pohl 0.5-O Neil 0.5

    Kaberle 4.25-Kuba 3.0
    Kubina 5.0-White 0.5
    Salo 3.0-Bell 0.5

    Denis 3.0
    Aubin 0.5

    total: 43.75    Next years cap: 46-47.5

  15. lukeleim says:

    As well as Yashin is playing i rather have Sundin..

  16. 92-93 says:

    actually, Boyes, McCauley and a 1st rounder, which was traded to Boston and became Mark Stuart … all went to San Jose for Nolan.

    can you believe that?!?!

    what is more unbelievable: instead of Stuart, the leafs still could have picked Ryan Kesler, Corey Perry, Mike Richards, Patrick Eaves, Patrick O'Sullivan, Matthew Carle, Patrice Bergeron, Shea Weber or Jeff Tambellini.

    so one of those guys, McCauley, and Boyes. WTF!

  17. lukeleim says:

    Jeff O'Neill & the Leafs' 2nd-round pick of 2007 to the Montreal Canadiens for Sergei Samsonov.

    Hal Gill, Jay Harrison & Aleksander Suglobov to the Los Angeles Kings for Patrick O'Sullivan.

    Sergei Samsonov – Mats Sundin – Darcy Tucker
    Alexei Ponikarovsky – Kyle Wellwood – Darcy Tucker
    Bates Battaglia – Mike Peca – John Pohl
    Chad Kilger – Matt Stajan – Patrick O'Sullivan
    Nik Antropov injured

    Tomas Kaberle – Byran McCabe
    Carlo Colaiacovo – Pavel Kubina
    Brendan Bell – Ian White
    Andy Wozniewski injured

    Andrew Raycroft
    Jean-Sebastien Aubin

  18. lukeleim says:

    Jeff O'Neill & the Leafs' 2nd-round pick of 2007 to the Montreal Canadiens for Sergei Samsonov.

    Hal Gill, Jay Harrison & Aleksander Suglobov to the Los Angeles Kings for Patrick O'Sullivan.

    Sergei Samsonov – Mats Sundin – Darcy Tucker
    Alexei Ponikarovsky – Kyle Wellwood – Alexander Steen
    Bates Battaglia – Mike Peca – John Pohl
    Chad Kilger – Matt Stajan – Patrick O'Sullivan
    Nik Antropov injured

    Tomas Kaberle – Byran McCabe
    Carlo Colaiacovo – Pavel Kubina
    Brendan Bell – Ian White
    Andy Wozniewski injured

    Andrew Raycroft
    Jean-Sebastien Aubin

  19. Hoondog2 says:

    I cant believe how quickly you Leaf fans sell out Sundin and Tucker.  Who the hell is gonna replace these guys, does anybody watch the games, do you know what they bring to the table?  God forbid Sundin finish his career here.  The worst part about Leaf fans is before Sundin was injured he was God and we would never trade him, then he comes back and the WHOLE team goes in a slump as well as Sundin (not injury free yet) and we should trade him.  Who replaces Sundin?  The next best center is Wellwood who will be no more than a very good second line center and no one else is even close.  Let Sundin's contract expire, offer him a little less money and let him decide.  We owe him that.

    Another thing-Sundin couldnt care less about winning a cup in another city, he wants a cup for Toronto!

    I'm ashamed to be a Leaf fan when I read this garbage.

  20. the_word says:

    Amen.  I mean fans calling Steen untochable while calling for Sundin to traded?

  21. 92-93 says:

    i've speculated on the possibility of a Sundin trade  and speculated on what the leafs would get in return (not much). but i never 'called' for him being traded.

    but yes, if toronto wants any kind of a future, youth should be 'untouchable' (within reason).

    Sundin wont be traded because of his contract and clauses. but again, calling for the trade of Tucker – in of itself – might seem like a bad deal. but if you consider the possibility of trading for or acquiring a more potent offensive winger after this trade goes down, its not such a bad idea anymore.

  22. the_word says:

    I was commenting on a general theme emerging in Leaf Nation, its not always about you 🙂

  23. 92-93 says:

    i just assumed that i was the equator of this site (hence all the heated debates).

  24. Pony says:

    O’Sullivan for spare parts? Thats believable.

  25. Pony says:

    They traded Clark and Gilmour theyd do it to Sundin too.

  26. 92-93 says:

    1) Tucker, Bell, 3rd rounder for Torres and an Edmonton forward prospect (Schremp? Cogliano?)

    2) Gill, Antropov, Suglobov, 2nd rounder for Nagy and a 3rd rounder.

    wishfult thinking? perhaps. Leafs would replace Tucker, Antropov, Suglobov with Nagy, Torres, Cogliano/Schremp; they would replace Bell and Gill with what they already have (Coliacovo, White, Kronvall, Harrison along with the big 3 – Kubina, McCabe, Kaberle); in terms of picks, they get an extra 4th rounder thanks to the Telly deal, they lose their 2nd and 3rd round picks but get the 3rd round pick back in the Phoenix deal.

    you have the grit Tucker brought and his offensive numbers replaced with Torres and Nagy, the latter is a first liner or a top-6 forward and both of whom are UFAs but young and have exclusive rights to sign these guys before July 1st.

    [Belak, Westrum]

    [Wozniewski – should be back by Feb.]


  27. mojo19 says:

    And they traded back for Clark and Gilmour too, so maybe they'll trade away Sundin and bring him back to finish as a leaf like Wendel and Dougy.

  28. RealisticNick says:

    How do you build around Coliacavo?

    NHL Totals, 31 Games, 4 Goals, 7 Assists, 11 Points and 19 PIM

    Now is that someone you can build a team around?  He's always injured, trade him for a more stable prospect, drafted five years ago and hasn't been able to stay yet.

  29. RealisticNick says:

    Why do the Ducks trade away two good young players for an injury case and an O'neil when they currently have 60 points?  They do not need to dump sallary and are not trying to rebuild, they have the cup condenter that is cheaper right now and full of young players, why would they want to change that?  This list  contains to many things that are "going to happen" then can even be slightly feasible.  Trades need to be looked at for what the other team needs as well, not just what you want from them and what you want to get rid of from our own team.  Also we all tend to over rate our own players, they probably aren't worth as much as we would think.  There was a point made that you stayed in the Salary Cap, but how cheap do you think Doan and or Sillman are going to be, likely more than the cap raise.

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