The Maple Leafs fail

The Maple Leafs missed out on the two players they really needed the most, Ryan Smyth (Colorado Avalanche) and Paul Kariya (St. Louis Blues). They instead signed a 34 year old, who’s a league renowned a**hole, and dressing room cancer to a big contract. Now I sit here writing my 200th article, an article I was hoping to use to announce the Ryan Smyth signing, writing about another failed off-season for the Maple Leafs, and previewing another ninth place finish for the biggest failure since the Chicago Cubs…. I apologize to every fan and employee of the Chicago Cubs organization, I don’t know what I was saying, that was just rude.
So what did the Maple Leafs lose out on? Smyth, would have been the absolute perfect fit for Mats Sundin. Sundin and McCabe leave huge rebonds with their big shots, and Smyth would have been perfect for tipping them in and shooting in the garbage.

Then there’s Paul Kariya. The man the puck control contest was made for. I would have loved to see Kariya in a Maple Leafs uniform. I have no idea what he would have cost. I really don’t give a flying sh*t. This is a team that was even considered too slow in the old NHL, and they could have used a speed demon like Paul Kariya.

And yet Bryan McCabe is still a Maple Leaf. Alex Steen will score 15 goals next year with all that potential he has, and we have a $2 million backup goalie, who no one in the league will ever want to touch.

Ya, I’ll get flamed, but the same thing happened last year on July 1st. There were also guarantees the Leafs would come in 5th place or better. If the Maple Leafs make the playoffs this year, it’s because the North East division was severely weakened today.

29 Responses to The Maple Leafs fail

  1. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    Lets look at the leafs stats over the past 2 years:
    I will take the worst and most injury plagued season for each player.

    Steen 15 goals
    Sundin 27 goals
    Blake 28 goals

    Kilger 14 goals
    Wellwood 11 goals
    Tucker 24 goals

    Poni 21 goals
    Bell 11 goals
    Antropov 12 goals

    Pohl 3 goals
    Stajan 10 goals
    Devereaux 8 goals

    Kaberle 9 goals
    Kubina 5 goals

    McCabe 15 goals
    Colaiacovo 2 goals

    White 1 goal
    Gill 1 goal

    Raycroft 3.7 GAA-20 games
    Toskala 2.56 GAA-62 games

    217 goals for
    233 goals against

    goal differential is -16
    Last seasons goal differential was -11

    so the leafs finish 10th WORST CASE SCENARIO

    at the top of their game:

    Steen 18 goals
    Sundin 31 goals
    Blake 40 goals

    Kilger 16 goals
    Wellwood 12 goals
    Tucker 28 goals

    Poni 21 goals
    Bell 21 goals
    Antropov 18 goals

    Pohl 13 goals
    Stajan 15 goals
    Devereaux 8 goals

    Kaberle 11 goals
    Kubina 7 goals

    McCabe 19 goals
    Colaiacovo 8 goals

    White 3 goals
    Gill 6 goals

    Raycroft 3.0 GAA-20 games
    Toskala 2.35 GAA-62 games

    259 goals for
    206 goals against

    goal differential is +53
    Last seasons goal differential was -11

    so the leafs finish 4th BEST CASE SCENARIO

  2. Stuv_Dogg says:

    Oh someone get this kid a Kleenex so he can dab the tears from his eyes and blow his nose!  Oh boo f**king hoo the Leafs didn't get the players that you wanted.  Get over it!

    I hate to break this to you, but there are 29 other teams in the league looking to sign these premier free agents as well.  And I don't know if you've noticed it or not, but Toronto isn't exactly on the verge of winning a Cup (although I figure we're about as close as Colorado is so Smyth to the Avs is a bit of a mystery) so you'll have to excuse players for not tripping over each other to get here.

    Smyth is overpaid at $6 million per year.  Not much, but overpaid nonetheless.  As many people would have been criticizing the move had the Leafs paid Smyth $6 million per.  I love his heart, I love his skills, I love a lot about him, but at best he's a point per game player and he's shown more often than not point-a-game would be optimistic.  He puts up similar number to what Jason Blake has posted for the last couple of years.  Smyth would have been a better deal at $5-5.5 million per – the fact is that the Avs overpaid to get him (much the same way the Leafs overpaid to get Kubina last year) and the Leafs either didn't want to or couldn't because of cap restrictions.  Bottom line is that let someone else pay Smyth more than he's worth.

    Kariya would have flopped in Toronto.  He doesn't like the media spotlight and he would have been front and center in Toronto.  That's why he played relatively well in Nashville and will probably play quite well in St. Lou.  Like Smyth, he is a point-per-game player and not worth $6 million per year and like Colorado the Blues overpaid to get him.  Good for them, but let them overpay for Kariya.

    And McCabe still is a Leaf.  And?  You want JFJ to find some magical way to get around his no-movement clause and trade him?  I don't think he's such a bad fit – every team needs an offensive defenceman and that is exactly what McCabe is.  I'm guessing you don't like McCabe, though, and I'd be interested to know why?  I'm guessing that you're just floating things to get attention again and that's just sad, kid.

    Steen, Raycroft, whoever else you're moaning about … whatever.  An empty can rattles the loudest.  Who guaranteed the Leafs would finish 5th or better last season?  Most everywhere I looked people said they would be in a dogfight to make the playoffs, which is exactly how it turned out.  This coming season I suspect things might be much the same, although if other teams in the East remain inactive (Montreal, Ottawa, TB) and others keep losing important parts of their team (Buffalo, NJ) then there is some room for optimism.

    What can be gained from all this is that you've managed to pollute the Internet and more specifically this site with 200 articles of mostly crap.  Can you either a) look around and get a dose of reality, b) submit stuff that is based on fact and not getting responses to your absurdity or c) just stop posting stuff.

    Sad, sad, sad …

  3. 92-93 says:

    Big winner for July 1st:

    When you add Hannan and Smyth for long-term, you’ve done more than many other teams could have done combined. Then you add him to a team with a solid young goalie and to squad led by Sackic, you’ve got a cup contender.

    St. Louis grabbed Kariya, a guy I really wanted for my Leafs and I would certainly pay him the money and term he got with the Blues.

    Philly is the most altered team – adding Smith, Lupul, Briere, Hartnell, Timonen and losing Sanderson and Pitkanen.

    The Rangers have, of course, vastly improved.

    Perhaps the standings might look like this in the East?:

    1. Pittsburgh
    2. Buffalo
    3. Atlanta
    4. NYR
    5. Ottawa
    6. Philadelphia
    7. Toronto/New Jersey
    8. Montreal/Carolina

    I really don’t see much happening in the Southeast division. The Caps barely improved, and the Bolts didn’t improve much. Florida made some signings, but none of which impressed me. Atlanta did add Dupuis and White, the Caps added V.Kozlov and Poti, while Florida added Zednick and Dvorak. Nice additions – along with the Ouellet signing in Tampa Bay, but not additions that will put them into the playoffs IMO.

    Boston, New Jersey, Montreal, Carolina, Toronto, Isles are all going to be in a dogfight for the last couple of spots.

  4. 92-93 says:

    Ok, now for Toronto.

    Some non-leaf fans look at the standings above and think I’m a homer. It all comes down to one word on this site – context.

    Often, ‘discussions’ on this site are usually spoken out-of-context, in a vacuum. The context in toronto is that this is a team that is restocking its farm system but at a painfully slow pace that puts them behind everyone in the East. So now, they are top-8 team in the East. Fine. But in the future, they have no sustainable depth. So yeah, you see them in 7th above but that does not bring me much comfort as a long-term Leaf fan.

    If you told me at the start of the offseason that the Leafs would get Toskala and Blake, resign Poni and Antropov and White and Coliacovo, and be trying to trade Raycroft and Kubina, I would be jumping for joy.

    But all of this is taken out of context of course. If you told me that JFJ would not be extended for another 3 years or fired altogether (re: that he would REMAIN a lame-duck GM), if you told me that the draft picks would be traded away, if you told me that Blake is signed for 5 years WHILE names like Smyth and Hannan and Kariya were still out there (yes, Hannan is more necessary than Blake – it would definitely see Kubina get traded and see an upgrade on defence), then I wouldn’t be so happy.

    And I am not.

    The leafs are short-term, win-now team but a ‘win-now’ team that won’t win and won’t win now.

    So they get screwed on both the long-term and short-term fronts.

    That is my problem.

    They have essentially regressed into a pre-cap, Quinn-era team (I am surprised that our nostalgic young Leafy doesn’t love this), in which they may make the playoffs consistently for the next few years, but will do so at the expense of prospect depth, and will do so knowing that the most they can do is make it to the 2nd or 3rd round and that it is. Just like that previous era, their overall defensive play will not stand against a team in the 2nd or 3rd round that plays better D, regardless of how good the Leafs’ goaltending is and how many goals they can score (and believe me, goal scoring was NOT AN ISSUE for the Leafs and hasn’t been since the Murphy-era leafs).

    That is my problem.

  5. 92-93 says:

    To clarify, what I am saying is that, yes, its great to see the leafs get a little better at the NHL-level, and to see them maybe make the playoffs, let by an exciting group of players, led by a great coach.

    But it sucks to see such a day-to-day, short-term vision for a team that has suffered a 40-year drought and REFUSES to follow the example of New Jersey and Detroit, two franchises who can build their farm system AND remain competitive every year.


    Just to add to the Eastern standings above. Talk about some subtle moves in Pittsburgh. After keeping Recchi and Roberts, they go out and get a solid defender in Sydor and another winger in Sykora. The Pens will be tougher to beat this year if you can believe that. Yes they’ll be a better regular season team but I don’t see that translating into a better post-season team though. We’ll see.

    I also hope that the rumours of the Leafs trying to trade Kubina and Raycroft are true. But I also hope that means that they will be trying to sign Joseph (as a back-up) and Toivenen out of Boston (for the Marlies alongside Pogge). I like the latter deal because I think they need to really add to the goaltender depth in the organization (something they didn’t do – surprisingly – at the draft).

    The signing of Battaglia is OK, but why not keep a spot on the forward lines for one of the Marlies – like Jeremy Williams?




    [Pohl, Belak]

  6. erkey3 says:

    So apparently this guy believes Ryan Smyth is the only player in the NHL capable of putting in a rebound.

  7. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    Colorado still doesn't have a goalie.

  8. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:


    Ottawa– lost a bit, but still loaded
    Pittsburgh– gained, gained, gained
    Carolina– If they get a good #1 defenseman(which I'm 99% sure they will)
    Rangers– Big signings, and they kept everyone else
    Buffalo- No Drury, no Briere, no Problem. they're still loaded
    Toronto– NHL's 6th best offense returning, now with a goaltender who was part of the NHL's 3rd best defense
    Philly– Revamped, will have slow start, but should fly in the 2nd half
    Atlanta– Once on the rise, the Thrashers lose 4 straight games, lose some key players and are now falling.

    Boston– Got an average goalie, a new coach. should push for the playoff all the way.
    Florida- going in the right direction. Should bounce in and out of playoffs all year.
    Montreal- too young, too many problem players, to quiet on July 1st.
    New Jersey- the days of Niedermayer, Stevens, Rafalski are over. The D is shot, the offense took a hit, and Brodure is on the cusp of showing signs of aging.
    Tampa Bay- GOALTENDING, and loss of some good defensive players.
    Islanders- Depietro playing in front of a minor league team.
    Washington- No better, no worse.

  9. wielerj says:

    honestly pal, it's not as though the leafs weren't trying.  in case you needed the update, the leafs had the same offer on the table.  smyth said no.   he said not because he thought we lacked depth.  SO WHAT IS THE PROBLEM HERE?  Is the problem that we didn't get smyth!!??  NO!!!  The problem is that we have a TERRIBLE perception around the league.  Smyth said we lack depth, which, I doubt.  That's his way of saying screw you Toronto, I'm not coming.  

    In fairness, can you blame him?  The guy, along with Kariya, are Western boys.  Many of the folks out west, as I'm sure many of you know, aren't exactly born envying the likes of the Toronto maple leafs.  Many of the hate us.  Alot.  Smyth, deep down, was no exception.  He's a cowboy for christ sake.  Both he and Kariya would get clobbered in this town, so much so that they'd have to drag their sorry asses out of here wishing they'd never come.   Now that speaks to the character of these two guys that we were all so certain that we'd sign.
    In hindsight, they wouldn't have survived here.  They both know it.  We know it.  Blake seems to be cut from a Toronto cloth – tucker, mccabe, belak, blake, oh god just the sound of that makes me cringe… as long as blake doesn't whine to loud, or start more in house chaos… i guess i'm ok with him… HEY, anybody know if we can dump him to the minors if he sucks.  After all, he will be 35 soon,.
  10. shakrmakr says:

    What said is that this forum allows idiots like this one to even write 200 articles. The guy obvioulsy knows nothing about the game but pretends he does. It is sad!

  11. shakrmakr says:

    What sad is that this forum allows idiots like this one to even write 200 articles. The guy obviously knows nothing about the game but pretends he does. It is sad!

  12. REALeafan says:

    Listen man, the Leafs did not fail. The players wanted to go elsewhere wrap your head around that pleaaase. JFJ did everything he could and I think he did fine with Blake and he is not done yet. Enough JFJ bashing, he has been trying to clean up the mess left to him while constantly being undermined by the team he works for. With all that he has to deal with JFJ senior being terminally ill, I think Jason Blake is a fine addition but the kicker is Toskala. The leafs on most nights last year pummeled the opposition with shots only to have the other team go down and score a softie. Can you say discouraging? How about the game against Buffalo, up by three in the third only to lose it. Goaltending out they were actually pretty good. If JFJ got Toskola and nothing else they would make the playoffs. Enough negativity, thats what keeps players from Toronto.

  13. REALeafan says:

    Well said

  14. buds8 says:

    ummmm, rangers kept everyone… that doesnt include Shanahan, Nylander and Ortmeyer… their best goal scorer, their best centre and their best shot-blocker…..Rangers will miss the playoffs cause the Yankee fans will want to put the C on Drury and Jagr will be a baby and play like crap because he is no longer the King!

  15. 92-93 says:

    they have Budaj right? everytime i saw him play he seemed pretty good.

  16. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    Shanahan will come back, and Nylander is an ok loss, when you just got Drury and Gomez

  17. DJTOKid says:

    you go girl!!!

  18. DJTOKid says:

    Toronto, NHL's 6th best offense returning plus Blake and Bell, they may finish in the top four. They could push for winning there division. If Antropov plays 70 plus games this year, and no other top 9 forward gets injured for more then a month then look out for the leafs the will be a force.

  19. DJTOKid says:

    Very well said

  20. DJTOKid says:

    Who's faster? Blake or Kariya???

  21. mojo19 says:

    You're totally right Stuv-Dog

  22. shakrmakr says:

    Finally someone who thinks like me!! When your defence was right behind Buffalo for plus/minus in the east close to the end of the season and your goaltending was below .900 in save percentage and GAA of 3.00, it is clear that goaltending cost them the season.

    Every other number 1 goalie at least stole one game for their team during the season except for Raycroft. Number 1 goalies should be able to do that every now and then.

    Raycroft also has this attitude about him like he is amazing and the goals are never his fault which I don't like.

  23. 92-93 says:

    what the leafs should do now:

    a) clear cap space and trim the fat
    b) deal for prospects and picks

    trade Kubina back to Tampa Bay for Marc Denis and either Shane O'Brien ro Paul Ranger.

    trade Raycroft to LA for a 2nd and 4th rounder.

    waive Belak to the Marlies

    the focus will then turn to trading Denis at some point (and acquiring Joseph for cheaper) but the point is that the leafs do clear more than $4 million in cap space (for a total of nearly $6 million in available cap space)

    the rest of the year the leafs will be keeping an eye on dealing names like Antropov, Tucker, Poni, Bell, Gill, etc. – all tradeable assets that don't necessarily need to be traded.

    the available cap space coudl also see the leafs sign various free agents, including Joseph, Kozlov, Sutton, Peca, etc.

    Finally, the leafs get an extra 2nd and 4th round pick in the 2008 draft (to make up for the lost 2nd round pick in 2007 and 4th rounder in 2009), not to mention another solid young D-guy in Ranger/O'Brien.




  24. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    they play too rough a style, trust me, the injuries will come.

  25. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    Colorado was a damn good team last year, and they missed the playoffs. Budaj alone cannot carry them far. they need a compotent guy to share the load

  26. Gretzkin says:

    Interesting opinion on how Kariya and Smyth would have been eaten alive in Toronto…

    You think a "Cowboy from the West" has a problem with the soft city folk of Toronto, blinders on, looking forward to their next month's rent?
    Woulda made the Leafs much better, with no problems.
    What most people don't realize, even with passion incuded, is that the tax is such crap in Canada.
    The Westerners whoop the Torontonian douce with ease, noting to worry about in this boring town of knob jockey armchair GM's cheering for a team owned by their teachers (the same teachers that they hated…)
  27. mojo19 says:

    Raycroft to Tampa, that makes sense. I could see it happening, like mid-season if Denis and Holmqvist struggle again.

  28. leafdiehard says:

    If the Leafs ever have a chance of signing some big names, they need to get rid of their plugs and their Europeans. Look at what happened in Anaheim. I believe their only European was Sammy Pahlson, who by the way is one of the toughest Europeans in the league. The leafs need to take their hits in the next couple of years to re-shape their team. Sundin signed for a year to say get me a cup or I am gone. Now that we know McCabe is willing to waive his no-movement if he can go to the Islanders, bank on it in the near future. Also, JFJ to me comes across as a soft personality. The Leafs need a ruthless GM who can make trades, take their hits, and sign some big free agents.

    As for the Leafs this year, expect some more production from Steen. He will be a solid 2 or 3rd line winger who will have 20 goals. If Sundin and Blake doesn't work, I imagine Wellwood-Blake will. Also, I think Bell will get back to his form that he displayed in Chicago. HE did not have a great year in San Jose but I can see his bouncing back.

    On a personal note, I hated the way JFJ just let Jason Allison go. Sure he is not the strongest skater, but did u see how he fired Sundin up in the latter part of the 05/06 season. Might be a good idea to get Allison or someone who is a playmaker for Sundin. The future right now of the Leafs lie in Wellwood, Blake, Tucker, Steen and Stajan. Find someone to play with Sundin for his final year and let Wellwood and Blake sort things out. My ideal lines for this year.

    Kozlov/Shanny  Sundin  Tucker
    Blake            Wellwood  Bell
    Steen            Stajan   Pohl
    Poni             Antropov  Kilger

    (battaglia, Deveraux)

    Kaberle  Kubina
    McCabe  Colaiacovo
    White   Gill

    Toskala, Raycroft (split)

    This team has a shot at being in the playoffs. And with Paul Maurice at the helm, who knows what can happen during the playoff run. But even if the Leafs don't get somebody for Sundin, the playoffs, sure, a cup run, possible but not probable.

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