Toronto Maple Leafs Rebuild Tracker

The Toronto Maple Leafs rebuild effectively began once John Ferguson Jr. was fired in January of 2008. Cliff Fletcher came in, and despite a valiant effort on his part, he was not able to acquire assets for the Leafs veterans. After a few minor moves, Brian Burke came in, here is a look at what Brian Burke has been able to do, and where the franchise is going.

When Burke first came in, aside from Luke Schenn, there was very little positive movement happening in Leafland. Since then, he has made the roster his team, aside from a few players who are likely to be moved, this roster belongs to Brian Burke.

Since Burke has taken over as GM, he has moved the following players: Jason Blake, Nik Antropov, Matt Stajan, Alexei Ponikarovsy, Niklas Hagman, Dominic Moore, Pavel Kubina, Lee Stempniak, Ian White, Jiri Tlusty, Anton Stralman, Jamal Mayers and Justin Pogge.

Players brought in: Garnett Exelby, Mike Komisarek, Francois Beauchemin, Jonas Gustovsson, Phil Kessel, Tyler Bozak, Christian Hanson, Philipe Paradis, Dion Phaneuf, Keith Aulie, Fredrick Sjostrom, J.S. Giguere, Luca Caputi.

Of the 15 players moved out, 7 were European, and 11 were forwards.

Of the 12 players brought in, 10 are North American, and 5 are forwards.

Whether you like it or not, Burke is being true to his word and his form.

His team is going to be tough, physical, and largely North American.

At the Draft, Burke was again, true to form. Nazem Kadri is a hell of a prospect, plays with heart, and has top notch offensive instincts.

Here is a look at the four aspects of the team, and how Burke has done at rebuilding so far (Mind you he is far from done)

1. Goaltending – B- He did a good job to bring in Gustovsson this season, who has been decent for being on such a terrible team. However in hindsight, he should not have banked this season on Toskala for so long. The Giguere trade seems like it could have been done much earlier, and with solid goaltending, the Bruins pick would not be so high. The Giguere trade was good though.
JS Giguere
Jonas Gustovsson
James Reimer
Grant Rollheiser

2. Defense – A- Mind you, this is not based on their performance this year, it is based on securing assets for the future. Burke has done an excellent job at building this teams defense. He brought in two character leaders in Komisarek and Beauchemin, capitalized on Ian Whites high value to bring in a slumping #1 defensemen, held off on trading Kaberle over the summer, when his value was half of what it is now, and did not trade Schenn.
Dion Phaneuf
Tomas Kaberle
Mike Komisarek
Francois Beauchemin
Luke Schenn
Carl Gunnarson
Jeff Finger
Garnett Exelby
Keith Aulie

3. Forwards – C- So far, Burke has been a bit lackluster in the forward department. He got Phil Kessel, but it came at quite a cost. The jury will be out for years on that one. He brought in Bozak and Hanson for nothing, and they have been pretty good this year. The forward core will go through retooling this off-season, major retooling, it remains to be seen which route he will take, whether it be by Tomas Kaberle trade, or another defensmen, or free agency, but this forward core will look very different.
Phil Kessel
Tyler Bozak
Nikolai Kulemin
Viktor Stalberg
Mikhail Grabovski
Luca Caputi
Fredrick Sjostrom
Christian Hanson
Jamie Lundmark
John Mitchell
Rickard Wallin
Colton Orr

Prospects – C – I mostly like his draft picks, and the prospects that they already have, but the trading of what is going to be a high pick this year, and possibly a high pick next year, does not bode well for the prospects. Many of the prospects no longer count, because they are NHL regulars.

Going forward, here are some must-dos in my opinion:

1. Get a top 3 forward – I understand that Burke wants to keep Kaberle, but if they cannot get Patrick Marleau, I think Kaberle has to go.

2. Resign Nikolai Kulemin, before his value sky rockets – Seriously, ever since this kid found out he can hit, he has been terrific. He needs more consistency in his offensive game, but he is the best forechecker on the team.

3. Resign Jonas Gustovsson – He has got all of the skill to be a good NHL goalie, but he needs more time.

4. Get a top 6 forward through a salary dump. They could target both Chicago and New York, as they both have bad contracts who they would be willing to move.

5. Do not move Nazem Kadri or Luke Schenn.

Burke’s ability as a GM has been under fire lately, and while I think he is the right man for the job, I can certainly see differing view points.

So here are some discussion questions. Do you think the Leafs are headed in the right direction? Do you like Burke’s moves? What would it take to trade Tomas Kaberle?

141 Responses to Toronto Maple Leafs Rebuild Tracker

  1. DannyLeafs says:

    nice try?

    It wasn't a try it was the truth.

    I guess I shouldn't have expected much more than that feeble argument, and I guess I will try and break it down as simple as possible.

    You argued against Gustavsson deserving the masterson.

    You downplayed each of his hardships.

    You went so far as to say that all players deal with Loss and that Gustavsson shouldn't be singled out for it.

    You have made at least 10 posts discussing the masterson all the while not naming one person you believe is worthy of it, and all of your posts have been completely negative.

    If you wanted to attack Reinjosh because you disagree that Gustavsson was more deserving, you could have said something along the lines of
    "While I do think that Gustavsson should get definite consideration for this award, I don't think you should be so quick to say he is more deserving than the past winners …"

    Instead you decided to go with insult right out of the gate, giving anything you said after that point zero credibility.

    You are biased, you can't deny it, there is not a single person who has ever read one of your posts that will come to your defense on that. You saw a leafs fan posting something positive about a leafs player, and you attacked it with nothing but negativity. Grow up, and just admit to your faults instead of just constantly back pedaling when you know you are wrong.

  2. leafmeister says:

    Why would the Leafs trade Grabovski and Didominico for a guy who they can just get for nothing in the off-season.

    I think Burke should, and will kick some tires with Lecavalier. It will take more than Kaberle and a 5th, but Kaberle would have to be involved.

  3. leafmeister says:

    Probably over the summer. My guess is that once/if Kaberle is traded, Phaneuf will get the C, Schenn will take Kabby's A, and Beauche and Komi will remain assistants.

  4. jpmac says:

    It will take atleast one of your young players (Kadri or Schenn) mainly because you cannot offer them a first round pick.Tampa Bay is rebuilding as well, and a 32 year old defenceman is probably not high on their wish list.

  5. leafmeister says:

    Yeah that is true. However two things have to be considered: 1) Lecavaliers salary is huge, and it lasts a long time. Tampa will wanna resign some of their new young guys, and having Lecavalier with a 7.7 mil cap hit for so long is not helpful. 2) They need a puck mover, and Kaberle is not only the best available, but he comes at a cheap cap hit.

    I know the owner says he is not available, but they have to look into the future. Stamkos could, and likely will earn 8+ mil, and depending on how Hedman develops, he could earn 6+ after his rookie contract expires. They made this mistake before, of keeping around the big contracts and it did not work out too well.

    Like I said, Burke will, if he hasnt already, look into Lecavalier, but it will probably amount to nothing because of how big Vinnie's contract is.

  6. dumbassdoorman says:

    While that may be true, niether is Vinny's huge salary of 7.7 mil over the next umpteen seasons. With St. Louis and Stamkos having to be resign after next season andonly 5 fwds, 5 dman and a goalie on the roster for next year. Vinny may not cost as much as everyone thinks, only because of his salary.

  7. leafmeister says:

    Its like this: Tomas Kaberle, and 3 mil this season, and 7 mil next season.

  8. dumbassdoorman says:

    I think Tampa, would have to give something else with trading Vinny, especially if they want a very good player back and not picks and prospects. That is a huge cap hit for a long time. Question is would you trade for him if he were avail? What would you trade to do it? 8 million in cap space is worth ummmm Kovalchuk…

  9. dumbassdoorman says:

    I like your trade idea with the NYR but we need forward propects more I think. I wonder if and what Burke may do to aquire more talent as far as cap relief trades go?

  10. leafy says:

    True, but if the Leafs want to be bona fide cup contenders one day, they need to be strong up the middle. Another trade like the Phaneuf deal, but only involving a big name center, is exactly what we need.

  11. leafy says:

    Wasn't Domi muslim? I thought he was.

  12. bbruins37 says:

    if you didn't notice i never argued him against this year's candidates; i only argued him against past winners and candidates.

    keep saying i'm biased all you want but it looks pretty retarded when i'm arguing him against 3 former or current leafs, one of whom is one of my least favourite players in the league.

    again, nice try.

  13. bbruins37 says:

    all i'm saying is that you're downplaying cancer, not dismissing it entirely.

    eerything is relative. you make it out like he's suffered a great deal more than others, which isn't true. he has definitely suffered but you can't just say it trumps all other suffering.

  14. DannyLeafs says:

    And again you come up with nothing of value.

    The fact that two of the past three winners are current maple leafs, and the other is a former Maple Leafs, does nothing to change the fact that your biased. It's not as if you picked the winners, you can do nothing to change those outcomes, so why does your using them as an argument prove that you are not biased?

    Your logic still makes no sense, you continue to pretend your argument isn't based on your hatred for the maple leafs, yet you downplayed everything he has gone through. What possible reason could you have for doing that? You have never admitted that you think he is a good candidate, but you don't have a reason why. You think he shouldn't win it, then who should?

    If you have an objection to a player winning an award then the logical rationale is because there is someone more deserving, but after all of your whining and moaning you have still failed to mention a single player that you feel is more deserving.

    Finally, stop acting as if your only objection was to Reinjosh's statement about Gustavsson being more deserving. That is just foolish back pedaling, trying to cover your tracks when you realize that you are wrong. It is pretty easy to scroll to where you make a joke of Didomenico winning the award, obviously trying to point out how foolish a statement that you think it is that Gustavsson could win it.

    Anyway, I hope you've had your fill, I am done with you now, so go and please learn to put together a logical argument before approaching me again. Arguing with someone whose approach to logic is the same as that of a child trying to get a square peg into a round hole is irritating, so please try and improve on that … ok sport?

  15. FlamingHomer says:

    That's accurate. Phaneuf has not been missed whatsoever and suddenly the Flames have some great depth at forward. I'm sincerely glad there has been a positive response to Phaneuf's play in Toronto even thought it looks like he has the same lazy habits as when he was here.

  16. bbruins37 says:

    g stuff i've said.

    not once did i say he wasn't deserving this year. i have never compared him to this year's candidates. not once. based on that why would you suspect i don't think he's a candidate for this year?

    all i have done is compare him to past winners. and seeing as the past winners are leafs it makes absolutely zero sense to say that i am downplaying his suffeering because he's a leaf.

    no i did not pick the winners but let's make this clear here: i am A-OK with the winners that were chosen. fighting cancer is a pretty decent reason to give someone an award in my opinion.

    anything else to add (AKA any other words you want to put into my mouth that i never said?)?

  17. bbruins37 says:

    1st paragraph got cut off. can't remember what i wrote…oh well, there's enough good stuff in there

  18. cam7777 says:

    I wouldn't even give them Kaberle at this point.  The guy has what, 18 goals this year?  It's an enormous risk to take on the league's biggest contract when that player has seen a significant decline in play over the last 3 seasons, and suffered injuries which he has clearly not been able to overcome.

    I think it's hilarious that people think it would be Schenn or Kadri going the other way, or even Kaberle for that matter.  The ONLY benefit in acquiring Lecavalier at this point would be that you could probably acquire him without upsetting your core at all.  Almost no one can afford him, and if someone does try to trade for him, Vinny has to accept the trade. 

    I could very much see Burke doing this, but if he does, expect it to be a shockingly low package like the one we gave away for Phaneuf.  I mean, the Habs almost landed him for Plekanec (at the time, a 38 point man), and Price (value arguable, but clearly, he was expendable) – Plekanec wasn't even signed.  I'd throw them Beauchemin and a prospect or two (Hayes, Stefanovich), or maybe Grabovski, but the real benefit to the team is that their owner doesn't have to pay 1/5th of his peronsal wealth to Vincent Lecavalier, who currently plays on his second line….

  19. cam7777 says:

    Actually, I change my mind, Kaberle for Lecavalier straight up.  Then, after another year of management and ownership *****-ups, we simply resign Kaberle. 

  20. DannyLeafs says:

    I wasn't going to reply again, but since you decided to illustrate my point for me, I think that it is only fair to point it out.

    I didn't put words in your mouth:

    "heart surgeries that kept him out like a week max each?

    moving continents? are you kidding me? has he had trouble making new friends in a new country or something and deserves the masterton for that?

    losing both parents is obviously tough, but players deal with loss all the time.
    you don't single gustavsson out because of it."

    These are your words, where you downplay his suffering and argue against him deserving the award.

    "i have never compared him to this year's candidates"

    That was my point. You argued against him winning the award Without naming a worthy candidate. That is a bad argument, as previous winners make no precedent for winning the award now. The award will be given to someone this year, therefore, to argue against it going to a specific player, you must give an alternative choice and support the rationale for making it.

    "give that man the masterton. it doesn't matter that he's not in the NHL."

    This is your commenting referring to a post that said nothing but Chris Didomenico has returned to action and is playing well in the QMJHL. Do I really need to say anything else.

    Not a single thing you post that has anything to do with the Leafs or Bruins has a shred of credibility. This is sad, because when your biases are not in play, your posts are often good, and your predictions fairly accurate. However, you quickly become blinded when anything Leaf or Bruin becomes involved, and your arguments are reduced to poor logic and your overall smugness about the subject matter.

  21. leafmeister says:

    I would rather give Kaberle straight up than give Beauchemin in a package. We need to keep our prospects, and Beauchemin is a solid defensemen.

  22. dumbassdoorman says:

    I am gonna get hammered for saying this and do not care, I might trade Beach for Vinny….might. If it was Kabby for Vinny then something else better be coming with him. Say what you want, he is a good player still. But that 8 mil cap hit is the biggest in the league, PERIOD!!!!! It would absolutely handcuff the Leafs IMO…unlees the cap is going way up or gone after the next CBA…not likely.

  23. leafmeister says:

    They can definitely afford to give up Kaberle straight up, I would much rather keep Beauchemin and whatever prospects we would have to throw in. Kaberle would fetch the most, and be consistent with the rebuilding plan of getting younger. Just look at the defense, it is actually pretty set for now and the future.

    Phaneuf – 24
    Komi – 28
    Beauche -29
    Schenn- 20
    Gunnarsson – 23

    Then they could just sign a veteran #5-6 Dman and be set.

    Carl Gunnarsson has really impressed me lately he is +10 on this team, as a rookie. He is basically moving into Ian White's role as the underrated #5-6 defensemen. He definitely has potential to be a top 4 puck mover.

  24. dumbassdoorman says:

    oh I agree with the way the are playing, that why i say if it is Kabby for Vinny i would want something else besides him back. That is a huge cap hit….for one player. you know  what I mean? Even a player like Ranger back with him who is a RFA plus a pick. I think Vinny is far from done, but it is a long long contract. Question would then become….lol….is Phaneuf still the logical choice for captain or do you throw vinny's name in the ring? Gunnerson has impressed me as well. I also love the way Schenn is playing now, very assertive on the ice.

  25. leafmeister says:

    Schenn has been good since the Phaneuf trade. If Gunnarsson continues to develop he will be the perfect defense partner for Phaneuf, mobile, steady, relatively mistake free, and a good passer.

  26. dumbassdoorman says:

    Here is hoping for an exciting off season. I just am happy watching them play as hard as they are. I was shocked to see on leaf TV the other day jiggy said he thought Burke was gonna swing a trade for him at the begining of the season….it caught him off guard at the time, because he thought there was no chance. makes you wonder if we had steady goaltending all year would we be in a diff situation right now? I think so, I mean how many points were just given away in OT or blowing late leads? A big save here or there and we would be in the race right now.

  27. leafmeister says:

    Yeah even with decent goaltending this team could have been ok. Toskala was just so bad. Gustovsson was as good as you could ask for, given that the team around him was not playing that well, and he is a rookie.

    I am now thinking that Lecavlier is a real option. It would be so awesome to have him with Kessel. I am not banking on it, but Burke does go for big name talent, we need a center, and Vinnie appears to be available.

    Maybe make this line: Kadri-Lecavalier-Kessel – A combination of goal scoring prowess and play making ability, Kadri would have a damn good shot at Calder if he were playing with such elite guys.

  28. cam7777 says:

    Of course, for Vincent Lecavalier, he's never been the same since losing that elite puck moving defensemen (Boyle).  Will he want to come to a team that has to trade it's elite puck-mover to land him?  Will he want to come to the hated rival of his beloved childhood Habs?

  29. dumbassdoorman says:

    But really do they have to trade that elite puck mover for him? I mean that cap hit name 5-8 teams that can absorb it….then name half that that would….Tampa is not dealing from a point of strength. I would not trade Kabby for Vinny straight up, only because if the cap hit. I mean another way to look at it is this. Phi needs cap room bad right, and want to unload guys like Hartnell. Would you rather have Vinny ot Kabby and Hartnell? they have the same amount of cap space pretty much.

  30. dumbassdoorman says:

    Plus if they could sign a guy like Torres in the offseason……you have the start of a decent, hard working and to play against top 6….IMO. But at the right price Vinny would be pretty sweet!!!

  31. leafmeister says:

    I would definitely want to add Hartnell to the roster, as a physical top 6 forward, but his cap space is too heavy, and Philly lacks the prospects or picks to throw into the deal. The only way Burke would swap Kaberle for Hartnell would be in Van Reimsdyk or Giroux were thrown into the deal. Philly probably does not want to part with either of those guys.

  32. dumbassdoorman says:

    No,no sorry I meant grab Hrtnell for almost nothing because Phi has no cap space. I meant I would rather have Kabby and Hartnell, then Vinny, plus they could probably still add a player like Torres….thats is three for one if they burried Finger.

  33. cam7777 says:

    Is this something that works for everyone:

    To DAL: Tomas Kaberle, John Mitchell, 2nd in 2011 (TOR)
    To TBL: Brad Richards, Jeff Finger, Jamie Benn
    To TOR: Vincent Lecavalier, Steve Downie, Paul Ranger

    The Stars are all but sure to be after Kaberle, as it has been rumored for some time that Neuwyndyk is heavily interested in one player off the roster in particular.  Given their need for a puck moving defensemen to help Robidas, it would seem to make sense that the player is Kaberle.  Combine that with their need to dump salary because of the ownership financial situation, and getting rid of Richards makes a lot of sense.

    The Leafs get Lecavalier, who COULD rebound into an NHL all-star in Toronto.  They also dump Finger, which saves Burke a lot of hassle with burying him, and somewhat offsets the massive risk involved in taking on Lecavalier's 85 million dollar deal.  Finally, the Leafs get Downie and Ranger, who are big, and in Downie's case, would help open up the space that some of our less physical forwards could really use.  Ranger would help off-set the loss of Kaberle.

    The Lightning actually don't get screwed on this deal, as they are basically getting a chance at a re-do with their contract negotiations.  THey will get a shot at resigning Richards to a deal that won't completely handicap their team like Lecavalier's would have.  The risk for them comes in whether or not they can actually resign Richards, or end up losing him for nothing.  They've already moved on from Paul Ranger with him being absent all year, so the only significant loss is Downie.

    Next year's Leaf squad:

    Nazem Kadri (1.75) – Vincent Lecavalier (7.72) – Steve Downie (2.25)
    Nikolai Kulemin (2.0) – Tyler Bozak (3.725) – Phil Kessel (5.4)
    Viktor Stalberg (0.85) – Mikhail Grabovski (2.9) – Luca Caputi (0.833)
    Wayne Primeau (0.85) – Christian Hanson (1.0) – Fred Sjostrom (0.75)

    X – Colton Orr (1.0)

    Dion Phaneuf (6.5) – Luke Schenn (2.975)
    Carl Gunnarsson (0.8) – Francois Beauchemin (3.8)
    Mike Komisarek (4.5) – Paul Ranger (1.0)

    J.S. Giguere (6.0) – Jonas Gustavsson (1.5)

    CAP HIT – 59 million

    It is over the cap by about 2.3 million, but that is well within the bonus cushion, which is A-Okay since we have over 6 million dollars committed to bonuses that aren't likely to be achieved.  In fact, Bozak's cap hit alone might be cut considerably next year, as I believe a big part of his cap hit involves the bonus clause about him winning the Calder, which will be impossible next year.

  34. Magleaf says:

    i didnt even know kaberle had a brother

    there is such a  thing a signing an extension but im sure you thought of that before running your mouth

  35. Magleaf says:

    i guess saying that would be more relivent if the trade deadline hadnt have alreay passed, yes i am an idiot

  36. cam7777 says:

    Taylor Pyatt is someone I would consider for the award.  Lost his fiance at the end of last year, only to have his team turn him out in the cold.  The guy goes to Phoenix, fights for a contract, and he comes up big.  He's chipping in his fair share of points, and keeping his plus/minus more than respectable.

    That said, Gustavsson probably deserves it more than him.  Patrice Bergeron will probably be a finalist after finally turning the corner from his two terrible concussions.  Can't think of anyone else really.  Unless some awful tragedies befall anyone else before the awards, then I think Gustavsson will be a finalist for the award.  Chelios will probably be considered just for being old.

  37. leafy says:

    A goal by Kulemin in high definition. Gosh I love YouTube.

  38. leafit2me says:

    These are the top centers on BB's radar for the upcoming 2010-11 season:

    UFA's (listed by need for a top-line center)
    – Plekanec
    – Lombardi
    – Cullen
    – Higgins
    – Lang
    Signed/Trade (ranked by % likelihood that there might be a deal in 2010 off-season)
    – Sharp
    – Carter
    – J. Staal
    – Lecavalier
  39. b_devils says:

    Domi def. wasnt muslim. I found this online

    Born and raised in Montreal, Ramzi Abid was the first Muslim to play in the NHL after being selected in the second round by the Phoenix Coyotes 11 years ago. He played 68 games for the Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins, Atlanta Thrashers and Nashville Predators
  40. b_devils says:

    What the BEST possible thing that can happen to the leafs, is SOME HOW, get rid of Kaberle, grabo, all our prospects, just WHATEVER IT TAKES and some how land Hall in the draft. 

    Kadri and Hall played together, and with those two Leafs offense will be set for YEARS to come. There will be 4 top 6 forwards on that team (i can see Bozak developing into that role).
    Burke will have to pull of a string of trades to get that done though…
    DeDominco, Hayes, stefonivich, Aulie, mitchel, stalberg, hanson, even bauchmen can all be expendable. Leafs will be like the Hawks. lol
  41. leafmeister says:

    If I had the top pick in this years draft I would take Seguin over Hall any day. Hall will be an offensive threat, but he is totally disinterested in any other part of the game. For a complete player, I would take Seguin.

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