Very interesting interview with Jim Devallano

Thurday evening, late, the Fan590 in Toronto was doing an interview with Jim Devallano.

It was extremely interesting to listen to what he had to say about the Leafs and JFJ, having been there before when Detroit was an awful team in the early 80’s.

The first thing he said was that it is ALL about the draft. This was true even before the salary cap. The key to a winning team and an organization with longevity is the draft, and player development from within.

Where it gets interesting though is what he had to say about JFJ. He feels that it is vital that the Leafs be patient with him and let him do his job.

He also addressed the *bad* Leaf signings. He pointed out that the way you build from within is to “fill holes”. There are times, when a team is rebuilding that they simply need to fill a roster out. The best bet is to get veteran players and accept that the team is not going to challenge for a cup, while the organization rounds itself out from the farm system up. The wings did this also!

I found it an interesting perspective from a guy who has done it before in a hockey-crazy city no less. I have maintained all along that the Leaf signings were not *bad* ones this year and that they can’t simply play the whole farm team for the sake of going with youth. JFJ filled holes, and di dnot commit to long term deals doing so.

Unfortunately, JFJ probably doesn’t have a long shelf life with an origanization that has shown no tendency towards patience for about 25 years now.

The REAL interesting point to this is that the cap may in fact be the Leafs biggest asset … it may protect them from themselves.

So… if the Leafs go with Tellqvist/Aubin next year, and they sign a bunch of short term deals for players past their prime… and they aren’t successful again, try to keep a view on the bigger picture. Look to the drafting and player development. See if there are solid NHL’ers on their way up in the future.

Once the foundation is laid, THEN it is time to go out and get a couple big name free agents to round out the roster, not before.