What The Leafs Should Be Doing

Alright, I’m making it clear that this is not a suggestion of trades or rumors but rather an opinionated gameplan of mine if I was the GM. I hate the constant Leaf rumors as much as the next guy, I’m unbiased, and not really fan. That’s where I come in, and besides it’ll be pretty interesting to see what really happens in Toronto this offseason. After all, they may very well be the most scrutinized team in the NHL. (Toronto being like one of the biggest hockey towns in the world.)

So here it goes:

Goaltending is hot button issue but really shouldn’t be that difficult of a decision. I believe Belfour has be given a bad wrap and has played well considering the guys in front of him are a joke. However, none-the-less his time is up there because he is to old, injury prone and expensive.

Tellqvist needs to be given the chance to take the starting position to develop and his cheap salary (likely to be less than $1.5 million hopefully?) can free up a chunk of salary for bettering the team. Though Eddie’s contract would have to be bought out at $1.5 million and count towards the cap. If Mikael succeeds in the net it will pay off in the long run; he’s only 26 and could bring wins for years to come. Even if he doesn’t, there’s always a FA acquisition possible and his salary wouldn’t make it hard.

The blueline is where Toronto needs some change and I think Leaf fans everywhere wince when they hear the names Berg and Belak. Although Kaberle had a breakout season, he still hasn’t proved that he can put consistent numbers over 40pts. With his recent contract signing at $4.5 million for five years he can be considered to be overpaid (compare him to Brian Leetch who makes $4 million). Signing McCabe should be a top priority since he led the team in points, and as a leader carried this team on his shoulders. $5 million is a hefty price to pay but it can fit under the cap with little problem if it is raised to $45 million as projected. With these two Toronto has a ligitimate starting defensive duo.

The D-men I think need to be dropped are, you guessed it, Berg and Belak due to their immobility and constant mistakes. Need not to really worry though because I think only one FA blueline pick-up is needed. Luke Richardson is kind of stupid pickup if you ask me because he’s slow and old, regardless of leadership skills. Though he isn’t bad as a No.5 or No.6 I guess. I would suggest pick up someone like Boughner to add to the third pairing to give some much needed physicality and grit to the defensive corps. He could help develop Kronwall on a line as well. The second pairing would ideally be Colaiacovo with Khavanov which sounds pretty nice.

On to the forwards, where Pat Quinn has had the most trouble. The smart thing to do? Dump Allison, Domi, O’ Neil, Lindros, and Wilm. Try again by dipping into the FA pool. Sundin is the captain and he was injured so he is likely to be kept at first line center. I think Recchi on his right wing for $2 million and Vyborny on his left for the same amount would make a decent starting line. Picking up the second line could be Arnott at center, Langenbrunner on right wing, and Kozlov on the other side of Jason. All former NJ players could create a chemistry similar to what NYR has with former PIT players. As far as FA’s go it’s hard for me to really pinpoint who and how many would re-sign with or leave their respective teams because I don’t know their personal attitudes. I can only throw out names that I think would be plausible and work well together; on paper, payroll, and the ice.

Youngsters could provide a potentially offensively potent and swift third shift consisting of Wellwood C, Steen LW, and RW Stajan. The fourth line could be a physical, strong, checking line with Antropov centering LW Ponikarovsky and RW Darcy Tucker.

Overall I think that going this route could turn Toronto into a Eastern Conference force once again and keep them in the running again for the long run. All they need to do now is draft a scoring forward in the first round and they’ll be set. Hope yall’ liked my plan.


22 Responses to What The Leafs Should Be Doing

  1. lukeleim says:

    Off season Transactions

    URF – Kim Johnsson , Willie Mitchell, Sergei Samsonov, Todd Simpson & Curtis Joseph

    Jeff O’Neill to the Carolina Hurricanes for Hurricanes’ 5th-round pick in 2006

    Nik Antropov, Andy Wozniewski & Justin Pogge to the Minnesota Wild for Patrick O’Sullivan, Wild’s 3rd-round pick in 2006 & Wild’s 4th-round pick in 2007.

    Sergei Samsonov – Mats Sundin – Darcy Tucker

    Patrick O’Sullivan – Kyle Wellwood – Alexander Steen

    Chad Kilger – Eric Lindros – Ben Ondrus

    Alexei Ponikarovsky – Matt Stajan – Tie Domi

    ———————————————————

    Wade Belak

    Prospects: Jeremy Williams, Alex Foster, Aleksander Suglobov & Robert Earl

    Tomas Kaberle – Bryan McCabe

    Kim Johnsson – Willie Mitchell

    Carlo Colaiacovo – Jay Harrison

    ————————————–

    Todd Simpson – Brendan Bell

    Prospects: Ian White

    Mikael Tellqvist

    Curtis Joseph

    ——————-

    J.F Racine

    Prospects: Todd Ford & Tuukka Rask

  2. LeafyMcLeaf says:

    NO TRADING O’NEILL!!!!

  3. PaulK123 says:

    You said to let go of Richardson and Allison

    because they’re not fast enough…the you wanna

    bring in Recchi! What is wrong wit u, btw Fergei

    would never trade O’Neill because he only came

    here to be with his family after his bro died.

    Here is what the Leafs do:

    Sergei Samsonov:2-year/3 million dollars

    Tyler Arnason:2-year/1.7 million dollars

    Willie Mitchell:2-year/2.5 million dollars

    Wade Redden:3-year/4.5 million dollars

    Pavel Kubina:2-year/3 million dollars

    To Tampa Bay:Ed Belfour,3rd round pick,Tie Domi

    To Toronto: John Grahame, 3rd round pick

    This deal will leave the Leafs with about 20

    million in cap room to re-sign all of these

    players:

    Mikael Tellqvist

    Eric Lindros

    Luke Richardson

    Matt Stajan

    Kyle Wellwood

    Jason Allison

    Alexander Steen

    Ponikarovsky

    Ondrus

    All remaining prospects to minor league deals.

    Here is the roster:

    Samsonov___Sundin___Steen

    Lindros___Arnason___Tucker

    Stajan___Allison___Kilger

    Ponikarovsky__Wellwood__Ondrus

    Sub:Belak

    Kaberle__Kubina

    Redden__Mitchell

    Richardson__Coliacovo

    Subs:Harrison/Kronvall

    __Tellqvist___

    __Grahame__(split duty)

    Aubin

    If this team aint poised to make a cup run I have no idea which one is!

  4. LeafyMcLeaf says:

    I don’t know bout you guys, but I like our future. This is for about 5 years from now…

    Steen-Wellwood-Suglobov

    Tucker-Stajan-Foster

    Williams-Kumkumberg-Ondrus

    Pohl-Lindros(Captain)-Engelhardt

    Kaberle-Colaiacovo

    Harrison-Wozniewsky

    Kronwall-White

    Bell

    Tellqvist

    Rask

    Pogge

    Racine

    That means we’ve got 2 goalies we could trade, and make our team better, plus other acquisitions, and UFAs, and other draft picks, we got awesome scouts. This team will be great in a few years.

  5. toronto77 says:

    i think mccabe should be there, i dun know why you hate him, lindros should be gone and maybe newbury should be there, but other than that i can’t wait to see this team.

  6. lukeleim says:

    YES! TRADE O’NEILL

  7. LeafyMcLeaf says:

    McCabe is Allison except on defense. And Lindros? Well Tucker and Kaberle will both be about 34 five years from now, so they’ll be veterans, but they aren’t really captain material.If Mats retires by then, get Lindros as the C.

  8. lukeleim says:

    yeah sure this team would probably go far… but redden wont sign with TO… i really believe harrison would be an upgrade on richardson so signing him is pointless…i dont think tampa will want to resign belfour in the offseason. but i like the idea of signing samsonov, arnason & mitchell… keep lindros and let allison go; allison has been doing better as of late but lindros would probably resign at 1.5 where allison would be looking for something similar to what he was making this year which is around 4 mil… so you’d save about 2.5 mil

  9. lukeleim says:

    kumkumberg will never be more than reserve forward… suglobov will be more of a second line winger and wellwood will probably be a second liner as well unless he shifts to wing… i like the idea of keeping lindros though… wozniewsky wont be anymore than a 5th or 6th defense at best.

  10. lukeleim says:

    O’Neill is unsure of his future, he may not play next year. And, im sure he’ll be willing to go back to carolina where he had some success.

  11. 92-93 says:

    I agree with most of your points.

    Tellqvist should be given a shot but his salary is already determined next year to be 589K. Combined with Eddie’s 1.5 million, the leafs will already have spent 2 million on goaltending, leaving them with – at most – to spend 2.5-3 million on a free agent goalie for a total of 4.5-5 million on goaltending, which matches this year’s total expenditure on Belfour and Telly (IF JFJ wants to spend that much).

    You are right about the blueline being the pivotal area that the leafs need to overhaul. Kaberle HAS proven to be a consistent 40+ point-getter with his recent point totals suggest (40, 45, 39, 47, 56 – considering that he is 27 and has 56 points so far this year, the sky’s the limit for him right now). He will be the anchor on this D and will supply most of its offense. Why? Because i am hoping McCabe is NOT resigned. the leafs will be in cap trouble and will have to sacrifice depth in other areas (defense, forward lines) if they resign him for more than 5 million or even 4.5 million. Not resigning McCabe means that the leafs can go out and get some lesser-known but more defensively effective names (McKee, etc.).

    the rest of the defense can be filled in by the underrated Leafs D from the Marlies: Harrison, Kronvall, Coliacovo, White, Bell, Woziniewski (and even Pilar if he is healthy). Gone are Berg, Khavanov, Richardson.

    The forward lines are not going to be much trouble for the leafs. they have the core set: Sundin, Tucker, Stajan, Steen, Wellwood, Kilger, Ponikorovsky. Add in the players we don’t want but are stuck with – O’Neill and Domi – and you have 9 forward spots taken up with a position left open at RW, LW, and Centre.

    the only questions surround 3 guys: Antropov, Allison, and Lindros. Unfortunately Belak, O’Neill and Domi are signed for another year and leaf fans have to live with that (although – like Berg – O’Neill has hinted at retirement … and Belak could be waived). without resigning McCabe, Khavanov, Berg, and Richardson, and with the buyout of Belfour, the leafs should then focus on letting go of Allison considering he will be asking for more than 2-3 million and the leafs cannot afford to have that salary on their books (great point-getter, terrible defensively). Lindros will likely resign at 1.5 million again but the leafs shouldn’t hang any hopes on him. just keep that 1.5 million in cap space handy for when he is ready to return. Antropov should not be resigned because of his injuries and because of his lack of speed, and – finally – because their are RW on the Marlies that could make the leafs more skilled and quicker (Suglobov for example).

    Wilm should be resigned for depth purposes (as well as Kilger for obvious reasons). I suggest that the leafs replace Antropov with Suglobov, bring up Pohl, and save their big free agent signing for a LW … my choice: Patick Elias (but you could add any LW or RW on the free agent market of your choice to play besides Sundin).

    is this plan that unrealistic? NOPE. i make 4 free agent acquisitions – a goalie, 2 D-guys, and a 1st or 2nd-line winger. bring up a bunch of young guys from the Marlies who could perform better than the guys that they are replacing, and not resign a bunch of guys. simple as that. no major blockbuster trades involving unrealistic and complicated maneuverings, etc. Just shrewd decision-making, with some cap space left.

    [Elias?]————-Sundin—————-Tucker

    Steen—————-Lindros————-Suglobov

    Ponikorovsky——–Wellwood—————Stajan

    Kilger—————-Pohl——————-Domi

    Wilm, O’Neill (he’ll probably retire when he finds out he will be an extra forward … in that case, bring up Ondrus or Battaglia).]

    ———Kaberle————-[Gauthier?]———

    ———Coliacovo———–[McKee?]———–

    ———Harrison————Kronvall———-

    [Pilar. Other young guys that could be inserted if Coliacovo doesn’t make a full recovery: White, Bell, even Vorobiev (no AHL experience but the reports on him say that he is a sound, consistent player in the Russian professional leagues who could make the transition to the NHL easily).]

    ——————[Mikael Tellqvist]————

    ———————[Joseph?]——————

    [Cujo and Telly can split time with each playing about 40 games – depending on who is having a better year. as with all of my free agent choices. they are just suggestions, insert your free agents of choice.]

  12. lukeleim says:

    good suggestions look here though. my lineup compromised with your ideas…

    Off season Transactions

    URF – Kim Johnsson , Willie Mitchell, Sergei Samsonov & Curtis Joseph

    Jeff O’Neill to the Carolina Hurricanes for Hurricanes’ 5th-round pick in 2006

    Nik Antropov, Andy Wozniewski & Justin Pogge to the Minnesota Wild for Patrick O’Sullivan, Wild’s 3rd-round pick in 2006 & Wild’s 4th-round pick in 2007.

    Patrik Elias – Mats Sundin – Darcy Tucker

    Patrick O’Sullivan – Kyle Wellwood – Alexander Steen

    Chad Kilger – Eric Lindros – Ben Ondrus

    Alexei Ponikarovsky – Matt Stajan – Tie Domi

    ———————————————————

    Wade Belak

    Prospects: Jeremy Williams, Alex Foster, Aleksander Suglobov & Robert Earl

    Tomas Kaberle – Denis Gauthier

    Kim Johnsson – Willie Mitchell

    Carlo Colaiacovo – Jay Harrison

    ————————————–

    Staffan Kronwall – Brendan Bell

    Prospects: Ian White

    Mikael Tellqvist

    Curtis Joseph

    ——————-

    J.F Racine

    Prospects: Todd Ford & Tuukka Rask

    ????? Patrick O’Sullivan has an outside shot of winning the Calder. Willie Mitchell I believe would be a better addition to the team than McKee(both play a similar type game)

    other than that we’re pretty much on the same page

  13. Aetherial says:

    Wade Redden will command more like 6 million.

  14. Aetherial says:

    Very realisitic. I would not be surprised if some of that happens.

    Other things I see could happening…

    Domi retires.

    Antropov is retained.

    Belfour plays next year.

    McCabe is signed for 5 years at 5 million.

    Because of the above two items, they DON’T go get a star player to play with Sundin.

    Quinn is still around.

    And the Leafs miss the playoffs again next year.

  15. toronto77 says:

    i’m sick of arguing with leaf fans of why they hate mccabe so i’m not going too. I don’t know if the leafs will get elias, but I do like the idea of having a european player with the sundin, that was the problem this season, and if the leafs don’t get him they can always bring up suglobov.

    I don’t care who the leafs sign in the summer but these are the players that should be on the team

    ?-sundin-suglobov

    poni-?-tucker

    steen-stajan-wellwood

    onrdus-kilger or wilm-williams

    kaberle-mccabe

    coliaicovo-bell

    harrison-kronwall or wozniewski

    belfour(if he doesn’t retire)

    tellqvist

    pogge(10 games, no more, no less)

    allison maybe slow, but a great stick handler and always makes a great pass, i think we should keep him

    lindros- I don’t want to keep him, but since other leafs are already including him in their line-ups for next season I guess we can put him in, but here is what i have to say, when sundin was gone lindros played awesome and played like our captain, but when sundin returned, lindros didn’t go on a 5 game or 10 game, it must of been like over 20 game shit streak, he was so bad and has no speed, i have nothing against giving him another try but if he doesn’t have atleast 10 goals by december, he is gone.

  16. Toonces99 says:

    I don’t think that much….I’d say around 5-5.25 per…6 may be a little much.

  17. Toonces99 says:

    No way Belfour is in Toronto next year….to much money and wonky back…will be bought out, and should be.

  18. 92-93 says:

    yeah your’e probably right (quicks the dirt on the ground).

    Suglobov and Ondrus are playing tonight though.

  19. 92-93 says:

    well, i didn’t mind McCabe earlier in the year. but he’s too expensive for the cap situation the leafs are in.

    I’d actually rather keep Allison over Lindros too. BUT, again, in terms of the cap, Allison would be asking for much more than Lindros.

  20. 92-93 says:

    Johnsson would be a good signing but there are questions about his health. Not likely that the Stars will not resign Mitchell. I’d rather go after Afiniganov from Buffalo then Samsonov and I like Joseph too (but are there any other goaltenders out there that are bit younger?).

    O’Neill is not likely to be traded and, despite his good play recently, he has openly speculated on retiring. i don’t see him leaving to go back to Carolina and I don’t see the Canes taking him in – i don’t care how nice a guy Jim Rutherford is.

    The Wild trade suggestion is pretty interesting. I’ve suggested elsewhere having Rask come over next year and play for the Marlies (with Racine backing him up) and trading Pogge and Tucker to the Oilers for Cogliano and a draft pick (or propsect Danny Syvret). Either way, Pogge is a realistic trade option if Rask continues to show as much potential as he is showing. but JFJ better be sure because Pogge could turn into a franchise goalie (I’ve already envisioned a ‘triple A’ line involving LW Alexander Steen, Andrew cogliano at centre and RW Alexansder suglobov).

  21. 92-93 says:

    another possible trade involving Pogge:

    Tucker and Pogge to Anaheim for Perry and 2nd round draft pick.

    – The Leafs need more young, potential-star forwards like Perry in their organization.

    – Tucker’s contract is up at the end of next season and he is 31 (Perry is 21).

    – In terms of organizational depth, the Ducks need goaltending depth (Pogge adds to this) and the Leafs have both Rask and Pogge.

    I dunno, this makes more sense then the Cogliano-Pogge trade that I proposed before because Edmonton already has a pretty good young goalie in Dubnyk.

  22. 92-93 says:

    well, Cox pretty much echoed my post that i made before:

    “The draft always offers hope, and one of the two glittering goalie prospects, Tuukka Rask and Justin Pogge, could be sacrificed to add a similarly top-flight prospect at forward. Trading kids for vets is not a logical option.”

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