What's With this Trade Kubina Campaign?
I’m really not understanding this “Trade Kubina” campaign. I think it would be worthwhile for the leafs to hang on to their “big 3” on D. I think Kubina, at age 30 has more potential and can bring more to the table than players like timonen (6.2 mil), schnieder (5.5 mil) rafalski (6 mil), hamrlik (5.5 mil) among others who were signed to monster contracts.
Sure the salary is high and the cap hit is big, but really, trading him now will allow the leafs to bring in who? There isnt anyone out there worth gutting their defence over. Just giving him up for peanuts is absolutely foolish just to grab a player like Yashin or Allison or Peca. The time passed on dumping a contract and targeting a top free agent. so they mind as well keep things as is.
Having Kubina, Mccabe and Kaberle together gives the leafs 3 blueliners who can log 30 minutes a night in all situations. Not many teams can say that. Sure the money tied to these 3 players is plenty, but i think it is too early to give up on Kubina or anyone else.
There is no real replacements out there who could fill in if Kubina is moved. No one on the leafs outside of their big 3 can be 30 minute men who can provide physical play, defence and some offence. ….at least not yet.
It would only make sense to move Kubina if the team got someone cheaper but still pretty effective on defence or some cant miss young prospect. However not many of those players were available at last check.
I think trading any one of the big 3 and hoping the youngsters deliver the goods now is wishful thinking.
Ian White had a good rookie campaign and should be given time to build on that success, not be thrust into a top 4 role. I think having him on the 3rd pair again would serve him better.
Carlo Coliacovo has definitely shown flashes of being a top end blueliner. He hasnt shown that he can play a full season. If the leafs say traded Kubina and they suffered the injuries on D they started out last season, the team could be in plenty of trouble.
i think moving kubina would mean greater responsibility for a guy like Hal Gill. I think that is something he isnt capable of. Gill was very good as the 3rd pair blueliner who was there to kill penalties and fill that role at 17-18 minutes a game. Moving kubina and asking White and Gill to play 22 minutes a night is asking for trouble. They arent that good.
And then we have these 2 youngsters in Staffan Kronvall and Anton Stralman who apparently are ready to step right in and be top end defenceman. I would love to see them play 30 minutes a night…….with the marlies and growing into leaders there. I think stralman like many blueliners from europe could use some time to get use to the north american game. It may be passe, but i like it when players earn their spots and then force the issue of clearing a roster spot rather than having it handed to them for free.
There are others like Karel Pilar, Andy Wozniewski and Wade Belak who can fill in on D. But that is what they are: fill ins. Pilar hasnt played a full year of hockey in like 4 years. Wozniewski is a decent depth guy, no more. and Belak….well we all know how we feel about belak on D. Lets hope he’s a full time 4th line forward this year.
I understand the position. trade that contract. and the fact the leafs have some potential. The fact is potential went out the window when Ferguson went about face and went with the win now approach instead of slowly building a good future. If this was a leaf team that chose to go young, gutted veterans like Sundin, Tucker, Mccabe at past deadlines to get some picks and youth, then yeah, for sure drop Kubina as fast as possible. Let White, Colaicovo, Stralman and Kronvall play in the leafs top 6 and let them make mistakes and do whatever to gain that experience.
But the team needs to win now according to current management and they have positioned themselves that way to challenge for a playoff spot. It wouldnt make much sense to rip into the team’s strongest position which is their D. i think Kubina will prove that this was the best deal the team didnt make.
If they wish to shave some salary on d specifically, then move gill. he had a good year last year and may have some value for a team looking for D depth. It cuts some costs, but doesnt eat into the talent pool of the leafs top 4 blueliners.
In other positions they could dump chad kilger and his 900K salary. With Pohl, Devereaux, Battaglia, Belak, Newbury, Ondrus and possibly the likes of Williams, Gamache and Westrum challenging for 4th line roles, there isnt a need whatsoever to have someone like kilger making that kind of money. He is expendable.
Of course Raycroft is their best bargaining chip. There’s still Joseph, Esche, Aebischer, Alex Auld who have some potential to be 30 game goalies to back up Toskela. They would all come less than the 2 million stipend owed to Raycroft and they could all be affordable backups kept around long enough until Pogge is ready. And simply put, they are at least an upgrade over Aubin.
It would be great to see Mike Peca back or a skilled guy like Yashin added to the team for scoring depth. But already Blake and Bell up front are an upgrade over Green, Perreault and O’Neill. Perhaps clearing out a Raycroft and a Kilger to go with the 2 million in cap space they have remaining will be enough cap room to add another forward and a backup goalie.
I think improved goaltending and a deep defence is going to be the biggest difference in the team’s success. We saw what having several talented blueliners did for teams like Ottawa and Anaheim who went to the finals. Not that it is likely the Leafs will go that far, but the best way to reach success quicker is a stronger backend and I think the Leafs are pretty good in that area.