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Canada • 24 Years Old • Male
Now that the leafs have handed out the massive contract to Clarkson and resigned center Tyler Bozak the leafs roster looks to be pretty near set in stone. Barring any major trades or changes on the blue line, the leafs have yet again been led on the path of size and "truculence" (in the words of former gm Brian Burke) as opposed to speed and skill.

As pointed out earlier today by james mirtle of the the globe and mail since the ending of last season the leafs have lost Grabovski, Macarthur, frattin, and Komarov. They have chosen to fill those spots with big physical players like Dave bolland and Clarkson, as important as those guys are to every team most teams are able to incorporate their role players for cheaper price tags and save their big money for the all star top line players. If a player becomes too expensive they can plug in another similar player to fit that role because they play a hockey system and not an individual game.

An example of this is the chicago blackhawks who won the cup in 2010 but couldn't afford to overpay for players who they deemed were not part of that core group. Examples are: Dustin Byfuglien, Kris Versteeg, Antti Niemi, Andrew Ladd. Ideally Chicago would have liked to keep them, and they were surely missed, but they were put in a tough position. The cap space created by shedding the salaries of these players allowed them to keep the core group of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, and Duncan Keith to name a few. Chicago has been able to juggle many other players through their bottom six forwards and still maintain their success proving that by following up a strong season with another cup this year.

At this point your probably just hoping I'll get to my point soon, my point is simply this: Toronto does not have the skill in its top six that the top contending teams have and like always has focused its attention on players who play on the second/third line, have big size but little to no skill. Looking at the final four teams this year you have the blackhawks with all of their stars I just mentioned, you also have Pittsburgh whose list of stars is as long if not longer than Chicagos'. The LA kings made it to the final four with the likes of Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Anze Kopitar, and Drew Doughty, the last team of the 4 is boston and they are the only team that made it that deep in the playoffs without the "star factor" but you could argue the point that Chara, and Bergeron are stars just like any others previously mentioned.

Now after listing those teams how do you think the leafs and their tough guy lineup that has horrible defense will match up against the top offensive teams. The NHL has always and will always be an offense oriented league with only a few defensive teams able to find success. Sure it's possible for Toronto to find success with their current lineup but without being especially strong in either the offensive or defensive areas of the game just makes it that much harder.

With long term money tied up in clarkson, toronto will have future problems down the road when it comes time to pay the money for the top tier players i.e a Kessel, or a Phaneuf. And if you're not sold on them (currently I don't believe Phaneuf is the answer on D) the money and cap space needed for the player that would replace their production.

Thanks for reading, leave any comments or questions below.
Filed Under:   clarkson   leafs   chicago   depth   nonis  
July 5, 2013 11:17 PM ET | Delete
An interesting view but rather off I feel. Bolland significantly improves the third line up the middle with size and grit. We add Clarkson, a big body who can take up the front of the net and open up more space for both JVR and Kadri on the second line. We lost nothing at all really. Frattin struggled to be consistent after the injury, and could still pan out well but Grabo was outplayed by Kadri and could not fit in on either of the top two lines. MacArthur same thing, could not stick and neither of them were big physical type players to be shutdown guys. Our offence was perfectly fine last year despite dead weight in Grabo, Mac etc. Looking at it...Lupul - Bozak - Kessel ( same as last year and they are perfectly fine scoring )JVR - Kadri - Clarkson ( CLarkson brings a more physical big body presence and can score some in replacing Frattin )McClement ( replaces Komarov ) - Bolland - Kulemin ( If Clemmer can get Orr and McLaren to score he can certainly get some offence with Bolland and Kulemin and as a shut down trio I think they will be scary!)Orr - Colborne - McLaren ( bang, crash, punch and play a few minutes )Where the Leafs are going to have the issue is still on the back end. Gunnarson - PhaneufGardiner - FransonLiles / Holzer / Fraser ( this is assuming they lock up the rfas here )We lack a true stay at home first pairing to play with Dion, a stay at home on the 2nd, and honestly who knows given the rfa status who will be on our third pairing.In net Bernier and Reims have that covered and look like a very solid young tandem.Overall the Leafs improved here, cut some dead weight that was not fitting in and not producing. Fact is Nonis has this team going in the right direction and it is going to take time to turn into one of the Pittsburgh/Boston/Chicago cup challengers. Anyone thinking we are suddenly going to sign a couple players and be there is honestly delusional. Nonis is focused on making us better, improving our play, and getting us back into the playoffs and making more noise and taking the next step!Patience... it is something Leafs Nation is NOT exactly known for.
July 6, 2013 12:37 AM ET | Delete
completely agree with you roadrunner. We are not big and slow. We have a tonne of speed up front and on the back end. Kadri replaced grabo and will make less money than he did. We didnt get clarkson to score 40 goals, hes gonna make room for kadri and jvr to put up big numbers and hopefully he can chip in 20 ginos. Bolland kuli and Jay Mac are gonna be an unreal shutdown 3rd line and will play against the other teams top line most nights. Really wish we would ship out gunnarson and sign more of a stay at home top d man. wonder if we could package gunner with a pick to get coburn? dont think nonis is done yet. hope he adds that piece to our d core and things would look quite nice come october.
July 6, 2013 9:17 AM ET | Delete
I think it has to be considered that by the time Clarkson is actually 37 the cap will be back up to 84M or so lol. Should be a non-issue, especially since he doesn`t have a no-trade clause.
July 6, 2013 11:29 AM ET | Delete
I do see your theory...The leafs lack high end skill. Which is true our most skilled players being kessel and kadri are both smaller and fast nhl forwards and i dont think he is worried about helping the first line as it always produces and if we have lupul for full season (knock on wood) they will produce at a high level. Kadri was his man concern because he showed what he can do if givin some space so he has now rapped him with 2 huge wingers (clarkson and JVR) to give him space and a quality shot to pass to. While the talent would not be as good as malkin corsby towes and kane as a whole they are a better team and if they all buy in to their rolls a competitive team.
July 6, 2013 11:45 AM ET | Delete
Leafs were 5th in the league in scoring so therefore scoring was not a issue. The Leafs should try to trade for Ryan Strome,they could use Reimer and a prospect. They would have Strome and kadri at centre for years.
July 6, 2013 1:27 PM ET | Delete
Ohhhhh you leafs fans and your Reimer offers......when will you learn nobody wants your trash.
July 7, 2013 9:40 PM ET | Delete
"The NHL has always and will always be an offense oriented league with only a few defensive teams able to find success."tell that to the last 3 cup winnersBOS 2011 -3rd least GALA 2012 -2nd least GACHI 2013 -Least GA
July 8, 2013 5:31 AM ET | Delete
will blacker be called up soon?
July 8, 2013 2:07 PM ET | Delete
Leafs will have a tough season, the division is likely the best in the league. keep the draft picks and build through the draft. Clarkson signing was horrible, Nonis should be fired
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