Ok.....preseason is almost here....what are the Leafs doing? What does the team look like now....and moving forward...Staying focused on reality....which means realizing they are not in the Cup contention phase for two more years.....i am not saying they can't win it this year...but it would be an early surprise after just making the playoffs by a point.
So what do the forward lines look like
Marleau - Matthews - Nylander
Komarov - Kadri - Brown
JVR - Bozak - Marner
Martin - D. Moore - Hyman
Extras are Kapanen, Leivo, Soshnikov
At this moment this is the logical forward group you are looking at.....not to say that there isn't going to be a move....but you would be happy with that group through the year. One possible change I think is coming is that Martin will soon only be dressed when the other team has a tough guy.....it was apparent that Martin is having problems keeping up to the play to put pressure on the puck.:-)
Now, lets look to next year to see how this could develop. Next year the leafs have 4 UFAs.....JVR, Komarov, Bozak, Moore......just for arguments sake i am assuming none of them are returning....as I want to see what will be there and you can foresee any weakness that may need addressing.
Marleau - Matthews - Bracco?/ Brown
Hyman - Kadri - Soshnikov
Kapanen - Nylander - Marner
Johnsson - Gauthier - Leivo
Extras Grundstrum, Aaltonen, Rychel
Ok...looking at this....the future is pretty good....Are there questions? For sure, but mostly on the 4th line where you can get free agents for cheap if you want experience. The big question is when Bracco may be ready....is it next year? If so awesome....if not, Brown is awesome too.....and there is no need to rush. The other really big question is, Can Soshnikov stay healthy for all or most of the year. Komarov has said that Sosh is a younger, smaller version of himself.....so if you dont resign Komarov, can Sosh do the job....here is the opportunity. The other big opportunity is for Gauthier....its going to take most of this year just to get back to where he was....but it will give him a big chance to redevelop his skating stride with Barb Underhill's help....he may get a shot late this year, but next year is his big opportunity.
I think this allows us to see the process the Maple Leafs management group is looking at and maybe seeing the exctement at this group in general, and Lou looks 10 years younger when talking about the young core forming the new Leafs....a team you can really cheer for.
Thank you for reading
Robert from Vancouver
Leafs fan suffering in a Canucks haze