Well, here we go Leaf Nation. It's June 20, 2008 and suddenly we're collectively being hit with flashbacks of 1993. Fletch is back in charge of our beloved (cough) Maple Leafs and Cito Gaston is managing the Blue Jays. At the moment, the Toronto FC might just be the best franchise in town...omg, my world truly is upside down.
However, we need not fear. The march back to the Stanley Cup and World Series with Fletch & Cito begins tonight! ... alright, maybe not. But tonight does represent an important opportunity for the Maple Leafs to acquire a bonafide blue chip prospect and potentially one who could make the roster next season. Since the lockout, the NHL has become a young mans game and blue chip draftees such as Toews, Kane and others have been able to make their respective rosters, but more importantly - make tangible contributions right away.
For the record, I like the Mayers deal (a fourth line of Newbury, Ondrus, Mayers is appealing) as from all reports he's a character guy who shows up every night, plays physical, defends his teammates and is a solid penalty killer. Only downside, we could have possibly obtained this type of player through free agency without sacrificing a draft pick. Nonetheless, Fletch has acquired a character guy who is good enough to play on Team Canada during the worlds. Positive move.
4 minutes until draft time ... going to throw it out there. I'm hoping for Filatov. The Leafs desperately need front line talent, as Antropov represents their only genuine top 6 forward.
Three way deal between Calgary, Anaheim, & LA ... Camalleri to Calgary....interesting.
Depending on who is available, I also am intrigued by Kyle Beach. Big, strong, offensively-gifted with a tendency to 'snap' on the ice - my kind of hockey player.
Nice work Cliff. After years of conservative management, Fletch isn't afraid to trade a couple draft picks to move up and grab the player he wants. I know I didn't mention Luke Schenn above, but I didn't expect him to be available at the 7th pick.
Luke Schenn - love the pick. Very big, strong, physical defencemen. From all accounts, potential franchise type D-man. The Leafs have enough 'mobile puck moving' defencemen in the system.
Now for some forwards.....
After having had a chance to sleep on it, I'm liking the Schenn pick more and more. It appears this guy has all the necessary qualities and potential to be an impact defencemen. He's got the size (6'2, 215), plays big, and hits hard. He'll stick up for his teammates and drop the gloves if necessary. From the accounts I've read, he makes the first pass very well and is smart with the puck. More importantly though, he represents *hopefully* the first tangible change in the Maple Leafs personality as a club. With the addition of more players of this type, the soft & acquiescent Maple Leafs just might return to the days when we were known for being 'team tough' and difficult to play against.
However, I am disappointed the Leafs didn't end up with R.J. Umberger. I realize it's quite easy to sit here with the advantage of hindsight and for all I know, the Leafs might have been in play for Umberger - but Columbus got a very good young power forward, for very little - Columbus gave up their 1st, 19th overall for Umberger & a fourth round pick. This is exactly what the Leafs needed and they have more than enough players available to get creative with a trade. The only guy I wouldn't trade for Umberger off our current roster is Antropov. Throw Steen, White (Philly just drafted a younger version of White...probably more upside but White is established) and whatever. I guess that's my big hope at the moment. After years of indecisive & conservative management by JFJ, I want a complete remaking of this club. Umberger is exactly the type of player we need. But again, I really have no idea if the Leafs were involved, but from my position this was a deal we could have made (without giving up our first rounder).