With the latest class of youngsters ready to take their seats in Ottawa and wait to be called upon, Leaf Nation is being shaken by rumblings that the blue and white may already be conceding defeat before the zambonies are even gased up. Although it isn't a real big surprise to anyone that the Leafs will likely struggle in the new campaign it IS however disheartening to hear that the team may be dismantled and sold off for scrap. Now before you all start tearing me a new ******* let me say that although it is sad to see an era end it is nice to finally have some light at the end of the tunnel. My only wish would have been that there was some glory in the era that is 10 years late in coming to a close. We were close, in 93 when Gretz put the stick to Dougies face yet was still on the ice to score the winner and eventually lead the Kings over the buds to face the Habs in what would have been a final for the ages. Close yet again when dismantled by the eventual cup champion Hurricanes a few years later. The painful part is we all know close only counts in horse-shoes and hand grenades. So, lets start anew shall we. That is the one great thing about our sport, the ability to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. Lets take a look at what could and may happen...
Firstly I guess the biggest swirl of speculation is if Captain Mats will be back in blue and white. As the days go by and July 1st creeps closer it looks more and more like the big swede will be pulling on a new sweater sometime before the summer sun leaves us. 8-9 million is what is being quoted as a returning price and we all know too well that the Leafs can not afford the 5.5 they are paying him now let alone giving him the much deserved raise he is likely to get elsewhere. Besides, if Sundin is entering his last lucrative deal why would he want to spend it on a rebuild? Why would he want to toil away scoring his 70-80 points for a club that is already starting to realize they will be on the outside looking in for the fourth straight year. Perhaps he really does want to retire a Maple Leaf and however admirable that may be to see the Captain go down with the ship wouldn't any REAL Leaf fan love to see Sundin raising the cup come next June even if in a differnt uniform? maybe, maybe not... It would be great to have Sundin around to guide the youth that is likely to be patrolling the ACC this coming year but how can you ask a guy to lead a crop of players into the new era when time would suggest he will not be there to reap the benefits of success as his career may come to a close before the buds ever make it to a final again. If he could cheat father time long enough he MAY be able to last for that one final cup run 4-5 years from now and retire a champion as others such as Gary Roberts tried to do. Roberts would tell you himself though that it may have been all for not as his Pens were ousted by the better and more prepared Wings. Perhaps we all just need to realize Sundin needs to go where he can win. Perhaps we all need to realize that Sundin has already made up his mind and all this pointless banter is just a time filler until we are let in on the real plans.
A blockbuster trade a la Cliff Fletcher may be in order. Imagine Jokinen, Horton, Beaumeister to the Leafs for picks and players. I cant see how anyone in their right mind would let go of these players but then again it is Martin that is running the ship down in Florida and at least this blogger doesnt hold much trust in his abilities. Far fetched? yeah, I know. But what if? How about if Fletch was able to trade up for the Kings 2nd overall pick before the Sens get their hands on it. A package of Wellwood, Colaiacovo and their 7th pick may entice the forward starved Kings to pull the trigger but is Doughty really that big of a jump over Schenn who they are likely targeting at 7th? Schen may not last until 7th, do you take a shot and maybe miss all together? The experts are preaching defence first but what about the offence? Kyle Beach could be a gem although some head injuries are cause for concern at such an early age. Kubina and a glutt of players could pry stamkos out of Tampa to be the heir apparent but that is perhaps the most far fetched of all scenarios.
Buy-outs of Tucker and co could free up some cap space to sign a few high end free-agents but the Hossa's of the hockey world aren't looking Toronto's way. If the Leafs landed Olli, Mats may be more likely to return but the Wings can offer countrymen to play with on the Detroit/Sweden Red Wings. Mccabe and Blake to the Isles would free up even more cap room but then who would the Leafs faithfull have to pick on when times get rough, and they surely will get rough at time this coming season. Even scapegoat Andrew Raycroft is unlikely to be around to catch an earfull of boos after his less then stellar 2 wins in 16 tries as backup to Sir Vesa. Changes are on the way Leafs Fans, can you believe it?? changes are actually on the way!!!
Ron Wilson will give accountability to the new team. A possibility of Brian Burke next summer could give even more optimism even if some doubt he actually IS as good as some say he is. Tlusty a year older and wiser can't be a bad thing, his 10 goals and 16 points in 58 games with just under 11 minutes averaged ice time may not seem like much but consider that the rookie is just 20 years of age and with more minutes and further growth he could be a bright spot in years to come. (Not to be a pessimist but it pains me to see what Crosby does at this same age. Yes I know they are in a different class but doesnt it just put it all in perspective. My wife always tells me to look at the bright side, I guess the bright side here is at least we have a team.)
One things for sure, there may not be many wins this season but it will likely be an exciting ride. We are finally building for something people. The road has to start somewhere and why not here and now. A deep draft and lots of picks, some savy managing and the Maple Leafs could be on their way.
You Heard It Here!!
I'm a little confused as to why Leafs fans feel this team is just going to tank... It's going to be roughly the same lineup as last year's team that had high expectations (at least in Toronto) to compete for the cup... A couple decent moves could put this team back into the playoffs. Seems like everyone just believes whatever MLSE tells them and by making expectations very low, they can finally meet or exceed them.
What leaf fans expect is that a changing of the guard is going to occur and a rebuilding phase much start which means an exodus of vets that just can't get it done as a team. With those vets gone the team will be less experienced and therefore will not do as well. It's not buying into what MLSE says, its just most fans are now accepting the fact that this team with the vets they have are not cup contender materials, and no bunch of trades of young kids, or free spending will change that.
cudos Greatlakes wimmer.. you hit the nail on the head there my man. msslepp, im not saying my heart doesnt feel exactly as your post suggests... however... it is just that thinking that got the Leafs into the mess they are in. The team wont be the same because the vets are going to be stripped down and sold off. Those cards that Howard was talking about being glued together are about to be ripped apart. Caber, Blake, Tucks, even Mats.. will all more then likely be in other cities come September. Its time for change.. you tasted glory in 89 and have seen 3 cup finals in just over 20 years.. 40 years and counting says turn the f'n page MLSE and do whats right for the game, the team and the fans.on a side note.. as much as I like Mccabe, wouldnt it be nice if he was scoring on his own net when it is at the other end of the ice??!! heh heh.Wilts.
While I do think some of the trades are pretty far fetched the spirit of the blog is good. Welly needs to have a bounce back season before he has any real trade value. The same goes for Cola and finding a way to avoid the injury curse that plagues him. You can't just package those two with the 7th overall pick and move up that far. Not to mention there is nothing the Leafs can do to get that 1st overall pick.It's been pretty clear that change has to come. Mats is probably gone and we'll see if at least the Leafs can trade his rights to get something. Kubina is probably gone since you have to take advantage of the trade window and his play after the deadline. Who knows how many players are going to get moved out before next season starts?Honestly I'm more excited about this draft than July 1st or much else. With 10 picks (though a steep drop from 7th pick to 60th as the next one) we can start filling up with some prospects. So let's see how things turn out.
I understand what Wilts was trying to say and what Greatlake echoed... all I'm saying is that until any of this actually happens; by that I mean, Vets being traded or bought out or whatever... i would remain skeptical... because right now it's all speculation, the same speculation that came about at Deadline Day with nothing happening. Plans are just that until something is actually done, and I'll be happy to eat my words, I just don't think I'll have to.
Why are people even talking about trading our picks for HIGH-end free agents or buying poeple out to get 7 million dollar players!!! Have anyone of you watched the past 5 to 10 years? This team needs to go young next year. Trade McCabe to Islanders, Kubina to whomever and buyout Tucker, Raycroft. This team has some real good prospects like Pogge, Kulemin, Tlusty, Dmitri Vorobiev, Robbie Earl, Tyler Ruegsegger. These are the guys this organization should focus on and the prospects to be chosen this year. Once this team get better like in 2 seasons then spend the money of UFA's when our salary cap if filled with cheap young players. TO FANS NEVER LEARN!! THE FANS ARE MORE FRUSTRATING THEN THE LAST ERA OF MANAGEMENT!!
i'm a leafs lifer, but in no shape way or form would i ever think that:a) the lightning will trade stamkos (yes, you said far fetched, but it's beyond even that...)b)the panthers will trade the package you suggested for picks and players. Also, Willie, do me a favor and watch another team before deciding you know what they need. The Kings are anything but "forward starved." Don't believe me, then check out Cammalleri, Brown and Kopitar for starters. Not to mention O'Sullivan and Frolov. That and would you trade the #2 pick for Wellwood and Colliacovo? I wouldn't...
we must REALLY suffer...like in the 80's. We must be one of the worst teams in the league next season with a young lineup. This team must die on the cross to rise again.
The year that you guys lost to the Hurricanes in the East Final, the Canes didnt win the cup.
I'm a big leafs fan, and I gotta say to mslepp, i dont think there were many fans that thought the leafs were going to go far last year. There were a few predictions i saw last year had the leafs outside of the playoffs, albeit for some 8th seed entries (i had my predictions that the leafs would grab that final spot). as for goldenj, thats a crazy metaphor there
what i don't understand is letting tucker go for nothing! he's not in the same category as raycroft. if we're re-building anyway trade him at the deadline...theres always teams interested in him for the playoffs. meanwhile he redeems his sub-par/injury plagued season from last and makes his stock rise in the meanwhile. the guy had a crappy season and we're treating him like a bag of pucks...he deseves better for bleeding blue
I would have to agree b-groove, i would keep tucks.. I think hes great at 3 mil and then my wifes jersey wouldnt be a waste but i just dont know.. they wanna change the face so they say.. how can ya do it with darcy still in blue n white. lastly..blurr1974, maybe youre right about the kings not being forward starved but if they valued those forwards so much why would they be rumoured to be shipping cam to the f'n sens(damn it) and kops and brown to pitsburgh(although i doubt malkin is goin anywhere this summer and im not sure kopitar and brown are worth it although that 2nd pick for another dman would stregthen their team if they can resign hossa) who knows.. mccabe and blake to the isles looks like it may just happen.. wonder who comes the other way? isles 1st pick? and id like to know what 1st rounder they are gonna pick up for nikki.. better unload him now tho, if mats doesnt come back he may be driftwood again.
yeah, because Florida is going to give up its franchise forward, franchise defenceman and its secondary star for what the Leafs have to offer... the price for Jokinen alone is rumoured to be two young roster players, a 1st rounder and a prime prospect... an example would be Ottawa trading Foligno, Vermette, Meszaros and a 1st round pick for Jokinen... Bouwmeester and Horton will not be leaving.
LA is the farthest from forward starved... especially for the underachievers that the Leafs could offer... the only reason they are offering up guys like Cammalleri, Brown and Kopitar is to upgrade... Malkin is a franchise guy... scores more points than anyone mentioned above... thus the Kings feel that they can improve by acquiring him... trading Cammalleri for Jason Spezza is an upgrade no matter how you look at it... so the Kings are not forward-starved, but aggressively looking to upgrade and change their team dynamic.
Most likely trade is Nik Antropov for one of the Columbus 1st rounders... they were drooling over Ryan Malone (whom Antropov stacks up favourably with production-wise)... Malone is looking for 5-plus/yr, Antropov is pulling 2.15... seems like something that could definitely happen... Personally I'd rather the 6th overall to the 19th, but beggars can't be choosers and if the Leafs were to get additional picks or a serviceable roster player with the 19th for Antropov, then I would feel it as fair value
First of all, good post.....but keep Tucker? He plays with great spirit and passion for the game which I have respected throughout his tenure as a Leaf but it stops there. Have you actually watched him during a game? He gets tossed around in the corner like a little girl and spends as much time on his ass as he does on his skates. I agree that a buyout isn't the way to go for someone who bleeds blue and white but he has to go if we're lucky enough to have anyone that wants him. About Sundin....I would love to have him back to help guide and be a mentor to the younger players but I understand that he deserves more than we are probably willing to spend. Think about this: Every Bruins fan I have ever spoken with said that they were thrilled when Borque raised the cup with the Avalanche. One even said he almost cried out of happiness. If the Leafs don't (and almost certainly won't) win the cup next year then any team Sundin plays for has my vote.