So now that all the leaf fans have finally accepting a rebuilding project we should do it right because this is a rare occurrence and it is unlikely that we will get this opportunity in the near future. I'd like to say I agree with most of Fletcher's moves so far. He has added grit and it is pretty obvious the prototypical hockey player he is looking for. Yes Wellwood was young and could possibly pan out to be another Steve Sullivan but in order to shake up the makeup of the club tough decisions must be made, note tucker in there as well. If your going to be a bad team you mid as well give the fans something to cheer about, toughness and hopefully skilled prospects seem to be the way to go. Yes this is the new nhl but bigger skilled players are still better off than the smaller players.
First Thing I would do is trade Kubina. Don't get me wrong I think he is a very good defencemen and if I was almost any other team id be looking to pick him up. Plus i don't think it makes sense to have both him and McCabe on the same team. Kubina has more trade value and McCabe is coming off a poor year that he could bounce back from. Does anyone know if there are any changes in McCabe's contract if we miss the playoffs next yr? I don't think there is but I was just curious. Either way Kubina should bring us a good return something along the lines of the Cambell trade and I personally believe that Fletcher is only talking about McCabe to raise Kubina's trade value, ie not being desperate to get rid of Kubina.
On Jason Blake I would keep him for another year. He had a tough year very emotional with the leukemia. His trade value can only rise and our forward corps are looking pretty weak so he should be given every opportunity to shine. Plus we need to be over the cap floor anyways and it is not as if Toronto is going to have trouble paying his salary. Similar can be said about Mark Bell, whats the harm in giving him another shot?
There is one reason the leafs did not finish last place last and his name is Vesa Toskala. I'd test the waters and see what I could get for him. By the time the Leafs will be able to compete for the cup either he will be gone or Pogge will be ready. Either way him stealing games will only make us miss out on some kid from Oakville who I've heard is pretty decent. I can see him getting us more than we gave up to get him. Ask Colorado, Washington or even Tampa what they'd give up for him. I wouldn't mind getting a backup plan for Pogge in a guy like Kari Ramo anyways.
We then need to pick up 1 or 2 UFA goaltenders depending on if Toskala is moved. Yes either way I would have Pogge starting in the AHL next year. Curtis Joseph and Alex Auld would be the type of goaltenders I would look at as they are easily replaceable and will likely be seeking 1 or 2 year contracts.
Sean Avery, Radim Vrbata, Jason Williams, and Brian Rolston would be UFA players I would target for forwards. I wouldn't mind adding a defensive defencemen or a 2 way defencemen but I would go for a younger player or a 1 or 2 yr contract for an older player.
Aside from our top 5 prospects I wouldn't consider anyone untouchable. That'd be Schenn, Pogge, Kulemin, Stralman and Tlusty if you were wondering. However even the untouchable can be moved for the right price.
This year is a year for rebuilding. Next year we can start adding pieces to try to make the playoffs. (Note i didnt talk about Sundin because I don't see him returning whether we want him or not.)
Seems like the Steve Sullivan reference has come out a few times with Wellwood. Well see