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Imagine If You Will...


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...you hold in your hand a shiny silver coin. On one side of the coin, you see the face of Dave Nonis. Somewhere between the 3rd and 4th chins lies the word "Patience". On the other side of the coin you see the face of Brendan Shanahan, contorted with rage. His pupils are ablaze and flames rise up behind his portrait to form the words "Burn It Down".

 

So, non-existent Leaf fans and closet Leaf fans who are most likely Flyer fans...what happens next? When you flip the coin, what side comes up for you?

 

Side A) Re-work the team in the offseason. Keep Kessel, Phaneuf, and the young crowd and build from there. Give Nonis and maybe Carlyle another shot.

 

Side B) Trade Kessel, Phaneuf, and the "core" of the team. Keep some of the youngsters and rise again from the ashes.

 

Or,

 

 

Revelation) You really need to stop hanging out with Rob Ford, because these hallucinations are getting out of hand.

 

 

The die is cast. Or coin. Or Whatever.

 

 

This gambling metaphor may have gotten away from me....

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...you hold in your hand a shiny silver coin. On one side of the coin, you see the face of Dave Nonis. Somewhere between the 3rd and 4th chins lies the word "Patience". On the other side of the coin you see the face of Brendan Shanahan, contorted with rage. His pupils are ablaze and flames rise up behind his portrait to form the words "Burn It Down".

 

So, non-existent Leaf fans and closet Leaf fans who are most likely Flyer fans...what happens next? When you flip the coin, what side comes up for you?

 

Side A) Re-work the team in the offseason. Keep Kessel, Phaneuf, and the young crowd and build from there. Give Nonis and maybe Carlyle another shot.

 

Side B) Trade Kessel, Phaneuf, and the "core" of the team. Keep some of the youngsters and rise again from the ashes.

 

Or,

 

 

Revelation) You really need to stop hanging out with Rob Ford, because these hallucinations are getting out of hand.

 

 

The die is cast. Or coin. Or Whatever.

 

 

This gambling metaphor may have gotten away from me....

To hell with the gambling metaphor I liked the Rob Ford comment better, lol.

Okay, where are the Leafs?

Right now they are a organization that has had not one but two collapses in two seasons. Epic bone crushing collapses. Nobody other that the most sadistic can have anything but sympathy for Leaf fans.

Here is an opinion of a Wing fan who considers the Leafs among his three or four favorite teams in the league. I gotta admit I am a sucker for original six teams.

Reimer: Gone gotta go now. You aren't getting much out of him but he is ruined in Toronto. A lot of the collapse over the last two years falls on his shoulders, fairly or unfairly.

Kessel: No way can you deal him or JVR.

Kadri and Bozak: neither is a top tier center nor will they ever be. I would keep one and deal the other.

SIGN PAUL STASTNY. no matter who you have to move out with the exception of Kessel, JVR and Bernier. SIGN STASTNY and fix the glaring hole of a first line center.

I don't know what to say about the defense. Honestly, I like Phaneuf although he is a bit stretched in the role they have him in. Franson had a great first half but was woeful from there. Gunnarson and Gardiner showed promise. Rielly has a nice future. I don't know how they cannot play together. Honestly I like all five to varying degrees. They don't mesh and I don't know why. Truthfully all can play.

DID I MENTION SIGN PAUL STASTNY?

I love Randy Carlyle, I really do. But he presided on the ice over two straight biblical level collapses. He has not managed to mesh the defense or find cohesion among the forwards even, and most telling of all, the kids did less than zero. So he did not develop the youth, he found no cohesion among a talented bunch on defense, he ruined Reimer. He was part of the problem especially last year and if he gets let go I would certainly understand.

Lastly, one more thought SIGN PAUL STASTNY.

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Not a Leafs fan by any stretch, but if I were to look at this thing objectively, I would say, of the two choices you've given, Choice A seems the most logical for lots of reasons.

 

First, as horrible as this team played down the stretch, showing on many nights that they even FORGOT what proper positioning and playing defense was, they have shown also, that, when they don't have their collective Blue n White heads up their Blue n White arses, they CAN be a very tough, grinding, even intimidating team to play against for most of the league in the sense that they can play a wide open style, a checking style, a bully style, and yes, at times, I've even seen them put on some semblance of a defense in front of their goaltender.

 

Second, this isn't really an old team. Not the youngest in the league, like say a Tampa Bay, Florida, Colorado, Calgary, etc....but far from being 'washed up' up and down the roster.

And they they have players, GOOD players, who are in their primes now.

They just got themselves a pretty good goaltender in Jonathan Bernier, whose injury was pretty significant for the Leafs, and they seem to put out some decent, if not spectacular players from the Marlies.

 

Does a guy like Shanahan want to start over and waste away the youth and primes of the players that are on the roster now?

Probably not.

Will the Toronto fanbase even accept that?? Definitely not.

Toronto seems like the NY Yankees of baseball in the sense that they expect to win it all every year and anything short of a SC is simply a failed season. Same with Montreal, by the way.

 

To trade the core of the team now, IMO, would be setting the franchise back several years as a contender.

The new division alignment has them in such a way that they WOULD suffer many losing seasons if they decide to start over at this point in time.

Obviously, the team isn't good enough as is and changes need to be made, but the re-working, as opposed to a 'do-over', I think, is the way to go.

 

The Leafs have a few bad contracts, the one that sticks out the most is the David Clarkson one.

And I am not EVEN saying Clarkson is a bad player....just that that Leafs overpayed, and to complicate matters, they seem to misplace him in their lineup (top six forward) probably due to what he is making, than his actual abilities (more likely 3rd liner, and perhaps sometimes 2nd PP unit).

 

It will be hard for the Leafs to trade away Clarkson's contract (or perhaps even Phaneuf's or Kessels...though I can see a team perhaps taking a chance with Kess), but what they CAN do is properly slot these guys based on what they bring to the table for the team as opposed to playing them where they have no business playing based on their salary and the ridiculous notion that if a player is making more he should be playing on a top line...whether he ranks it or not.

I guess what I am saying is, for the Leafs, make the most out of what you have.

 

I don't care if Dion Phaneuf is the captain...he obviously is not too well equipped to cover and skate with the league's top forwards. He is a hell of a hitter, has a hell of a shot, and probably has the ear of the locker room....but he seems to me more like a 2nd pair defenseman, perhaps best covering the other team's 2nd and 3rd liners.....just as an example.

 

I think with some re-working, the Leafs can put out a much better product than what they showed when last season ended for them.

Doesn't make them Stanley Cup contenders at this point, but it makes them NOT look like the awful, putrid, wretched mess we saw as the TB Lightning officially put them out of playoff contention.

 

And that at least, has a chance to keep the fanbase thinking the team is moving in the right direction, and it gives time for some of the team's younger players to round into shape as full blown NHL'ers, and hey, it may even give time for some of the Marlies players to make themselves knows, as they can be worked into a lineup that includes NHL veterans, meaning they most likely won't have to shoulder all the burden of the entire Leafs fanbase in trying to resemble Cup contenders when they really aren't ready.

 

If at some point, some how, some way, the Leafs can rid themselves of a bad contract or two (perhaps find a team more desperate than they are for 'star power' or some team needing to reach the cap floor), then by all means explore that possibility.

But blowing up the team right now and going for a complete do-over (ala Calgary Flames, Buffalo Sabres) will NOT appease Maple Leafs fans, and I think will do more harm than good to the players on the team they have who may be on the cusp of the next step in their evolution as players.

 

My 39 cents.  :)

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@yave1964

 

For the thing with Bozak and Kadri, I'm assuming you are assuming the Leafs re-sign Bolland? Even if they do manage to sign Paul Stastny, they still need a 2nd and 3rd line guy. I also think that Kadri has potential as a winger. I'd like to keep him because the kid can score, and Bozak had an excellent albeit shortened season. If either of the two is moving, I'd guess it'd be Bozak, but there are rumours that Kadri isn't in management's good books.

 

If Stastny makes it to free agency, I imagine you will see a lot of teams after him which will drive up the price. The top bidder will likely end up overpaying by a good amount, but hey if the Leafs are going to overpay (which they are), they might as well overpay for someone they desperately need.

 

Phaneuf is a good player, but he definitely needs support. I'm guessing the Leafs will try to improve internally with (hopefully) improving seasons from Jake Gardiner, Morgan Rielly, and some prospects like Petter Granberg, Matt Finn, etc. Niskanen could be a UFA option if the Leafs can drop salary.

 

Since you have selected side A of the coin, the Leafs trade options outside of the "key" guys seems to be pretty much just Lupul, and who knows how much he could fetch? Maybe a decent right handed defenseman?

 

I wonder if they can save some money by moving Gleason out? The guy was pretty solid bottom pairing guy this past season, but quite expensive. I doubt there's much of a market for him and it would likely cost Toronto assets to move him, but I wonder if it is a possibility?

 

@TropicalFruitGirl26

 

As a fan of the team I can tell you this team forgot how to play defense from the rope drop this season. Last season, they were much improved - heck, they were nothing short of impressive for the defense group they had. This year they failed all over the place in terms of on ice coverage, penalty killing, you name it. Last year they hit everything that moved, and this year they were all speed and no muscle.

 

Does Shanahan want to start over? Probably not. But it remains to be seen what is the best course of action I guess. As for the fans, well, they (we) are in a bit of an uproar. Leafs Nation is mad, and probably willing to accept any changes. No changes is far more dangerous from a PR perspective at this point.

 

Sad part is that the Leafs had just gotten themselves out of the "bad contract" stage (minus Liles turned Gleason), and now they've thrown themselves right back in. I've given up hope of the Leafs ever not having bad contracts.

 

You are right that the Leafs have good pieces, which is a far cry from where they started this rebuild. But that only makes one wonder if they wouldn't have to start from scratch and that burning down the core and rebuilding it could be quicker.

 

Tough call, really. Hard to justify keeping most of the players that have been around for three epic collapses in a row now.

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To hell with the gambling metaphor I liked the Rob Ford comment better, lol.

Okay, where are the Leafs?

Right now they are a organization that has had not one but two collapses in two seasons. Epic bone crushing collapses. Nobody other that the most sadistic can have anything but sympathy for Leaf fans.

Here is an opinion of a Wing fan who considers the Leafs among his three or four favorite teams in the league. I gotta admit I am a sucker for original six teams.

Reimer: Gone gotta go now. You aren't getting much out of him but he is ruined in Toronto. A lot of the collapse over the last two years falls on his shoulders, fairly or unfairly.

Kessel: No way can you deal him or JVR.

Kadri and Bozak: neither is a top tier center nor will they ever be. I would keep one and deal the other.

SIGN PAUL STASTNY. no matter who you have to move out with the exception of Kessel, JVR and Bernier. SIGN STASTNY and fix the glaring hole of a first line center.

I don't know what to say about the defense. Honestly, I like Phaneuf although he is a bit stretched in the role they have him in. Franson had a great first half but was woeful from there. Gunnarson and Gardiner showed promise. Rielly has a nice future. I don't know how they cannot play together. Honestly I like all five to varying degrees. They don't mesh and I don't know why. Truthfully all can play.

DID I MENTION SIGN PAUL STASTNY?

I love Randy Carlyle, I really do. But he presided on the ice over two straight biblical level collapses. He has not managed to mesh the defense or find cohesion among the forwards even, and most telling of all, the kids did less than zero. So he did not develop the youth, he found no cohesion among a talented bunch on defense, he ruined Reimer. He was part of the problem especially last year and if he gets let go I would certainly understand.

Lastly, one more thought SIGN PAUL STASTNY.

 

 

  I've been saying that for quite a while now, Stasney is the missing link for the Leafs. He is the top line center the Leafs have been searching for since Sundin hung'em up. Throw him on a line with Kessel, I believe he becomes a point per game guy.

 

  Seen this rumor yet?

 

 http://www.freep.com/article/20140506/SPORTS05/305060111/toronto-maple-leafs-mike-babcock-detroit-red-wings

 

 Talk about a perfect fit, Babcock would be an awesome addition for the Leafs. If it's true Babber wants out, the Leafs should strike quick, offer a 2nd and 3rd rounder to secure his services. He only has one year left on his Wings deal, so if the Wings think he may bolt, they might as well secure some nice draft picks and hasten the process. Would make sense for both franchises, the Wings get picks for a guy who might leave anyways and the Leafs get one of the leagues best coaches to build around.

 

   He makes 2 mill a year right now, the Leafs could double that without batting an eyelash. Babs is already hockey royalty in Canada, the Gold Medal coach getting the Leaf gig go over LARGE in Toronto. Plus, you have the fact Shanny and Babs have worked together in the past in a player/coach capacity.

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@jammer2 I had also read a rumour (not sure if true or not) that Shanny and Babcock don't necessarily have a very good relationship. Take that for what it is worth (likely nothing).

 

 

If the rumours of Babcock wanting out are true, you have to imagine he's first choice for the Leafs. Nonis has reportedly been defending Carlyle and asking "who is available that is better?" , and that would answer his question nicely. I'd also be willing to give Trotz a shot if he'd be interested.

 

Nothing against Randy. He hasn't had much time here in Toronto (2 full seasons now), but it really does seem like he's lost the room.

Edited by Commander Clueless
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