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yave1964

Maple Leafs offseason outlook

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2016-17 A QUICK LOOK BACK:Apr 23, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs fans cheer during the game against the Washington Capitals in game six of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Air Canada Centre. The Capitals beat the Maple Leafs 2-1 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports The Leafs have often been called the Laughs are worse by their own frustrated but insanely loyal fans, two years ago they signed Coach Babcock away from Detroit and while they had a bad year the signs were there of what was to come. In the offseason they traded for Frederik Andersen and signed him long term and most importantly with the first pick in the draft added Auston Mattthews to a stable of NHL ready young forwards ready to explode.

  They werent brilliant last year but man were they fun to watch warts and all. The defense was at times indefensible, but is there a team in all of Hockey, Edmonton included who has a group of young forwards who can rival Matthews, Marner, Nylander, Brown, Hyman, Soshnikov and Kapanen? Goalie Andersen started off making leaf fans wonder what the Hell they had traded for and signed long term but righted the ship and is a great fit, the defense is a piece of work but Zaitsev is another solid youngster, Reilly moved from an offensive role to a more defensive one as the teams most athletic d-man, Gardiner stepped up providing offense.

  The veterans found new life. Bozak Kadri and JVR fed off the kids enthusiasm, Kadri especially who was an offensive and faceoff machine and hit everything that moved. Speaking of hitting, free agent signee Martin crushed everything coming down his wing and underrated Leo Komarov did the same on his. This team is hard to play against in any situation, they kill you with speed and leave you battered and bruised by nights end.

  As for what went wrong, the mid season additions if Boyle and Marchenko were okay but neither added much, they never established a backup goalie to Andersen and beyond the trio of Gardiner, Reilly and Zaitsev the defense was a nightly high wire act but the truth is those are all minor quibbles. The buttons were all pushed and pushed right all year long.

  They caught fire and held on to the last playoff spot edging the Islanders and the Lightning in the last week of the season sending Ontario into a frenzy. They had the misfortune of drawing the Capitals in the first round but sent a message that they were for real pushing the Caps in a tough fought spirited six game series before bowing out.

 

FREE AGENTS:

 

BRIAN BOYLE was a shut down center who provided zero offense though babs raved about his faith in him. The leafs would like him back but probably cannot afford his speciality and Gauthier is ready to step in to the role.

 

POLAK and HUNWICK made up the bottom pairing most of the year, both would like to return but again, probably will not.

 

The contracts of Laich, Michalek and Robidas are coming off the books. 

 

MCELHINNEY who came from Columbus and was meh as the backup is likely gone.

 

Kalinen and Griffith who played a bit on the bottom lines are free agents as well.

 

This is the largest collection of free agents from pretty much any team but really you are looking at a bottom pair of d-men, a backup goalie, a 4th line center and a couple of 13th forwards. all are easily replaced and there are more kids ready to step in to most of these roles.

 

OFFSEASON QUESTIONS

 

1) CAN THEY BUILD UPON THE SEASON THEY JUST HAD?

Oh god yeah, Matthews won the Calder in a deep class, Nylander and Marner were brilliant and more kid forwards dot the roster. Babcock is the absolute bar none best coach in Hockey for this team right now, no questions asked. The defense needs tweaked, not completely reworked but simply tweaked. Everyone worth keeping is returning and they have to be oozing confidence following their late season push and short playoff run that proved that they are capable of playing with anyone.

 

2) SPEAKING OF THE DEFENSE......

I have been on record as a non fan of Gardiner but he was very good last year, Reilly was taken off the top power play and relied on more for five on five and defensive zone coverage and responded with a fantastic season, Zaitsev can play for me any time. That is three.

  there may be help in the system, Big Andrew Nielsen and rugged Travis Dermott played big minutes for the Marlies last year and did not embarrass themselves, Dermott is squat and hard to move, Nielsen is six three and can score, both showed a nasty streak at times. I would not be surprised if one or even both of them make the team and I think they could handle bottom six roles right now and certainly do as well if not better than Polak and Hunwick.

  They do need to sign a veteran free agent, Shattenkirk do to salary constraints is probably a pipe dream but Daley, Girardi and their ilk is certainly possible.

 

3) WILL THE SOPHOMORE SLUMP HIT THE KIDS?

Probably one or two might take a step back but even if Nylander and Marner drop ten points each off of last year they are still solid, same as Matthews and the others, Brown, soshnikov, Kapanen, ect... are just chomping at the bit for more ice time and a chance to prove what they can do. Like I said, this is probably the most fun team in hockey to watch. They either win big or lose ugly almost every night and frankly an ugly loss is fun to watch some times especially when the camera pans to Babs mean mugging the guys on the ice and you know hell will be paid.

 

  A great step up season last year, a statement against the Capitals in the postseason, a chance to add to the teams one weakness and tighten up the defense. The Leafs are absolutely trending up.

  

 

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Lots of very good questions there, yave, but no answers. I don't have any either but I guess thats what makes it fun (sometimes).

I agree they are trending up but there's no guarantee that will continue. One thing I will say though is that I can't wait for the season to start! Well OK I'd like a few more rounds of golf yet. :ahappy:

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Just now, FriendlyGuitarist said:

The Leafs have signed 1st round pick Liljegren

 

 

They make the usual mistake.

 

Should send him back home for one more year let him mature there some more then bring him over his contract would still slide for one more year coming over then.

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There are very good questions that you raised. In my opinion, they have the same core of talented young players that they had last year and I think that they did the right thing and on the right path of rebuilding. The young players got a lot of experience last year and also in the playoff when they took Washington to six games and almost every game went into overtime. They proved that they can play against every team and I think that the experience that they gained will make them better this year.

 

the defense is their Achilles heel and in this area, they need to improve and to get another good 4 defensemen in order to strengthen the defense. I think that we should trade one forward in order to get the defensemen that we need because, in my opinion, it's too crowded even though it give Babcock a lot of option on offense. They need to do it without trading one of our best players or one of our assets. We need to do it smartly and I trust the management and Babcock that they will do it right like they did the last two years. if we will get this defenseman I think that we will have a complete team and we will have a chance to get far in the season and in the playoffs

 

I don't think that the fact that they didn't sign Boyle is a bad thing even though that I wrote in one of my blogs that I think that they should. But he wasn't productive and in the playoff, he didn't come through and I think that it is a good thing that we let him go. It freed more money to sign players. If Polak won't come back I think that it will be a loss because he was great on the defense and with Kadri were the best players on defense. Also in the playoff, he was great and his injury was a big blow to Toronto.

 

I think that the addition of Patrick Marleau, Dominic Moore, and Ron Hainsey will make the team better and more dangerous. In my opinion, the more important aspect is that it will give the young players the opportunity to learn from great veteran players that have a lot of experience in playing in the NHL.Especially, adding Patrick Marleau will help the young player to improve their game and the opportunity to learn from one of the best players that played this game and future Hall of Famer.

 

I think that all the move that Toronto did this offseason will only make Toronto a better team next season. I think that we need to try to get this 4 line defensemen and then we will be even better. With Ron Hainsey, we have a very good defenseman that will stable the defense and his experience will help the young players. I think that if we can get another good veteran defensemen it will make Toronto a complete team.We need to do it smartly and not trading one of our assets and one of the young talented players. I trust Babcock and the management that they will continue with the same path of the rebuilding process. In my opinion, Toronto will be a better team next season and we can expect a very good season and hopefully, get higher in the standings and in the playoffs. I can't wait for next year and proud to be a Maple leaf fan.

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I don't think that he will come to Toronto because we don't have room for him on the roster. We have a lot of great forwards and we don't need another one.

In my opinion, he won't come back to the Leafs and if he will come it will probably be to the Marlins

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4 minutes ago, Edanl said:

I don't think that he will come to Toronto because we don't have room for him on the roster. We have a lot of great forwards and we don't need another one.

In my opinion, he won't come back to the Leafs and if he will come it will probably be to the Marlins

 

Well he is currently on LTIR and once Horton is put there for the season you have cap space for him. 

 

Just from rumors i have seen is that he is done and will never play again.

 

So with him and Horton on LTIR you would have 10.5 mill on injured reserves.

 

Sad he has been injury prone since he has been there.

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