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It's that time of year (and that position in the standings) where Leafs management, fans, and media need to stop dreaming about this season and start thinking about what needs to be changed on this team for it to return to the playoffs next season.

 

If you were the Leafs GM Dubas (put on a pair of frames with no glass to pretend), what moves would you make to improve this Leafs team?

 

  • Trade a few of Toronto's big name forwards for 1st round draft picks?  (Mini-rebuild) 
  • Player for player trade to upgrade the defence? (Would mean giving up a player like Matthews, Tavares, Marner, or Nylander.)
  • Stay the course and run the Leafs into 9th place in the East and the worst possible draft position?

 

The issue I have is that even if the Leafs made the playoffs this season (by some fluke / weak Atlantic division / whatever) they're not a Stanley Cup team anyway. This is a broken team. First round fodder for one of the other teams to quickly dispatch. So what's the point of getting there just to be trounced in the opening round? Isn't the goal to win the Cup? 

 

I think if you're going to lose, you might as well get something out of it. The Leafs could dump a few forwards for draft picks, finish near the bottom, collect another good draft pick in the lottery, and then bounce back very quickly next season with the beginnings of a new core group.

 

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I'd simply keep trying different combos of lines or d pairings to see if something works then if by the TDL TO is out of the playoffs I'd trade expiring contract players.

 

I hope TO can move Muzzin, Barrie and Ceci for a serious return, not because they're that bad but because TO can't afford them, the Cap is tight this year and it should be even worse next year.

 

Our core may not be perfect but it is core worthy.

 

I'm not surprised the year has gone as it has, Babs needed to go and hopefully Keefe can breath new life into the team.

 

2 years in a row TO lost in the first round to Boston but both years TO was a stiff test for them, it's valuable experience that the Leafs need.

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On 12/8/2019 at 1:37 AM, hobie said:

I'd simply keep trying different combos of lines or d pairings to see if something works then if by the TDL TO is out of the playoffs I'd trade expiring contract players.

 

So you're in favour of the Leafs doing a "mini rebuild" type of thing?   

 

On 12/8/2019 at 1:37 AM, hobie said:

I hope TO can move Muzzin, Barrie and Ceci for a serious return, not because they're that bad but because TO can't afford them, the Cap is tight this year and it should be even worse next year.

 

What do we get back? Draft picks or active players?

 

On 12/8/2019 at 1:37 AM, hobie said:

Our core may not be perfect but it is core worthy.

 

I think the forwards are the best part about this team. No doubt about it. We have some explosive scorers. The trouble is, how do you build around that in a salary cap league?  Even if we had the #1, #2, and #3 best forwards in the NHL, and all paid accordingly, is that a winning team?   :) 

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2 hours ago, WordsOfWisdom said:

 

So you're in favour of the Leafs doing a "mini rebuild" type of thing?   

 

 

What do we get back? Draft picks or active players?

 

 

I think the forwards are the best part about this team. No doubt about it. We have some explosive scorers. The trouble is, how do you build around that in a salary cap league?  Even if we had the #1, #2, and #3 best forwards in the NHL, and all paid accordingly, is that a winning team?   :) 

 

I don't think trading players on expiring contracts is a mini rebuild, I think TO simply needs to acknowledge that the support players aren't good enough if the playoffs aren't makeable at a minimum.

 

Draft picks are an option only if TO can't find the type of players that are needed. Probably any draft pick would be 4 years from the NHL and TO needs to think about winning now. Use the draft pick(s) to acquire players in the summer.

 

We saw Pitts. win a Cup with Hainsey on the top d pairing so there isn't a winning formula to win the Cup. If you look at the Islanders the last 2 years you probably notice they have a bunch of no name d-men or over the hill d-men but they've become one of the better d corps in the NHL, 2 years running, after being the absolute worst prior to Trotz. Coaching and systems makes a lot of difference, maybe Keefe will be TO's Trotz. I think we're already seeing an unparalleled level of forwards being defensively responsible since Babs' 2nd year. 

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1 hour ago, hobie said:

We saw Pitts. win a Cup with Hainsey on the top d pairing so there isn't a winning formula to win the Cup. If you look at the Islanders the last 2 years you probably notice they have a bunch of no name d-men or over the hill d-men but they've become one of the better d corps in the NHL, 2 years running, after being the absolute worst prior to Trotz. Coaching and systems makes a lot of difference, maybe Keefe will be TO's Trotz. I think we're already seeing an unparalleled level of forwards being defensively responsible since Babs' 2nd year. 

 

Is there a losing formula to win the Cup?  ;)

 

In a salary cap league, the formula for success is to draft your core group, surround them with support players on bargain deals, and win before the entry level contracts of your core group need to be renewed. You basically need to get a group of players you can underpay and win during that window before their play warrants a sizeable raise.  

 

Once you're forced to start paying established star players what they're worth your team is doomed as far as the cap is concerned and you find yourself in the lose-lose position of either losing your star players or losing all the quality players around them.   

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 Maybe get a couple of guys (forwards AND defence) that can play in their own end and bring a bit of sandpaper. 

 

 Your team has soft offensive players coming out the ying yang. Dubas trades the one guy that brought both those qualities...for more soft offence. It's like he's trying to be the "anti-Bruins".

 

 But it's working for the Bruins.

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10 hours ago, WordsOfWisdom said:

 

Is there a losing formula to win the Cup?  ;)

 

In a salary cap league, the formula for success is to draft your core group, surround them with support players on bargain deals, and win before the entry level contracts of your core group need to be renewed. You basically need to get a group of players you can underpay and win during that window before their play warrants a sizeable raise.  

 

Once you're forced to start paying established star players what they're worth your team is doomed as far as the cap is concerned and you find yourself in the lose-lose position of either losing your star players or losing all the quality players around them.   

 

I meant to highlight the A in my rambling. No single winning formula has won Cups, the Chicago and Pitts. teams were smallish and not very physical but won Cups. The call for TO to become bigger and more physical is simply people expressing their opinions, their own bias.

 

6 hours ago, flyercanuck said:

 Maybe get a couple of guys (forwards AND defence) that can play in their own end and bring a bit of sandpaper. 

 

 Your team has soft offensive players coming out the ying yang. Dubas trades the one guy that brought both those qualities...for more soft offence. It's like he's trying to be the "anti-Bruins".

 

 But it's working for the Bruins.

 

During the last playoff against Boston TO was more physical than Boston.. By physical I mean by hit count, which is alright I guess but TO still lost. That's not TO's game and therefore the end result was predictable.

 

Babs preached advance the puck as opposed to possess the puck which is alright if the team he's coaching is made up of players that aren't very good with the puck on their stick and can win physical battles, he endorsed advancing the puck no matter what, even if that meant giving it up but the team he had was comprised of players who thrive with the puck on their sticks, IMO. Keefe wants TO to possess the puck which should ultimately be a more compatible game plan for TO's roster, we shall see.

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, hobie said:

 

I meant to highlight the A in my rambling. No single winning formula has won Cups, the Chicago and Pitts. teams were smallish and not very physical but won Cups. The call for TO to become bigger and more physical is simply people expressing their opinions, their own bias.

 

 

During the last playoff against Boston TO was more physical than Boston.. By physical I mean by hit count, which is alright I guess but TO still lost. That's not TO's game and therefore the end result was predictable.

 

Babs preached advance the puck as opposed to possess the puck which is alright if the team he's coaching is made up of players that aren't very good with the puck on their stick and can win physical battles, he endorsed advancing the puck no matter what, even if that meant giving it up but the team he had was comprised of players who thrive with the puck on their sticks, IMO. Keefe wants TO to possess the puck which should ultimately be a more compatible game plan for TO's roster, we shall see.

 

 

 

 

 

The players should like playing for Keefe more than Babcock.

 

 I've got a soft spot for him. He was a troubled soul when he played junior here (though a great player) but it looks like he's exorcised those demons and has his life back on track. I wanted the Flyers to snag him when they fired Hakstol but I figured there was no way they were going with another guy without NHL experience.

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17 hours ago, flyercanuck said:

 

The players should like playing for Keefe more than Babcock.

 

 I've got a soft spot for him. He was a troubled soul when he played junior here (though a great player) but it looks like he's exorcised those demons and has his life back on track. I wanted the Flyers to snag him when they fired Hakstol but I figured there was no way they were going with another guy without NHL experience.

 

Say more about him. He played for the Colts?

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21 hours ago, Podein25 said:

 

Say more about him. He played for the Colts?

 

He was captain. Put up 121 points in 66 games one season (Colts record) and took Barrie to the Memorial Cup (they lost). He refused to shake hands with Branch (probably not your brightest move when you later plan to become an OHL coach, but I loved it) One of the best OHL players I've ever seen. Best friend was Mike Jefferson (Danton) Need I say more? Spent a lot of years being traumatized by David the Molester Frost (him and Jefferson lived with that dirtbag). Was just one messed up individual. 

 

 Got married, had kids, started coaching and turned his life around. Won a Canadian championship with Pembroke. Dubas hired him on as coach of the Soo (that turned a lot of heads and not in a good way). He coached them to their best season ever (pretty impressive with their storied history) but had the misfortune of having to play against Connor McDavid each year in the playoffs. Now he's in the NHL while his brother from a different mother ended up in jail.

Edited by flyercanuck
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On 12/12/2019 at 12:46 PM, hobie said:

I meant to highlight the A in my rambling. No single winning formula has won Cups, the Chicago and Pitts. teams were smallish and not very physical but won Cups. The call for TO to become bigger and more physical is simply people expressing their opinions, their own bias.

 

But I think what you can say about Chicago and Pittsburgh is that they won the Cup fairly early into their rebuild. The Penguins drafted Crosby and Malkin and won the Cup quickly before cap constraints pulled the team apart. Chicago did the same with Toews and Kane, etc.  Both teams managed to get their Cup wins in before the salary cap "came knocking" and said "time's up, your Cup window is hereby closed". 

 

It took Pittsburgh a long time to get back there for the 3rd one, and they really managed to rape Toronto on the Kessel trade (which helped). So Toronto was as helpful to Pittsburgh's most recent Cup win as the Penguins roster was. 

 

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3 hours ago, WordsOfWisdom said:

 

But I think what you can say about Chicago and Pittsburgh is that they won the Cup fairly early into their rebuild. The Penguins drafted Crosby and Malkin and won the Cup quickly before cap constraints pulled the team apart. Chicago did the same with Toews and Kane, etc.  Both teams managed to get their Cup wins in before the salary cap "came knocking" and said "time's up, your Cup window is hereby closed". 

 

It took Pittsburgh a long time to get back there for the 3rd one, and they really managed to rape Toronto on the Kessel trade (which helped). So Toronto was as helpful to Pittsburgh's most recent Cup win as the Penguins roster was. 

 

 

Wash. and St.L. won Cups late in their rebuilds?

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3 hours ago, hobie said:

 

Wash. and St.L. won Cups late in their rebuilds?

 

It's possible of course, but look how those teams are constructed. Correct me if I'm wrong but in Washington there's Ovie, and then nobody else making that kind of money. The Blues have some players on "bargain" contracts. They're not overpaying for forwards. 

 

The Leafs have zero room to add anyone to this team at the trade deadline. We know that nobody is going to take an overpaid player off our hands and give us a better player off their roster at lower salary in a trade, so how does this situation improve?  The fact of the matter is, the Leafs are MAXED OUT.  What you see now is what they are, and they will never improve. The Leafs are a cap max team that is maxed at ~90 points or so. They will never get into a top position with this group. 

 

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For a few years sure but in 3 or 4 years it might change.

 

The key is TO needs to continue to draft and develop players.

 

The other key is having the players that can deliver the Cup which I think TO has.

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Ovie's contract is 12 years old, he has 1 year after this remaining. He signed for 9.4 mil. per and in the first year of his contract the Cap ceiling was 56.7 mil., so his % of the Cap was 16.6%. Two years later Backstrom signed for 6.7 mil., the salary Cap was 59.4 mil., his % of the Cap plus Ovie's was 28.4%. For the last 10 years Washington has been a dominant, perennial Cup contender that finally won after the 8th year of Backstrom's contract. The only reason that Wash. could sign them for that cheap is because of the length of their contracts, TO doesn't have that luxury but the Cap has being going up far more quickly now.

 

The salary Cap now is 81.5 mil. but somehow TO's salary commitment this year is 94.3 mil. and TO isn't the only team above the Cap ceiling so there must be loop holes and TO has the financial might to exploit them.

 

Matthews % of salary Cap-14.2%

Marner's         "                     -13.4%

 

Matthews and Marner's combined Cap hit is 27.6% of the 81.5 mil. ceiling, slightly less than Ovie's and Backstrom's when Backstrom signed his current contract. Washington also had some other doozy contracts like Semin's, Arnott's, Knuble, Laich so they were as Cap weary as the Leafs are now but in the first year of the Backstrom contract Wash. was 48 and 23 with 11 OL for 107 points.

 

I don't think the big 4's contracts are the issue, the issue is Ceci's, Kerfoot's, Kappy's, and Johnsson's contracts.

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It always floors me that a player like Hall gets such a small/meager return in a trade. Many are thinking that TO can trade some of it's forward depth to improve the d, I guess that's possible but to get a proper upgrade it would probably cost AM or Mitch.

 

I wouldn't mind TO using Rielly to upgrade the d like trading Rielly for Pietrangelo.

Edited by hobie

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18 minutes ago, hobie said:

It always floors me that a player like Hall gets such a small/meager return in a trade. Many are thinking that TO can trade some of it's forward depth to improve the d, I guess that's possible but to get a proper upgrade it would probably cost AM or Mitch.

 

I wouldn't mind TO using Rielly to upgrade the d like trading Rielly for Pietrangelo.

 

It has to be a team that is the opposite of Toronto: a team with an abundance of good defencemen and a total and complete lack of scoring. If you can find a team that has too many defencemen (which IS possible since Toronto has too many forwards) then I think you could get fair value in a trade there. But there's no way I would trade someone like Matthews unless there was a NORRIS TROPHY WINNER IN HIS PRIME coming back to Toronto. It would have to be the BEST defenceman in the GAME coming back to T.O. or no deal. 

 

I know people will say a defenceman is more valuable than a forward, blah blah blah, but this trade would be a mid to late 20's D-man for a young AM (potentially). The other team is basically acquiring a young Sidney Crosby, so yeah... it would be a #1 guy coming back to Toronto for that kind of talent. 

 

I'd prefer if Toronto didn't give away any of the decent guys we already have on D like Rielly.  I know Rielly doesn't defend well, but teams need to have an offensive D-man as well if they want to win.  :) 

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It's as though we have the "Scott Niedermayer" in Rielly but we're missing the "Chris Pronger". 

 

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On 12/17/2019 at 4:04 PM, hobie said:

It always floors me that a player like Hall gets such a small/meager return in a trade. Many are thinking that TO can trade some of it's forward depth to improve the d, I guess that's possible but to get a proper upgrade it would probably cost AM or Mitch.

 

I wouldn't mind TO using Rielly to upgrade the d like trading Rielly for Pietrangelo.

 

Why on earth would the Blues do this? 

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Rielly could be replaced by a similar and potentially cheaper d-man in Barrie, I don't like the idea of TO going all in salary wise on such a limited player like Rielly. Last year was an anomaly for Rielly, Pietrangelo is the real deal and worthy of a 8 mil. deal, probably. 

 

Muzzin if resigned can and usually does provide offense, Sandin looks like a PP worthy future addition and all of TO's current d-men are mobile.

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10 hours ago, flyercanuck said:

 

Why on earth would the Blues do this? 

 

St.L. traded Statsny to Winterpeg even tho they were in the playoff race 2 years ago, the GM decided that he'd rather get assets for Statsny than just let him walk.

 

Pietra is a UFA after this year and there are doubts that St.L. will be able to afford him so rather than look for a draft choice haul for him like N.J. got for Hall Rielly might be considered a proper return. Rielly is signed for 2 more years and at 5 mil. per he might be considered a bargain for a d-man who's 25, 4 years younger than Pietra, and has more than 120 points in the prior 2 years.

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5 hours ago, hobie said:

 

St.L. traded Statsny to Winterpeg even tho they were in the playoff race 2 years ago, the GM decided that he'd rather get assets for Statsny than just let him walk.

 

Pietra is a UFA after this year and there are doubts that St.L. will be able to afford him so rather than look for a draft choice haul for him like N.J. got for Hall Rielly might be considered a proper return. Rielly is signed for 2 more years and at 5 mil. per he might be considered a bargain for a d-man who's 25, 4 years younger than Pietra, and has more than 120 points in the prior 2 years.

 

They just won a cup, with Pietrangelo as one of the prime reasons. I'm pretty sure  a repeat would be their main concern going forward. 

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10 hours ago, hobie said:

Rielly could be replaced by a similar and potentially cheaper d-man in Barrie

 

I'd rather have nobody playing defence than have Barrie back there.  To me, he's terrible.  So if by cheaper you mean "league minimum" salary, then okay we'll keep Barrie over Rielly to save some cap space.  

 

 

 

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      Maybe get a couple of guys (forwards AND defence) that can play in their own end and bring a bit of sandpaper.     Your team has soft offensive players coming out the ying yang. Dubas trades the one guy that brought both those qualities...for more soft offence. It's like he's trying to be the "anti-Bruins".    But it's working for the Bruins.
    • 1
      Post
      It's that time of year (and that position in the standings) where Leafs management, fans, and media need to stop dreaming about this season and start thinking about what needs to be changed on this team for it to return to the playoffs next season.   If you were the Leafs GM Dubas (put on a pair of frames with no glass to pretend), what moves would you make to improve this Leafs team?   Trade a few of Toronto's big name forwards for 1st round draft picks?  (Mini-rebuild) 
    • 1
      Post
      I meant to highlight the A in my rambling. No single winning formula has won Cups, the Chicago and Pitts. teams were smallish and not very physical but won Cups. The call for TO to become bigger and more physical is simply people expressing their opinions, their own bias.     During the last playoff against Boston TO was more physical than Boston.. By physical I mean by hit count, which is alright I guess but TO still lost. That's not TO's game and therefore the end result was p
    • 1
      Post
      The players should like playing for Keefe more than Babcock.    I've got a soft spot for him. He was a troubled soul when he played junior here (though a great player) but it looks like he's exorcised those demons and has his life back on track. I wanted the Flyers to snag him when they fired Hakstol but I figured there was no way they were going with another guy without NHL experience.
    • 1
      Post
      He was captain. Put up 121 points in 66 games one season (Colts record) and took Barrie to the Memorial Cup (they lost). He refused to shake hands with Branch (probably not your brightest move when you later plan to become an OHL coach, but I loved it) One of the best OHL players I've ever seen. Best friend was Mike Jefferson (Danton) Need I say more? Spent a lot of years being traumatized by David the Molester Frost (him and Jefferson lived with that dirtbag). Was just one messed up individual.
    • 1
      Post
      For a few years sure but in 3 or 4 years it might change.   The key is TO needs to continue to draft and develop players.   The other key is having the players that can deliver the Cup which I think TO has.

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