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Also fun. Players that have scored 30 goals in each of the last 3 seasons:

Iginla
Marleau
Carter
Ryan
Ovechkin
Nash
Crosby
Kessel
Kovalchuk

*Staal (season of 29)
*Sedin (season of 29)
*Perry (season of 27)

Is Kessel the only player on that list that has been figured out? He isn't elite, but its not like he is crap.
This really is a fun stat to pull out right before you remind everyone he is only 23yrs old!
 

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That's a pretty good recap and pretty accurate. It still contains a lot of "ifs" though so we will have to wait and see if your guys come through as you say. I respect Kessel but he is not a team player. He keeps away from physical stuff and hangs out at the blueline waiting for a breakaway. I agree we need a bona fide centreman and a experienced goalie. My problem with this team is if things don't go as planned they could be embarrassing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #63 ·
That's a pretty good recap and pretty accurate. It still contains a lot of "ifs" though so we will have to wait and see if your guys come through as you say. I respect Kessel but he is not a team player. He keeps away from physical stuff and hangs out at the blueline waiting for a breakaway. I agree we need a bona fide centreman and a experienced goalie. My problem with this team is if things don't go as planned they could be embarrassing.
No, if things don't go as planned they will have a lottery pick in what is predicted to be the deepest draft since 2003.

It's all part of a rebuild, you put a bunch of young players out on the ice and keep the ones that work. Some guys like Kulemin and Aulie are looking better than originally anticipated, Schenn is living up to expectations, and so far Reimer has exceeded them.

So the hope is that you see Colborne or Kadri unseat Connolly, and Gardiner or Blacker make a move for Liles job. That is the key with the Leafs signing capable but not extraordinary plugs, they do just that, fill a hole on the short term.
 

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Good observations, I didn't know about the next draft being so good. I'm just tired of waiting so long. Montreal did it in one season. Washington has changed their style and roster and now will be a contender this season. Buffalo is on a one year re build and Chicago had to re build after losing many top players. Why does it take Toronto so long? I think its because Burke is stubborn and wants all the credit for himself.
 

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Good observations, I didn't know about the next draft being so good. I'm just tired of waiting so long. Montreal did it in one season. Washington has changed their style and roster and now will be a contender this season. Buffalo is on a one year re build and Chicago had to re build after losing many top players. Why does it take Toronto so long? I think its because Burke is stubborn and wants all the credit for himself.
I think it is because he started with nothing and has now given Leaf fans something. We now have a solid prospect pool and a competitive team that has the ability to grab one of the 7th or 8th play off spots. Albeit we can go anywhere from 7-15 in this years East. Several really bad injuries and the Leafs have nothing left.
 

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I think you are right the team is thin and they need to stay healthy. I think Burke wants to get credit for creating a team using his methods, that's okay if it works. If you look at the east for next year its pretty much the same teams at the top. There is room for Toronto as the lower teams have not improved that much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #67 ·
Hey Tex,

When you look at teams like MTL who turned it around quickly. Think that would have happened without Price, etc?

Honestly, I think this team would be miles ahead if JFJ hadn't crapped the bed so hard when acquiring goalies.

If instead of Rask for Raycrap, the Leafs had just signed Legace for 2 years think this would still be a team on the outside of the playoffs?

Then the next year to trade a 1st and 2nd (which were flipped for Logan Couture) for Toskala and Bell...

You sign a decent (at the time Legace) as a plug, and keep Rask and potentially get Couture as well... This would be a playoff team by now.

Look at the moves that Burke has made since the Kessel bungle, and the team is moving in the right direction.

If you just look at players 25 or under in the system now (so they will get better):

Goaltender
Reimer - amazing year last year
Rynnas - 2.7 GAA .911 S% (AHL) - UFA last year
Scrivens - 2.33 GAA .927 S% (AHL) - UFA last year
Owuya - one of the top SEL goalies - UFA signed this year

Defense
Schenn - After a sophmore slump had a solid year
Aulie - Greatly improved Phaneufs play... acquired as a throw in with Phaneuf
Gunnarsson - Developing into an excellent 5-6 dman, with 2nd pp potential
Lashoff - no. 7 guy who can fill in and not look out of place
Gardiner - Puck mover with 1-2 dman potential
Blacker - Puck mover with no. 2 dman potential
Percy - 2 way dman, a ways out

... Gysbers, Holzer, Mikus are in there too

Forwards
Kessel - top 15 goal scorer in the league
Kulemin - two way forward, and 30 goal scorer
Bozak - Bottom 6 center, smart hockey player
Kadri - top 3 skill, hopefully top 6 strength and brain this year
Colbourne - Top 6 center potential
Frattin - Top 6 center potential
Caputi - Checking line winger
Mueller - Checking line winger
D'Amigo - WJC star, top 6 potential
McKegg - Top 6 potential
Ross - 3rd line pest potential
Biggs - Top 6 power forward potential (Hartnell, Lucic ceiling)

Also note that Phaneuf, MacArthur, and Grabovski are 26, 26, 27 respectively and are just hitting their prime.

This is the deepest I have ever seen the talent pool in the farm system of the Leafs. The problem is that there is a real shortage of Elite talent. Gardiner and Kadri are about the end of the elite talent, and they are no guarantees to reach that potential.

Still this is a completely different team, and going forward you can expect to see more and more young guys stealing jobs. Which is why you see guys like Liles and Connolly on 1 and 2 year deals.
 

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The youth movement is a good idea but still a gamble. I can see it if you had a strong base and could afford the time to wait for them to mature. The Leafs don't have that base as far as I can see. There are more questions than answers with this club. As you say a few good trades and we would be in the playoffs for sure. This is what I meant when I talked about Montreal and others turning things around quickly. You have to admit that ,for some reason, Toronto is just not doing it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #70 ·
How is a youth movement a gamble?

With the exception of the Detroit machine, all of the teams that have won the cup in recent years have gone through a youth movement.

Boston won with players like Krejci, Lucic, Marchand, Seguin.
Chicago won with Toews, Kane, Keith, Seabrook.
Pittsburgh won with Crosby, Malkin, Letang, Orpik, Fleury.

The Leafs were never a few good trades from turning it around. They would have had the chance to turn it around quickly if not for a few crappy trades.

You can't win the cup without some good young players, either to use to trade to get key parts, or to perform above their cap hit.

That is the importance of a farm system. The Leafs are on the right track, but the job is far from done. A true no. 1 center and maybe a 1st line winger is needed. A true checking line center, or Lombardi to return to form is needed.

The 2nd line is fine. Kessel as a 1st line winger is fine.

The defense looks promising, particularly if Phaneuf plays like he did for the 2nd half of the year.

Goalie? If Reimer can play like he did for those 37 games, then not a problem. Especially with 3 more good prospects in the minors.

But this isn't a gamble, it is the only way to build a winner.
 

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Its not totally just a youth job that gets you to the top. The players you mentioned are all top young players. The leafs don't have any of that caliber. Don't mention Kadre to me either as he can't even stand on his own two feet in the corners! The Leafs don't have any because Burke gave away his draft picks to Boston. All these young players you mention are unproven and untried. If,if,if, is the Toronto way, its an old record and we still are miles away from a good team.
 

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Discussion Starter · #72 ·
It's not just a youth movement, but you need to have the depth. And you need to have parts that you can move.

The other smart thing that Burke has done is not to over extend the team beyond the next CBA. After the last CBA was when you saw players like Chara, Niedermayer, Pronger, Selanne change teams. So having flexibility in a changing landscape is good.

While the Leafs don't have any players of the calibre of Crosby, Malkin, Toews, Kane... They do have players of the calibre of Krejci, Lucic, Seabrook, Orpik, and maybe Fleury.

It's a start... It's better than where they were 3 years ago, when the team had some garbage named Antropov, Stajan, Ponikarovsky as their best players. Now the decks have been cleared. There are still big holes, but the base is better.

Also very important is that when you see players come up from the Marlies (think Crabb, Boyce, Aulie, Lashoff) they come in and look ready. They are developing into solid NHLers. Which is a big change.

It makes no sense for this team to go out and trade prospects for veterans trying to get in the playoffs, when they are still 1 or 2 elite players short of truly contending. You look at the team right now, and the new guys are on a short leash of 1-2 years to show that they can improve the team, or at least beat out the kids that are coming up.
 

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You are a good Leaf fan with eternal optimism. You and many like you find reason to be excited each year. It doesn't matter that the team never stacks up you just forget it and get all excited again the next year. This years team is no different than years gone by. Until the fans stop supporting these losing teams you are always going to get losers. This team is not one or two top 6 players from being in contention. There is a reason the players in the league don't want to come to Toronto, they don't have faith in this losing place and can't stand Wilson.
 

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Seriously,if this team gets unusually high performance out of everyone they could make the playoffs. It would take a season
of outstanding goal tending, tough defense and hard working forwards to do it. This team is not naturally talented so hard work would be necessary. They need to catch fire like they did at the end of last season. Lets hope so, it would be a nice change!
 

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Discussion Starter · #75 ·
You haven't seen enough of me to call me an eternal optimist. I give this team < 15% chance of making the playoffs.

Especially since I think Reimer will regress this year.

The big difference is that the team just drafted x2 in the first round, has unloaded almost all the dead weight veterans. And still has the first round pick for this coming year.

You can't help but feel better going into a season when you have your top pick. If you tank like 2 years ago, you know that you get an elite player with your pick. If you don't well then hopefully you make the post season. What I don't want to see is another 9-10 finish.

The statement that this team isn't 1-2 top 6 forwards away from contending is somewhat wrong.

Check what I wrote. They need a two top 3 players, a number 3 center. And a no. 1 dman, coupled with the same level of play that we saw from Reimer to contend.

So 4 players.

Lets pick players of that ilk, and see what the team would look like. (I am not saying that these players are available, just saying that they could contend with those players.

*Ryan, Bobby* - *Toews, Jonathan* - Kessel, Phil
MacArthur, Clark - Grabovski, Mikhail - Kulemin, Nicolai
Kadri, Nazem - *Malhotra, Manny* - Armstrong, Colby
Brown, Mike - Boyce, Darryl - Orr, Colton

Phaneuf, Dion - *Keith, Duncan*
Schenn, Luke - Franson, Cody
Gunnarsson, Karl - Aulie, Keith

Reimer, James
Gustavsson, Jonas

Are you saying that that lineup with Reimer playing well wouldn't contend? I would argue that a healthy Lombardi would be just as good as Malhotra. So 3-4 pieces out. Problem is that those are 3 difficult pieces to get.
 

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I agree with your assessment, if only we could get the players. If you look at any Stanley cup winners you will see they have depth plus a few "stars". Look at Gretsky's teams for example. He didn't win the cup by himself, he had a great supporting cast. I think if all the stars are in the right sequence this Leaf team could get in the playoffs (although I doubt it). I'm afraid we are looking at a team that is not good enough to win but good enough to finish high and miss the chance to get a draft choice.
 

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I agree with your assessment, if only we could get the players. If you look at any Stanley cup winners you will see they have depth plus a few "stars". Look at Gretsky's teams for example. He didn't win the cup by himself, he had a great supporting cast. I think if all the stars are in the right sequence this Leaf team could get in the playoffs (although I doubt it). I'm afraid we are looking at a team that is not good enough to win but good enough to finish high and miss the chance to get a draft choice.

LOL

Most of us are pretty realistic aound here when it comes to the Leafs.

BUt there is some optimism. Sure we need a few "IF's" to happen to make the playoffs but so do 22 or so other teams.
Everyone needs good goaltending. Not just the Leafs.

Kessel is good. "Star" status yet to be determined but he could be a top 10-15 scorer for the next decade. However I am not sold on him as a gamebreaker.

This team has the deepest system I have ever seen, right now. It's headed in the right direction. At some point I think the team needs to take a bunch of the quality youth in the system and bundle it together for an elite talent.

The line up Tyler posted above with the 4 changes I think would not only make the post season but kick some serious butt once it was there.
 

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Looks like we are all pretty realistic in regards to the talent level of the Leafs. There is a chance that they could all exceed our expected levels and do very well. I think this team will skate very well and compete. How will they fare against teams like Washington ,Boston and Pittsburgh remain to be seen. Its a long season and we have very young goal tenders. How will they stand up? Is our defense up to par and will our big scorers from last season be able to do it again? Will Wilson get them to play hard every game? I think a lot depends on the other teams we are trying to beat for a playoff place. Have they improved as we have or are they better? So many questions, answers to come later.
 

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Don't get me wrong I look everywhere and everyone is pretty much better than they were last year, with 1 or 2 exceptions.

Is Kadri going to improve to post Skinner numbers?
If our young guns are developing and getting better so are everyone else's. I get it.

Still when I look at the Leafs lines, they should be hard to beat any night they are relatively healthy.
 

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Skinner is an amazing hockey player, Kadri is not in his league and may never be. Kadri needs to learn how to mix it up in the corners and side boards and not fall down. He always stick handles too long and losses the puck. He is not the player that will make a difference. (my opinion). If the other lower teams have gotten stronger we are in trouble. I believe that Ottawa is still weak and has kept one too many old timers on its team (like Samelson) sp?
 
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