A Potential Leafs Line-up For 2010-2011
THE LEAFS LINE-UP OF 2010-2011
There are a few teams to target this year that will have to address their cap issues or need to rebuild! Even the Leafs have one cap issue which is that nearly half of our budget is being spent on defencemen, and a few of them have been lame ducks. We do have a few things to offer such as Grabovski, Kaberle, Exelby, Finger, Mike Van Ryn and more. If we can get upgrade, cut down our defence budget and give Gunnarson a job there isn’t anyone on the Leafs except Phanuef I wouldn’t trade.
I wouln’t trade Phanuef only because we just got him and he seems emotionally invested in making the Leafs a meaner team. The price would have to be huge for our cornerstone guys of the future like Schenn, Kessel, Kadri etc. I just mean to say that if we want to really take this team to a Cup we have to be prepared to do whatever it takes and trade anyone that can get us a young proven superstar, but ideally it’s Grabovski, Kaberle, Exelby, Fingerand Mike Van Ryn out the door. If no one gives us what we want for Kaberle, we keep him so that other GM’s know we won’t sell ourselves out and try to lowball us. Giguere will be dealt by trade deadline next season to a playoff bound team with an injured goalie, there are some excellent teams who are one hamstring pull away from falling out of contention so at any minute a player like Giguere may have more value than he currently does.
WHO CAN WE TARGET IN THE NHL?
Boston is still in cap trouble too and without Kessel they lack a true goal scorer. Tim Thomas will earn $5 million as a back up goalie and they have six underachieving forwards who make more than $3.5 million a year, only Savard is worth keeping. So you never know who may become available on that team. I’ve been a fan of Milan Lucic since 2006, I worked for the Vancouver Giants the year he took us to the Memorial Cup Championship against the Medicine Hat Tigers. He is young and embodies all of the qualities that Brian Burke is looking for. I couldn’t believe he was drafted 94th, when I watched him on the Giants I knew he would be an NHL star and would have drafted him in the top 30!
Tampa Bay is in trouble too because of that awful Hossa-like contract they’ve signed with Lecalvier, nobody will take it on. Maybe a GM with some savvy could swipe Steve Downie or Ryan Malone from them cheap, maybe with some coaching and direction Downie could change his reputation from thug to legitimate power forward. He would fit on the Leafs, though I personally don’t like him ever since he nearly ruined McCammonds career trying to earn a spot on his team.
We could take somebody who is pretty hot from Chicago. But if I was their GM I would’t part with Kane, Toews or Sharp, they won’t let them go and if they did it would be for the type of prospects that the Leafs don’t have right now. Nobody in their right mind should consider gutless Hossa…Hossa and Kovulchuck aren’t Burkes players…They want money, they lack toughness, they don’t care about helping losers rebuild, they don’t back check and the world revolves around their egos. Burke could target Dustin Byfuglien, he scored 17 goals and 17 assists this season averaging just over 16 minutes a game on the ice. He can score more than 20 goals with more ice time than he gets on his current talent loaded team. He’s a bigger meaner version of Darcy Tucker, or a Wendell Clarke without the bomb shot that can score 50 goals. For whatever it matters, Byfuglien makes Grabovski look like a little twerp.
Both Dallas and Calgary are teams worth targeting. You just never know who they might let go of, they very well could trade Mike Richards, James Neil or Mike Ribeiro. You just don’t know until you say the right words to Daryl Sutter what he might do. Calgary has holes to fill with very few NHL ready kids to bring up and not enough cap space to buy their way out. Calgary is a disaster now, I’ve been saying they have created a team comparable to the Leafs in Sundin’s final years. Calgary might better trade Iginla now before they end up like Toronto did and get nothing for their superstar in the end, he’s the only player on that team who currently has any value.
The Montreal Canadiens have this awful contract of Scott Gomez which Glen Sather is responsible for, and Glen Sather’s New York Rangers are still in salary cap disaster land. The Rangers haven’t learned a thing from their past mistakes, they are perpetually a team that everyone expects to be a contender but never seem to pull it together. The worst move that Sather ever made was bringing John Tortorella in to coach, he’s a reptilian freak show behind the bench who has the personality of a badger even though he personally couldn’t fight his way out of a Senior Citizens Guild meeting.
Tortorella’s and Sather’s time is up, the new GM fortunately has a lot of prospects waiting to come up in the wings. Essentially nobody wants Chris Drury’s contact, except a loose canon GM like Daryl Sutter who has made the most ridiculous deals in the NHL this year. Anybody on Montreal and New Yorks team may become available for the right price, though there aren’t a whole lot of players there who fit the Leafs needs, the best players that could be available on either team play defence. Montreal won’t part with Plekanec, though he is the player with the most value.
Having considered all that here is one example of what that 2010-2011 Leafs team might look like…or what I hope it could look like. Its a scenario where the Leafs fail to land the top minutes superstar that Burke is surely in the hunt for, but instead he is able to pick up 2-4 top quality hockey players who exemplify the trucculance Burke is so honest about wanting.
I’d like to see the Leafs get at least one if not four skilled NHL ready forwards like Malone, Colby Armstrong, Lucic, Iginla, Brayden Schenn or any of the Staal boys (most likely Penguins or Rangers versions). The defensive situation looks hopeful, they could deal 1-3 defencemen and make yet another upgrade on the blue line. This line-up below may seem like a far fetched scenario, but it’s an example of a possibility for the 2010-2011 roster and one where the Leafs don’t land a 50 goal scorer. You never know what could happen, even if we had mostly the same team we finished with this year we would have a better chance at competing than we did with the Leafs team led by Vesa Toskala’s net-minding. Without anybody named Raycroft or Toskala in net, we may actually be able to win games without needing to score 5 goals.
1.Lucic, Kadri, Kessel
2.Stalberg, Bozak, Byfuglien
3. Kulemin, Brayden Irwin, Orr
4.Sjostrom, Hanson, Travis Moen
Giguere and the Monster in net to start the season.
Let’s see what Burke can pull together.