Sorry for the delay guys.Â We greatly appreciate the flood of great questions and comments, and are sorry to say we couldn’t get to them all. We’ve all been pretty busy lately for a variety of reasons, so without any further ado, let’s get started on the 1st ever Maple Leafs HotStove Hockey Panel Discussion.
Forming our panel for this session is Alec Brownscombe of Hockeybuzz and MLHS godfather, Gus Katsaros of Mckeen’s and MLHS fantasy expert, and myself, Alex Tran, an MLHS blogger.
Millar1987 asks, “Do you believe, that the next Leafs Captain, is on their roster, TODAY?”
AB: Absolutely, providing Luke Schenn is still on the roster as of the date this is posted. The three-pronged alternative system is fine for now and should continue to be the arrangement until a bona fide captain emerges. There’s clearly no one on the current roster deserving of the “C” and considering the fact that the Leafs’ captain role carries with it quite a bit of sentimental merit, the club should avoid appointing a transient captain. From 1986-1989, when the Leafs were a recovering team lacking in veteran presence, Harold Ballard’s Leafs went without a captain for three seasons. It’s been done before and it seems appropriate again.
GK: It can’t be Joseph.Â He’s too old.Â ItÂ can’t be Toskala, especially if he’s being pulled in favor of the old man in shootouts.Â There may not be a current season Leafs captain ready to be named, but there is one thatÂ is beingÂ groomed.Â Luke, freakin’ Schenn.Â
AT: Considering the amount of history and tradition associated with the Maple Leafs, I don’t see them appointing a captain who may be traded by February (see Mayers). Of the veterans, the most likely seems to be Pavel Kubina, as exhibits great leadership on and off the ice. He’s one of the few Leafs who knows what it feels like to have been successful and commands plenty of respect.Â But since the moment his name was announced at the podium in Ottawa, you just knewÂ that Luke Schenn will likely be that someone whom management feels can represent the face of the franchise for a long time.Â Personally, I think this is something that can happen sooner rather than later. Pittsburgh made a 19 year old Sidney Crosby the youngest captain in league history, so I don’t think it would be completely far fetched to see Luke Schenn inherit the “C” by about age 20 or 21.”
That being said, since the Cup win he’s been able to lock down his long-term core, at the cost of Ilya Bryzgalov, Andy McDonald and Mathieu Schneider.
He is a viable candidate, but not the messiah the Toronto media likes to paint him as. One of Burke’s most attractive characteristics is his ability to handle overzealous media, but as I mentioned in my latest blog on the topic, the need for Burke’s take-no-shit demeanor seems to be less of a necessity now that Ron Wilson is behind the bench, a man who’s both surly and truculent in his own right. Unfortunately, the writing seems to be on the wall and a Burke take-over is seemingly only a matter of time.
Personally, I don’t think we need a GM with that big name luster necessarily. I think David Poile is the best option in terms of finding a GM with a proven track record at the draft table as well as one that’s versed in the salary cap landscape.
Should the Leafs draft third overall this year, an early guess is that Fletcher will draft Brayden Schenn. He’s a Fletcher archetype. Brayden is expected to match the size of Luke once he’s fully filled out. If you combine that size with his offensive upside and his willingness to get his hands dirty, his potential as a power forward is frightening. Scouts will be looking for a 40 goal season from Brayden next year if he’s to go top 5.