I’m sure I’m not the only one struggling to care about the playoffs. As talented as the remaining teams are, I’m not interested in the hearing the winner of the Stanley Cup become dubbed the next great NHL dynasty. The fact that Boston could claim that honour makes it sting a little worse, as I’m sure another reason I have completely tuned out of the playoffs is the absence of the Leafs after believing it was a real possibility they would be in it for at least four more games.
So, truthfully, I haven’t been watching too much hockey and don’t have much to say today. Rather than weigh you down with my thoughts on the Leafs when admittedly I haven’t been paying too close attention, I’ll turn it over to the comments section and the spiffy new Livefyre comment system to find out the more popular outcome of a few different scenarios:
Scenario 1: Clarkson vs. FilppulaA
Assume that Tyler Bozak will not be re-signed (already this is a great scenario), and also that Clarke MacArthur is hitting the free agent market (this is much more disappointing). If the Leafs are willing to commit to one of these two free agents, are they better off with the physical winger who could pot a few goals by positioning himself in front of goaltenders, or are they better off with grabbing one of the few top six centres available who plays a solid two-way game?
Scenario 2: Move up in the draft or Move down in the draft
In this scenario, assume the Leafs know they will not be able to get the player they want at 21 and that the player will be taken in the 12-18 range. They now must decide if they want to move up and grab the player or if they want to move down knowing that it’s a deep draft and they’ll be able to get a decent prospect while acquiring an additional asset. If the Leafs are giving up Percy to move up and potentially acquiring a second to move down, which seems better?
Scenario 3: Buyout Liles and Komisarek or Make a move to acquire Rick DiPietro to buy him out but only be able to buyout Liles or Komisarek (neither going to the Islanders in a trade)
With credit to the Islanders, they might actually be able to start a bidding war over who gets the privilege of buying out the horrible DiPietro deal by including a worthwhile prospect (Strome, Nelson or Neiderreiter), but as more teams get in on this the quality of the prospect and the amount of garbage the Isles are willing to take back will probably decrease. Is this worth pursuing or should the Leafs go the safe route and dump over $8,000,000 of mediocre defense?
Scenario 4: Let Dallas Eakins go or Make him an Associate Coach on the Leafs
It seems likely that Eakins will be getting an offer from at least one NHL this summer, but the most interesting position he interviewed for was the Associate Coach job with the Edmonton Oilers. Essentially Ralph Kruger would be sharing the bench with the man most likely to replace him. It sounds pretty terrible for Kruger, but it was interesting enough to Eakins that he went for the interview. With the deep pockets of MLSE, is it worth giving Eakins a similar opportunity with the Leafs and have him step into the number two role waiting in the wings behind Carlyle?
Scenario 5: Scrivens or the Mystery Box
It might be lazy, but I feel the Leafs always need a goaltending question. At this point I’d hope that there aren’t any Leafs fans left who don’t want Reimer in as the number one goaltender next season. That being said, he’s rarely exceeded the 50-game mark in a season (twice dating back to junior) and he may require some strong support. Is it better to commit to the affordable and so far decent goaltending of Ben Scrivens, or should the Leafs take advantage of what could potentially be a wide open goaltending market this summer?
Scenario 6: Top Pairing Defenseman or Veteran Shutdown Defenseman
I’d hope we are at the point where it’s obvious to everyone that the Leafs need at least one solid defenseman added to the roster. The debate I have seen is whether it is worth trading assets and aggressively pursuing a top pairing defender to ease the burden on Dion Phaneuf, or whether it’s better to look for a cheaper, defensively-reliable veteran who can be paired with Rielly or Gardiner and provide a safety net while they join rushes and pinch in the offensive zone.
I look forward to reading your responses, and hope this makes for some interesting Monday conversation.
Monday Morning Links…
Fiction (Hope in the Big Smoke)
Especially after Game One it seems like the Toronto Star’s praise for Pittsburgh may be misplaced.
The Dave Nonis Five Point Off-Season Plan (Vintage Leaf Memories)
About Point #4, I’m never in favour of holding spots open for players in training camp. Fill the roster with guys and then be surprised when a prospect steals a job.
NHL Draft Tracker: Hunter Shinkaruk (Buzz the Net)
Odds are he won’t be available when the Leafs pick, but he could be worth trading up for.
Kadri’s Value and Carl Gunnarsson’s Comments (The Leafs Nation)
Some interesting and frank thoughts from Gunnarsson.
Compliance Buyout Candidates: Western Conference (NHL Numbers)
I’d quick the tires on a more reasonably priced David Jones. I also don’t think the BJs let Umberger or Wisniewski go.
A look at Team Level QoC (Pension Plan Puppets)
I’m not sure that I’m surprised by the correlation between low Fenwick Close and Team QoC, but a worthwhile read if you want ripe mind grapes early in the week.
Updates from the NHL Combine (TSN)
If you’re like me and forgot to pay attention to this, here’s a good place to catch up.
Maple Leafs Hold Their Own Combine (Toronto Sun)
Certainly can’t hurt to do this, but I’m curious about what is being prioritized
Kings Good Role Models for the Leafs (Toronto Star)
I liked this article better when I wrote it in the Leafs Annual last summer.
Should the Leafs trade down in the first round (Editor in Leaf)
As someone who really likes players like J.T. Compher, who is rated low in the first round, I’m not entirely opposed to this.
Comp Committee meets today in TOR. Visors, icing, embellishment likely to top busy agenda of items, many of which related to players
Face offs, face offs, face offs. That is the biggest asset any Center can bring to the Leafs. You see it is a big part of Boston's dominance.
@Greg Fenton So you saying Kessel is not elite...........top 10 in scoring 2 years in a row.....you do not see other non elite players in the top 10 in this league..........Kessel is elite in my books and if we can find him that number 1 center look out.......40 -50 goals not out of the question
@phaneufoundlander the yahoo pic?
@phaneufoundlander Oh cool - is it the one where Chara bends down to talk to him like he's his 10 yr old son and he's asking him if he wants a lolly?
@TheCanucksnaphook Did I hear right that Delaet withdrew from qualifying ?
@TheCanucksnaphook How old is he?
@TheCanucksnaphook great performance. 36, oh to be young.
@Mind Bomb morning MB. Morning all.
@TheCanucksnaphook Some seem to think he would like to go back to Dallas if Jim Nill was interested .
@TheCanucksnaphook pffff. After he gets bought out. On a one year contract. For 2 million. And he has to show Leafsnation any and all pictures he still has of Olivia Munn. Then, maybe.
Hmmm. Bozak drops to third and we sign another Center. That seems pretty decent. Moving Grabo does in a way help our team focus on what it needs to do.
@phaneufoundlander this one?
fantastic man....still hurtin from the playoffs, but I try to stay positive through it all..at least they made the playoffs and didnt get swept
@phaneufoundlander Sup Lander, hows things out east
@mcloki @Mind Bomb They're bandwagon fans in Pittsburgh anyway. Team nearly folded during that apparently agonizing period they had to wait between one generational star (LeMieux) to the next (Crosby). I predict once Crosby leaves or retires, that team lasts 5 years. Unless they win another GD lottery or manage to pick the next great one.
@Burtonboy @TheCanucksnaphook I don't think he really wilted under the pressure. I don't think he'd come to Toronto, but I don't think he wilted. I think there has been some gross exaggerations on how bad Richards was this year. He still had 34 points - a 61 point pace. That terrible pace would have been better than any center we've had since Sundin.
I think you can look to the shortened season, and Tortorella's system as the two biggest reasons Richards struggled this year...
@mcloki I go back and forth on Grabo and Bozak. And sometimes I'm not sure the Leafs need either. Bozak should not get a contract worth more than 3 million, particularly if the Leafs see him as #3, which they surely must. If he wants more than 3 mill, forget it. Grabo - well, maybe give him one more year, then explore options.