Revisiting the Nonis blueprint

Revisiting the Nonis blueprint

Dave Nonis
Chris Young/Canadian Press

I took a look at Dave Nonis’ GM’ing history before the off season started. Since the summer has come to a crawl I thought it would be a good time to look back on it.

The first thing that leaps out at me — and I’ve been thinking about this for awhile — is that Nonis was handcuffed due to limited cap space for most of his time in Vancouver. And yet this time around he was gifted cap space, he gave it away, and still has two key cogs to resign. I’m just shocked he’s put himself in that same position again. I guess Nonis is comfortable working right up against the cap.

Another thing I noted was Jovanovski being allowed to leave as a UFA at 30, with the obvious parallel of Phaneuf potentially becoming a UFA at 29. It really didn’t surprise me to hear Phaneuf’s name thrown around in the trade market. I don’t know what kind of return he was looking for, but if getting a good player or two under 25 years old was possible as opposed to paying Phaneuf handsomely in his early-to-mid 30s, it’s likely Nonis would at least consider it.

It was also noteworthy that Vancouver wasn’t big on enforcers during Nonis’ time there, so that makes it pretty clear that Carlyle has a significant say on final roster decisions in Toronto.

While with the Canucks, Nonis identified the core of Kesler, Burrows, the Sedins, Bieska, etc. and stuck with them. While the Leafs have gotten rid of a few good players, Kessel, JVR, Lupul, Gardiner and Kadri (I’m not worried about him being re-signed at all) are all still apart of the team.

Furthermore, Nonis also threw a good chunk of coin at Willie Mitchell to join their core in Vancouver. Although I didn’t feel confident enough to say it in the blog because I didn’t want to rumour monger at the time, I always sort of thought Nonis would view Clarkson similar to the way he viewed Mitchell, as a hometown boy (Mitchell is a BC native) who plays a rugged style of hockey and bangs bodies. It’s obviously not a perfect parallel, but I see the similarities.

I also noted he’d look for a shutdown center, and obviously he did get one by bringing in Dave Bolland. It’s really too bad Komarov bolted for Russia, though.

A few other things that struck me were Burrows starting his career on the fourth line and working his way up, because it sounds like Colborne will have to follow the same path should he reach his potential. While the jury is still out on whether the Bernier trade was worth it, Nonis experienced having bad goaltending in Vancouver and quickly acted to bring in Luongo to end that (not to mention all the horrendous goaltending he’s had to endure while with the Leafs). While the Leafs actually got great goaltending last year statistically, I still maintain that Reimer is a serious injury risk. With Bernier in the fold, even just as insurance, I expect the Leafs receive at least top 15 goaltending this season.

Moreover, the very first thing I noted was that Nonis has probably changed since his time in Vancouver, and boy has he ever. Known for being too patient as a Canuck, Nonis struck fast with the Leafs and the team will look noticeably different next season. They have a new goalie, two new forwards, Colborne should be with the Leafs full-time unless he’s dreadful in camp, Ranger has been added to the defense, and Gardiner should play the full season this year, too. It’s a pretty different group which is mildly surprising considering they had some success last season.

In Vancouver, Nonis was questioned for his decisions on Kesler, the Sedins, the Mitchell contract, letting Jovanovski go, letting Carter go and so on, and he ended up looking good often than not. Hopefully that will prove to be the case with his asset management in Toronto.

Wednesday Morning Links…

Jake Gardiner breakout season around the corner?
Gardiner stepping up and pushing Gunnarsson off of the top pairing would be massive for the Leafs.

Maple Leafs & Nazem Kadri in holding pattern over new contract
Expect media outlets to make a big deal about Kadri not being signed until he’s signed. I for one am not worried about him. It’s the Franson situation that concerns me.

Ontario boys are back on the Leaf roster after period of absence
If you care about the Leafs having Ontario born players, they do now.

Kessel’s brother joins in Leafs skate
I really hope there aren’t Leafs fans who actually still question/dislike Kessel.

Kadri doing extra work on skating
Some stuff here on Kadri and Brennan, but the sad part was the blurb on Kulemin being all alone. One of my favourite Leafs without question.

466 comments
Bring the Cup Home
Bring the Cup Home

Oiler trade happens only if RNH proves to be a very good 1C and is in top 15 in points by deadline.

This is the trade of the year this year.

Bring the Cup Home
Bring the Cup Home

Reimer, Phaneuf and bozak to the oilers for RNH at deadline this year. Both teams go on to meet in cup final 2015.

LeafsForLife
LeafsForLife

As always, Great job Anthony! Thank you for the hard work.

Tommy Cat
Tommy Cat

In regards to cap space ... no sense having cap space if you are not going to use it.  The Leafs had space and then Nonis went out and signed possibily the most sought after FA in this year's crop. 

.JVR.
.JVR.

Just looking at the possible defenceman for Team Canada and am noticing quite the trend.

Other than Duncan Keith, all the elite Canadian defencemen are right-handed shots.

Those defencemen include Weber, Doughty, Letang, Pietrangelo, Seabrook, Green, Boyle and Subban.


With that being said, I think Phaneuf has a pretty good shot of making the team.

GeorgeCastanza
GeorgeCastanza

The article about Kessel by Lance Hornsby is further evidence why I hate the Fucking media so Fucking much I wanna just Fucking kill all them son-of-a-fucking bitches.  Where is the Kessel hate eminating from???  not on this blog.!!!!!!!!!  The kessel hate has been mostly ALL media driven propaganda and now the the nerve of the Fucking media to suggest the kessel hate has been fan motivated.  FUCK the media and their neural liguistic programming BULLSHIT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Media are fucking scum and can go Fuck themselves in the ear.!!!!!!!!!!! It'll be a cold day in Hell before I ever let the media guide my way of thinking , those fascist motherfuckers!!!!!!!!!!!!!

wendelsfist
wendelsfist

Has Luongo commented yet on him remaining in Vancouver?

B_Leaf
B_Leaf

I first started coming here way back in the sites first days...I think it was a word press format...went by B.Leaf handle.

Any other guys here from back then...I think it was August 2007...does that sound right...just going from memory, maybe it was before that.

Mattmark
Mattmark

Three short thoughts on re-watching last year's 1st round Game Six between Leafs and Bruins:

Re: Phaneuf.  Wasn't as bad as I remembered.  He defiinitely has some great strengths as a player.  Problem is, the minuses tend to cancel out the plusses, leaving the final result little better than average.

Re: Kessel.  Whatever he wants, pay him!  Best skater and most dynamic scoring threat on the ice by far.

Re: Grabbo.  Didn't score, but his ability to carry the puck and make moves around the opposition at high speed was second only to Kessel's.  Impossible to believe he couldn't eventually have evolved into a far more productive fit with Kessel than Bozak, given a real shot at it.  Better backchecker than Bozak, too.  We're going to miss him.


LeafsForLife
LeafsForLife

@Jordan29 I think one of the biggest differences is that bernier can handle the puck quite well. I am still a riemer fan however. But i think if bernier wins the #1 job then it could be riemer who gets traded, unfortunately.

Savo43
Savo43

@GeorgeCastanza Can't fuck for virginity, can't fight for peace, just gotta accept the bored monkeys who got nothing to write about but their own mind manifested perspective of things, whether its based on a dream, or story that could draw the attention of a reader such as yourself, they clearly got the reaction they wanted lollll. We all love Phil, we're leaf fans, and we've had the privilege of watching one of the best snipers in the game dawn a Leaf jersey, just because some scum lazy bastard chillin at his computer can think of an alternative view, doesn't mean we should care =). 

.JVR.
.JVR.

@wendelsfist 

Well, he did post something on Eddie Lack's twitter about not getting any ideas, lol.

Tim Horton
Tim Horton

@B_Leaf I started back when there were rumours Kessel was coming to Toronto. I wanted to know more so I googled Kessel rumours. the first site it took me too was Hockey Buzz, I farted around on there for about 10 minutes before I realized it was crap. The second link was MLHS and I never looked back. Never been to Hockey Buzz since either.

skiingallday
skiingallday

@B_Leaf I think I've been around since 2010? early 2011? not quite sure, but it seems like a hella long time already.

.JVR.
.JVR.

@B_Leaf 

I joined just after the 2008 entry draft and my username was Schenn, hence the JVR name with the Schenn jersey as my profile picture.

.JVR.
.JVR.

@Gilbey93 

Yup, this place sure has grown and is definitely the best Leafs site on the web now!

Mattmark
Mattmark

@Gilbey93 Now there are times when you can get that and more in as many seconds.

Jordan29
Jordan29

@Mattmark Its painful for me still. I agree with Grabo and I hated his contract. I wish he were still here WITH Bozak at about the 4 mil mark. We would be deep in centre. 

-

JVR-Kadri-Kessel

Lupul-Grabovski-Clarkson

Bolland-Bozak-Kulemin

Colborne-Mcclement-Orr

Doubt that would fit money wise though

.JVR.
.JVR.

@Mattmark 

I think Bolland will more than replace Grabbo, however I know what you mean.  Grabbo and Bolland would have been better than Bozak and Bolland, but then we'd have $1.3 million less to sign Kadri and Franson right now.

Komas Taberle
Komas Taberle

@Mattmark I have watched the whole series over and over, I cant believe how good Reimer was yet he was firing out rebounds all over the place, no wonder the leafs got outshot all year, he would just kick it out for another 2 or 3 opportunities 3 times a period.

I think Bernier takes over the #1 spot and never gives it back.

4evrblue
4evrblue

@Tim Horton @B_Leaf It took you 10 minutes to realize that? Must have been an off day for you as I know you're smarter than that lol


skiingallday
skiingallday

@.JVR. @Gilbey93 and once you've got the community goin' then everyone likes to come back and banter back and forth, especially when you know everyones handles.

Ian from Etobicoke
Ian from Etobicoke

@-Keon- @Mattmark Just look at the video above. Turn overs, getting his ass kicked all over the ice. Baaaad decision making. Not a heady player.

daveybolland
daveybolland

@Komas Taberle @Mattmark We'll see, but I'm curious to know if you've carefully watched Bernier and kept a specific eye on all the rebounds he let out so as to balance out this observation.

Jordan29
Jordan29

@B_Leaf @Gilbey93 ya I remember how small it was at the end of 2008 when I joined. Still lots of guys around from then though

.JVR.
.JVR.

@Alec Brownscombe

I'm with you man and think that trade was completely unnecessary. 

Scrivens was just fine when he was thrust into action while Reimer was injured and James proved himself in the playoffs.

It sure would be nice to have Frattin around to play on the third line with Bolland & Kulemin.

Also, the extra couple million we would have saved by going with Scrivens instead of Bernier would have looked real good right now, while trying to get Kadri and Franson resigned.

Ian from Etobicoke
Ian from Etobicoke

@daveybolland@Komas Taberle@Bon Scott was a Leaf fan@B_Leaf@MattmarkIf you want to see awful rebound control, it's here. Just a simple puck catch and the plays are dead, instead, they are a kept alive and 2nd chances and 3rd chances get everyone scrambling. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYanopv3NCs

Also, listen to Dion at 1:49 "Leave it, leave it!". How many times did you hear him yell that this series and this season? They just can't trust him to handle the puck with any confidence or ability.

Alec Brownscombe
Alec Brownscombe moderator

@Bon Scott was a Leaf fan @B_Leaf @Komas Taberle @Mattmark I'm in Reimer's camp still. Actually a little peeved so many  were quick to flock away from the guy after we were all  singing his praises when he was huge for us down the stretch. Remember those wins late in the season where we got outshot 2:1? Remember when he stole game 5? 

So quick to jump ship on the guy in favour of the shiny new toy.

Ian from Etobicoke
Ian from Etobicoke

@Bon Scott was a Leaf fan@B_Leaf@Komas Taberle@Mattmark

Bill Ranford on Jonathan Bernier (June 24th, 2013 Blue Lunch):

http://www2.tsn.ca/window/podcastcentre/#id=19788%20&id=13

or

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/tsn-1050-toronto-leafs-lunch/id471359239?i=161610763&mt=2

----

Quick summary:

What are the Leafs getting with Bernier? 

A quality individual, a great guy—works hard on and off the ice and just a quality person. I can't say enough the young man. I've known him since he was 17. It's been a pleasure to work with him. 

Talk about his skill set. Technically, how good is he?

There is very low maintenance or work with him. He's really honed his skills. His technical package is very strong. Just little tweaks you have to make here and there throughout the season.

What is it about his game, that leads you to believe he can be a top-notch, quality starter for the Leafs?

Hes got a real calm demeanor about his game and when he's on, his rebound control is really good, and he makes the game look easy...

...his puck handling is at a real elite level. 

Are their weaknesses to his game or something the needs to adapt to to become a starter?

I don't think so. If he did struggle sometimes, it would be with his depth (in the crease). He's not a 6'5-6'6 goalie, he's around the 5'11-6ft range, but he plays big. Other than, there's not a whole lot. He handles traffic very well, his rebound control, when he's on, is very good. Has a swagger when he's on his game. 

How is he going to handle the media here?

He'll be fine with it. He has a real good personality...

daveybolland
daveybolland

@B_Leaf @Komas Taberle @Mattmark It's not really a fair comment to make yet, imo... we've spent years nitpicking at Reimer's game, specifically reb control and glove hand, despite his good numbers, and most here have only seen Bernier in a handful of games.

B_Leaf
B_Leaf

@Komas Taberle @Mattmark 

If you guys think Reimer is a rebound machine, wait till you see Bernier. He is worse IMO. Reimer will hold the net and the boys have and will play in front of him.

Komas Taberle
Komas Taberle

@daveybolland @Komas Taberle @Mattmark He actually played when Quick was injured and played fantastic, Lombardi said they would not have made the playoffs without his great goaltending and Quick said that Bernier was just as good as him, just needed the starts to ramp up. He is going to surprise a lot of our fans and better yet, a lot of our opponents.

daveybolland
daveybolland

@Komas Taberle @Mattmark His best numbers are against the weaker comp from what I've seen, which are the matchups he got the most of in LA. I think he's got potential but he was also playing behind a much better defensive team. Reimer was facing insane volume of shots here 

Komas Taberle
Komas Taberle

@daveybolland @Komas Taberle @Mattmark Of course I will ,hey I don't care who wins as long as we have great goaltending but my money is on Bernier, he is going to be  a star.

Komas Taberle
Komas Taberle

@daveybolland @Komas Taberle @Mattmark Not all his games but i did catch 5 or 6 and the puck sticks to his pads, he has excellent rebound control, great going post to post, terrific understanding of goaltending skills and handles the puck better than any goalie in the East err Atlantic, he will be a star, excellent trade by Nonis!