Morning Mashup: Leafs All But Out Of Playoff Picture

Morning Mashup: Leafs All But Out Of Playoff Picture

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Maple Leaf fans at Maple Leaf Square

The Toronto Maple Leafs have exited the 2013/2014 season in a slow death spiral, as opposed to the surprising, gut wrenching exit of the 2012/2013 season.

Ardent followers of the team will not find this surprising; the team has some glaring holes, particularly up the middle with one of the weakest center groups in the league, and a steep fall off after Dion Phaneuf in terms of two way defenseman able to defend against top competition. This on top of Dion Phaneuf playing the worst hockey of his Maple Leaf career, and possibly of his NHL career.

Dave Nonis is going to have difficulty acquiring talent  in the off-season in the two areas that every single team covets: number one and number two center men with two-way skill present themselves very infrequently, as well as top pairing defenseman that can play against the best players in the world while still producing points and playing on the powerplay.

Paul Stastny is an unrestricted free agent and checks the top line centerman box — if barely — but adds two-way acumen not seen in the center group and is an upgrade in pretty well every area hockey players are measured. With the much talked about pressure of playing in Toronto, on top of them being further away from being a contender optically, this is when the Toronto Maple Leafs become a hard sell to free agents. Why would he want to come play here? On top of actually acquiring a free agent, the small matter of paying him is going to be an even greater task with burdensome contracts such as David Clarkson’s and Tim Gleason’s getting in the way of making it fit under the cap.

The only other two-way center men that appears to be available would be Ryan Kesler, and he would have to waive his no trade contract to come and play in Toronto. Again, these players are not stupid and see sports highlights, hear commentary, and when you’re losing in Toronto, no one wants to play here. (Please see: Reimer, April for more details). The other question, obviously, is if going after a 30-year-old centerman with some recent injury history is getting away from going after young talent and building the core of the group using the same age bracket.

It isn’t hard to see who would be going the other way to Vancouver; Kadri’s best years are going to be right in front of him statistically (24, 25, 26), but you also have to question if you can win a championship with him. It would definitely reek of old regimes of Toronto Maple Leafs management to trade a young player before his best years, but by the same token is he the right player for this team right now? Almost all people would lean towards not moving him, but if you were to acquire one — or both — of the above-mentioned centerman,  you would go from a team comprised of players of similar skill sets that can’t win a board or one-on-one battle to save their life with limited defensive acumen to a topline two-way center men with defensive acumen, both above 50% on the face-off dot, and both with a bit more “heaviness” to their game. It would completely change the entire dynamic of the team, and by playing proper, two-way hockey, the puck will be on your stick more (possession) and allow your offensive players to shine by doing so. The Leafs can score without having the puck more than any other team in the league, but what if the same offensive players had the puck on their stick in middle-of-the-puck type of possession numbers? Or better than middle of the pack?

Having said all this, I would be remiss not to mention the coaching changes required in Toronto. Many thousands of words have been typed out here at Maple Leafs Hot Stove over Randy Carlyle’s offensive, neutral, and defensive zone systems, which are the main reasons that Toronto is on pace to be outshot at levels not seen since expansion. Randy Carlyle has staunchly stood by his system, which in the defensive zone focuses on outnumbering men in the corner, collapsing the forwards down tightly with the defenseman, and generally making coverage look like a Tyke hockey practice. Of note, Don Cherry highlighted Dion Phaneuf “running around in his own zone”, on Coaches Corner. The sad part is that he was playing how he’s been asked to play; he does this every game, against all the top players; it looks bad and it’s hard to watch, but he’s doing what he’s told. Jonathan Bernier has expressed shock in interviews about how there are regularly two defenseman the corners, and commented that at every level of hockey — especially with the Los Angeles Kings —he has always been used to having one defenceman in front of the net, at all times. The Maple Leafs are coached to do this and it goes against what any other coach in the league would do. As alluded to on “Hotstove Tonight,” coaching staff from another team said that the Maple leafs are very hard to scout because “they don’t even have a system”. Certainly damning stuff for Carlyle and the coaching staff (Dave Farrish, Scott Gordon, Greg Cronin and Chris Dennis).

Randy Carlyle’s systems, combined with horrible roster decisions, have almost certainly ended his tenure here in Toronto. Obvious, easy decisions based on common sense — and typically backed up with statistics — are tossed aside, and only when other teams force his hand is he making the correct roster decisions (Bruins ECQF, Lightning this year, Bruins this year).

Past performance is generally best predictor of future behaviour and Dave Nonis has a checkered past of bizarre decisions, combined with inaction (earning him the nickname No-No). His signature move in Toronto was rumoured to be a Tim Leiweke’s proxy trade, and he confirmed this in his lengthy, intriguing interview with Strombo.

That leaves Dave Nonis’ signature move right now as signing David Clarkson to a seven-year deal at $5.2 million; easily the worst contract signing in the almost 100-year-old franchises history.

To look for a certain transaction, use the search field at the top right of the table. 

Dave Nonis Transactions as Maple Leafs GM

Date
Team
Acquired
Relinquished
Notes
2013-01-13Maple LeafsCody Fransonre-signed restricted free agent to a 1-year contract
2013-01-13Maple LeafsMike Mottau signed unrestricted free agent to a 1-year, two way contract
2013-01-16Maple LeafsGreg Scott (b)waived
2013-01-16Maple LeafsKeith Aucoinwaived
2013-01-16Maple LeafsMike Mottauwaived
2013-01-16Maple LeafsRyan Hamiltonwaived
2013-01-16Maple Leafs2014 fourth round pick (?-?)Matthew Lombarditrade with Coyotes
2013-01-17Maple LeafsTim Connollywaived
2013-01-20Maple LeafsJoffrey Lupulre-signed to a 5-year contract extension through 2017-18
2013-01-31Maple LeafsFrazer McLarenclaimed off waivers (from Sharks)
2013-03-04Maple Leafs 2014 conditional pick (third round if Oilers qualify for 2013 playoffs, else fourth round) (?-?)Mike Brown (S.)trade with Oilers
2013-03-04Maple LeafsJosh Leivosigned 2011 third round pick to a 3-year entry level contract
2013-03-05Maple LeafsKorbinian Holzerre-signed to a 2-year contract extension through 2014-15
2013-03-14Maple LeafsKevin MarshallNicolas Deschampstrade with Capitals
2013-03-15Maple Leafs Ryan Lasch, 2014 seventh round pick (?-?)David Steckel / Dave Steckeltrade with Ducks
2013-03-19Maple LeafsGarret Sparkssigned 2011 seventh round pick to a 3-year entry level contract
2013-03-19Maple LeafsTom Nilssonsigned 2011 fourth round pick to a 3-year entry level contract
2013-03-20Maple LeafsMike Komisarekwaived
2013-04-02Maple LeafsDrew MacIntyresigned free agent to a 1-year contract
2013-04-03Maple LeafsAndrew MacWilliamsigned to a 2-year entry level contract
2013-04-03Maple LeafsRyan O'Byrne2014 fourth round pick (?-?)trade with Avalanche
2013-06-13Maple LeafsColton Orrre-signed to a 2-year contract
2013-06-13Maple LeafsDrew MacIntyre re-signed to a 1-year, two way contract
2013-06-23Maple Leafsrights to Jonathan Bernier Ben Scrivens, Matt Frattin, 2014 or 2015 (Maple Leafs option) second round pick (?-?)trade with Kings
2013-06-24Maple LeafsJonathan Bernier team tendered qualifying offer, making player a restricted free agent
2013-06-24Maple LeafsJonathan Bernier team tendered qualifying offer, making player a restricted free agent
2013-06-29Maple LeafsCarl Gunnarsson team tendered qualifying offer, making player a restricted free agent
2013-06-29Maple LeafsCody Franson team tendered qualifying offer, making player a restricted free agent
2013-06-29Maple LeafsFrazer McLaren team tendered qualifying offer, making player a restricted free agent
2013-06-29Maple LeafsJoe Colborne team tendered qualifying offer, making player a restricted free agent
2013-06-29Maple LeafsMark Fraser team tendered qualifying offer, making player a restricted free agent
2013-06-29Maple LeafsNazem Kadri team tendered qualifying offer, making player a restricted free agent
2013-06-30Maple LeafsAndreas Johnsonseventh round pick (#202 overall)
2013-06-30Maple LeafsAntoine Bibeausixth round pick (#172 overall)
2013-06-30Maple LeafsCarter Verhaeghethird round pick (#82 overall)
2013-06-30Maple LeafsFabrice Herzogfifth round pick (#142 overall)
2013-06-30Maple LeafsFrederik Gauthierfirst round pick (#21 overall)
2013-06-30Maple LeafsDave Bolland 2013 second round pick (#51-Carl Dahlstrom), 2013 fourth round pick (#117-Fredrik Bergvik), 2014 fourth round pick (?-?)trade with Blackhawks
2013-07-01Maple LeafsLeo Komarov signed with European team, Dynamo Moscow-KHL
2013-07-02Maple LeafsMike Komisarekreleased (team bought out contract)
2013-07-04Maple LeafsMikhail Grabovskiwaived
2013-07-04Maple LeafsMikhail Grabovskireleased (team bought out contract)
2013-07-05Maple LeafsGreg Scott (b)player became an unrestricted free agent
2013-07-05Maple LeafsJussi Rynnasplayer became an unrestricted free agent
2013-07-05Maple LeafsMark Owuya team declined to tender qualifying offer, making player an unrestricted free agent
2013-07-05Maple LeafsMichael Kostka / Mike Kostkaplayer became an unrestricted free agent
2013-07-05Maple LeafsRyan O'Byrneplayer became an unrestricted free agent
2013-07-05Maple LeafsSimon Gysbersplayer became an unrestricted free agent
2013-07-05Maple LeafsTim Connollyplayer became an unrestricted free agent
2013-07-05Maple LeafsTyler Brenner team declined to tender qualifying offer, making player an unrestricted free agent
2013-07-05Maple LeafsFrazer McLarenre-signed restricted free agent to a 2-year contract
2013-07-05Maple LeafsJonathan Bernierre-signed restricted free agent to a 2-year contract
2013-07-05Maple LeafsKevin Marshallre-signed restricted free agent
2013-07-05Maple LeafsClarke MacArthurplayer became an unrestricted free agent
2013-07-05Maple LeafsMike Mottauplayer became an unrestricted free agent
2013-07-05Maple LeafsRyan Hamiltonplayer became an unrestricted free agent
2013-07-05Maple LeafsTyler Bozakplayer became an unrestricted free agent
2013-07-05Maple LeafsDavid Clarksonsigned unrestricted free agent to a 7-year contract
2013-07-05Maple LeafsT.J. Brennansigned unrestricted free agent to a 1-year contract
2013-07-05Maple LeafsTrevor Smithsigned unrestricted free agent
2013-07-05Maple LeafsTyler Bozakre-signed unrestricted free agent to a 5-year contract
2013-07-10Maple LeafsMike Zigomanissigned with the Rochester Americans (AHL)
2013-07-10Maple LeafsJoe Colbornere-signed restricted free agent to a 1-year contract
2013-07-10Maple LeafsTroy Bodiesigned unrestricted free agent to a 1-year contract
2013-07-19Maple LeafsChristopher Gibsonsigned free agent to a 3-year entry level contract
2013-07-22Maple LeafsCarl Gunnarssonre-signed restricted free agent to a 3-year contract
2013-07-24Maple LeafsChris Dennispromoted to assistant coach
2013-07-24Maple LeafsPaul Rangersigned unrestricted free agent to a 1-year contract
2013-07-25Maple LeafsDave Nonisre-signed as GM to a 5-year contract extension
2013-07-25Maple LeafsDavid Nonisre-signed as GM to a 5-year contract extension
2013-07-30Maple LeafsMark Fraserre-signed restricted free agent to a 1-year contract
2013-07-30Maple LeafsSpencer Abbottre-signed restricted free agent to a 1-year contract extension
2013-09-06Maple LeafsMason Raymondinvited unrestricted free agent to training camp
2013-09-10Maple LeafsDylan Yeoinvited to training camp
2013-09-10Maple LeafsKevin Raineinvited to training camp
2013-09-10Maple LeafsNazem Kadrire-signed restricted free agent to a 2-year contract
2013-09-10Maple LeafsRyan Rupertinvited to training camp
2013-09-10Maple LeafsTrevor Murphyinvited to training camp
2013-09-10Maple LeafsZachary Yuen / Zach Yueninvited to training camp
2013-09-11Maple LeafsMatt Rupertinvited to training camp
2013-09-13Maple LeafsMatt Rupertreleased (CBS)
2013-09-13Maple LeafsTrevor Murphyreleased (CBS)
2013-09-21Maple LeafsKevin Marshallwaived
2013-09-23Maple LeafsMason Raymondsigned unrestricted free agent to a 1-year contract
2013-09-26Maple LeafsCody Fransonre-signed restricted free agent to a 1-year contract
2013-09-28Maple Leafs2014 conditional round pick (third round if Colborne scores 10 goals or 35 points during 2013ð14 season and if Flames qualify for 2014 playoffs, else fourth round) (?-?)Joe Colbornetrade with Flames
2013-09-29Maple LeafsDrew MacIntyrewaived
2013-09-29Maple LeafsJohn-Michael Lileswaived
2013-09-29Maple LeafsKorbinian Holzerwaived
2013-09-29Maple LeafsT.J. Brennanwaived
2013-09-29Maple LeafsTrevor Smithwaived
2013-09-29Maple LeafsTroy Bodiewaived
2013-10-01Maple LeafsPhil Kesselre-signed to an 8-year contract extension
2013-11-06Maple LeafsJerred Smithsonsigned unrestricted free agent to a 1-year contract
2013-11-16Maple LeafsPeter Holland, Brad StaubitzJesse Blacker, 2014 conditional round pick (second round if Holland plays 25 games with Maple Leafs in 2013-14, else third round) (?-?), 2014 seventh round pick (?-?)trade with Ducks
2013-11-19Maple LeafsMatthew Finnsigned second round pick to a 3-year entry level contract
2013-11-22Maple LeafsConnor Brownsigned 2012 sixth round pick to a 3-year entry level contract
2013-11-27Maple LeafsFrederik Gauthiersigned 2013 first round pick to a 3-year entry level contract
2013-12-04Maple LeafsJerred Smithsonwaived
2013-12-31Maple LeafsDion Phaneufre-signed to a 7-year contract extension
2014-01-01Maple LeafsTim GleasonJohn-Michael Liles, rights to Dennis Robertsontrade with Hurricanes
2014-01-22Maple LeafsBrandon KozunAndrew Crescenzitrade with Kings
2014-01-31Maple LeafsCameron Abney, rights to Teemu HartikainenMark Frasertrade with Oilers
2014-03-03Maple LeafsFrazer McLarenwaived
2014-03-04Maple LeafsTrevor Smithwaived
2014-03-25Maple LeafsEric Knodelsigned with the Toronto Marlies (AHL) to a professional try-out contract
2014-03-25Maple LeafsEric Knodelsigned to a 1-year entry level contract
2014-04-02Maple LeafsCarter Verhaeghesigned with the Toronto Marlies (AHL) to an amateur try-out contract
2014-04-02Maple LeafsCarter Verhaeghesigned 2013 third round pick to a 3-year entry level contract
Dave Nonis Transactions, Trades, Signings, Draft Picks as Maple Leafs GM

When Brian Burke was being interviewed for the position of GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Dave Nonis also interviewed for the job and was deemed unfit to run the team. He now runs the team.

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