(Saturday Mashup) Tread Carefully

(Saturday Mashup) Tread Carefully

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Yesterday, the New York Rangers pulled the trigger on a buyout many had long since called, literally from the day after the initial signing occurred: “Within a few seasons, Brad Richards will join Drury and Redden as a cap casualty, both of whom had their career reputations damaged by the horrible contracts handed to them by the New York Ranger franchise.”

It was widely known Brad Richards always wanted to go join John Tortorella and play in the Big Apple that summer, but naturally I harken back to Brian Burke’s philosophy against these monstrous back-diving deals that were loophole’d in the last CBA. Should Richards retire before the 2018 season, from 2018 to 2020 the Rangers will be hit with a $5.66 million annual cap penalty due to the new CBA’s recapture clause. Devastating.

It next makes me think about the buyout suicide it would require to expunge the David Clarkson contract. There’s little doubt a player of Clarkson’s ilk (from his Jersey days, anyway) would tick a lot of boxes for Brian Burke in terms of what he likes in a player, but it makes me wonder how Burke approaches that same negotiation. Does he draw the line at 5 years, his self-imposed contractual length limit that applied to all but the elite players of the League? Does he go back to Clarke MacArthur, who was his best-value UFA signing and continues to provide good value for his contract in Ottawa, with an offer when he finds out the term demands of Clarkson’s camp?

By this point these are pretty worthless questions riddled with hindsight bias, but a) it’s not like we have real Leafs news to talk about, and B) at this time of year, there’s relevancy in at least talking about these deals and learning from the history. The Leafs have made so many mistakes on July 1, going back to Blake, Finger, Komisarek, Armstrong, etc. The list winds on, and as much as we can say Burke was onto something with his admonishment of cap-circumventing deals as well as stupid-long term deals in general, it was Burke who signed some of those overpayments. Real solutions exist rarely in the form of big contracts in unrestricted free agency, but it’s certainly the case if management overpays for mediocre talent.

Jonas Siegel had a good quote on this on the radio yesterday: “I look at some of the better clubs in the NHL, and when they do spend on free agency 1) they spend on skill. Look at Marian Hossa for the Blackhawks. On July 1st they signed Hossa to a massive deal. Granted, that could come back to haunt them a little bit, but they got a couple Cups and they paid for skill.  If you’re going to pay in free agency, you’ve got to pay for high-end skill. I think one of the problems in Toronto with the Leafs is that they’ve paid average players on good contracts and they’ve paid good players on great contracts. They’re always in a situation where they’re paying for what the player isn’t… It just creates so many problems in the cap era.”

Leafs management shouldn’t let the Clarkson contract make them completely gun shy if there is a legitimate opportunity to dole out big money on an actual high-end talent, but that requires identifying the key difference Siegel is talking about (see: Stastny, Paul vs. Bolland, Dave). The inability to do that has hurt this organization throughout the succession of four straight general managers.

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Alec Brownscombe is the founder of MapleLeafsHotStove.com, where he has written daily about the Leafs since September of 2008. He was also the editor of the 2009-12 Maple Leafs Annuals. You can contact him at [email protected]

SIMILAR ARTICLES

1531 comments
loomx
loomx

Here are the biggest strengths and weakness for each prospect that might be available at 8th.(gathered from different sources)

Michael Dal Colle- Strengths: Shot, passing, IQ. Weaknesses: Defensive game.
Nikolaj Ehlers- Strengths: Speed/skating, shot, vision. Weaknesses: Size.
Nick Ritchie- Strengths: Size, shot. Weaknesses: Consistency. Conditioning?
William Nylander- Strengths: Puck handling, speed. Weakness: Strength, board play, looks like Joffrey.
Jake Virtanen- Strengths: Speed, size, shot. Weaknesses: Hockey sense, passing, defensive game.
Brendan Perlini- Strengths: Played like JVR in the first half. Weaknesses: Played like Raymond in the 2nd half.
Haydn Fleury- Strengths: Skating, all around defensive game. Weaknesses: Offensive instincts.
Kevin Fiala- Strengths: All offensive tools - a slap shot. Weaknesses: Strength. Defensive game
Robby Fabbri- Strengths: Skating, wrist shot. Weaknesses: Strength.


My preference in order(without MDC): Ehlers, Nylander, Ritchie, Virtanen, Fleury, Fabbri, Fiala, Perlini

TheCanucksnaphook
TheCanucksnaphook

Thinking about turning the upper portion of the barn into a man cave similar to #RoadHouse


Thoughts?

TheCanucksnaphook
TheCanucksnaphook

I am out doing chores and you clowns are re-doing the entire lineup based on 1985 trades?


Cant you wait, until i get back in?

Jordan29
Jordan29

I really wish we would have traded for E johnson when he was available. Hes like the exact guy we are missing at the perfect age

-

Phaneuf-Johnson

Rielly-Gardiner

Gunner-Franson

Savo43
Savo43

Kadri+Gardiner+Franson+8th overall to Colorado for O'Reilly+Johnson

sign boyle+komarov+montoya

Andreas Johnson makes the team outta nowhere

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JVR-Bozak-Kessel

Leivo-O'Reilly-A.Johnson

Lupul-Bolland-Clarkson

D'amigo-Holland-Komarov

-

Rielly-E.Johnson

Gunnarsson-Phaneuf

MacWilliam-Boyle

-

Bernier

Montoya

-

I wouldn't do this loll, but we'd have a sick defense. 


T K O
T K O

Just reading through some of the morning comments and lineup suggestions.............there must have been some heavy boozin going on last night.... sweet jesus.... I think I say Komisarek in one lineup

Jordan29
Jordan29

Watching last years goals heres some thoughts

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Bolland was much better then I remembered

Phaneuf and Bozak both scored HUGE goals last year at key times

Raymond scored more then I remembered

Gardiner is a beast

Savo43
Savo43

@loomx Dal Colle has got some speed as well. 

Ydargo
Ydargo

Fiala is an interesting guy based on how he played with grown men

The guys that seem to be the favourites here would be: Ehlers, Ritchie and Virtanen

One thing I heard recently was Burke quoted, saying he could see as many as 7 players playing the NHL next year........not too bad

Hmmm
Hmmm

@loomx  Any ratings on puck pursuit and tenacity?  This trait can be useful if we want the puck more often.

4evrblue
4evrblue

@loomx  I'm gonna LOL when we pick Perlini and this board loses its mind

Komas Taberle
Komas Taberle

@TheCanucksnaphook

Go for it, a buddy of mine did a barn conversion. complete with 100 inch screen, washroom, bar, pool table and enough room to park 4 cars and all his toys, great times in there.

Hmmm
Hmmm

@T K O Heavy boozin lol, even phook had something unusual.

dlb Mad
dlb Mad

@Jordan29 

Raymond scored a lot.  he had some great moments.  sometimes he looked like a solid player.  the rest of the time he was frustrating and useless.

CanuckUKinToronto
CanuckUKinToronto

@Jordan29  Bolland was being compared to Douggie before he got injured.. (not by me but by Don Cherry/media).. Real question is if he could ever play at that pre-injury level again

loomx
loomx

@Hmmm @loomx Players with good puck pursuit and tenacity: Ehlers, Fabbri, Ritchie.

loomx
loomx

@4evrblue @loomx I'd be pretty damn disappointed. I'm happy as long as they stay in the group of 4 including Ehlers, Nylander, Ritchie, and Virtanen.

TheCanucksnaphook
TheCanucksnaphook

@Jordan29 lawn is ok....I am crawling around in the upper section of the barn fighting off raccoons for my patio furniture

Hmmm
Hmmm

@dlb Mad @Jordan29 He does have a tendency to drop his level sometimes.  If he plays for us again, I'd like to see him play at his A level every night.

T K O
T K O

@CanuckUKinToronto @Jordan29  Bolland returned too early.................mentally he was the worst one out there down the stretch...not even taking the injury into account. I would be very leery of signing Bolland.... unless it's a 1yr reprove yourself and we will pay you next year........(of course that won't happen)

Hmmm
Hmmm

@loomx For puck pursuit, a smaller size can be helpful, they can get underneath players.  However, a whole team of small players can get dominated by some of the rougher teams.

Hmmm
Hmmm

@loomx @4evrblue Virtanen is flashy but his weaknesses are not what the Leafs need more of.  The other 3 could be a better fit.

Hmmm
Hmmm

@dlb Mad @Jordan29 I'm not talking about intensity but more his puck distribution decisions.

dlb Mad
dlb Mad

@Hmmm

i think they go hand in hand actually.

he seemed to care more before he signed the contract.  that bothered me.