Since joining the Toronto Maple Leafs, Brian Burke has worked feverishly to distance the club from the atmosphere of mediocrity which pervaded during the years of mismanagement that came before.
While upgrading the playing staff and reducing the age demographic of the locker room are the two most apparent hallmarks Burke has placed upon the Leafs, his backstage upgrading of the administrative, coaching, scouting and medical departments have the potential to leave considerably longer legacies.
Earlier today on a certain Toronto radio show, a grim portrait of Jonas Gustavsson’s future was painted, citing the 32 games he has appeared in so far in his career – most of those starts behind a lacklustre team – as evidence that he may never develop into the sort of goaltender the Leafs envisioned when signing him out of the Swedish Elite League.
The crux of the argument was that 32 games should be enough for Gustavsson to have shown some ability to adapt to goaltending coach Francois Allaire’s techniques, and that at 25 years of age it may be too late for him to make the necessary adjustments for NHL success.
- The Toronto Star has an interesting article that mentions the Leafs would be at least open to talk of a second NHL team in the Greater Toronto Area.
- As Mike talked about in his blog, it appears that Ron Wilson will be riding the hot hand with goaltender Jonas Gustavsson until a change needs to be made.
- There are a few preliminary whispers of a possible deal involving a swap of netminders between the Leafs and the Ducks, with Vesa Toskala’s expiring contract heading down south and J.S. Giguere reunited with GM Brian Burke and goaltending coach Francois Allaire.
- Last, but not least, I’ve got a pair of last minute purples available to tomorrow’s night contest against the Wild. A friend of mine was unable to attend and asked me to post it up on MLHS that he’s willing to let them go for cost. Just like last time, this offer is on a first come first serve basis for those reaching me at my email below.
Author: B Leaf
Last season, the Leafs were 10th in scoring (244) and 9th in shots on goal (2,603). There is no major reason why that number should drop other than the loss of Antropov. There are other players who should have better years and help fill his ice time with similar results. On the powerplay, the Leafs were middle of the road at 16th. The Leafs were a respectable 17th in shots allowed (2481), but were a league worst in goals against (286). The PK% was also a league worst. Not all the blame can be placed on the goaltending, but a lot of it can. The collective save percentage for the team was an abysmal .885%.
There are a lot of exciting new faces making up the Leafs roster this season, and here are a few quick links of those recent additions answering some media questions and talking about their aspirations for the upcoming season. Included below are video and audio links from goaltender Jonas Gustavsson, NCAA forward Tyler Bozak and recent 1st round pick Nazem Kadri.
The Leafs (former?) goalie of the future is officially back for another year with the club.Â With the signing of Jonas Gustavsson, media and fans alike decreed Pogge’s chance to charge in and become the Leafs saviour had all but run out.Â Of course, it’s far too early to completely give up on a tender with Justin’s potential, and Brian Burke earlier stated his intentions to qualify the 23 year old without any hesitation.
Even in the days of modern technology, many still profess that meteorology is an inexact science more guess work than theory. The very same can be said when scouting goaltenders. For every Mark-Andre Fleury (selected 1st overall in 2003) thereâ€™s a Brent Krahn (selected 9th overall in 2000). Meanwhile recent Vezina nominees and winners such as Tim Thomas, Mikka Kiprusoff and Evgeni Nabokov had to wait until the 217th, 116th and 219th selections respectively to see their names on the board. Indeed, the vast majority of netminders who started a game last season in the NHL had long waits deep into the second day to see their dreams realized while others went completely unnoticed only to resurface as free agents years later.
Newest goaltending consultant to the Leafs, Francois Allaire, father of the modern butterfly with exceptional credentials including working with Patrick Roy, Brian Hayward, as well as the guy who morphed Guy Hebert into an All Star in 1997 and J.S. Giguere. Most recently he worked with Ducks back up-turned-starter, Jonas Hiller to backstop the Ducks to a seven-game Round 2 of the 2008-09, Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Fine credentials indeed, but what can he do with the batch of Leafs goaltenders?
JUSTIN POGGE (# 29) â€“ G
Birthdate: April 22, 1986
Hometown: Fort McMurray, Alberta
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With Cliff Fletcher sticking around for the upcoming season, the Maple Leafs have gone forward in hiring new staff since the start of the off-season. It seems the philosophy among many franchises around the league is to create positions to fill with excellent hockey minds in order to improve their own hockey growth and knowledge above the ice surface. Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment has finally joined in on that idea by adding Al Coates as the Director of Player Personnel, Jeff Jackson as the assistant GM and Director of Hockey Operations in 2006 who focuses primarily on collective bargaining duties and contract negotiations, and an overhaul of the coaching staff other than Keith Acton, who has found a way to stay within the organization after stints under head coaches Paul Maurice and Pat Quinn.