The Leafs should've foreseen Luongo's availability, anticipated Tampa's interest in Luongo, and offer sheeted Stamkos last year to win the Luongo sweepstakes. Burke is an idiot.Â
-Steve Simmons

Like most Leaf fans, I have a strong distaste for the writing of Steve Simmons, and I will never understand how someone paid to write about sports for a living becomes so jaded and has such a sense of entitlement. What perplexes me the most is how he is regularly allowed to get away with these half-though-out articles that most people would be embarrassed to post on HFBoards.

Take Saturdays offering: “The Leafs Coulda, Shoulda Signed Stamkos.” (click at your own peril; actually, don’t click).

The title is already somewhat misleading as the premise is based in signing Stamkos to an offer sheet, and it would result in Tampa Bay matching the offer damaging their cap situation not actually adding Stamkos to the Leafs. Of course, the headline is purposely this way to sucker in people like myself who normally don’t give Simmons the time of day.

While the title of the article indicates that in some way he is writing about a Stamkos situation from a year ago, Simmons is actually writing about the present day belief that the Lightning, the Leafs, and the Blackhawks are the front runners for landing Roberto Luongo, and that if Stamkos had a higher cap hit Tampa Bay would not be able to pursue him.

Let’s start with the strengths of the article:

  • Simmons admits that 29 other GMs had an opportunity to do damage to Tampa’s cap situation and didn’t. He doesn’t leave it just on Burke.
  • The article does encourage creative roster building through offer sheets, and the abolition of the boys club relationship that GMs presently enjoy.

Since Steven Simmons only used 203 words to make his case, you can imagine there are more than a few holes in his logic:

  • Presently, whether we like it or not, being an NHL GM means you have to play nice. Burning Yzerman means you won’t be dealing with the Lightning anytime soon, and as we saw with the minor Ashton for Aulie deal, these are teams that are interested in being trade partners.
  • Amazingly enough, Simmons draws attention to the Leafs and Blackhawks damaged relationship with the Canucks in his second paragraph after promoting torching relationships in his previous point.  He makes the case the Lightning are presently the front runner for Luongo for this very reason.
  • Simmons assumes that Gillis, a GM potentially on the hot seat and in need of making this trade work, will limit himself to GMs he likes to deal with. Considering that Luongo calls the shots here and he may only have five teams in the league to work with, Simmons is making a stronger case for Gillis being an incompetent GM than he is for Burke.
  • There is absolutely no consideration given to what the Canucks are willing to receive in return out of this deal. If the Canucks are willing to take on salary in the form of Malone, Lecavalier, Brewer or Ohlund then there shouldn’t be an issue. It’s only if the end game the Canucks are attempting to achieve is shedding salary that a Stamkos offer sheet could have impacted the Lightning as trade partners.

Much like most of Steve Simmons writing, this is nothing more than a poorly-thought-out idea combined with pot shots at Leafs management.  I only bring this up because I am constantly in shock that Simmons is still employed to do a job he hates and does poorly. Also, please read through the rest of Simmons quick hits for your daily reminder that Tlusty was drafted ahead of Claude Giroux.

Now here are some interesting, thoughtful links:

Michael over at Vintage Leafs Memories wants to know who you’re rooting against in the playoffs. For me it’s the Rangers.

That Ryan Fancey guy has a list of some notable UFAs over at The Leafs Nation. I like his suggestion of Barrett Jackman, and David Jones, but I think the latter will resign with the Avs given the amount of cap space they have, and adding Jackman better mean a few blueliners on the Leafs were shipped out at the draft.

It’s over a week old, but here’s an interview with Filip Forsberg, who may be the best option available at the fifth overall pick.

An interesting look at the Flames reluctance to rebuild from Kent Wilson over at Puck Daddy.

Finally, this made me laugh.