July 13 2014 10:30AM
Between the end of June and early July a number of teams around the NHL made some significant moves. Whether it was a big trade or a major free agent signing, teams were not shy about making some bold moves to improve their team.
The Leafs were not one of them.
Oh sure, the Leafs made some moves to tinker with the roster. But they didn’t make a single move that you could honestly call “significant”.
What Nonis did was slap some fancy lipstick on the proverbial pig and try to sell it as the “Maple Leafs 2.0”.
The Leafs keep trotting out the same old pig with some shiny new lipstick and we are all supposed to be impressed.
That being said, this is what I liked and didn’t
like about what team “Shana-Nonis” (Copyright Leafs Nation) did the last few
What was good
Drafting William Nylander.
Hey, any player with hair that good can’t be all that bad. The bottom line is that he has the potential to be for the Leafs up front what Morgan Rielly is on defence; a core player for years to come. But barring the mother of all training camps Leafs fans won’t be able to chant “Nylander” at the ACC for a few years.
Promoting Steve Spott from the Marlies to be one of Randy Carlyle’s new assistant coaches.
Hopefully the promotion of Spott will mean better production from Kadri and a bounce-back year for Clarkson. Then again, Clarkson doesn’t have to do much to qualify for a “bounce-back” year.
NOT paying Dave Bolland $27.5 million dollars over five years!
I mean seriously, have some G.M.’s lost their freaking mind?
The return of super-pest Leo Komarov.
On vacation in PEI I ran into a huge Leafs fan. He
feels the return of Komarov will mean a return to the post-season for the
Leafs. While that is a bit of a stretch, it is always nice to see card carrying
members of the Leafs nation in other parts of the country. I am looking forward
to the day that Komarov “accidentally” falls into Carey Price and the result is a line-brawl
at the Bell Centre. The sanctimonious Montreal press corps will wet their pants
at the sight of Komarov falling into
Price. That alone will make his signing worthwhile.
What was bad
Well, the Leafs still don’t have a number one centre and they still need another top four defenceman.
That is a very bad thing for a team desperately
trying to get back into the playoffs, let alone become a consistent force in
the Eastern Conference.
Not a whole lot.
Carlyle is still the coach, Phaneuf is still the Leafs number one defenceman and David Clarkson is still in Toronto.
This was a typical Leafs off-season. The team goes out and acquires a combination of aging defencemen (Robidas), good depth players (Komarov and Santorelli) and then everyone tries to over-hype the significance of all of their moves.
“Hey everybody, Mike Santorelli has solid possession numbers. Our problems are over!”
“C’mon guys, Roman Polak is a right-handed shooting D-man, our problems in our own end are over!”
The bottom line for "Shana-Nonis" is the team still doesn’t have enough talent to compete with the big boys in the NHL over the course of 82 games. The Leafs still don’t have a stud at centre and they still don’t have an elite defenceman.
That is a great question. If this team struggles early then “Shana-Nonis” might decide to drop the hammer on Carlyle and promote Spott as the new Head Coach. As of right now it is still too early to tell what "Shana-Nonis" will do with Carlyle.
Shanahan is far from perfect but even he must see the root of the problem with the Leafs roster. It is a problem that has troubled the Leafs for years. The Leafs continue to take third and fourth line talent and try to spin them as first and second line talent.
Truly good teams (The LA Kings for example) don't do things like that.
The off-season wasn’t a total disaster for the Leafs. But the absence of the Leafs two most important needs fall on the shoulders of management.
Final Off-Season Grade: C +