July 27 2012 10:27AM
In reading Steve's post yesterday, I came away thinking, "oh, right, Matt Lombardi is another natural centreman that the team doesn't really have a use for".
I thought the original trade for Lombardi, which also brought Cody Franson to the Maple Leafs while getting rid of Brett Lebda, worked out. You take on two years of salary in exchange for a promising young defenceman. Lombardi has been less than stellar with the Leafs, however. Here are his offensive stats over the last five years:
July 26 2012 12:53PM
The Toronto Maple Leafs traded François Beauchemin on February 9, 2011. Since that trade, the Leafs have added among NHL defencemen:
- Jake Gardiner
- John-Michael Liles
- Cody Franson
I've waged a miniature war against the minutes that Jake Gardiner played last season. I don't think he's good enough to hold down a Top Four spot on defence just yet, and there's no real guarantee whether he trends upward or downwards next season. Ideally, I think you'd want a second pairing player to play about 16-17 minutes at 5-on-5 a night, face a Rel QoC of about 0.4+, and preferably be a plus-possession player.
Comparing players on different teams by possession stats is a fool's errand, but I wanted to direct you to how strong of a player Beauchemin was with the Ducks last season:
July 25 2012 08:54AM
So where on earth do the Columbus Blue Jackets go from here?
Why, it seems like only a year ago we were looking at the prospects of a new future in Columbus. The team were spending money on good players. They got James Wisniewski and Radek Martinek, two solid defencemen, along with Vinny Prospal, to complement a new core bolstered by the acquired Jeff Carter.
For once, the Blue Jackets were going into the year with a bit of hope. They still had their captain Rick Nash and with Carter, had two franchise players up front for once. They had two good checking centres in Antoine Vermette and Samuel Pahlsson, along with a couple of home-grown defencemen in Marc Methot and Fedor Tyutin. All in all, this was a roster that had some good pieces, and a couple of stars to bring it together.
What followed was not pretty, and general manager Scott Howson dismantled their entire group before it even got started.
July 24 2012 08:12AM
I might need to preface everything I say about Jake Gardiner thusly: I think he's a talented, exciting defenceman who will be a good Top Four option in the NHL one day. The other thing I need to say is that it just won't be now.
Young defencemen, particularly those who score a few pretty goals (such as the one after the jump), have a way of making us dream. The harsh reality is that defencemen develop a little slower than forwards and their actual impact on an NHL team won't be felt for some time.
|TOI/GP||Corsi ON||Rel QoC||Ozone%|
(Team rank out of 7)
July 23 2012 02:31PM
And so Rick Nash will be a New York Ranger next season. We've known for quite some time, probably, that Nash would go there and not to, say, Toronto, but a lot of minds in the Greater Toronto Area may have needed the closure.
Not sharp minds, but the way that things have panned out in Toronto in the seven years since the last NHL lockout, the Leafs have time and time again missed out on the big-name NHL player. Sure, Brian Burke worked trades that brought Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel to Toronto, but neither have proved to be the stumbling difference between the current Leafs and a playoff spot.
It's a fallacy, however. No one player, goaltender aside, can influence a team that heavily in the standings. You'd need a generational talent, but even Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin couldn't bridge the chasm for their perpetual out-of-playoff teams in their respective dominant rookie seasons. It takes a supporting cast and it takes a lot of good players. The Leafs really have neither.