I know you’re getting tired of hearing myself – and let’s face it, the vast majority of the hockey blogging community – criticizing Dave Nonis.
I know you’re sick of hearing about how we think the Bernier deal could have gone better and wasn’t even really necessary. I get that.
I know you’re getting tired of hearing us bitch about the Grabovski buyout and Bozak re-signing. I get that.
I know you’re getting tired of hearing how, despite the fact he’s a good hockey player, David Clarkson’s contract is pretty terrible. I get that.
So tell you what: I’m not going to criticize the 5-year extension the Toronto Maple Leafs just signed Dave Nonis to. Nope. Nuh-uh. Not gonna do it.
If you disagree, you’re going to say I’m being a whiny jerk who won’t even wait until the season has begun to pass judgment on his moves. Even if you agree, surely you already know what I’m going to say, right?
Here’s what I want instead…
Rather than have me go off, I have a request for the comment section:
Explain to me why Dave Nonis deserves with 5-year extension.
People have been telling me all summer long not to criticize the Grabovski buyout, Bozak re-signing, Bernier trade, Clarkson signing, Bolland trade, the cap situation – anything – until the season starts. After all, how can I pass judgment? Sure, all those fancy statistics and numbers are fine on paper, but what about on the ice? Fine. Then explain to me, based on that same logic, why does it makes sense to sign Nonis to a 5-year extension?
Here is a list of moves Dave Nonis has made since becoming the General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs that have actually been seen on NHL ice:
- Matthew Lombardi traded to Phoenix for a pick. I liked this deal. Cleared cap room. Hooray.
- Tim Connolly and Mike Komisarek assigned to the Marlies. Good.
- Joffrey Lupul locked up to a 5-year contract extension. He battled a lot of injuries, which is worrisome for such a long deal, but Lupul bounces back every time, and has put up some crazy points in this city. Holzer also locked up for another two.
- Claimed Frazer McLaren off waivers. I would have preferred if Nonis claimed Zach Boychuk or Jussi Jokinen off of waivers, but I won’t nitpick. It’s a waiver-wire pickup.
- Mike Brown and Dave Steckel traded for picks. Fine.
- Ryan O’Byrne acquired for a pick. Whatever.
Looking at Nonis’ early moves as GM, I actually really liked him. I liked Burke as the GM, but Nonis seemed to do a good job of freeing up some cap space and roster spots. But really, are any of these moves major? Maybe a better question would be, did any of these moves have a huge impact on the ice this year. Not really, no. And it’s not like Nonis could have made too many blockbusters in a shortened year anyway right?
What I’m getting at, is if you’re going to give Nonis an extension based on what he has done as the GM, all the juicy stuff hasn’t even hit the ice yet.
Despite all that cap space Nonis freed up at the beginning, and despite using up both amnesty buyouts, the Leafs find themselves in a cap crunch with Nazem Kadri, Cody Franson, and Mark Fraser still unsigned. Even if Nonis manages to squeeze those players under the cap, the Leafs will be up against it all season unless they can move somebody.
Last thing, and most confusing to me, is the brigade of fans going "Who cares? Your GM doesn’t count against the cap. If he doesn’t work out, just fire him and pay him. It’s a drop in the bucket." Well yeah, that worked out wonderfully with the Ron Wilson extension, didn’t it. Here’s how that went:
- Ron Wilson gets a contract extension that he tweets about on Christmas Day. How zany and quirky!
- The Leafs spontaneously combust.
- Wilson is fired 29 games later.
Just because it doesn’t count against the cap doesn’t mean you can go around making it rain on people just for funzies without any real justification. This is a hockey team, not a Drake music video.
I’ve said my little bit. Whatever. I’m more interested in hearing what you think, because I don’t understand what this team is doing. Comment away!