The Steve Dangle Podcast – Jan 16, 2015 – Break Some Wind

dave nonis brian burke toronto maple leafs general manager

On this episode, the guys look at rebuilding the Leafs, why that doesn’t really work, and an oldie but a goodie.

  • CMpuck

    Retool? Like JFJ? Like Burke (cause he didn’t rebuild properly. Retool just means continue the same old middle of the pack garbage.

    Ideally we could be the next Tampa and simple have that off year or two where we can land a 1st and/or 2nd overall pick. Like adding a Stamkos to a St.Louis.

    I said it from the start of the year, bite the bullet and trade Bernier, you’ll get something good for him, not have to commit big dollars to him and this team will McEichel without tending.

    It’s easier to find another tender than it is to find a 1C.

    Hate to lose Bernier but sell high and take that step back to move forward.

    • Jeremy Ian

      Wow. Didn’t you listen to the conversation? The point is not to rebuild like Burke, who cut corners anyway but inherited a complete mess. It’s that the roster under 25 has real potential, but the older core is damaged.

      Retool is not the same as blow up and start all over. It means moving parts around to reassemble the core. The theory the guys are talking about is re-synching the roster to the development time-line of Holland, Bernier, Gardiner. Hang on to Bernier, Rielly, Gardiner, Panik, Holland, maybe Kadri. You have Brown, Nylander, Leivo, maybe Percy, et al in the system. This is a base that Burke never had, that the Oilers never had when they went on their draft-driven binge.

      Give up Bernier? Crazy stuff….

      For trade-deadline sale: Winnik, Franson (dithering by Nonis was a tactical mistake), and maybe Santo. I would throw Bozak and Dion into this mix.

      For draft-pick options: Lupul, Reimer, and what’s left from deadline sale.

      Only a fraction of this will happen, but there are movable pieces to trade-in present value for future value.

    • CMpuck

      I don’t really think you understand what the term “retool” means. A retool doesn’t not “continue the same old middle of the pack garbage.” You are changing the team in a lot of ways through a retool but you are not completely getting rid of all of your pieces which is idiotic. The Leafs have some really good pieces and trading them would be unnecessary and definitely would not help the team (it would probably be a detriment). Steve and Adam made some really good points about Burke being too hasty with his rebuild (and yes it was a rebuild – the Leafs had NOTHING when Burke came in, thus he felt obligated to create a core through the trades for Kessel and Phaneuf). The point is you should be building around the players that are 24 and under + Kessel and Bernier. That gives you players to trade in Phaneuf, Lupul, Bozak, Franson. It is important that when these players are traded, you get prospects with excellent potential in return (ie. the Olli Maatta type of player). This enables your team to be really good at the right time (all the good prospects and players for the Leafs right now will be in their primes at the same time). Burke was too hasty because he traded for Phaneuf and Kessel but clearly the Leafs were not going to be a contender when Phaneuf and Kessel were going to hit their primes. Burke just needed more patience because he was doing a complete rebuild. According to the theory that Steve and Adam gave this is what the Leafs core would look like:
      JVR, Kadri, Bernier, Kessel, Rielly, Nylander, Gardiner, Brown, some key pieces that you get back from trades of Lupul, Phaneuf, Franson, and Bozak that are under the age of 24, and you have some pieces that have the potential to be very good as well in Holland, Johnson, Leivo, Percy, Loov, and the players you draft starting this year. This way, the Leafs core players will all be hitting their primes at the same time which will make them a much better team. Right now, the Leafs biggest problem is that they are structured terribly. They have players who are leaving their primes in Phaneuf and Lupul and have a player they can’t re-sign in Franson (just look at what Staal got). They are a team built for now that is not even close to being a contender. They need to be a contender 4-6 years from now and what Steve and Adam suggested is exactly how they should go about getting there.

      • CMpuck

        Believe it or not people can disagree Steve.

        You need top ten talent on the blueline and down the middle, sweep that issue under the rug with a retool that doesn’t address the real issues.

        • CMpuck

          Some solid postings CMPuck. That is the problem people don’t listen. Particularly leaf management. Some five or six years ago the leafs were to become truculent under Burkie even though the Penguins, Black Hawks, Red Wings were going in the N.H.L. trend of a speedier game that didn’t require neanderthal Colton Orr’s. So one would think that over Burkie’s tenure he would have indeed listened and observed.

          Everyone except Burke and Nonis realized that Exelby, and Komisarek were plumbers. That Orr and McClaren brought no contribution to the team. But did that stop them from continuing these terrible signings. Nope Jeff Fingers had to be required at a farcical contract price.

          Same with the worst skater in the league in Clarkson.

          Now any sane organization and well that excludes the board of bean counters and blue suits would have called it quits at that point. But not these guys, no siree as there was a guy who had two broken legs who just had to be signed at $3 million a year at age 38. I mean look at the great attributes of a washed up Robidas. Great in the dressing room great up in the press box with young leafs also not dressed that night.

          Now any intelligent leaf fan knows that the slightly above average Bernier will be given a huge contract along with Kadri. So that means thanks to the incredulous huge contracts for Kessel, Phaneuf, Clarkson and the signing of Jake Gardiner the leafs will trade off Franson for at best a second round pick even though he has been their best offensive blue liner.

          What the fans will listen to after the season is over is a ticket price increase along with increases on merchandise etc.

          MCPuck the Aquillini family out here in Vancouver is also doing the partial retool. As they brought in a 33 year old Vrbata a veteran Ryan Miller who will turn 35 this summer. The other night they played with two guys under 25.

          Vegas odds has this team going nowheresville with that type of retool.

  • CMpuck

    I don’t understand retool? Retool is ultimately lateral moves.

    Burke’s ‘rebuild’ was to build a team by trade, sooo….. pieces in = pieces out… win some and lose other ultimately net gain of 0

    Is it a wonder that the Leafs have been the identical failure from Quinn to Maurice to Wilson to Carlyle? It’s the same team that plays half season.

    This idiocy of ‘just build around players under 24’ is the problem. You build around great centers and defensemen. Until you have both, you’re not really an NHL team. Point and case your Toronto Maple Leafs.

    It’s pretty easy, you keep sucking like we’ve sucked for over a decade or you tank.

    Kadri, Rielly (yes even Rielly), Franson, Bernier, ect… will all ultimately be forgotten names in a nothing franchise. Why fall in love with this garbage? If this was five years ago you’d all be telling how good Luke Schenn, Gustavsson and Wellwood are, homers can’t see reality….

    • Jeremy Ian

      You also build around a good goalie. The Habs, Rangers…start from the crease. The Leafs are finally in a position to do this.

      One agreement with you: no championship contender without a play-driving center. This experiment of building a Leaf contender without one has flopped. To the extent that the Leafs had success with their model, it was a fast, rushing, style, not possession and tactics. Hard to make that work on a sustained basis in the current hockey.

      Does this make this all “garbage?”

      Tanking is not a strategy. It’s talk. I prefer a strategy.

      • CMpuck

        Sure, but my point is that it’s easier to get a goalie than a 1C. So sacrifice Bernier for the greater good.

        Remind what the Rangers and Habs have won?

        Canadian markets all have ‘strategy’ and try so hard but this league rewards failure that why we see Pittsburgh, Carolina, LA lift cups. Steve may’ ‘punch me in the face’ for mentioning McDavid but it’s Maple Leaf defeatism that doesn’t allow us to pursue that end. We’re one or two trades away right now from being worse than Buffalo. That is when they’re not beating us 6-2. And McDavid or Eichel in TO would be the greatest thing to happen to this franchise since Doug’s 127 point year.

        • Jeremy Ian

          Seriously? Habs-Rangers duking it out in eastern conference finals? I don’t call that failure.

          No cup = “failure?”

          Every step you take that does not catapult you straight to a cup = failure?

          I find it ironic that you find my realism defeatist. I don’t like tanks because getting out of what is called a “low level equilibrium trap” runs the risk of getting stuck in one. The League is full of cases like these. Full. Most contenders did not build something out of rubble. They built from the strengths they had, even if there were few. The point is, the Leafs have some strengths, and Bernier is one of them. Top 5 starting goalies don’t grow on trees, nor do Riellys, Nylanders… I think we have to assess whether Gardiner, Holland, JVR, and Kadri have upward bending curves. RC was so hard on younger players, it’s hard to say.

          But where I disagree with you is the idea of trading the strengths to go for McDavid but keeping the rest. That’s a recipe for failure.

          • CMpuck

            That’s the bar? Being the Rangers or Habs that luck into the conference finals on a cinderella run?

            Neither were expect or should expect to be there again and we knew it’s be a cake walk for Chicago or LA to walk all over the winner of Rangers/Habs.

            That’s your standard? Really?

            Why not model the NJ they made the finals a couple years ago and the playoff heroics of Davey Clarkman… So that means he’s a stud.

            Bernier isn’t a top five goaltender in this league, try Quick, Price, Rinne, Lundquist, Rask, Borovsky, Schnieder… do we still have our goggles on and pretend there is enough here.

            Nylander looks great but is he the savoir? Should we label him that while we pencil in Percy in our top four? Mmmmmmmm more koolaid please.

            McDavid = heroine for Leaf Nation, I’d rather be strung out than be sober making minimum wage with Bernier while we can’t even look other fanbases in the eye.

    • jimithy

      You are correct sir. Having a podcast is really fun for these guys though. Even if out of touch.
      Four years ago everyone was so anxious to call up Kadri, since he was so good. Well, here he is.

  • jasken

    “We were trying to get a little younger, faster, trying to get more in step with what might be the new reality. But that wasn’t fully embraced by the board,” Ferguson says. “So it became, ‘We’re going to make the playoffs and retool.’ And the challenge was significantly tougher.” This is the problem settling for a retool and non core players and than you change them for others. JFJ, Burke, Nonis does it need to continue.

    You have no top end goalie, no blue chip defenceman, no star center. You have potential but nothing proven as of yet. They say Bernier is so get him the defencemen he needs to give him proper support. Then you get him the centers, then you add the wingers that complement the centers. If Nylander is their center for the future you get wingers down in the AHL who will complement and come in with him so they grow together. Then you repeat process with second and third lines. It’s not a hard concept but seems to elude this franchise for whatever reason.

  • Jeremy Ian

    The leafs problems have started at the top going back to the Ballard years. When the W.H.A. came into the league, Ballard let 9 players jump to the other league. Over the decades Stravos, the teachers pension fund and now Rogers and Bell have strictly only cared about winning at the bank.

    I’m always amazed with the gee whiz stats kids here there and everywhere don’t discuss one of the most important stat areas of the past decade. Namely the leafs drafting or lack of drafting.

    Now clubs will talk about their number one draft picks over the past decade. Usually you would rationally think that the pick would obviously be from number one to number thirty. But not with the leafs as one year their highest pick was number 90 who was Pogge. Another year it was the 74th pick John Mitchell and then there was a 40th pick Brad Ross who well isn’t playing these days as he has a little drug suspension. Not that the bum will ever see the N.H.L.

    We all know the Kessel disaster but there have been other bone head moves such as giving up two draft picks as Cliff Fletcher couldn’t sleep at nights thinking that unless he moved from the 7th pick to the fifth he would miss an 18 year old pylon in Luke Schenn. Then there was Burkie panicking again as he started giving up second round picks to land the truculent Tyler Biggs.

    Thus the leafs have missed a first round pick three times and currently are on a hot streak of not having a second round pick this June for the third year in a row. They have not had a second round pick in 6 of the past 10 years.

    Now they bring in Mark Hunter but keep the old boys club architects of draft disaster led by Dave Morrison.

    Seriously folks you can have all your freaking Corsi, Fenwick, Airwick spray up your yin yang but if you keep giving your draft picks away and have cretins as your scouts you will continue to go nowheresville for another 48 years.

    • Jeremy Ian

      This’ll be the last time I post on this thread, guys, because I think we’re drying up this well. But I think we need a new narrative. Let’s move on. Yes, we can keep recycling the old story about how Ballard cursed us. (And, since I have a feeling you think I am a newbie who hasn’t been around, I was at the demonstrations on Carlton St when Lanny was dished to Colorado just to piss Sittler off; it was a disgrace).

      But that was so long ago. So long ago. So much has changed and so many decisions have been made in the interim that the setting is very different. Teams are no longer fiefdoms. The feudal era is gone, thank god. Free agency, collective bargaining agreements, caps, the skill-sets needed to succeed, the scale of competition mean that recipes for success are so different than what they once were.

      Ballard is dead. So is the league he once embarrassed. Let it go.

      We don’t have to analyze every let-down with one single, ancient script. Let history be history; the past is not destiny.

      Problems at the top persist, but it’s not because of the grip of “legacy investments” but because we have a confused ownership structure, a style of problem solving that muddles management rather than clarifying it, and a temptation to take short cuts to accelerate the building time-line — which is the wrong way to handle frustration. The problem is compounded by fans who speak from frustration as if nothing that doesn’t materialize into a Cup mañana is part of the same-old.

      Basta. The Hunter appt and the analytics team are the good news that we are modernizing; does any transition happen over night? No. But the fact that they are now there means Leafs management recognizes that it has to make smart decisions over scarce resources in this tight cap era.

      As for picking on anyone who doesn’t win a Cup as a Cinderella Story, I don’t follow your logic CMPuck. The Rangers just ran roughshod over Death Valley. I’ll take Sather’s smarts over Nonis’s any day. Any day. You don’t have to be a Blackhawks carbon copy to succeed, and chances are if you do follow that model, you’ll fail to replicate it. Don’t you find it a little weird that you mock the hopes that people have in Nylander and yet you are willing to demolish a team to hope for a stab at another teenager, McDavid? Please.

      Law No 1 of the human sciences: the minute you think you have command over the iron law of success, you are obsolete.

  • CaMMaC

    Did anyone else catch Kypreos saying that the leafs would need to retain salary in a Kessel trade.. he’s such an idiot!

    The leafs have been drafting poorly for the past 10 years. They have all the money in the world but clearly they haven’t invested it in scouting. They should just buy the whole Red Wings scouting staff haha.

    Clearly there’s a step in the right direction bringing in Mark Hunter. He has loads of experience developing young talent. There are still many changes to come for sure. Next one will be Dave Nonis being fired. There’s no way they can keep him around as a puppet.

  • CMpuck

    When reimer came into the 12-13 season I thought the leafs were done like dinner.But no. That man stood on his head head the whole 48 games and was 50% why they made it as far as they did. He showed heart determination and character that whole season. With all the luongo trade rumors at the start of the year to when they got to the midway point and thought about bringing in kippersoff, what did james reimer do? well he won hockey games and won over the heart of leafs nation including myself. He was the sole reason we got to game 7 and yeah they lost a 4-1 lead to the runner ups for the Stanley cup and was their only challenge until they met the blackhawks but guess what folks, if werent for reimer we wouldn’t have got to expirence that feeling. MY point is that we didnt need need bernier. We had a no.1 goalie and still do but has been disrespected by manegment coachs and fans. Yeah he might not have the greatest rebound control or greatest puck handling skills but he makes up for it by stoping the puck and imo still is better then bernier in that regard.No matter what i know everyone will have their opinion on this but no matter what happens i will always be a reimer guy and respect the guy for what hes put up with.Reimer keep your head up my friend, your going to make some team and fan happy.