Friedman’s Thoughts on Leafs

While the first round of the playoffs were highly entertaining, they have left us with limited Leafs content. To help give us delicious little nuggets to tide us over to the draft, we rely on Elliotte Friedman’s 30 Thoughts. So let us give thanks to Uncle Elliotte as he has given us the gift of player, GM, and prospect speculation.

Dubas on Drafting Smaller Players…

The biggest piece on the Leafs comes in at number 30, and includes a quote from noted Leafs Saviour, Kyle Dubas:

Will also have more about Toronto next time, but wanted to add this quote from assistant GM Kyle Dubas.
Asked if the Maple Leafs would consider passing up on Mitch Marner in the draft because they already have smallish forwards like William Nylander and Connor Brown, Dubas disagreed.
“Here’s the way I look at it,” he said. “Right now, we aren’t good enough to be picky about smaller players. We need as many elite players as we can. If we get into playoffs and are too small, or overwhelmed, it’s easier to trade small for size than draft for size and trade for skill.”

Putting aside the fact that Mitch Marner hasn’t stopped growing and isn’t ridiculously short, this is extremely encouraging to see that the Leafs are chasing high end talent. It’s also interesting to see that Friedman is now comfortable lumping Connor Brown into the higher end prospects, which maybe shouldn’t be surprising after this season, but it’s the first time I’ve seen him do it. Of course, I encourage you to check out the case for drafting Mitch Marner so you can see why this is quote is a positive. 

Bringing Back Cody Franson…

This seemed to be picking up so steam on twitter recently and it’s interesting to see Friedman address it. The case I’ve seen for it is that Franson’s value is likely hurt from his time in Nashville and can be had for less. Also he’s familiar with the Leafs players and Toronto needs right handed defencemen. 

Things did not work out for Cody Franson in Nashville. He was a good fit in Toronto, both on and off the ice. Could a reunion be in the works?

I confess I was not as big a fan of Franson as I probably should’ve been, but if it’s something where Franson wants to come back at a reasonable price because he liked Toronto, I’d take him back open arms. I do wonder if he’s one of the rare players who benefitted from Carlyle’s (lack of) systems and whether a competent Leafs coach would have the same issues that Nashville did. Franson is one of those players I’d definitely want a lot of input from the coach on before adding him to my team. 

Sean Burke Update…

This thought was more focused around the Oilers, but since it mentions the Leafs active pursuit of Sean Burke, it’s worth updating.

One final note on the Oilers: while Sean Burke is considered a serious candidate for the Maple Leafs’ opening, a couple of sources warn not to forget about the relationship between him and Bob Nicholson. There’s a Hockey Canada link. At this time of year, you never discount any connection.

I admit I’ve been less than thrilled about the idea of the Leafs adding Sean Burke to the organization, so I consider this somewhat encouraging. Putting aside his personal issues, Burke has far more limited experience than almost any other rumoured candidate seeking the position. While it seems obvious that it won’t be a long tenured GM reporting to Brendan Shanahan, other options like Mike Futa, Paul Fenton, etc. seem far more appealing.

LOL @ Boston…

Okay, this one doesn’t really have anything to do with the current Leafs, but it sure made me laugh.

Following up on a list of Bruins GM candidates…

Wouldn’t be a shock if John Ferguson Jr., currently the club’s executive director of player personnel, also gets consideration here.

I can’t wait for him to trade Rask again.

Give the whole piece a read if you want to chuckle at San Jose being a potential landing spot for Rob Zettler or Randy Carlyle too.

  • TGT23

    Im happy we finally have competent management and i don’t know if any of you have watched the soo greyhounds play but that is a team built perfectly. I have full confidence that Dubas/ Hunter can do the same here.

    p.s. Watching Boston slowly become the new Edmonton is very satisfying.

  • silentbob

    They could just draft Hanifin or Strome and get elite talent & size in the same package.

    If their choice was Marner or Crouse (or something like that) then I totally agree with Dubas. However the Leafs will have the option of drafting at least one of two players who have the same elite talent that Marner does as well as size. They won’t have to pick between the two.

    • TGT23

      That wasn’t the question, though. He wasn’t asked whether they prefer Marner to Stroke, he was asked if they would avoid Marner because if size. The answer is of course not. Skill is more important than size… I’m sure he knows a package of both is possible.

      Also, they may value Marner over Strome. With Nylander, Kadri, Bailey and Holland the Leafs may believe they have their C’s for the future.

      The way Nylander has produced in the AHL, Kadri’s two way play, Bailey’s ceiling and Holland’s talent and size, they might be right.

      They might be more interested in the wing where JVR and Brown are the only pieces expected to see a future with the team.

  • STAN

    I’m not sure I’d call this management group “competent”. It is so, so early.

    I recall the gallons of saliva that were spilled at the start of what-turn-out-to-be Burke’s Reign of Error.

    Let’s wait for a couple of years, minimum.

  • FlareKnight

    I agree with Dubas overall. The important thing is just to aim for the highest skillset they can find and worry about how the roster will shake out later. All you can do is get the best players and then trade for the pieces you do need.

    The great thing is that we have options. Even just at 4th overall we have a ton of choices. Marner/Strome/Hanifin, even Barzal is making his move up the lists. And I’m sure they’ll swing for the fences with the second 1st we have as well.

    I don’t mind bringing Franson back if the playoff run has muted his contract demands a bit.

  • OtOil

    Personally I’d take Strome and Marner over Hannifin just because the draft is deep enough to get a defenseman with Nashville pick. I’m really hoping they manage to trade Kessel to Cbj Or NJ for this year’s pick so they can draft a big winger like Crouse or Zacha to go along with Marner or Strome.

  • FlareKnight

    franson > phaneuf. pair him with gardiner on the 2nd pairing again and watch the magic happen (that’s if we draft hanifin). if not, put him with rielly on the top pairing until we have a 1st pairing defenceman to go with rielly. i’d bring franson back at a reasonable price during this rebuild and trade phaneuf pronto.