I pretty much believe this all the time, so coming from me, this doesn’t really mean anything. But, personally, I think it’s time to call it a season and start over.
Now, I wouldn’t have made the signings they did for this seasons (or previous ones) anyway, but they might as well give up. As of last night’s 6-1 embarrassment, Le Leafs are now 13th in the East, and 24th overall. Though there is admittedly a very small difference between 3rd and 13th right now (5 points), the team I watch doesn’t look like it is even remotely capable of actually taking and holding down 3rd place…or even 8th for that matter. Sure, if they go on a run, everyone will be talking about their chances again. But that’s the same old shit, year after year. It’s time to trade (though it has been time to do that for ages).
It’s time to trade the valuable commodities on the team for picks and prospects. Why not start now, instead of waiting till the trade deadline? Give up on this team (well, if you’re the GM, or a ticket-purchasing fan, anyway…I just watch on TV, so I can still support them). They aren’t going to do anything any time soon. They should give Tlusty more minutes to see if he’s anything or not, like other teams do with their prospects. They should trade players that are marketable. Personally, I don’t think they should trade Mats unless it is to a (legitimate) Cup contender he wants to play for, but everyone else is pretty much fair game (well, I guess Kaberle isn’t either). Antropov has never been so valuable in his career. Regrettably, Tucker’s value has probably plummeted since last season (when they really should have pulled that trigger) and now McCabe’s has too because of that injury.
In fact, the more I think of it, the more I realize the Leafs have put themselves in a pickle. If I were an opposing GM, I would not want Blake and his contract, Kubina and his, McCabe and his (well, that’s a given coming from me)…maybe I (well, someone who likes him anyway) would have taken Tucker last year, but not now; even though I don’t have a problem with Gill’s play of late (mostly) I don’t want that salary, I don’t want Bell’s, I don’t want Raycroft’s if he’s gonna be a backup, and I don’t trust him as a starter right now. I’d take Antropov. Hopefully he keeps it up. But he probably won’t. Maybe I’d take Ponikarovsky. And then there’s Toskala, who the Leafs pretty much can’t give up. He’s a player I’d want, especially at that price. And with that, we’re under the million mark, and into the players the Leafs might not want to get rid of.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, of all the players on the Leafs earning more than 1 mil a year, I’d only want to trade for three or four for sure, if I was an opposing GM, and those guys are probably the guys the Leafs are least willing to part with (they did it to themselves, they did). Mats, Kaberle, Toskala, Antropov. If I’m another GM, I don’t want anybody else. If I’m Ferguson, do I want to keep anybody else? That’s a pickle. That’s what happen when you sign players to nonsensical deals.
I think Colaiacovo is not going anywhere only because of his injuries. He is probably not someone I would trade much for now. Stajan still seems to have potential, but he doesn’t appear to be moving forwards enough, ditto Steen. Maybe these guys prosper in another environment, maybe they don’t. Maybe I take that risk if I’m dealing with Ferguson, but do I give up much for them? Should the Leafs be in the habit of trading fairly young, responsible, if not productive, players for even younger players who probably aren’t so responsible? Wellwood’s value has gone way down, but he is also someone who could conceivably still produce. At what age do you give up on guys? If Antropov is a guide, the answer may be never. Kilger will only fetch other Kilger type players or low picks, and I don’t trust Leaf scouting to pull off any Detroit / Colorado / Jersey type finds any time soon. No reason to get rid of White, in my mind, though I’d take him if I were dealing with Ferguson. Ferguson cannot deal Pogge after the Rask mess. Or you’d think so, anyway. Battaglia’s value is what it was when he first came to the Marlies, I should think. You won’t get much for Belak, though maybe somebody wants him. Devereaux is someone I think many teams would want. The problem is that they won’t give lots for him, and the Leafs shouldn’t clean house of all veterans, especially if they are effective and underpaid. Woz may be worth something but he’s young. And after that, most of the players on the depth chart are part- or most-time Marlies. I think Pohl should play more, incidentally.
So yeah, I don’t know, with that picture, how they can possibly make a deal without sacrificing players that Ferguson no doubt doesn’t want to (even if he were committed to blowing things up, which he obviously isn’t). I don’t know how it could happen. I still think they should do it. Maybe they fire Ferguson for some guy who is good at trading, for the rest of the season. I don’t know how else they do it. But in the meantime, they should increase the ice-time of Tlusty and anyone else they regard as a prospect (bring some guys up) and see what they are. Actually give them time to suck in the NHL, so they can learn and maybe eventually be good. And stop worrying about winning so much, this year, when it doesn’t matter. And try to get some picks. And maybe do badly enough to get a high pick in the draft this summer. If not, then this will just keep going on and on and on, like this and never end.