I already discussed the Lombardi deal. Lets talk about what else Dave Nonis has done since taking over.
Signed Mike Mottau to a two-way contract
Mike Mottau was, a few years ago, a #4 D in the NHL. However, he has been a #7 for the last few seasons. I guess he has been signed in case Holzer (or whomever) doesn’t work out.
I can’t say I like the idea of a 34 year old stealing a young guy’s place on a team like this. I hope he stays on the Marlies.
Put Keith Aucoin on Waivers
There are people in “Leafs Nation” who look at Aucoin’s 40 points in 34 AHL games this season and think that he is a legitimate NHL player. The fact of the matter is that this is a relatively off-year for Aucoin. He once had 108 points in 65 games in an AHL season.
So why are the Leafs giving up on him? Well, for once, the Leafs are acknowledging the wisdom of the crowd:
- Aucoin has put 37 points in 102 NHL games over the last seven years for a reason – he may be able to dominate in the minors, but he cannot even stay on an NHL roster.
- Plus, he’s thirty fucking four years old. That is to say, his best years are likely behind him.
Leaf fans want this guy stealing some kid’s roster spot for what good reason, exactly? Waiving him was exactly the thing to do if they didn’t want him to keep him on the Marlies. The fact that there is controversy on the message boards about this move is only proof that many Leafs fans are totally insane and would fail the Wendel Clark Test.
Put Tim Connolly on Waivers
Signing Connolly was a bad idea at the time and it only got worse when he had his worst season in nearly a decade – though I blame that as much on Wilson as Connolly, since Wilson decided Connolly couldn’t centre the top line way too early in the season last year – and this was necessary since nobody was going to take on this contract, even with it expiring.
It does have some bad implications for the Leafs’ depth chart. In essence, a few things will have to happen:
- Bozak or some other person incapable of playing the #1 centre role will have to play the #1 centre role: if it’s not Bozak, then it will be a winger – at least until they come to their senses – who played centre in junior or college (Kadri, Kessel, Lupul, JVR) which is arguably worse than Bozak, or it will be Colborne, whose AHL numbers don’t exactly inspire confidence.
- Colborne will make the team or McClement or Steckel will centre the third line: If Bozak does end up centring the “top” line – and how can he not if Kadri, Kessel, Lupul and JVR are the only other options? – then someone will have to take his place on the third and that means either that Colborne will get called up or Steckel or McClement will have to move up one line. Of those two options, I support Colborne getting the ice time so the Leafs can see whether they have a checker in him. For the second option, I think McClement has shown he is the better offensive player so it would make sense for him to get the upgrade over Steckel, but that shouldn’t be a great option.
What both of these things mean is that the Leafs will again lack for a true set-up forward anywhere outside of MacArthur on the second line. Though getting rid of Connolly is the right decision – and getting rid of Lupul would also be a good decision – I think that the Leafs might be leaning a little too hard on some guys who haven’t shown they can take it. Maybe that’s for the best.
I hope this is a sign that sanity is prevailing in the Leafs front office and the mission this year – provided Reimer isn’t lights-out – becomes getting talent for Kessel to play with in the off-season.