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2022-23 Toronto Maple Leafs General Discussion

Started by herman, May 22, 2022, 03:17:14 PM

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L K

#1545
Quote from: bustaheims on May 18, 2023, 03:01:46 PM
Quote from: Rob on May 18, 2023, 01:44:59 PM
Quote from: Dappleganger on May 18, 2023, 01:17:10 PMCan we re-sign Gustafsson and get him and Liljegren comfortable together?
 

Keefe seemed loath to play Gustafsson, but I thought the limited amount of time he did play he looked quite serviceable with an offensive upside. 

Yeah. If Keefe is retained, I don't think Gustafsson is a real option. He'll cost more than the value the team would likely get from him under those circumstances. If Keefe is relieved of his duties, then maybe he becomes an option. With his defensive deficiencies, he'd be more of a PP specialist/3rd pairing guy than anything else, though. Not sure that's the best use of the team's resources

Although after watching Gio really slow down as the season dragged on, I'm not sure that I necessarily want to buy into a defence of

Rielly - Schenn
McCabe - Brodie
Gio - Liljegren
Timmins

I think something has to give there.  Maybe it's trading Nylander/Marner for a high end defenseman but I think something needs to change to get more puck movement off the blue line.  I don't think Gustafsson is good enough defensively to be that guy.

Tick tock on a Dubas decision though.   I hope everything is ok with him at home, mentally, physically but standing up at a press conference and saying you aren't sure if you want to be a GM next year would give me a real pause on how up for the task he is.  He seemed a bit broken down by the whole process.  Maybe it's just the emotional let-down of the series loss but again, I think waiting much longer to get going on a GM search if he isn't coming back is really risking things getting tight for decision making.  Obviously a trade can come together quickly but Marner/Matthews probably need to be dealt before July 1st if it is going to happen.

AtomicMapleLeaf

I don't want to go through another 16 years of playing half assed and another rebuild. Keep 'em all.

Guilt Trip

Quote from: AtomicMapleLeaf on May 18, 2023, 04:09:13 PMI don't want to go through another 16 years of playing half assed and another rebuild. Keep 'em all.
And plus it would piss off all the media who are saying you need to trade one of them. I've never seen a more talented Leafs team. Now if we could recreate Borje, Eddie and Mats, lookout lol.

cw

Quote from: Bender on May 18, 2023, 11:24:49 AM
Quote from: cw on May 18, 2023, 08:51:14 AM
Quote from: L K on May 18, 2023, 08:00:16 AMWhatever is going on with Dubas I do hope the organization makes a move sooner than later.  This off-season is too important to have the GM position in flux like this

What if they had made it to the conference finals? Then what?

That was a key part of the reason for me to extend him. Not so much because of a few weeks. But because a new guy coming in has a lot to get his head around. Dubas is intimately knowledgeable of the talent on the team, the staff, where they fell short, etc. That is not possible to absorb very well between now and July 1. Draft is coming up and the new GM won't know the scouts, etc. New GM won't know the organizational talent as well, their health, their development progress, etc. Trade talks are back to square one. etc.

It is a different situation than when a team has fallen short and it is time for a rebuild or significant retooling. That GM has plenty of time to get oriented. The Leafs are a 4th place team that still has a window and needs some adjustments. A Sam Pollack clone would have trouble taking over in the first year. The haste to get up to speed makes it more likely to make some mistakes.

Dubas can carry on discussions with the UFA's or RFA's agents. New GM has to start up without the intimate knowledge of what has gone on with the player. Ditto for trade discussions with GMs. Or with his scouts and staff.

They would have to find a GM. I guess Shanahan or Pridham would be interim if he isn't leaving for Calgary. Then they probably have to find a coach.

I doubt this problem with Dubas will be left unresolved very long.

40 days to NHL draft
43 days to July 1.

How is this specifically a problem for the Leafs though? GMs and coaches are let go all the time at the end of the season. I understand there are a lot of things to do during this offseason but so what?

And at the end of the day his heart is either in it or it's not, and if not we have to move on. It's that simple. Rightly or wrongly to me he looks like a farmer who got too close to his pigs. I mean, just the fact that they weren't even entertaining trade offers for their stars (according to CJ) is grounds for dismissal.

As I said, I do not see it as a problem in the very short term. The example I gave was what if they made the Conference Finals? Two more weeks would have gone by. So that is not the issue for me.

CJ doesn't know what offers they entertained or not. Dubas has run a pretty tight ship in that regard. Dubas had previously said nobody was untouchable. He's not going to chat with the media about it if a trade for one of the core 4 is a maybe. He probably won't even talk to the player until he's got a deal unless there is a trade limiting clause.

What Dubas does is up to Dubas and his family. No one has control over that. He has to do what is best for him.

But if he goes, I think it is a significant loss because, as I said, his knowledge of the players, his staff, the scouts, the agents, the GMs and what they've discussed is enormous. No GM is going to have an easy time of haggling contracts, making deals, etc without the knowledge Dubas has. In a rebuild year, it is not as big of a deal. A new GM can take their time to evaluate talent and come up to speed. In a year where they're trying to take another shot at a Cup starting in the next 43 days, he has some big decisions to make soon and the Leafs probably haven't even interviewed him yet. I think that is a big problem. I hope Dubas can get things straightened out with his family.

L K

Quote from: cw on May 18, 2023, 06:51:24 PM
Quote from: Bender on May 18, 2023, 11:24:49 AM
Quote from: cw on May 18, 2023, 08:51:14 AM
Quote from: L K on May 18, 2023, 08:00:16 AMWhatever is going on with Dubas I do hope the organization makes a move sooner than later.  This off-season is too important to have the GM position in flux like this

What if they had made it to the conference finals? Then what?

That was a key part of the reason for me to extend him. Not so much because of a few weeks. But because a new guy coming in has a lot to get his head around. Dubas is intimately knowledgeable of the talent on the team, the staff, where they fell short, etc. That is not possible to absorb very well between now and July 1. Draft is coming up and the new GM won't know the scouts, etc. New GM won't know the organizational talent as well, their health, their development progress, etc. Trade talks are back to square one. etc.

It is a different situation than when a team has fallen short and it is time for a rebuild or significant retooling. That GM has plenty of time to get oriented. The Leafs are a 4th place team that still has a window and needs some adjustments. A Sam Pollack clone would have trouble taking over in the first year. The haste to get up to speed makes it more likely to make some mistakes.

Dubas can carry on discussions with the UFA's or RFA's agents. New GM has to start up without the intimate knowledge of what has gone on with the player. Ditto for trade discussions with GMs. Or with his scouts and staff.

They would have to find a GM. I guess Shanahan or Pridham would be interim if he isn't leaving for Calgary. Then they probably have to find a coach.

I doubt this problem with Dubas will be left unresolved very long.

40 days to NHL draft
43 days to July 1.

How is this specifically a problem for the Leafs though? GMs and coaches are let go all the time at the end of the season. I understand there are a lot of things to do during this offseason but so what?

And at the end of the day his heart is either in it or it's not, and if not we have to move on. It's that simple. Rightly or wrongly to me he looks like a farmer who got too close to his pigs. I mean, just the fact that they weren't even entertaining trade offers for their stars (according to CJ) is grounds for dismissal.

As I said, I do not see it as a problem in the very short term. The example I gave was what if they made the Conference Finals? Two more weeks would have gone by. So that is not the issue for me.

CJ doesn't know what offers they entertained or not. Dubas has run a pretty tight ship in that regard. Dubas had previously said nobody was untouchable. He's not going to chat with the media about it if a trade for one of the core 4 is a maybe. He probably won't even talk to the player until he's got a deal unless there is a trade limiting clause.

What Dubas does is up to Dubas and his family. No one has control over that. He has to do what is best for him.

But if he goes, I think it is a significant loss because, as I said, his knowledge of the players, his staff, the scouts, the agents, the GMs and what they've discussed is enormous. No GM is going to have an easy time of haggling contracts, making deals, etc without the knowledge Dubas has. In a rebuild year, it is not as big of a deal. A new GM can take their time to evaluate talent and come up to speed. In a year where they're trying to take another shot at a Cup starting in the next 43 days, he has some big decisions to make soon and the Leafs probably haven't even interviewed him yet. I think that is a big problem. I hope Dubas can get things straightened out with his family.

I mean if they won another round I don't think we are even entertaining breaking up the core.  Dubas could still walk in that scenario but then the real work is more free agency stuff and not potentially dealing a star player with movement clauses coming into effect on July 1st


Bender

#1550
I'm just tired of the if this then that hypotheticals. The reality is they lost in five and the stars didn't show up when they needed to again. We really shouldn't be basing our decisions on making it through the first round, which is such a low hurdle for a team with this much talent.

I'd also argue that Dubas has gotten too close to his "guys" and it's clouded his judgment. That and in tandem with his end of season presser I'd be worried about him making the best possible decisions for this club going forward, regardless of experience. I don't think he has the cajones to trade any of the stars or fire Keefe and I think he'd rather take the bullet than trade any of the core. It's taken him loss after loss to even entertain trades and say that everything is on the table rather than say certain guys are untouchable, let alone the coaching staff. That's enough for me, he's had his chance.

"They say you can judge a man by the company he keeps. So here is the professor's oldest friend, a grotesque, stinking lobster." - Bender

cw

Quote from: L K on May 18, 2023, 07:59:10 PM
Quote from: cw on May 18, 2023, 06:51:24 PM
Quote from: Bender on May 18, 2023, 11:24:49 AM
Quote from: cw on May 18, 2023, 08:51:14 AM
Quote from: L K on May 18, 2023, 08:00:16 AMWhatever is going on with Dubas I do hope the organization makes a move sooner than later.  This off-season is too important to have the GM position in flux like this

What if they had made it to the conference finals? Then what?

That was a key part of the reason for me to extend him. Not so much because of a few weeks. But because a new guy coming in has a lot to get his head around. Dubas is intimately knowledgeable of the talent on the team, the staff, where they fell short, etc. That is not possible to absorb very well between now and July 1. Draft is coming up and the new GM won't know the scouts, etc. New GM won't know the organizational talent as well, their health, their development progress, etc. Trade talks are back to square one. etc.

It is a different situation than when a team has fallen short and it is time for a rebuild or significant retooling. That GM has plenty of time to get oriented. The Leafs are a 4th place team that still has a window and needs some adjustments. A Sam Pollack clone would have trouble taking over in the first year. The haste to get up to speed makes it more likely to make some mistakes.

Dubas can carry on discussions with the UFA's or RFA's agents. New GM has to start up without the intimate knowledge of what has gone on with the player. Ditto for trade discussions with GMs. Or with his scouts and staff.

They would have to find a GM. I guess Shanahan or Pridham would be interim if he isn't leaving for Calgary. Then they probably have to find a coach.

I doubt this problem with Dubas will be left unresolved very long.

40 days to NHL draft
43 days to July 1.

How is this specifically a problem for the Leafs though? GMs and coaches are let go all the time at the end of the season. I understand there are a lot of things to do during this offseason but so what?

And at the end of the day his heart is either in it or it's not, and if not we have to move on. It's that simple. Rightly or wrongly to me he looks like a farmer who got too close to his pigs. I mean, just the fact that they weren't even entertaining trade offers for their stars (according to CJ) is grounds for dismissal.

As I said, I do not see it as a problem in the very short term. The example I gave was what if they made the Conference Finals? Two more weeks would have gone by. So that is not the issue for me.

CJ doesn't know what offers they entertained or not. Dubas has run a pretty tight ship in that regard. Dubas had previously said nobody was untouchable. He's not going to chat with the media about it if a trade for one of the core 4 is a maybe. He probably won't even talk to the player until he's got a deal unless there is a trade limiting clause.

What Dubas does is up to Dubas and his family. No one has control over that. He has to do what is best for him.

But if he goes, I think it is a significant loss because, as I said, his knowledge of the players, his staff, the scouts, the agents, the GMs and what they've discussed is enormous. No GM is going to have an easy time of haggling contracts, making deals, etc without the knowledge Dubas has. In a rebuild year, it is not as big of a deal. A new GM can take their time to evaluate talent and come up to speed. In a year where they're trying to take another shot at a Cup starting in the next 43 days, he has some big decisions to make soon and the Leafs probably haven't even interviewed him yet. I think that is a big problem. I hope Dubas can get things straightened out with his family.

I mean if they won another round I don't think we are even entertaining breaking up the core.  Dubas could still walk in that scenario but then the real work is more free agency stuff and not potentially dealing a star player with movement clauses coming into effect on July 1st

Is winning another round a great measuring stick for that?
They may well have lost to the Cup finalist the last three years and four out of the last five years. On that basis, does it really matter what round it was? (As a fan, I enjoyed them beating Tampa ..)

If GM Holland phones Dubas up and offers McDavid & Draisaitl for Matthews, does Dubas say "Oh sorry Ken, Auston is 'untouchable'"? If he did, that is pretty solid grounds for firing. Gretzky wasn't untouchable. You do what is best for the organization. (in Pocklington's case, making money was what was "best" for the team he owned)

The core has always been on the table and always will be to some extent. Dubas has said that effectively - probably using different words. He would do what was best for the club. Accepting McDavid & Draisaitl for Matthews would be what was best for his club.

Do you break up the core? Definition of insanity (keep doing the same thing and expect a different result) driven at this juncture? Maybe. But you don't if its Mrazek for Matthews, right? But maybe you'll take a little less than you would previously - in part because years of falling short has knocked the trade value of the core down. If you're offered relative garbage, the core remains intact. It is hard to trade big talent.

I would also say that every one of the core is capable of contributing on a Cup winner. They were all .75+ ppg this year (roughly top 20 in NHL playoffs). The bigger problem to me always has been the supporting cast.

Price performance? Only Tavares seems really questionable but they signed him at market value and wouldn't likely have got him if they didn't. Many teams have one of those. And who would want to take it off the Leafs hands? Even if you found one, he has a no trade deal. And it is questionable if he is even in the top 4 core - he's 2nd in cap hit but probably 5th or lower in talent now behind Rielly & Nylander.

Like any year, I'd listen to whatever GMs have to offer. In the meantime, I'd assume those big deals are unlikely but play along in case I got lucky (Leeman for Gilmour) while I'm be beating the bushes to improve the balance of the talent on the roster. If you go into it saying "I HAVE to trade one of the core", I think you're setting yourself up for a burn.

Basically, the untouchable label is a bunch of media crap. It's nonsense. Do what is best for the club.

Before doing anything, I'd want to clearly understand where the team fell short - which players, which coaching, etc and how much did the opponent's hot goaltending have to do with it. etc. To parachute a GM in to try to do that, draft, trade, sign UFAs, etc in a short period of time seems almost impossible.

herman

I don't know what's going to happen with the GM/Coach, but I do know I want the Leafs to change up how they play: more team speed, more playing through tight spaces instead of around. Basically, the current Leafs system plays like Mitch Marner, and I want them to model it offensively more like William Nylander.
#27 #TeamFasstholes

L K

Quote from: cw on May 19, 2023, 08:00:57 AMIs winning another round a great measuring stick for that?
They may well have lost to the Cup finalist the last three years and four out of the last five years. On that basis, does it really matter what round it was? (As a fan, I enjoyed them beating Tampa ..)

If GM Holland phones Dubas up and offers McDavid & Draisaitl for Matthews, does Dubas say "Oh sorry Ken, Auston is 'untouchable'"? If he did, that is pretty solid grounds for firing. Gretzky wasn't untouchable. You do what is best for the organization. (in Pocklington's case, making money was what was "best" for the team he owned)

The core has always been on the table and always will be to some extent. Dubas has said that effectively - probably using different words. He would do what was best for the club. Accepting McDavid & Draisaitl for Matthews would be what was best for his club.

Do you break up the core? Definition of insanity (keep doing the same thing and expect a different result) driven at this juncture? Maybe. But you don't if its Mrazek for Matthews, right? But maybe you'll take a little less than you would previously - in part because years of falling short has knocked the trade value of the core down. If you're offered relative garbage, the core remains intact. It is hard to trade big talent.

I would also say that every one of the core is capable of contributing on a Cup winner. They were all .75+ ppg this year (roughly top 20 in NHL playoffs). The bigger problem to me always has been the supporting cast.

Price performance? Only Tavares seems really questionable but they signed him at market value and wouldn't likely have got him if they didn't. Many teams have one of those. And who would want to take it off the Leafs hands? Even if you found one, he has a no trade deal. And it is questionable if he is even in the top 4 core - he's 2nd in cap hit but probably 5th or lower in talent now behind Rielly & Nylander.

Like any year, I'd listen to whatever GMs have to offer. In the meantime, I'd assume those big deals are unlikely but play along in case I got lucky (Leeman for Gilmour) while I'm be beating the bushes to improve the balance of the talent on the roster. If you go into it saying "I HAVE to trade one of the core", I think you're setting yourself up for a burn.

Basically, the untouchable label is a bunch of media crap. It's nonsense. Do what is best for the club.

Before doing anything, I'd want to clearly understand where the team fell short - which players, which coaching, etc and how much did the opponent's hot goaltending have to do with it. etc. To parachute a GM in to try to do that, draft, trade, sign UFAs, etc in a short period of time seems almost impossible.

Obviously we don't want to make bad trades just for the sake of breaking cup the core.  If the best offer we get for Marner is a 1st round pick and a 2nd line player that doesn't make the team better now or in the future.  But we have retooled the periphery for 4 years and not being able to score enough has been a recurrent problem.  Every team is going to potentially face a team that can "goalie you" but its happening over and over again. 

I'd absolutely entertain a new coach and faster play style but at the same time, that's going to be a big ask for a team that employs the blueline that they currently have.  I just don't see how we drastically alter the playstyle without having to sacrifice a bigger piece to acquire an asset through trade.

Nik

Quote from: L K on May 19, 2023, 08:54:23 AMObviously we don't want to make bad trades just for the sake of breaking cup the core.  If the best offer we get for Marner is a 1st round pick and a 2nd line player that doesn't make the team better now or in the future.  But we have retooled the periphery for 4 years and not being able to score enough has been a recurrent problem.  Every team is going to potentially face a team that can "goalie you" but its happening over and over again.

We've "retooled" it in the same sort of manner that Taco Bell has new menu items. They've just got 15 ingredients that they combine in slightly different ways. The Leafs have tried to build competent depth via cheapo free agent signings and bad deadline deals. That it hasn't worked four times doesn't mean the depth isn't the problem, it means that the method is probably fundamentally flawed.

Now, I get it, the only way to meaningfully otherwise address the depth quickly is via either freeing up some money via trading a higher priced player or getting depth back in said trade but I think there's kind of a stark reality that as good as Matthews-Marner-Nylander-Tavares can be, they haven't been so good that you can remove one of them and still be able to go toe to toe with the better teams in the league in terms of high impact players. Are the Leafs 4 better than Barkov-Tkachuk-Verhaeghe-Bennett?  Maybe but not by much. And if the guy who gets dealt, as a lot of people are suggesting, is Marner then a top 3 of Matthews-Nylander-Tavares is, I'd say, a very unspectacular and perhaps even sub-average top three for teams with meaningful goals of contending. If you include Rielly as the #4 guy then I think you would be very, very hard pressed to find a team that had experienced significant playoff success with a top group of players that weren't better than that by a reasonable margin. Dealing Marner or Nylander for Depth is plugging one leak by taking your hand off another.

The problem with this team's construction is a bigger deal than trading one guy, even someone as good as Marner, can solve. And that's before you get into the reality that trading basically any Leaf but Matthews right now would be trading them at a pretty bad time value-wise.
I wish to hell I'd never said "Winning isn't everything it's the only thing". What I believe is, if you go out on a football field, or any endeavour in life, and you leave every fibre of what you have on the field, then you've won.
- Vince Lombardi

Frank E

Great reading this stuff gentlemen...although I feel as though this is the same conversation we had last year...and maybe the year before after they melted down against Montreal.

One of the things that I haven't seen mentioned much is the fact that the Leafs haven't been able to develop a stronger player...like a top-6 scoring player or a top 3 d-man.

And this is after all the hiring of all the super duper development and training and scouting teams the Leafs have.

I think if Dubas could point to being able to develop great players, but it just hasn't all come together yet, it would be more likely that he'd get the extension...but he really can't.

herman

#1556
Quote from: Frank E on May 19, 2023, 09:34:20 AMOne of the things that I haven't seen mentioned much is the fact that the Leafs haven't been able to develop a stronger player...like a top-6 scoring player or a top 3 d-man.

And this is after all the hiring of all the super duper development and training and scouting teams the Leafs have.

I think if Dubas could point to being able to develop great players, but it just hasn't all come together yet, it would be more likely that he'd get the extension...but he really can't.

Dubas started drafting in 2018, and it takes about 4-5 years for non-top 15 draft picks to get significant NHL positions. In the meantime, regardless of what you feel about them individually, his Marlies system brought in and skilled up Zach Hyman, Justin Holl, Martin Marincin, Travis Dermott, Trevor Moore, Kasperi Kapanen, and Mason Marchment to play either key NHL roles or serve as significant trade pieces.

His actual draft pieces have all been 15 and lower picks; Sandin, Durzi, Holmberg, Robertson have all played NHL minutes and Knies has likely cemented himself a full time role next season.

Fun example: Carter Verhaeghe, drafted by the Leafs in 2013-Rd3, didn't break out until 2021 on his 4th team. So a lot can be accomplished with the right bargain bin hunting finding players that match your playstyle.
#27 #TeamFasstholes

Nik

#1557
Yeah, I don't know if it's entirely fair at this point to say that Dubas' drafting/development has been bad(although I think it is fair to say at this point that it certainly hasn't been exceptionally good) and I think it's probably fairer to say that he's mainly goofed by A) continuing the previous policy of trying to win every year, leading to a lack of patience with young players/prospects and using those assets for immediate help rather than long-term building and B) Generally speaking having a mediocre/bad record of finding young talent around the league who can step in to big/significant roles quicker than draft picks but don't cost an arm and a leg.

If you look at Florida as an example half of their roster of major contributors are young-ish players who they acquired via trade/free agency/waivers and were brought in at a very reasonable cost(Bennett, Reinhart, Duclair, Forsling, Montour, Verhaeghe). Meanwhile the guys on the Leafs who you could point to as a comparison are...Bunting? Things like the Kadri trade, getting nothing of significant value there, and things like using first and second round picks on guys like Foligno and Giordano, not finding more Buntings...that's why they're kind of stuck with no great way forward.
I wish to hell I'd never said "Winning isn't everything it's the only thing". What I believe is, if you go out on a football field, or any endeavour in life, and you leave every fibre of what you have on the field, then you've won.
- Vince Lombardi

L K

#1558
Quote from: herman on May 19, 2023, 09:48:01 AM
Quote from: Frank E on May 19, 2023, 09:34:20 AMOne of the things that I haven't seen mentioned much is the fact that the Leafs haven't been able to develop a stronger player...like a top-6 scoring player or a top 3 d-man.

And this is after all the hiring of all the super duper development and training and scouting teams the Leafs have.

I think if Dubas could point to being able to develop great players, but it just hasn't all come together yet, it would be more likely that he'd get the extension...but he really can't.

Dubas started drafting in 2018, and it takes about 4-5 years for non-top 15 draft picks to get significant NHL positions. In the meantime, regardless of what you feel about them individually, his Marlies system brought in and skilled up Justin Holl, Martin Marincin, Travis Dermott, Trevor Moore, Kasperi Kapanen, and Mason Marchment to play either key NHL roles or serve as significant trade pieces.

His actual draft pieces have all been 15 and lower picks; Sandin, Durzi, Holmberg, Robertson have all played NHL minutes and Knies has likely cemented himself a full time role next season.

Fun example: Carter Verhaeghe, drafted by the Leafs in 2013-Rd3, didn't break out until 2021 on his 4th team. So a lot can be accomplished with the right bargain bin hunting finding players that match your playstyle.

The problem though is that Dubas (and Lou) didn't do a very good job of asset protection since the Matthews draft.  I like a lot of Dubas' picks but we haven't had a single player come in and defy their draft spot.  Nik has gone off on it a lot but the Leafs haven't been able to supplement their 8 non-core forward with internal players.

Guys like McMann, Steeves, Holmberg.  I like bits and pieces of what they did but they also really weren't able to cement long-term spots on the roster or haven't been able to generate any finish.  Knies looks like he will be a good player but I think we should also let him play an actual season before we project his playoff performance. 

There are prospects that are on their way but they aren't help today or tomorrow. Maybe there is another Michael Bunting that our GM will find in the offseason but we keep losing peripheral pieces and having to replace them with UFA because internal solutions haven't been there.

I think the standard of having players play NHL minutes needed to be higher when the team was trying to build around an expensive upper core.  Expecting a GM to hit on diamonds all the time isn't fair, but the organization has basically forced that scenario with a strategy of losing your good assets to free agency and trading lots of picks at the deadline year over year.

And just to be clear, I want Dubas back as long as his head is in the game.

Bender

Quote from: Nik on May 19, 2023, 09:11:41 AM
Quote from: L K on May 19, 2023, 08:54:23 AMObviously we don't want to make bad trades just for the sake of breaking cup the core.  If the best offer we get for Marner is a 1st round pick and a 2nd line player that doesn't make the team better now or in the future.  But we have retooled the periphery for 4 years and not being able to score enough has been a recurrent problem.  Every team is going to potentially face a team that can "goalie you" but its happening over and over again.

We've "retooled" it in the same sort of manner that Taco Bell has new menu items. They've just got 15 ingredients that they combine in slightly different ways. The Leafs have tried to build competent depth via cheapo free agent signings and bad deadline deals. That it hasn't worked four times doesn't mean the depth isn't the problem, it means that the method is probably fundamentally flawed.

Now, I get it, the only way to meaningfully otherwise address the depth quickly is via either freeing up some money via trading a higher priced player or getting depth back in said trade but I think there's kind of a stark reality that as good as Matthews-Marner-Nylander-Tavares can be, they haven't been so good that you can remove one of them and still be able to go toe to toe with the better teams in the league in terms of high impact players. Are the Leafs 4 better than Barkov-Tkachuk-Verhaeghe-Bennett?  Maybe but not by much. And if the guy who gets dealt, as a lot of people are suggesting, is Marner then a top 3 of Matthews-Nylander-Tavares is, I'd say, a very unspectacular and perhaps even sub-average top three for teams with meaningful goals of contending. If you include Rielly as the #4 guy then I think you would be very, very hard pressed to find a team that had experienced significant playoff success with a top group of players that weren't better than that by a reasonable margin. Dealing Marner or Nylander for Depth is plugging one leak by taking your hand off another.

The problem with this team's construction is a bigger deal than trading one guy, even someone as good as Marner, can solve. And that's before you get into the reality that trading basically any Leaf but Matthews right now would be trading them at a pretty bad time value-wise.

Marner with 2yrs on his deal and a Selke finalist. Not sure how you get better value. I think lots of front offices will chalk this up to the Leafs effect where he isn't the best in the playoffs due to hometown jitters etc.

And I mean, the idea shouldn't just be for depth in the strictest sense, If we re-sign Matthews and Nylander then I don't think we need to be at the top in terms of overall talent. I think we've seen time and again that talent without a type of tenacity and grit is good on the margins but not in the core. Verhaghe's only in the conversation because he emerged to be that player. The Leafs have to try and get players back that aren't at their peak now but can be useful now and emerge to be better players in the following years. Sometimes you have to pull a St. Louis and reload.
"They say you can judge a man by the company he keeps. So here is the professor's oldest friend, a grotesque, stinking lobster." - Bender