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Topics - hobarth

Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Changes and Expectations
September 25, 2023, 07:03:35 PM
I didn't like what TO did last year during the summer, it seemed like TO was trying to become a Nashville clone, all defense, and was expecting that 5 players only were going to provide all of the offense, TO's regular season was again great, with the 5 player strategy, but the lack of offensive depth was again exposed during the playoffs. It wasn't only that the additions last year were very one dimensional but they didn't/couldn't help TO in the possession game which I think is the foundation of superior teams.

This year's summer strategy hasn't been the best, 3 years of Reaves, the Kampf extension but then TO signed Bertuzzi, Domi and Klingberg. The later 3 can perhaps contribute towards both offense, some physicality and possession, they aren't perfect but they do provide dimensions that's sorely been missing in Leaf teams since the beginning of the Matthews era.

Conventional wisdom has always stressed the importance of defense in the makeup of championship teams and TO's d was exceptional last year but conventional wisdom should also stress the point that the team that outscores the opposition wins and we have seen that TO's constant inability to score enough to win in the playoffs is a depth issue.

Maybe, we have a better balance that can continue to win during the regular season but also become more successful in the playoffs.
Main Leafs Hockey Talk / The Signings
August 22, 2023, 06:21:29 PM
Bertuzzi-$5.5 mil. per for 1 year- This is possibly a great signing, he has the right qualities to help TO considerably in the playoffs however his ability to remain healthy has been an issue his entire NHL career. 30 points, last year, in 50 games were his lowest PPG total in 4 years, his type of game takes a toll on his body so this is a definite we'll see signing. LW/RW, TO needs quality LWs so I expect he'd be best with JT and Marner.


Domi-$3 mil. for 1 season- I, like most Leaf fans, wanted TO to draft him, at the pay level TO will pay him I think TO should be alrite. Keep hearing how crappy he is at defending but I see he's had seasons of +20 and +8 so it looks like his results are like most players, dependent on who he plays with. He's more set up man than goal scorer and he's listed as a LW so I wonder if he'd be a good fit with AM and Willie?

Klingberg-$4.15 mil. for 1 year- Is this an overpay, it's less than he's made in 7 years. He has trouble playing 70 games and the word is he's declining rapidly and defending has never been his forte but his offense has made up for this. I do see that when he was younger his d stats were far better and that was basically with the same team. It's going to be interesting with him, will he become the new Gardiner.

Except for Reaves, I don't mind these signings, the Gambrell and Jones signings are depth signings so hopefully will have little affect on TO. 

The forwards left over from the ones I've mentioned are Kampf, Jarnkrok, Lafferty, Knies, Holmberg with Gambrell and Reaves also available in the bottom 6 forward lines, not the types of names/games that will scare opponents in any way, it's a weak group, we need Knies to develop rapidly. 
Main Leafs Hockey Talk / What are they worth?
July 03, 2023, 03:36:31 PM
It almost sounds like Matthews is dictating to the Leafs what his next contract should be, is he worth McDavid money, $12.5 mil., McKinnon money, $12.6 mil.?

Has Marner ever been worth Kucherov money, $9.5 mil., Pastrnak money, $11.250 mil.? 

Nylander, it's rumored is asking for north of $10 mil., sure he can ask for that much as a negotiation ploy but is that any where in the realm of reality of what he's worth?

Is resigning any of these players worthwhile at both their current levels or the horror shows of what they expect they're worth?

Is having an awesome regular season team what should be expected from these players at present and potential future remuneration, has covid ended and the potential future earnings of teams justify giving them even better money or is it time they earned their pay by being dominant thru the entire hockey season.

Holding the reins on their pay might mean a significantly weaker future Leaf team, I'm sure the only thing that holds these players to TO is their pay. I believe that Marner was looking to other teams to tender him an offer sheet during his previous negotiations which implies where his loyalty lies.

Day two of free agency was fun, the players signed might make the Leafs better but at least there is potential for a different team, different results instead of the same old, same old, winning a single round in the playoffs doesn't constitute a significantly enough change to heighten our expectations, IMO.
Main Leafs Hockey Talk / The Core
May 06, 2023, 09:35:35 PM
I'm watching the Edmonton game, I see their core has taken over the game, we watched the TO series against TB, TO won but Kucherov, Point and the rest of TB was enabling TB to outshot TO 2 to 1 in some games and basically outside of one game TB way outplayed TO, thank you Samsonov.

I would say that Samsonov was TO's only core quality player in that 1st round even tho Matthews and Marner scored like core players should.

Many will say that d-men that can defend are a greater assets than offensively capable d-men, which is true of course but those same people will maintain that great scoring d-men are usually poor defensively, yet as a general rule those same offensive d-men are paid more that the supposed defensively adept. Is this a systemic NHL problem or is it more likely that offensive d-men should be far more valuable than the defensive ones because a d-man's responsibility is to keep the puck out of his net which is essentially keeping the puck outside of his zone. A defensive d-man will push/harass/cross check the opposition but ultimately will contribute to the debris that a goaltender has to contend with trying to see where the puck is/coming from. Rielly has never been considered a good defensive d-man but his value escalates in the playoffs because he still does his offensive things while also defending with purpose. Even tho he's widely viewed as a less than ideal d-man he makes considerably more than any other d-man on TO. I would say that Rielly only qualifies as a core player in the playoffs.

We can look at Marner's and Matthews' offensive stats during these playoffs and they are impressive, they are so impressive that these players can or more likely do presume they are doing enough to justify their salaries, it is mostly because of them that TO does so well year after year during the regular season. Even tho they score like superstars, are they worth their salaries, they don't dominate games like McDavid & Drisaitl, like Point & Kucherov, like Marchand & Pastrnak, doesn't being core worthy also means that a player can dominate, take over games in every way rather than simply be dominant statistically via offensive stats. Territorially, like a d-man, a core players value is also his ability to control the game, have and keep the puck, force the play, this doesn't always end up being recognized via goals and assists but while a team's core players are dominating the chances of the opposition scoring diminishes.

In the last game, TO's only dominate looking player was Nylander, to me, he was single handily possessing the puck, creating scoring chances, everything that I expect from a core player. Of course he was able to do this because he wasn't facing Florida's best defensive unit but at the same time he's not paid $11 mil. which is more than any other players on the ice except for TO players, TO's core AM, MM and JT need to be far more dominant than I think they are capable of in order for TO to be seriously considered as a Cup contender.

Basically, what I'm saying is TO's d is a bunch of slugs with one iffy core player and the forwards are led by offensively adept core players who are not possessionally capable enough to justify their salaries, TO can't afford to augment the lineup enough to make up for what TO's core players can't do. We seen it all year, TO kept winning but we never knew which team would show up, TO could be outshot, outplayed but still win, in the playoffs that result is far less likely unless Samsonov becomes the next Price.             
Main Leafs Hockey Talk / What Now?
January 16, 2023, 02:56:13 PM
The teams that TO has faced in the playoffs in the Matthews/Marner years has been:

Tampa .692%
Boston .688%
Washington .636%

These %s are their records during that time, TO winning % .649, these are the top 4 teams over this period. If a team is going to be the best then they have to beat the best. So this gives an insight into why TO has struggled in the first rounds during the 2017/18 to 2021/22 years, what isn't explained in this is why TO couldn't beat Columbus in the Covid year to qualify for the playoffs.

Because of TO's salary structure expecting TO to somehow get miraculously better seems like magical thinking but it has been the mindset of TO's hierarchy that TO would have better results because the core of the team was young and as it matured the results would follow.

It seems to me the hierarchy has been right TO has lost some good to very good players Hyman, Kadri and Mikheyev without proper replacements and has been able to continue having excellent regular season results, so has the teams that TO has been competing against.

TO just lost against Boston, it felt playoffish but I didn't feel that TO showed up which is like the back half of TO's first round playoff loses. Mitch had 2 assists, Matthews a goal, JT and Nylander had little bearing on the results. Mitch and Auston can't be on the ice for every minute, the support players aren't good enough to keep up or overcome Leaf competitors. Kerfoot, Kampf, Jarnkrok, Simmomds, Robertson, Aston-Reese, Holmberg, Timmins, Holl, Brodie, Muzzin, Rielly and many more just aren't the quality of support TO needs to become playoff successful.

For me, I don't think Dubie was wrong to give out the big contracts what I do think was wrong was attempting to fix gigantic leaks with small bandages, giving up quality draft choices for Foligno and the like when TO's on ice results were often/always middlin' prior to the playoffs. I didn't see anything from TO against Boston that would make me think TO is a true competitor and spending more potential assets for bandages would again be a mistake(s).

I think TO needs to go all in this year, spend assets to get quality depth not bandage depth like Lybushkin or Dubie should realize that TO isn't ready and disseminate some of it's questionable depth, now, to enable a proper retool for next year. 
Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Line Juggling
January 25, 2022, 12:34:44 PM




Extra: Ritchie, Clifford

These were the lines from practice yesterday, Keefe said these were something that they wanted to try since the beginning of the year but injuries have got in the way.

I like to see Mitch and Austin separated, I really feel that AM is hot when he's hot and not when he's not, he's not dependent on his linemates to score, I think JT is consistently better with better linemates. I don't think AM is a reliable puck mover from DZ to OZ so I wouldn't mind seeing Engvall on that line just for possession sake and I believe Engvall could be as productive offensively as Bunting.

With JT and MM able to have decent possession I think Kerfoot should remain on the 2nd, he's having a career year but only because he's not being relied on as a center.

The 3rd line of Bunting/Nylander/Mikeyev would be very reliant on Nylander to move the puck but if Keefe can give them the proper role, against opposition's 3rd lines, this line might have decent potential both offensively and defensively as all 3 are dog on a bone determined.

Kampf is a 4th line center in every way who's limitations were masked by playing with Kase, Engvall, Mikeyev, his possession abilities might be more valuable against other's 4th lines. We are seeing the Spezza that Dallas didn't want at any money and Simmonds when motivated is a very good 4th liner but he provides little value anywhere else. Lately TO's 4th line has been horrendous except in rare games but then Ritchie, Clifford, Anderson, Seney plus others haven't provided a lot of value so Spezza it is I guess.

I hate the nights when it looks like TO has nothing in the tank and the commentators spend the evening making excuses like tiredness, altitude, injuries, +, TO has a great record and being satisfied with this team, this core, going into February hasn't worked and hasn't gotten them over the hump of even a single playoff round win, TO needs this experimentation.
Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Rielly
August 04, 2021, 11:43:46 PM
Rielly has one more year left in his contract, Dubie has threatened to trade him if a contract isn't worked out this summer.

What is Rielly worth, basically he's supposedly a speedy, nonphysical, leader with offensive talent but not the greatest defensively. As for being such a great offensive talent, take away the 52 and 72 point seasons and I don't think he's actually delivered on his offensive potential. Mostly his resume seems very Tyson Barrieish to me but Barrie has delivered on his offensive promise far more consistently than Rielly.

Barrie just signed for $4.5 mil per for 3 years so the question is, does Rielly deserve more or even that much? 
Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Buyout(s) & FAs
February 07, 2016, 04:38:01 PM
Lupul should be bought out, he's being played as a 4th liner and recently his icetime is going down, Babs doesn't seem to have any faith in him. He makes far too much coin for his value.

If TO bought him out they'd be on the hook for approximately 1.75 mil. for the next 4 years, add his total to Gleason's buyout 1.3 mil per for 3 and Kessel's salary take back 1.2 for 6 years so for the next 3 years TO has 4.5 mil. in dead money.

I don't think buying out Lupul makes any sense, either keep him on the roster or even better send him to the minors and let a rookie take his place. I think a better scenario would be if TO could move him while retaining half of his salary but I doubt anybody even thinks he's worth that much.

The majority of TO's FAs are expendable, being rid of them would in fact be desirable but there are 3 that are decent players. Kadri, Reimer and Polak. I think that last place teams falling in love with their players is the surest way to keep them in last place.

Of the 3 Kadri is the best, IMHO, but the question is, is he good enough to sign for 5+ mil for term, let's say 6 mil. for 5 years. Can TO envision him as say Jeff Carter to Kopitar or Bergeron to Krejci? TO already has a 2nd line center signed for 2 more years and I'm hoping TO will have possible resources to replace both by the end of Bozak's contract. I'm hoping/expecting Nylander will be an upgrade to both. Does TO need a 6 mil. $ placeholder, I don't think so.

Reimer is in about the same situation as Kadri, TO has a goalie signed for next year and possible potential playing for the excellent Marlies. Resigning him would only make sense if TO could move Bernie but even then can we feel an expensive long term commitment to him would be worthwhile. Reimer has has a spotty career highlighted by inconsistency and injury. TO's various regimes have never appeared to be sold on Reimer, Kiprusoff almost ended up a Leaf even tho Reimer was heroically good during the short season. It seems that Reimer is bad when he's great and horrible when he's bad, it's time to move on, trade him ASAP.

Polak, love this guy, he's been an upgraded version to Fraser by quite a margin. On a good team he's a 3rd pairing d-man so it would be stupid for TO to overcommit to this guy and overcommit is something TO would have to do to sign him now. Interesting that Polak has been receiving the most d-man icetime for the last 2 weeks of all of TO's d-men, actually it's both interesting and pathetic.

I think losing teams shouldn't fall in love with the players that make them losers especially when those players don't have the potential to improve and bring the team with them. TO made the mistake of over committing to Phanny and Kessel, for instance, let's hope they don't continue down the path of overpaying because replacements aren't immediately evident.     
I'm thinking we should expect the process to take around 7 years if everything falls into place perfectly. Chicago before they became a perennial Stanley Cup contender needed 10 years of basically being out of the playoffs before they were able to reverse their fortunes and then they needed to have the right players become available in the draft to top off their rebuild.

Some teams are perpetually rebuilding for a variety of reasons like Florida, Arizona, Columbus, etc. but mostly because the draft choices they've chosen were wrong.

TO is now finally in the process of removing the previous regime's junk like Kessel, Finn, Verhage, etc. so there probably isn't much in the way of value either on TO or in the minors so I would say TO is at the beginning of a rebuild which will be painful and very long.
Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Is TO tough enough?
July 19, 2015, 03:37:11 PM
I don't think most of us really valued tough guys that had no skill, I know I didn't so is TO in a better place because skill be it ever so humble has replaced Orr and the boys.

I still think BB was right, all teams need the agitators and the bullies but because he went to such extremes we have lost our appetite for tough guys but surely there is a Leaf need for players that can play hockey and be enforcers. Successful teams like Detroit and Chicago have been successful without designated thugs relying on team toughness. Other teams are probably going along the same path like TB.

We all remember the Broad Street Bullies, now there was a team I liked, they had bullies that contributed as hockey players as well and this is the type of team I wouldn't mind seeing TO model itself after. Philly did also have some incredibly talented players but some of their bullies appeared better than they were because of their ruff reputations.

I'm not keen in watching TO go down a path that follows the trend setters of this day, I'd love to see TO become a version of the Broad Street Bullies, how about you?   
People were quite excited about the Robidas signing last year because they all know and agree that Phanny is not a leader and therefore naturally not a mentor, this appears to be a significant issue with Leaf fans at least especially in regards to Phanny.

Who are the leaders/teachers/mentors of the Marlies, normally I think this would be someone with a great deal of at least AHL experience, who's character is beyond reproach, a previously acknowledged leader probably with a history of having an "A" or "C" on his jersey in the AHL or even better the NHL, someone who record proves that what they say or do is worthwhile and there are probably other traits I've left out.

Many here are all gung ho about proper development so isn't leadership by a certified leader essential especially for the Marlies which might have more talent than TO's opening night roster?

I believe Carrick has been anointed the captain but I wonder if such a marginal talent will have the respect and attention of the potential Leaf saviors, Nylander, Kapanen, Gauthier, etc. 
Neil Smith the GM of NYR's Cup team was approached by Keenan and told that the NYR could win the Cup but needed some tweaks, Smith was in agreement so he traded potential youth to get players that could and did help them win the Cup, Larmer comes to mind. It was an all in scenario and not long after winning the Cup Smith was fired.

TO has in the past sacrificed youth to win the Cup. they didn't.

So what does everyone think? 
Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Corsi Numbers
July 14, 2015, 07:14:10 PM
I question the validity of this, basically it's the summation of shot attempts, the differential.

I remember TO having Jason Blake, he was a shot attempt machine, I believe he even took 400 shots one year so how many attempts would he have taken as well? Anyone playing with this human shot machine would undoubtedly sport a very impressive corsi so in a corsi measured world Blake would be a star, he wasn't a star, and TO did well to move him ASAP.

This stat to me has never made practical sense much the same as +/- because it doesn't truly take into account the quality of the opposition, the quality of whoever is being measured icemates, the difference between the quality of the opposition's players as opposed to the quality of the players who are playing with the player being measured. The possibilities for this stat being misrepresented are endless yet we are being told that Corsi is probably being used as measuring device in arbitration.
Marlies & Prospect Talk / Jeremy Bracco
June 30, 2015, 12:06:48 PM
The Hockey News-Draft Preview (2015) issue had Bracco listed as #74, fine this is just their opinion but their summary of him was:

"Skilled points machine soured scouts with his attitude"

Sure would like to know what this means?

I'll be surprised if he's worth a 2nd considering his salary/modest productivity, however since there was going to be some sort of bidding war when TO last signed him I'm hoping those teams will line up to trade with TO, doubtful.

The Wings are rapidly approaching TO's exalted status, they got extremely lucky on numerous draft choices, extremely, but time is running out for them, there is skill in their choices because they are able to pick players from the depths of the draft but Lidstroms, Zetters, Datsyuks, etc. are not happening now and haven't been for years. The vaunted proper model of drafting and developing is now going to be tested.

Detroit does show that where you draft in the draft isn't as important as who is drafted and to me shows that TO doesn't need to hastily divest themselves of the better players, draft success is crucial not tanking, Columbus went for 20 years approximately drafting in the upper end of the draft but almost constantly picked the wrong players. Until we actually see TO having draft success getting rid of TO's best/better players doesn't make sense.