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Messages - skrackle

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I think the Leafs talent level could be equal to or beyond Tampa's, given time and great GM-ing over the next season or three. The Leafs aren't far off, but Tampa has several years of development ahead of where the Leafs are right now.

The Leafs might catch fire in the playoffs, you never know. It often comes down to match-ups, luck with injuries, bounces, etc. But really, I don't think it's their time yet. They don't have enough versatility and experience to beat any team at any type of game. The roster isn't quite there. It's a work in progress.




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And Jim Hughson is sad. Anyone notice his dejected "Leafs win"?

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Marlies & Prospect Talk / Re: Ranking Prospects 2018-19
« on: February 04, 2019, 07:27:57 PM »
Durzi was traded to L.A. as part of the Muzzin deal, was he not?

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The type of grit the Leafs need isn't the old school Colton Orr-type 4th liner. That's nothing against Orr. I thought he did a great job in a specific role on a Leafs team that was going nowhere at that time.

The Leafs could really use a player like Matthew Tkachuk. Someone that puts some fear into the opposition and is a scoring threat. He's not leaving Calgary anytime soon, so who might be available now that could fill that role? Michael Frolik? Wayne Simmonds? Are they the right fit and what do they cost?

The bigger need is the defense. It has not been sufficiently addressed yet and it remains the Leafs weakness.

I think the Leafs window is just starting to open. There are significant problems for management to solve and cap issues are looming, but the core is very young and very talented. The main pieces for success are in place. Development-wise, I don't think they are there yet. Another 1st round loss would not surprise me. There are roster issues to be solved and they haven't learned how to win in the playoffs yet. The upcoming playoffs should tell a pretty good story of where the Leafs are now and where they need to get to.

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Marner is going to be one expensive meatball.  I think we might end up looking back on Dubas' "I'll sign them all" comment and shaking our heads a little bit.


Maybe the Leafs should have extended Nylander last offseason. Salaries only go up, as the salary cap increases.

I think this is an example of Lou's "if you have time, use it" backfiring a wee bit here.
Yeah why in the hell was there no talk of extending Nylander last year? That should have been done

Both sides will use time-based pressure points to try and gain leverage. As a fan, you wish they'd get on it sooner, but it doesn't seem to work that way. We will be seeing the same process play out again soon enough, with the NHL CBA coming up for renewal.

Sorry to bring that up. I'd rather not think about that, but it is what it is. I think Nylander will sign a bridge deal and will be back soon enough.


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Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Re: Lou Will Not Return
« on: August 18, 2018, 09:57:43 PM »
Burke and Nonis had a similar take when running the Leafs regarding analytics, but if I recall correctly, they were being inundated with stat companies trying to break into the league by offering proprietary metrics. For the mathematically disinclined, yeah, it can definitely impede your decision making (that had proven itself effective previously). At a certain age, when you’re maybe leaning towards cementing a legacy, going out on a limb that you cannot prove the load-bearing capabilities of is quite challenging.

So it is entirely understandable to me why there is resistance to change, especially to a movement/philosophy that is perceived to be out to tell everyone (and by extension you) has been wrong this whole time re: grit, fighting, hits, blocking, slapshots from the point, dressing room character, WASP values, etc.

As one gets older, I think it's probably a hard thing to accept that there are new and different ways of thinking about and doing things in the field that you think you know inside out.

New ideas from the younger generation don't invalidate your years of knowledge and experience. They add to it. I think the last Leafs regime should have hired some young analytics hotshots and had them report to the top brass. Oh well.

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Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Re: Kyle Dubas is new Leafs GM
« on: August 09, 2018, 09:41:13 PM »
Just coming back to this on the verge of thing for a minute.

What's this based on? I vaguely recall someone giving the Leafs 1st place odds at winning a cup next year. Is that it?

Yes, the Leafs added Tavares. And, full marks for that. I didn't think they would pull that off. It will help greatly. Well done. I'm not saying otherwise...but that defense! It's barely playoff calibre, let alone championship quality.

I'm not saying Dubas can't or won't improve that part of the Leafs. I'm sure he sees the need to do so, but it's not a given that he will be able to.

"On the verge of a Stanley Cup" is Lindsay Hofford hyperbole for "Mark Hunter is a hockey wizard" as he's stumping for his long-time boss/friend. I think his statement is accurate insofar as he was reflecting what most of the front office and team probably felt about themselves at the time. Judging by their deadline moves (or lackthereof), that was pretty clearly their read. It's not that accurate per reality, but our perception is generally the reality we interact with.

As for the defense, most hockey systems analysts of the team have pointed to systems and tactics being more culpable than personnel. Defense is a team measure, not just the 2 dudes who play closest to the goalie. To build on what we have further would require a significant asset investment (cap space and players), i.e. we need a 1RD. Adding Tavares instead gives the Leafs an overmatch on lines 2-4, if not also on 1 (playing less DZ hockey). Tavares also fairly recently invested in developing his own play away from the puck (to Selke levels) and you can bet those lessons will be imparted to the young forward core of the Leafs.

Thanks for clarifying that.

I'm just used to things going pear-shaped when it comes to the Leafs. A failure to keep the puck out of their net is a common theme with this team during most of my fandom.

I agree, Tavares should help the team defense. Having an experienced guy who can control the puck when the game is on the line is huge. That might be one of the most valuable skills Tavares can bring to the Leafs.

I guess for me the main thing is defining or coming to grips with expectations for the upcoming season. When you add Tavares to the talented young core the Leafs have, you want to win asap. I think the Leafs need to win at least one playoff round to show progress, but it's not a given they will do so. Competition at the top of the Atlantic Division is fierce.

I don't think there is a defense prospect ready to step in and make a big difference. Can someone new make the team and provide something that was lacking? Can Liljegren or Sandin elevate their game enough to step up sooner than expected? Can the strengths of the Leafs be enough to overcome their weakness? Can Dubas pull off a brilliant trade solves the Leafs defensive issues without crippling the team?

These are the questions that keep me up at night. Well, not really, but it's still the middle of summer and it's just fun to see where everyone thinks the Leafs are and what they need to do.

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Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Re: Kyle Dubas is new Leafs GM
« on: August 08, 2018, 08:10:46 PM »
Just coming back to this on the verge of thing for a minute.

What's this based on? I vaguely recall someone giving the Leafs 1st place odds at winning a cup next year. Is that it?

Yes, the Leafs added Tavares. And, full marks for that. I didn't think they would pull that off. It will help greatly. Well done. I'm not saying otherwise...but that defense! It's barely playoff calibre, let alone championship quality.

I'm not saying Dubas can't or won't improve that part of the Leafs. I'm sure he sees the need to do so, but it's not a given that he will be able to.

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Ozighanov, Holl ,Borgman and  Rosen will all be in the mix, but who wins out.... I wouldn't even try to guess that, but I do have a real gut feeling about two new faces making the jump.

I hope you are right on that. It would certainly be a cap-friendly way of solving the Leafs defense roster issues.

The Leafs are a potentially dominant team at forward position. Goaltending? I put a question mark there, because I'm not sure what to make of Andersen. As much as I would like to, I don't watch the Leafs game-in and game-out. From what I have seen, it seems he showed up for roughly half the regular season and half of the playoff games. What's going on there? Is he over-worked? Loses focus easily? Bad D in front of him? Not that good? I'd go with overworked/defense doing him no favors, but I'm not sure.

My concern is, I can't see the Leafs winning a Cup if the back half of the team is weak, even if the front half is dominant. The Leafs have been mediocre to awful defensively since the Pat Burns era. That's a long time ago and his teams didn't even make the finals.

But hey, GM Dubas thinks the Leafs can solve most of their defensive issues internally, so maybe you are onto something.

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I think our Defense will be fine, I see two of our prospects making the defense this season. I also think the leafs will turn out four Defense between this and next year from the Marlies.  A trade to get Defense IMHO is backwards thinking, as the issue will be unloading from our current group.

Oh Also Ozighanov could be an intresting add to the mix.

Which two defense prospects do you see making the Leafs? I'd like to see one player make the jump and have a big impact, but I'm not sure who that would be.

Ozighanov? He's 25, but if he can somehow bring his game to an NHL level, he might be an interesting option. From what I've read, he's got size, scoring ability and apparently questionable hockey sense, so who knows?.

Right now, the Leafs have the unknown Ozighanov. They have the Marlies free agents from last year-Borgman and Rosen. They have Jeff Holl, who is a maybe. They have their potentially elite defensive prospects, Liljegren and Sandin, who are one and probably more than one season away from making the team. They've got players like Marincin who have played a bit with the Leafs, but haven't made enough impact. There is potential in that group to improve the Leafs, but I don't feel strongly that it's going to happen this season.

We are now in the dog days of the NHL offseason, so I don't expect any big moves. The Leafs will probably go into camp with what they've got to at least see where they are, but since they've added Tavares, they want to try and win right away. I expect some kind of move to improve the defense during next season.

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Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Re: 2018 Draft Thread
« on: June 24, 2018, 07:16:33 PM »
Sandin, Durzi, and Der-Arguchintsev all sound very well spoken, self-reflective/self-aware, and motivated to become better. Like Carrick-lite.

Dubas on the draft | Dubas the next day
Sandin
Durzi (he showed up last year and didn't get the call; this year he got called by his hometown team.)
Der-Arguchintsev (came over to Canada 4 years ago specifically to grow his game and learn English; buddies with Zaitsev)
Bouthillier (holy crap, he showed up to the draft!)

That's great. I really do admire anyone who is on a life journey based on self-awareness and improvement. Not an easy path to follow.

It might be a bit milquetoast for the NHL playoffs. The Washington Capitals weren't exactly choirboys on ther journey to the Stanley Cup. The Leafs picks are all kids, with a lot to learn.

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General NHL News & Views / Re: Official Ottawa Senators Thread
« on: June 22, 2018, 03:57:50 PM »
Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini is rumored to be very hands on, as in dictating whether the team re-builds or not and getting involved in trades. He's said to have vetoed trading the Sedins some years back.

Just guessing, but there could be a connection between the bottom feeding teams and the degree of owner meddling.

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General Rumours & Speculation / Re: Armchair GM 2018-2019
« on: June 20, 2018, 01:23:27 PM »
When the Leafs hired Lou Lamoriello, they started diverting from Shanahan's talk of patience, rebuilding properly etc. Yes, Lamoriello did get rid of Dion Phaneuf and thank you Lou for that. But that's when the "we found ourselves further ahead than we thought we'd be" talk started.

Are the Leafs further ahead than pre-Lamoriello? Well, you'd have to say yes, considering they went from last overall to a franchise record regular season points total in a couple of seasons. In too many ways though, they jumped the gun on finishing the rebuild. They will no longer get high draft picks by being a bad team. UFAs? Tavares would be nice, but I wouldn't be betting on him signing with the Leafs. They haven't built enough depth to make a big trade without weakening the team in another area.

I can't see Frederic Andersen as the long term answer in goal. He's inconsistent; wildly so at times, but he's often hung out to dry by poor defensive play. The defense-roster and team play- needs so much work. Beyond that, the Leafs just don't seem like a team that's built for the playoffs.

They do seem like a team that was fortunate to draft a few highly skilled offensive players. You need a few of those to win, so that's good. I do still have optimism that this team can do something, but Dubas has his work cut out.

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General NHL News & Views / Re: Jets (C2) vs. Golden Knights (P1)
« on: May 20, 2018, 11:36:13 PM »
Vegas picked up the cup. They are cursed now. Bunch of rookies. You can tell they are a new franchise. There is no way they will win the Stanley Cup now. They are doomed.

Marc-Andre Fleury (3-time Stanley Cup champion) told Engelland to pick it up. The Pens picked up the Wales in 2009, 2016, and 2017.
Still cursed.  Pittsburgh got lucky.  It was a fluke.  It was because of Phil Kessel.

Those superstitions are meaningless, unless players are dumb enough to buy into them and let them affect their game. They are a fun tradition for the fans, though.

I'm guessing it will be Vegas and Tampa. Tampa seem to stumble for a couple of games until they figure out their opponents. Then they take over. That's probably what will happen in the final.

Washington aren't quite dead yet, but I don't think they are going to make it.

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Nothing crazy. 

Belief that Lou has extra term on his contract but that unofficially this was always intended to be his last year as GM.  Johnson commented that Lou has said formally that this is his last year within "board room" discussions.  The assumption is that Dubas would take his place as GM but Lou would continue to serve in an advisory role.

I don't think it is anything more than we have talked about before.  I think it fits well with Dubas declining to interview for jobs this year.

That's the only good news on this crappy evening of hockey.

Yeah, I would take that bit of news, if it's true. If the plan to improve the team is stuck in a trade a 2nd rounder for a 4th line center rut, then it's probably time for some fresh thinking.

I didn't mind the Leafs bringing in Lamoriello, but it should have been an advisory position in the first place.

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