Friday, August 28, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

Once again, with feeling

As we progress towards the start of the season, and you see more and more articles saying things like this -

"Burke, however, failed to add a top six forward to the mix prompting worries that the Leafs will not be able to score goals this coming season."

- just keep this in mind:

The Leafs placings in league standings among all 30 teams for G/F since the lockout: 10, 11, 8, 9.

The Leafs placings in league standings among all 30 teams for G/A since the lockout: 30, 27, 25, 21.

Every single year scoring (or rather, our ratio of "top six forwards") is brought up as a weakness for the team, every single year those suggestions have been blatantly inaccurate. The fact that the Leafs have tried to cut down on their goals against in lieu of adding scoring is not a negative. It shows our management can actually read, unlike most pundits, and is trying to address the problems that actually plague the team.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

We are not the kids we used to be

(stop wishing for yesterday!)

Alright, so this offseason is winding down with Kaberle's trade window looking to expire once again without movement on our part on Saturday.

I recently read a post about an Edmonton fan wondering how many people actually remained on the team since the lockout. I think the answer came out to 4.

Assuming we don't move Tomas Kaberle, we'll also have 4 Leafs remaining on the team who played at least one game in 2005-2006:


That's it.

Now, is this unusual for clubs across the NHL? Both Toronto and Edmonton have been on playoff-barren streaks these past few years. So I decided to go check out the other teams in our division (these are players that played games at the NHL level in 05/06):

Montreal - 3:
A. Kostitsyn

Ottawa - 8:
Heatley (maybe)

Boston - 4:
Alberts (thanks Cornelius)

Buffalo - 9:

Not even double-digit holdovers on any team in the Northeast. It's pretty obvious that turnover is the norm in the NHL, not the exception, and that it can happen in a surprisingly short amount of time. This is 4 seasons, noting that the 4th has yet to even be played at this point. Kind of reinforces the idea that all these long, cap circumventing contracts are generally a bad idea.

What does this mean to a Leafs fan? For one, think twice before buying that next jersey.

Seriously though, it's that one can't look at their current roster and then project the next 3, 4 seasons on it. Will Schenn be with the team forever? Ask any Bruins fan that has an '05 Thornton jersey what they think about "franchise players". Do Komisarek and Beauchemin anchor our D for the length of their contracts? Remember that Kubina was a highly touted high-cost free agent signing of similar age.

Steen, Colaiacovo, and Wellwood sure looked like future bright lights for the team back on 05, didn't they? When Pascal Leclaire set the NHL on fire for the Blue Jackets in 07, could we really guess that in a year he'd be supplanted and then become a Senator? How about when Wade Redden and Zdeno Chara/Joe Corvo were part of a threatening Ottawa power play?

Only two goaltenders have actually stuck with their team in this sample, All Stars Ryan Miller and Tim Thomas. Toronto managed to run through 3-4 guys, Montreal at least 4, Boston parted ways with promising young goalie Hannu Toivonen, not to mention a goalie a year removed from a Calder in Raycroft.

The NHL's a crazy place, players come and go with incredible frequency, doesn't matter if they're young, expensive, or a "sure thing". Just a little perspective for all us future-crazed sports fans.