NHL hockey Toronto Maple Leafs fans website

Leafs Nation Lives Here

Leafs Nation Lives Here
2011-2012 Maple leafs are playoff bound!!!

Search Harness Horses Info Net; US Trotting Association, Standardbred Canada

Custom Search

Leafs hockey, Harness Horse Racing Links, Standardbred races, NHL news

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Maple Leafs exceeding even my expectations

In early Summer 2011 I hoped that Jake Gardiner would go into Leafs training camp with the mindset that he was going to be the quarterback of the power play. Why did I want this? Everyone seemed to be giving the job to Liles uncontested, whereas I had been watching Gardiner develop on the USA junior team and he looked like a solid bet for the NHL.

I also hoped that Phil Kessel would watch video of Mike Bossy, and of Phil Kessel when hot, and hit the ice demanding and expecting big things from himself. He has developed into a premier passer over the past couple of seasons, Joffrey Lupul being the prime beneficiary, yet his sniping ability is so dominating that his assists pile up unnoticed.

My big concern was the position of backup goalie, and up until, well, yesterday against Pittsburgh, I was wholly unconviced that Gustavsson could be a reliable backup. In last night's game he played like a lad named James Reimer, and with Scrivens and Rynnas backstopping the first place Marlies in the AHL, the Buds are super-deep in the nets right now.

My hope was and is for the Maple Leafs to be contending for first in their division on January 1st, and be in the top four or five in the conference, and also to advance to the second round of the Stanley cup playoffs. They are noble goals for a young team, and we are definitely pointed in the right direction.

The fact that we are winning does not mean there won't be a trade, because Burke's phone is likely ringing with offers daily. The key will be to make a move that can add to the 23-man roster without detracting in any way from the success and momentum established so far.

So, who could be traded? Daryl Boyce is a proven NHLer with a winning record in the big leagues, and right now he's languishing on a 3rd line in the AHL, so he could be headed to Anaheim or Vancouver. Korbinian Holzer is likely ranked behind Aulie, Lashoff and Blacker, so could be moved as part of a package.

Two more controversial names would be Kadri and Franson. Beginning an NHL career in one's hometown can be tough, and I'm not convinced Burke sees Nazem Kadri as more than a top nine forward, and perhaps not quite nasty or hungry enough. Franson will likely be given another chance to contribute to wins, showcase his talents and increase the price should he be moved. It is too early to give up on such a talented young player, unless a sensational offer came in for him.

I am hoping Colbourne, Crabb, Aulie, Lashoff and Scrivens will be kept on the Marlies as insurance for the Leafs this year, and core building blocks for the next few years as contracts expire. I also think Mike Brown has earned the tough guy role over Rosehill and Orr.

Hockey players in Leafs system that could be traded

Here are names we could see being traded by the Leafs, but only if Burke thought he was receiving value that will help the Leafs now or in the future, without diminishing the Leafs or, to a lesser extent, the Marlies, hopes for this year:

Daryl Boyce
Jussi Rynnas
Nazem Kadri
Cody Franson
Rosehill or Orr, not both
Korbinian Holzer
Mike Zigomanis
Marcel Mueller
Brayden Irwin
Simon Gysbers
Juraj Mikus

Ideally Burke will move one player from the bottom five of the 23-man and package him with two mid-level Marlies, getting in return a top six scorer/playmaker, or a physical top nine winger/scorer. If he has to add in a 2nd round pick to get the right guy, Leafs fans have learned to trust that Brian's choice will far more often than not turn out to be a sound decision.

No comments:

Toronto Marlies Blog

Standardbred Canada blogs

The Hockey Writers

Find Standardbred Horse Racing, Harness Horse Websites

Find Harness Horses Wagering Tips on BetAmerica.com

Gamble on Green Stocks Investing

World's Best Photovoltaic Solar Power Stocks

USA and Canada Harness Horses Racing Info

Search Harness Racing and Standardbred Breeding websites

Custom Search

Best Green Stocks Investing Blog

Houses of the Hockey

Search Green Stocks Investing Network

Custom Search

PEI Matinee Racetrack Development Project

Horses and Hockey - Cash big tickets at the track!!!

Wind Power Stocks to Watch

Green Stocks Investing Network, Clean Energy News

Pucks N Ponies FREE PICKS blog