Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Redecorating Deck Chairs On The Good Ship Maple Leaf

This is tough. This is coming home after hours of trick or treating and emptying your bag and finding nothing but apples and those nasty orange taffies that nobody ever eats. It's not like I expected much from today; Cliff Fletcher did a pretty good job conditioning Leaf fans over the weekend to expect less, rather than more. The big five all turned down the request to waive their no trade contracts and that left Fletch in an awkward place. I know that it's not the players job to to build the team and I know they worked hard and earned those special clauses and that they have every right to say up yours to management but it is still very, very frustrating from the fan's perspective, having to watch these guys stubbornly stand in the way of a meaningful rebuild, talking about the playoffs, when all any Leafs fan really wants is to draft Steven Stamkos.

But this just means that Fletch, known for his always imaginative trades, would have to get creative at the deadline.

The day started out with Wade Belak heading to Florida for a fifth round pick, which is ok, I guess. I mean, he doesn't play much, and he doesn't make much, but he's entertaining, and he's always good for a quote in the dressing room, and that's pretty hard to find in any hockey dressing room. I don't know who inherits the tough guy role for the Leafs now. So whatever, a pretty meaningless deal to start the controlled demolition. But Fletch, you gotta start somewhere!

But that was followed with a good three hours of nothing from Fletch, until we learn Hal Gill, perhaps one of Fergie's better contract signings, has been traded to Pittsburgh for a 2nd and a 5th. Gill had become one of the more dependable Leafs defenceman over the past couple of seasons. He was big and slow and he didn't win hockey games but he certainly never lost any for us, which is more than you can say for some of the other mooks playing on that blue line. I'll miss him at least.

Then finally Chad Kilger, also to Florida for a 3rd. This one not surprising; Kilger is a scruffy, hard working guy, the kind of guy Fergie was great at picking up, and the kind of guy who can adds a little extra grit to any team. We got him off waivers at the deadline, oh, it seems like forever ago, back when Toronto was a serious playoff team.

And that's it. Hardly the reno job Toronto needed. I'm hardly one to play armchair GM, but was there nobody who wanted Nik Antropov? The guy is never going to be more valuable and he's too old to factor into any long term build plan.

This is going to be a very long summer



Navin Vaswani said...

nice post, and nice blog too.

don't agree with your thoughts on antro tho. why trade our second-best forward (behind mats) when he's 28 years old and paid just above $2 million.

we've got to keep him in order to move forward in the right direction.

if you're looking for someone to get rid of, look no further than blake and bell

Navin Vaswani said...

i know antro has more of a move-able contract, but he's finally turning into a decent nhl-er...i would hate to see him go after i waited so bloody long to arrive

Jason said...

I know I know, we waited so long for Antropov to finally put it all together, but the Leafs needed to do something yesterday and he was really the only movable guy who would have brought anything back.

Not to mention that if the Leafs keep winning they're going to play themselves right out of the draft lottery. I say scuttle the ship now.