It has to be a disappointing off season for Leaf fans. Not quite as disappointing as for Hab fans, but pretty darn close.
Neither team has really addressed their core needs even though both are near the Salary Cap.
Dumping Phil Kessel was more of a statement than a trade and now Brendan Shanahan has hired his long time mentor, former NJ GM Lou Lamoriello.
Uncle Lou is legendary, but that legend pretty much ended as the cap age started. The Devils are a team that literally has ground into the nether regions of the NHL with poor asset management and poor team structure.
Ultimately much of that demise has to fall under Lamoriello.
The Leafs hired Brian Burke with a lot of fanfare. He made dramatic changes and the team showed some life and spark while never really getting over the hill. It’s hard to get top line talent. It rarely hits free agency now and you have to be able to draft and develop talent.
Look at the job that Burke has done in Calgary, and you can see that the issues in Toronto before his departure were most likely not Burke issues.
Hiring Brendan Shanahan who never had a track record like Burke’s has seen media pandering of Messianic levels which is kinda perplexing? Bringing in Kyle Dubas and Mark Hunter seemed to be a positive direction. It was a decision to go with today’s analytics (which this writer isn’t convinced are used properly yet) and with proven success from Hunter.
Shanahan chose to bring in Lamoriello for reasons only he can share. He gave up a 3rd round draft pick and signed Uncle Lou to a 3 year deal. There is speculation that he is there to groom Dubas, and there’s speculation that he’s there to help dismantle what Burke built.
Shanahan also brought in Mike Babcock in the most lucrative coaching contract in NHL history. Did Babcock sign on to tank for several seasons? That clearly is not his style of play. Yes, this season’s Leaf team will most likely be hitting the links early, but do they have to?
Does it really make sense to fire sale talent for a rebuild in today’s NHL unless you really have no talent to start with? The Leafs have many challenges to face. Shanahan, Lamoriello, Dubas, Hunter, Babcock and a season of losing hockey are a recipe for a few explosions which should keep writers busy, but will the fans support it?
In Montreal Marc Bergevin has had a rough off season. So far the biggest impact on the roster has been Alexander Semin. That’s scary.
There’s a weird vibe in Hab land, as though almost anything can happen.
Max Pacioretty is a question mark. He seems cursed with injuries every season even though he toughs them out.
I like the Semin contract. It’s not a game changer, but it addresses a need in getting a scoring right winger and in this case for the same salary as David Arcobello. It’s one year so is totally disposable. Semin is a power play specialist too While players like Semin and former Hab Kovalev are complained about, hockey players are paid for results.
Who Had a Better Off Season? Brendan Shanahan or Marc Bergevin?
- Marc Bergevin (55%, 16 Votes)
- Brendan Shanahan (45%, 13 Votes)
Total Voters: 29
Great attitudes are nice, but winning Stanley Cups takes talent. Guy Lafleur has been said to have some strange training habits, like smoking, but he put up results. Mario Lemieux might not have been a great “200 foot” player, but what he did in the red zone has rarely been seen in the NHL.
It’s how you use players and Semin on the PP and moving up and down between the 3rd line and filling in on 2nd and 1st should be just fine.
Alex Galchenyuk still hasn’t been resigned which bodes bad for the team unless a strong trade is in order. Tomas Plekanec is in his contract year. The team has a very very big decision to make shortly. Is he worth a raise and long term commitment? He will make more money next season but odds are it won’t be with Montreal, especially if Galchenyuk sticks and moves to Centre.
I have a hunch that this is going to be a break out season for Lars Eller who may be counted on to fill Plekanec’s skates in the future.
I like the Kassian trade in the sense that Kassian has the skills that the Habs needs. The loss of Prust will be felt and the problem is that if Kassian has a strong season what do you do then? Kassian projects out as a 40 pointish winger with some grit. Not bad, and something the Habs lack at this point.
So far it looks like the Ottawa Senators will finish ahead of both the Leafs and Habs. Now that’s a weird notion…
What do you think hockey fans? You can post your comments below.