Battle of Ontario – Sens UP – Leafs DOWN. HOCKEY CRUNCH by Jamie Gilcig

August 16, 2022 – Yes it’s August. Camps open soon and rosters will still be tinkered with, but we’ve gone through the draft, and the opening of Free Agency. The trade frenzy between and the bottom line is a Toronto team that surely cannot afford another first round drubbing, but has simply not moved the needle forward.

No major trades were accomplished. The top heavy Cap burden is still in play. The D has not been fixed, and Matt Murray, while a potential good story, most likely isn’t Cinderella, and most likely will pumpkin.

Toronto is in major trouble as the fans deserve more than a first round and out. Auston Matthews has a contract that will need renewing soon, if he wants to stay a Leaf. The American could follow the trend of NHL players who soured on playing in Canada because of Covid, high taxes, and huge hockey scrutiny in fan crazed Canadian markets.

The Gilcig Core ( 5 man core) for the team starts at Matthews. Add in Marner, Tavares, Nylander & Rielly and you can see talent, but at a huge price. Average age: 26.8 Cap hit $9,601,123 Games played Avg 77.4 Points 85.4 Average minutes per forward 20.104. These are pretty good numbers other than the average cap hit.

The problem is that this a core that needs to be all in and the team has failed to piece things together. You can’t really blame the core for not moving forward.

While Jack Campbell didn’t have a great play off this season; he did the year before.

The team’s problem has been on D where Rielly hasn’t had enough help.

This year the team’s lost some key players without adding enough. Going full 6/49 on Matt Murray smells more of desperation than savvy. If he can pull it together Dubas looks like a hero. If he doesn’t. It wouldn’t be surprising to see major changes for Leaf Nation.

Sens GM Pierre Dorion looks like a man who’s all in. Not necessarily to grasp Lord Stanley’s Cup, but certainly to make it past to the playoffs.

This team has a lot going for it, and is one D man away from truly being a lock for a spot.

The Gilcig Core: Brady Tkachuk, Josh Norris, Claude Giroux, Thomas Chabot, and Alex Debrincat. The Sens actually have a few players that could be argued to replace one or two on this list. Their depth, other than on D, is very strong.

Average age? 25.6 Cap hit? $7,411,142 Games played Avg 72.2 Points 60.6 Average minutes per forward 20.49.

The Sens also have cap space, something the Leafs do not. They also have a more consistent goalie in Cam Talbot for next season. As well, their pantry is still full compared to Toronto with some prospects ready to rumble compared to the Leafs failure to develop some of their younger players the last few seasons.

While Ottawa still has a mountain to climb, they clearly are heading in the right direction, while Toronto is on the brink of major change. The pressure clearly will be on Leaf management, and the team.

Jamie@cornwallfreenews.com

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