You’re all set up for your long overdue rebuild with assurances that your team won’t take short-cuts and won’t undercut the process, even if it brings in a big-name coach, and have even prepared yourself for the trading of some – or all – of your favorite players.
But patience doesn’t sell papers and it sure doesn’t get clicks.
I mean, I get it. I do it, the mainstream media does it, it can’t be helped: We all want people to read our stuff and pay attention to us and so you have to speculate. Plus, it’s a game for crying-out-loud. We are all here to have fun and rampant speculation and arm-chair GMing is fun.
So don’t take this as me ripping anybody. Hockey is a fun game and we all have a job to do. I wouldn’t want everyone to have all the same opinions. I might disagree, but I don’t think anyone’s opinion is worthless or without merit: this isn’t geo-politics, it’s the NHL.
It does get a little weird from time to time. For example:
Mike Babcock signs with the Leafs saying that one of the main reasons is that he has been assured the team is going to be built from the ground up, and that he has been promised no short-cuts will be taken or that nobody will get cold-feet after another year out of the Playoffs, and demand short-term fixes.
He says that, and then the first thing anyone says is “Hey maybe we should keep Kessel and the gang together for another year and see how they do under Babcock……….I just know we can get 8th if we have enough heart.”
Or maybe the entire world says that David Clarkson has the worst contract in the NHL and that it is unmovable. And then it gets moved and before you know it, someone’s on TV saying the Leafs ought to sign Matt Beleskey.
Really? The team that just might get out of it’s self-imposed salary cap hell if it sells off all of its players and goes through a complete rebuild should, before rebuilding anything, saddle itself with a five-year $25 million dollar contract (at the bare-minimum) for a player who is 26 and scored 39 points for a first place team?
Or what about Cody Franson? We’re already going to see what kind of go Dion gives it under the new coach, and since Rielly and Gardiner are the players they plan on building around, why not just reunite them with Polak and Robidas and give what was possible the worst set of defensemen in the NHL last season another shot under Ole Babcock?
What could possibly go wrong with spending 10-12 million on a 3rd line forward and a player the Leafs already had but refused to sign when he could have been signed to a deal that provided actual value?
I know it was tried before and I know it didn’t work, but this time it will be different, I swear.
These are just some of the many questions that go through your mind every day when you’re reading and watching and listening for anything about the Leafs. So, yeah, I suppose on a boring old Tuesday with a dearth of hockey news, it is interesting to speculate on signing
David Clarkson Matt Beleskey, but wouldn’t we all be better off if we just admitted that there is no point in the Leafs singing any big-ticket UFAs and resigned ourselves to the fact that a rebuild can actually be pretty exciting, if for different reasons?
It is with that in mind that I say: No to Beleskey and no, double-no, to Franson.
Thanks for reading.
Covering the Leafs for the Hockey Writers.