Leafs Must Make Trade Today

Dion Phaneuf (Icon SMI)
Dion Phaneuf (Icon SMI)

The Leafs have lost eight games in a row. They have scored 15 goals in their last ten games. Things are bad, but they really aren’t that bad.

Lost in the Leafs’ recent downturn is the vast improvements they have made on team defense under Peter Horachek, the massively improved play of both Jake Gardiner and Morgan Rielly and the ascension of Nazem Kadri to perhaps the team’s best all-round player.

Instead what we see are ridiculous arguments about whether the team has been unlucky (They have been and its empirically provable, but who cares, right?) and borderline crazy media suggestions (McCown: Make Gardiner a forward. Cox: They aren’t getting the same quality of scoring chances under Horachek. Ferraro: Kadri and Kessel have no chemistry…..and Dear God, do not make me even remember that there was a segment on last night’s broadcast suggesting that Polak should be the team’s next captain.)

It’s all enough to make a sensible person who believes in what the evidence tells him (as opposed to fitting a pre-existing narrative into what he thinks he sees) insane.  The fact is, I don’t even care about the losing. The losing is good if it forces the team to fix it’s salary cap and move out guys like Polak and Bozak and hopefully never employ anyone with the suffix “AK” in their name ever again. If the losing forces the team to fire Randy Carlyle (it did) and Dave Nonis (it will) and to draft highly this year and get one of the at least five excellent centres available, then I say bring it on.

But there is just one thing the Leafs have to do – besides lose – and that is make a trade.


Joffrey Lupul
The Maple Leafs need to trade Lupul ASAP (John E. Sokolowski-US PRESSWIRE)

The reason is that this team is lost, demoralized and in need of a jolt. There is a zero percent chance they will make the Playoffs and a less-than-zero chance that they will take the team they currently have and turn it around. There is a psychological aspect to all games and in this case the Leafs problems are at least partially psychological.  Yes, the main problem remains that Nazem Kadri is the only decent NHL centre on the roster and that there is currently no top pairing defensemen, but it goes deeper than that: the Kessel, Bozak, Lupul, JVR, Phaneuf, Franson core – basically the guys who’ve been here for the last four or five years and have been centerpiece players during all four major collapses since the NHL lockout – is fundamentally screwed up.  I don’t care if each of those guys has a career season left in them or not, the fact is, in Toronto, as a group, they are done.

So, the team must take one of them and move them out today, just to cast away the pall that is hanging over this team.  It must be done and it must be done now. The losing is OK, the goals will come and the team actually is improving, but until they can banish the shadow of failure and ineptitude that hovers over the team, they will be unable to lay any kind of foundation for future success.

9 thoughts on “Leafs Must Make Trade Today”

  1. Obviously this team has some issues i.e. lack of a top flight centre, dubious goaltending(sorry Bernier) and a soft defence but firing Carlyle was not the answer. And firing him without a full-time coach to come in was ridiculous. That the wealthiest, most beloved franchise in hockey has an interim head coach is indefensible. And, if you recall, originally they had a tandem of interim coaches until Shanahan realized that was absurd. I cannot believe Carlyle was fired without any idea as to who would be the permanent head coach. I guess Shanahan was so desperate to show how smart he was by firing him that he never bothered to do the legwork and arrange for a proper replacement. This is a thoroughly demoralized team that just doesn’t know what is going on. It is to cry.

  2. Okay, we n Buffalo feel your pain. we will be nice to you and give you Hodgson, Stafford, Benoit and maybe a minor leaguer or two. After all, we are likely looking at McDavid or Eichel, seeing as this team SUCKS so badly. I am sure we can find some other garbage on that roster to unload on you. We might even take Kessel in return for that garbage.
    Oh wait. Never mind. You don’t have Darcy the Dinosaur regier as your GM. Your GM is not stupid enough to make that deal.

  3. Only Delusional Leafs Fans think they are playing better.
    At first they had a point, or I should say they used the optics to fool Truth.
    They played good teams with better Goalies.

    But lets look at the LAST FOUR GAMES. And put this Nonsense to Bed once and for All. Numbers in () is NHL rank for Points.

    Vs. (#28) Carolina – 4-1 Loss
    At (#24) Ottawa – 4-2 Loss
    At (#26) New Jersey – 2-1 Loss
    Vs. (#27) Arizona – 3-1 Loss


    That 4 game run is the Worst 4 game run the Leafs have had in probably 30 years. 4 Of the Worst 6 Teams in the NHL, 2 Home, 2 Road.

    Given Up 13 Goals
    Scored 5 Goals


  4. brilliant minds think alike…i said the exact same things you just wrote about, a month ago…couldnt agree more, this team is shot, period…they need a complete makeover starting with kessel, phaneuf, etc…i’m not saying they’re bad players, they’re not, they just need new environments and the leafs need to get younger and faster (i.e. the red wings)…they have marginal depth and average (at best) team speed…why is their best defensive defenseman (arguably robidas) sitting in the press box when he should play everyday with either gardiner or rielly and teaching the young guns how to be an nhl defenseman??? oh well thats the leafs for ya, more money than brains…

  5. The Three that should be traded are Kadri, Kessel and Phaneuf.. Get rid of them start from scratch and you leafs will be a better team in 1 to 2 years. Islanders changed in 2 years and so can the leafs.

    Those 3 guys are the CANCER to the team.

  6. Terrible article, almost as terrible as Kadri has played this season. Kadri is as lazy a hockey player as there is in the NHL. I can’t remember the last time he won a face off or a puck battle. Poor hockey IQ, “all around play” give me a break, the only thing he has going for him is his offense, but even then that’s not a lot.

  7. nah. wont work. theyll see a guy getting traded and think, “hey, maybe i can get out of this crap hole if i play worse!”

  8. I don’t disagree with the premise here. I think a message needs to be sent to these guys because they simply do not care. Dealing a guy one month before the trade deadline could serve as a message to the dressing room that changes are being made. It could also start (what should be) a flurry of trades in the league and from the Leafs.
    I’m not sure how likely a trade today (or this weekend) is, based on my belief that Nonis has absolutely no power or authority. I think that for even the simplest managerial decision, he now has to have it approved by Shanahan. Why would MLSE allow any more decisions to be made by the same GM who has saddled the Leafs with such absolutely brutal contract extensions/signings?? (Gardiner, Phaneuf, Kessel, Clarkson)
    I think it’ll come down to how patient/impatient Shanahan is and what kind of message he wants to send to the team. Moving a guy like Santorelli or Winnik would certainly tell the league that the Leafs are “open for business”, but making a trade for the sake of it isn’t smart or prudent.

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