The Toronto Maple Leafs don’t seem to be making the smartest decisions right now. At least, that’s what you’d think if you were checking the Leafs’ mentions on Twitter.
It all started with the second day of the 2016 Draft. After selecting Auston Matthews first overall on day one, the Leafs made some, let’s say, interesting picks. The took more than a few over-agers and more than a few were of the “big and tall” variety, similar to the picks made in the Brian Burke/Dave Nonis era. After taking small and skilled players in the first year of the ‘Shanaplan’, the drastic change took more than a few by surprise.
Fast forward to July 1. The craziness of free agency is going on. Money and term is being given out like candy on Haloween. However, the Leafs didn’t get too crazy when it came to throwing it around. The rumors that were going around didn’t exactly make Leafs fans happy. Most if it was surrounding defenseman Kris Russell, formerly of the Dallas Stars.
Kris Russell feels like a ticking bomb, just waiting for someone to cut the wrong wire
— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) July 1, 2016
Sometimes I’m like “Yeah! I’m an adult! Totally!” but now I’m like “If the Leafs sign Kris Russell it’ll ruin my night and I might cry.”
— Steve Dangle Glynn (@Steve_Dangle) July 1, 2016
What Have The Leafs Done?
So far Russell has not signed with the Leafs, or anyone for that matter. The Leafs did go out and sign Matt Martin, who spent last season with the New York Islanders. The deal is for four years and carries a cap hit of $2.5 million. Apparently, that deal wasn’t very good for Leafs nation either. It has now been softened by the thought that he might be selected in the expansion draft next year.
The Leafs did go out and sign Matt Martin, who spent last season with the New York Islanders. The deal is for four years and carries a cap hit of $2.5 million. Apparently, that deal wasn’t very good for Leafs nation either. It has now been softened by the thought that he might be selected in the expansion draft next year.
Yesterday, the Leafs went out and made a move to bring some veteran help to the defense. The name might sound familiar as the Leafs brought back Roman Polak on a one-year deal. You’d think that people couldn’t get mad a one-year deal, but I guess you can.
So what’s wrong with Leafs Nation right now? Have we gotten into a state where fancy stats means everything and if a player’s Corsi For stats aren’t good, he’s a bad player? I’m pretty sure we had a long history in the NHL before the word Corsi was ever mentioned. We had dynasties, great teams that had great players, not analytic darlings.
Making A Big Deal About Nothing
Martin’s deal is not a killer. It’s $2.5 million a year. Sure, he’s a fourth-liner, but he was on what was considered what of the best fourth-lines in the NHL on the Islanders. He’ll be a depth player that shouldn’t hurt the Leafs too much if he hurt’s them at all. The four years might seem like a bit much, but they you have to ask yourself about the Leafs timetable for competing. If next season is year one, you’d have to think that the Leafs won’t be regularly contending for the playoffs for another three-to-five years. Oh look, Martin’s deal is four years, so he’ll probably be gone when the Leafs are actually good again. Who knows, he might actually be picked in the expansion draft and the Leafs will only have him for one year.
Polak now enters the same situation that Daniel Winnik found himself in this past season. At the 2015 Trade Deadline, Winnik was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a draft pick. He then came back to the Leafs last off-season. He then was traded again, this time to the Washington Capitals, for Connor Carrick and Brooks Laich. Polak once again will provide some depth on the blueline and will, once again, probably be traded at the deadline. Last season, the Leafs got two second-round picks in a deal for Polak and Nick Spaling. What could the Leafs get next time?
Now, we just shouldn’t have blind faith in the Leafs’ management. However, it has only been one season with the entire crew in place after Mike Babcock was hired, let’s give them a bit more time.