Maple Leafs: Adding Legends Was a Disaster, Don’t Bring Them Back

Toronto Maple Leafs - Joe Thornton (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Toronto Maple Leafs - Joe Thornton (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost the Blue Jackets last summer, and I think it’s fair to say they overreacted a little bit.

The NHL resumed after a six month layoff with a five game series that was even more random than the normal seven game series.  The Toronto Maple Leafs played a team that had the same record as them, and lost by one goal in the fifth game.

Though the series was anything but even (the Leafs deserved to win in at least four of the games) the results were in no way surprising, and to anyone with even a modicum of understanding about concepts like variance and probability, the loss shouldn’t have been a big deal.

But the Leafs took the criticism personally and decided that their big weakness was that they didn’t have enough leaders, grinders or cliched playoff types.

Enter Joe Thornton, Wayne Simmonds and Nick Foligno.

Toronto Maple Leafs Need to Move On

Joe Thornton was a complete disaster.  He provided decent enough puck possession, but no finish.  No offense. No defense. You can’t quantify leadership, but it didn’t get them any further no matter how leadery it was.

Wayne Simmonds was slightly better, but still not worth it. Bringing in these two players cost the Leafs way too much roster flexibility and completely shut out players like Brooks, Petan and Robertson.

They both regularly received power play time and were terrible.

The Nick Foligno trade was a complete disaster.  Seven games, four assists in the regular season. Then he got hurt, and played only four games in the playoffs, clearly hurt, not looking good at all, and got one assist.

All told 11 games, 4 assists, zero impact.  (stats

And did the Leafs lose because they didn’t get enough out of Nick Foligno? No, they lost because they couldn’t score, same as last year.  Pretty clearly, instead of adding another grinder, they should have added some offense at the deadline.

Bad move, bad trade. Nick Foligno was a betrayal of the philosophy that you shouldn’t pay for things like defense and checking.  Even with elite defense, he was only in the 33rd percentile (read: below average overall) of forwards.  The whole point of the Leafs is that they don’t overpay for these players.  I think this was an example of them doubting their selves and acceding to other people’s expectations.  God knows I fell for it. 

I have no interest in seeing Foligno back. I have even less interest in having Thornton or Simmonds back.

Next. Some Positive Leafs Vibes. dark

I do have interest in watching Nick Robertson, Rodion Amirov or  Adam Brooks, but spare me from seeing washed up, overrated old guys take ice time from young, talented players.  I don’t want any more old washed up legends on this team.  I like Jason Spezza, but let him do his job.  I don’t want to hear one single word about Ryan Getlzaf or any other similar geezers.  Let the leaders of this team lead without looking up to gramps for permission.