Toronto Maple Leafs Atlantic Preview: Red Wings Make Bad Moves

The Toronto Maple Leafs will be looking for their first ever Atlantic Division title this season.

As I think I may have mentioned in one of my previous Atlantic Division Previews, the Toronto Maple Leafs Ottawa Senators, Detroit Red Wings, and Buffalo Sabres have never won the division since its inception in 2013.

Florida, Montreal, Tampa and Boston have each won the title twice.

Who will be this year’s winner?  Well, according to the following preview, it certainly won’t be the Detroit Red Wings.

The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings

The Red Wings haven’t made the playoffs in six years.  The Leafs have made the playoffs in six straight seasons, but the teams have won the same amount of playoff series.

The Leafs will contend this year, the Wings won’t.  They likely won’t be the worst team in the division, but they likely won’t be any good either.

People are trying to hype them up, and Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond deserve the hype, but the rest of the roster?

It’s still a work in progress.

The Wings have a lot of prospects, but they jumped the gun signing Ben Chariot and Andrew Copp to terrible deals, the likes of which never work out.

Everyone loves to act like Steve Yzerman can do no wrong, but like Ken Holland before him, that kind of assumption can get dangerous if the man himself starts to believe it.

The Wings will one day regret wasting that $10 million when it turns out it could have been used to extend Seider or Raymond or even Larkin.

If there is one NHL rule every GM should live by, it’s don’t give out high, long-term contracts to mid-range players.  It’s the one rule for which there is no exception: this is a bad move. Every time.

And Yzerman broke it twice.  He should have been more patient because his team isn’t making the playoffs anyways, and now they are likely too good to get another top pick, while not quite good enough to win anything.

The Wings only hope is a great season by Ville Husso, a goalie they took a massive risk on by signing for three seasons.  He had one good year! Do NHL GM’s never learn?

A third round pick and a three-year commitment is silly in a league where someone will pay you to take a goalie with two Stanley Cups, and a cheaper contract than runs for a shorter time.

The Wings have a nice set of prospects, but their summer was an example of the kinds of things that happen in a league that bases its decisions on reputations and recency bias.

“Ville Husso was good last year! Ben Chiarot is a name people know.  Sign them both for a combined $8 million dollars even though the probability that we could get the exact same performance out of two random league-minimum players already on our roster is not low.”

Like it or not, that is how the NHL works.  The Toronto Maple Leafs, a team that recognizes this, is the butt of many jokes and even though they have made the Playoffs for six straight years and have two of the four best hockey players in the world on their roster, Red Wings fans are, on the whole, more excited about the upcoming season that Leafs fans.

In a world where Ben Chiarot is a millionaire, that makes as much sense as anything else.