The Toronto Maple Leafs are running it back again.
This is the correct move for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and anyone suggesting they should have traded Marner or Tavares is ridiculous.
However, the team seems stale and I think they missed a really good opportunity to “run it back” in a fresh way.
Instead, they did their usual flipping of the the bottom of the roster and will enter the season with a much worse team than they had last year.
Toronto Maple Leafs Could Have “Ran It Back” In a Fresh Way – They Didn’t
The Leafs could have built up excitement for their team by simply making sure a lot of young players were on the roster to start the season.
If these players didn’t work out, they could have gone out and picked up experience with their cap space.
Instead, they spent $20 million on players who are not stars, and who will not likely have much of an impact. Maybe Bertuzzi will, but who knows if you get the guy from last year’s playoffs (who scored on a quarter of his shots) or the guy who scored eight times in 50 games.
A better strategy would have been to go young, and play hungry players with upside. The Core Four pretty much guarantee a playoff spot, so the risk would be very low because the team could build cap space through out the season and make the necessary adjustments in March.
Meanwhile, they very likely could have hit on a great player.
The Toronto Maple Leafs bottom-six will likely look like this to start the season:
Domi- Kampf – Jarnkrok
Lafferty – Holmberg – Reaves
Except for Jarnkrok, all of those players are replacement players, and Jarkrok is hardly a star, so maybe all six are replacement players.
The salary of this bottom six is close to $11 million, which is ridiculous and stupid, and there is basically no upside outside of Holmberg and whatever he turns into.
Instead of this boring and uninspiring lineup, the Toronto Maple Leafs could have done this for close to half the cost.
Robertson – Holbmerg – Steeves
McMann – Hirvonen – Abruzzese
with players like Ty Voit and Fraser Minten having an outside shot at cracking the lineup.
This lineup only has a slightly lower floor, but it’s ceiling is so, so much higher. And there is no pressure. Unlike Reaves or Domi, if one of these guy struggles, you simply swap him out with another similar guy.
The risk here is minimal and the team is cap compliant and isn’t even forced to use both their LTIR spots. On top of that, people love watching the kids play. It makes the Toronto Maple Leafs a fresh and exciting team.
Instead we’re going with the same old (which, at the top of the lineup, is awesome) and running it back with the worst group yet.