Monday, September 14, 2009

T O Torontoooooooooooooooooooo

Free agents:
G Martin Gerber, 3,700,000 (u)
G Olaf Kolzig, $1,500,000 (u)
G Curtis Joseph, 700,000 (u)
LW Brad May, 600,000 (u)
C Boyd Devereaux, 600,000 (u)
C Jeff Hamilton, 475,000 (u)
C Mikhail Grabovski, 850,000 (r)
G Justin Pogge, NA (r)

D Mike Komisarek, 5 years, $22.5M (Canadiens)
RW Colton Orr, 4 years (Rangers)
C Mikhail Grabovski, 3 years, $8.7M (re-signed)
D Francois Beauchemin, 3 years (Ducks)
G Jonas Gustavsson, 1 year (Elitserin)


Even though it says no one is "Out" let's be honest, the rest of those guys who were free agents aren't coming back. I was really tempted to make some sort of Out + Tom Cruise zinger there, but decided not to, didn't want Burkie to level down a tongue lashing.

But what we have here, after not even a full season at the helm, is the Brian Burke mold coming to fruition. He signed the overrated yet still effective Komisarek to the contract that we all knew he was going to get. He signed the underrated yet still effective Beauchemin to the contract that we all hoped our GM would sign him for. So obviously with Kaberle already on board, that creates a pretty strong blueline. But up front, that's a different story.

I always ask, who the hell is gonna score? The guys over at Pension Plan Puppets then spout off things like "We were 10th in total goals scored!" "Grabovski!" "Blake doesn't have cancer anymore!" Ok they didn't say that last one, that was for comedic effect. But of course, Burke did trade away Nik Antropov, so their top pivot (and greatest defensive liability) has gone the way of the dodo.

So I'll humor you Leafs Nation, sure, let's say they do repeat and come in between 10th - 15th in scoring this year. Will the shiny new defensive corps be able to stem the fact that Toronto finished 30th, oh yeah, that's dead last, in goals allowed per game (3.49), total goals allowed (286), and 5 on 5 goals allowed (186)?

You can claim Toskala will rebound, you can clamor for the Monster to come in and replicate his success against the Joe DiPenta's of the world over in Sweden, or you can pray to God that they don't suck as much as they did last year. But hey, at least you don't have to worry about Pogge anymore.


Pension Plan Puppets said...

The Leafs gave up 286 goals last season and had a team save percentage of .895. Pogge put up .844 in 7 games while Curtis Joseph sported a beauty .869 and Toskala held things down with a stellar (in comparison) .891.

Toskala's ills can be laid partly at the feet of the injuries that required multiple surgeries this summer. The Leafs have also added Francois Allaire as goalie coach and signed the player that's acknowledged as one of the best goalies outside of the NHL.

In addition they've add Komisarek, Beauchemin, Exelby, and a presumably healthy Mike Van Ryn to the blueline.

If they can't improve on 286 goals against then they might as well fold the team.

As for Antropov, he's hardly a defensive liability. He was a minus last year but he's a career plus forward and a pretty good penalty killer in his own right.

And finally, the Leafs' scoring is a story every year as clueless media and fans harp away and as you rightly noted they were 10th in scoring last year even though they were never supposed to score another goal after Sundin's departure. The year before that? 11th. 2006-2007? 8th. 2005-2006? 9th.

The Leafs will score goals. Their problem will be, as it has been over these past four seasons, whether they can find consistent scoring and something resembling competent goaltending. Oh, and this year toss in a professional penalty kill because 69% on home ice is beyond pathetic.

Vance said...

I've got the Leafs with 12 guys with more than 10 goals last season, any idea how that compares across the league?

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Fact: BanginPanger is not meant as an insult to the one and only Darren Pang, nor do I claim to be him. The views and opinions presented on BanginPanger are of my own, and no other namesake of the site, the NHL, Buffalo Sabres, Washington Capitals, or anyone else.