The Toronto Maple Leafs Suck
Doesn’t the title of this post speak for itself? The Leafs just plain suck. As a Torontonian and a Leaf fan, the Leaf’s situation is looking bleaker by the day. We are plummeting down the standings, and are in a massive funk. We can’t even get empty net goals and close out teams. We are losing games with ten seconds left. We cannot put the puck in the net, as evidenced by the thorough 5 – 0 shellacking we received at the hands of the younger Edmonton Oilers. We are set to finish in the bottom 3 again, and give Boston another potential superstar.
Brian Burke’s move to acquire Phil Kessel is looking worse by the day. Kessel cannot find the net, refuses to make passes to open team mates, and gets abused by larger defenseman. Meanwhile, Tyler Seguin has developed into a solid 3rd line center for the Bruins. If he was on the Leafs, he would be our top line center right now. That is how you rebuild teams. You draft and develop. You don’t make stupid acquisitions and give away your future by dumping high draft picks for short term gain. You rebuild slowly (see Phoenix, Washington, Pittburgh, Chicago). Drafting high and keeping your young talent wins in the long run. Steven Stamkos is having an MVP season and the Lightning are one of the best teams in the East. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews led the Blackhawks to the cup last year. Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin, Backstrom, what do they all have in common? They are all top 3 picks, kept by their respective clubs who have turned their teams into contenders.
The Leafs are set to build a dynasty. Sadly its not going to be their own. We have Phil Kessel. The Bruins have Tyler Seguin, highly touted prospect Jared Knight, and they will likely get the first or second overall pick in THIS COMING draft. Yes I said it. I hate to think about it, but its going to happen. There is no team in the league worse than the Leafs. Every other team is either suffering through significant injuries, or underachieving. They will snap back to reality and eventually play up to their abilities. The young Oilers are improving by the day as Hall and Eberle start producing. The Devils are horrendous right now, but when Brodeur returns to form and the injuries heal, the Devils will be a contender as usual. The New York Islanders are bad, but they have young talent and have kept their draft picks. Once Kyle Okposo returns from injury they will have a decent top line and will win more than the Leafs.
The Leafs however, don’t have any real knights in shining armor coming to save them. Nazem Kadri is not going to be the Leaf’s saviour. When he is ready for a full time NHL job (which at this point its evident he is NOT) I can see him being a 50 point per season guy. He doesn’t have the upside of a Stamkos, Ovechkin, Kane, Crosby type player. I don’t think he’s as good as Matt Duchene. Don’t get me wrong, Kadri is decent, but he’ll never be a franchise player.
We do have some help coming. Dion Phaneuf should return to the lineup in the next couple of weeks. That should be taken with a grain of salt. Getting Phaneuf back to health will be a boost to the teams defence and morale, but our problem has been offense. Phaneuf’s minus 6 rating with 4 points on the season isn’t going to turn the Leafs into a scoring machine. Colby Armstrong is returning tonight. Yipeee! Fans what is your prediction for his stat line tonight? Hat trick? 5 point night? DREAM ON. The guy is a “Burke” player. He hits people, gets his hands dirty, and whenever there is a full moon he scores a goal. Yes Leaf fans. He’s on pace for 6 or 7 goals this season. He will help the penalty kill, and improve team grit and create some turnovers, but he’s not going to lead an NHL team in scoring any time soon.
I think the Bruins paid Burke off to destroy the Leafs forever and help them win the Stanley Cup. Either that, or Burke seems to have over valued his stock once again. In the offseason, he continued to bring in grinders instead of legitimate scoring threats. Versteeg is a good third line player. NOT a top line winger. Armstrong is cast of the very same mold. Where is the top line talent we need to compete Burke? The answer is very simple. Waiting for Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli to call their names on draft night next year. Hindsight is everything, but come on Burke. You must have known that the next couple of seasons were going to be a rebuilding process. We started well a couple years back by drafting Luke Schenn, and then Kadri, but the Kessel move has put us back 5 years.
Phil Kessel is a decent piece, but he’s not worth 2 or 3 potential franchise players. A Kaberle for Kessel swap would have been great. We’d have Kessel playing alongside Tyler Seguin, and at least another potential franchise player coming along next season. As it stands, the Leafs have no first round pick next year, and no hope to make the playoffs or even contend.
Its not a fun time to be a Leaf fan.