After the firing of Paul Maurice on Wednesday, the Toronto Maple Leafs began what was the long awaited rebuilding process expected to take place this summer. The timing of this move however, came as a surprise to many.
Sure, Paul Maurice's future was in limbo, but no decision on it was expected until a new GM was put in place. Likewise, this move has sparked a number of rumours throughout the hockey world.
The media has begun to speculate that either the Leafs have in fact found a new GM, or that Cliff Fletcher will be holding onto those keys for one more season. If the latter is the case, Leafs fans should expect another season of hell in the fall, but let's not sound the alarm just yet.
Let's play pretend for a couple minutes. Let's pretend that the firing of Paul Maurice means that the Leafs have in fact found a new GM. This means that he is waiting in the wings somewhere in the now dark and gloomy Air Canada Centre, but will soon be revealed. That then begs the question, who is he? Or who should he be?
Ever since Brian Burke bowed out of the sweepstakes, the list has generally been Ken Holland of the Detroit Red Wings, Jim Rutherford of the Carolina Hurricanes, and Doug Wilson of the San Jose Sharks. Some have even dropped names like Lou Lamoriello of the New Jersey Devils and Colin Campbell, the NHL’s Senior Vice-President and Director of Hockey.
1. If the leafs hire Lou Lamoriello, stop reading this article now and don't worry about the future, the Leafs are in good hands.
2. If the leafs hire Colin Campbell and you are a Leafs fan, find the nearest bridge, and jump off of it.
3. If they hire any of usual suspects first listed, starting with Ken Holland, look forward to another couple of years of mediocrity, with a playoff run, in maybe, 2009-10 and one in 2010-11. These playoff runs will end in another line of great disappointments, because the Leafs will have barely reached the playoffs in the first place.
There is one name, however, that has received little mention, if any, and his name is Dave Nonis. Remember him? He used to be the General Manager of the Vancouver Canucks, until one day the organization decided to turn off the muscle known as the brain, and fire him.
This is the same guy who brought Roberto Luongo from Florida to Vancouver in exchange for a bag of hockey pucks. So, is he the answer to Leafs' GM problems? In this writer's opinion, hardly, but it's a start. Dave Nonis is not the saviour the Leafs are looking for, but instead is more like a John the Baptist, paving the way for the real saviour.
Given a contract for one year, Nonis can get the job done. At least in the sense that he can successfully lay the foundation for the future. After laying this foundation for a year, he should be given a position in upper management, and assist in bringing in the GM that will save the Toronto Maple Leafs.
That GM and saviour, of course, is Brian Burke. And remember, while Burke was GM in Vancouver, Dave Nonis was the Senior Vice-President and Director of Hockey Operations for the Canucks' franchise.
In the mean time, if Dave Nonis is the man waiting in the wings, Toronto can be assured that they are most certainly going to win the sweepstakes for the much talked about Swedish forward, Fabian Brunnstrom. After all, before Nonis' firing, Vancouver was almost guaranteed to sign Brunnstrom this offseason.
Although, Brunnstrom may not be on par with the likes of Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos, one thing is certain; he would sure bring some much needed new blood and excitement to the ACC this Fall. One thing is clear, the hiring of Dave Nonis would provide the dim Leafs franchise with some much needed light for years to come, but remember, we're just playing pretend here.