I was a little skeptical earlier in the year upon first learning that Fletcher had been hired as the interim GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs. His age, his not so great results in Phoenix, and his old "Draft Shmaft" comment all made me wonder if this was the right man. His best deals, for Gilmour and Sundin, were years ago.
But Cliff Fletcher has been downright impressive.
Here is a man who knows what he wants and then actually goes out and gets it.
He zeroed in on Ron Wilson and Luke Schenn and left nothing to chance. He's quickly cut loose the under-performing elements in the Leafs dressing room. He's given Sundin a time line for resigning and won't wait around and miss out on FA signing opportunities.
If the Leafs were a wheel stuck in the mud, he has methodically and forcefully cleared a path to solid ground.
The only nut he hasn't yet cracked is Brian McCabe, but even there you need to think he can somehow manage to get his way and find a trade.
So next week, it will be on to signing some free agents and building a nucleus of solid young players. I could tell you who I like, but right now, I think it's more fun to just wait and see what Fletcher can come up with.
You see, I trust him!
And I can't remember the last time I felt like the guy charting the course for the Leafs was remotely worthy of that.
Cliff Fletcher's handling of the reins has been exceptional so far and I'm looking forward to the next part of the journey. He's got the wheels turning on this old, creaky Leafs wagon. The load is lighter, the prospects brighter.
Well done Cliff.