Maple Leafs Notes: Maple Leafs Give Fans The Finger

Derek HarmsworthSenior Writer IJuly 1, 2008

Maple Leafs Sign Finger, Give Defensemen A Huge Raise

The Toronto Maple Leafs only made two moves so far during today's free agent frenzy.  The Joseph one I'm fine with.  I'll speak more about him a little later, but right now I want to discuss Jeff Finger signing with the Maple Leafs for 4 years at $14 million dollars.


Now, don't get me wrong Jeff Finger is a good kid.  He is a tough, physical defenseman who loves to block shots and will stick up for his teammates.  That's the good.  He is also only 28, meaning with only 94 games under his belt, he has a lot of room to improve his game.

Now the bad.  Well, did I mention he is getting $14 Million dollars?!  Like I said, he is a good guy I am sure, but wow, and some fans thought four years of Kubina was a bad thing?!

Now, I should go back a little bit, because I won't throw this guy under the bus before he even laces up his skates and pulls his Blue and White jersey on.  I couldn't do that to him.

But this really is the type of signing the Maple Leafs did not need. 

The term is too long.  The dollar amount is too large.  Simply put, this is a high risk signing to be sure.

Although admittedly, Jeff Finger is for the most part a relative unknown to a lot of hockey fans, only having basically one full season under his belt in the NHL.

For all we know, he could turn out to be a hell of a pick up.  Last year he blocked 100 shots, and he is a career plus 22.

But he is also receiving a massive raise.  Last season Finger pulled in $475,000.

All in all I would say this is a very risky move, and Cliff Fletcher and the entire front staff better hope this deal pays off for them.

If it doesn't we are more or less back where we started.  With an under performing, yet overpaid player.  He doesn't have a NTC, but making 3.5 million a season, he may as well.


Joseph Back In Blue And White Makes Perfect Sense

Well, maybe not perfect sense, but it isn't a bad signing, or a step forward like some are suggesting.

Joseph is a stop-gap.  Maple Leafs top prospect Justin Pogge needs another year in the AHL where he can be the full time number one guy. 

With the Leafs adding Cujo, Pogge will be given that time, after all there is no need to rush Pogge, this team likely isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

Joseph will back up Vesa Toskala this upcoming season and will likely make 15-20 starts.  At year's end he will likely retire, possibly accept a position in the Maple Leafs staff, and open the door for Pogge to back up Toskala and cut his teeth in the NHL.


Final Thoughts

Well, the day isn't done.  Neither is the frenzy.  That is more or less just getting started. 

The Maple Leafs will open the regular season October 9th against the defending champion Detroit Red Wings.

That means that Cliff Fletcher and his office staff have about three months to make this up to us Leafs fans.

With all due respect to Finger, and even though we will all welcome Joseph with open arms, this had to be a pretty disappointing day.