It has been another torturous season of mediocrity for Leaf fans.
The Leafs haven't made the playoffs since the lockout. This season they sit at 12th in the East, 9 points from a playoff spot.
There's a slim possibility that they could make the playoffs, but its unlikely. If by some miracle they did make it, I don't think any reasonable person would predict them to go very far.
It's time for the Leafs to end this 're-building without re-building' nonsense and clean house.
I don't mean make a few small moves at the trade deadline. The Leafs have to begin a full demolition from top to bottom, and this is a slide show of the moves I think they should make if they want to see a period of resounding success.
Giggy needs to be traded before the deadline.
He will be a UFA at the conclusion of the season, and despite some inconsistency, could prove to be a valuable goaltender on a contending team.
Whilst he still has some value, he should be shopped for draft picks or prospects.
It's either that, or watch him walk to free agency at the end of the season having got nothing in return.
I mean hey, if he wants to return to Toronto, there's nothing that says he can't be re-signed in the UFA period.
Come on Brian Burke. You know you want to.
There is every possibility that Tomas Kaberle might want to end his career as a Maple Leaf. He may refuse to waive his no-trade clause and then re-sign a reasonable deal with them at the end of the season.
But in all honesty, he isn't getting any younger or better. If he was traded to a contender, he gets a shot at a cup, a contending team gets a veteran defenseman, and the Leafs get prospects and or picks.
It's either that, or the Leafs keep Kaberle, and he either walks to free agency, or becomes an aging overpaid defenseman on a team that sorely needs to rebuild. Those are the realistic possibilities.
It's now or never.
I may change my mind on this soon because his play his improved lately, but honestly, I think this needs to be done.
Phaneuf has underachieved in Toronto, and if his struggles continue, he will be a second or third pairing defenseman earning $6.5million.
I believe that right now, a contending team would still give up quite a bit to get Phaneuf, but his value certainly isn't increasing. By trading him for draft picks or prospects, the Leafs can still gain something substantial for him.
Plus, this would give them enough cap space to sign a big ticket free agent (Brad Richards) comfortably.
Don't get me wrong. I think Ron Wilson is a coach that is definitely qualified to coach at an NHL level.
He just shouldn't be coaching the Maple Leafs in 2011 or 2012.
The whole drama with Phil Kessel is just ridiculous, and I think it's time to get a fresh face with some new ideas behind the bench.
Last year, the Flyers went from a below average team to Stanley Cup finalists with a coaching change. I personally think people underrate systems and game plans in hockey, and maybe this change is what they need more than anything.
Doing this before the deadline gives the Leafs management an opportunity to audition a potential candidate before next season.
Lets see if this kid is the real deal.
This is a win-win situation here. Reimer either displays his potential as a future full-time starter for the Leafs, or he crumbles, and saves the Leafs wasting time developing him.
It's quite clear Gustavsson has lost favour within the organisation. Giguere will be out by the seasons end. What have the Leafs got to lose?
Brian Burke has only had a fairly short tenure as GM of the Maple Leafs, which is why I haven't come out and said definitely replace him.
We all know Rome wasn't built in a day, but every move Burke has made hasn't paid off. Giguere has been a failure, Versteeg has been a failure, and I think there's enough media out there detailing how much of a failure the Kessel trade is. The Phaneuf trade is yet to pay dividends.
What exactly has Burke done right?
I will admit, all of these moves looked good to me at the time. However, his 'building without rebuilding' philosophy is not one I agree with, and I don't think it is the right way to go for the Maple Leafs.
A new GM that is willing and prepared to completely demolish and re-build the Leafs would be a better candidate for the position.
Brian Burke's philosophy of adding size and grit is one I also agree with, but this needs to be done through the draft, not the free agency or trade market.
There you go Brian Burke and the rest of you passionate Leaf fans. That's what I would do if I was GM.
It would require some extra years of being in the slums of the Eastern Conference and some quality drafting, but I think in the long run it would be worth it.
Thanks for reading.