Toronto Maple Leafs: One Is the Loneliest Number

Matthew Di NicolantonioAnalyst IJanuary 13, 2008


The number one is significant in describing the current state of the Toronto Maple Leafs organization.

One point separates the Leafs from being in the basement of the Eastern Conference. Currently, the Tampa Bay Lightning are in last place, but if the Leafs can't end their current five-game losing streak, they will surely be there next week.

One is also the number of people that can fix this troubled organization.

Word came out last night that Scotty Bowman was ready to accept the post of President and General Manager before the season began, but MLSE President & CEO Richard Peddie stepped in at the last minute to prevent the deal from taking place.

The Leafs should now go back to the man they were willing to trust this summer. Bowman is a smart hockey man who will be able to orchestrate the necessary trades and transactions to improve the team—including trading veterans such as Mats Sundin, Pavel Kubina and Darcy Tucker.

Bowman is also a superb candidate for the position and will likely be able to have the team back to a respectable level of play by next season or the season after.

Also, should Bowman deem it necessary, he will be able to step behind the bench for the rest of the season if current head coach Paul Maurice continues to struggle. Following this season, Bowman will be able to conduct a proper search for a replacement head coach.

One is the number on the back of goaltender Andrew Raycroft’s Maple Leafs jersey.

But one is also the number on the back of Justin Pogge’s Toronto Marlies jersey, the most likely replacement for Raycroft.

Count yours truly among those who wish to see Raycroft in another uniform by the end of the season.

He is a decent goalie but right now he has the misfortune of being on a team with a less than mediocre defense core. The team clearly has no confidence in itself when Raycroft is between the pipes on any given night.

It would be best for the Leafs to try to trade him, but if nobody bites, put him on waivers and allow him to be picked up by another team.

Placing Raycroft on waivers serves two purposes—it allows him to go to a team that needs him and it can accelerate the development of Pogge.

The smart move would be to bring in fellow Marlies goaltender Scott Clemmensen and to let Pogge make the bulk of the starts with the Marlies in the AHL. Following this season, Pogge should be ready to step up with the big club and make an impact as a reliable backup netminder.

And finally, one is the number of wins that it will take to bring all Leaf fans back on the bandwagon. Such is the nature of a Leafs Nation diehard. Take care.