Toronto Maple Leafs: Who gets the blame this season?July 22, 2008
With Cliff Fletcher making long term decisions, it would seem he is anything but a stopgap GM. The funny thing about it is that he had a 'free season' to play with until he flip-flopped between rebuilding and trading draft picks away.
He drafts a young D-man in the first round that will go a long way to helping the team down the road. He also is trading away draft picks like they grow on trees.
The Leafs need a plan, and someone needs to tell Cliff. While he is chopping players off the roster faster then last year's team could lose games, he is also adding lesser players who are marginal at best.
The Jeff Finger signing has been beaten to death but it's an example of the strange goings on in downtown Toronto.
The Mats Sundin saga continues but it's my guess that Cliff is strictly trying to keep the Leafs looking like the good guys by stating they have interest in Mats. The only thing that Mats would bring the Leafs is a lesser draft pick.
The Leafs need to play the crap out of their young players and do anything they can to acquire draft picks. Forget the Won/Loss totals, just think DEVELOPMENT this season and with a little luck they may land a top three pick next June.
With JFJ long gone, the fans will need a new whipping boy (not that I was a JFJ fan, I thought he was brutal). I expect that once the season gets going and the losses mount, the fans will quickly forget that this was a 'free season' and start looking for someone to blame for what might be the worst Leaf team in many years.
My Top 5
1. Fletcher: He better hope Finger plays like Foote (at least a younger Foote)
2. McCabe: Well...if he's on the team that is.
3. Jeff Finger: Poor kid, he may earn that money after all.
4. Toskala: I'm sure he will play well. But when five or six get past him in one game, he will take some heat anyway.
5. Jason Blake: If you thought he did nothing last year...
I'm hoping the Leafs turn into the second coming of the Broad Street Bullies this season. With every single game televised and the result of the games being pretty much a no-brainer, at least fans could say the team entertained them.