Which Maple Leafs are long term keepers?

A comment by our good pal Neal got me thinking, of the current Leaf roster, who is going to part of the team that gets the franchise back into the playoffs and into “contention”?

I know, what does contention mean? For sake of this post, lets say a return back to the final four at least.

So Leaf fans, given the current roster, whom is going to be a building block of success and who is going to be thrown overboard in attempt to get more assets?

I think we are at minimum 3 years away from getting back to that point. I am not saying it will happen in 3 years, I am saying it won’t happen before then.

So we are looking at the 2010 or 2011 seasons…

In 2010 the buds have contractual obligations to 4 players: Jason Blake, Niklas Hagman, Tomas Kaberle and Jeff Finger. They will still be paying Tucker a million bucks, so the total cap obligation at that time will be 15.750. In other words lots of room. That doesn’t mean that all the younger guys won’t be around, rather that the leafs aren’t currently tied to them.

In my opinion, of those 4 only 1 will remain at that time. I am going to get killed for it, but the only guy I see around is Finger. I think Blake is going to get traded or demoted fairly soon. Kaberle I think will probably be gone next summer when his no trade window opens. As for Hagman, assuming he can perform there should be demand for him next year come deadline time when he no longer has a NTC. Joining the not around list will be Jamal Mayers, Bates Battaglia, Boyd Devereaux, Ryan Hollweg, Kris Newbury.

For forwards that doesn’t leave much does it? Mark Bell, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Nik Antropov, Matt Stajan, Alexander Steen, Nikolai Kulemin,Jiri Tlusty and Mikhail Grabovski.

On D, we have Kubina, Mike Van Ryn, Carlo colaiacovo, Jonas Frogren, Ian White and Anton Stralman, we can add Luke Schenn (but know one knows anything about him as a pro)

In net, lets assume the Cujo thing won’t last more then this year, maybe next at most. I think Howie is right and Toskla is a trade chip that Cliff will trade at the right time. Remember, one of his first moves was to trade away Grant Fuhr. Cliff is saying the right things right now, but I think the future in net isn’t spelled V E S A.

In the 2011-2012 season the obligations are fewer by one Tomas Kaberle. Either season, not so much difference. Cliff changed 10 faces this year. I think the revolving door will continue until the right pieces start to fall into place. From this seat, not nearly as many of the names listed above will be around when it counts, but that is one mans opinion.

So there you have it folks. There isn’t much on the farm as far as talent goes. Who will be around the next time the Leafs are relevant in the NHL playoffs?

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September 11, 2008 9:43 pm

LB71, I couldn’t agree with you more. I think Pogge will be under the microscope big time this year. As soon as they feel he is ready to get some big league experience adios Vesa.

September 11, 2008 9:40 pm

Ok…here is my answer…take it for what its worth.

The Marlies have been an off ice disaster. MLSE, in attempt to sell more tickets were of the mindset (right or wrong) that they had to try to put a winning product on the ice in order to sell tickets.

I also think that JFJ was of the belief that if you create a winning atmosphere that will rub off on the kids (again, rightfully or wrongly).

I suspect that Cliff felt like he wasn’t brought in to clean up that mess. Remember, he wasn’t supposed to be there that long. Once it became apparent that the team was going to be his for a while he made the necessary adjustments.

September 10, 2008 6:53 pm

Speaking of goalies, can anyone, anyone at all possibly explain why on God’s great Earth that Clemmenson was the # 1 guy go into the playoffs for the Marlies last season?

And to top of that bit of genius, they don’t even offer him a contract and swoosh off he goes back to Jersey.

Was anyone else as stunned as me on this?

Pogge is supposed to be the ‘guy in line’ for our goalie of the future and yet they park him on the bench for the Marlies Playoff run…

Was Gilbert that hell-bent on playing Clemmenson? Was there something else behind the scenes with Pogge that we don’t know?

Really curious…I know Pogge has the helm this year but last years playoffs sure would have been great experience.

The part that made me laugh the most at this act of lunacy, was at the time if you went to the Maple Leafs website they had a poll going on asking everyone what they were looking the most forward too seeing play. Can anyone guess which Marlie player got the most votes? Can you spell P-O-G-G-E

September 10, 2008 1:50 pm

One of the first moves Cliff made was to trade _for_ Fuhr. He was only traded away because Potvin was ready to take the reins. Cliff has always believed that you need top notch goaltending to win. He’ll only trade Toskola if he has a replacement for him.

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