What the Maple Leafs actually need to do during the next 84 hours …

in the best interests of their franchise, from a long term perspective, is:

i. Baton down the hatches;
ii. Resist all trade overtures from other teams across the NHL;
iii. Display confidence in the ability of their current group of core players – e.g. Phil Kessel, Dion Phaneuf, Joffrey Lupul, James Reimer, Jake Gardiner and Luke Schenn – to rebound from their present 10-game slumber and qualify for the playoffs this season by playing solid hockey down the home-stretch; and,
iv. Get a win on Tuesday night, playing at home against the Florida Panthers.

OPTION 1
If the team, as is, fails to respond positively and falls short of making the playoffs … then … head coach, Ron Wilson, will be relieved of his duties in the off season.

The team’s core group of players would stay together heading into next season.

This would really be a long term “win” situation for the franchise, when one more year’s worth of draft picks are added to the current group of players who, then, would have just gone through their first legitimate battle for a playoff position together.

OPTION 2
If the team, as is, responds positively and regroups to qualify for the playoffs … then … head coach, Ron Wilson, will not be relieved of his duties in the off season.

The team’s core group of players would stay together heading into next season.

This would also be a long term “win” situation for the franchise, when one more year’s worth of draft picks are added to the current group of players who, then, would have just gone through their first legitimate battle for a playoff position together.

The simple facts are …

1. This year’s version of the Maple Leafs has better players than the previous 6 incarnations each of which missed the playoffs.

2. The only “sucker play” [i.e. OPTION 3] which the Maple Leafs can possibly make at this stage of their long term building process is to buckle under to the mostly media-induced pressure to make the playoffs this season, at all costs, by trading away one or more of their core players.

 

Related:

Critical 24 hours for Maple Leafs and GM Brian Burke

Brian Burke’s Maple Leafs Crumbling quickly

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2 Responses to “What the Maple Leafs actually need to do during the next 84 hours …”

  1. john carroll Says:

    get rid of dion phenuff he is too slow every one is blowing pass him and luke shenn is no better. if your defense is no good like wise the goal tending burke wake up needs players with grit.

  2. khandor Says:

    john carroll,

    Welcome aboard! :-)

    You are correct to observe that neither Phaneuf nor Schenn is a very fast skater. However, when either one is paired with Jake Gardiner or John-Michael Liles, they become an effective defensive tandem … provided that Ron Wilson doesn’t mess them up by over-reacting to each miscue they make and shuffle them with no apparent rhyme or reason, from a long term development perspective.

    When the Maple Leafs also choose to have Carl Gunnarsson and still-developing youngsters like Keith Aulie or Cody Franson in their line-up, they are more than adequate on the defensive side of the ice, from a speed, size and skill standpoint.

    One of the teams main problems, however, is that they simply do not choose to use their best defensemen enough of the time and, instead, give totally wasted ice time to someone like Mike Komisarek.

    Reimer is a solid goalie.

    Kessel is a bonafide goal scorer.

    Lupul was a solid addition last season.

    Patience, no panic moves, and a few more useful pieces acquired via the NHL Entry Draft, during the next 2 seasons, will eventually see the buds blossom into a legitimate playoff team for an extended period of time.

    Now is not the time for them to try to fix their still remaining problems in one fell swoop.