Leaf Early Report 2019-20


Leaf Pre-Xmas VLOG (now BLOG)

In January

I had great expectations of introducing a change to the annual Pre Xmas VLOG. Even wrote a script, because I was having a guest, to make the VLOG more like a Hot Stove. But timing on both parts has made this unlikely to happen now, but maybe for the season ending critique.

I have attached a rough copy of the script I had prepared.

Leaf Report Card Script 2019

  • I think I figured out how to improve my Vlog, bring in talent to improve the product!

  • Introduction, Dean De Fazio, 8 year professional career, 22 games with Pittsburgh Penguins, better suited to assess the talents of this years Leafs, so I will at more as a moderator, who can of course not always keep his own thoughts to himself.

Items to consider:

  • General manager, Kyle Dubas .

Do you think he paid too much for Nylander? Did he handle this contract very well?

Did he pay too much for his 3 stars Matthews, Marner, Tavares?

Is he smart enough to make sensible and beneficial trades

Does he need to make trades,or when do the Marlie players get promoted.

How long do you see him in Toronto

  • Former coach Babcock

Agree/disagree with his methods

Do you think he lost the bench?

Do you think he will coach again?

  • Present coach Keefe

Small sample size, but initial thoughts

How long to get the team playing like he wants?

  • Leafs Biggest strengths

Speed, goal

  • Biggest weaknesses

Defense, no cap room, going to lose players to RFA and UFA, no back up goalie., no toughness

  • Salary cap

How can it be corrected? Who would you trade?

  • Predictions

Do they make the playoffs?

Can they catch BOSTON

Who leads in points?

  • Final Thoughts

At the time the questions all seemed to make sense. Leafs were struggling, Babcock had just been released, and Sheldon Keefe had received the call out of the bullpen (Alias Marlies) to fix the problem. He had immediate success with a number of the players, many of who had played for Keefe . it was evident that the atmosphere around the Leafs seemed to be changing. Then the Bombshell about how Babcock had handled a private situation with Mitch Marner. Keefe quickly seemed to catch the attention of all of the Leafs. The star players were suddenly receiving more ice-time, the defense were being told to jump up into the play with far more regularity, the forwards were told that they needed to be in numbers back in their own zone to assist the defense in getting the puck out of their zone (thank goodness, I was so tired of the number of stretch passes, resulting in icing, or odd man chances for the opposition.). The most encouraging thing he has implemented is a more thoughtful approach to handling of the 2 goalies. I am writing this after the Leafs 3-0 victory with Hutchinson in net. What I saw was a NHL goalie with something he had not shown this year… Confidence! His demeanor, and body language was spilling out. Marner literally took a shot at him, accidentally, during the game and they were laughing about it.

I think I will try to use the prepared script as my guideline, some seems outdated now, some parts are more easily answered. I have used the script and made my answers in Red

Leaf Report Card Script 2019

  • I think I figured out how to improve my Vlog, bring in talent to improve the product!

  • Introduction, Dean De Fazio, 8 year professional career, 22 games with Pittsburg Penguins, better suited to assess the talents of this years Leafs, so I will at more as a moderator, who can of course not always keep his own thoughts to himself.

Items to consider:

  • General manager, Kyle Dubas .

Do you think he paid too much for Nylander? Did he handle this contract very well?

At the time, if I was the GM, I would not have given in, made a fair offer. The Nylander contract has snowballed into an ugly benchmark for future contracts for players with similar stats and seniority. Personally, at the time I thought he paid too much, and did not set a good precedent on his future contact negotiations. In hindsight, this contract may turn out to be good value if Nylander continues to perform as he is presently.

Did he pay too much for his 3 stars Matthews, Marner, Tavares?

Maybe, Yes, No. if Matthews money was needed to secure him, so be it. We have not had such a natural goal scorer on the Leafs for many many years. The timing of signing Marner made his contract balloon. Could have gotten him cheaper if he was signed close to the same time as Matthews. Funny how so many similar players to Marner all signed for around seven after his signing. Tavares, a proven leader, veteran, allstar, a little high, but pretty much the going rate. I can live with this one.

Is he smart enough to make sensible and beneficial trades

I’m not sure, I hope so, he is going to rely on the farm to fill the holes cheaply. Realistically, at least one of the large contracts will need to be traded away to make room to pay the next wave of talent coming up.

Does he need to make trades, or when do the Marlie players get promoted.

Still short on quality defensemen, I think a trade is needed soon. Having said that, if they call up Sandin an keep him up (burning a year of eligibility) then we will have to see.

How long do you see him in Toronto

Haven’t gotten a clear read here if Shanahan agrees with all of the decisions Dubas has made. Success and head office unity will determine this answer.

  • Former coach Babcock

Agree/disagree with his methods

I have said for a long time, he never seemed to have a plan B when teams were breaking down their offense and forcing the defense into unnecessary giveaways

Do you think he lost the bench?

Without a doubt. The relaxed look on the players faces on the bench has translated into enough offense to negate the still TOO MANY giveaways. Players are trusting each other, they are becoming a TEAM.

Do you think he will coach again?

YES!

  • Present coach Keefe

Small sample size, but initial thoughts

Sample size not too small now, he certainly has them believing in each other, he now has a goaltending tandem (OK this is still a small sample size, but the last 2 games Hutchinson has looked like the NHL goalie he is. Not shy to mix up lines. Getting 100% + out of each and every call up. They all want to show that they belong. There are a couple of talented players here that are going to be lost to trade or free agency

How long to get the team playing like he wants?

Now or soon seems to be the correct answer here

  • Leafs Biggest strengths

Speed, goal

they do have speed and are showing it now, Andersen has been a rock, hopefully Hutchinson can lighten the workload somewhat and have Freddie fresh for playoffs

  • Biggest weaknesses

Defense, no cap room, going to lose players to RFA and UFA, no back up goalie., no toughness

Still need more defense, defense wins Cups, probably lose at least one of Ceci and Barrie. Back up may not be as big an issue, in light of Hutchinson’s improved play as of late. Toughness, no! recent call up Marchant has some grit in his game, but I am afraid he will return to the Marlies when Johnsson and Moore return fairly soon.

  • Salary cap

Unless the Leafs can keep going to the Cheap Marlie Well, this is going to make their ability to sign existing players to contracts, Andersen and Reilly come to mind

How can it be corrected? Who would you trade?

Corrected by careful trades. After the 4 primary forwards, Tavares, Matthews, Marner, Nylander. Make me an offer! And the Leafs MUST, let me repeat MUST be saving $$$ on the trade(s)

  • Predictions

Barring any serious injuries, Matthews, 50+ goals, Marner , 80 + points, Andersen , 40+ wins

Do they make the playoffs?

Yes

Can they catch BOSTON

Definite maybe now, didn’t think so at time of setting this script

Who leads in points?

Matthews

  • Final Thoughts

I am getting what I want when I watch the Leafs. I am being entertained. Their quality of play has been exciting to watch

No report card is complete without grades:

Engvall B, can go higher as he gets comfortable

Gauthier B+, has done as he has been told, but gaining confidence

Hyman B, will go higher, injury lowered grade

Johnsson B-, injury reduced grade

Kapanen B, can play entire ice, better hands then given credit for.

Kerfoot B-, playing hard, but to me, just a piece

Marner A, can go higher, looks good since return from injury

Matthews A+,

Mikheyev A-, injury sucks, he was getting better and better, great speed for a large man.

Moore B, hard working piece

Nylander A, if this is what Dubas saw, Great. Valuable part of the team

Spezza B+, seasoned Vet, can still put up points, cost is non-existant

Timashov B- buzzsaw, good speed

Barrie A, under Keefe with the shackles removed, the player Leafs expected

Ceci B+ expected tons of giveaways and bad decisions, but has played steady

Dermott B+ can go higher, started slow, looked uncomfortable, recently has his swagger back

Holl B+ pleasant surprise, playing confident, jumping up into the play

Marincin C, never been a fan, won’t go far with him in the lineup

Muzzin A, being missed with broken foot, playing better than last year, veteran player

Reilly A, hopefully goes higher, hasn’t had the same swagger as last year, excellent player though

Andersen A+ only reason Leafs have as many points as they do. Has been abandoned some nights.

Hutchinson B, keep up playing as he is presently, grade will improve immensely

Marchand C+, small sample size, another Marlie callup, wanting to show well. Has Grit.

Comments are always welcome, not always agreed to, but welcome!

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