Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Post-Deadline Moves

The Leafs largely stood pat during trade deadline time. A couple small trades that affected the Marlies more than the big team.  I was fine with it. I agree with Burke that you don't dismantle your rebuild to start over.

But with the trade deadline in the rearview, it looks like Burke's got more time on his hands to get other things done.

Like firing Ron Wilson. I was shocked. Not because he didn't deserve it, but because there were only 19 games left and Ron and Brian were BFFs.

In standard Burke fashion, he then brought in another buddy - Randy Carlyle, formerly of the Ducks. I liked the line in one article that said he'd replaced a hard-ass with a harder-ass. Another tough coach, but one with a slightly different gameplan and not much time to implement it.

First game under Carlyle? A win. Whoopee.

17 games, 4 teams to jump, some of them on a hot streak. He has his work cut out for him. The playoffs are still pretty unlikely, but less so than a week ago.  If nothing else, the players should be playing to impress from here out. Look for guys like Komisarek, Steckel, and Schenn to step up their games as they seem to fit into his coaching style more comfortably, and will be rewarded for hard work.

Then, about an hour ago, it was announced that Mikhail Grabovski signed a 5-year contract extension. Our second line centre is now worth $5.5 million a year apparently. On first look my jaw dropped. Figuring him in the $4-4.5 mil range.  But on closer inspection, his stats are right there with Ryan Kesler or Patrice Bergeron, excpet in +/-.  But in this case, a +7 on a -7 club has to be weighed against the much better +/- of Vancouver and Boston.  One could argue he's better than Kesler when you take that into account.  So now $5.5M doesn't seem too out of line, except that he has to prove he's worth it over the next 5 years.

So, $7.6 mil left in cap space next year.  Our only UFA of any interest being Jonas Gustavsson (Joey Crabb is cheap).  Plus a few RFA's that could be worth holding on to.

But what does this do for Lupul's contract? We've got him for one more season at $4.25 mil and he's having a hell of a year. Extend in the off-season? Wait until partway through next to see if he can keep it up? If he can, he's worth $6.5-7M.  Kessel too. Certainly, they're worth more than Dion Phaneuf's $6.5 mil.

Anyway, two big question marks have been removed, providing stability for the remainder of this season. If nothing else, the next dozen and a half games will be used to assess what needs to be addressed in the off-season, and who will be packing their bags. I'd guess that names like Nash and Parise won't be seen on the back of Leafs jerseys though.

1 comment:

lightning36 said...

I am disappointed that the Blackhawks did not make more moves before the deadline. It looks to me like the playoffs are wide open this year. I fear my team is undermanned.