Free washing machine |  The (many) mistakes of the Leafs

Free washing machine | The (many) mistakes of the Leafs

The poor coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, not only does his relationship with his stars seem strained, but many have been calling for his head since his team’s recent losses.

Posted at 11:45 a.m.

Mathias Brunett

Mathias Brunett
Press

However, there are other men to blame in Toronto. General manager Kyle Dubas is already sitting on a barrel of nitroglycerin since he refused to renew his contract, but president Brendan Shanahan seems surprisingly immune to criticism.

However, Shanahan has veto power over hockey decisions, and the sum of mistakes made by management can no longer be counted on the fingers of both hands.

The Leafs’ five-year regular season success has been largely based on three players drafted in the top five overall, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly. The rest is a disaster at all levels.


PHOTO FRANK GUNN, THE CANADIAN PRESS ARCHIVES

Auston Matthews, Mitchell Marner, and Morgan Rielly

tavares contract

The seven-year, $77 million deal offered to John Tavares, a decision made in consultation with the owners, no one doubts, was a bad idea at the beginning and remains a bad idea today. He put the team in a weak position early in negotiations with young stars Matthews and Marner and cornered management on the salary plan. This signature will affect most bad decisions later on. Tavares, for his part, had a splendid first season in Toronto, with 47 goals and 88 points, but since then injuries, among other things, have prevented him from reaching the plateau of 30 goals and 80 points. He has offered just 14 points in 20 playoff games since he joined the team.

brain drain

We had to get rid of several talented players to meet the salary cap, but we also seriously misjudged the talent of some others. We wanted to distribute the forces better by swapping Nazem Kadri for a defender, Tyson Barrie, and a forward, Alexander Kerfoot. Barrie was expelled after just one year. Kerfoot has developed into a decent small forward, but Kadri outproduced Tavares last year in Colorado.

Strong support players Ilya Mikheyev, Kasperi Kapanen, Zach Hyman, Andreas Johnsson, among others, have been sacrificed over the years to adjust to the limit. Only Kapanen brought something back.


PHOTO MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ, ASSOCIATED PRESS FILES

zachhyman

Mason Marchment, 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, was traded for Denis Malgin in February 2020, after playing just four games in Toronto. He scored 47 points in 54 games last year in Florida, at just 26 years old. Another example of a clumsy traded player is Connor Brown.

exodus of draft picks

Brendan Shanahan and Kyle Dubas have traded four first-round picks, two second-round picks and six third-round picks in recent years for playoff backups. Of all the tricks obtained in exchange for these elections, only today are Jake Muzzin, too often on the disabled list, and Mark Giordano, a defender who surprises at the start of the season despite his 39 years.

Young defenseman Sean Durzi was also traded to one of those top picks to get Muzzin at the time. Durzi, 24, is now entrenched in the Kings’ top four defensive backs. He averages 21 minutes per game and already has six points in ten games this season.


PHOTO BRACE HEMMELGARN, USA TODAY SPORTS FILES

Sean Durzy

We also wasted a first-round pick in 2019 to get rid of Patrick Marleau. The Hurricanes drafted Seth Jarvis with that pick. Jarvis, 20, is already a member of the front lines in Carolina.

poor development

Since Auston Matthews in 2016, Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren are the only draft products to have settled in Toronto. But still, these two young defenders didn’t even play 17 minutes a game last year. We just called Nick Robertson, 21 years old. It was time. Robertson has four points in six games. But he would still be in the minors if it weren’t for goalie Matt Murray’s injury due to lack of salary.

The Maple Leafs have selected only three first-round picks in the past six seasons (and three overall picks in 2021, in 2me5me and 6me round), it doesn’t help the regeneration of a club, but two third-part defenders in six years is not enough…

No Guardian Established

The acquisition of Frederik Andersen for late first-round picks in 2016 and second-round picks in 2017 was a pretty good move … for Lou Lamoriello. Andersen was solid for the Leafs for four years before having a tough final season plagued by injuries. He let him enjoy his autonomy in 2021 and since then he has joined the Carolina Hurricanes, where he had a magnificent season last year.

Shanahan and Dubas replaced him with No. 1 one-year-old Jack Campbell last season before joining the Edmonton Oilers this summer as a free agent. Petr Mrazek had to put together a quality plan B. He was even offered 11.4 million for three years, but had to be offered a first-round pick (25me total) to the Maple Leafs, against a second-round pick (38me total) to the Blackhawks to get rid of his contract last summer…


PHOTO PAUL CHIASSON, CANADIAN PRESS ARCHIVES

matt murray

Dubas took a chance on a goalie he knew from his years as a junior manager by trading a third-round pick to the Senators to get Matt Murray, who is always injured, and his annual salary and $6.2 million for another two years. At least Ottawa is withholding 25% of his salary, which alleviates the amount of the salary cap for Toronto (from 6.2 million to 4.6 million, but as expected, Murray was placed on the disabled list after the First Let’s see if Ilya Samsonov, acquired for a pittance, can do the job. His start to the season is promising.

All in all, with these blunders piling up, and given the Leafs’ playoff flops since Brendan Shanahan’s arrival in 2014, and lack of relief, one wonders why Coach Keefe seems like the sacrificial sheep today. .

A profitable exchange for both teams

Without Ryan O’Reilly, the St. Louis Blues never would have won the Stanley Cup in 2019. O’Reilly scored 23 points in 26 games and won the Conn-Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.


PHOTO JAY LAPRETE, ASSOCIATED PRESS ARCHIVES

Patrik Laine and Ryan O’Reilly

But to get it, the Blues had to sacrifice a promising prospect, their 2016 first-round pick Tage Thompson, a 2019 first-round pick and a 2021 second-round pick.

Thompson only scored 28 points in 145 games in his first three seasons in Buffalo, but the Sabers had the luxury of being patient as they rebuilt. This young giant finally exploded at the age of 24 last year with 38 goals and 68 points in 78 games, in the center of the front row. He scored six points Monday in the Sabers’ 8-3 win over Detroit, bringing his total to 12 points in 9 games. A profitable exchange for the two clubs in the context of each organization.


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