Every Which Way but (our) East - The Rest of the First Round

McDrew

Set Adrift on Memory Bliss
SoSH Member
Apr 11, 2006
3,602
Portland, OR
Best chirp I saw on twitter: at least the Leafs had 500 front-line medical personnel on hand to pronounce them dead.
 

cshea

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 15, 2006
28,548
306, row 14
I'm not really sure where the Leafs go from here. This was a brutal collapse. They were the heaviest first round favorite in the history of Dom's model at 83%. The pandemic gifted them a golden road to the semi-final's. No Boston. No Tampa. All they had to do was beat a Montreal team they were 18 points better than in the regular season. Then beat a Jets team they cleared by 14 points. They gagged it away.

They've kind of done a zig zag on their direction. The core has remained the same but they've about faced a few times on the margins. They started off trying to load up on as much skill as possible, forget about grit. This year they changed direction and decided maybe some veteran experience would be useful to a skilled core that has struggled to get over the first round hump. They kept Spezza, added Wayne Simmonds, Joe Thornton, Zach Bogosian and doubled (tripled!?) down by trading a 1st, 4th, 4th and a 6th for Nick Foligno and Riley Nash at the deadline. Oops.

Among the stars, Marner seems to be the one with the most anger directed towards him. He hasn't scored in 18 straight playoff games (though in fairness he's a playmarker more than a goal scorer). Matthews had a down series production wise, 1 g 4 a in the 7 games. He picked a bad time to enter a shooting slump, posting a Hall-in-Buffalo like 2.9% after finishing the regular season at 18.5%. Those sort of runs happen, but you can't really play through it in a short series. Especially when the cap (Kapanen, Johnsson) and injuries (Tavares) sapped your depth. There always seems to be some ire directed towards Nylander but he's arguably been their best forward in the playoffs over the last 2 years.

We'll see what they do. I don't see much of a path towards improving. They have a lower end farm system. They've traded away their 1st, 3rd, 4th and 7th in the upcoming 2021 draft. They've already spent their 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th in 2022 on trades too. They have $69 million already committed against the $81.5 million cap for 2022. Hyman is their main UFA to re-sign. Freddy Andersen too, but I think he's gone with Campbell having taking over the reigns. I think it's going to be difficult for them to trade a star for equal value. Marner makes $10.9 million which is going to severely limit his suitors. Tavares has a NMC. Matthews is probably not going anywhere. Nylander could be dangled at a tad under $7 million but again, not easy to move big salaries in this flat cap environment.

Just doesn't seem like there is a clear path forward for them.
 

burstnbloom

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 12, 2005
2,028
I'm so enjoying the meltdown on leafs twitter today. It seems like MArner is the one they want to burn at the stake for sure. I don't blame him, he was a ghost in that series. The leafs path gets significantly harder next year when they roll back into the Atlantic with Boston, Tampa and Florida. There is a chance they are a wild card team. That $69.8 is for only 12 skaters and Campbell. Minimum salaries for the rest puts them at $75.1 on an $81.5m cap, to put things in perspective. They are in deep trouble and its hilarious. They have very little organizational depth and a terrible farm system. Dubas gets a lot of credit for his performance but I don't really get why.

It will be interesting to see what happens in the next 2 months for this team. They need to move one of the big guys to make any significant changes to the roster and the stakes on that are extremely high. Can't wait to see how it plays out.
 

cshea

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 15, 2006
28,548
306, row 14
Pierre is still fighting the war on analytics. It's the nerds fault the Leafs (and Oilers, whom I've never heard of as an analytics heavy team) lost.

View: https://twitter.com/NHL_Watcher/status/1400086695849213958?s=20


Ignoring the fact that basically all successful teams (notably Tampa and Colorado) are built on analytics is the fact that the Leafs slightly pivoted away from analytics in building this years team. They kept Spezza and added Thornton, Simmonds, Foligno and Bogosion under the premise of adding grit and veteran leadership despite what the analytics on those guys said.
 

MiracleOfO2704

not AWOL
SoSH Member
Jul 12, 2005
6,289
The Island
Are we 100% sure that Canada is going to allow international travel by October?
As long as vaccinations continue at their current rates, I can’t see the standard holding much longer. Manitoba’s the big trouble spot now, though, so they’d have to improve soon for any kind of reopening to set in before the fall.