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Fixing The Leafs

from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,

An entirely unscientific survey of several NHL pro scouts, who are paid to watch and dissect other teams, and general managers (who were promised anonymity for their frankness) produced no one who thought there should be major changes. But all think some change is necessary to fix the biggest problems on the team – a lack of leadership and hockey smarts among the players (hence their inability to carry out a game plan) and a defence corps that has too many offensive-minded players and not enough physical ones.

The most interesting idea came from a scout who said Dion Phaneuf doesn’t need to be traded (not that Nonis could move that huge contract anyway), but he might play better if the captain’s role was taken away from him. Everyone surveyed said Phaneuf’s hockey sense is not the greatest, that he makes too many mistakes for someone who has been in the NHL for 10 seasons.

The idea is that, without the added pressure of being the designated leader, maybe Phaneuf can get back to being the defenceman who can deliver the timely hit and provide some needed offence. “[Phaneuf] can be an effective player, but in taking away the C does he go back to being as effective as he can be?” one scout wondered....

Up front, there was general agreement the Leafs need a lot more support for the top line of centre Tyler Bozak and wingers Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk. However, a couple people would like to see a little more leadership and consistency from Kessel.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Primis's avatar

I don’t think their problem is defensemen so much as it is that aside from Kulemin and sometimes Bolland, they have no defensively-competent forwards.  Bzak, Kessel, JVR, etc re all offense, no defense.  And guys like Clarkson are walking penalty kills.

It’s a terrible combination of forwards.

Posted by Primis on 04/01/14 at 10:21 AM ET

BrendonTO's avatar

Will just add that Bozak is actually a great defensive player who always reminds me of a Wing when I watch him play. Kessel, JVR et al though are definitely not back-checking.

Posted by BrendonTO on 04/01/14 at 08:47 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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