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Waiting On The Core In Toronto

from Damein Cox at the Toronto Star,

Nathan MacKinnon is now 26 years old, and was drafted in 2013. Victor Hedman, the unusually talented big man who dominates the Tampa Bay defence, was drafted in 2009 and was 29 years old when the Lightning captured the “summer bubble” title in 2020. The Leafs obviously are hoping that Mitch Marner (now 25, drafted in 2015) and Auston Matthews (24, drafted in 2016) are getting to the same point in their careers as those players, but there’s no guarantee.

Instead, showing that not all seven-game, first-round playoff losses are created equal, this off-season seems mostly about the Leafs not necessarily improving themselves, but making sure they don’t get worse.

Not exactly exciting, right? But in a salary cap league in which big trades involving star players are mostly a thing of the past, that’s the way it is for most teams.

You can always hope another club makes a big mistake that benefits your team. Colorado certainly feels that way about how they acquired Nazem Kadri from Toronto. Tampa still can’t believe it got Mikhail Sergachev from Montreal for Jonathan Drouin. Or you can hope that money and/or cap woes motivate teams to dump good talent, like Minnesota recently did with Kevin Fiala. Arizona is apparently trying to get its payroll as low as it can go as it prepares to further embarrass the NHL by playing out of a 5,000-seat arena, so maybe some team will land talented defenceman Jakob Chychrun for some combination of prospects and picks.

Teams in Toronto’s division are making moves. Boston hired Jim Montgomery to coach, and Detroit did the same with Derek Lalonde. Montreal, with the first pick in the draft, will get a big-name prospect this week, and Ottawa will continue to try to chart its future in the post-Eugene Melnyk era.

The Leafs, meanwhile, have bumped Jason Spezza from the fourth line to the front office, signed Mark Giordano and Timothy Liljegren to very affordable contracts and fired their goaltending coach. Ilya Mikheyev has apparently been deemed unaffordable, and there’s some concern Rasmus Sandin could be an offer-sheet target.


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


SYF's avatar

Tampa still can’t believe it got Mikhail Sergachev from Montreal for Jonathan Drouin.

Or traded away Kyle Frickin’ Quincey for a first round pick that landed them Andrei Vasilevskiy.  Wings fans are always gonna remember that trade forever.

Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 07/04/22 at 04:50 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Wings fans are always gonna remember that trade forever.

Posted by SYF

The kicker is that all TB had to give up to get Quincy from the Avs was Steve Fricking Downey. Then Holland even threw in Sebastien Piche as a “sweetener” to go along with the 1st rounder in order to get Quincey back (after giving him away on waivers four years earlier).

It still makes me shake my head in disbelief every time I think about that whole fiasco.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 07/04/22 at 06:58 PM ET


Or, I guess Arizona could wonder the same about
KH’s Rube Goldberg trade contraption which allowed
them to turn the 20th pick into Chychrun.
The Coyotes will end up trading Chychrun for a pile of magic beans
for all I know. But every time I see a story about Arizona wanting
four assets for Chychrun, I can’t help thinking: you know, we could have just
drafted him.

Posted by lefty.30 on 07/04/22 at 08:31 PM ET


In fairness the 20th and the pick that became Hronek
- a good player to land in second round for sure.

They could have missed on that pick too though as they appear to
have done with Cholowski. You have a middling first round pick.
A really touted player at a position you desperately need help falls to you.
And you instead engineer some bizarre rationale not to take him.
And then, Hughes drops to sixth and KH still refuses to draft a top-pairing

Doesn’t fit the theme of that paragraph.
But gifting Chychrun to Arizona does.

Posted by lefty.30 on 07/04/22 at 08:35 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.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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