Kukla's Korner Hockey

Kukla's Korner Hockey

All Ron MacLean

09/10/2015 at 4:54pm EDT

from Scott Lewis of Sportsnet,

SN: You've said Mike Babcock is a big believer in "ghost rosters," he doesn't want too many of the same type of players. What's been your impression of the Maple Leafs' off-season and are you seeing a fit for Babcock's style?

MacLean: They’re in a really difficult situation. We all believe the perfect next step would be to sign Steven Stamkos in a year and draft Auston Matthews. You can’t play for that, but that’s sort of where they’re at right now.

What Babcock will do is look at a team and say ‘OK, I’ve got Rick Nash, Jonathan Toews, and Mike Richards, and I’m going to make them the checking line.’ That’s what he did at the Olympics in 2010 and that takes a unique eye.

Ken Holland said it of Babcock in Detroit. He wasn’t involved in the draft, but on July 1st when they went after free agents it was all Babcock. He was extremely involved in that. To give you an example, he was the guy that really pushed for Brian Rafalski. He knew that Rafalski would round out a defence that already featured Nick Lidstrom and Niklas Kronwall. He knew that he was the guy he needed, the puck-moving player. When they signed Rafalski on July 1, 2007 he said to his family ‘we just won the Stanley Cup,’ and he was right. They won it in 2008 and almost in 2009 but they ran out of gas.

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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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