Did Babcock play the Sabres?

18 Responses to Did Babcock play the Sabres?

  1. leafy says:

    I watched the full press conference for the first time. I must say I’m very happy with the dialogue. Babcock used words like “process” and “program” and made it clear it’s not a quick fix and only agreed to come here after given assurances from Shanahan that he’s willing to go through a painful period. So glad to hear that.

    By the way, the Sabres are really pissed. There were not one, but two questions from the Buffalo reporters, and they sounded bitter. Really looked like sour grapes to me. It was a bidding war. Of course he’s going to walk away from one of the teams. Typically homer Sabres reporters.

    • nordiques100 says:

      Well we all know, there will be fans who, with the hiring of Babcock, will expect results right away. And when they don’t get them, they will rain on this hiring.

      There are a lot of short sighted fans in Leaf Nation. That will happen with such a large fan base.

      He spoke of pain, of patience. We’ll need to endure lots of pain and have lots of patience.

      But, its nice to see Shanahan and Babcock being on the same page. Babcock has worked with great hockey people. Bryan Murray in Anaheim, all those Detroit people, many who he stated were all around the NHL. So it was great to see him speak so highly of Hunter and Dubas, two really inexperienced executives at the NHL level.

      So there is some promise here. I believe though, while you don’t want too many cooks to spoil, they do need someone in there with some extensive NHL experience. I like Mike Futa. All that time with LA, building something, which did take about 8-9 years to get going, he was part of all that.

      So he would be a smart hire. Not a former GM, so he has no experience there, but he’s been in the NHL, gain those connections so that helps.

      I am sure Sean Burke will be part of this as well. Likely like in Arizona, an executive, plus goalie coach.

      And while the front office seems heavy on OHL guys, other additions, no matter where they are from are still needed and will be added. This is really the first step in the Shana-Plan. Solidify the front office and coaching staff with people who will work together to make the most important decision. Who’s going to play?

      As for the Sabres. Another reporter was on the fan590. He called it like it was, the guy made a choice, Toronto or Buffalo, to live in. He chose Toronto and why wouldn’t you.

      And he pretty much said, there was no lying. He was doing what every other person in the same position would do, play both sides. He mentioned its the small town mindset of Buffalo and how everyone stomps on the little guy. He was so right. The city has endured a lot of losing. The Bills, the Brett Hull goal, McDavid, now this. They pretty well need to get over it. And hey, you have Rex Ryan. That is a big enough ego for the state of NY.

  2. nordiques100 says:

    After they add the GM, whomever that may be, and get through the draft (it does not need to be in that order), the next step is obvious. The current roster.

    Its full of gaping holes. If the season started today, the likely lineup would be:




    In other words. Yuck.

    The depth chart would have the likes of Nylander, McKegg, Gauthier, Brown, Rupert, Leipsic, Soshnikhov, Bailey, Devane, Johnson, Verhaeghe, Biggs among the forwards.

    Granberg, MacWilliam, Percy, Nilsson, Loov, Valiev, Finn, Donaghey on defence.

    Gibson, Sparks, Bibeau in goal.

    I didnt bother listing any of the UFAs the Leafs have because I am pretty sure none of them will return.

    They have picks 4, 24, 65, 95, 107, 125, 155 in the upcoming draft.

    In 2016, they have their 1st, their 2nd and Pittsburgh’s 2nd, a 3rd, but that may be transferred to Detroit, a 4th, 2 5ths, 2 6ths and a 7th.

    This will be the first draft for Hunter and co. My guess is a few OHL players will be chosen. (though this is said to be slim on OHL talent outside the top 10)

    A top 5 ranking of the guys who stand the chance to be traded the soonest are:

    1. Kessel

    There’s 2 ways to look at it. Babcock takes this as the biggest challenge ever, and works with Kessel, or Shanahan has made up his mind, wants a Rick Nash like return for Kessel (which was 4 assets) and starts brand spanking from the bottom up. I really believe Kessel will be gone for sure. He is the ground zero focal point of both what the problems that are the Leafs and the start of the new beginning.

    2. Lupul

    Lupul on one hand, has played for Babcock before, as a rookie in Anaheim, plus he has always come across as someone who cares and likes being here. But, I think to change the leadership and the voices in the room and the makeup of the team, he goes and it happens this summer.

    3. Phaneuf

    I think Babcock likes Phaneuf. So he may feel this guy is the one who can help turn this around since he is signed for the long haul too. But again, maybe Shanahan has made up his mind and probably won’t turn down any deal that involves futures coming back to Toronto. I think this would be the hardest trade to make. There are so many financial implications. And really, what is his worth? Everyone needs D. But does everyone want a 7 mil D?

    4. Bozak

    I think Bozak is a player who could benefit most with a Kessel-less lineup. I think Kessel has influence Bozak the most and always in the best way. I’d trade Bozak in a heartbeat, but again, what is the worth? Obviously a mis-cast 1st line centre. Obviously put up points playing with Kessel. Entrusted by previous coaches to win draws, kill penalties. So what is he? Maybe Babcock wants to find out.

    5. Kadri

    This to me is the biggest wildcard. We’ve all seen from afar Kadri showing himself to not care, be lazy, not work hard, be plain stupid and definitely have zero consistency. But at the time I think Hunter is a big backer of Kadri. I think this is a player, along with Gardiner, Reilly and other younger guys, which the organization wants to see Babcock work with. I think Kadri will have to do a 180 degree turn to be better. As a RFA, i think his contract negotiations will be a big factor on whether he stays or doesn’t.

    The bonus pick is Gardiner. A few people here hate him. Absolutely hate him. Love to see him gone. But, if analytics mean anything, he was one of the better Leafs in terms of possession numbers. But gawd he cannot defend. At all. We can only hope more structure and teaching help.

    • leafy says:

      I agree with you on Kessel, Nords. Hard to imagine Kessel and Babcock working together. But the Leafs have to be very careful with their assets. If Kessel has to stick around and increase his value, then so be it.

      Interesting Coach’s Corner this evening. Don Cherry says Kessel will report to camp 10 pounds lighter this year. He better. I’d also like to see Babcock turn Kessel into more than a one trick pony and develop a more complete multi dimensional game. That includes playing well at both ends of the ice. Easy to see that the effort was not there this year.

      Agreed on Kadri. Resign for cheap, otherwise him give the boot.

      I also think you nailed it with Gardiner. Cannot play defense worth a f&*# and has practically no hockey IQ. I really believe nobody would want him for a $4M cap hit. He probably should be in the minors. Seriously.

      Phaneuf is the one guy I respect because at least he brings an honest effort every game. There could be a good hockey deal there should the Leafs decide to move him.

      • nordiques100 says:

        Kessel is a bad defensive player. That being said, he doesn’t need to be such a bad team player. Players like him, they cheat defensively. Its been going on for years. They can’t help it.

        However, he is just atrocious on the defensive side and a lot of it has to do with him not wanting to sacrifice for the greater good of the team. He has complete neglect for his assignments. Its just so painful to watch.

        If Kessel happens to stay. I think the he will not last. They thought Carlyle was demanding. No. Babcock is the definition of it. But he is also prepared and has a work ethic to the job second to none. Its going to be a tough place for players but also a good place as they should learn a lot about the game, themselves and how to get better.

        I would think every single player coming back to Toronto will be coming in their best condition. If not, they’re not going to be Leafs for very long. Kadri and Kessel lead the list of those likely to not be prepared.

        • TmLeafan says:

          Bozak is going to benefit the most from a Kessel-less lineup? That cannot be an actual serious comment. You realize Kessel is one of the best offensive players in the league and has been dragging Bozak around for the last 5 years right? over half of Bozak’s goals are essentially open nets created by Phil.

          I think you have it backwards I think Phil will benefit hugely if Bozak is dealt and he has an actually capable defensive centre to play with for once rather than Bozak and the dogs breakfast of players we have provided for him over the years.

          The way I see it is that Kessel stays. A bunch of GM’s try to take advantage of the fact he had a bad second half last season and lowball Shanahan. Phil bounces back gets about 35 goals and 80 points again and we revisit it next summer when the offers might improve.

          You guys are also selling Gardiner short too. Granted he is prone to defensive lapses and will never be a beast in his own end. However he has the ability to make things happen. I read somewhere that the Leafs shot just over 2 % at even strength when he was on the ice last season which is basically the worst in the league. He should get a lot more points next season.

          • TmLeafan says:

            Also Nash got traded for a pile of garbage, have to aim higher than that for a return.

            • nordiques100 says:

              I am not sure your analysis on Nash is very accurate.

              Dubinsky and Anisimov are both at worst, top 9 forwards. Dubinsky was always an important player in the Rangers lineup. Don’t just focus on the goals and points.

              Erixon was a former 1st round pick. At the time, he was a good prospect. He was a top 5 prospect just a year ago in the Jackets system. He’s unfortunately been caught in a numbers game. And, he got bad advice in not wanting to be in Calgary.

              And their 1st rounder was Rychel. Thats not a bad prospect.

              If Toronto got a deal like that where they could plug 4 guys into the NHL, with 1 under 21 player with a bit more potential to become something more than the other 3, I’d take it for Kessel.

              And the fact is, Nash is the better player. Better all around player and that size is a difference maker.

              • TmLeafan says:

                Rick Nash is not better than Phil Kessel.

                Not like Rick Nash is a beast defensively, I would say he holds an edge there but Phil is much better offensively. If Phil Kessel was Canadian and an inch taller people wouldn’t even question that he is the better player.

                I agree that it is a decent comparable and that it was not a terrible return. However Scott Howson is one of the worst GM’s in the league and Nash had a full NT clause at the time. Basically forced them to trade him to the Rangers. We can trade Phil to all but 8 teams I believe.

                Just cause Columbus screwed up and got a bunch of bit parts doesn’t mean we have to settle for the same. Trying to build a contender have to get something of significance otherwise keep him. He never gets hurt, he is essentially a ppg player. Has the best goals per game in the playoffs of any player in the last 20 years. Just because the media in Toronto berate Phil and his value doesn’t mean that is his perception around the league. Teams are desperate for scoring and he is in his prime and incredibly durable. Not like we have to trade him like Columbus did with Nash after he asked for a trade.

                I think you are very wrong and if Phil ever gets dealt you will be shocked and pleasantly surprised with the return. None of this Forida’s 11th overall pick and Brad Boyes nonsense.

                • nordiques100 says:

                  If a team has 1 game they want to win, and want to have the strongest TEAM on the ice, they would pick Nash every time.

                  And for all the skill and speed Kessel has, Nash has delivered much more with more than 1 40 goal season, Kessel has none, and a Rocket Richard trophy.

                  Kessel is a offensive player, but not a team player. Nash provides offence plus is strong in all parts of the game.

                  I hope to be pleasantly surprised.

                  • leafy says:

                    I’m with Nords on this one.

                    His lack of versatility and questionable work ethic and attitude don’t sit well with me. If Kessel scored 50, I might begin to overlook his flaws, but he hasn’t even scored 40.

                    • TmLeafan says:

                      A team may do that but they would be foolish.

                      So what if Nash has scored 40? I would take the guy who is more clutch, more durable good for 35 goals. A WAY better passer.

                    • Gambo says:

                      Kessel scored 25 goals last season. So he’s not “good for 35 goals”.

                      Nash plays on the PK, has dominating size and has scored 40 three times, three more times than Kessel. Plus he’s been a captain, something Kessel will never be.

                      But i’m not the biggest Rick Nash fan, i’d call it a draw between the two. Maybe slight edge to Rick Nash.

  3. leafy says:

    With both playoff series tied at 2-2, just few comments.

    Anaheim is a far stronger team than I thought going into these playoffs. They really look primed to take the Cup, but Chicago is such a great team and should never be counted out. This is slowly becoming a classic series.

    New York and Tampa have no chance of beating Anaheim/Chicago.

    • Steven_Leafs0 says:

      Gotta say I agree with you but I think Bishop is quickly becoming the next Crawford. Such underrated talent right now and a huge steal from Ottawa (who doesn’t care at all funny enough).

      I think Tampa will win the cup as long as Johnson and Stamkos don’t dry up and Bishop doesn’t punt it.

      • leafy says:

        The thing is, we saw again last night, the Rangers look like a better team, but it’s Tampa that gets the opportunistic goals. I still wouldn’t rule out NY coming back. Tampa just seems to be winning on strategy in these playoffs rather than just being a great team per se. At least in my opinion.

        I’m very skeptical that they can beat Chicago or Anaheim, but we’ll find out. They keep proving me wrong.

        • nordiques100 says:

          Stamkos has stepped up. He has been a difference maker. Same with Bishop.

          Those two were probably their biggest keys going into the playoffs. But they’ve been carried by the Johnson line for pretty much the whole time.

          Stamkos is on fire now and Bishop, while up and down, has had some really excellent games at key times to save the Bolts

          • leafy says:

            I’ll tell you what. I’ll give Tampa or New York 1 game against the west. And that’s because I’m in a generous mood. Could be a sweep.

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