Wednesday, January 24, 2007


When the Leafs resume play on January 27th there will be exactly one month until the NHL trade deadline.

That’s one month for the Leafs to figure out if they’re buyers, sellers or if once more they’re going to make a series of useless, lateral moves.

The Leafs may be tied for the 8th and final playoff spot, but they’ve also played more games than their competition. If you look at winning percentage, the Leafs currently sit 11th in the East (and 22nd overall in the NHL – way to go MLSE!)

1. Buffalo .714
2. New Jersey .656
3. Atlanta .620
4. Montreal .602
5. Ottawa .580
6. Carolina .560
7. Pittsburgh .543
8. Tampa Bay .540

9. Boston .522
10. New York .521
11. Toronto .510
12. Washington .490

Presuming it will take 92+ points to qualify for the post-season, the Leafs will have to post at minimum 42 points in their next 33 games. That’s about a .636 winning percentage, something that I just don’t think this club is capable of, especially if you look at the Leafs’ performance so far this year.

Breaking the season to date into 10 game blocks, here’s how the Leafs have fared this year:

1 – 10 .550% (4-3-3)
11 – 20 .750 (7-2-1)
21-30 .250 (2-7-1)
31-40 .450 (4-5-1)
40-49 .555 (5-4-0)

While the Leafs did manage to real off a great streak in games 11 through 20, they followed that up with their worst play of the season. In fact, their best 30 game stretch produced just 13 wins and 31 points.

If the Leafs play at that pace (their best of the season) they’ll finish the year with about 83 points.

That’s nowhere good enough to qualify for the post season.

Considering their erratic play to date, a winning percentage of .636% just doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Factor in long-term injuries to Wellwood (35 points in 31 games), Peca (without him the PK fell from a dismal 17th in the league to an atrocious 25th) and a fracture to Tucker’s foot and the odds of the Leafs stringing together a serious winning streak seem about as likely as Antropov threatening Doug Jarvis’ 964 game iron man record.

Looking at this, I have one-word for Mr. Ferguson – sell.

I’m not saying tank it.

I’m not saying the Leafs should play soft, play small, not compete.

I am saying it’s time for Ferguson to look at the assets that are on this club that have the potential to walk for nothing in the off-season, to look at the big picture of where this club needs to be to seriously challenge in the post-season and to move these assets now.

If Ferguson wants to be the GM of the big club, it’s time for him to show that he’s capable of doing something grander than Tellqvist for a fourth rounder or Perrot for a sixth and that he’s smarter than, oh say trading a top ranked goaltending prospect for a guy who can’t crack the top 30 in goals against or save percentage.*

Say goodbye to UFAs O'Neill, Tucker, Peca, Antropov, Green, Battaglia, Devereaux, re-stock the draft cupboard and let the kids play.

*For those of you keeping score out there, here’s how Raycroft stacks up against Legace, a guy the Leafs could have had for half the salary while keeping Rask in the fold:
Goals Against: Legace 2.69 18th; Raycroft 3.10 31st
Save Percentage: Legace .907% 21st; Raycroft .892% 36th

Nice work JFJ!


  1. Anonymous10:21 am

    He should, but he won't.

  2. Anonymous11:31 am


  3. Anonymous12:07 pm

    Selling would imply that he failed and would mean his ouster so look for JFJ to tinker in an attempt to make the playoffs in order to save his job.

    Some Leaf fan somewhere did something very bad to make us deserve this.

  4. Anonymous3:54 pm

    Everything Mike says makes perfect sense, which is exactly why JFJ won't do it.

    MLSE looks at the short-term bottom line, regardless of the nice words they espouse about wanting to bring a winning team to Toronto. This has been their history since formation. And the fact is that each and every playoff game adds at least $1 million in profit to an already profitable operation. If JFJ is a seller, as he should be, the short term outlook is no playoffs this season, meaning two straight seasons and a "loss" of a potential $3-8+ million in playoff profit over the past two seasons. This won't be looked at kindly by the suits and considering that JFJ is trying to convince the board to extend his contract beyond next season, I don't think he'll take the chance. As ppp said, he'll tinker in an attempt to squeak in, so we can lose to Buffalo in the first round.

    Equally concerning is the question, "What if JFJ did become a seller?" If you look at the deals he has completed since becoming GM, does anyone have confidence that he would turn Sundin, Tucker, et al. into real tangible future assets for this club if he did decide to become a seller? The best he could do with a top notch goaltending prospect was obtain a very average Raycroft. I've seen nothing to suggest he would make better decisions in the future if given the opportunity.

    The best thing for the Leafs would be for JFJ to be fired immediately and a knowledgeable GM brought in prior to the trading deadline, someone that could actually turn the few assets we have into a bright future. Sadly, I don't see this as having any chance of occurring.

    I blame hebsie99 for all the Leafs' problems. No particular reason, just because. ;-)

  5. Look for useless, lateral moves, I would say. It is our tradition. Tinkering at best, with replacement of a couple of minor players, no pain and definitely no gain. JFJ lacks the guts to go for any potential blockbuster deal. He's not Cliff Fletcher, unfortunately.

    This Leaf team isn't going to win with Sundin, so why not trade him while he's still worth something? It would be a classy move to trade him to a contender so he might have a legitimate shot at the cup. A package of proven young players, not draft picks, would be the price. Leaf scouts couldn't differentiate between Wayne and Keith Gretzky.

    Remember the year they chose a Swiss player with a high pick? I have never heard his name since. Bitter Leaf fan, indeed.

  6. Anonymous6:43 pm

    Luca Cereda. Antro with a heart problem.

  7. Back to what you said about the leafs needing a winning precentage of .636

    I just did a little update with the new numbers, and still assuming that they will need at least 92 points the winning precentage just went to 0.596

    With 26 Games left they'd have to win 16..Had they got the extra point out of the Pens last night they would need 0.577, and only 15 games.