Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Trade Deadline

The Leafs do Close to Nothing

The Toronto Maple Leafs traded three minor players before Tuesday's trade deadline, picking up some draft picks. The moves were not close to the fire sale expected last week when the big question before the deadline was if Mats Sundin would waive his no trade clause. He didn't.

The debate on his decision will probably continue, just as the debate on whether the Leafs should have officially hit the Self-Destruct button Tuesday. The team couldn't because of the number of bad contracts former general manager John Ferguson Jr. signed.

What's most ridiculous is Damien Cox suggestion the Leafs need a Bob Gainey figure as general manager. This opinion is presumably based on Gainey's move before the deadline to trade his team's No. 1 goaltender, Cristobal Huet, for a draft pick, and put the Montreal Canadiens playoff hopes in an unproven rookie goaltender. "Gainey showed his greatness again," Cox writes.

Really? Taking a risk that could cost his team the Stanley Cup because Huet is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season is a sign of greatness? I would understand the trade if Montreal had received more than a second-round draft pick, had received help for their Cup run.

Gainey showed he was either a) brilliant or b) crazy, but the idea that being decisive alone is a sign of greatness is foolish. Let's be clear: Gainey, as a general manager in Dallas and Montreal, has created competitive teams. But he's only won a single Stanley Cup (in 1999 with Dallas) as a general manager.

Sure, that's one more Stanley Cup win than any Leafs GM since 1967, but I would hope that the Leafs next general manager is a far more successful hockey executive than Gainey.



Kerry said...

Most of my Habs-fan friends are as anti-Huet as they come, but I genuinely believe Gainey made a bad move here. When he sent Price back down to the AHL I honestly believed he was acknowledging the club's neverending vicious circle when it comes to netminders.

Quite often, the starting goaltender begins to hit a slump and the backup proves himself to be somewhat reliable under pressure. Public opinion turns sharply against the starting goaltender, who is benched for a few games while the backup dude shines. The starting goaltended is traded away and the backup is moved up to the starting position and revered as a rock star might be.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

It's going to be nice to see Jaroslav Halak get some ice time, but you are correct. The team's net is now in the hands of two guys who have never played a complete season in the NHL. That scares me.

While I've been mostly content with the Habs' performance this year, their inexplicable inability to defeat the Leafs aside, I agree that the Cup is now officially out of reach. (It was never really in reach, as I never expected them to win, but even the faintest hope is gone now.)

I won't even be surprised if they somehow bomb their way out of playoff contention.

My real worry is that Price and Halak will burn out not long from now. And then they'll really be screwed.

Czobit said...

For one night, Price has held up his end of this risky decision.

But I agree with you that Montreal may have cost itself a chance at the cup.

But considering how awful Ottawa has been lately (lost twice to the Leafs in a month), one has to think the Habs have a chance of finishing first or second in the league. If they get a weak opponent, and then get hot, you never know.

At this point, though, I think picking a Western conference team to win the Cup is the safest bet.