We need to blow up the Leafs. Now and again, every team has to go through the pain of “rebuilding”, and I think it’s the Leafs’ time. A friend of mine said recently that the worst thing that could happen to the Leafs this season is to make the playoffs, and I agree. It might give management the false belief that the team is just fine as it is, and just needs a bit of tweaking – it doesn’t. It needs a complete overhaul. The economics of the NHL has changed dramatically, and the Leafs old style of throwing money at over-the-hill veterans (and in some cases trading away draft picks and prospects to get them) simply will not work anymore. Look at Brian Leetch, Joe Nieuwendyk, Gary Roberts, Eric Lindros, Shane Corson, Ron Francis, even Ed Belfour. All veterans past their prime when they were acquired, and except for Roberts and (to some extent) Belfour, none really contributed much of anything.
I say we buy Belfour out and let him go, get rid of fan-favourite Tie Domi, who is a hard worker but is vastly overpaid, and get rid of Allison, O’Neill, Lindros, Czerkawski (who never plays anyway), Belak, Berg, and Antropov. We’ve already signed Kaberle (that’s good), and if we can afford to sign McCabe do it, otherwise trade him now while his trade value is high. I’m not even averse to trading Sundin if we can get some good prospects in return. Start over with a core of Colaiacovo, Ponikarovsky, Stajan, Steen, Tellqvist, and Wellwood, and keep Darcy Tucker (who’s playing really well this year), Sundin if not traded, and maybe Ken Klee cause we’ll need some veterans. Yes, the team will suck for four or five years, but if we get some good prospects and early draft picks in return for the old guys listed above, the Leafs might win a Cup before my kids hit university. If they keep trying to use the old Leafs style, my grandkids will be blogging about “no Leafs Cup wins in 75 years”.
Update: Oh yeah, and fire Pat Quinn.