Thursday, January 28, 2010

Have Fun, Go Young

I just wanted to show you something. It may not be realistic, but this is what I really hope the line-up looks like next year. The number beside the players names is their age.
Kadri - 19
D'Amigo - 19
Kessel - 22
Hanson - 23
Bozak - 23
Kulemin - 23
Stalberg - 24
Rosehill - 24
Grabovski - 26 on Sunday
Stajan - 26
Orr - 27

Schenn - 20
Gunnarsson - 23
White - 25
Komisarek - 28
Beauchemin - 29
Kaberle - 31

Gustavsson - 25

The average age of this line-up is 24.2 years old. I've only got 11 forwards, leaving a position open for Burke to sign the best UFA forward available that isn't looking for a 10-year term. Probably D'Amigo won't be ready for the NHL yet, so that could open up a second spot, but I'm really hoping Kadri is good to go next year and on the team.

The oldest player, and the only one over 30, is Kaberle. If you're gonna have only one player over 30 on your team, he's an excellent choice as an elder statesman. I'm also keeping Stajan over Poni because Stajan's 3 years younger, but has the experience and maturity of most veterans. Stajan and Colton Orr would then become the oldest forwards in the dressing room, while Beachemin and Komisarek add their individual dimensions to Kaberle's leadership on the blueline. There's also just one goaltender 'cause I have no idea what we need to do there - just anything but Toskala, of course.

I honestly like the defence the way it is, and if these guys could stay healthy, that's an excellent 6-man unit there. I don't think the Leafs defensive problems this year are a fault of the personnel (is it the coaching then?) and I don't think there needs to be big changes there. If you trade Kaberle then who's your sixth D-man? Finger or Exelby don't interest me much anymore. I suppose there's an outside shot that Van Ryn will attempt a comeback with the Leafs, otherwise you're left with Oreskovic or finding a defenceman on the UFA market. Seems easier to just keep Kaberle and say "we like the defence the way it is, now let's fix the goaltending and scoring issues".

Out: Mitchell(25), Stempniak(turning 27 next week), Exelby(28), Wallin(29), Ponikarovsky(29), Finger(30), Hagman(30), Toskala(32), Primeau(33), Mayers(35), Blake(36).

Some of these guys have no value and should just be let go or buried in the minors. Obviously, Stempniak, Hagman, and Ponikarovsky are not included in that group. They have value, and I hope the Leafs can maximize that value by getting a quality return for that trio.

Aside from Mitchell, age is definitely a major factor in crafting this line-up. I want the team to get younger, even if that means that they don't get better right away. Chemistry is something that takes time and needs to develop internally. Players that are past their prime, on their way out of town, just stopping through, or just hangin' on, are hard to connect with on a personal level and there's no room for spiritual growth or bonding. A player's relationship with the team is non-existent if he's beyond the ability to improve, yet unable to help others around him improve either.

After all, when you're 36, losing isn't a learning experience, it's a life experience.


looshV said...

You know your line-up could be close except for two things:

1) Jerry D'Amigo simply has to play some time in the AHL before we can really get an idea how he is over the course of a grinding season.

2) Jason Blake isn't going anywhere.

Jeff Finger will have to be ultimately waived and sent to the Marlies. This would be a dream come true but he looks like Blake 2.0 right now.

The reality is; Cliff made a couple of stupid moves and JF is currently at the top, or bottom depending on how one looks at things, of the list.

BB knows he has to deal with this sooner than later.

Great article, love the line-up and I think that will be it with everyone just two years older.

If that were to actually work out for next year though, I'd shit.

bkblades said...

Young players on the roster? Giggity. Wait. This makes me sound like a pervert, doesn't it?

Questioning my manhood aside, I'm still in the camp of having Nazem Kadri play in the AHL next year. Unless he's playing prime minutes in all situations, I rather he acclimate himself to pro players before making the big jump. If he proves to be way too good for the AHL, call him up.

general borschevsky said...

Hey looshV! D'Amigo and Kadri is just wishful thinking on my part, but the point remains that I'd rather watch young kids struggle and hopefully learn and improve, rather then watching veterans lose and grow old.

Jason Blake isn't going anywhere.

Please don't say that. It hurts so much. This has to be his last season on the team. It just has to be...

Yo bk! I'm probably getting too far ahead of myself but I'm really looking forward to seeing Kadri play for the Leafs alongside Kessel. Cheers.

blurr1974 said...

i like it. a lot.

general borschevsky said...

Cheers blurr!

. said...

Looks like we're the youngest team in the NHL now.

How'dya like that?!

looshV said...

Well holy shit that's the most delicious crow I've ever eatin'!

Fuckin eh dude!.....


I can't tell you how elated I am that BB managed to trade away jason Blake.

Jason Blake isn't going anywhere....


general borschevsky said...

@:Harold: It's like a dream come true.

@:looshV: Excellent foreshadowing!