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As Presently Constructed, Can They Contend For Cup?
#1
So let’s look at my above question under the assumption Marner gets signed—-as I expect he will.

Dubas has remodeled the team this summer with some bodies out and some in—-changed the D.

Let’s pretend there are no other significant moves.

This is a hockey team I like the look of with great speed and skill.

But it’s not me you need to impress; it’s the rest of the league you need to overcome in playoffs.

St Louis won the Cup using a high degree of physicality, so did Washington the year before.

Considering the NHL rulebook is thin enough in regular season, drastically thinner in the playoffs, and perhaps non existent in the finals,,,,,,......

Is the team that I like the look of built to win “the war of attrition” that is the Stanley Cup Playoffs?
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#2
(2019-07-10, 09:10 PM)CuttingEdge Wrote: So let’s look at my above question under the assumption Marner gets signed—-as I expect he will.

Dubas has remodeled the team this summer with some bodies out and some in—-changed the D.

Let’s pretend there are no other significant moves.

This is a hockey team I like the look of with great speed and skill.

But it’s not me you need to impress; it’s the rest of the league you need to overcome in playoffs.

St Louis won the Cup using a high degree of physicality, so did Washington the year before.

Considering the NHL rulebook is thin enough in regular season, drastically thinner in the playoffs, and perhaps non existent in the finals,,,,,,......

Is the team that I like the look of built to win “the war of attrition” that is the Stanley Cup Playoffs?

too many factors or "what ifs?" to label them contenders or not. 

Do Matthews and Marner both continue to blossom into some of the better players the game has?

Can Tavares repeat his season from last year?

Does Nylander bounce back to the player he was before sitting out?

How will the defense gel? 

What do the leafs have in Kerfoot, Mikheyev? 

Does Spezza have anything left in the tank?

Will Andersen have another spurt of 10-15 games where all his stats go to hell and people forget what level he's capable of reaching?
Don't fool yourself each and every cheer for the Raps is a cheer for Drake. 
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#3
Did anyone think the Blues would contend for a Cup? No one but Blues fans (and even then, only diehards that no one including other Blues fans would believe)


The Leafs, as constructed, should be a top 5 team in the league (they were 7th last season)


They should be listed as one of the contenders.
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#4
Yes.
Add Marner of course..and if they stay healthy, I put this roster up against anyone.

The only thing I doubt is the coach.

Dubas has basically forced him to play high skill offensive hockey, and Babcock is the one man stubborn enough to be given this roster and try to win 2-1 with it.
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#5
(2019-07-10, 09:33 PM)Chris D Wrote: Did anyone think the Blues would contend for a Cup?  No one but Blues fans (and even then, only diehards that no one including other Blues fans would believe)


The Leafs, as constructed, should be a top 5 team in the league (they were 7th last season)


They should be listed as one of the contenders.

Nick Kypreos picked the Blues from the beginning and even stuck with them when they hit rock bottom.

I am no fan of Nick, but he keeps ramming home the importance of physicality.

I guess what I am asking (and remember I love this type of team we have).......is lack of heavy game going to cost us?

Also Chris, the question was not about the regular season. I am quite certain this roster can compete for #1 overall in the league.
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#6
This current team barring major injuries could go to the 3rd round at least! Assuming Marner resigns (99.9% chance). My continued downside is Nylander as I still am not confidant he will bounce back to 2017-2018 level or better! I, stress I think he is the Leafs black hole!
Make Love to Whine and Cheese 
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#7
I don't think the heavy game costs us. We have to play to our strengths. Skill, speed, smarts. There is enough of it on this team to beat anyone in a 7 game series IF we use it.

This team needs to outskate, outskill and outsmart every team it comes up against. On the ice. Not off it. Mike Babcock doesn't need to be the smartest man in the room. He needs to let the other coach worry about which line he is going to match, and how they are going to shut us down.

The second we yank our top line off the ice in the opening minute of a playoff game, we are screwed.

You have the horses. Let em run.
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#8
one thing I am sure of is almost all of the competition in the east got worse this offseason. A bunch of bubble teams got a lot better while playoff teams mostly took a step back.
Don't fool yourself each and every cheer for the Raps is a cheer for Drake. 
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#9
(2019-07-10, 09:51 PM)Bo Dangles Wrote: I don't think the heavy game costs us. We have to play to our strengths. Skill, speed, smarts. There is enough of it on this team to beat anyone in a 7 game series IF we use it.

This team needs to outskate, outskill and outsmart every team it comes up against. On the ice. Not off it. Mike Babcock doesn't need to be the smartest man in the room. He needs to let the other coach worry about which line he is going to match, and how they are going to shut us down.

The second we yank our top line off the ice in the opening minute of a playoff game, we are screwed.

You have the horses.  Let em run.

So Babcock is Factor X
Make Love to Whine and Cheese 
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#10
(2019-07-10, 09:51 PM)Bo Dangles Wrote: I don't think the heavy game costs us. We have to play to our strengths. Skill, speed, smarts. There is enough of it on this team to beat anyone in a 7 game series IF we use it.

This team needs to outskate, outskill and outsmart every team it comes up against. On the ice. Not off it. Mike Babcock doesn't need to be the smartest man in the room. He needs to let the other coach worry about which line he is going to match, and how they are going to shut us down.

The second we yank our top line off the ice in the opening minute of a playoff game, we are screwed.

You have the horses.  Let em run.

Well this is how I feel.

PS....we should be a better puck possession team off draws. Tavares is a given, Spezza is very very good, and am hoping Matthews ups that part of his game as well. Little parts of the game like that can make a big difference.
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#11
(2019-07-10, 09:55 PM)CaperLeaf Wrote:
(2019-07-10, 09:51 PM)Bo Dangles Wrote: I don't think the heavy game costs us. We have to play to our strengths. Skill, speed, smarts. There is enough of it on this team to beat anyone in a 7 game series IF we use it.

This team needs to outskate, outskill and outsmart every team it comes up against. On the ice. Not off it. Mike Babcock doesn't need to be the smartest man in the room. He needs to let the other coach worry about which line he is going to match, and how they are going to shut us down.

The second we yank our top line off the ice in the opening minute of a playoff game, we are screwed.

You have the horses.  Let em run.

So Babcock is Factor X

I respect the hell out of what he has done in his career, and I think he is undeniably a great coach...just not the right coach for this team. 

Give him last year's Blue Jackets and I bet he takes them to the Cup. Big, heavy team with some high end skill, depth and a bunch of horses on the back end and a great goalie...that is a Babcock team. 

I think he could work wonders with a number of rosters in the league, just not this one. 

A top heavy offensive team that is built to outscore its opponent? That is not one that hoists a Cup with Babcock IMO. 

Fast forward to next June, I would be the happiest man alive to be dead wrong about this, just my opinion.
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#12
(2019-07-10, 10:11 PM)Bo Dangles Wrote:
(2019-07-10, 09:55 PM)CaperLeaf Wrote:
(2019-07-10, 09:51 PM)Bo Dangles Wrote: I don't think the heavy game costs us. We have to play to our strengths. Skill, speed, smarts. There is enough of it on this team to beat anyone in a 7 game series IF we use it.

This team needs to outskate, outskill and outsmart every team it comes up against. On the ice. Not off it. Mike Babcock doesn't need to be the smartest man in the room. He needs to let the other coach worry about which line he is going to match, and how they are going to shut us down.

The second we yank our top line off the ice in the opening minute of a playoff game, we are screwed.

You have the horses.  Let em run.

So Babcock is Factor X

I respect the hell out of what he has done in his career, and I think he is undeniably a great coach...just not the right coach for this team. 

Give him last year's Blue Jackets and I bet he takes them to the Cup. Big, heavy team with some high end skill, depth and a bunch of horses on the back end and a great goalie...that is a Babcock team. 

I think he could work wonders with a number of rosters in the league, just not this one. 

A top heavy offensive team that is built to outscore its opponent? That is not one that hoists a Cup with Babcock IMO. 

Fast forward to next June, I would be the happiest man alive to be dead wrong about this, just my opinion.

It’s a good point in saying he is a good coach but this is probably not a team he can coach well and extract results.

I wonder if Kyle has any Lou in him ie. Lou was notorious for firing coaches near the end of the season of his cup contending Devils teams. Happy
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#13
I would love to be a fly on the wall for that sit down.
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#14
Detroit won a Cup in 2007/08, their exceptional core was Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Lidstrom and Rafalski so like TO's outstanding core of Marner, JT, AM and Rielly the teams are very similar.

Detroit's support players(2nd tier) was Cleary, Hudler, Holmstrom, Samuelsson, Franzen, Kronwall, TO's last year were Nylander, Muzzin, Gardiner, Hy, Johnsson, Kapanen and Kadri.

Babcock got his 2007/08 team to 1st in the NHL that year with 115 points and then won the Cup. I don't see a whole lot of difference in each team's core and 2nd tier support players and I doubt he coached differently then to now.

Winning Cups is a whole lot of things going well and to a large degree those things are beyond a coach's ability to manage, Kadri's stupidity, injuries, etc. I don't particularly agree with Babs' decisions but he has won in the past. I ultimately don't think Babs is the issue.

I can remember the Maltby, Draper combo being able to hem in just about any line TO could ice, they didn't score much but were extremely useful as 4th liners, that is a continuing problem TO has had.

Detroit also had some muscle Lilja and Downey, TO has none.
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#15
(2019-07-10, 09:34 PM)Bo Dangles Wrote: Yes.
Add Marner of course..and if they stay healthy, I put this roster up against anyone.

The only thing I doubt is the coach.

Dubas has basically forced him to play high skill offensive hockey, and Babcock is the one man stubborn enough to be given this roster and try to win 2-1 with it.

Tampa led the league in offence during the regular season.  Where did that get them in the playoffs? Washington was top 5 in regular season scoring in their cup winning season.  Three of their four victories in the finals were 3-1, 3-2, 4-3.

I don't think coaching 'stubbornness' has anything to do with the screws tightening in important games.  I think the players take care of most of it all on their own.  

I will take 4 final victories at 2-1 in a Leaf cup run btw.
"To love life is to plant trees, under which shade you may never sit"
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#16
To the OP.  Betting on the Leafs this season is a crap shoot.  We have a talented, yet unproven group.  Everyone on these boards feels our D has been upgraded...I may be the lone sceptic.  Most on these boards predict big things from Nylander...I'm withholding my Ny-love.  Further, has Freddie won a big game for us yet?  Remember...no Hyman, no Dermott to start the season.  No steady influence of Hainsey on the back end.  A hmmmm 2nd defensive pairing and a weak sauce 3rd defensive pairing.  We'll miss Brown on the PK.

For me, the only bankable upgrades to start the season over last season's team is our back up tender and our second line should be better 5v5 minus Marleau.

My prediction...the first 10 games of the season will be entertaining.  We'll have to score 5, or 6 to win games.  We'll score more than last season, but we'll allow more, and we'll finish lower in the standings, and get Boston in the first round.
"To love life is to plant trees, under which shade you may never sit"
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#17
Physicality is a bit of an issue, and I 100% agree that the NHL completely changes the rules for the playoffs, and not to the benefit of speed and skill. But it was still special teams that primarily killed us. We had a historically bad penalty kill in the playoffs this year. 

So I think yes, our current team is a contender, even if not particularly physical. The special teams thing was due to a lack of adjustments from the coach, the Boston players even commented on it saying they were surprised the Leafs just kept doing the same thing.

Babcock has a legit contending roster on paper for the second, if not third year in a row. Hopefully he can get out of the first round this time.
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#18
I like the changes that have been made. Great job by KD shedding two anchor contracts in Marleau and Zaitsev. Great adds with Barrie and Kerfoot. It sucks to have Dermott and Hyman out for the first 10-15 games. (More so because they will both take time to get back up to speed when they return). Great job resigning Kapanen and Johnsson to solid deals. Great centre depth adds as well.

Here's the rub IMO. I do not see this team winning with MB as the head coach. I do not see him changing his ways enough to let this group of players maximize their potential in a style of game that suits them. I expect Babcock will do his hard line matching instead of just ramming elite skill down the other teams throat. Which is a shame.

I suppose there is a chance that Coach re-thinks his methods and has success with this group, I just don't see it as a likely outcome.

So.... IMO... Can they compete for a Cup? YES. Will they compete for a cup? NO. Not with Mike Babcock as the coach.
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#19
CE, 

I feel like I’m stating the obvious but finishing 1st overall in the Atlantic division from the regular season will help this team contend and play a major factor into how far this team will go in the playoffs. 

A Leafs first round match finishing 2nd or 3rd with a match up with Tampa or Boston, I would consider both to be a coin toss on which team would advance. I still rank the Leafs, Tampa and Boston at the top of the division.
 
The way the Leafs team is built has not significantly changed from last year, skill over size. 

I feel this team has the potential to contend and go on a strong playoff run, time will tell.
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#20
Can Mike Babcock Wonder Coach coach the group to their strengths or will he continue to be stubborn with his systems and line combos and get out coached again and again?  I'm pessimistically expecting the latter which likely means another 1st round exit.


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