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The Good, the Bad and the Holland - Season Review

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Colorado Avalanche at Edmonton Oilers
We could use a backup like you in Colorado, Mike!
Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports

Well it is over. I REALLY enjoyed the run and being in the final 4 for the first time in a very long time! I loved texting my Leaf friends and letting them know how hard it is to be eliminated in June after being in Final 4. I have zero sympathy for the Flame’s. NONE.

It’s always fun to look back on what I said at the start of the season.

Part 1 was the good and the bad.

Part 2 was the ugly.

I also wrote this piece before our most important off season in a decade. This is where I suggested firing Holland might be a good idea before he does what he did.

We got to the final 4, it appears I was wrong as I said 100 points and first round exit. I have to give Holland credit for getting us this far.

The GOOD

Kane for almost free and him scoring like a supernova

Woodcroft finally being brought in

Ceci was quite good

JP and Yam had good seasons

Bouch had a good season

McDavid and Drai on a totally different level

Smith in Spring

Mikko most the year (when not lifting up a bus he was routinely tossed under)

McLeod emerging

Skinner looks to be at least a NHL 1B

Powerplay was quite good!

RNH was good

Hyman was a great signing!

Mikko is done! (I think...?)

No more Chia contracts to blame unless someone is upset about Drai or McD’s deal?

Turris is done

Nurse playing 3 series while needing surgery!

The BAD

Duncan Keith had good moments but not a full season worth of them. I still can’t figure out if he is there for offence/transition or defence. He seems to be good at both but not great at either.

Taking that long to fire Tipp

Kassian - all of it

Foegele was a big letdown and not worth his contract, not sure what he brought over ‘some Euro’s’?

Nurse was worth his contract this season but won’t be next season

Bottom 6 scoring in general

Our D can’t really defend

We have to outscore our problems

Benson is probably done

Nurse may need surgery

Drai may need surgery

The UGLY

Why was Archi on our playoff roster?

Foeg and Kass are not playoff performers. Kass is not better with fans in the stands.

I said for us to win we need to score 5 goals a game. Amazingly, that wasn’t enough. We scored 5 (or more goals) EIGHT times and lost 3 of those matches. 5 goals was not enough to win 3 games in these playoffs. (We were 5W and 4L when scoring 4 goals.. barely above .500 when scoring 4 goals!).

AVS swept us and outscored us 22 to 13 in 4 games... 22 goals in 4 games is over 5 goals per game for the ‘fancy stats’ crowd. We weren’t even close and got swept by their backup (first Czech goalie to win this deep since Hasek for Holland).

I wrote this at the bottom of my articles earlier and, for the most part, stand by it a year later:

Holland ‘win now’ guys (bold is 30 or over):

Kassian (3.2), Turris (1.6), Ryan (1.25), Shore (.85), Keith (5.5), Barrie (4.5), Ceci (3.25), Russel (1.25), Smith (2.2), Archi (1.5), Stalock (.75) and Neal/Sekera/Lucic buyouts (5).

That is over 27 million dollars in cap space! Returning next season will be Kassian, Ryan, Shore, Keith, Barrie, Ceci, Smith and Neal/Sekera/Lucic buyouts.

  • My only change would be to remove Ceci as that was better than I anticipated and he was good this season. I have absolutely zero interest in any of last summer’s 2 year (or more) contracts returning except Ceci.

For those that like to keep count. We are paying Keith, Nurse and Barrie close to 20 million next year. About the same that the Av’s are paying for Makar/Girard/Toews. Which 3 would you prefer for near 20 million?

Parting thoughts for the season:

I’d fire Holland today and keep Woodcroft/Manson for at least 3 seasons.

Rangers have Shesterkin in net and Fox on D. Av’s have Makar and Kuemper. Tampa has Vasi and Hedman. Our top 6 matches up to them but we are miles behind in Goaltending and Defense. Makar/Kuemper is probably the ‘weakest’ combo of the 3 and, I’m sorry, Nurse/Smith isn’t even close to them. Pronger/Roloson this was not.

Here is my goalie theory. Great goalies make ordinary saves because they are in position. Below average goalies make world class highlight reel saves because they are always out of position. So when you see the highlight reel of Smith/Koski making world class saves while also letting in floaters and muffins. That is why!

Shiney wingers do not win championships. You need C depth (done), great D (not even close) and a great goalie (not even close) to win. So NO, I don’t want Pastrnak or Kane next season. I want a legit 6 D and a legit starting goalie who doesn’t let in bad goal after bad goal. The fanbase and management seem obsessed with one more shiney forward while ignoring our decade long gaping holes on D and in net. Enough. Get a Chychrum, get a 1A to help Skinner. Let our draft picks play on forward and give them a season to develop. Let’s make it that we need to score 3 goals to win a game and not 5!

What I think will happen in offseason:

We sign Kane for a stupid amount and it backfires

Our goalies are Smith and Skinner and it won’t win us a cup

Keith is back

We lose JP for nothing and regret it forever

None of our over 30 club help us much next season at all

What I’d like to see:

Smith buyout or retirement

Mikko have success somewhere else as a 1B on a good deal

Skinner as a 1B to a new and fresh goalie (Vanecek is my vote)

Keith buyout or retirement

Kass trade to clear cap space

Barrie trade for a more defensive minded D around similar money

Broberg full time

Holloway full time

JP and Yam back

Let Kane go (maybe even back to San Jose if you read the Friedman rumor)

Surround our supernova’s with affordable youth we drafted

Woodcroft back

Resign Kulak

Klefbom returns!!!