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.
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)
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!
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
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).
Connor McDavid (33) + Leon Draisaitl (32) combined for 65 points. Tied for 3rd-most by a playoff duo in the past 31 years.— Corey Masisak (@cmasisak22) June 7, 2022
Malkin-Crosby in 2009 + Kucherov-Point in 2020 combined for 67. Gretzky-Sandstrom had 65 in 1993. Lemieux-Recchi had 78 (lol) in 1991.
Oilers won 8 games.
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