That got your attention, didn’t it?
As a long-suffering Leaf watcher (it’s hard to be a ‘fan’ of the sort of ineptness we’ve watched for quite a few years now), a couple of things occurred to me about the future of this franchise:
The ‘time frame’ question. Mr. Burke, unfortunately, just had it wrong. There is an immutable timetable to rebuilding. You can’t get around it with a couple of “clever” (or not so) trades and a pile of bravado. It takes time, good drafting and a certain amount of patience by ownership, management and the fans. Most everyone in the prior categories thought the timetable was well underway. It wasn’t. But the good news is that it’s starting. So, just adopt the mindset that true competitiveness is ticking down from 5 years,…,starting now.
A few things need to happen. The first is to get back that (or a) first-round draft pick squandered for Kessel. I believe that will take care of itself in a sort of natural evolution. Kessel’s production will remain at Frosty-Freeze levels; he’ll register his unhappiness and demand a trade; then we can unload his cap hit and sorry defense to some team that needs a one-dimensional gunner.
The cap load of Giguere will disappear after this year. Because they have so much invested, they’ll play him to to the bitter end, no matter what his save percentage. The good side of that is that they won’t be rushing either of their future prospects to perform impossible feats (i.e. winning games all by themselves).
Towards the end of the 5 year period, the following ‘parts’ won’t be hampering the organization: A certain cartoon-jawed, rooster-top captain, a defender/pylon whose surname starts with ‘K’ and the colorful Mr. Burke. The illusion that Nazem Kadri is an emerging NHL superstar will be but a distant memory.
Finally, someone like Steve Tambellini, or the man himself, will be running the Leafs, implementing the only formula for success that works – rebuilding through the draft.