I'm sensing Leaf fans are all over the map these days. Some don’t watch the playoffs when the Leafs aren’t involved. Some kind of gravitate to “second favorite” teams. Some follow their hardened hearts (been there and done that, for sure…) and root against certain teams (I’m guessing the Senators and Canucks might top the list this spring for a few Leaf supporters…). For me in the olden days, in the '60s and '70s, it was time to pray that anyone would take out the Habs, Bruins or Flyers.
From a Maple Leaf perspective, we’ll all keep an eye on players like Crabb and Phaneuf who will play at the upcoming World Championships but by and large Leaf enthusiasts are on their unofficial spring “vacation”—that time where we mostly decompress, speculate, wonder, analyze and debate what the organization should do to make strides and get back to the playoffs, and maybe even better than that.
Recognizing that actual Leaf “news” will likely be virtually non-existent for several weeks, there will be activity in a few weeks. But trade season doesn’t open up until just before the entry draft. The draft itself will be fascinating but it’s not happening until late June. Same with free-agency, which may not provide much ammunition this time around for starving teams come the traditional “open season” on UFA's when it kicks off on July 1.
But for now, I’d be interested in hearing how you feel about the following Leaf-related questions:
- Those of you who have your pulse on the young players who will be available in the upcoming draft (and assuming the Leafs hold their current draft position at number 5) who would you like to see the team select in that slot?
- Would you rather see the Leafs make a deal to try and move up into the top three, maybe even first overall, in the draft—or would that cost too much?
- Of the free-agent goaltenders that will be available on July 1, are there any you would like to see the Leafs take a shot at?
- If you prefer the Leafs upgrade their goaltending depth via the trade route, would you rather they pursue Bernier (LA), Lindback (Nashville), Schneider (Vancouver) or none of the above?
- Do you want to see Luke Schenn be a part of the future, or would you rather see the Leafs move him as part of a package in an effort to secure a “top-six” forward?
- Is Kessel, for you, a “must keep at all costs” cornerstone player for the organization?
- Do you want to see all of Kadri, Frattin, Ashton and Colborne on the roster in 2012-’13? (Are there other Marlies that you'd like to see with the big club as well?)
- Are you buying that a long playoff run by the Marlies would necessarily portend improvement around the corner for the Leafs?
- Which of Burke’s stated off-season priorities will be most easily addressed in the off-season: goaltending, more toughness, a front-line centre?
- Who do you want to see the rival Habs bring on board as General Manager and coach?
There may not be a lot of “news”, but we’re rarely without something to discuss in Leafland, eh?
Send your answers and thoughts along!