I know this isn't like the old days when I was a kid back in the early '60s. Back then, the Leafs had access to a Junior A "farm system", basically, that provided them with stars like Bob Pulford, Dickie Duff, Billy Harris, Bob Nevin, Frank Mahovlich, Dave Keon, Bobby Baun (right) and Carl Brewer on an ongoing basis. Those guys were, in hockey terms, true warriors who bled blue and white and wore the Leaf crest with immense pride. They also happened to win (most of them, at least) four Stanley Cups in the old six-team NHL.
This is a much more complicated, challenging NHL, for sure. But some teams, like the Devils and the Red Wings for the past two decades (we could throw the Avalanche in as well, and in more recent years the Hawks, Sharks, Bruins and Kings) seem to get it right more often than not.
But to me, we have seemed caught between a rebuild and “win now” for years in Toronto. And I see no certainty that much has changed. We all recognize there are some nice top-end players here, two very promising young defensemen and some prospects. But we can say that for almost half the league, eh?