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The Vintage Leaf Memories Podcast – Episode 8

Now that the Leafs are on a bit of a roll (hey, six wins is a roll- let's take "yes" for an answer), we might forget that just a few days ago there was talk that Toronto might actually consider moving one of Nazem Kadri or Jake Gardiner in a trade.

Whether those “reports” had any validity, few people really know. But what it did for me was trigger some reflections on the notion of trading away a talented young defenseman.  (I've written here at VLM for years about my dislike of dealing promising young D-man.) In this episode, I discuss some of the Leaf rearguards who I feel were rushed or given up on too soon over my years following the club.  Names like Jim Benning and Randy Carlyle sprung to mind right away, but there have been many more over the past several decades who also fit this category. (Al Iafrate, right, is one of the names I couldn’t help but raise during the podcast…)

I’m not suggesting the Leafs have always blundered in the moves they have made regarding young players, or specifically young defensemen, but there is some history here that I could not ignore when discussing Gardiner’s future.

By the way, a few people have started to contact me about the show, and it’s good to hear from those who seem to enjoy the simple format. Maybe some Leaf followers are becoming aware of it. If you enjoy it I invite you to subscribe to the program and by all means, tell a friend.


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  1. I like the current defense and pairings. It has the potential for some long term stability. You could have much the same top six for next few years. Phaneuf and Gunnarson would be the top paring followed by Franson and Gleason.

    Gardiner and Reilly would be the third pairing and could stay together for years and really get to know each other and play together intuitively like other great pairings. In these early days, as the third pairing they would face weaker competition and would be allowed to grow together without so much pressure. As time passed they would eventually surpass the Franson/Gleason pairing and become the second pairing. Somewhere in that period Gleason would depart and Granberg would take his place. (Granberg is coming along very well as a defensive d-man with the Marlies +15 in 38 games as a 21 year old AHL rookie!)

    In the twilight of Phaneufs career, Gardiner/Reilly would overtake Phaneuf's pairing. Somewhere in those years Percy would take Franson's spot.

    Sound like a plan?

    1. That kind of roster stability is something teams would love to have, DP. Whether in this day and age the Leafs could manage it, I don't know. As you say, there are some youngsters in the wings who would be looking to play, too!

  2. This is a little off the topic but I think as Leaf fans we can relate especially during the JFJ years or for us older types.. the Ballard era. You can argue whether RC is the right coach, etc etc but I believe we are on the right track overall with tweaks needed not a total fire em all situation like we a lot of us used to trumpet. So...

    I live west of Edmonton. Every time I get concerned with something the Leafs are or are not doing especially in regard to management or Carlyle I just thank the hockey gods I am not an Oilers fan. I know they had their hay day but I really feel bad for the fans lately. They are starting an interesting groundswell though.