January 24, 2008

Out with old, in with the older.

by Dan Bilicki In: Ice Hockey

So the Toronto Maple Leafs, one of the cornerstone franchises of the weak NHL and seen as a running joke by those around the league, have finally fired their atrocious GM John Ferguson and have hired their former GM Cliff Fletcher. Firstly, after all of the horrible personnel moves and shaky decisions that Ferguson made while on the job, why wasn’t he fired sooner? Giving Jason Blake the kind of money he did ($20 million over five years) was idiotic since he was coming off a career year almost midway through his 30s. Trading away high draft picks in consecutive seasons for “starting” goalies was almost as dumb as signing both to contract extensions before they had proven themselves. Then there was the fact that he threw money at a group of players who, for guys that are called defenceman, don’t play defence quite well at all.

By hiring Fletcher again though, the Leafs are doing what they’ve always done wrong; they’re looking into the past. What they should do is look towards the future, hire someone with no ties to the organization and let him blow the whole team up. There isn’t a winner on the current Leafs roster and something has to be done about that. Blowing the team up and rebuilding from the ground up is necessary for any team who wants to succeed in a league with salary cap. As much as Leaf fans won’t like to hear it, this team is going to have to be bad for a little while longer before they escape the doldrums.

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