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Offseason Report: Toronto Maple Leafs

Aug 10, 2012, 2:00 PM EDT

Tyler Bozak; Phil Kesse

From July 16-Aug 16, we’ll be profiling all 30 NHL teams by recapping what they did this offseason and previewing their upcoming campaigns.

Last season

35-37-10, 80 points. Fourth in the Northeast Division, 13th in the Eastern Conference.

Additions

James van Riemsdyk, Jay McClement, Keith Aucoin

Departures

Colby Armstrong, Luke Schenn, Jonas Gustavsson, Philippe Dupuis, Joey Crabb

2012 Draft

First round, 5th overall — Morgan Rielly, D (WHL Moose Jaw)

Looking back

Toronto’s offseason was defined by what GM Brian Burke didn’t do, rather than what he did.

As for what he did…

Burke scored the promising-yet-oft-injured van Riemsdyk for a defenseman, Schenn, that had fallen out of favor — most notably with the ACC faithful.

He inked McClement to help Toronto’s woeful penalty kill, ranked 28th last season, and bought out the final year of Colby Armstrong’s contract, making amends for one of his costliest deals as Leafs GM (Armstrong signed for $9 million over three years and in return, missed 85 games and scored just nine goals.)

The problem, of course, is that Burke didn’t address either of Toronto’s biggest needs — in goal, and at center.

Looking forward

The biggest unresolved issue continues to be in net, where the Leafs seem ready to enter the year with the one-two punch of James Reimer and Ben Scrivens. Burke gave the pair a vote of confidence and Remier says he’s determined to be a good No. 1, but the facts remain:

1) Poor goaltending played a key role in Toronto’s collapse last season.

2) No real changes have been made to address it.

At center, things remain equally unsolved — especially on the top line. There’s hope that plugging van Riemsdyk between Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel will do the trick but, if that doesn’t work, the Leafs are back to playing Mikhail Grabovski and/or Tyler Bozak in that role.

The wildcard in all of this is Toronto’s youth movement. The Leafs have three former first-rounders — Carter Ashton, Joe Colborne, Nazem Kadri — that should push for roster spots. But are they ready to make the leap? The answer could be a factor in whether Toronto’s playoff drought ends, or extends to an eighth season.

Have your say

Vote in our poll and let us know what you think of the Leafs’ 2012-13 outlook in the comments section.

  1. elvispocomo - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    I don’t see them improving much unless their prospects can make an impact and be responsible at both ends. The forwards will be ok, but goaltending and overall team play will still be big question marks.

  2. freneticgarfieldfan - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    Burke = most overrated GM (beside Gillis).
    They really should go after Bernier

    • pgpcbuild - Aug 10, 2012 at 4:24 PM

      How the hell is Gillis overrated?
      Your an idiot. He signed the Sedins to 6.1 M each, he constantly gets players to come to Vancouver @ a highly reduced cost.

      Yet somehow he’s overrated…

      • freneticgarfieldfan - Aug 10, 2012 at 5:09 PM

        Typical post out of arrogance, Vancouver “style”.
        Gillis has done absolutely NOTHING to improve the franchise. Yet he won GM of the year some time back = overrated.

  3. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    Obviously goaltending is the biggest issue, but secondary scoring is also important.

    I think playing JVR as a top-line centre is not smart. Kessel and Lupul provide enough firepower on their own so JVR’s greatest impact would probably ccome as a second line winger being fed by Grabovski.

    They’re still not making the playoffs until they address the goaltending, but they should be better than last year.

  4. leaf6904 - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    Stay healthy and then let’s see

  5. mickboogy - Aug 10, 2012 at 10:16 PM

    Leafs will still blow. They will get luongo (if the season starts on time) at the deadline. When his stock is high and demand is high.
    Gillis is a great gm if he gets good value for luongo

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