Jul. 11, 2020
Toronto Maple Leafs
2nd Favourite Team
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<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>Saskleaf</b></div><div>So what you are saying is you'd rather have Sandin and Lili instead of Muzzin and Brodie, and you want Dermott in the top 4 and Holl on the top pairing?
Dermott could be on the top 4, but if you want to be a contending team it's good to have depth and a good top 4. Dermott is probably going to Seattle, which is too bad, but someone has to go to Seattle, so it's fine. Justin Holl, as good as he is, is not a top pairing defensemen. He's a good 2nd pairing guy, but not top pair.</div></div>
What I am saying is that I want the team to actually properly develop D. Something they have never done and continue to do poorly. It has nothing to do with wanting players in positions they are not ready for. It is about getting players ready for positions. Starting 3 years ago Leafs fans raved about how Dermott was going to be this great top-4 D and how Toronto was doing this amazing job developing him. Throughout that same time they threw temper tantrums every time I said the truth - which is that with the exception of his rookie season the Leafs have done an absolutely dreadful job of developing him and that he would not develop into a top-4 D until they started doing the right things (getting him an appropriate mentor partner, challenging him up the lineup when times are calm, getting him special teams time) which they never did. Instead they left him as the most sheltered third pairing D in the NHL, without a proper mentor, and then when a bunch of injuries hit they would throw him, completely unprepared, up the lineup in a hectic situation where he was guaranteed to fail. Properly developed Dermott might have been the top-4 RD the team had been looking for. The kind of D scouts thought he coudl become - but hasn't and won't in Toronto. Maybe they wouldn't have needed to sign someone like Brodie for a 5M cap hit until he is 34.
The same thing - but even worse has happened with Sandin and Liljegren. Back in 2015 Dubas outlined his philosophy of development. He has done - with Sandin and Liljegren - exactly what he said he would never do because it was too harmful, and has not done the things he said the team would do. Both of them have essentially maxed out their development in the AHL. While getting ice time is better than getting none, Liljegren will essentially not develop further in the AHL. He needs to either take the next step or not. In order to successfully do so the team needs to make a spot for him the NHL in a way where he most likely be successful. The Leafs not only will not make a spot, but when he has played games in the NHL it was with the most inappropriate partner he could have possibly played with. Guaranteed to fail. No surprise with the Leafs. Sandin, will not only probably not develop any further in the AHL, but as a player whose main asset is his IQ, playing with and against lower IQ players (as the AHL is at a lower level of competition this year than it has been in the past) will probably make his transition to the NHL less likely to succeed. When they did play him in the NHL they mainly played him with completely inappropriate partners.
It was an is unlikely that the Leafs will bring both of them into the lineup full-time the same season. What they should have done was brought Sandin into the NHL full-time last year with an appropriate partner and then Liljegren into the NHL this year with an appropriate partner. As they didn't do that, bringing Sandin into the NHL full-time this year with an appropriate partner and then Liljegren next year with an appropriate partner would have still been better than what they have done.
There is little chance now that they will them both into the NHL next year full-time (the team will be even more in "win-now" mode then after all). Their careers and potential and being wasted away by an irresponsible team.
<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quote:</div>And Sandin and Liligren are good bottom pairing guys, but Toronto got Bogosian because they wanted an even better bottom pairing. This is about having an above average defense core and not an average one. The leafs wanted a d core fit for an elite team. Sandin and Lili are not nhl ready on an elite team at 21 and 22, and why did they need to be? They have plently of years ahead of them. They will likely turn into the defensemen everyone thought they would be. You are way too impatient.</div>
Either properly develop players or trade them while they still have value. Lots of teams choose to trade and sign players instead of developing. If the Leafs' want to go that route, I completely support them in doing so, but when you do that, you trade your prospects when their value is high. Sandin and Liljegren are not young - people who think that simply have no idea what the development curve is for first round draft pick Ds who don't go to college - and these are players who have been playing pro years - not stuck in the lower comp junior leagues when they were 18/19. Furthermore the team knows that their development in the A is essentially maxed out - which is why Liljegren was on the taxi squad for the last 10+ days instead of "developing" in the A. This had been confirmed earlier when the media asked Sandin what the team wanted him to work on developing in the AHL on the day he was sent down, and Sandin said they just want me to get lots of ice time. You can be sure that Sandin and Liljegren are running out of patience. And they should be. It is their careers and long-term future that the Leafs are ignoring.
<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>tryger</b></div><div>The problem here is (1) Vilardi has already graduated and Sandin has not (2) That Sandin couldn’t beat out Dermott and Lehtonen for more ice time this season tells me he’s not ready yet (3) Vilardi is already a Calder candidate and eating real minutes at the NHL than Sandin (4) could you please show the prospect ranking list that has Vilardi and Sandin close? They have always been in different draft tiers.</div></div>
Pronman's list of best under-23-year-old players (this includes both NHL players and prospects) from January 8th had:
Sandin #71 in his high-end/very good bubble tier (top-line or pairing and second-line or pairing bubble)
Vilardi #91 in his very good player tier (second line forward/second pairing D)
However, I would not trade Vilardi one-for-one if I were LA, despite LA having tons of C prospect depth with Byfield, Turcotte, Kupari, Madden, and despite Sandin actually fitting what Friedman said Blake is looking for, for the simple reason that Vilardi is a big C who is already filling a regular NHL role who they have no reason to trade.
<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quote:</div>I don’t want Sandin if I’m Blake, I want Lehtonen, Vilardi is the Kings best graduated prospect if a team wants him, it won’t be cheap.</div>
Lehtonen is 27. Friedman said Blake is looking for a 25-or younger dynamic LHD.
Incidentally, saying that Sandin couldn't beat out Dermott or Lehtonen for ice time is misleading. Keefe made clear in camp that there was no competition for roster spots, so beating someone out was not possible (the view at The Athletic was that Sandin was far better than either Dermott or Lehtonen in the sole pre-season blue vs white game, and having watched the game it seemed really clear that Sandin easily better). Dermott requiring waivers on a team with zero cap space meant that there was no chance he was going to get moved off the roster. Lehtonen being an over-seas free agent who Toronto promised a roster spot to on a team that is obsessed with keeping that overseas free agent pipeline open no matter what, meant that there was no possibility the Leafs' were going to play Sandin over Lehtonen (despite the latter rarely getting into games because even though he is strong offensively Lehtonen can't play defense at all and his defensive numbers are arguably the worst the league).
<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>ZiggyPalffy</b></div><div>That's funny because all summer long Kings fans said they'd draft Byfield, aquire a LD, Vilardi would be 2C, Byfield and Turcotte would not make the team, Anderson would be in the top 4, Clague and Bjornfot would see games, and here we are with all that happening;)</div></div>
Fans understanding that a team as weak as the KIngs are on the LD would be using LD prospects is not something hard to figure out at all. It is basically what almost every team that is extremely weak in a certain position has a tendency to do (the exceptions being legit contenders who almost always fill that position by signing or trade, or weak teams that don't want to discourage development of very high end prospects by bringing them up too soon - so what happened with the Kings this season in terms of who was played was the most obviously predictable thing in the history of hockey). Then the team uses that situation of seeing how their prospects looked in those roles to assess the long-term fit and needs for the team at that position while the fanbase always thinks that those prospects are amazing and their long-term needs have been met. The team instead recognizes that some of those prospects are unlikely to be future top-4s on a competitive team, and/or that they don't fit together the right way for where the team sees itself several years down the line and/or they realize that they have a hole or something missing from their envisioned future lineup - for instance, a young dynamic LHD. Blake knows a lot about D and a properly built D-core and according to Dreger this is what he thinks: "Rob Blake of the Los Angeles Kings is another one looking for a defenseman…25-and-under, he specifically wants a dynamic, left-shot defenseman." So I should care, at all, that some Kings fans like you think the exact opposite?
<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>ZiggyPalffy</b></div><div>It's common sense if you're a Kings fan lol.</div></div>
The last thing that I have ever cared about in my life is what fanbases (my own and other teams') think is common sense.
We had this discussion two weeks ago when I said that that LA's biggest need was a young LHD with top-4 potential and you felt that LHD was not a need at all for the team and RHD was a big need.
According to Dreger they are looking for the exact kind of D I said they would be: "Rob Blake of the Los Angeles Kings is another one looking for a defenseman…25-and-under, he specifically wants a dynamic, left-shot defenseman."
You still disagree and think that the Kings are looking for the exact opposite kind of D from what Dreger said they are specifically looking for - because that is where "common sense" leads fanbases.
Dreger could be wrong, but usually when someone like Dreger says something that specific it is because the team wants that floated out there so all other teams know that that is what is they are looking for.
If they were looking for Ekholm and Fabbro then they would simply deal with the team.
<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quote:</div>We already have Bjornfot, Anderson, and Clague who have already shown they can play 20+ minutes in the NHL. If the Kings are going to give up a high end player, it'll be for someone who is already established.</div>
Tons of D show they can play 20+ minutes in the NHL. Doing so for a few games - especially on a team that either has weak D on that side or is facing a lot of injuries - doesn't mean anything. Teams will test out D to see what they have and if they don't feel that what they have is a fit for where they ideally see their D long-term they look elsewhere.
It was easy to see that among Bjornfot, Anderson and Clague, Bjornfot is the only one who has decent potential of being a real top-4 D and he is not dynamic at all.
They have tons of great F prospects. Outside of Bjornfot their better young D prospects are on the right side.
There are few dynamic LHD who are established and are 25 or younger right now. Most of those will not be getting moved: Dahlin, Werenski, Sergachev, Provorov, Heiskanen, Hughes etc. Maybe Blake can acquire someone in the group just below that with his high-end F prospect pool - but there are not many there who are established. Only 22 25 or younger LHD have played more than100 games and that includes non-dynamic D like Zadorov, Graves, Mueller, etc. But, nothing was said about the D being established - LHD - dynamic - 25 or under.
When Nashville traded Jones they had a log jam with Weber and Ellis ahead of Jones on the right (Josi and Ekholm on the left).
There are not many situations with log-jams on the left resulting in LHD either being played down the lineup from where they otherwise could be, or not in the lineup at all.
I think that Bean is the best example - stuck behind Slavin and Skjei, with Hayden Fleury also there. Another example would be the logjam that Colorado has on the left with Girard, Toews and Graves playing ahead of Byram. And another is the logjam Toronto has on the left with Sandin.
Bean is not exempt from the ED (Sandin and Byram are) making him someone who I think could be moved.
Incidentally here are the top-14 (by Pronman from a month ago, based on potential - only giving the top-14 as those were the only ones he deemed as having top-pairing potential) LHD who are under the age of 23 (in order):
Dahlin, Hughes, Heiskanen, Sergachev, Girard, Chychrun, Byram, Sanderson, Romanov, Smith, Harley, Sandin, Heinola and Bean.
That potential should matter far more to LA than someone who is established right now - but you think they are looking for someone to play with Doughty right now. I think - and had before Friedman said a thing - that they are looking for a LHD to bring some dynamic play to their second pair and that is the bigger benefit to them long-term.
<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>ZiggyPalffy</b></div><div>Mete and Butcher aren't dynamic, Bean and Sandin aren't established like the Kings want, and lastly trades like this always catch people by surprise.
Ekholm and Fabbro make most sense to me because they aren't "untouchable" and one of them is on the block. Yes, Kings said they are looking for a "dynamic LD 25 or under" but they also said they want someone who can play with Doughty and Doughty loves playing with defensive D. They get a defensive LD to play with Doughty as well as a dynamic #2 RD under 25 that could potentially replace Doughty someday and they do not have that. By the time Ekholm is a UFA, Bjornfot and Anderson will be able to take the LD torch. It's a win win.</div></div>
I am going exactly with what Dreger said:
"Rob Blake of the Los Angeles Kings is another one looking for a defenseman…25-and-under, he specifically wants a dynamic, left-shot defenseman."
Dynamic, left-shot defenseman, 25-and-under.
Nothing at all about "established like the Kings want" - that's what you want. Would they ideally want that? Sure - as would every team, but Seth Jones trades happen once a decade at most, and the most important criteria according to Dreger were: 25-and-under, left-shot defenseman and dynamic.
Ekholm and Fabbro do not make sense for what Dreger said.
<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>ZiggyPalffy</b></div><div>We are. Apparently upper management is content long term at RD with Doughty, Roy, Walker which I am strongly against.
Long term Bjornfot, Anderson, Clague is fine, but it looks like they want to upgrade now.</div></div>
This is where I believed LA's management would be assessing things. Of Anderson, Clague and Bjornfot only the latter is someone I would consider to likely be a real top-4 going forward, and he is not a dynamic D.
Of the LD you mentioned: Ekholm is well above 25, Dahlin won't be traded, Werenski...can't see it, Romanov - no way (but Mete will probably be traded), Lindgren...I guess it is possible (but certainly not Fox, who is a RD anyway), Sergachev - no way Tampa is trading that kind of piece, Chychrun - can't see it, Pettersson - who knows with Pitts right now, but is he really a "dynamic" D?, and Dunn - probably.
So among the candidates you listed I really only see Dunn as a real possibility.
But I would add Mete, Bean and Butcher. And, personally, I would also add Sandin .