Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Maple Leafs lose Lindros, sign Peca

So John Ferguson Jr. (Leafs GM) has been pretty busy this offseason. Most Leafs fans would be very happy at the idea of their GM being busy, but when the man making the decisions is relatively incompetent, well...

The recent news is that the Leafs let Eric Lindros sign with the Dallas Stars instead of paying him more than the $750k offer that was on the table. Lindros wanted something in the neighbourhood of $1M, with incentives totaling $2M or so.

Now, it's been reported that the Leafs didn't like the incentives idea, perhaps because this leaves you with no clear idea of what your total salary is going to be. And in this day and age of salary caps, that's a risky proposition.

But in Lindros' case, you want a cheap deal with incentives. The knock on Lindros is that you never know what you're going to get - the stud or the dud. Last year, Lindros was a total stud - until he got hurt. Getting hurt is not a new thing for Lindros, but in this case it was a busted wrist, which is beyond his control and has nothing to do with his soft melon. In my opinion, Lindros was the best player on the ice for his 33 games and he gave the Leafs a presence on the ice and a deft scoring touch. I think they're gonna miss him.

Saying goodbye to Eric and his potential $2M salary (he signed with Dallas for $1.5 + incentives equaling a potential $2.5M salary), the Leafs turned their attention to Mike Peca. I like Peca. He's a defensive-minded forward (which is a polite way of saying he doesn't score a lot) and goodness knows the Leafs need help in their own end. But at $4M last year with the Oilers (and 9 goals or so), Peca had to be considered overpaid. But he's a playoff performer (see Claude Lemieux for other example) and that's when he pays dividends.

...Of course you have to GET to the playoffs first, right boys?

One thing's for sure: this is not last year's team. Yes, some of the good ol' boys are back (Sundin, Tucker, McCabe, Kaberle, O'Neill and *gulp* Antropov - why JFJ? WHY????) but the Leafs have shed some major names (Belfour, Lindros...Allison? - fingers crossed, fingers crossed) and picked up some others (Raycroft, Peca, hopefully another winger).

It'll be interesting to see how it plays out on the ice. If the team doesn't improve greatly, though, I hope the first butt thrown out the Air Canada Centre doors is Ferguson's.

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