Monday, March 27, 2006


Raking Leafs

So, Jason Allison is out for the rest of the season with a broken hand.

Allison. Injured. Shocking. YA RLY!

Before the season, Leafs GM John Ferguson was clearly over his head and up the creek without a paddle.

In a fit of desperation, he signed some cheap vets with some shaky histories to some one-year contracts. With little cap space and a need for players that didn't suck so bad, plus the lemmings to placate, it made sense in a 'patch-the-tire-with-scotch-tape' sort of way. Those 3 guys? Eric Lindros, Jason Allison, and Jeff O'Neill.

Despite all the flak the Leafs took for signing those 3 flunkies, the Leafs actually got a decent return on their investment. Signing these 3 players is not the reason the Leafs are not in the playoffs at the moment.

By the numbers:
Jason Allison - $1.5mil salary
66GP 17-43-60 -18 76 PIM

Despite his defensive suckiness, and the fact that his skating is painfully slow, Allison was a stone-cold point producer. With 39 Power Play points, Allison proved that he is deadly with the man-advantage, and provided the Leafs with a pretty good 2nd line center for most of the season. His offensive prowess overshadows his defensive weaknessess and $1.5mil in salary rarely gets you a 60-point player.

Allison has proven that his is over his concussion history and has proven he can still be a playa in the NHL. He may have earned himself a nice contract with another club next season.

Eric Lindros - $1.55mil salary
33GP 11-11-22 -3 44PIM

The Leafs probably recouped half of that salary in sweater/merch sales alone. Lindros is obviously far from a dominant player, but he was on pace for around 50 points. His defense on the wings isn't too bad, and he can still throw a big hit or two (and then he shatters). Obviously, a big chunk of the $1.5mil doesn't count towards the cap. For his production, and the risk/reward, the Leafs got a good deal out of this one.

If Lindros wants to return to the Leafs for about the same price (cheap), the Leafs should strongly consider it. Even Lindros must realize that he's not going to do better on the open market, and Toronto is where he wants to be. Expect Eric to be a Leaf next year.

Jeff O'Neill - $1.5mil salary
64GP 16-17-33 -20 56PIM (12 PPgoals)

It seemed too good to be true. Jeff O'Neill proven NHL goal scorer taking a hometown discount to play with the Leafs after the death of his brother.

Well, sometimes you get what you pay for. Other than the fact that O'Neill got a bunch of PP goals early in the season, he's actually been a detriment to the Leafs with his horrible defensive indifference and his bad penalties.

Contrary to what many mediots think, players like O'Neill are actually better off in the press box than on the ice. O'Neill is not very productive at even strength, and he gives up so much as a defensive liability (through goals and penalties) that this signing has been worse than a bust for the Leafs.

Given O'Neill's past history, he was actually a riskier signing than Lindros and Allison. With Eric and Jason, you simply worried about injuries more than anything. With O'Neill, you have to worry about his actual level of play. Even in his best years, O'Neill was highly overrated.

So, Leafs lemmings ought not to swear all that much about these 3 signings. Sure, Allison and Lindros got injured...that was to be expected. O'Neill was a detriment, but at least his salary wasn't a killer.

If you analyze the $4.5mil-ish salary the Leafs paid for these three players and what the Leafs got out of that salary, they got a good return on their dollar (one turned out very well, one turned OK, and one kind of sucked). Not only that, but these players aren't tied up in long-term albatross deals.

I mean, they could have paid Nikolai Khabibulin $6.75mil a season for eternity to suck eggs.


Well, Eric has always been a fairly well-balanced player ;)

Oh, and his $1.55 mil contract

Does he also have two wives??
Woah woah buddy.

First of all, Allison's base salary of $1.5 million had rediculous incentives for games played, goals and assists, etc. So if he had been injured as in the past - and really, he broke his hand in a fight, he's been healthy all year this is a freak accident that is completely unrelated to his past injuries - we actually would've been a bit better off, as he has now been paid $3.5 million and if he hadn't broken his hand, we'd've been on the hook for $1 million more - on next year's cap. You should take him out of your above comments, pretty much none of them apply, aside from he has given some good PP points and some support for Sundin as a 2nd line centre, with Mats has never had before.

And the good news of this season? Aki Berg wants to retire, so our idiot head office who keep resigning him (although granted, this year he's played relatively well, for him) won't be able to. Thankfully.

Thanks for the input. The NHLPA does not publish bonus clauses and it's pretty damn hard to find that information offhand unless you follow the team or have nothing better to do.

Allison certainly deserved a contract with incentive clauses. In fact, I'd rather have a player with a low base salary and incentive clauses than a high base salary? Wouldn't you? I'd say Allison has earned his money by playing a good amount of games and putting up some points. So, if he gets $3.5mil, he ain't a great bargain, but it's still money well spent.

As for Berg...good for all involved if he gets out of dodge. He's always been pretty shaky, and the Leafs would be better off giving the ice time to a buck like Coca-Cola or Kronwall.
Jes your points make perfect sense. I heard about the Allison incentives too but I was under the impression that he had to stay healthy for the entire 82 games to collect. Sure he excelled in the assist department but his -18 rating is a more realistic indicator of his play this year.
The Leafs were never going to make the playoffs this year. Since the team lost Roberts, Nolan and even going back to when Shayne Corson was with the team, you've got no forecheck, backcheck, barely a check at all. Combine that with a serious lack of goal scoring and you've got a recipe for failure.
Good riddance to Berg too. That guy skates like he's stuck in a pit of molasses. An overhaul from the top down would really help Leaf Nation.
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