Cut Day! No M-Orr Goons!


Excuse me while I take a brief victory lap around my office, as these are the best possible decisions the Leafs could have made heading into the regular season. And while the Leafs couldn’t cut everyone I wanted them to, they made four correct decisions.

Let’s start by looking at the most significant player who didn’t make the Leafs. William Nylander. By most accounts Nylander had a great camp, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s 18 and a year developing in Sweden or the AHL won’t hurt him (UPDATE: He’s going to play for MODO in Sweden). He’s going to be an exciting prospect to keep track of, and ultimately show up next year ready to take a top six role. Maybe he’ll even get some time at center this year and can compete for one of those jobs. Godspeed Snizzbone, you did great.

Moving into the more controversial decision. The Leafs have waived two players who are great in the room, and make everyone in the roster play bigger with more space on the ice. Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren will likely be having their mail forwarded to the Ricoh unless someone (likely an Alberta team) makes a waivers claim on them. Before we mourn the death of truculence, remember that Carter Ashton, David Clarkson will still be available options for facepunching, but ideally both will play some improved hockey as well. How the Leafs arrived seems interesting, as Carlyle leaned heavily on Orr throughout the preseason, and there were no shortage of MSM articles praising Orr’s efforts. Maybe the team president has some say in the roster decisions. Who knows, just enjoy their absence while it lasts.

Finally, forgettable defenseman Korbinian Holzer has also been waived. Holzer is another player who received praise from Carlyle in the preseason, so it’s becoming clear that the coach might not have much say in his roster anymore. Holzer isn’t a guy who’s likely to get claimed, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he makes a return to the Leafs after Franson has fully healed and there isn’t a regular shift for Stuart Percy in the NHL anymore. Or some team makes a claim on him and Granberg or MacWilliam can inherit press box duties. Ideally Holzer does leave the organization as it would be nice to free up some space on the Marlies blueline for legitimate prospects.

So, it looks like the opening day roster has been established. 

Remember this day. October 6th, 2014 the Leafs plan on opening season with their best possible roster. It will be exciting to see how Brandon Kozun and Stuart Percy do in an actual NHL game that matters, and having Leivo and Ashton to platoon with Frattin and Kozun is equally exciting. Dare I say, we’re going to enjoy October?

  • CMpuck

    It’s interesting that you note that Carlyle isn’t in charge of his team when decisions are made that don’t fall into his old Anaheim model. Just because he gave McLaren and Orr fair shots at the team, despite the lack of use for them (even if Carlyle likes them), then ended up cutting them… it’s a business and Carlyle wholly understands that. You can’t keep deciding which decisions are bad (blame Carlyle) and which are good (praise Shanahan) — the coach is making the decisions. It’s a novel concept, but if he’s taking a new approach, maybe you can too?

    • Until Shanny showed up, Carlyle was going on about how helmets caused concussions by overheating your brain, and Nonis had completely gutted the team of depth, so why would anyone think they’re capable of making the types of smart decisions we’ve seen the last few months on their own?

    • Poluza

      he also mentioned today that he told colton orr that he’s not here today but who knows what will happen tomorrow and that he hasn’t changed his mind on fighting/enforcers. he said if they feel the need to bring in tough guys, he will have them called up so no, none of us will praise carlyle for this move because he still believes the nhl needs enforcers. he hasn’t changed one bit. these cuts were all due to the new ways of thinking not carlyle’s prehistoric, dinosaur thinking.

  • Poluza

    I’m excited to see the Gardiner – Rielly pairing in action. It’s going to be a whole lot of fun in the offensive and neutral zones. But it can get messy in the defensive zone quick if they lose their positioning, especially with one of them playing on their off-side

  • tambles27

    I really like how there is a genuine scoring threat from all those lines, I also like how interchangeable the bottom 3 lines are. I’m still hoping that Frattin is given a shot with Kadri and Lupul to do what Clarkson was supposed to do, stand in front of the net and hit stuff.

  • FlareKnight

    It’s hard not to think that these cuts were forced on Carlyle. All his quotes were basically screaming that the next chance he has to recall Orr and get him into the lineup, he will.

    I have no issue with guys on the roster who can fight. I still think fighting can be an entertaining part of hockey. But, a guy has to be more than the designated fighter of the team. Has got to be able to play hockey.

    Honestly since what happened last season Orr wasn’t much of a player or a fighter. Just wasn’t a factor out there.

    Now let’s hope that this assembled group is good enough and the assistant coaches can pick up the slack here.

  • FlareKnight

    People are using silly logic here. First of all Shanahan extended Carlyle. Extended…hello.

    I think it is more logical that Carlyle figured out that Orr and MClaren can’t cut it in today’s NHL. Rather then Shanny or Nonis forcing this team. This is completely in line with what he said at the end of last season about there being changes.

    And the only proof we have a GM forcing a roster is Burke who refused to waive Orr and whom Wilson chose not to play Orr. Nothing like this “forcing” is going on aside from those little neurons making up possibliy false associations in your head

  • FlareKnight

    Its true that McLaren and Orr are useless enforcers but a couple of things to keep in mind:

    1. Will Komarov be as aggressive without protection in the lineup.

    2. The reason Clarkson got hurt in that fight was because he took on someone that was out of his league. No enforcers were dressed for that game. Mckormick was running around taking liberties at the Leafs.

    3. The Leafs have mad a lot of enemies over the last 2 years with their style of play. Payback is a b***h.

    We need an enforcer that can skate/hit and is not a defensive liability. Not a true enforcer but Mike Brown would be a good fit.

    • Nate

      1) komarov didn’t have any protection in the khl or the olympics and he was doing just fine as an aggressive force on the ice.

      2) clarkson hurts himself by taking on guys way out of his league because he’s overcompensatnig for skill he doesn’t have. even when he faces guys in his league, he falls down and loses, hence the hashtag #clarksondown

      – also, many other goons from other teams have taken liberties on our skilled players with orr/mclaren not only on the ice but also playing in the game (gionta giving reimer a concussion, the buffalo brawl last preseason, kadri/hedman brawling (fml/orr were directly involved in the fight), kaleta punching kessel in the head, jvr getting elbowed in the face by kelly, rosehill killing lupul with a huge hit. most of these injuries happened with orr/fml either on the ice or in the line (all pointed out by hope smoke) up so this point is completely irrelevant.

      3) we had brown and he was horrendous and still is despite having a few playoff goals on a very bad quick. just not as bad as the current goon squad we’ve been stuck with for years. his fancy stats are a train wreck also.

      bottom line: no one is saying take fighting out of hockey. we all enjoy it but if you’re going to fight, you need to contribute on the ice as well and produce points. no more players paid to strictly fight and barely play hockey and for the love of god no more staged fights (challenging guys at the face off dot with “you wanna go?” “ya let’s go”). it’s annoying and unnecessary.

      • Nate

        1. I haven’t watched any KHL games to judge but I’m assuming the level of toughness is less as in the Olympics since skill is the focus. I hope you’re right because the Leafs missed his tenacity last year.

        2. Yeah Clarkson should not have taken him on. He has the tendency to not think first. I just used him as an example for other players stepping up who are not capable and end up getting hurt.

        3. I just used mike brown because of his willing to drop the gloves and be able to keep up play. I also noticed that McLaren and Orr are too slow to lay on the heavy hits. At least mike brown had the speed to dish it out.

        I totally agree with your bottom line. Staged fight should be 10 minutes each for fighting. The 5 extra each for delaying the game for no reason.

        • Poluza

          agreed. a good example of an enforcer type who can still contribute offensively is (i hate to say it) but chris neil. he puts up decent points and can still fight. i still hate him and his style of play with his attacks on known players who don’t fight but at least he can play.

  • Nate

    The problem with the idea that guys like Orr and FML will do anything about guys like Kaleta is that there’s no way in hell that Kaleta will ever agree to fight one of them. Kaleta’s whole purpose is to goad key members of the opposing team’s lineup into fighting him and taking a penalty. He’s not going to consent to getting his face punched in by FML. Instead, Orr and FML are a sideshow who just fight other designated fighters.

  • Nate

    Wendal Clark stated in an interview a while back that they let the opposing team know at the start of the game that if you ran their goalie, they would run yours, if you hurt their best player they may fight you but not before taking out your best player. The Leafs in the early nineties were a tough team that made sure the whole opposing team paid where it hurts for liberties taken.
    Rats won’t engage in fighting, enforcers fighting each other may have entertainment value but it doesn’t keep your best players safe and has no effect on the outcome of the game.

  • Poluza

    Yeah Chris Neil is the kind of player you hate but would love to have in your team. As far as attacks on known players, it actually serves a purpose. The reason Detroit has been successful with their no fighting logic is because we let them play their style. They have an advantage with a skilled 4th line because they have been getting away with less toughness. Not necessarily attack their known players but at least make it less comfortable for them so that they have to change their lineup to sacrifice having a skilled 4th line and be like the rest of the league. Hockey has always been labelled as second most if not most physical sport there is.. I don’t like goon hockey but I love hockey for it’s speed, skill and physical aspect of it. Winning is great but I have too much pride in my Leafs to have them win (or lose) and end up on the short end of the stick on the physical battles night after night.

  • Poluza

    On another note. Now that we have a “skilled 4th line,” does this mean less ice time for our better skilled first 3 lines. If not then I would rather have an enforcer sitting on the bench and have if not a physical effect, then a psychological effect before and during the game. What use is a skilled 4th line for? If your team is behind in the score or is being manhandled, do you send in the skilled 4th line? At least a tougher 4th line can either change the game through hitting or even answer the bell. We were a team that had a reputation of being hard to play against and now we’re giving that up for what…10 goals the most for the whole season? IT’S STILL A 4TH LINE!!! We do not have enough skill to actually have a 4th skilled line. Detroit does and that’s why it works for them.