The Leafs are in free fall. Coach Randy Carlyle (along with General Manager Dave Nonis) rid the team of talented support players over the summer, and the ones that remain for the most part have tuned him out. The team is badly underachieving, and on most nights are outshot by a near 2-to-1 ratio.
Changes need to be made, but Carlyle isn’t the only one that needs to go. Nonis and the rest of the half dozen general managers the Leafs employ have to walk the plank, too. Consider the following:
- The Leafs have had little to no cap space to work with this season. When injuries hit the team hard at center, Nonis had no other options but to recall players that either were not ready for the NHL (Trevor Smith) or were no longer NHL caliber (Jerred Smithson) to fill the void.
- Nonis signed David Clarkson to a seven-year contract, which would have been a great signing if he didn’t give him a contract that will pay him $7 million a year in his mid-thirties. If the season ended today, Clarkson would have been paid $562,500 per point for 2013-14.
- RFAs Nazem Kadri and Cody Franson had to accept lesser contracts this season due to Nonis’s cap mismanagement.
- Nonis gave Dion Phaneuf a seven-year contract extension that will pay him more than what Norris Trophy winner Duncan Keith will earn during that same time period.
- Nonis gave Tyler Bozak a lengthy extension, which is troubling since he’s the first line center by default. He’s a second-line center at best.
- Nonis jettisoned Clarke MacArthur, who is flourishing with the rival Ottawa Senators.
- Any prospect the Leafs have that’s worth anything is already in the Leafs lineup. All you have in the minors are warm bodies.
This team needs a change, but firing Carlyle isn’t enough. They need change at the top. Fire Carlyle. Fire Nonis. Fire the rest of the GMs in the fancy suites that have damaged this team for the rest of this decade.