Leafs Take Their Time

This is a photo of Floyd Smith taken 50 years ago. He had a nice NHL career (616 games over many years, 1954-1972) and then went straight into coaching in the minors (Cincinnati) before spending some time as an NHL bench boss in the mid-to-late 70s for Buffalo and then Toronto.

Punch Imlach once wrote about him that he would “go into the corners as well as anybody in the league.”

Floyd Smith is one of the men who spent time as General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Considering their long history, the Leafs haven’t had very many men at the top.

Smith was GM of the Leafs 1989-91, after Gord Stellick and before Cliff Fletcher. By my count there have been 12 General Managers at one time or another in Leafs history:

  1. Charles Querrie
  2. Conn Smythe
  3. Hap Day
  4. Punch Imlach
  5. Jim Gregory
  6. Gerry McNamara
  7. Gord Stellick
  8. Floyd Smith
  9. Cliff Fletcher
  10. Ken Dryden
  11. Pat Quinn
  12. John Ferguson Jr

Which if I’m right would make the next name #13. It looks like Toronto won’t have that man in place before the draft, before they decide who to buy out, hell before the team is in place for 08-09. When they hung Ferguson out to dry, Richard Peddie said the following about the next Leafs GM:

“Our ideal candidate will be a long-term builder and a short-term fixer who has an established track record of success on the ice. Along with experience and extensive knowledge in the areas of drafting and identifying talent in the professional, amateur and international ranks, this individual will be comfortable with the intense scrutiny within the Toronto hockey market and will work effectively with the media. He will have the full autonomy to lead this hockey club in the manner he feels is best.”

He’ll have complete autonomy, but will take control of the club after the draft, after the free agent season and after all the other teams have made their roster changes and made themselves ready for camp and another season.

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6 Responses to "Leafs Take Their Time"

  1. Dave says:

    It only makes sense in the bizarre world of Peddie, MLSE, and the Toronto media. Which, of course, means this makes perfect sense.

    I’m at the point where I’m thinking long and hard about the possibilities of a Dave Nonis/Ron Wilson combo as GM and coach here. I’m thinking good things about the pairing, but I’m not sure how much of that is just my poor mind going completely stir crazy and how much of it is rational thought.

    I want to see one of two directions taken by this team:

    1) Have a new guy in place by the draft. Keep Fletcher working with the scouting team so that the new guy doesn’t walk in, like, three days before the draft with mountains of scouting reports to fly through, and keep Fletcher involved at the draft table. But involve the new guy and make sure he’s around to start shaping this team for the summer and beyond.


    2) Keep Cliff in charge through the summer and through most of next season. Make your decision around February, ideally hiring an ‘unconventional’ guy (like the Canucks just did) or poaching someone (which would never happen). If you’re going to wait that long, fuck hiring a Neil Smith-type who’s most recent GM experience is packing his things.

    This fucking team, man, I swear.

    Should also probably note that while Mike Smith never held the offical GM title here, he effectively put together the 1999 team and shouldn’t be forgotten.

  2. Dennis says:

    Less Leaves talk, more talk about how Carbonneau’s as big of a douche as a coach as he was as a player.

    But just to add to this a little, let the team flounder for another year and then bring in Burke at the end of next season. You want him there, he wants to go there; will another year of suction really matter?

  3. Black Dog says:

    Dennis I think Cox floated that idea or maybe it was someone else. Let Cliff act as caretaker, especially if Burke is the guy they want.

    The spin is starting that way in the media too – according to something I read the other day Fletcher had deals in place to get Chris Higgins and Jeff Carter for Sundin and Kaberle at the deadline but they wouldn’t waive their notrades.

    I find this highly unlikely but MLSE leaks a story like this and all of a sudden people look at Fletcher and say – see his hands were tied – and then when they keep him on there’s less of an uproar.

    Its truly a joke.

  4. Dennis says:

    Pat: I think that Carter/Kubina thing holds a lot of water. Philly’s got some scoring — and would have even more had Gagne been healthy — but that D’s bloody scary and they need to tie up more money on the backend.

    So I actually believe in that rumour.

  5. Black Dog says:

    They were talking up Kaberle actually Dennis, the one I heard anyway.

    Yeah Philly is in need of some D and with Briere and Richards I guess the question is how much icetime is left over for Carter.

    But they have a stack of young players. I would have thought they could move someone else for a UFA to be.

    I don’t believe a word they say here. These guys were trumpeting moves for Tucker and Blake and the interest out there in both of those guys. Now this was when Tucker was hurt and basically on the fourth line. And meanwhile Blake has two big Cs – cancer and contract.

  6. Jonathan says:

    Don’t forget the Andrew Raycroft rumours- pretty much every team wants this guy as a reliable backup. It must be nice, being a media guy in TO.

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