The Toronto Maple Leafs have been as busy as expected this summer, making moves on the free agent market, the trade market, and making use of one of their compliance buyouts. They’re in such a deal making mode that the organization decided to hand Dave Nonis a five-year extension.
It’s a questionable move. Yes, the Maple Leafs made the playoffs last year, and appear to be a team on the upswing. But Nonis didn’t build the team that reached the playoffs. Brian Burke did. In fact, Nonis has spent much of the offseason taking over for Burke in the “questionable move” department.
He traded for Jonathan Bernier when the team didn’t need a goaltender. He bought out Mikhail Grabovski after the former no. 1 center was horribly misused by his coaching staff. He signed both David Clarkson and Tyler Bozak to long-term, and extremely lucrative, contracts.
Oh yeah, and he re-signed Colton Orr of all people. Cody Franson is still waiting on a contract. As is Nazem Kadri, a key offensive presence for this team. Perhaps rather than throwing money at Nonis, when he has proven very little as a general manager other than the fact that he knows how to make a deal, they could have handed some money over free agent to-be, Phil Kessel.
There’s a reason that many people expect the Leafs to take a step back in 2013-14. Advanced stats didn’t exactly favor them, despite grabbing the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference last year. Nonis hasn’t made the most popular of moves to this point, outside of the front office.
If this new-look Leafs club comes out and performs well, and proves that the 2013 season was no fluke, then that’s terrific. But at this point, signing Dave Nonis to a contract extension seems like it’s something that has come too soon for the Toronto Maple Leafs.