There are very few sized 5-10 and below defenders employed in the NHL throughout and Leafs now have two of them, and the minute there is a injury we could see them in the line-up at the same time.
There are more similarities beyond stature, in that their both free skating, non physical, PMD that are weak defensively. JM Liles is a -30 +/- combined over the last three season.. He was a -9 last season but a couple years ago in 2009 he finished the season at -19 which was the 7th worst mark among all players league wide. (http://espn.go.com/nhl/statistics/pl...09/order/false ).
Remember what Brett Lebda looked like on the ice when he was a -19 last season for us?
Toss in a struggling Komisarek limited to < 15 minutes playing 3rd pairing and 3 youngsters still learning in Schenn, Aulie and Gunnarsson along with Phaneuf as you group of 7 next year and you have to be nervous.
Leafs plan at this point to be deploying 2 goalies with 100 NHL games combined total experience, which are going to need to be insulated defensively.
So all things considered I hope that what you we see now with this current group of 7 is not the end result finished product to begin the season, and that Burke has more changes and moves planned to reshape it.
When Liles was -19 Colorado was a -58 club, and second worst in the league. Scott Hannan, who prior to that had only one minus season, was a -21 on that club. Big minutes on a brutal team, not bad individual play. Adam Foote was -12 in 42 games with that team. This last season the Avalanche's Matt Hunwich was -19 in 51 games, Foote -9 in 47 games, and Shattenkirk was -11 in just 46 games.Again evidence of a brutal team. The numbers suggest Liles is a little better defensively than Kaberle who has always struggled not to be among the Leafs worst minuses, and I don't think Kabs was nearly as bad in his own end as some people have tried to make out.
I don't disagree that there may be cause for some nervousness in that Reimer and Aulie have each only half a successful NHL season behind them but I think there current core has somewhat gelled and people have found their proper niches. I would expect to see Holzer up before Lebda is relied on again. I expect Gunnar to be better next season. I have cautious optimism about the rest.