The Leafs rebuild looks good coming out of the blocks but it's going to take a lot of hard work, cap management and phenomenal drafting to get to Chicago. I'd rather let this build organically, pick up momentum and slowly roll the league than predict a future and have people hurl abuse at us while waiting.
Gardiner is 26, Reilly is 23 in a day. Defencemen are usually established by 23.
Brent Burns is 31 and in his prime. There's a big difference between being in your prime and being an established NHL dman. Duncan Keith was just breaking into the league at Rielly's current age if I remember correctly. Let's not act like everything is set in stone.
Toronto has some great young players, but why the new hawks? Why not the new islanders or panthers?
Because the Leafs in arguably their 2nd true year of the rebuild are already doing better/ on par with said teams? Also, other than Tavares/ Barkov and maybe Huberdeau, Marner/ Matthews/ Nylander are much much better than anything any of those teams have ever had.
If we want to keep using Keith as an example, there is like 30 D in the NHL/AHL right now who are future #1 D because at 22/23 they at same place as Keith. Further there are like 100 forwards who are all future Datysuks because they are ahead of him at same age
Rielly is actually regressing in the NHL now with tougher assignments, not improving. Keith was brought along wonderfully and major anomaly. Cant be used as a comparison
When all Leafs fans were celebrating the Phanuef trade I had said that this trade will actually have negative impacts because it was Phanuef that was soaking up all the tough minutes and allowing Rielly to plat easier minutes and excel. With Phanuef gone that shield was removed and Rielly was thrown in the shark tank head first. Now we are seeing the results of that. You can almost directly pararell Phanuef and Riellys development. Phanuef came over from Calgary as this young phenom D who had all the makings of a future #1. Goes to Toronto and plays #1 minutes from get go. As years go on he starts to regress a bit at a time because never got proper development. Eventually traded away as a cap dump. Then came Rielly. Young phenom who looked pretty good his first 2 years. All of a sudden thrust into #1 role when not prepared and regressionis happening a little bit at a time. So id bet Rielly ends up ALOT closer to Phanuef then Keith