Plenty of fans and media in Toronto are embracing the idea of a rebuild.
But Maple Leafs players? Not so much. Especially Joffrey Lupul.
“You can’t just throw out a team of young guys and say ‘Well, we’re going to get our [expletive] kicked this year but then we’ll be better the year after because there’s no saying you will be and it could hurt guys’ development big-time I think,” Lupul said, per TSN. “What are we going to just restart with a whole complete group with four guys next year and just try and finish last?
“I haven’t spoken to management at all but I’m sure that’s not their idea.”
Lupul, who has missed extensive time this year to various injuries, is in the second of a five-year, $26.25 million deal that carries a $5.25M annual cap hit. At 31, he clearly doesn’t want to be part of a rebuild — he hasn’t had a deep playoff run since his time in Philadelphia during the 2007-08 campaign — and it could be difficult for Toronto to move him, given his lengthy injury history and the fact his contract runs through 2017 (Lupul also has a no-trade clause, so he can control where he goes.)
Whatever the case, Lupul made it clear he has zero interest in going through a burn-it-to-the-ground-and-build-again movement, noting that there are inherent risks in bottoming out and relying solely on youth.
“You can play a bunch of young guys and lose all year, but who’s to say that those young guys are going to develop? I don’t know,” Lupul explained. I think [the tear-down idea is] maybe more of a media-driven thing.
“There’s trade rumors on every guy in here so who are we going to put on the ice next year? A bunch of draft picks?”