Kovalchuk ruling hurts Leafs’ chances of moving Kaberle

If the Ilya Kovalchuk mess was clogging up the NHL shipping lanes and making it more difficult for the Maple Leafs to move Tomas Kaberle, Brian Burke had reason to hope Tuesday would see both a clarified marketplace and new offers for the veteran blueliner.

Instead, the stunning decision by arbitrator Richard Bloch on Monday to reject Kovalchuk’s wildly front-loaded, 17-year contract with the New Jersey Devils on the grounds it blatantly cir*****vented the league’s salary cap system muddied the waters and made Burke’s job a little tougher.

That’s not to say there aren’t any suitors for Kaberle. There are, although none have yet stepped up with the kind of offer that Burke is hoping to see before the blueliner’s no-trade clause kicks in again at midnight on Sunday.

But having Kovalchuk made a free agent for the second time this summer means the Devils will be occupied with trying to re-work the contract, and there had been some suggestions that if they’d been unable to sign the 27-year-old Russian that GM Lou Lamoriello could have been motivated to take a run at Kaberle to add offence at the back end.

Los Angeles, meanwhile, may also take another shot at Kovalchuk after failing to get his name on a 15-year, $80 million (all figures U.S.) deal earlier this summer. The Kings were another team that could be a fit for Kaberle, so they might be busy elsewhere for a while.

Beyond that, the Kovalchuk ruling adds another wrinkle to a curious summer in the business of the NHL, one that has included the Stanley Cup champions walking away from a salary arbitration award to the goalie that delivered that NHL title.


82 Responses to Kovalchuk ruling hurts Leafs’ chances of moving Kaberle

  1. cam7777 says:

    Kovalchuk's new deal with Jersey should be hammered out very quickly.  Basically, this is a matter of augmenting the original contract by 3%.  He clearly wants to be a Devil, and he'd look stupid signing elsewhere after the comments he made when he was introduced at the press conference.  This should be done very quickly.

    The real concern for Kaberle, si that arbitrator Bloch has been given the green light to investiage Luongo, Savard and Pronger (and possibly one more) immediately.  Gillis confirmed the process has already started for Luongo.  All these contracts could be retro-actively unregistered, effectively making them all Unrestriced Free Agents. 

    In the case of Pronger and Luongo, they would probably just rework a deal with their current clubs that fits Bloch's rulings, so there's not much concern there.  But Boston could easily walk from Savard, and if the other void contract is, as rumored, Marian Hossa, he would be a huge commodity on the open market.  Chicago probably can't afford him if he's not in a front-loaded, cap cheating deal.

  2. Leafs_the_word says:

    Beckett is reporting that there has been ten decent offers for Kaberle, I can't imagine Kovalchuk will be too big an obstacle for Burke to find a deal.  Can't wait to finally get this deal done.


  3. Kramer says:

    I heard there are 35 big offers for Kaberle.

  4. NonLeafFansAreGay says:

    Why does everybody want to see Kaberle go? Keep him unless it's a really good offer.

    Like Kaberle for Neal and Raycroft!!!
    lol I'm kidding
    but seriously, Kaberle for Clowe
    are you kidding me???!?
  5. NonLeafFansAreGay says:

    The biggest rumour as of now is a 3 way trade with Washington and Pittsburgh

    Toronto: Crosby, Ovechkin
    Pittsburgh: Finger
    Washington: Rupp, 4th round pick (TOR)
  6. cam7777 says:

    Ha, I was all excited. I thought there was a new rumor I was unfamiliar with.  Then I read that.   I don't know,  Drop the 4th to a 7th, and we'll talk.  But seriously, how about a 3-way with LA and Washington:

    To WSH: Tomas Kaberle, Mikhail Grabovski
    To LAK: Alexander Semin, Karl Alzner
    To TOR: Brayden Schenn, 1st in 2011 (LAK)

    Alzner is ready to step in right now, and the Kings need that, since Greene is going to be injured for the start of the season (I believe the first month).  Teubert and Hickey are still a little bit away from their NHL debuts.  Kaberle and Semin are a wash, if Kaberle isn't more valuable.  In my opinion, they at least have a chance at resigning Kaberle (and probably a pretty good one actually), whereas Semin will definitely go to the market.  It's not like they need Semin with Ovechkin and Backstrom headlining the offense and a supporting cast of Laich, Fleischmann, Knuble, Gustafsson, Grabovski, Fehr, etc…

    Follow that up with:

    To DAL: Christian Hanson, Keith Aulie, James Reimer, 1st in 2011 (LAK)
    To TOR: James Neal, 3rd in 2011 (DAL)

    That's a pretty substantial package of picks and prospects for Dallas to work with.  Hanson, Aulie and Reimer all look like they will be NHL'ers, and Aulie inparticular could be a massive steal.  The real value is in their affordibility. 

    Nikolai Kulemin – Tyler Bozak – Phil Kessel
    James Neal – Nazem Kadri – Kris Versteeg
    Jerry D'Amigo – Brayden Schenn – Colby Armstrong
    Fredrik Sjostrom – John Mitchell – Colton Orr

  7. Bure96 says:

    I wonder what kind of contract Roberto would get if they had to rework his deal. Would Vancouver let him walk? If he wants anything around 6.5 million or so then I don't see how you couldn't just let him walk.

    How many goalies play until there 42 anyways? Dominek Hasek, Ed Belfour … they weren't 5 million dollar goalies at that age though. Plus the out clause after 7 years is very suspicious … if the league rejects any deals then it's probably Luongo's.

    If they walk from Luongo they get under the cap floor, can keep Bieksa, and sign a couple guys like Raffi Torres/Owen Nolan, Jeff Halpern and Jose Theodore … the team would take a pretty big hit though unless Cory Schneider is fantastic. They would have the best defense in the NHL with Bieksa as #6, the forward core would probably be best in the league too. Just question marks in net could hold this team back.

    Sedin – Sedin – Samuelsson
    Raymond – Kesler – Burrows
    Malhotra/Hodgson – Malhotra/Hodgson – Torres/Nolan
    Hansen – Halpern – Oreskovich
    extras: Rypien, Tambellini, Schroeder, Shirokov

    Hamhuis – Ehrhoff
    Ballard – Salo (when back from injury)
    Edler – Bieksa
    extras: Rome, O'Brien

    x: demote Alberts


    Good looking roster, but do you think that this team is better or the current roster (minus Kevin Bieksa)? I kind of like this team a bit better, because the roster is undeniably one of the strongest rosters in the last few years (excluding in goal), but I feel like we have questions with Luongo's play anyways, so Theodore/Schneider combination wouldn't be too bad, because this way Schneider has a chance to take over the starter spot too.

  8. cam7777 says:

    I think Luongo's is the most interesting situation, because yea, I think that given the oppurtunity, Vancouver would definitely like a redo on that contract, and maybe just let him walk.  In one year, the value of goalies has changed so dramatically, there's no way Luongo would get that kind of deal right now.  For him, this would be an enormous annoyance, and huge financial hit.  However, Gillis loves him, so I could also see them honoring their prior agreement, and simply re-working the contract so that he makes more money in the final years, to be compliant with the 94% rule.

    If you actually think about it, none of these guys would get the same kind of contracts today that they did a year ago.  Hossa is no longer an 8 million dollar man (or 7.9, pardon me).  Savard's concussion issues would make him lucky to get a 2 year, 8 million dollar deal.  Only Pronger would potentially benefit from this.  And now there are rumors that the Tampa ownership may ask Bettman to unregister the Lecavalier contract.  He's only made 10 of 85 million dollars, and probably isn't worth half that anymore.  The NHLPA is going to shit a brick if some of this stuff goes down.  We are headed for a lockout.

    I like your new roster, but I think the team is better with Luongo.  I don't like the trend that is developing among goalies, and I think in 2-3 years time, things will be back where they were before, and elite goalies willl be a valuable commodity.  Guys like Torres, Nolan, etc…You can add them for peanuts at the deadline – just leave yourself a million bucks in cap space somehow, and you can go nuts with the role-player additions.

  9. reinjosh says:

    I see it as going two ways. Either every team figures they have a shot at a better deal or they feel that Kovy will only sign with NJ. I see the second option personally.

  10. nordiques100 says:

    interesting now Luongo's contract is potentially the next to get voided.

    Boy wouldnt the Nucks hope so.

    they could sign Niemi for 2.75-3 mil per, save 2 mil in cap space and have a nice platoon situation, getting Cory Schneider more games than he would serving as Luongo's backup.

    They could finally try and see what Schneider is made of, have still solid goaltending and more cap flexibility today and in future years.

    the PA better get a head guy soon. they're taking a beating from Bettman.

  11. nordiques100 says:

    ugh, i dont like the chances of these happening….especially the Dallas one.

    nor am i a big fan of any of those players mentioned except James Neal.

    and unfortunately including Jeff Finger means the leafs would take back less…..much much less in any Kaberle trade. He is completely useless, worthless and cant be given away. 


    here were the options mentioned:

    To Toronto: Dustin Brown, Justin Williams, 3rd round draft pickTo Los Angeles: Tomas Kaberle, Mikhail Grabovksi, Jeff FingerTo Toronto: Dustin Brown, Scott Parse, 6th round draft pick To Los Angeles: Tomas Kaberle, Mikhail Grabovski, Jeff FingerTo Toronto: RJ Umberger, Andrew Murray, 3rd round draft pick To Columbus: Tomas Kaberle, John Mitchell
    To Toronto: James Neal, Brad Richards, 6th round pick To Dallas: Tomas Kaberle, Mikhail Grabovski, Jeff Finger, Mike Brown  

  12. mojo19 says:

    Lets just keep LA out of the picture if Washington were willing to give up Alzner and Semin I'd keep that over Schenn and a 1st

  13. cam7777 says:

    Semin would walk though, and Alzner is a lesser (much lesser) version of Schenn.  It also doesn't help us in the short term, as Semin would score us some goals, but we still wouldn't have someone to go to the net.  Plus, in the end, we get Neal and Schenn.  Neal+Schenn >>> Semin+Alzner.

    I think Washington could be a team willing to pay much more for Kaberle than perhaps others.  Semin is a huge trade chip, because a lot of teams will love the chance to resign him, and they know they really can't afford him, as he is a luxury.  Could even Lombardi possibly screw it up if he had a whole year to work out an extension for Semin? 

    It makes even more sense when you consider the rumor floating around (via NHLSourcesSay) that Willie Mitchell is looking to sign with the Capitals.  We know they've had interest in Kaberle, so with Green, Kaberle, Mitchell, Schultz, Carlson, Erskine, Sloan and Poti, they could easily expend Alzner.  We could take back Nylander (and bury him) to sweeten the deal.

  14. leemon says:

    Ok I have to say something… If the NHL recinds all these contracts your going to make a small group of GMs very very happy and an even larger group hopping mad!!! How is it  that teams like Boston Chicago Philly and Vancouver  are only being investigated now instead of when they First signed. I mean COME ON ….I'm sure chicago now that they have won a cup are going to be so heart broken at the possible loss of an Aging scoring winger( BOO HOO OH Cry me a river).

     What about Boston and savards contract which apperently would put them under the cap if voided. You cant possibly tell me that they would re-up with savard now . All theses teams would have new cap space for the upcoming season.

     My point is this if they get voided the NHL needs to levy a heavy fine for this  and I'm not talking a lowly 1.2 million,I'm talkin at the very least or a starting point 6 or 7 mil against the cap for atleast a 3 year period with the possible loss of the player that was once signed.

     Thats only if voided, Anything less would seem unfair to other teams playing by the Rules 

  15. nordiques100 says:

    they've been investigated, but the NHL has only taken Kovalchuk to arbitration. Now, after that favorable ruling for them, these other deals face possible arbitration cases.

    the big issue is the PA not having a leader to fight the NHL. there isnt much they can do because their party lacks cohesion and direction.

    thus the NHL is doing whatever it wants. right now, it wants to shelve these deals.

    dont know now how possible it is, but, Luongo for instance, hasnt yet fulfilled his contract yet as it comes inforce when the season starts. its somewhat questionable, but at least he's earning a mil in every year of the deal.

    the "penalty" is them losing the player to free agency for all teams to bid on. i doubt they get levied any fines or cap penalties. can you see bettman fining Lou? Ed Snider? Jeremy Jacobs? and penalizing them? i doubt it.

    Bettman has lots of power, and lots of cronies like Karmanos and Leipold. But he'd be signing his death warrant to cross those big hockey bigwigs.

  16. Leafs_the_word says:

    Not to mention the PA is going to go war for players already under contract.  How can you change the terms a year into the deals (i.e. Loungo, Hossa, Pronger).  I'm sure those players spent some of their money by now.  Can't see Bettman starting a war with the PA with the end of the current CBA looming, not a great idea to poke the bear by going after the contracts of their star players.

    What more does the league want?  To have every contract decided through arbitartion? The KHL is more liberal than that.

  17. leemon says:

     Its pretty scuzzy to think that these are all cap strapped teams that are over or have no wiggle room under the cap.Suddenly we may have BUttman bail them out from them selves yet again. the New season is fast approaching and it seems that the offseason has yet to begin cause of all this.

     I'm not sure what came of ( I think Donald Fehr)as the PA's new guy but watching him rule with an Iron fist in basball CBA's does not bode well for Buttman,NHL and the fans .

  18. nordiques100 says:

    like i said, taking advantage of the PA having no leadership. clearly why tehy lost the kovy case. no muscle to push back.

    Fehr is just an advisor. if he or goodenow were in place or some other arrogant prick, no F-N way the league goes to battle as you said, on the eve of amageddon 2.

    but now the idiot PA has been fighting with itself. forget fighting for eachother and for the brotherhood.

    GB is going to milk this while he can. he smells blood and he is going for the jugular. cant blame him for that.

  19. leemon says:

    yeah  i guess your right …..but he's still a prick haha!

  20. nordiques100 says:

    Hossa is the only one they cant touch. he already fulfilled part of his contract.

    Luongo, Savard, Pronger, they haven't. I doubt they get revoked, though Luongo playing til age 43? not F-N likely.

  21. toronto77 says:

    Kaberle will not be traded. Here is the plan, we will keep him this season and make the playoffs, if we don’t make the playoffs we will finish in 9th or 10th. Then everyone is worrying that he will not be resigned and we will lose him for nothing. But that is not the case because Kaberle wants to stay. He toughed it out the last 5 seasons of missing the playoffs, why would he leave now just when the team is starting to become a playoff contender. And Burke wants to keep him, he has no problem resigning him or keeping him until he retires (unless he starts to go downhill). Then we will sign about 1 or 2 top 6 or top 3 forwards to help us in the 11/12 season to make a major push for the cup. Since the pickings were pretty crappy for free agency this year, I hear next off season is going to be way better, so now we have more options of getting top 6 forwards without trading valuable players.

  22. toronto77 says:

    this is off topic,

    I know it might be a couple of seasons away but I am pumped for this Jerry D'Amigo kid. I noticed that BB did not sign him to an entry level contract yet, so will he not be at training camp this year? as much as I am excited about seeing Kadri this year I really want to see what D'Amigo can do. I think he can be the next Roy or Drury.

    Anyone know about his development?

  23. cam7777 says:

    D'Amigo has told RPI (his NCAA team), that he is leaving the program to join the Toronto Maple Leafs.  He is expected to sign his entry-level deal shortly (probably as soon as the Kaberle ordeal is sorted out). He would then be eligible to play in the OHL (exempt from using one of the years on his entry-level contract) for the Kitchener Rangers, the AHL (Marlies), or, of course, in the NHL, with the Leafs.  However, his coach has told the media that D'Amigo has no intention of playing in the OHL, and that he is signing this contract to begin his pro career.  Expect him to split time between the Marlies and Leafs.

    As far as his development goes, he has beefed up, since he now weights 210 pounds.  Not only that, but he is said to have become lightening fast on the ice, whereas only a year ago, the two knocks against him were somehow limited foot-speed, and being slightly under-sized.  This is a guy who, on the world stage, has performed neck and neck with Taylor Hall, and out-performed Nazem Kadri.  He could make an impact very quickly.  He looks like he could be this team's Patrice Bergeron (hopefully without the concussions). 

  24. mojo19 says:

    Its not like Semin has a NTC, if you could flip Kaberle for Semin right now, then Semin would be a huge boost on forward. This is a guy who could put up close to 100 pts I believe. And then you can always move him at the deadline for at least a player of Brayden Schenn's calibre/worth and not have to worry about a NTC.

  25. frankinboltonleafs says:

    With the PA being as weak as it is the balance of power truly is sitting in NY. Holy cow! Where in any business can you look back at contracts you agreed to two and three years ago and say, "We've changed our minds, your signature and our approval of it is void…we are the League!" This decision throws a lot of wrenches into any plans teams were making …like right now. Deadlines are approaching but everyone needs to wait and see what the "League" does. Perhaps the "League" should run all the teams as well….true parity. As a lifelong fan of the game I don't like what I'm seeing.

  26. mojo19 says:

    D'Amigo might have been a steal for a what 5th or 6th round pick? Wow. He could make this team right now.

    I'm hoping for more of the same out of McKegg

  27. reinjosh says:

    I don't see how they can. They already approved and registered the deals. Too me its almost borderline illegal. And there is no chance the Hossa contract gets rejected after playing a year on it now. That would be a shit storm that the NHL will not want to deal with.

  28. leafy says:

    I don't believe this talk that the Kovalchuk situation will hurt the Leafs chances of moving Kaberle. When it's crunch time at the eleventh hour, ie, next week, then you'll see teams make stronger bids.

    I'm still very hopeful we can land a really good forward who can fill the net. Maybe someone who's not on anyone's radar.

  29. leafy says:

    D'Amigo is apparently way ahead in his development. He's still only 19. If he makes the team as a teenager, it just might be the biggest 6th round steal in a long time.

  30. cam7777 says:

    Honestly, I know everyone will think I'm even more of a Homer for saying this, but I really think Burke has hit it out of the park with Ross, McKegg, and D'Amigo.  I didn't feel this way about Kenny Ryan, or Jamie Devane, but Ross and McKegg are friggin' solid.  Their stats rival top ten selections from their draft, and in Ross's case, he did it while setting records for fighting majors and penalty minutes.  He is literally only on the ice half as much as guys that put up similar or slightly better points. 

    Regardless of what we get for Kaberle (if anything), we are going to be solid down the road.  I have a feeling that Kadri, McKegg, Ross, and D'Amigo are all going to be impact players.   When you add that to Kulemin, Bozak, Kessel, Versteeg, and future free agents, the future is just ridiculously bright.  But unlike teams like Los Angeles and Columbus who have left gaping holes in their development schemes and have supreme difficulty landing free agents, the Leafs have an established D, and great depth in net for the first time in years. 

    We basically just have to sit back and wait.  Yea, this year could suck, but after that, it's going to be a lot smoother sailing.

  31. leafy says:

    You know what, I think you're right. Disorganized is the only word I can think of to describe the league right now.

  32. reinjosh says:

    Yeah I agree with that. I just cant see teams passing up this type of opportunity to get a perennial 50 point dman. I think it happens. I also agree its likely that it won't be anyone on our radar.

  33. reinjosh says:

    Yeah this is crazy fast. I didn't honestly expect him to sign a deal this year. I really like how he not only gained some sick speed but did it while gaining weight and going to 210. Thats impressive. Plus he has natural scoring talent that shone through at the WJC.

  34. leafy says:

    That's what I was thinking. I don't understand how they can void contracts after they've played a season.  Many are saying that the Kovalchuk contract was voided even though New Jersey followed the CBA to the letter of the law. This is all very strange.

  35. frankinboltonleafs says:

    It's not the "Kovalchuk" situation….it's the "Leagues" perspective on "what is a proper …in the spirit of the CBA" contract situation. Any team that wants Kaberle has a cap issue. Any team that Kaberle wants has a cap issue. The "League" has put the league in limbo with this issue. I can't see anything happening with Kaberle or any of the UFA's still out there till the "League" tells all of us what the CBA means. I'm not pro PA…. I'm pro NHL…yet the "leaders" of the NHL are truly letting us fans down by this schmozzel.

  36. reinjosh says:

    I really liked the Ross pick at the time and I love the D'Amigo pick now. McKegg I thought was some nobody but I'm starting to like it also. i really like the way Burke has upped the skill of the drafting. We might be getting ahead of ourselves but things are really looking up.

    Two picks that I really like since Burke (and to a lesser extent Fletcher) took over, of course Schenn Ross and Kadri picks outstanding, were the Granberg and Olden picks. Granberg is really solid and while its doubtful he will be a huge impact guy he could become a solid, defensively responsible guy who could occasionally set up nice first paces. Olden is just brimming with potential and although he is more unknown and needs to bulk up, he could become a solid 30 goal sniper with a good defensive game.

  37. reinjosh says:

    Well the Hossa contract is near impossible to do anything about but the other contracts differ. Luongo, Pronger and Savard haven't yet played a game under the new extensions so they might be able to make some sort of fuss but even then its going to be hard to stop deals that started July 1st this year. Very strange indeed. I figured they would use this as leverage in the new CBA in 2012 but they started this really fast.

  38. cam7777 says:

    That's true.  That's definitely something to consider.  I think if Schenn was on the table right now though, Burke might do it just to really have everyone on the ice part of the team.  Would it bode well with the rest of the guy if Semin was a free agent, out there playing for a contract?  I guess they wouldn't have to know, but they could probably guess. 

  39. leafstime says:

    I revised my offer to Kovalchuk. Give him $8 mil per year for 5 years and a free case of beer. That's my final offer. Take it.

  40. nordiques100 says:

    Ross must have been doing something right playing with Niedereitter and Johansen and both of them being top 10 picks.

    If he can become anything like Darcy Tucker….minus the sideshow and the ego, he should be a fantastic role player.

    I just like the fact Burke is picking canadians.

    JFJ picked like 4 canadians out of 25 picks. no wonder he was fired and considered one of the worst ever.

  41. leafmeister says:

    Say a Kaberle trade does not go through, and the top 6 goes into next year with the current group, I think D'Amigo would have a damn good shot at 2nd line LW, which is currently unoccupied. He has all of the physical attributes that we could ask for, and he does have the natural scoring touch, my worries are that he is going from playing 40 college games a year to a game every other night, either with the Leafs or Marlies. I would expect AT MOST 35 points from him, and possibly 15 goals. IMO, the best thing for his development would be to play with the OHL this year, gain some experience for a longer schedule, get a slight taste of what playing in Canada will be, and give him another year of development. However, if he does make the Leafs, I would make the lines like this: (Without a Kaberle trade)


    We could expect about 45 points out of Kadri, 35 at most from D'Amigo, and probably 50-60 from Versteeg, but it would give Kadri and D'Amigo time to develop chemistry, give them valuable experience, and give Leaf fans something to look forward to. That said, I still hope he ends up with the OHL.

  42. Leafs_the_word says:

    It's thin ice for Bettman, this is the type of issue that would galvanized the union.  The league would be well served to leave well enough alone.

  43. cam7777 says:

    Nords gave me the idea for this little analysis with his shot at JFJ drafting only 4 Canadians with 25 draft picks during his tenure.  He tended to draft Swedes and Russians, among others.  So I wondered what would happen if, when he selected a Canadian, who the nearest Swede/Russian was, and when he selected from other nations, who the nearest Canadian was.   I also put in, when he drafted Americans, who the nearest Canadian would have been: 


    Justin Pogge — > Alexander Edler
    Roman Kukumberg — > Patrick Bordeleau
    Dmitri Vorobiev — > Mike Brown (that would have saved us a pick)
    Robbie Earl — > Anton Axelsson
    Maxim Semenov — > Danny Taylor
    Jan Steber — > Travis Gawryletz
    Pierce Norton — > Tristan Grant

    To be fair, this was a pretty weak year all around, and all of these picks were very late.  Still, at the very least, the Canadians would have provided competition at camps, instead of staying in Russia/Europe.


    Tuuka Rask — > Matt Lashoff (He got this one right….temporarily)
    Phil Oreskovic — > Ilya Zubov
    Alex Berry — > Wacey Rabbit
    Johan Dalhberg — > John Flatters (this guy put up 25 points in the WHL over 4 full seasons – horrendously bad.  of course, dalhberg was just as bad)
    Anton Stralman – Brock Bradford
    Chad Rau – Patric Hornqvist

    So far, it looks to me like JFJ actually went wrong when he selected North Americans at all in this year.  Zubov was nothing to write home about, but he definitely would have got a better shot in our system than Ottawa's.  He was right to pick Stralman, but missed out on Hornqvist.  And of course, had he chosen the next avaiable Canadian in round 1, he wouldn't have landed Rask.  Looks like the real problem with this draft was not having enough faith in himself to select another Swede (Hornqvist), and trading away the best player drafted.  Moron.


    Jiri Tlusty — > Ty Wishart (but Chris Stewart was on the board too)
    Nikolai Kulemin — > Shawn Matthias (he made the right choice here)
    James Reimer — > Jakub Kovar (made the right choice again)
    Korbinian Holzer — > Matt Beleskey (looks like the right choice to me)
    Viktor Stalberg — > Tyler Ruegsegger (seems these two were made for TO)
    Tyler Ruegsegger — > Stefan Ridderwall (Burke might give Tyler an AHL contract, so this was probably the right choice also)
    Leo Komarov — > Kevin Koopman
    Chris Frank — > Derek Dorsett (always go Canadian if you're going to go North American, this is an L for JFJ)
    Benn Ferriero — > Denis Kasionov (Ferriero actually plays in the NHL now, so again, shockingly, JFJ made the right choice)

    I started this thinking JFJ would look like a fool, but as I go on, I find he actually knew his stuff on the draft board.  The problem was clearly that he didn't have enough draft picks because he traded them all away for Vesa Toskala, Andrew Raycroft, and other, even less useful players.  One more year….


    Dale Mitchell — > Joakim Andersson (there was just nothing to work with here)
    Matt Frattin — > Vladimir Ruzicka (both are longshots, but Frattin is actually developing half decently in the NCAA.  He just put up 19 points in 24 games last year, and has improved in every outting)
    Ben Winnett — > Maxim Grachev (irrelevent, so far)
    Juraj Mikus — > Max Campbell (another one for JFJ)
    Chris DiDomenico — > Patrick Zackrisson (another one for JFJ)
    Carl Gunnarsson — > Simon Lacroix (another one for JFJ)

    So, it looks like JFJ would have done a fine job if he was just the drafting manager.  A lot of the players he drafted are turning out very well as time goes.  However, he didn't look for personal traits, like leadership, and desire to win, that Burke also looks for.  He wasn't trying to hit them out of the park, he was trying to make safe bets.  Still, not nearly as bad as one would imagine.

    Fun fact, the entire 2007 class of defensemen have played a combined total of 118 NHL games, and Carl Gunnarsson makes up 43 of those.  The only other noteworthy contributors are Karl Alzner, and PK Subban.  Gunnarsson was drafted in the 7th round.

  44. cam7777 says:

    If we go into the season without a Kaberle trade, my guess is that the roster looks like this:

    ________ – Bozak – Kessel
    Versteeg – Kadri – Armstrong
    Kulemin – Grabo – Sjostrom

    I think, for starters, that Sjostrom and Kulemin make great 3rd liners.  That being said, putting Grabs with them, who is more defensively capable than he's given credit for (our only plus forward), it gives them the speed, and offensive bite to contribute.  I think working with these two will bring out Sjostrom's limited offensive game.  And we know Kulemin and Grabovski have good chemistry together.

    The second line is made of entirely newcomers.  Kadri enters the league with a sniping, all around winger like Versteeg to work with.  But he also gets Armstrong to look out for him in the same way he looked out for Evander Kane.  However, instead of the 3rd line minutes that Kane and Armstrong got, Kadri and Armstrong will have to be part of a secondary scoring unit.   I think they can succeed,

    Finally, the top line will continue the great chemistry we saw between Kessel and Bozak.   Burke will probably sign Torres (rumors are that Burke has been talking to him since July 1st, and will get him signed when contracts clear up, etc, etc…), and give him a shot at that role, but he will also leave the spot open enough for D'Amigo, Caputi, Muller, and Hanson to try for it.  My thinking is, if Troy Brouwer can occupy that spot in Chicago, one of these guys can do it for Toronto. 

    That being said, I suspect Kulemin and Versteeg will see a ton of ice time, often double shifting, and gettting chances on the Bozak/Kessel line.  Expect Kulemin to take 2 shifts with Grabo and Sjostrom, and then 1 with Bozak and Kessel, or something like that.  Wilson will have to maximize the players he has.  But what shouldn't be overlooked here, is that we are going to get scored on a lot less with a hard forechecking, honest bunch of forwards, reliable goaltending, and Dion Phaneuf leading the defensive charge.  An encouraging stat – our GAA dropped from 3.5 GA/G, to 2.7 GA/G once Phaneuf and Giguere arrived. 

    So realistically, this group MUST score 3 goals MOST nights, but will sometimes be able to win with 2.

  45. DannyLeafs says:

    I have always argued that Fegusson's biggest mistake was he tended to play away from his strength's and into his weaknesses in an attempt to show that he was a real GM. I liked the job he did with the draft, but I think he should have realized that that should have been his strength and he should have also tried to hold on to more picks, and possibly traded to add even more.

    I really felt bad for JFJ at times, he was a terrible GM, but so would most people just thrown into the toughest market in the game with little to no experience. He was even given a real support network in the form of good advisors or executives. When you look at the front office they have put together now, there are about a half dozen guys working under Burke who have more experience then JFJ had when given the job.

  46. DannyLeafs says:

    I am not sure if this investigation will really come to anything, and I think the NHL knows it. I think orignally they weren't confident that their rejection would stand, but did it mainly to send a message. I think know they are just sending the additional message of "don't even think about trying to get another of these silly contracts passed"

    I am worried about the disorganization of the PA. I really hope they get themselves straigtened away so there isn't another work stoppage. Not allowing these types of contracts should not really cause much of a stir since it affects less then 1% of the players in the PA, so it should be a big sticking point in negotiations, but if the PA remains disorganized, it could really muddle the whole process.

  47. DannyLeafs says:

    It's funny though, because with all the talk of the GM's being mad, I think most of the guys in these cases would love to have their own contracts re-cinded. It would instantly fix cap problems in Boston and Chicago. Vancouver would likely be able to sign a better contract for Luongo since nobody seems interested in signing a goalie to a multi year 5 million plus contract. Philly would probably be relieved since they weren't looking forward to having to pay Pronger's cap hit until after he retired.

    With so many teams up against the cap, and the many of the ones that weren't already having adressed their needs, these guys could end up just re-signing for less money.

    It would also be funny in these cases because many of these teams already cir*****vented the cap (Chicago and Philly just made it to the final with the help of these long cap friendly contracts), then the teams could turn around and get out of the deals early without having to be stuck with the players long  term.

  48. cam7777 says:

    Yea, I think he would do a much better job in a second go around with a different team.  I bet he gets a GM job again at some point.  The man can spot talent.  What he can't do is handle pressure, or make trades. 

  49. Leafs_the_word says:

    Sportsnet saying we're in on Kennedy. Not sure if he's big enough to play in our bottom six.

  50. cam7777 says:

    We don't have room just yet.  We need to clear out some contracts.  It's also rumored we've signed Eric Belanger: http://mapleleafshotstove.com/2010/08/11/eric-belanger-to-the-leafs/?cp=1.  He has apparently signed with someone, but is keeping it secret until they can sort out cap and contract issues.  There's only a couple teams with both those issues and an iminent trade, so he might have let the cat out of the bag here. 

    With Kennedy, I guess GMs figure they're going to get him for between 500k and 700k, or they would have just claimed him.  He's so tiny though.

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