Leafs Close In On Toskala

According to the Globe and Mail, it appears that the Toronto Maple Leafs may trade their first round selection in this draft (13th overall) to the San Jose Sharks for the rights to goaltender Vesa Toskala. It mentions in the article that the first rounder would be on a condition the team could agree to an extension with Toskala.

This would be the 2nd year in a row the team would have moved a first round pick to get a goalie.

Here is a link to the article: http://www.globesports.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070622.wsptleafs22/GSStory/GlobeSportsHockey/home

There may be other assets involved in the deal but it appears the 1st rounder and Toskala are the main parts of this deal. It also appears that Raycroft and Toskala will share the duties in net for the Leafs.

This contradicts earlier statements that current goaltender Andrew Raycroft was going to be asked again to carry the load as the Leafs number 1 goaltender. The Leafs would then look to acquire a backup that would be an upgrade over JS Aubin.

(see article by Howard Berger: http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog.php?post_id=8137)

But Toskala appears on the verge of being a bonifide starter in the NHL. He was buried behind Evgeny Nabokov thanks to Nabokov carrying the bigger contract and the no-trade clause.

This will be a fairly bold move by GM John Ferguson. Toskala at least has strung together several decent seasons as the Sharks backup. In fact for a time he did win the starting job from Nabokov only to lose it thanks to injury.

Losing yet another young asset though would be a tough pill to swallow. It would be nice if Toronto would actually keep their picks and develop them themselves instead of consistently getting players from other organizations.

But I guess this is the byproduct of having a lame duck GM who needs to do something to save his job. Toskala would be an upgrade in goal and maybe that alone will get the Leafs the few points the team needed the last two years to secure a playoff spot.

This also has the trickle down effect. Signing Toskala to an extension will probably mean a hefty raise for the 30 year old Finn from his current 1.75 million salary. Considering he will be a UFA after this coming season, he will likely look for a large pay increase.

Giving him a raise would likely cost the team any chance of getting a good forward on the free agent market. If the team does keep both Toskala and Raycroft, they are looking at probably tying up over 5 million for their goaltending. With so much money invested in their D as is. They will again go with a forward core that is made up with several 3rd or 4th line talents.

Maybe the goaltending upgrade will make up for this but even if this helps them make the playoffs, they need significant improvements up front. They are still far too weak at forward to even be considered anything more than first round fodder for the top teams in the East at best. It will be interesting how this plays out and the ripple effect it has on the Leafs roster.


234 Responses to Leafs Close In On Toskala

  1. 92-93 says:

    ook. well they drafted a guy by the name Mitchell who scored 40+ goals last year with Oshawa (12th in the OHL) and i am not sure if he played on the first line with Taveres or on the 2nd line.

    but if Maxim Mayorov is available by the 4th round (which would be insane), i would take him then. the leafs have 3 picks in that round if i am not mistaken.

    but yeah, Sundin, Wellwood, Stajan, and McCauley down the middle sounds good to me.

    you have Poni, Bell, Steen, and Kilger down the left side and Antropov, Tucker, j. Williams, and Devereaux down the right side (with Pohl and Belak the extras).

    I'd still look into dealing one of those wingers for picks or prospects and to free up cap space for a guy like Smyth or Kariya.

  2. 92-93 says:

    no i mean he replaces him as a tough-to-play against, two-way centreman … not in the punishing sense of course.

  3. leaflova says:

    I know this is kinda off topic, but what time does round 2 of the draft start?

  4. 92-93 says:

    already started … almost in round 4 now where the leafs have a few picks

  5. 92-93 says:

    … at the same time, the more i like this trade for the present, the more i dislike it for the future because i KNOW JFJ won't be doing any creative deals to replenish the farm system … all the pressures are on him to perform today and not down the line.

    that is pretty dysfunctional.

  6. 92-93 says:

    nope. Columbus got Mayorov 5 picks ahead of the leafs (and i didnt realize that Andersson was still available in the 3rd round). oh well.

  7. leaflova says:

    were can i get this info?

  8. 92-93 says:

    http://www.nhl.com/nhl/app?service=page&page=DraftStats&year=2007&round=4

    i cant watch it because i am in canada (if you are in the US, you can watch in at nhl.com)

  9. 92-93 says:

    well that sucks that Columbus got Mayorov, but the leafs could bolster their prospect depth in net … hopefully they will get Mark Owuya.

  10. leaflova says:

    k thanks so much for your help

  11. tucksfan says:

    this is one of the best deals JFJ has ever made. but the leafs fans will boo toskala because he isnt joseph or belfour. If he doesnt put up a 40 win season he will be booed out and IMO toskala will be a top 10 goalie. Good move JFJ!!!!!!!

  12. leaflova says:

    so far in the draft, 3 players, all Canadan, all wingers and all right hand shots

  13. tucksfan says:

    i agree. i can see kariya on his way to the blue and white. This was a very shocking trade GO JFJ finally a good move!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. 92-93 says:

    Matt Frattin at the #99 spot from the AJHL … his numbers from 2006-07, 58 games played, 49 goals, 83 pts.

    at the 104th pick, they pick Ben Winnet, who in the last 2 years has played 99 games, scored 45 goals and 106 pts in the BCHL.

    so they have selected a couple of RWs and a LW … but i think they dropped the ball not going for a goalie like Owuya. hopefully he will still be available in the next round but i doubt it.

  15. 92-93 says:

    yeah, i know its impossible to tell at this stage how they will turn out, but i wonder how they passed on Mayorov, Andersson, Gratchev, or Owuya. especially the last one considering they need to replenish their goaltending depth.

    oh well.

  16. BieksaForMVP says:

    This is great.

    The Leaf’s have an 8th place team now. You just traded away Alexei Cheropanov, or Angelo Esposito (both got selected by there perfect team’s) for an unproven starter, who is no more proven then Raycroft was last year (I believe Toskela will be better then Raycrap though, but my point is that there’s still quite a big chance that he’ll collapse). Mark Bell is crap. He got less then 25 points last year playing with one of the league’s best pairs. He’s dead weight.

    I know this has nothing to do with this article, but the Leaf’s are not signing a big name player, and and not trading Raycrap, McCabe, or Kubina. There stuck with them.

    Until Toskela can prove he’s a true #1 and can get his team into the playoffs, and until Bell can put up 45-60 points, the Leaf’s have lost the deal.

    P.S. people aren’t laughing at you, because you lost the deal (which you might have even won), there laughing, because you guy’s have a crap system (Pogge, and Tlusty are good, big deal, you have nothing else), and this didn’t make your team a contender, and barely even a a playoff team. You could have had Cheropanov, or Esposito. You guy’s missed out big time.

  17. 92-93 says:

    first, why are people laughing at 'me' as a leaf fan. makes no sense whatsoever.

    they are laughing at the leafs' organization – hmm, that makes a bit more sense i think.

    anyways, yes, the leafs' depth is the problem right now from an overall organizational standpoint and certainly this deal doesnt help.

    but the problem with your analysis, imo, is that every negative angle you can possibly take (all of the negative possibilities) … you take them … and you dont take any of the positive possibilities. and dont say that there are no positivies.

    so … in your reasoning, Cherepanov and Esposito will be stars in the NHL< along with Rask (probably), Toskala will be barely better than Raycroft, etc.

    i think a more balanced (and less anti-leaf, pro-your-team) assessment would suggest that, there is a good possibility that Toskala could be a solid netminder in Toronto for the next few years until Pogge or someone else (Reimer, etc.) can develop, that Kubina could actually be traded (and he could be considering the value of defencemen now is absurd – look at Rivet).

    and if you truly think that guys like Cherepanov and Esposito are stars, at least the Leafs could use the excuse that they turned those picks into assets that have ALREADY made the NHL (unlike Rask and co.), whereas teams like Montreal passed over Esposito and Cherepanov (which is insanity to me) and Vancouver passed over a kid like Aliu, Petricki, Perron, etc.)…

    but i wont do that because its too early to tell with these guys.

    the thing that people just dont get is this: the Rask-Raycroft deal is STILL UNDETERMINED in terms of who won or lost. Rask hasnt played an NHL game yet !!!

  18. 92-93 says:

    now all that being said, the one part i do agree with in terms of your (unbalanced) negative assessment of the leafs is the fact that they have been trading their elite picks and elite-level depth to the extent that they are slowing up or eroding their overall organizational depth.

    this has to stop.

    the problem is that the atmosphere/situation/context created by MLSE means that JFJ is a lame duck GM, so he has to make deals that are good here and now instead of down the line. i am sure if the context was different, these kinds of panic moves (as good as they might turn out and certainly Toskala could turn out well) won't have to be made.

  19. DoubleDown says:

    i wouldnt really say FLEECED. the Leafs are definately better today too.

    but i think this just proves that JFJ has a defined plan: 8th place. that's it, that's all. i just don't get it. here the leafs are a mediocre team. they have a decent but somewhat thin group of prospects. and JFJ hands over draft picks and prospects like they grow on trees: rask, brendan bell, 2nd rounder, 1st rounder, 2nd rounder, 3rd rounder…why? and again, for another unsure thing really.

    take solace in one thing leafers: no mo raycroft.

  20. BieksaForMVP says:

    "I believe Toskela will be better then Raycrap though, but my point is that there's still quite a big chance that he'll collapse" I did mention that Toskela could turn out better, and when I was writting I didn't mean for it to be just a negative comment.

    I read it over again, and your probably right that I was a bit too negative, so sorry about that.

  21. leaflova says:

    Owuya still sint taken, mabey we can still get him, hopefully….

  22. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    Bell can play all 3 forward positions. He scored 25 goals and 50 points at center and scored 11 goals and 21 points as a winger…I like him down the middle.

  23. DoubleDown says:

    the habs spent a ton of time with espo over the week. they dont like the kid, plain and simple. (this is according to pierre mcguire) ther was something about his attitude and his commitment that they didn't like. and clearly, lots of other teams felt the exact same. add to that the pressure he woudve faced in montreal, passing was a no brainer.

    as for cherapanov, please. he's gonna be a guy that lights it up in the regular season and flat out disappears in the playoffs, so whats the point, unless your goal is 8th and nothing more? there's a reason why russians arent being drafted. nhl teams are sick and tired of dealing with their prima donna attitudes. (kovalev, zherdev, federov..)..there's a reason why russia never wins anything internationally despite always being the most talented team. give me canadians, americans, fins and swedes…

  24. 92-93 says:

    hey, i dont even disagree with your negative assessments … right now i look at our organizational depth and i cringe.

    i also look at the guys they are passing over in the 3rd and 4th rounds and i cringe.

    but my point is that i dunno if my 'cringes' are even warranted considering that many of these guys havent made the NHL yet.

  25. 92-93 says:

    yeah he wasnt rated that much below the first goalie to go – his countryman Gistedt.

  26. 92-93 says:

    simply disagree with the basis of judging people on their nationalities and ethnicities.

    sorry.

    i know its a common and even MAINSTREAM thing to do in hockey culture (thank you don cherry), but its an inaccurate thing to do as well. watching MacLean do the 'analysis' last night and blaming all his problems in Columbus on Zherdev reconfirms to me the fact that its an overplayed violin when it comes to blaming the russians.

    in the montreal context, i can see why its a common thing to think, but there are so many positive examples of solid russian NHLers.

  27. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    WE DRAFTED DALE MITCHELL!!!!! Everyone had this guy pegged late 2nd round, but he slipped to early 3rd round.

    Dale Mitchell played on the 2nd line.. so Taveras didn't help him. he scored 47 goals on his. own.

  28. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    i guess you'd pass on Volchenkov, Ovechkin, Semin,

  29. BieksaForMVP says:

    I think the main problem is notreally that there dealing pick's, but if your going to deal your pick's when you don't have a great future you better be getting player's who will make your team into a Cup contender. The leaf's improved there team, but there no more then a 7th place team who will get knocked out in the 1st rounder. Get someone like Iginla, or Nash who can get you a Cup (there probably both available that the right price, but it would be mostly for prospects and pick's).

  30. mojo19 says:

    I know. Great pick.

  31. mojo19 says:

    I wonder why Mayorov hung around for that long too. But yeah, McCauley is a Stajan type of player. He back checks hard. But If we do sign him I'd use Pohl as the fourth centre and put Stajan on McCauley's wing.

  32. DannoMack says:

    Yeah dude, trading the #1 ranked goaltending prospect in the world was a really good idea.

    Boston sure had trouble with his outrageous contract demands and his asking to be a guaranteed starter last year.

  33. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    Fantastic pick. The guy has speed, a knack for the back of the net. He's 5'9 210 lots of bulk, lots of grit, they say his work ethic is second to none, not afraid to go into corners.

    the 2 knocks on him are, he is probably only talented enough to be a 3rd liner, and he's small.

  34. RealisticNick says:

    His birthday is in August, he will be 27 when the season starts.  Being drafted 8 years ago he isn't really a young player.  When most only play until mid 30's.  That means from 18 to we'll say 35 of hockey years.  So out of 17 possible years he only has 10 remaining.  Look at the players from his draft year, Lecavlier, Stuart, Allen, Legwand, Antropov, Skoula, Regehr, Gagne, Gomez, Cheechoo, Richards, Horcoff.  These players aren't young, some of they are or could have been UFA's this year.  If a player has put in enough time to become an UFA right now they are not young.  It's like when someone said montreal got a prospect in Samalienen, the guy is 26, he's not young let alone a prospect. 

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