Leafs' Stempniak looking forward to Blues


When Lee Stempniak steps onto the ice at the Scottrade Center Friday night, it will be his first St. Louis appearance in a Maple Leaf jersey.

But will it be his last?

Fifteen months after being acquired from the Blues in exchange for forwards Carlo Colaiacovo and forward Alex Steen, the versatile Stempniak has heard his name bandied about in plenty of trade rumours.

And justifiably so.

If the veteran forward asks for anything near his 2009-10 salary of $3.5 million US when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, you can bet the Leaf reply will be “Thanks, but no thanks.”

For a guy who has registered just 60 points in 121 games as a Leaf, the price simply would be too high.

On the other hand, Stempniak might very well be a serviceable part for a playoff-bound team looking to add forward depth by the March 3 trade deadline. And, given the roster gutting Leaf management has been doing recently, dealing him might return Toronto at least a third-round pick, which is more than they would get if he walks come July 1.

“That’s completely up to management. It’s totally out of my control,” Stempniak said Wednesday. “I certainly like playing in Toronto. And my teammates are great.”

Of course, his teammates seem to be changing on a weekly basis.

With management vowing to alter the so-called “Country Club Atmosphere” it felt was permeating the Leafs dressing room a couple of years ago, one of the key moves in the housecleaning came on Nov. 24, 2008 when Colaiacovo and Steen were shipped out for Stempniak.

By acquiring Stempniak, the Leafs admittedly were looking for more offensive production than the half-a-point-per-game he has averaged since arriving here. While there have been flashes of brilliance, he, like the Leaf team he plays for, has been far too inconsistent.


39 Responses to Leafs' Stempniak looking forward to Blues

  1. hockeyhead says:

    to bad they dont play the blues 60 games a season.

  2. mojo19 says:

    3rd round pick on March 3rd for Stempniak, from some team that misses out on a better winger, or doesn't want to give up a 2nd rounder + for a better player.

  3. cam7777 says:

    I think we can get a second for him, either by taking back worthless salary in the deal, or just straight up.  San Jose just gave up a mid 2nd round pick for Niclas Wallin!  Stempniak is a far more useful player if you ask me.  He's been killing penalties like a mad man for the last little while.

  4. cam7777 says:

    The fact that Stempniak's play has earned him consideration for a resign should tell you that his value has risen from what some people might have originally expected.  I wouldn't mind keeping him as a part of the Leafs, but the reality is that we need other assets right now.

    If Niclas Wallin is worth a 2nd round pick, I'm sure Stempniak could be worth that – especially to a team that is either looking at handing him an extension, or looking to dump salary in the deal as well.  And then, if Stempniak does become available in free agency, and he isn't BS'ing about liking it here, THEN we can consider handing him a new contract.

  5. number15 says:

    i was upset when the Leafs traded Steen/Coloaicovo for Stempniak but u know what…. in the end the Leafs got the best player in the deal, involving average at best players

    i guess the only think that bothered me was that Steen and Coloaiacovo were both "resent", 1st rounders of the Leafs at the time.

  6. the_word says:

    He hasn't been that impressive, he's one of those players that doesn't sastisfy a strictly top six of bottom six role. He's a tweener and it is good to have one or two to move up and down due to injuries and a little variety however there are better options than Lee Stempniak. I'd like to put the potential money too be wasted on Stempniak be put towards Colby Armstrong.

  7. the_word says:

    What gets overlooked is that Colaiacovo and Steen are pretty typical 1st rounders, in fact they're a bit a head of the curb. HTRers make a fetish of draft picks.

  8. the_word says:

    Stempniak for Sopel and 2nd.

  9. cam7777 says:

    Meh, Armstrong hasn't done anything that Stempniak hasn't.  I have a feeling he would be a Garnet Exelby like acquisition.  We'd all be really pleased with it for a while, and then realize that Armstrong really doesn't bring what he is known for on a night-to-nigh basis.  Honestly, 9 goals?  Whoo.

    Dominic Moore just went for a 2nd round pick, yet again, but we're going to take a 3rd for Stempniak?

  10. cam7777 says:


    Player Deals:

    To NSH: Alex Ponikarovsky, Phil Oreskovic
    To TOR: Jonathan Blum, 5th round pick 2010

    To LAK: Garnet Exelby, 5th round pick 2010
    To TOR: 2nd round pick 2010

    To WSH: Lee Stempniak
    To TOR: 2nd round pcik 2010
    (surprizingly bad on the PK – Stemps has been very good there lately)

    Salary Deals:

    To MIN: Alex Foster
    To TOR: Petr Sykora, 4th round pick 2010

    To CLB: Tim Brent
    To TOR: Fredrik Modin, 4th round pick 2010

    To EDM: Kyle Rogers
    To TOR: Fernando Pisani, 4th round pick 2010


    To CHI: 2nd in 2010 (LAK), rights to Jimmy Hayes
    To TOR: Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel
    (they give us Byfuglien at a reduced cost for taking Sopel off their hands)

    To PHX: Mikhail Grabovski
    To SJS: Peter Mueller, 2nd in 2011 (TOR)
    To TOR: Ryane Clowe
    (Massive salary dump for the Sharks; leaves room to resign everyone)

    To VAN: Tomas Kaberle, John Mitchell, 3rd round pick 2010 (TOR)
    To PHI: Cory Schneider, Jordan Schroeder, 1st round pick 2010 (VAN), rights to Willie Mitchell
    To TOR: Jeff Carter
    (that's a pretty substantial package for Carter.  JVR and Schroeder are old linemates, and Schneider provides a potential franchise goalie.  The organization is extremely thin on picks as well.  Plus, this deal helps them manage their cap a lot easier for the next 2-3 years.  VAN is rumored interested in Kaberle, and we know Toronto wants Carter.)


    -resign Jonas Gustavsson, 3 years, 5.4 million (1.8 cap hit)
    -resign Nikolai Kulemin, 4 years, 9 million (2.25 cap hit)
    -resign Christian Hanson, 2 years, 1.95 million (0.975 cap hit)
    -resign Wayne Primeau, 2 years, 1.7 million (0.85 cap hit)

    -waive Jeff Finger; reassign to the Marlies (AHL)
    -waive Brent Sopel; reassign to the Marlies (AHL)

    ROSTER OF 2010/2011 SEASON:

    L1: Ryane Clowe (3.625) – Jeff Carter (5.0) – Phil Kessel (5.4)
    L2: Viktor Stalberg (0.85) – Nazem Kadri (1.75) – Dustin Byfuglien (3.0)
    L3: Nikolai Kulemin (2.25) – Tyler Bozak (3.725) – Fred Sjostrom (0.75)
    L4: Wayne Primeau (0.85) – Chris Hanson (0.975) – Colton Orr (1.0)

    D1: Dion Phaneuf (6.5) – Luke Schenn (2.975)
    D2: Mike Komisarek (4.5) – Jonathan Blum (0.942)
    D3: Francois Beauchemin (3.8) – Carl Gunnarsson (0.8)

    GT: J.S. Giguere (6.0) – Jonas Gustavsson (1.8)

    CAP HIT – 57.492 million

    And again, the team can exceed the cap quite a bit because of the many inflated cap hits that are accounted for in the bonus cushion.

  11. the_word says:

    I'm sorry whats Stempniak done? I think I remember seeing him throw a big hit in October.

  12. dumbassdoorman says:

    I don't see the leafs doing the oilers a favour like that for a 4th rd pick. Tor and Van are giving up a lot more than Phi in that deal IMO. I really like the San Jose trade. i thinK Clowe could open a lot of ice for Kessel and Bozak. Also like the Chi and Nash trades….lots of thought…good ideas

  13. cam7777 says:

    He's always solid on his man though.  He's thrown lots of good hits.  Have you watched his penalty killing since the Phaneuf trade?  And even before that, there have been long stretches this year where he and Stajan were actually very good on the PK, getting scoring chances quite frequently – and then they'd go off and we'd immediately be scored on.

    And all the while he has 14 goals and 15 assists, despite having the worst shooting percentage ever.  If he ever gets his shot back, he's money.  He has 20 more hits than Armstrong, and 11 more points.  The only stat he has that's better, is the plus/minus, and the giveaway/takeaway ratio.  Plus/minus is somewhat reflective of the team.

    I'm fine with Armstrong, but if he's going to cost significantly more than Stempniak would to just resign, it might not be worth it.  He would probably quickly devolve into a cap nuisance. 

  14. dumbassdoorman says:

    I would not be suprised tov see the leafs offer him a 3 yr 4.5mil dollar deal or around that…kinda like Moore was…but would see Stemps smart enough to take it

  15. cam7777 says:

    Yea, I'd prefer to find an expensive center that someone wants to drop.  After tradinga way Stemps and Poni, it would be nice to be able to throw 3 veteran guys fighting for a contract onto one line.  It's possible the Leafs just pick someone like that up off of waivers.  I could see Tampa throwing Halpern on waivers if they can't find a trade for him:

    Stalberg / Bozak / Kessel
    Modin / Halpern / Sykora
    Kulemin / Primo / Sjostrom
    Mitchell / Hanson / Orr

    More or less though, I was just trying to show what salary dump trades will probably look like.

  16. reinjosh says:

    Yeah especially with the Moore trade. Maybe Stemps value just went up.

  17. reinjosh says:

    The fetishism of draft picks on this site is nuts. It likes a first rounder equals a team being in the playoffs and a team without a first rounder equals death for the future.
    They even ignore a team like Florida or Atlanta.

  18. dumbassdoorman says:

    Oh no, I understood what you were doing and don't disagree. I just don't see burke doing the oilers any favours for a 4th rounder. You have a lot of good ideas and they are usually very well thought out. I brought up a salary dump in a diff post, what do you think of the leafs grabbing Olesz from fla…they are supposdly basically giving him away. He has a high salary 3mil thru 2014….but has high talent and if you could grab him plus for salary??????? Could be worth a shot with his skill…plus the young players are loving the TO dressing room right now.

  19. reinjosh says:

    I like the deals. i like the lineup.
    I think that we can get more for Poni though. Apparently Burke is asking for a 2nd and a prospect now. And with the way the market is working out it might be possible to get a  2nd and Blum. Maybe a 3rd and Blum.

  20. dumbassdoorman says:

    Caps should try trading for a goalie….lol…they need one no matter how long the win streak was. Turco….maybe?

  21. the_word says:

    hehe, and a top five pick is definite Hall of Famer.

  22. cam7777 says:

    Anyone think that Washington is going to make a few moves at the deadline this year?  I think they've got a couple big time acquisitions coming their way.  So far it's looking like they badly need a shutdown defensemen, and a star calibre goalie. 

    According to capgeek.com, the Caps have a little over 12 million to spend in terms of full-season acquisitions.  That's a lot of room for a team that is absolutely dominating the NHL, and looks like the hands on favorite to win the Cup.  They're almost foolish if they don't spend big-time money.

    Now as far as a defensemen go, Souray is of course available, and willing to move to Washington.  He could be had fairly cheap, since his NTC will limit the return any willing team needs to give up.  However, there might be a better option available. 

    By the sounds of things, Joe Sacco cannot stand John-Michael Liles.   He is frequently a healthy scratch, if for no other reason than the fact that Kyle *****isky fills a similar role.  He's affordable, and surely he's available.  Liles is solid enough defenisvely, and potent enough offensively, to be a solid piece in Washington.

    They might also take a look at Dallas as a nice trading partner.  If they wanted a shut down D. Nicklas Grossman is probably available, and we all know that Turco could provide the star goaltending the Caps could use in the playoffs.  There are literally so many options for this team with the cap space they have managed to free up.

  23. reinjosh says:

    1st overall is definitely a generational forward every time.

  24. the_word says:

    Stempnaik is a gold fish in an incredibly shallow pond. He'd be after thought on any other team (IMO), he's boderline an after thought on the Leafs. I don't have a strong interpretation of his as I find his game completely forgetable. Not a piece I want moving forward.

  25. dumbassdoorman says:

    Ya they need a goalie watching tonights game….lol. As for dmen…what about sutton from NYI?……. or Barker and Sopel for say, Carlson, ALzner and a high pick?

  26. reinjosh says:

    Liles would be a great acquisition for them. He would fit their offensive style and would give them an upgrade over Poti.
    Do you think they would ever make a deal for McKee. It seems highly unlikely but the two teams could be perfect trade partners.
    This team could be scary good if they are willing to give up assets.

  27. dumbassdoorman says:

    Based on the Moore trade….what about finger and Exelby for ummmm a first….lol….seriously though exelby could add a physical presence they are lacking

  28. bbruins37 says:

    it'd be nice to see if varlamov can round back to form after the injury, but they won't be abe to get a full evaluation with so few games left and varlamov probably not getting any time in the olympics. if not, they could very well have three stiffs on their hands. it'd be nice to get a decent goalie.

  29. cam7777 says:

    No way, Alzner and Carlson will be in their top 4 either next year, or the year after – they are the future.  They will be looking for one guy they can add to that group so that they can ice:

    Green / Alzner
    _____ / Carlson

    And they would hope that 3 slot is a star calibre guy.

  30. cam7777 says:

    and according to Neuwyndyk, Turco would cost basically nothing.

  31. cam7777 says:

    After reading this article : http://miamiherald.typepad.com/flapanthers/, let me make some changes to this plan:


    To CHI: Jonas Frogren
    To TOR: Brent Sopel, 3rd in 2011 (TOR), 5th in 2012 (CHI)

    To FLA: Peter Mueller, Jimmy Hayes, 2nd in 2010 (LAK), 2nd in 2011 (TOR)
    To PHX: Mikhail Grabovski
    To TOR: Nathan Horton

    L1: ____UFA______, Jeff Carter, Phil Kessel
    L2: Viktor Stalberg, Nazem Kadri, Nathan Horton
    L3: Nikolai Kulemin, Tyler Bozak, Fred Sjostrom
    L4: Wayne Primeau, Chris Hanson, Colton Orr

    Difference is that we would only have about 2 million to fill that final spot, which limits our options. 

  32. the_word says:

    True but don't forget that top five pick talents expire in three season unless they win a Heart. Thats why the Leafs continue to build around broken down veterans like Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf. Their best days are behind them.

  33. cam7777 says:

    Too expensive.  I don't think the Leafs are desperate enough to take that risk.  Let Nashville, or a team with their own salary to dump take that chance.  We only have FInger, and his contract isn't nearly as hindering as Olesz's.

  34. Kramer says:

    A midget should light the flame at the Olympics. Canada is the land of opportunity. What better way to show it than having a dwarf light the flame?

  35. bbruins37 says:

    if the midget was a black, mentally-handicapped woman i would have to agree with you

  36. bbruins37 says:

    lol 3 of the 4 requirements is good enough for me

  37. dizon says:

    lol i actually laughed at that one

  38. dumbassdoorman says:

    In your changes you could put Kulemin on the top line, fast, works hard digs out pucks. And , you could probably resign Stemps cheap or even a guy like moore or Betts if he is not resigned.

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