Will the leafs have to make a trade?

The Leafs are over the salary cap, even if by several hundred thousand dollars, and they probably will have to do some deking before the final roster is submitted to the NHL on Monday.

It hurts that David Clarkson’s salary will count against the cap as he serves his 10-game suspension, and it’s almost a sure bet the Leafs will have fewer players to start than the 23-man roster allows.

“We probably will,” Loiselle said. “We’re going to ice the best team possible and the coach makes those decisions, and we will start the season. We have to start the season with no less than 18 (skaters) and two (goalies).”

Frazer McLaren’s injury status could play into the financial situation. He is on the mend from a broken finger, an injury inflicted by Carter Ashton earlier in camp.

The Leafs could have buried Liles’ $3.875-million salary-cap hit in the minors under the former collective bargaining agreement. But that option is gone under the new CBA, and the most the Leafs could save against the cap by sending Liles to the Marlies would be $925,000, though there is no indication the team is ready to go that route.

There has been talk of trying to unload the Liles contract — wouldn’t it be funny if Brian Burke, now running the Calgary Flames, wouldn’t bite on Liles because there’s too much money involved? — but the chances of a trade seem remote.

Liles clearly is not in coach Randy Carlyle’s immediate plans, not after being a healthy scratch in the playoffs and then seeing limited opportunity to re-prove himself in the pre-season.


99 Responses to Will the leafs have to make a trade?

  1. doorman says:

    Not really liking this Colborne trade though I get it is a cap world

    • mojo19 says:

      Ya, buyers market, not many teams out there is really looking to pick up players, so we get a 4th. Kind of a shitty deal but whatever. At the end of the day it doesn’t make a huge impact. Honestly I feel like Ashton and Devane are just as good. So no big deal.

      I still feel like Colborne will develop into a quality 3rd line centre, who can play a decent game at both ends of the puck and maybe chip in 15 goals.

  2. mojo19 says:

    …besides Nonis traded him to Calgary which should be noted. Who knows maybe he could have gotten a 3rd or something from another team but he scratches Burke’s back a bit here.

    Remember all the deals Burke made with the Ducks after he left there?
    Here’s a list of the moves Burke made with Anaheim as Leafs GM:
    from Ducks….for…To Toronto

    Dale Mitchell for Mark Fraser
    Luca Caputi for Nicolas Deschamps
    30th and 39th overall picks for 22nd overall pick
    2011 6th round pick for 2012 6th round pick
    conditional pick (condition not met, we gave up nothing) for Aaron Voros
    Frankie Beauchemin for Joffrey Lupul and Jake Gardiner
    5th round pick for Mike Brown
    Joey MacDonald for a 7th round pick
    Jason Blake and Vesa Toskala for J.S. Giguere
    Justin Pogge for a 6th round pick
    A 6th round pick for Brad May

    That’s 11 moves, some minor some major, some were back scratches going one way or the other, and some were salary cap situation related. I hope Burke and Nonis continue to have a good relationship and we might have a good trading partner for some moves down the road.

  3. mojo19 says:

    haha, looking back on a classic Leaf trade –

    We traded Mike Johnson, a no name prospect who became nothing, and three late round draft picks, all of whom became nothing for Darcy Tucker and the pick that became Kyle Wellwood. We made out really well with that deal.

    Although Mike Johnson is kind of underrated. He was a solid player, ended up being dealt for Khabibulin and going on to lead Phoenix in scoring. I asked him about that one time, I was lucky enough to meet him at Real Sports and he was pretty drunk, seems like a good dude though and he joked that he should have a Cup ring with Tampa, because if he’s not traded for Khabibulin “they don’t win that cup!” haha.

    • leafy says:

      Yeah that was a great trade for the Leafs. Mike Johnson had good speed in his prime, but Tucker brought a whole new level of competitiveness and sandpaper to the Leafs. The Tucker line was the one line New Jersey hated playing against in the 2000 and 2001 playoffs.

      Mike Johnson does indeed strike me as a dude you can sit down and have a beer with.

      Similarly great trade was Mike Eastwood for Tie Domi at the 1995 trade deadline.

  4. mojo19 says:

    Does anyone know if Nicolas Deschamps is still with the Marlies at all?

    If he is, he’s possibly the last remaining asset in the organization from the giant 10-player block buster of 1992 that brought Doug Gilmour to Toronto. By use of the “trade train” (Mojo tm) we see that Jamie McCoun came over with Dougie in that deal, and was later traded in 1998 for a 4th round pick from Detroit, used to draft Alex Ponikarovsky who would later be flipped for Luca Caputi who was later traded for the now 23 year old Deschamps.

    So that Gilmour trade is the deal that keeps on giving.

  5. leafy says:

    So this is the 10-year anniversary of the 2003-2004 Leafs.
    IMO that was one of the best Leafs teams since 1967.
    This line-up would be impossible today with the cap:




    Trade deadline add-ons:
    Ron Francis, Bryan Leetch, and Chad Kilger

    Leafs would have won the Cup if Belfour and Nieuwendyk’s back problems didn’t flare up in the Philly series, if Owen Nolan didn’t blow out his knee, and if Mogilny was healthy like in 2002 and 2003 (before the Brad Stuart hit).

    • mojo19 says:

      Ya great line up, and we also added Calle Johansson as a depth dman at the deadline. He came over from Europe I believe but the Caps owned his rights. He was the old defence partner for Klee in Washington.

    • mojo19 says:

      And Tom Fitzgerald was on that team as well. When Renberg and Mogilny were both hurt Fitzy actually got up on a line with Mats for about 5 or 6 games maybe.

      Fitzy was a great veteran UFA pick up by Quinn the previous year. He was the captain of the Predators a couple years earlier, and I think we got him from Chicago.

      Love the ’04 Leafs even though we fell in the first round to Philly. I really think that those were the two best teams in the league that season. Tampa Bay was so healthy they had everyone healthy and beat a worn down Flyers team in the conference finals. Then Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said after the TB series “If the Leafs and Flyers didn’t face each other in that first round war, one of us would have won the Cup.”

  6. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    We only got a 4th for Colborne because every GM knew he would be sent down to the minors and they could claim him off waivers for free. The 4th was probably the best offer the Leafs could get when they shopped him. $600,000 off the books doesn’t solve much. We will still have a short bench.

  7. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    When you look at the Leafs line-up last night, you would assume Liles is the odd man out, but as many have stated, unless there is a trade, there is no real cap relief from sending Liles to the minors.
    Trading Fraser and keeping a guy like MacWilliam doesn’t solve much either. Phaneuf? Not likely to be moved. Franson? at $2mill and our only RHD, not going anywhere. Ranger? $1mil for a possible top 4 D, he’s going nowhere. Holzer and Brennan are likely cap cuts to the minors. Liles? We would have to eat a lot in a trade and sending him to the minors doesn’t solve much unless we get the whole $925,000 relief.
    What about Gunnarsson? He seems a lock to make the team, but does the play of Ranger, MacWilliam and Reilly make him moveable? He would bring a good return and with Phaneuf/Ranger, Gardiner/Franson, Liles/Fraser, MacWilliam/Reilly, do the Leafs NEED Gunnarsson or do they need the cap relief and return he would bring more?
    A liles trade will not be a hockey trade, we will have to retain contract or give up something else of value for someone to take his contract. No disrespect to JML, but every GM knows Toronto’s situation and won’t make a hockey trade for him.
    Gunnarsson on the other hand could return a young, inexpensive up and coming forward(example) who only makes around $1mil giving the Leafs around $2mil in cap space and allow them to keep the veteran Liles and add a Reilly(if they feel he is better served in the NHL) or MacWilliam/Holzer/Brennan to the roster AND the young forward they acquire for Gunnar thus filling out the Leafs roster.
    Although solid, Gunnar may be the odd man ut if the Leafs can make a good deal there.

    • leafy says:

      Yes, makes perfect sense. Gunnar can both fix the cap situation AND fetch a decent return. Win-win. He is replaceable and, in my mind, although considered solid defensively, Gunnar is very enigmatic.

      • mojo19 says:

        I really disagree with this. Carl Gunnarsson’s do not grow on trees. Good defence is hard to come by and Gunner is the most steady dman on the team.

        Talk about underrated, I can’t believe the treatment this guy is getting. And he’s only a $3.1 mil cap hit! He’s a big time steal. He should be making up over $4 mil, look around the league at what D are getting paid!

        • leafy says:

          You’ll probably get your wish Mojo. I think Carlyle likes him and therefore he’s likely to stay (although anything is possible).

        • realistic_leafs_fan says:

          This is what makes Gunnar an attractive trade to other teams. I don’t think he is underrated or look at him as highly as you do, but he is solid, decent size although could use to bulk up some and play a little more physical, moves the puck efficiently enough and decent cap hit. He should be an easy player to move if the Leafs wanted to.
          Hey, we can’t keep everyone and moving Liles is unlikely or I truly believe it already would have happened or at least should have happened. Gunnar is replaceable IMO and the guy is already there in Ranger. I think Ranger is acyually a better fit for Dion than Gunnar. Franson a better fit for Gardiner than Gunnar. That leaves Gunnar to pair with Fraser or Liles. That’s fine, but over $3mil for a third pairing D I don’t like especially if it’s Gunnar and Liles for $7mil combined.
          What is your solution than Mojo? I honestly believe the Leafs want to give Reilly the 9 game trial as well.

          • realistic_leafs_fan says:

            LOL. Right after I wrote this I saw a report that Liles, Holzer, Brennan, Smith and MacIntyre are apparently on waivers in order to likely make room for Reilly.
            It says Liles demotion clears $925,000 in cap which makes sense to do it if that’s the case. I am a bit confused as I thought I also read something about the relief diminishes if you replace him with a rookie or something. If we get the whole $925,000 it makes sense. If not, it doesn’t really.
            Anyone know the rule?

            • mojo19 says:

              I think we get the $925K off from Liles, then theoretically if you were replacing him with a player from the minors that players salary would go onto the cap (effectively digging into the $925 of savings).

              But in this case were not calling anyone up, so its all savings.

              This is my understanding.

          • mojo19 says:

            I think Gunnarsson is a #3 or 4 on just about any team. He could slide right in there and play solid D anywhere. I think he’s done a great job mopping up for Dion the last couple of seasons, and I especially enjoy his poise.

            I think his greatest fault is probably that he sometimes holds onto the puck for too long, when he could head man it, or start a quicker breakout. But this is coachable stuff, and for a defenceman of his age, he’s still approaching his prime, and he can learn the position even better.

            And to your point about his physicality. He came into the league on a bad Leafs team as lanky kid. But he’s starting to fill out. He’s a big tall guy, and I think when he reaches age 29, 30, 31, he’s gonna be really tough to play against. Grizzled veteran Gunner of the future is a guy I think we’re going to want to have.

            He does flake out from time to time as well, but again, for the type of dman he is, he’s not even close to peaking right now.

            • blaze says:

              Denis Seidenberg to be?

              • realistic_leafs_fan says:

                Gunnar is solid, but something will likely have to give as the Leafs are not likely wanting to have a 21 man roster and no cap room all season.
                It has been said not to trade Kulimen either. Someone of some value is the most likely move since they already cleared Colborne and his $600,000.
                The problem as I have mentioned is that the Leafs have too much money invested in their bottom 6, never mind Liles contract.
                Bolland, Kulimen and Raymond make a combined $7.2 approx. Compare that to some other good teams. STL $6.2, Wash $6.2, LA $5.3, Bos $5.2, Pitt $4, Ott $4 & CHI $2.7 (all projected third line costs) we are at the extreme high end. Add to that our third line of McClement, Orr and Fraser are at $3.1 and we are just spending too much money for lower minute players. We need more Raymond, Ashton, McClement type of contracts for the third line.
                Even with Liles money added to our D, we haven’t spent too much on defencemen or our top 6 really, it’s the bottom 6 that is putting us in some trouble cap wise. Bolland and kuli make too much money to both be third liners.

                • Gambo says:

                  I’ve always thought Bolland was significantly overpaid. I’m not too sure he’ll stay above 3m in Toronto after this season. But then again he hasn’t even played a game for us yet, so who knows.

  8. Gambo says:

    With McLaren on IR and the leafs with $765,833(capgeek.com), they have enough to replace him with a call up until he’s healthy again or Clarkson’s 10 games are up.

    My guess is it’s one of Devane, Bodie or Broll. I’m leaning towards wanting Devane to get the call up, I’m curious to who others would like to see start on the 4th line.

    • realistic_leafs_fan says:

      I like Devane as well. He could play third line for short spurts if needed and I would like some value priced youth in our bottom six.

      • mojo19 says:

        Ya I would agree. I like Devane. Looks like Ashton will be sticking. Devane will get a call up at some point in the season if he keeps up that intensity with the Marlies.

        • realistic_leafs_fan says:

          Ashton made the team, good on him, I didn’t know if he had it in him, but he fought had in the pre-season and earned a spot. Looks like Bodie is getting the call-up.

  9. mapleleafsfan says:

    Kessel resigned for 8 years ~ 8 Mill per. I hope that’s under not over. If it’s under, I’m happy.

    • leafy says:

      They pretty much had to sign him. Good in the short-term, but man 8 years is a long time.

      • LN91 says:

        I don’t think the Leafs can re-sign Phaneuf…I think they’re okay with it.

        Even with a 3 million dollar cap increase next season, no way is it feasible. Especially with Kadri needing a new contract the year after.

      • mapleleafsfan says:

        Not too concerned about the length. With the way Kessel plays he will be good into his 30s no problem. It’s good he’s shown more of a playmakers ability as of late, because he will be slower near the end of the contract for sure so his goals will eventually decrease. But with inflation and assuming the cap increases most years, 8 million by the end won’t be a big deal.

        For now what’s nice is if we take the buyouts (~2M) and the witheld salary for Frattin (700k I think)off the book next year, that covers the raise Kessel is getting.

        • realistic_leafs_fan says:

          I am good with the signing, I would like it to be $7-$7.5, but if Phil continues his compete level, I am good with it.
          It is a hefty $2.6 mil per season raise though which will likely mean one/some potential UFA/RFA’s will not be coming back.
          Dion is going to have to come in under $6 and max 5 years. I really don’t think a 33+ year old Dion will still be a $6mil a year D-man or be able to play 23+ minutes on a nightly basis. 5 years $5.5 mil would be a good number for both sides.
          Now, what about Gardiner, Franson, Fraser, Ranger, Kulimen, Bolland, McClement, Raymond and Reimer?

          Kulimen will be a tough re-sign as he is a third liner on the Leafs and we need to cut down third and fourth line costs. Fraser at $1.2 is ok as a depth guy, but possibly MacWilliam or free agency could likely replace him. Raymond, wait and see. Bolland has to be around the same money. McClement similar money and Gardiner, Franson and Ranger likely decent raises. Reimer depends on if he keeps his #1 spot.

          If it were me, I would look at trading Nik and possible Fraser to free up some cap space after Clarkson gets back and we see what we and some other teams may need.

          If we could do something like
          Kulimen, Fraser and D’Amigo to Colorado for McGinn and Elliot I would really consider it.
          Colorado would get help on the wings and D, while Toronto would get a solid 3rd line winger and a young RH puck moving D while saving some cap room.
          I like Kulimen, but it’s unlikely we can re-sign him and $3+mil(likely to re-sign) for a 3rd line winger is too much.IMO Better to move him and get some return and free up money to re-sign some others.
          Reimer will depend on Bernier’s play, we don’t have to move him, he will be an RFA, so he won’t have much leverage if he loses his number 1 spot to Bernier. But I wonder what a team needing a goalie would be willing to pay for Reimer if he becomes available at the deadline.

  10. leafs_wallace93 says:

    Forget how great it is to have a Leaf team open a season with some expectations. Franson was my goat of the game, watching him turn the puck over twice on the same shift while he’s supposed to be Mr. 1st pass reminds me of how Dion would be crucified for doing the same. Franson is awkward in his own end to say the least.

    As for the usual villains, Bozie and Dion looked pretty good. Not on their bandwagon or anything but I hope they both have a good start to the year to temper some criticism.

    • mojo19 says:

      Ya Bozak and Dion played well and scored goals. So you can’t complain about their games at all. Dave Bolland really impressed me. He looks like McClement+, this is a great 3/4 centres. And they had McClem up on Bolland’s wing in the last half of the 3rd. Good idea by Carlyle and he’s got a great shut down unit with those two and either Kulemin or Bozak.

      In that loss to Boston we had McClement on the ice for over 3 of the last 5 minutes. That’s too much for him, and he played great, I don’t think anyone can complain about his play in that series, he was always in position, always had his guy. But he wasn’t always a force that we know he can be, and I think the addition of Bolland will take a lot of heat off McClement and he can comfortably be a 4th line C, who plays great in that role, kills all our penalties, and we double shift him late to protect leads. Like the Wings did with Draper.

      • realistic_leafs_fan says:

        I must have been watching a different game. I thought Dion and Franson were by far our 2 best defencemen. Franson moved the puck very well with great breakout passes(except one bad shift) and was very solid in his own end.
        Dion had a very solid game. He did everything well. Gunnar and Ranger struggled the most on the backend IMO. Gardiner was ok on offence but his defence was poor and I thought Fraser had a good game for what he brings.
        Reimer a very good game. Moved well, controlled rebounds fairly well and made some big saves.
        Up front, besides his PK play and the goal, I thought Bozak was invisible. He lost most of his puck battles and was easily the worst player on that line. We are not paying him to be a defensive and pk specialist…he’s supposed to be our first line centre. Offensively, he looked like a third liner and killed many of our cycles.
        I think our bottom six outplayed our top 6 in this game. Bolland, Bodie, Raymond especially looked good in limited ice time.
        Kessel and JVR looked quick and played with intensity, but couldn’t get anything to go in and that line has to be better defensively. The second line was just ok, nothing great, nothing horrible.
        Anyhow, I am pretty confident Gunnar and Ranger will rebound and Gardiner will get better defensively. It will be interesting to see Bernier play tonight in his first real game.

        • mapleleafsfan says:

          I thought Gardiner was bad last night. Awful in his own end, unneccessary pinch that nearly cost us big in the end. Bozak wasn’t very good IMO. Nice goal and he picked it up a bit but wasn’t great on the draws and was weak on the puck. I thought Franson was solid but some sloppy plays. JVR looked awesome.

          Therrien is a clown too. How do you not play the kid line in the final minute after their performance? Desharnais is an awful hockey player who should never be out in the last minute of a game. He makes Bozak look like Lucic in the corners.

          • Gambo says:

            Geez Bozak was 56% on the draws, how can you complain about that. He scored a goal, played great on the PK, was on the ice for a PP goal and played over 21 mins for a win. He also had some good scoring chances and a couple blocked shots. Not saying his game is perfect, but he played well.

            And he’s playing on a line with JVR and Kessel, he’s almost always going to be the worst on that line. Cut the guy some slack.

            • mapleleafsfan says:

              Gotta admit I thought it was lower than that. Definitely can’t complain with 56%. I guess I just noticed a stretch where he lost a few in a row or something.

              His goal was nice. I just don’t like how weak he is on the puck. I’d put Kadri on the 1st PP over Bozak.

            • realistic_leafs_fan says:

              I didn’t say he wasn’t good on draws, but I didn’t like his game. Too soft, not enough intensity and like I said, mostly invisible. Of course he will be the worst on that line by far…that’s the problem. Can’t say he was a good signing and then defend him by saying he will almost always be the worst player on that line.
              Personally, I would rather have Nonis buy-out Komi and Liles, keep Grabo and not re-sign Bozak. We would have had about another $2.5 mil in cap space that way and I like Grabo better than Bozak. But hey, shoulda, coulda.
              I give every player credit when I think they play well, Bozak included.

              • Gambo says:

                Grabovski can’t play Carlyle’s system, Bozak can. There’s a reason management do the things they do, because they know the game of hockey and how to win. Grabovski may be a better player than Bozak with most systems, but not with the system the coaching staff has put in place in Toronto.

                • realistic_leafs_fan says:

                  I am not going to disagree with the fact he didn’t look as good in Carlyle’s system, but for a guy that couldn’t play Carlyle’s system, he played 19 minutes a night in the playoffs. He could learn to play it. His beef with management was not being given an opportunity to succeed and I would say he has a point there.
                  As far as “There’s a reason management do the things they do, because they know the game of hockey and how to win”…how do you explain 46 years without a cup from the richest team in the League?

                  • realistic_leafs_fan says:

                    I’m not saying I don’t like Carlyle or what management has done on the overall. You are forgetting the extra $2.5 mil or so in cap space we would have as well. That would be huge right now. It’s not just about Bozak vs Grabo, it’s about what the extra money could buy or have bought.

  11. mojo19 says:

    It’s gonna be a long year for the habs. People have said that the Leafs 5ht place finish last year is an illusion created by the shortened season, but I think the bigger outlier is Montreal.

    The habs are very soft. I’ll admit, they did get a lot of sustained pressure from the Moen – Prust – Parros line, and the Gallagher – Eller – Galchenyuk line was very good, particularly Eller. But the other two lines were bad and got run over by the Leafs, getting all the chances off the rush.

    I think the habs will be dangerous some games this year, when they capitalize on their chances, but I think competition is steeper in the East this year, and this is a soft team. Ya they were tough when the Parros line was out there, but they don’t have toughness throughout their line up. It reminds me of back in the day when Ottawa was always losing to Toronto in the playoffs, and the general consensus among fans and media was they “lacked toughness”. Despite their skill they could never match Toronto’s grit in the playoffs. So they went out and grabbed a couple goons from Buffalo in Rob Ray and Vaclav Varada, and they were tough when that line was out there. But you’re not playing those lines big minutes, and the rest of your line up is still soft.

    Anyway’s I think the habs finish 6th in the division behind Boston, Detroit, Toronto, Ottawa, and Tampa Bay.

    • mapleleafsfan says:

      Habs looked tougher for sure. They whooped us in fights, but I agree their toughness isn’t spread out enough. Tinordi is a beast and murdered Ashton, Parros won his fights until the unlucky KO. But with Parros out (presumably for a while), and Mclaren coming back we will just bully the crap out of them again. Prust is a coward. Goes for Fraser then doesn’t drop them. I usually respect the way he plays but he was pathetic there. Fraser’s a beast.

    • leafy says:

      If I was opponent, I would hate to be playing the Leafs. This is one tough team. Bay Street Bullies?

      Reminds me a bit of the 1992-93 Leafs.

  12. leafy says:

    Really impressed with Bernier. Holy crap!! The Leafs have 2 all-star goalies.

  13. leafs_wallace93 says:

    Frattin who?

  14. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    Franson 2gp, 2 pts, +2, 25 mins pg….just sayin.

    • mapleleafsfan says:

      He’s been a beast. He is hitting like a truck too. I really hope he gets signed long-term.

      Wow was Bernier good last night. I think we’re gonna have a nice goalie battle on our hands. I think Reimer gets the nod Saturday though, he’s been lights out against the Sens.

      • realistic_leafs_fan says:

        I think Franson has shown how important it is to have a balance of rh and lh shots as well, or at least guys being capable of playing either side of the ice. Phaneuf has looked much more comfortable moving the puck out of our end when he plays the left side while paired with Franson.
        The biggest need I see right now is getting Dion over to his natural side. Don’t get me wrong, Dion has played well, but he struggles badly when having to move the puck on his backhand, especially when he is just trying to clear the zone from deep in the corner. He either eats it and then loses the puck in the battle or tries to reverse the puck on his forehand.
        We either need to make a move for an RHD that can allow Dion to move to the left or find someone to play the right side with Dion, who is already on the team. Cody and Dion have actually looked pretty good together in the few shifts they have been paired. But that would mean Fraser, Gardiner or Gunnar would have to move to the right side since Ranger is already playing on the right, his off-side. Not sure any of those three can do it and Reilly is just too green to put that pressure on him.
        That leaves trade. I honestly believe if Dion was on his proper side, it would really improve his defensive game.
        A guy not talked about much that could be a perfect fit is Dalton Prout of Columbus. He’s rh, young, big, strong, fights and plays a solid defensive game. Skates well for a big guy. We may have what Columbus needs because they need size and skill in their top 9.
        Prout wouldn’t come cheap, but the Jackets are desperate to make the playoffs and they have good young D prospects.
        I would be willing to move Kuli and Percy/McWilliam to get him and we would probably have to take back a guy like McKenzie as well just for cap purposes.
        I’ve liked our team so far, but Dion has always struggled on the backhand and if we could get him to his proper side, I think the D would be that much better and solve a lot of our defensive issues.
        This would also allow the Leafs to send Reilly back to junior if they wish or even trade a guy at the deadline like Gunnar(haven’t liked his game so far) or Fraser, although I have liked Fraser’s game so far.
        Thoughts on the need to get Dion to his proper side?

        • mojo19 says:

          Your Gunnar hate is so unwarranted. He’s easily been our top defenceman through the first two games. I honestly don’t get where you’re coming from.

          For years we’ve been waiting to build a good blueline, now we have a few pieces in place and you wanna dump one of the key guys? Makes no sense, bro.

          • realistic_leafs_fan says:

            How is it hate? Who said dump him?
            I have said he is solid, but the players we have and our needs make him tradeable as he would bring the best return. I also didn’t trade him in my suggestion above. I have not liked his game that much the first couple of games.
            He has been our best defenceman the first two games? Third best, yes. Top defenceman? I don’t even know what to say to that. No Franson or Dion…no wins.

            • mojo19 says:

              Don’t kid yourself, no Gunner no wins either. He’s not flashy at all, he’s not going to ever make that huge hit, score that big goal, etc. But there are so many subtle, little plays that add up in his game. He’s a beast around our net, and plays sound defence. You NEED a Carl Gunnarsson or two to be succesful in this league. He’s the dman we’ve been yearning for for so long.

              We will have to agree to disagree for now. I have one request, watch what he does with the puck in the corners with pressure on him, how he positions his body, maybe fakes going one way briefly to open up a lane, and watch the poise he displays with heat all around him.

              If you’re looking for the big brutes like Dion and Cody, you’re not gonna find it with Gunner. His game is subtle, efficient, very much Swedish.

              • realistic_leafs_fan says:

                A beast around the net? Gunnarsson types are good d-men, but he is not the Leafs biggest need IMO.
                Like I said, Gunnar is solid and would be a great 4-6 D on just about any team. On Toronto he is a top pair guy, a #2 because they don’t have two top 4 right side D. He is not a number 2. The Leafs need a top 4 right side D more than Gunnar IMO. You put Dion left side top pair, Gardiner left side 2nd pair and Franson with either and add a top 4 right side D and Toronto is better…don’t kid yourself;)
                Gunnar as third pair then would be fine, but our top 2 left side D should be Dion and Gardiner.
                I am aware of what Gunnar brings and does. He makes more mistakes than you give him credit for though. Have you noticed the increased time of Franson on the pk and decreased of Gunnar? Gunnar is not a beast infront of the net…just watch the “game in six” and you will see.

                • Gambo says:

                  Chicago doesn’t win the cup without Hjalmarsson. He’s a similar player to Gunnarsson. Gunnarsson is only 26, it could be another 4 or 6 years before he hits his prime. They definitely need him if they want to win the cup.

                  Dion has looked fine on the right side. They’re 2-0 right now, I don’t understand the fetish to make any major shakeups right now.

                  • realistic_leafs_fan says:

                    I have been saying we need to improve the D from the right side since last season…no “fetish” to change things all of a sudden. And I am talking about moving one player(who wasn’t Gunnar) to gain a need we have had for awhile.
                    Chicago doesn’t win the cup without Keith and Seabrook. As for Hjalmalrsson, he just turned 26 and has 2 cups. He played 20 minutes when he was like 22 years old during their first cup run. How did Gunnar do in the Playoffs last year? Didn’t he have like 1pt and a -7 in 7 games…yea, that’s an integral part of a cup winning team.
                    Hjal is a better skater then Gunnar and a little stronger and grittier. Plus, he fits in Chicago’s defence that already boasts Keith, Seabrook, Oduya, Rosival, Leddy.
                    He is a better than Gunnar IMO, and he plays 2nd pairing in Chicago, not usually first pairing where we have Gunnar.
                    Are you guys suggesting you build defences around guys like Gunnar over adding them as pieces that compliment the top end talent you already have in order to win a cup?
                    I honestly can’t believe we are debating over…if we trade Gunnar(or say Kulimen) for a needed piece, can we still win the cup?

                    • mojo19 says:

                      Gunner is a beast in front with his poise, with his quick stick, by being between the opposing fwd and the net and being in the way etc. These are a lot of subtle, under appreciated attributes from this type of defenceman. Anyone can notice when a Mark Frasor bulldozes someone in front, but its that consistent ability and control of a Carl Gunnarsson that makes him a rare breed.

                      Also with the whole Chicago thing, flip Hjalmersson and Gunner places the last 5 years, flip careers more or less. Very similar player.

                    • realistic_leafs_fan says:

                      I will agree to disagree with you.

  15. mojo19 says:

    Mikhail Grabovski scores a hat trick….and is on for FOUR (that’s right 4) goals against in a Caps loss.

    His replacement, Dave Bolland scores a pair of 3rd period goals and locks her down defensively in a 3-1 Leafs win.

    See ya Grabo. Have fun.

    • leafs_wallace93 says:

      Hope he has a monster year and someone else hands him a giant contract. Love Garbo’s heart, he’s fun to watch, the perfect center to have on a losing team though.

      • realistic_leafs_fan says:

        I like how Grabo gets trashed for a hat trick and an assist because he ends up a +0. Ovechkin, Green and Backstrom all had 2 pts each in that game and were all a -2. If Phil had done the same as Grabo everyone would defend how great he is and how is isn’t paid for his defence.

        • leafs_wallace93 says:

          I can care less about plus/minus or corsi, I did watch Garbo on a nightly basis for a couple years. Do you want to sign him this off season?

          • realistic_leafs_fan says:

            No Wallace, I wouldn’t sign him because a third line centre is not what he is and that’s where he would play in Toronto if Boland doesn’t re-sign. He is an offence first, second line centre that plays with an edge and needs a fair amount of ice-time to be effective. The re-signing of Bozak means he doesn’t have a place here anymore.

        • mojo19 says:

          What are you talking about? Are you just in the mood to argue today or what? If Phil were on the ice for 4 goals against it would be national news. I’m sick of the hockey world going on and on about how Phil can’t get it done at both ends, how one-dimensional he is, etc.

          If Phil scored a hatty, was on for 4 against and the team lost, the story would very much be “He’s great offensively, but not a complete player…”

          • realistic_leafs_fan says:

            LOL. You have disagreed with me just as much as I have with you.
            As for Phil, I meant fans on here would defend him from what the media or others say. Most on here would defend him and say what I said they would. I never said I don’t think Phil has become a decent player at both ends.
            My point was…Leaf fans on here get mad when someone trashes Phil for that kind of performance cause he is a Leaf, but have no problem trashing a player for the same performance as soon as he’s an EX-Leaf.

            • leafs_wallace93 says:

              You know I never really hear about Tavares or Stamkos’ defensive game.

              Knocks on Phil, he’s not a center (yeah Phil has to earn his 8 million, wingers won’t get a pay bump simply for their positions like centers do).

  16. leafs_wallace93 says:

    Gunnersson is polarizing figure now? Here is Gunner’s game, pick up the puck in his own end, talk two steps to calm things down and make a smart pass to outlet or start a breakout.

    He’s not Dion that fumbles or begins a slow rush, he’s not Cody who looks for a hero like pass through two zones, he’s not Gardiner that tries to rush pass center and he’s not Fraser who just tries to keep his head above water.

    Gunner is stability on the puck.

    • realistic_leafs_fan says:

      Gunnar is stable(solid), which is what I’ve said. He is not a “keep at all costs” type of player though or you can’t win the cup.
      I like him and he plays a solid game, but we need guys that can play the right side more. If Gunnar could do what he can do and play the right side…great, but obviously Carlyle doesn’t feel he can because he has put Ranger there even though Gunnar doesn’t always play with Dion so far this season. Gunnar played a fair amount with Ranger yesterday on the Left side even though Ranger has struggled.

  17. leafy says:

    Let’s cut Paul Ranger some slack. The dude hasn’t played an NHL game in over 3 years.

    He certainly has all the tools to be a good player for the Leafs.

  18. leafy says:

    The speed and skill level of this Maple Leafs team is very good. The best in a decade. And the goaltending is outstanding.

    The one thing I like the see more now is a puck possession game. I’m hoping to see the Leafs carry the play consistently rather than sporadically. Hard to get a reading after 2 games though.

    • Gambo says:

      I’d like to think that will improve when Clarkson comes back, but yeah puck posession seems to be their biggest weakness so far.

      • mojo19 says:

        Clarkson will help. I’m going to withhold judgement on Raymond, but he seemed to be a bit of a play killer when we started getting a cycle going vs Philly, I think his ice time got toned back as the game went on. Still he’s more of a dangerous player on the rush and a good guy to have on the bench for some games.

        Against teams like Philly we won’t see a ton of Kadri and Raymond, in favour or Kulemin, Bolland, McClement elevated minutes. But against a team like, say Tampa Bay, we’ll see Kadri and Raymond shine with that speed on the rush.

        • realistic_leafs_fan says:

          As I said last year Leafy and I know you agreed, Puck possession is huge, especially in todays game with it being so quick paced.
          It’s why D-man like Gardiner with his skating game and guys like Franson, who have size and can move the puck on the backend are needed so much. It’s why the Leafs got a Clarkson who can cycle in the corners and keep the puck in the opposition end. Good call, we still need to hold the puck more. If we have it, they chase us, if they have it, we are chasing them…simple as that. It’s also the reason I said it would be better to get Dion on his proper side so that he doesn’t give the puck up as much in our end. He would be on his forehand more often and be able to make better plays allowing us to come out with possession or clear it better in PK situations.

          • mojo19 says:

            Not to mention a puck rolling around on the boards in the offensive zone, and watching Dion fumble with it on his backhand. It’s McCabe deja vu

            • realistic_leafs_fan says:

              Exactly. We have all watched Dion enough over the past few years to know he is not comfortable or very good on his backhand. It causes many of his turnovers.
              On his backhand, Dion is a $5-$5.5 mil D-man. Would he be a $6-$6.5 mil guy if he was on his natural side. I would like to find out before we offer him that kind of money. Plus, another solid RD would create nice options.

              • mojo19 says:

                I’m thinking if the Flames perform as poorly as everyone seems to think they will, then a fire sale could go on, maybe we should make a play for Dennis Wideman. After injuries set in, we should have enough banked cap space throughout the year to fit in virtually anyone. Worst case we throw in an additional 4th rounder on top of whatever package we give up and Calgary eats the difference of the salary to make the trade work.

  19. leafy says:

    If you hate the Senators like I do, then you agree Saturday’s game is a must win.

  20. leafy says:

    Was that a great game tonight, or what?

    Any Ottawa game is a must win, and a comeback win makes it even better.

    Worst game I’ve ever seen Reimer baby play. No doubt about it. Bernier is the mam right now.

    How about David Bolland? I knew he was a good player, but much like when Lupul arrived, I didn’t realize he was THIS good. This guy is playing like a star right now.

    Raymond is another Beauty. With Raymond, Bolland, plus Clarkson coming back later, AND with plenty of offense from the defense, this is one dangerous offensive team.

    The team’s defensive game was horrible though. Dozens and dozens of gaffes and sloppy plays all night. I was actually relieved whenever Phaneuf and Gunnarsson were on the ice, haha!! Gotta fix the defensive game with some solid practices.

    • mojo19 says:

      Ya we got caught running around in our end a lot, and we looked loss when Ottawa was on carrying the puck in. They were able to gain the zone, slow up, make one pass and get set up so easily. We need to hold the line better, force more dump ins or neutral zone turnovers.

      Of course to be fair, we had a lot of rookies in with Devane and Bodie, and Rielly, we will be a stronger defensive team with Clarkson, Kulemin, and Frasor dressed. Still good to know we can be this competitive while were a little banged up. A couple years ago, any injury to a key player seemed to really hurt us.

  21. leafy says:

    And how about that Morgan Rielly? Is he a beauty or what? Reminds me a lot of Bryan Berard.

    • Gambo says:

      Keep him away from Hossa..

      • leafy says:

        Yup. To this day, I’m still bitter at Hossa.

        • mojo19 says:

          Rielly is so smooth on his skates! I love the way he’s able to move around out there. Between him and Jake Gardiner it is a lot like we went back in time to 1999 with a young Kaberle and Berard, isn’t it?

          • leafy says:

            I loved that 1999 blue line. Berard, Kalerle, Yuskevich, Markov, Karpovtsev, and Cote.

            I was so pissed when we later essentially traded Sylvain Cote for Cory Cross. I absolutely hated Cross (although he did score an important OT playoff goal against Ottawa).

            • mojo19 says:

              Ya Cross was brutal. Bringing in Lumme for Manson the next year was a nice veteran addition though.

              I loved that old team. and ya, those ’99 Leafs actually led the NHL in goals, not many big names up front, but that blueline was so mobile and Sundin was an animal.

  22. toronto77 says:

    The senators can complain about Raymond’s shootout goal all they want, me personally I don’t think it should count, but it is still a legal goal and we have seen that type of goal a ton of times from numerous players over the years, so suck it up.

    and we should get a free bee anyway for that horrible non call on Kadri in overtime. How that hook/trip was not called is beyond me. Fucking stupid refs in this league are so inconsistent. and that hi-sticking penalty on Kessel that should have been 4 minutes because he was cut and had that welt on his lip for the rest of the game as proof. The sens did get some relief from the refs in this game so they shouldn’t complain about anything.

    Also I feel really bad for Reimer, lets in 2 bad goals and his competitor comes in and steals the show by not allowing any goals including the shootout and gets the win.

    Bernier def gets the start against Colorado on Tuesday.

  23. toronto77 says:

    anyone hear that MacArthur was talking shit about Carlyle after the game? first Grabo and now him. and they both complained about the same thing. So I am curious to see that if things get ugly here in Toronto and Carlyle gets nasty and the players could turn on him.

    Carlyle seems pretty jolly in his interviews so it’s hard to picture him as an asshole.

    I do agree with Grabo that Carlyle didn’t put him in situations where he succeeded. Where Grabo was having so much success with Wilson on the 2nd line, Carlyle came in and just changed it for whatever reason. Grabovski did have one of the biggest hearts on this team and would take a bullet to make a play, that’s rare to find in european players.

    I hope Carlyle isn’t one of those coaches that decides to favour or hate some players for just cause.

    • mapleleafsfan says:

      The players who have whined about Carlyle are the same players who loved Ron Wilson. Carlyle preaches accountability, and if you don’t play the system well, you sit. For mediocre skilled offense-minded players like Macarthur they thrived in Ron Wilson’s scramble system and suffered under Carlyle. They didn’t play well and sat for it. I see no problem there. Even with Grabo, it’s not like Carlyle came in and immediately cut his ice time. When he first started he was getting 20 minutes a game, by the end he was getting 12. If you don’t play the way the coach likes, you don’t play.

      If Carlyle was bad, Kessel wouldn’t resign for 8 years (He left Boston because of a coach). If you play well, you like Carlyle. If you don’t, he hounds you, and you either play better or you leave (and if they don’t play well, good riddance anyways).

      Did you see Orr, Bozak etc laughing with Carlyle before the shootout? I wouldn’t worry about it.

    • mojo19 says:

      Grabo lost the job. Carlyle came in and gave everyone a fresh slate. Bozak was the better fit with Kessel, kept Kessel happy and knows his role. With Grabo and Kessel on the ice all the time there wouldn’t be enough puck to go around. Kessel needs to be happy, agreed?

      And then there’s Kadri. Who stepped in last year, we wanted to play him, and he took the bull by the horns and ran with it. Hard to tone back Kadri’s minutes last year, he just kept fighting for more and more. So that slots Grabo into more of a 3rd line role, and on a Carlyle team (unlike a Wilson team) that requires some serious checking. Shut down centre is ideal here. That wasn’t Grabo, so it was a bad situation with that player and that coach.

      As for MacArthur, same deal, he’s kind of a softy on the boards, and that’s not good enough. Carlyle talks about “compete level” and MacArthur might have an edge but he has serious limitations with his lack of size and strength.

      They played their way into Carlyle’s dog house by nature, and now they’re understandably bitter. I don’t think this is anything to be concerned about. If anything it’s a good thing. Scotty Bowman was notoriously a “tough love” coach. He wasn’t your friend, but he rewarded those who deserved it, and properly motivated players really wanted to play for him, and earn his respect.

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