Liles in limbo with Maple Leafs?

While it may be a stretch to say defenceman John-Michael Liles is on borrowed time with the Maple Leafs, it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

We’re not suggesting Liles, who has an annual salary cap hit of $3.875-million US through the 2015-16 season, has played his last game as a Leaf. But he has been a healthy scratch for three consecutive games and could be out again on Saturday night in Ottawa against the Senators.

Jake Gardiner won’t be with the Toronto Marlies forever, and Morgan Rielly, another slick young defenceman, will be given every chance to make the Leafs out of training camp next September.

Leafs coach Randy Carlyle prefers big, physical defencemen. Liles is neither. Gardiner and Rielly aren’t physical, but they’re faster and have greater offensive upside. In the long run, Carl Gunnarsson also might not be safe.

64 Responses to Liles in limbo with Maple Leafs?

  1. leafmeister says:

    Detroit can have him if they want.

  2. doorman says:

    Liles might be moved, but it won’t be for nothing. While he may not be a carlyle type dman, he has experience and can help the younger guys. That being said as much as this earning your playing time is the right way to approach things, Nonis walks a fine line here. It sends a good message to the players to work hard, but letting respected guys watse away in the pressbox can be dangerous in terms of how players may see things.

      • LN91 says:

        I don’t, it’s actually a good thing. You don’t play up to standards, you don’t play.

        Stop with this babying shit and how players will see it. Players will view it as ‘Oh fuck, I have to keep my head on straight or I will be joining him.’

        I played sports in college, in USA and Canada, and when I watched a guy on the sidelines…I always worked harder because he is also hungry for my spot.


        • blaze says:

          Badminton? I somewhat agree but doorman makes a good point the vets do get bit of respect.

          • LN91 says:

            No, you don’t, it’s a business and your an employee, if you do not perform…You do not get rewarded for it.

            No, it was a team sport. Does not matter if it is single or team…You get cut if you do not reach standards.

            • blaze says:

              Guess you’re more of a whip instead of carrot and stick kinda guy. There’s more the one way to motivate athletes and crushing confidence isn’t always the best course of action.

            • mojo19 says:

              Veterans should get a certain amount of respect. I don’t think Liles has been brutal, but we were crowded and he hasn’t been great. He’ll get back in there soon enough, and eventually I figure he’ll be traded.

  3. toronto77 says:

    Toronto could make a good trading partner with Detroit. The leafs have depth of defence and the wings don’t.

    How about Liles, Blacker and Kulemin to Detroit for Nyquist?

  4. glotz_99 says:

    I wonder if Colorado has interest in bringing him back in a deal for o’reily. Leafs would have to add at least a 2nd rounder and a prospect as well.

  5. lafleur10 says:

    wow the habs keep winning! top team in the conference,galchenyuk man does that kids have sweet hands what pick! thank-you trevor timmins,can’t wait to watch him develop into an 80+ point player that goal tonight he scored was just sic wow does he have skill, kids a stud! price is the best goaltender in the division as well he’s playing lights out right now!beregevin has done ana amzing job so far as gm …..i’m loving the job he’s doing,and therrien is doing an amazing job as coach, coach of the year candidateand if we stay near the top all season he’ll win coach of the year it’s about time we’ve had a very good coach he’s best since carbonneau and demers …..marc bergevin for gm of the year so far!

    • LN91 says:

      Therrien will not win because it will most likely go to McClain first. He’s out coaching teams without a roster of Karlsson, Spezza, Michalek, Andersson, etc.

      I think Galchenyuk is great talent…But I’m not reading into the performances of young players too much because of the shortened season. That includes my expectations of Kadri and Frattin to hit some sort of reality next season.

      • lafleur10 says:

        therrein will win it because of the worst to first turn around in one year maclean is doing an amazing job with almost nothing left in ottawa he’ll definately be in the running galchenyuk is what i thought he’s be …i’m sure glad we got him! ln91 i thought kadri was a bust too but he’s playing great for you guys as well frattin don’t know much about him ….but he seems to be doing well like galagher is for us !i think galchenyuk is going to be amazing he’ll be a star ,a player we haven’t had in years can’t wait for him to that that top line center and best player he’ll be our 31 center by next season if he isn’t now! i’m also glad he got him instead of grigorenko because in all honesty galchenyuk will end up being the best player out of that draft,buffalo can have that moody talented and shw up when i want russian and we’ll keep galcheyuk! just think we have a few more players coming to in collberg,kristo,hudon,bozon,vail,tinordi,beaulieu,thrower and more this team will be scary good in 2-3 years they ‘ll be what chicgao is imo.

  6. LN91 says:

    Oh well, Toronto lost tonight because they did not want to compete. For the first time since Ed Belfour, there is really not a goaltender issue in Toronto.

    I don’t think Toronto is a lottery team…But I expect them to be outside, looking in when the playoffs begin. You cannot lose to teams that you are competing with and they did that twice this week. Philly will be another tough test.

    • leafy says:

      Hard to say. They are certainly enigmatic.

      What IS clear is they’re better than last year. The big difference I think is the size of the D, better control in front of their net and boards, addition of JVR, emergence of Kadri, and MUCH more reliable goaltending.

      Whether or not they make the playoffs will probably come down to the latter…goaltending. A healthy Reimer could be critical even in a platoon role.

      • LN91 says:

        Still some things I would like to fix:

        1) A more dominant top-line centre, I like Bozak, not fair to him, but it should be the top of Nonis’s list.

        2) Kadri, should improve in time, but really needs to work on his faceoffs. He is actually ranked one of the worst on the draw in the league and he was exposed tonight. The benefit of this would also mean less defensive draws for Grabo and more balance throughout the lineup. Grabo has to take on the shutdown role because Bozak’s line is needed for scoring and Kadri is not strong enough on the faceoff circle.

        3) Continue to buy/sell. Buy if a great opportunity comes along, but sell instead of watching players leave for free.

        4)More aggressive on the puck. They are a scary team when they hit and put pressure.

        • mojo19 says:

          Kadri won 6 of 7 tonight. He’ll get better with more experience.

          Grabo is not great on draws. I swear to God, right before the Sens winning goal my brother and I were discussing whether Steckel or McClement should take the draw with Bozak having just finished his shift. When Carlyle put Grabo out we both were shocked, and not surprised to see him lose it clean, quick shot on net and rebound batted out of the air.

          Carlyle, give your head a shake my man. Line matching is great but with 20 seconds left, face-off in your end you go with Grabo? McClement is right there on the wing!! He won 3 of 4 tonight, he should be taking all the key draws for that line any way’s.

          But I digress…

          • LN91 says:

            Grabovski is over 50% for the season, he’s alot better now…But unfortunately he has to take a majority of the draws when Bozak cannot in the defensive end.

            Did not know that Kadri won 6/7, but he is still around 43% on the season…That’s really bad.

            • mojo19 says:

              Ya generally Kadri is pretty bad on draws. I get that they want a lefty on the draw on that side in the defensive zone, and Bozak just finished a shift, but still Steckel and McClement were the logical choices. That’s a big reason why we have them – for those exact types of situations.

              • mojo19 says:

                I know Bozak shoots right, just saying he wasn’t the guy for that draw, but regardless, why Grabo? He wins some he loses some. If you’re gonna lose at least scramble it! I doubt McClement or Steckel ever get beat clean the way Grabo does when he loses a draw. Carlyle gotta be aware of that.

          • Gambo says:

            Honestly I was expecting Carlyle to take a timeout to keep Bozak out there for the draw. Bozak definitely wouldn’t have lost it cleanly.

  7. lafleur10 says:

    you guys will beat philadelphia ln91 there’s just something wrong with that team this year they aren’t that good ,they’re missing something i think the van riemsdyk trade is looking more,and more brutual for them also letting jagr go was a mistake and not having pronger has effected them as well plus sievgalov! lol …..i mean bryzgalov playing inconsistant too doesn’t help he’s not the same goaltender that he was in phoenix,or giving the flyers that kind of goaltending either they the flyers will miss the playoffs this year.

    • LN91 says:

      Well, JVR is starting to look like a 2nd Overall pick and Kessel is already a top-line player.

      So, we have 2/3 of a first-line. Now to find a Center.

    • toronto77 says:

      Because of Philly’s depth in the top 6, JVR never got a the opportunity to prove himself and which also made him expendable. But now with the amount of injuries they have, they could REALLY use JVR.

  8. leafy says:

    Tough break for the Leafs losing on a stupid faceoff. Hopefully Scrivens now learned his lesson, don’t be so conservative in forcing a faceoff every time you have the puck!!!

  9. leafy says:

    I like the way MacArthur played tonight.

    Dion Phaneuf is the biggest bum in NHL history to lead his team in ice time!!!!

    • LN91 says:

      Thank you, I think Phaneuf is good but I don’t think he is great. I don’t want to re-sign him to a 6 million contract for 5 years.

      I feel like saying, let’s pull a Los Angeles Kings (Doughty), Montreal Canadiens (PK Subban), and Ottawa Senators (Erik Karlsson), and give the reigns to Gardiner.

      • mojo19 says:

        It would be nice to see Gardiner get healthy and get in there. Then at some point in the next two years have Reilly step in and make an impact. Re-sign Franson, and play by ear with the rest.

        I still think Gunnarsson could be a great piece to the puzzle as a steady, reliable d-man but he’s been kind of hit or miss this year. Of course, he is fighting a hip injury, so I’ll cut him some slack right now. A lot of callers on Leaf talk down on Gunner after tonight, but I thought he was okay, just unfortunate to be a -2 tonight.

        • LN91 says:

          Maybe it was the hip injury, but the first goal was completely his blown assignment.

          The third goal, just not aggressive enough on Greening.

          • mojo19 says:

            Ya, that 3rd goal was a bang-bang play. Lost draw, thrown on net and batted rebound.

            Still wondering why Kostka and Gunner would be out in that situation with a fresh Fraser on the bench. Dion, Franson, Holzer all seem like better options.

      • reinjosh says:

        Yep the guy who has the lowest offensive zone starts in the entire league for dman that have played at least ten games and has faced harder competition than almost any dman in the league (save only Chara and Boychuk) is a bum.

        He’s a hell of a lot better than people give him credit. His biggest issue isn’t one he controls. having an adequate partner…

    • LN91 says:

      I don’t see MacArthur being re-signed by the Leafs…I like JVR/Kessel, Lupul/Kulemin, and Frattin/Komarov on the wings moving forward.

      Also, if injuries occur…I think prospects like Carter Ashton, Jerry D’Amigo, or Greg McKegg is a good short-term call-up.

      • mojo19 says:

        None of those call ups are too intriguing to me except maybe McKegg if he can continue to develop.

        And ya I like having JVR, Kessel, and Lupul as our top 3 wingers, Komarov and Frattin are both really useful. Kulemin and MacArthur have both been fine, but we could probably improve on those positions.

        Hey at least the team is starting to resemble the makings of a potential winner. There are a handful of holes within the lineup and area’s we could improve but we’ve moved from bottom 5 team in the league to the middle of the pack any way’s.

        • LN91 says:

          How is Ashton is not an intriguing call up? Former first round power forward who likes to hit, good defensive game and decent offensive skill?

          Power forwards don’t hit their prime until around 25…How long did it take JVR?

          • mojo19 says:

            Ashton is okay. I don’t think he’ll be a long term piece necessarily. He might find a place on our 4th line if he can beat out guys like Brownie, McLaren, etc. at camp next year.

            Ya, as a call-up he’s fine, but I don’t see him breaking out as a real notable. Could be wrong…

          • toronto77 says:

            The thing about JVR, he never got the opportunity to prove himself with players like Richards, Carter, Gagne, Briere, Giroux, Hartnall, Jagr and Voracek in their top 6. It’s not that he wasn’t good enough, he just had the least amount of experience.

            But Ashton is even struggling in the minors. This guy will def take some time.

            • mojo19 says:

              I was underwhelmed by Ashton when I watched the Marlies earlier this year. He’s not bad, but he doesn’t have fire in the belly. He’ll never be the next Barishnakov. That takes more than belly-fire.

    • mojo19 says:

      MacArthur has stepped it up the last 3 or 4 games after a relatively shaky start.

  10. LN91 says:

    I think Buffalo is the worst team in the NHL. If they get MacKinnon, I would probably fear the NorthEast division and especially Buffalo a few years down the road.

    • mojo19 says:

      McKinnon and Grigorenko could be good pieces down the middle with Grigensons a real wild card. If that kid can develop into his huge frame he could be another nice young piece.

      Meanwhile Cody Hodgson looks great this year. Jury is out on Luke Adam and Tyler Myers, but if they could get their development back on track to where it was heading two years ago, ya Buffalo has a very nice young core.

      • LN91 says:

        Pysyk, Myers, Vanek, Pominville.

        Could get interesting.

        • mojo19 says:

          And Ryan Miller is no slouch in goal. Ya, this is a team that could get just what they need by bottoming out this year. They seem a lot closer to me than a team like Edmonton. Might seem crazy, but the veterans Pominville, Vanek and Miller are still great potential pieces to a winner. More so than Khabibulin, Smyth, and Hemsky as veterans. Of course the young fire power doesn’t bring the same pop as Edmonton, but add another piece like a McKinnon or Drouin into the fold and they could be okay. Ehrhoff is going to be a solid d-man for the next while as well.

          • LN91 says:

            Vanek, Pominville, and Miller are by no means old players. I’ve always liked Drew Staffor…But he’s been eother hot or cold.

            Ehrhoff, Myers if he ever regains form. I like Pysyk and also McNabb.

            Foligno, Grigensons, etc. should provide great 2nd or 3rd line grit. MacKinnon/Grigorenko will be a scary 1-2 punch. Interesting, might as well tank.

            • mojo19 says:

              Ya Sabres fans are losing it on 550 AM but they actually have a great looking set of prospects, young players, and legitimate NHL pieces.

              I think watch out for the Sabres in 2 years.

  11. mojo19 says:

    With Kuley not scoring I don’t think his value is going to be so great. I would probably want to keep him at this point as a defensive, shut-down kind of winger. I think he could be a great fixture on our 3rd line. If he ever starts scoring again we will have to consider that a bonus.

  12. mojo19 says:

    Everyone talks about Karlsson, Spezza and Anderson, but we are missing 3 pretty important pieces in Lupul, Gardiner (healthy but regaining form in the AHL), and Reimer. Imagine we had these three guys all healthy and firing on all cylinders. We’d be a much tougher team to beat.

    Not saying Gardiner is as good as Karlsson or anything, but our injuries are pretty significant, all things considered.

  13. LN91 says:

    They are significant, but Ottawa’s are 3 star players while Toronto’s are just 3 of our better players…Though Gardiner has star potential.

    That’s what makes Toronto’s loss worst tonight…They needed that team against a banged up Senators team and they could not do it. Ottawa just competes every night, the Leafs still have their moments when their players want to slack. Sad.

    • mojo19 says:

      We’re still learning to win. I like this season as a step in the right direction. If we make the playoffs that would be huge. If we finish in 9th or 10th and miss by like 1-3 pts or something it would be heart breaking, but would be a great step in the right direction. There would be a lot of positives to take from that kind of season.

      One way or another this will be a huge offseason. The biggest in recent history.

  14. Gambo says:

    I’m loving Kadri, he’s been putting up big points, playing fearless and is back checking really well! I’ve seen a few plays where he’s saved a goal.

    Also, I’m still not really impressed with Kostka. I’m surprised he hasn’t been a scratch yet this season. Liles is a +2 with 6 points in 15 games and is considered a leader on the team while Kostka is a team worst -7 with 6 points in 19 games. Komisarek is even a +2 and I thought played pretty well in the 4 games he played.

    • toronto77 says:

      Ya, I am not big on Kostka either. Everyone is saying that Carlyle giving any special treatment and if you play well you play and if you don’t then you sit out. I do see some truth to that but I think Carlyle is showing too much love for Kostka and Phaneuf. Kostka maybe a veteran but he’s a nobody!!! He has to earn his time too.

      and do you think Carlyle will ever demote Phaneuf to another line or dicrease his ice time? I say no way and do you know why?? because Phaneuf has that stupid “C” on his chest. I know Carlyle will be fair to all players, but one player that he will show special treatment to is Phaneuf, probably because he’s afriad of how bad it may look on him or the team if he demotes the captain.

      The leafs desperatly need Gardiner right now, he has been playing in the minors for a month already, I think it’s safe to say that he has recovered for his concussion like symptoms. I don’t why they have not called him up yet.

    • mojo19 says:

      Kostka was a -6 or 7 really early in the year and has steadied out over the last few weeks. He’s improving. I agree though that Liles might be a better option to get us going again. Kostka will be better than Liles within a year or so though, I would imagine.

      • nordiques100 says:

        its about which side they shoot.

        The Leafs have Dion, Gunnarsson, Fraser and Liles who shoot left. Add Gardiner too.

        They have Kostka, Holzer, Franson and Komi who shoot right.

        If they brought in Liles, someone has to play the right side. Carlyle, unlike Wilson, doesn’t really like defenceman playing their off side. It helps when clearing the puck or trying to make an outlet and not be on your backhand.

        That’s why Liles is sitting. It would be him or Fraser and Fraser is doing well.

  15. toronto77 says:

    The one thing that was VERY FUCKING PATHETIC last night were the referees not dropping the puck!!! How many players got waived out!!! This is a fucking joke! This is exactly what Don Cherry was saying!

    If i was taking the face-off in a game like that I would slash the ref in the hand, sure I would get a penalty and maybe thrown from the game and a fine, but it would be the talk of the NHL for the next couple of days and you have to make a stand!

    The fans don’t come to watch the refs, NO ONE gives a fucking shit about the stupid refs, they call stupid penalties, they miss obvious penalties, miss offsides, they don’t even know when to call a goaltender interference penatly(they get those wrong almost everytime). If your going to keep fucking up all of those then at least drop the puck!

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