Maple Leaf and Black Hawk Talk

It’s crunch time for Maple Leafs

Get prepared for the final 10 weeks of the NHL season where the math will be computed daily, if not more frequently.

As it stands today, the Maple Leafs are on the outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture — but at ninth, only just — with their post all-star break action due to resume Tuesday in Pittsburgh.

So far, the season has been mostly mission accomplished for the Leafs, who have 55 points and are in decent position to challenge for a long-awaited playoff excursion. The popular math suggests the Leafs will need between 37 and 40 points over their remaining 33 games and that projection will be influenced somewhat based on the performance of others in the tight East.

Four teams, including the Leafs, currently have 55 points which is the cutoff point for eighth. The Florida Panthers and New Jersey Devils are also parked at that number but have a game in hand on Toronto as does Washington, which holds down the third seed because of its tenuous hold on first in the Southeast Division.

The difference between seventh and 15th in the East is only 10 points, leaving the door open for a couple of teams that have struggled early to make a run. Back-to-back Leafs wins over the Islanders before the break positioned them nicely for the run, opening up a five-point cushion on the Jets and joining the rest of the group at 55 points.

With the overall tightness in the Eastern Conference, there could be more horses in the race by early April, but here’s a quick handicap at what we see as the principle players.

Blackhawks know they must tighten up on defense

Henrik Sedin isn’t particularly worried about the defensive challenge Dave Bolland presents when the Blackhawks and Canucks renew acquaintances Tuesday night in Vancouver to kick off the stretch run of the season.

“Bolland? They have (Duncan) Keith and (Brent) Seabrook,” Sedin said. “They’re the ones we have to deal with. They’re the ones who are making it tough to play against them.”

Bolland has been a pest to Sedin and his brother Daniel both on and off the ice the last couple of seasons, including when the Hawks center amped up the rivalry in December with disparaging comments about the Swedish twins by saying on a Chicago radio station that “they’ll never become Hawks. I don’t think we’d let them on our team,” and adding the Sedins “might sleep in bunk beds.”

Bolland’s statements drew harsh criticism from Canucks coach Alain Vigneault at the time, but Henrik Sedin said during All-Star Game festivities over the weekend that “we’re past that. We’ve never said anything about (Bolland). I’ve got a lot of respect for their top guys. I’m sure they’ve dealt with him and what he said.”–20120130,0,955200.story

Tim Sassone Tweet

Remember, trade deadline a month away. Bowman is not done. Far from it IMO. Another d-man for sure. Maybe 2, or another FW. #blackhawks!/TimSassone/status/163108364128223233

41 Responses to Maple Leaf and Black Hawk Talk

  1. reinjosh says:

    So lost in the 108.8 blast by Chara, Weber hits 106. That's two huge shots from two beasts. Two of the most physically dominant dman in the history of the game right here boys and girls. 

    Also who loved the Kane Superman dive and knock. Loved it. And the split puck. Just living up to the Superman mantle. 
    And Perry's ministick move was awesome. 
    That's the type of stuff I want to see in that challenge. Your not going to get the awesome moves like in the NBA, or the type of awesome moves you see in the shootout or in game (we see that anyways) so make it interesting and do something you would never, ever, ever see in a game. Like both those three things. 
  2. dumbassdoorman says:

    Very sad to see Gleason resign with Car. ughhhh, he is exactly what we needed on the back end.

  3. Kessel_Leafs48 says:

    i want andrew shaw and jimmy hayes.. get them burke

  4. mapleleafsfan says:

    Raises the value of any potential Dman we're potentially going to trade though. Doubt we'd have won the bidding war on Gleason anyways. 

  5. blaze says:

    Gotta disagree, Gleason would replace Schenn. Don't want to see any dmen acquired let these guys grow together. Very young Dcore in Toronto.

  6. blaze says:

    We gave them Jimmy hayes doubt he's coming back.

  7. dumbassdoorman says:

    Ya but the difference is Gleason actuall has the ability to control guys like Lucic. I am not talking from a body checking style, but he is tough to discourage liberties being taking, while being a good on ice player.

  8. blaze says:

    I'm not sure he can control Lucic. He could swing with him but in all reality he's not much of an improvement over Komisarek in the pugilistic department.

    If you want a guy who can help out and throw down with Lucic the man you're looking for is none other than the big newf Ryane Clowe.

  9. reinjosh says:

    Anyone interested in Paul Stastny?

    He's on pace for his second lowest point total in his career (and the first came in an injury shortened season). With Matt Duchene becoming an RFA, maybe they decide its time to move Stastny for contract space?

    He isn't exactly the big bodied center we all want and need, but he could be the best option out there that the Leafs have a legitimate shot at getting. Grab him and then go after a Ruutu?
  10. blaze says:

    The Gleason signing all but guarantees Staal is going nowheres.

  11. blaze says:

    He's a realistic option. I'm still undecided on this one. He could look great between Lupul and Kessel though. I watched him live in Van twice last year, he looked great both games. What's the cost?

  12. mapleleafsfan says:

    Agreed, Clowe is the Lucic of the Western conference. I have a really hard time believing the rumors that he may be available though.. He's a perfect playoff player, why would a competitive team trade him?

    I think Lucic is one of the most untouchable guys in the league. He brings a skill set that so few teams can handle or have themselves. 
  13. reinjosh says:

    I don't know, I kind of wonder. I figure he's the best shot we have at getting a PPG center at this point. We could wait for Colborne I suppose or try and draft one but the likelihood of either option is low. At best we would wait another season and a half. 

    They almost need equal salary coming back. His value has come down a lot since he was putting up big numbers back two seasons ago. Luke Schenn straight across? They need to add salary to hit the floor though. That could be the biggest issue actually. 
    Komisarek and Kadri? 
    I honestly have no idea. 
  14. dumbassdoorman says:

    Ya but as much as I would LOVE Clowe, I went with the guy who I thought was avail. and i think he is an upgrade on Komi, but thats just me.

  15. glotz_99 says:

    I'm going to throw a name out there that nobody has really mentioned.
    Dustin Penner. He's had several injuries, is overpaid for the numbers he is putting up this year (which are careeer lows) and once played for Burkie. Sound a little like Lupul when they traded for him. I'm just saying he defintely adds size up front, which Burke is looking for. He is a UFA at the season's end and likely won't be resigned, so the Kings would like to get whatever they can for him and also dump his salary to enable them to add other players at the deadline. It just depends on how cheap Burke could get him for.

  16. JoelLeafs says:

    Plus he'd bring a pretty badly needed Vet presence. I doubt Burke does anything that doesn't fit the long term, tho. I'd send Komi and a prospect (but obviously not one of Schenn/Kadri/Colbourne). Maybe a late pick too, who knows. 

  17. glotz_99 says:

    Here is a rumor Bill Watters has suggested:

    Nash = $7.8 Million through 2017-18      
    Huselius = $4.5 Million through 2011-12(UFA)(out till mid February with groin injury)
    Total : $12.3 Million


    Grabovski = $2.9 Million through 2011-12(UFA)
    Schenn = $3.6 Million through 2015-16
    Kadri = $1.72 Million through 2012-13
    Komisarek = $4.5 Million through 2013-14
    Total : $12.7 Million

  18. reinjosh says:

    Well he's not exactly old at 26 and since he's signed two years past this season so he would fit into the team well. 

    I like how he has at least some playoff experience (15 games isn't much but its at least something) but that he's also an Assistant in Colorado. He would bring that nice veteran presence your talking about.
    The price is an interesting one though. I definitely don't think he would go that cheap. He's shown he can be a pretty good player when he gets top line time. Granted Burke is pretty good at playing on a players down value so maybe a season and a half would be enough the bring that value down.
    Maybe this is where LeafNation's Grabo idea comes in. If it starts to look like Grabo won't sing, we trade him for a first and a decent to good prospect and flip one of the firsts for Stastny in that deal.
  19. leafmeister says:

    Lupul – Bozak – Kessel

    Nash – Connolly – MacArthur
    Kulemin – Lombardi – Crabb
    Brown – Steckel – Boyce
    Phaneuf – Gunnarsson
    Franson – Liles 
    Gardiner – Aulie 
    Still weak at center. Two excellent lines though. 
  20. LeafsNation4Ever says:


    Maybe pay less and put in a 2nd, idk? 
  21. glotz_99 says:

    You could always play Nash at centre, I'm sure he's played there at some point in his career. I doubt Columbus will ever trade Nash and for some reason he doesnt want to play anywhere else.

  22. blaze says:

    He is, you're right, I just doubt it's worth it.

  23. JoelLeafs says:

    Is losing Grabo for Stastny really that much of an upgrade?

    Yeah, I did probably value him too low, but there are many factors playing against him staying in Colorado. Cap concerns, obviously, and a cheeper better version in Duchene. Plus, his numbers have been down. His looming contract situation, and the fact that they'd hypothetically be dealing with Burke, for what it's worth. 
    How about Macarthur, Komi, and a 2nd? Perhaps throw in a goalie prospect in the mix, Colorado doesn't seem to have their future between the pipes too secured. 
  24. reinjosh says:

    Fair point. He might not be. But a 78 point rookie season, an 71 point second season (in which he was actually playing at almost a 90 point pace) and a 79 point fourth season. He won't be a guy to get you 30 goals but he has the possibility to hit 50 plus assists every year. I'm not sure Grabo can do that.

    I'd pay that. I guess it would come down to what Colorado views there future with him. Two seasons in a row where he's been under 60 points. It can't be to promising for the the Avs. Maybe time to cut bait by them? Another risk move by Burke but potential home run?
  25. blaze says:

    Honestly he brings perfect size but I'm not interested at all. More concerning to me than his production is his attitude. Not the type of character I want on the Leafs, does not strike me as a winner at all.

  26. blaze says:

    The more I think about it the more I like it, his age does fit in perfectly for the Leafs. A guy just approaching his prime and is enough of a vet to mesh with Lupul and Kessel perfectly.

    I actually don't think he'd cost an arm and a leg, I could legit see COL moving on from him. Also I think he's a prime candiate for a change of scenery. I think coming to the big market of TO will do wonders for his game, which could be getting stale on a floundering team.

    I watched two games in Vancouver last year both actually against Colorado which I posted in support of the Liles trade. By far the two best players out there for the Avalanche were Liles and Stastny. Controlled the play all game, Duchene was mostly invisible save for the odd flashy play.

  27. blaze says:

    The more I think about it I'm with you on this one. If the cost isn't too high this could be a home run. Lots of assits between Lupul and Kessel.

  28. reinjosh says:

    Plus the tie between him and Liles might be a way to have him smoothly join the team.

  29. reinjosh says:

    Ideally we could grab Stastny for relatively cheap (I still think it will cost Schenn and honestly, I think I'd be prepared to offer that) and grab someone like Ruutu for our 2nd and a prospect. Two big moves for a relatively cheap price. 

    Stastny centering Kessel and Lupul, Grabo and Connolly or Bozak centering Ruutu, MacArthur, Kadri, Kulemin.
    In this case I'd probably trade one of Grabo or Bozak.
  30. mapleleafsfan says:

    Won't happen for a couple reasons. Komi won't waive to go to colombus. Nash doesn't want to be in a big city. Burke is against big contracts, nash's contract is pretty brutal. I'd rather Carter than Nash tbh.. Eklund actually had a pretty decent point on an article today. Sure Carters contract seems long now, but 5-6 years down the road when his play will likely decline, 5.3 or w/e million won't seem like much against the cap with inflation. He was comparing it to kessel who in a few years will need a raise and will likely be in the 7ish million range. Makes Carter seem cheap. 

    Go for carter, flip grabo for picks, go for stasnty.
    Lupul – Stastny – Kessel
    Kulie – Carter – Kadri
    Macarthur – Connolly – Crabb
    Armstrong – Bozak/Steckel – Brown
    Looks good to me. Stastny may not be the number 1 center we really want but it's the best available. Definitely a playoff team. We'd have to dump Komi and lombardi in any trades to make it work but I'm sure it's doable. If Grabo can really bring as high a return as being talked about we probably have enough assets to acquire them both without losing too much from what we have right now. 
    Say Grabo gets 1st+prospect maybe do Grabo return + Aulie + Komi for Carter… Schenn + 1st +lombo for stastny? Not sure if I'm right with value and maybe that guts the D a bit but I don't think it's way off. Then next season (or if possible this season) go all out for some size (Ryan Clowe type) for the top 6. 
    Man I'm really hoping Biggs develops well. I want a team like the Bruins. 
  31. mapleleafsfan says:

    And considering I'm and idiot and being hypocritical here saying Komi won't waive to go to Colombus and then suggesting trading him for carter, maybe switch him and lombo around. Don't know if he would waive for colorado either though. 

  32. Steven_Leafs says:

    According to capgeek, Colorado is 1.338M over the cap floor which means, if I did the math correctly, Colorado can lose 3.694M in cap before hitting the floor. Toronto has 622k in cap space which means they can take on a maximum of 1.718M in cap (excluding injuries). So even though Colorado could dump a large contract, the Leafs could only take on 1.7M anyway.

    I honestly have no idea what Statsny's value is. Honestly I think it is really low at the moment since he isn't producing recently like we know he can and considering Colorado will need the space to re-sign Duchene and as much as 15(!) other UFA/RFAs. Also since Colorado is in the playoff race and they are without their 1st and 2nd round picks, I believe Colorado will require roster players other than prospects. All that in consideration I'm gonna make this offer:

    To Toronto:

    conditional 2013 2nd round pick (if Grabo re-signs or Colorado makes it to the Stanley Cup Finals)

    To Colorado:

    conditional 2012 pick (1st is Leafs make the conference finals, 2nd if they make the playoffs but don't make to the conference finals, 3rd otherwise)

    I think this is a pretty good deal for Colorado. Komisarek might be the hardest sell but with his 3.5M salary and a 4.5M cap hit he will be a good fit in Colorado. Grabovski currently has more points than Stastny in less games played so Colorado theoretically gets the better offensive production with Grabo and Crabb. Colorado also gets a pick dependent on the Leafs success this year, highly unlikely it is a first but a 2nd is more than possible and a huge bonus.

    Toronto does take a risk with Stastny because if he is on the decline or is playing to his ability right now then Toronto just took on another huge contract and dumped a lot of solid players. The conditional pick in 2013 is a nice bonus but Toronto should be prepared not to get it.

    I do love this trade for both teams since it solves both of their biggest issues. Colorado's large salary tied up into a player that isn't producing like a 6.6M player(even if they re-sign Grabovski to 3-4M, they will be paying the same amount of cash for a 2nd line center and a defenseman instead of just a more skilled, more expensive 2nd line center). Toronto gets a top line center to play with Kessel and Lupul while dumping Komisarek's cap hit.

    What do you guys think?

  33. JoelLeafs says:

    Okay, if we can swing a Rutuu trade, then yeah, I'd be down. One name I never hear in rumors going out is Bozak. He might be a good fit for Colorado. Only a 1.5 cap hit for two more seasons before becoming an UFA. Not like we can move Connolly realistically, and the rest of out Cs figure into the long term. Maybe something like this:

    To Col:
    conditional pick (maybe a 2nd if leafs make it to the 2nd round, 3rd otehrwise, or whatever)

    To Tor:

    Maybe swap up the prospects included, but this gives them a roster D, a roster C, a potential roster G and a pick. Plus this trade sends 5.1 their way (excluding Rynnas) and takes Stastny's 6.6 off the books. Leafs might have to shuffle .5 around, but keeps the Avs at the floor (haven't done the mid-season math, but I doubt this would cause much in the way of cap problems). The the Avs are at the cap fllor and have plenty of room to sign their 15 UFAs (or whatever insane number it is) and get decent players signed mid-term for manageable $$

    Again, Maybe I'm valuing him to low, but I really don't think it will take Grabo + Schenn + high pick + prospect +++ for Stastny. Unless there is huge interest for him. Plus, this trade could potentially be huge for both teams. Toronto get their a true elite top line, Avs get a bit younger and have some players that may be around for a while, and everyone gets a change of scenery.

  34. JoelLeafs says:

    Yeah, I can't see them taking on Komi that easily. They will be looking for Roster depth and a prospects, at least. Above I suggest Schenn, Bozak, Rynnas (or Scrivens), and a conditional 2nd. Mostly sorts out the cap issues, gives them a top 6 (okay, maybe top 9 with upside) forward (and a C to boot!), a top 4 D, and a decent prospect in net (something they need), plus a pick. I'm sure the pick could be altered, similarly to something you have above (though not sure where the leafs will get this 1st from).

    This would leave the Leafs with mad depth on D, an absolutely elite top 3, some fantastic depth at C (Stastny, Grabo, Connolly, Steckle, prospects), and one of the more versatile top 9's in the league. The one-two punch of Kessel-Stastny-Lups and Kuls-Grabo-MacT, with Connoley centering the 3rd line with whatever (Lombardi, Kadri, Army, some kid from the minor – take your pick) and a hard nosed 3rd line centered by Steckle. Now what's a team I could see going deep… well, if we got the goaltending #doubtful

  35. JoelLeafs says:

    Yeah, plus, IMO, Burke fleeced them in the Liles deal (hindsight, right?), maybe he can do it again.

    Burke: Greg, what's up? How's the mile high?
    Sherman: not too bad, how's the media treating you in Toronto?
    Burke: ha ha ha, funny guy. Soooo, how about that Stastny, not looking so good at 6.6 lately, eh?
    Sherman: yeah, I suppose you're right, what do you want for him?

  36. Steven_Leafs says:

    yeah your offer makes more sense but personally I wouldn't pay it. If we are sending Schenn we better get something else of value back (because of Stastny's contract and the fact his game has decline over the last 2 seasons). 

    Also the Leafs have their 1st round pick this year, and if we finish in the conference finals then it would be 26th overall or worse which I'm ok with giving up. (We would have made it to the conference finals, I doubt anyone would).

  37. reinjosh says:

    Yeah that's a good price. Stastny had more value last year when it was only one season of down play. Now that he's on pace for a second well below average season, his value is brought down a lot. We still need to give some value and giving up Schenn plus the rest is value (and not pure crap or scrap pieces). 

    Honestly getting Stastny would be huge. He would make a great center for Kessel and Lupes, plus it would allow us to roll three top 6 centers deep and build two other scoring lines around those two. 
    Colorado gets the big bruising shutdown guy they have needed for a while, they get a little cap flexibility (and some more room) for the upcoming summer RFA's. Plus they might potentially add a third 2nd round pick in the upcoming draft which could allow them to trade up for a true elite impact player in the draft. 
  38. reinjosh says:

    At the same time the upside is there for this to be an absolute homerun move. We've always said that Schenn goes for a top 6 with top 3 potential or in a package for a number 1 center. Stastny at the end of the day fits that perfectly and might be the onyl guy we can get in the next couple of years. It would hurt giving up Schenn but sometimes you have to play on value and we can do that with Schenn for right now. 

  39. Steven_Leafs says:

    damn you both, stop selling me on trading Schenn for Stastny. 😛

    I guess your right, I still would want some insurance though in case Stastny becomes yet another small 2nd line center.

  40. reinjosh says:

    Yeah that is a risk in the deal I suppose. It comes down to weighing whether playing with Kessel and Lupes will push him back to PPG levels or if the last two seasons are the new Stastny. 

  41. JoelLeafs says:

    Frankly, Kessel and Lupul have show that they can perform with pretty much anyone centering them. Having a dish out man like Paul would be sick. Plus it gives us more time to develop Colbourn and not try and rush him into a top 6 spot. My only worry is that he could turn into a Connolly type move: too much money to not be able to effectively play on the top line.

    Yeah, I love Schenn's game and would love to keep him, but if it comes down to it, I'd rather have Grabo in the long run than Schenn. Mikhail may not be the biggest, but it's hard to find players that give that much every night. If anyone, I think MacArthur's value is inflated right now, try and flip that. I really don't think he'll be more than a 15/20 or 20/15 guy on a 2nd line in the long run.

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