Maple Leafs News and Rumors

Having three goalies hurts the Leafs

The Kaberle Trade Watch is back on

Having three goalies hurts the Leafs

You have to wonder what the Toronto Maple Leafs are thinking these days.

With 32 games remaining in the regular season, the 12th-place team is buried below the playoff line. A late push is likely not going to matter, not when they are 12 points back with four teams ahead of them.

So why was Jean-Sébastien Giguère in net on Tuesday against the Florida Panthers? And more importantly, why was James Reimer sitting on the bench and Jonas Gustavsson sitting in the press box?

Forget that Giguère actually helped the Leafs win the game. These last two-and-a-half months are about one thing: developing players for next season and beyond. Playing a 33-year-old goaltender who is in the final year of his contract does not help the team in that regard.

So why is Giguère still playing? The idea that putting him on display will increase his trade value is a nice thought. But what playoff-bound team is in the market for a past-his-prime veteran who has a troubled groin and can no longer play in back-to-back games? That is not even taking into account his salary, which has a pro-rated value of about US$1.5-million.

This is meant as no disrespect to Giguère. The Stanley Cup winner has been nothing but a class act since coming to Toronto in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks at this time last year. He has been a mentor to both Gustavsson and Reimer. He has been a vocal leader in the dressing room. And, despite his .896 save percentage, he has been provided the Leafs with average goaltending.

But having him in net does nothing to help the team in the long run. To get better, the Leafs need to go young. To that end, they need to go with Reimer and Gustavsson for the rest of the season.

The 22-year-old Reimer, who is 4-3-0 with a .933 save percentage, is expected to get the start against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday. That is good. That is a step in the right direction. But what comes next?

“I’m not really sure,” head coach Ron Wilson said. “James Reimer has played so well every game. He hasn’t had a bad game yet. So I’m still thinking about getting games in here for [Reimer], too.”

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The Kaberle Trade Watch is back on

It is that time again. With the NHL trade deadline less than a month away and the Toronto Maple Leafs well out of a playoff spot, the question is whether or not Tomas Kaberle will waive his no-trade clause.

It is a question the 32-year-old defenceman has been asked for the past three seasons. But just because he is in the final year of his contract, do not expect the answer to change.
It is unlikely Kaberle will waive his no-trade clause, even it means turning down the opportunity to play for a Stanley Cup contender.

“To end any speculation, there isn’t a list of teams,” Kaberle’s agent, Rick Curran, said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “And there will not be.”

By stating this, Curran is hopeful that the trade talk will go away. But until the Feb. 28 deadline passes, his client’s name is likely to be at the centre of all rumours.

Last year, Kaberle openly refused to waive his no-trade clause. But there were still reports that he provided the Leafs with a list of teams he would accept moving to.

Curran said that was never the case. Nor would that happen this year.

“Quite frankly, I don’t want Tomas to go through another s— show,” he said. “I hope that doesn’t happen again.”

It very well could. The veteran provides the franchise its best chance at getting better for the future. For that reason, the team has to do everything that it can to convince him to be moved — even if that means pressuring him to accept a move, something that general manager Brian Burke said he would never do.

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