NHL News and Rumor Roundup – August 12, 2009

Kaberle likely safe for now

Flames not hot on Theo

Desperately seeking Mr. Puck-Mover D-manKaberle likely safe for now


Tomas Kaberle still hesitates when answering his phone in the Czech Republic.

But the wait and worry ends Saturday when the window on the defenceman’s no-trade contract closes, with him still expected to be a Maple Leaf.

Kaberle was relieved to hear general manager Brian Burke predict again yesterday that he’ll be in the fold when training camp opens in a month.

“I’m happy to be staying a Leaf, though there are still a few days to go,” a cautious Kaberle said yesterday in a phone interview from his hometown of Kladno.

“Everyone knew what Brian said, that if he got a good deal there would be movement with me. But I’m getting ready to go to Toronto now, working out the past few weeks with (compatriot and Canadiens forward) Tomas Plekanec and ready to fly out in a few weeks and see the guys.”

From dangling Kaberle in trade talks since the end of the regular season — a deal for Boston’s Phil Kessel was discussed — Burke moved to strengthen the Toronto blueline from a toughness standpoint.

He believes Kaberle can be more effective here with newcomers Mike Komisarek, Francois Beauchemin and Garnet Exelby riding shotgun.

“Exactly,” Kaberle said. “We’re a little sounder at the back end now, which we needed (as defencemen) and to protect our goalie.

“I guess we were (pushed around) at times last year. Now, it’s up to us. Brian has done his work, we have to do our part.”


Flames not hot on Theo


Darryl Sutter believes Theo Fleury will get a tryout if cleared by the NHL.

However, the odds of it coming courtesy of the Calgary Flames are longer than Fleury’s comeback attempt.

“You and I could get a tryout — as long as we pay for our hotel room,” deadpanned the Flames GM yesterday, suggesting a no-strings attached camp invite means little.

That said, while trying his best to remain non-judgmental, Sutter isn’t optimistic the ex-Flames star will be capable of fitting into a league that has changed dramatically since Fleury’s last season in 2003.

“You pull for him because you think a lot of him, but six years is awhile,” said Sutter, revealing Fleury approached him during the playoffs to inform him of his intent to return to the game.

“The big thing is the calibre of training is significantly different these days. It’s one thing to lose weight, but we’ve got kids setting records with their fitness test results, let alone what phenomenal athletes like Iggy (Jarome Iginla) and Reggie (Robyn Regehr) are capable of. I think it would be very difficult for an older guy to get to those levels.”


Desperately seeking Mr. Puck-Mover D-man

Canucks: Bieksa, Salo, Edler good not great; offensive blueliner needed to win Cup

By Mike Halford and Jason Brough, The Province

When we started watching hockey almost 30 years ago, the New York Islanders were just finishing their run of four straight Stanley Cups. The Isles had this great defenceman named Denis Potvin. He scored 101 points one season.

Then it was time for the Edmonton Oilers to take over. The Oilers had this great defenceman named Paul Coffey. He scored 138 points one season.

Then Montreal won in 1986. That same season, a Habs defenceman named Larry Robinson scored 82 points. He was pretty great, too. Won a few Cups in the ’70s, if we’re not mistaken.

Calgary won in 1989 thanks in large part to a great Flames defenceman named Al MacInnis. He was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the playoffs after scoring 31 points in 22 postseason games. He’s also in the Hall of Fame now. So are the other three guys we’ve mentioned.

Pittsburgh won in 1990 and 1991. The Pens had Coffey for one of them and another great offensive defenceman by the name of Larry Murphy for both. Murphy would go on to win a couple of more Cups with Detroit. He’s in the hall, too.

Brian Leetch. Remember him? Won the Conn Smythe in 1994. Great offensive defenceman. HOF inductee, class of 2009.


68 Responses to NHL News and Rumor Roundup – August 12, 2009

  1. I-BE-LEAF says:

    I'd stop coming here if Kramer had his own site.  He's one of the only people on this board that doesn't take himself far too seriously.

    "I'm an NHL GM… blah, blah, blah… I like video games about hockey… blah, blah, blah… trade this guy for that guy… blah, blah, blah…"

    "Ancient Mayans found buried with CCM helemts" = Now you're talking!

  2. cam7777 says:

    yea, good points about white.  i think even if wilson doesn't see the merits of white, burke probably does, and won't be too trigger happy on pulling a trade involving white.

    you're also right that vanryn will probably get showcased for the first part of the season, but as i said, for the purpose of accruing value and moving him out of town for a decent return.

    about finger though, he wouldn't have to clear re-entry waivers – that is what a 2-way contract is.  Or at least, that's my understanding.  The whole point is that he can be moved freely from the AHL to the NHL.  He signed the contract knowing that he would have to really earn a spot on that roster at all times if he wanted to make the big bucks.  Since the team acquired Komisarek and Beauchemin and Exelby, he's been sitting at home, aware of the cir*****stance.  Either he plays to a high level an meets or exceeds expectations, or he plays in the minors (as he has his whole life).

    Still, the reality is that VanRyn will be moved sooner or later, and our roster will likely always be missing at least one defensemen to injury.  Finger should consistently get to be a number 6 man with the big club once VanRyn is moved out of town (or 7th if White proves more effective as a 3rd pairing D-man than a forward).  His time in the minors should be limited for this year at least, although I don't see how Finger being unhappy matters at all.  He signed the contract knowing this could happen, but with the mindset that he would at least have the oppurtunity to make big money.

    The contract isn't an albatross at all.  Worst case scenario is he spends most of this year with the big club and is dumped into the minors unconditionally next year, and then bought out in the final year.  Yea it's a burden, but he will never eat a big portion of our cap when we need it.

  3. cam7777 says:

    Oh it's a risk to be sure.  Bernier is a sure thing in that the worst performance you're going to get from him is a 3rd line checker with good skill and the size to stand in front of the net on the powerplay.  You're right, he can only get better. 

    But, you're severely under-rating VanRyn.  I'm not going to suggest that VanRyn has good value, because he probably doesn't right now.  But consider that if he actually could play a full season, he was a guy on pace for 43 points from the back-end.  When he plays, he isn't a 3rd pairing guy, he's a top 4 guy.  Many nights he was the Leafs best D-man last year.  He's also only just turned 30, and is really only now entering his prime (like most defensemen). 

    Sure the Leafs win the deal at the onset, but it's a trade that clearly has the potential to pan out in the other direction also.  Bernier could continue to struggle to put all the pieces together, and VanRyn could quite possibly click.  And don't forget, it's really Bernier and Raymond for Jovanovski, not VanRyn.  The Leafs are simply accomadating a need for Phoenix.  They would be the team deciding between Bernier and VanRyn.  If the deal wasn't a 3-way, I could see PHX flipping Bernier to us for VanRyn.  They have no need for more forwards with Turris, Hanzal, Mueller, Vrbata, Tikhonov, Doan, Lombardi, Boedker, Upshall, Prucha, Lindstrom and Korpikauski (and Raymond if this deal actually happened).  TO THEM, Bernier would be more valuable than VanRyn.

  4. Hatyfranco says:

    One rule I use when evaluating a defenseman is whether or not he is noticed or not. A defensman gets noticed for every mistake they make, and I didn't notice Finger last year which means he wasn't messing up. Salary aside, I say the Leafs should just respect his contract until it's over, then evaluate if he could be useful and at what price would be reasonable. If we could get anything out of a trade, then we should pursue it. I don't see this guy as a liability on the ice, and like someone else mentioned, he could be a solid call-up if a D-man goes down during the year.

  5. cam7777 says:

    yea, exactly.  and if you check out his stats, they are actually surprizingly sturdy.  i can see a few different teams having interest in him in the next year or two.  expensive is okay, as long as the player is reliable. 

  6. mojo19 says:

    Van Ryn just turned 30 so he's far from being an old player. MVR is a much more valuable asset than Steve Bernier, I would not do that trade. Van Ryn is a skilled d-man and when he was healthy at the beginning of last year I think most people would agree he was one of our best players, and our best d-man on a lot of nights. The only reason I would consider it is because we have 9 d-men making MVR expendable, although I'd rather send down Finger and Jonas Frogren and go with this 7:

    Kaberle – Komisarek
    Beauchemin – Schenn
    White/Exelby/Van Ryn

    You always carry 7 d-men anyway's.

  7. mojo19 says:

    Nords, Jeff Finger is on a 2-way contract and would not be subject to re-entry waivers if we wanted to call him back up. So we would never be on the hook for $1.75 million

    And it would not cost him anything in earnings to send him down. It's my understanding that the $3.5 million is guaranteed money whether he is up or down. The reason he agreed to a two-way deal was because Fletcher gave him guaranteed $ (and probably more $ than any other team was even close to offering, I would assume).

  8. mojo19 says:

    I-BE-LEAF, your comments look more and more like Kramer everyday, I think you need some sun. But I'm not suprised you support Kramer.

    And word, the K-man is alright, he's not hurting anybody, but I do appreciate the joke.

  9. cam7777 says:

    a pair of Leafs trades I would like to see happen before the onset of the season:

    to the vancouver canucks:
    ed jovanovski, jamal mayers
    to the toronto maple leafs:
    steve bernier, 6th round pick (PHX)
    to the phoenix coyotes:
    mike vanryn, mason raymond, 2nd round pick (VAN)
    The Canucks get a top end blue-liner and a veteran replacement for Bernier.  The leafs get a good young player in Bernier and a late pick.  The Coyotes cut lots of money, get a high-risk/high-reward d-man, and a good young player and pick. 

    to the columbus blue jackets:
    andrej mezsaros, matt stajan
    to the toronto maple leafs:
    r.j. umberger, conditional pick 2010 (TBL)*
    to the tampa bay lightning:
    lee stempniak, 2nd round pick (CLB)
    *depending on Stempniak's point totals
    -65+ points = 2nd round pick
    -55-64 points = 3rd round pick
    -45-54 points = 4th round pick
    -35-44 points = 5th round pick
    -25-44 points = 6th round pick
    -24 or less points = 7th round pick

    The Jackets get a good young D-man who is fairly affordable and locked up for a long time.  They also get a guy who can replace all the offensive output of Umberger in Stajan.  The Leafs get a solid 2nd line center who can also play the wing, is a playoff guy and knows how to get there now, and plays a Burke-style game.  They are also compensated for the massive question mark that is Stempniak in a pretty fair way.  The Lightning shed some salary so they can sign Tanguay (as rumored), add another good pick, and can try out Stemps on a top line with Vinny and Tanguay as to not breakup the Malone/Stamkos/St.Louis trio.

  10. Bure96 says:

    Hmmmm you raise a good point. I might be wrong on what I said. I was being slightly rude (first comment) and I'm sorry for that, because now that you gave me a new insight on this and I think you could be right. I was underrating Mike Van Ryn. He would actually be a perfect number 5 defender for Vancouver. Vancouver could obviously use another puck mover. Steve Bernier is expanable for us too, unless Cody Hodgson completely disappoints

    We would have to replace Steve Bernier's presence somehow though. We need more big bodies upfront. Radek Bonk or Manny Malhotra perhaps? Give's us lots of options at center too.

  11. 93killer93 says:

    That sets the stage for
    Kaberle, Oreskivic and a 2nd to LA for Schenn, Teubert and a 2nd.

    Leafs pick Drops, Leafs give up Kaberle but get an upgrade in teubert for oreskivic.

    Did you see Teubert level the guy at the World Juniors Camp. It was a scrimage and he destroyed the guy definately a Burke type player.

    Then we trade Grabovski and Exelby to the Islanders for Tavares.

    It Works in NHL 09 =)


    tavares is not in nhl 09

  13. the_word says:

    I didn't say I'd put any money up. Lets be honest, annoying most of the time but occasionally funny and/or refreshing.

  14. 93killer93 says:

    Go to http://nhl09ps3.googlepages.com/ It has all the latest roster updates. Also all new prospects like Tavares, Duchene, B.Schenn, Kadri.
    Also Hedman is already in the game in the swedish league incase anybody didn't know.

  15. quick_stick says:

    It's this kind of contract that has the NHL looking into Chicago.  Clearly, these are done with the idea of trying to duck the cap, which there is a vague rule that prohibits cap cir*****vention.

  16. quick_stick says:

    Additionally, prospects do not have the same value as a player who has proven himself in the NHL.  You simply don't know what you're getting until they play.

    So suggesting that Kaberle isn't worth a strong prospect is greatly over valuing a "maybe NHLer".  Realistically, Kaberle could return a solid top 6 NHLer.  And yet, he's not worth a potential top 6 forward???  Right… 

  17. quick_stick says:

    You may have some arguable points there, however, there is No Way that "Ottawa still is in a good position with Heatley".   Personally, I think Heatley is a shmuck for demanding a trade, then still trying to excersise his NTC, but there it is.  The Sens have a star player to move to a select few teams, and the GM's involved know it.   The Sens are now over the cap with Heatly in the line up.  Any team involved would have to clear cap space for this petulant star, who now has zero friends in a Sens uniform.  I wouldn't make a deal for him that was anything more than some spare parts. 

    I have a hard time imagining anyone but the Heatley camp leaking the info…if it was Murray, than he's a total idiot who handcuffed himself.  But I can't imagine he's that stupid.

  18. broc says:

    The Lightning broke the bank to trade for Mezsaros… they're not going to now trade him AND a draft pick….. for all of Stempniak and a different draft pick in return.

    Zero sense for Tampa in this scenario.

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