Category Archives: Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto Maple Leaf News and Rumors
If Bernier turned out to be what he is at least beginning to appear to be — if he turned out to be what Lombardi says he expects him to become, which is an elite NHL starter — it’s worth thinking about what it could mean for the Leafs.
That basic description also applies to both Gardiner and Rielly, and with Gardiner – for all his talents – still more unpredictable than Carlyle wants, that could make him another odd-man out.
The problem here is that the Leafs really don’t have any cap space – it’s getting down into five digits territory – so they can’t exactly move Gardiner for a more established centre or defenceman (their two biggest needs) that makes more than his modest base salary ($875,000).
Difficult yes. Impossible no.
What we can tell you – for certain – is that Stastny would provide Leafs an immeasurable boost up the middle. His grandiose performance for the United States at the World Hockey Championships last May proved he still has a wonderful feel for the puck – as a play-maker and scorer. His valuation in the NHL has undoubtedly been skewed by toiling for a dismal Colorado club. Additionally, Avs appear to be well-established at center with Matt Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon and Ryan O’Reilly. Even with nearly $11 million in cap space, it’s difficult to imagine Joe Sakic forking over a king’s ransom to retain Stastny – still only 27.
It’s too early in the season to know for sure what defencemen are available in trades — that tends to be a function of their salary, their pending free agency status and what teams believe they’re playoff bound.
But you never know. In that spirit, here’s a list of defencemen who — if they squirt free that — the Leafs ought to consider.
At some point, the Maple Leafs are going to have to ask themselves if it would help their cap situation to eat some of John-Michael Liles’s salary in a trade with another team. The thing they must be careful with is a club can only do this with three players per season. They are now at two, taking small amounts of Ben Scrivens’s and Matt Frattin’s contracts. Doing it with Liles locks them in.
Liles on waivers for TOR, Emmertom for DET
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) September 29, 2013
John-Michael Liles was the last one off the ice after Friday’s morning skate. Walking into the Toronto Maple Leafs dressing room, he took off his jersey and some of his equipment and sat down in his stall.
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).”
Free agent Mason Raymond, quickly cementing himself into a left wing role, has begun contract talks with the Leafs, according to reports, but nothing is finalized. “The more I get out here with the guys, the more comfortable I get,” said Raymond, who spent Friday in a first-line experiment with Kessel and Tyler Bozak.
The Toronto Maple Leafs and defenceman Cody Franson remain at loggerheads over a new contract.
Franson, a restricted free agent, has not reported to Leafs camp, hoping to convince the team to sign him to a one-year deal. The team wants Franson to sign a multi-year deal.
“I just think with the current cap situation we’re in, a one-year (deal) would suit the team the best,” Franson told TSN on Tuesday after working out with the Ryerson Rams. “They’ve got a little bit of a crunch on numbers and I’m trying to make it happen for both sides.
Whether it’s because a new contract is closer or he’s skipping the start of Maple Leafs training camp a week Monday, Nazem Kadri is now keeping mum about money.
There has been speculation Franson’s rights might be dealt sooner than later with a number of interested suitors should the two-way defenceman be put on the market. But Carlyle and Franson hit it off after previous coach Ron Wilson could not find the right fit for the hard-shooting defender.
The Cody Franson trade rumours don’t make a lot of sense to me. Unless the Leafs are starting them, hoping to reduce the price of the restricted free agent. Franson made a lot of progress in his first full year under Randy Carlyle … In his one season with the Marlies on an AHL contract — which meant he could have left any time to play with an NHL team — at least 18 teams contacted Paul Ranger, hoping to sign him. His answer was always no. Ranger should be one of the Leafs’ six defencemen come October … Once it was determined Jake Gardiner was not available, the player the L.A. Kings wanted most from the Leafs in the Jonathan Bernier trade was defenceman Carl Gunnarsson.