Category Archives: Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto Maple Leaf News and Rumors
Sure, it goes against what Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke has previously said.
Then again, what hasn’t.
Regardless, the Leafs are reportedly going after young Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier, not the veteran netminder Burke told a Toronto radio station he was interested in acquiring.
According to Hockey Night in Canada’s Andi Petrillo, the Leafs have made an offer to the Kings for Bernier, who was the backup to Jonathan Quick last season. Quick signed a 10-year, $58 million contract extension last month, leading Bernier to ask for a trade.
Earlier this month, Burke told Sportsnet 590 The Fan the Leafs wanted a proven puck-stopper as an upgrade in net. Now it looks like he’s focused on 23-year-old Bernier, who fits more into the might-be-great category.
“We’re not looking at that avenue,” Burke told The Fan. “A couple goalies that moved are young, unproven guys. That’s an avenue were not interested in. We’ve kicked the tires, looked at all the prices, but that’s not an avenue we’re looking at.”
The Maple Leafs are among a dozen teams that have made exploratory calls to Shane Doan, captain of the Phoenix Coyotes, who opened himself up Monday to the idea of leaving the only NHL franchise he’s ever played for just as it was facing another threat to its existence.
A source confirmed to the Star the team made serious overtures to Doan’s agent, Terry Bross.
Chicago, Detroit and Vancouver are thought to be the frontrunners for Doan’s services. Others known to have made a pitch are St. Louis, Montreal, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, the New York Rangers, Winnipeg and Los Angeles.
Teams that missed out on Zach Parise see the 35-year-old Doan, a power forward, as the next best option. Many of the same teams are also interested in trading for Columbus winger Rick Nash and Anaheim winger Bobby Ryan.
Doan became an unrestricted free agent July 1 but told teams he wanted to see how events that affect the future of the Coyotes unfolded this week in Glendale before making a decision on his playing career.
“We don’t want to create a false expectation he will leave until it’s a real possibility,” Bross told the FAN590 radio station. “Shane’s first desire is to finish what he started in Phoenix and stay with the franchise and finish his career where he started it.”
Well, we’re well into Day 6 of free agency, and the Toronto Maple Leafs have easily been one of the league’s quieter teams.
Especially if you look at all those that finished near the bottom of the standings alongside them.
The Carolina Hurricanes, for example, finished two points ahead of Toronto, dealt for Jordan Staal and are working to add another top six forward.
he Blue Jackets traded for Nick Foligno (and are working on a Rick Nash deal), the Oilers signed Justin Schultz, the Ducks added a pair of defencemen (and are looking for good return on Bobby Ryan) and the Wild may have hit a homerun in adding Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.
There is, of course, still a lot of off-season to go, and Leafs GM Brian Burke insists he isn’t close to being finished. He’s listed his team’s top three priorities as (a) getting bigger (b) adding a veteran goaltender and (c) adding another top two centre.
Those aren’t easy holes to fill, even with some $12-million in cap space. In one case, it’s probably not even the right one.
He was never going to fill the needs in the entry draft and the chances were remote that a big, first-line centre and an experienced goalie from the early days of free agency.
But that doesn’t mean Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke plans to head to training camp without acquiring either big ticket or both. Whether realistic or not, Burke vowed on Tuesday that there is plenty to be done over the next two-plus months.
“I would say that’s not a real possibility at all,” Burke told Sportsnet 590 The Fan radio when asked if the current roster will be the one that reports for camp. “That’s remote. We need to do some more work.
“We believe we can upgrade at those positions, yes.”
Burke acknowledged that the requirements of new coach Randy Carlyle will be different than those of Ron Wilson which is why size will matter in whatever shopping happens. He believes he answered that in part by acquiring big (but not necessarily nasty) winger James van Riemsdyk in the draft-day trade with Philadephia but more needs to be done.
At least Brian Burke used the pronoun “we.”
When describing the perils of spending stupid money on July 1, the Maple Leafs general manager included himself in the group that tends to overpay on hockey’s annual shopping day, whether the shelves are stocked with quality merchandise or not.
Burke, after all, has seen his share of acquisitions blow up in each of his first three summers here. First there was Mike Komisarek who was overpaid and immediately underachieved. Then there was Colby Armstrong who might have been a useful third-liner if he could have stayed healthy. And most recently, the failed first-line centre named Tim Connolly.
In each case Burke was taking a shot and various deficiencies, including injury, conspired against the success of the top three, especially Armstrong, who had his contract bought out on the weekend.
So not doing anything of significance on the first two days of free agency may not have been the worst thing for Burke and Leafs management. Not that they had a choice at landing the big game, mind you.
Not overspending this time around is in part prudence by the team and in part the predicament that the Leafs find themselves in.
With a lean market to begin with, a roster with too many holes and too many questions about which direction the team is headed, Toronto is far from a preferred destination for the top end of any free agent crop.
It may not have always been that way. When Burke first arrived here, it was probably easier to get players and agents around the league to buy into the buzz. One of the sport’s biggest personalities landing in maybe its biggest market was tantalizing. Getting Phil Kessel as a bonafide superstar right out of the hop, plus the declaration that he wasn’t interested in a five-year rebuild made the Leafs at least intriguing.