Category Archives: Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto Maple Leaf News and Rumors
While Phil Kessel signed an eight-year, $64-million contract extension with the Toronto Maple Leafs a few weeks ago, the understanding has been that neither side has illustrated any urgency regarding Leaf captain Dion Phaneuf who also becomes an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.
As Olympic hopeful Roberto Luongo makes his bid to once again don a red-and-white maple leaf on his chest, there was a time not so long ago when he was relatively certain he’d be wearing a blue and white one, as well.
Luongo isn’t too shy to admit it all these months later — he thought he was going to be a Toronto Maple Leaf.
Can the Maple Leafs afford to pay Dion Phaneuf $7 million US per season?
Can they afford not to?
At times during Toronto’s 4-1 win on Saturday night against Pittsburgh, James Reimer’s head was spinning around like Linda Blair’s in The Exorcist.
Trying to track the Penguins, most notably Sidney Crosby, Evegni Malkin and a few other creative forces, is hard on a goalie’s neck.
Trade rumours involving Gardiner have died down. At an average of 19 minutes 41 seconds a game, Gardiner is third in ice time among Leafs defencemen, behind Dion Phaneuf and Cody Franson.
One of the players the Maple Leafs have been eying from afar over the past couple of seasons is defenceman Dmitri Kulikov of the Florida Panthers, and Kulikov might just be more available now than he was because of the wreckage of Florida’s early season play.
Kulikov to Leafs trade rumors eminated from Toronto Sun. So early for these rumors. Panthers are easy target bec of good young players.
— Harvey Fialkov (@hfialkov) October 22, 2013
The Toronto Maple Leafs failed to trade John-Michael Liles last season, then opted to use their compliance buyouts on Mikhail Grabovski and Mike Komisarek instead. Word is, the Leafs might be willing to assume some of Liles’ salary if they can move the veteran, now biding time with the Toronto Marlies. Nonis now has no other option, save letting Liles toil away in the AHL until the 2015-16 season concludes. Liles may not be top-four material anymore, but he’s good enough to play in the NHL still.
Nonis said he hasn’t considered trading Jake Gardiner and doesn’t believe in trading young defencemen. “How many teams have made mistakes trading a young defencemen too soon?”
In other news, the Toronto Maple Leafs continue to get calls on the availability of defenceman Jake Gardiner.
With another workday nearly done at Wednesday’s Leafs practice, Nazem Kadri made like a short-order cook. Using the blade of his stick like a spatula, he picked up a puck and repeatedly heaved it high into the air.
The disc went up. The disc came down. And Kadri, though he attempted to catch it like an artfully tossed fried egg, never could manage the trick.
I'm told, without detail, #Leafs could be working on trade involving D that will clear some cap space and ensure Morgan Rielly stays.
— Howard Berger (@Berger_BYTES) October 14, 2013
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).”