Salary Cap Impact – The Leafs

By Darryl Dobbs

The Toronto Maple Leafs are making decisions that they normally wouldn’t in the past. Being forced to spend under $44 million dollars when the team is accustomed to no limits at all is forcing the team to change philosophy.

General speaking, it was an unwritten rule in fantasy circles to not draft potential Leaf rookies. Chances are that the player you choose would either not crack the lineup on a regular basis, or when they did crack the lineup they would not be a major piece of the offensive puzzle. This unwritten rule didn’t stop a lot of poolies from drafting the likes of Nik Antropov and Matt Stajan.

The introduction of the salary cap last season changed some of that. I say “some” because the Leafs still tried to keep the status quo by signing cheap veteran Eric Lindros and incentive-laden Jason Allison. Even so, they still added two rookies to the lineup, Alex Steen and Kyle Wellwood, that look very promising in hockey pools.

Finally. This year, the full impact of the salary will truly be felt in Leaf-land – no ‘cheap’ stop-gap solutions by giving roster spots to veterans at a discount. All cheap roster spots will now go to rookies and other minor leaguers deserving of a chance.

The first rookie I would recommend considering in deeper pools is Aleksander Suglobov. A 2000 second-round pick (56th overall) acquired from New Jersey in the Ken Klee deal, Suglobov has shown some offensive promise. He’s more of a goal-scorer than a setup man, but scoring goals is exactly what Toronto needs.

The irresolution of the NHL transfer agreement with Russia casts doubt on Toronto’s ability to bring their 2006 44th overall pick Nikolai Kulemin over, but if they are able to negotiate a settlement with Metallurg, he could surprise.

Finally, the long-awaited NHL presence of Johnny Pohl. After tearing up the scoresheets in college hockey, Pohl slipped as a prospect in St. Louis. Last season was a resurgence of sorts, as the new rules have allowed his slight 186-pound frame more room to maneuver. The result? By far and away his most productive season in the AHL, and an impressive four points in seven games with the Leafs. The contract he signed (naturally for the NHL minimum) is one-way. He’ll start off as a depth player but will have every opportunity to work his way up.

Meanwhile…

The NHL/Russian transfer agreement is dead, and this puts a lot of young Russian prospects in limbo in the hockey pool world. Currently, the likes of Evgeni Malkin (Penguins) and Alexei Mikhnov (Oilers) are testing Russian labor law in which they give their teams two weeks notice and are able to then leave. That, in conjunction with NHL teams paying affected Russian teams a boatload of money, will insure some of the more important prospects (read: Malkin) will get here…

NHL players, meanwhile, are taking flight to Russia. Nikolai Zherdev, the Columbus star who was looking at a possible breakout year in the NHL, has signed a deal to play in Russia. He has an opt-out clause in which he can play in the NHL if he’s signed by October 1st. N.Y. Islanders prospect Sean Bergenheim has also signed to play in Russia, but there is not yet word on whether he has a similar clause. In all likelihood, he does, and this is a move to give him leverage in contract negotiations with new GM Garth Snow.

For more fantasy tips, and to pick up Dobber’s new Hockey Pool Guide Supplemental (available NOW), visit www.DobberHockey.com


41 Responses to Salary Cap Impact – The Leafs

  1. mafew says:

    this article could be about any team

    “can’t afford all vetrans, must use rookies and younger players, some of whom MAY have good seasons, and could be suprising”

    awesome…. this just in, hockey pucks are black

  2. muckies says:

    Dobber, you said you get paid to write this stuff. Did you actually get paid to write this article???

  3. muckies says:

    Dobber, you said you get paid to write this stuff. Did you actually get paid to write this article???

  4. Dobber says:

    Ha…ha?

    It wasn’t that bad…was it? You could probably go to any article ever written, pull out one line, and call it obvious. But thank you for doing that to mine. :(~

    Did everyone know Suglobov is probably the best bet as a rookie fantasy pick for the Leafs? You’d be surprised.

    Did everyone know Pohl’s contract was one-way and he’s coming off his strongest season? Maybe you did if you go to my website a lot.

    Did everyone know Bergenheim signed in Russia?

    Tell me I added SOME value to your otherwise inane lives…please! (disclaimer: that was a joke – don’t everyone write to me about calling lives inane)

    It’s the first of August, you’ll have to cut me a bit of slack if the articles on hockey aren’t exactly breathtaking from top to bottom. It is an upgrade from copying and pasting TSN articles though.

    PS – my HTR articles are free. I get paid to write for the Forecaster, The Hockey News, and The Fourth Period.

  5. Dobber says:

    Ha…ha?

    It wasn’t that bad…was it? You could probably go to any article ever written, pull out one line, and call it obvious. But thank you for doing that to mine. :(~

    Did everyone know Suglobov is probably the best bet as a rookie fantasy pick for the Leafs? You’d be surprised.

    Did everyone know Pohl’s contract was one-way and he’s coming off his strongest season? Maybe you did if you go to my website a lot.

    Did everyone know Bergenheim signed in Russia?

    Tell me I added SOME value to your otherwise inane lives…please! (disclaimer: that was a joke – don’t everyone write to me about calling lives inane)

    It’s the first of August, you’ll have to cut me a bit of slack if the articles on hockey aren’t exactly breathtaking from top to bottom. It is an upgrade from copying and pasting TSN articles though.

    PS – my HTR articles are free. I get paid to write for the Forecaster, The Hockey News, and The Fourth Period.

  6. Dobber says:

    Hey…I didn’t write that line.

  7. gg_idiot says:

    My life isn’t inane, you’re insane if you think you arent inane

  8. Dobber says:

    gg: I didn’t say it was – read the full line. I don’t know you from a hole in the ground.

    Guys – I didn’t write this for Leaf fans. I wrote this for NHL fans who want to read my opinion on the changing Leafs philosophy. As obvious as that change might be for you, it may not be for others. And no, this stuff can’t be written about any team. The Leafs can’t afford veterans, but UNLIKE last year they will be playing more rookies. Last year they played two as regulars. This year it will be much more. No other team tried what they tried last year, and so no other team can change the philosophy in that manner.

    I don’t mean anyone any harm, and I’m having trouble digesting some of the bashing. It’s funny, but still tough to digest. If you don’t like the piece, move on. And don’t check out my site either – you may not be able to handle all the quality. People want to hear my opinion – or I wouldn’t be paid to give it.

  9. gg_idiot says:

    i know, i was joking

  10. JJ-Dynomite says:

    Shesh, Why are you all bashing dobber? I thought this website allowed you too express opinions and write articles about what you want, more or less. now ive seen a ton of articles on this website that basically say the same thing we all know, and people still enjoy them.

    so i for one, enjoyed this article Dobber

  11. Dobber says:

    Thanks JJ!

    As long as the complements to bash ratio is 50/50 or greater, I can sleep tonight!

    LOL

  12. mafew says:

    I was just kidding, no offence man. I’m bored out of my skull.

  13. Yann says:

    Dobber whatever people say doesn’t matter, it wasn’t a great article but it was good. they are just saying bad stuff because they’re jealous…

  14. muckies says:

    no offence, I just saw you write before that you said got paid to write articles, so i thought you got paid to write here, which would be cool to do. But i have noticed you take alot of abuse from fans on this site. but hey, it comes with the territory of being a sports writer, people care more about a guy bashing their team than they do about world politics.

  15. wheresthesoda says:

    u got that write, get to write about hockey and get paid…sounds good to me

  16. DoubleDown says:

    suglabov? come on. the guy is 24 years old and was traded for KEN KLEE! if he makes the big club Leafs are in trouble.

  17. mafew says:

    I know personally, I’d much rather have the leafs win the cup than have peace in the middle east.

    Both might take a miracle though!

  18. leafsmarlies says:

    Suglobov is a talented player who has the potential to become a goal scorer. His main down side is his creativness, like Ales Hemsky, they both try some ridiculous stuff during a game, beind the back passes to no one, crazy stick handling to get around opponents but never ends up working, passes when he should shoot. Hemsky is a much more developed player then Suglobov, but in time and good coaching Suglobov could put the same numers up as Hemsky.

    The Leaf roster has too many players on it right now and the odd man out for the beginning of the season will most likely be Suglobov; Belak to.

  19. tancred says:

    I liked the article, too. Good way to pass a few minutes in the afternoon before work.

    Suglobov, I had heard so much about this guy, it upset me the Devils traded him away. Good luck to him in Toronto this year.

    Pohl, you said he slipped as a prospetct in St. Louis. I didn’t know he had been in the Blues’ system. So how did Toronto get ahold of him? Thanks!

  20. DoubleDown says:

    hope youre right for your guys’ sake! and my sympathies on the belak extension…lol

  21. intothevoid001 says:

    Blues traded him to the Leafs last august for “future considerations”

    might i add, he was pretty damn good for the marlies last year with 75 points in 60 games and a +4

  22. Dobber says:

    The new rules and the enforcement of the book is right up Pohl’s alley now. If Pohl were 23, he’d be a hotshot prospect that the Leafs would put on the top line. But he’s 27, so it may be too late.

    I liked him in St.Louis and was pretty impressed the Toronto grabbed him last year. I rolled my eyes when I discovered they grabbed him simply to play on the Marlies.

    As for Suglobov – he was one of New Jersey’s best prospects, but was a victim of the numbers game – there was no room for him! There’s lots of room in Toronto though…

  23. Aetherial says:

    Well, I can’t really blame the author for the complete lack of anything substantial in the article, because there is nothing substantial happening regading the Leafs.

    However, this article *is* pretty much uesless.

    … and yes, I did know those Leaf facts, as did almost every Leafs fan on this site I would think, since every time a member of MLSE takes a crap it is pretty much front page news.

  24. PensinWpg says:

    I often read his articles in The Hockey News, fantasy pool stuff, for the most part he knows his stuff and writes some interesting items.

    I certainly respect his opinion over many other hockey writers out there.

  25. PensinWpg says:

    A lot of people roll their eyes at JFJ’s decisions, similarly as to when Fergie Sr was with Jets. Love or hate.

    As to Pohl, he got a brief taste of the NHL last season. Even though he is relatively new to the Leags organization I question why he hasn’t seen more time in the NHL seeing his performance over the past few years in the AHL.

    Pohl and Suglobov imho should be given some regular playing time to prove themselves. And with the Leafs being stronger in the rear and weaker up front this coming season I see no reason why they should not have that opportunity.

  26. PeterTheGreat21 says:

    none of these players would impact ur fantasy team unless u were in an insanely huge league with about 30 teams

  27. tacitus says:

    i think anybody who follows hockey could write the same stuff you do. The only difference is you know where to properly place the commas

  28. Milohabs says:

    First of all, Sublogov will be no threat in the NHL. Lou doesn’t give up on a young player for Ken Klee…I promise you that. Pohl looked decent from what I saw of him last year (maybe 3-4 games). At the end of the day the leaf’s young players will have something they didn’t have under Quinn, an opportunity to get some ice time. Lots of young players will get a shot, and after this season, The Leafs should truely know which young players can stick, and which young players are dead weight. Personally, I like Steen & Wellwood. While not all-star type players, they can contirbute and be good 2nd line players in the future for Tornoto. I also like Stajan, but I see him as a career 3rd line NHLer.

    I guess time will tell.

  29. kamullia says:
      That, in conjunction with NHL teams paying affected Russian teams a boatload of money…

    You are extremely misinformed in that subject. The NHL offices have barred teams from paying any kind of transfer money. Not only that, payments for all NHL transfers (with other leagues) do not actually come from individual NHL franchises, but from the central NHL office. NHL teams all contribute yearly to a central fund for this purpose.

  30. Francis10 says:

    Yes, Yes, and Yes…..

    We have been discussing these thing for the last like month…

    We didn’t just pick one line. It was a good article. Just nothing new in it. Even if Suglobov does crack the Leafs line up. 1 out of every 600 fantasy league *Might* have him on a roster… and thats a BIG MIGHT.

  31. mojo19 says:

    When Lou traded for him last year, Suglobov was leading Albany in scoring, so…. even if he’s flakey, you can’t argue with the stats, and the fact that the guy has ability.

  32. Jar_21 says:

    Ok what really needs to happen is that the leafs must be out of playoff contention before the trade deadline. This will be of the best benefit in the long run. With them being out all of the old fart should be kicked out of town and rebuilding should begin. Its hard to say but Sundin needs to go. His time with the leafs is done and hes not gonna win a cup here, i love the guys game and heart but they need to move on. (not to mention his contract which costs over 7 mil). GFJ needs to get fired for his stupidity Mccabe (7 mill) and kubina (5 mill) not even worth it. Did everyone miss what happened to mccabe when the opposition was actually paying attention to him? He did shit. By the way dont take it as thoe he is not good but at 7 mill thats way too much and i doubt anyone will want him. Kubina for 5 mill? Should of got a forward and a cheap d-man. I would of been happy with a gomez or gionta. After this get rid of oneil, antrapov (cant skate, hit, shoot why is he on this team?), peca (2.5 mill for what? more defence), Kilger (hes a good 3rd 4th liner but i rather see one of the young ones in his place). Realisticly this will never happen until the leafs care about winning and get a gm with a fresh attitude. Maurice is a great coach but he dosnt have the offensive weapons on this team. Just think about whos gonna play with Sundin …. tucker? antrapov? oneil? its sad i know. Im a leaf fan but i know that this team is headed for a bad ending hopefully one that will bring in some changes from top to bottom.

  33. samsdad says:

    why is it, in this new salary cap era, that there are teams that are spending way more than they did before the new nhl? as a bruins fan i know they are one, the blackhawks are said to be at 38M.

    is it because now the talent is spread out better, since no team can really load up, so is parity soon to be a theme of the nhl?

  34. Big_Caissie says:

    I think Johnny Pohl will be a good player for the Leafs in the future. Last season he played 7 games, posting 3 goals and 1 assist and a +/- rating of +2. He also got 75 points with the marlies. For those of you who didn’t know, John was drafted in the 9th round in the 1998 draft by the St. Louis Blues and he got traded to toronto in 2005 for future considerations. Suglobov could become a not too bad player for the leafs but I think he’s a second line player at best. Now for the young guns that are already on the roster. I think Steen and Wellwood will develop a bit more and hopefully their point production will increase this season. And for Stajan, I like the guy. Defensively he is quite impressive. He was tied for first in shorthanded points in the league with Marion Hossa I think with 8 points. And getting a defensive specialist like Peca will hopefully improve Stajan dramaticly, and hopefully the PK will become one of the best. And as we all know, special teams are the face of the new NHL. Potentially, Stajan could become a second line center if he should one day sharpen his offensive skills.

  35. PensinWpg says:

    Steen will be a leader soon enough. He shows great poise and respect for the game so early in his career. Although he does not possess the raw talent he reminds me of Yzerman how he carries himself. His unselfish, intelligent play and most of all plays with great sportsmanship.

  36. Francis10 says:

    I don’t mind hearing your opinion. I just get tired of reading the same stuff over and over again. If you arn’t going to write about something new, at least make it controversial or something.

  37. Francis10 says:

    I feel the same way. I would definatly prefer there to be war over there for 100 years, just to have my Leafs win 1 cup.

  38. bpanther83 says:

    Sundin has NEVER had anyone to play with and that hasn’t affected him. Yes, I agree he would be doing a lot better with someone, but you can’t say it will affect them, when its really the same ole. Besides Any one of tyhose guys mentioned is an upgrade frmo Hoglund.

    I agree they overpaid these players, but really what are you going to do? If they would of lost McCabe, the only guy out there worth grabbing in his place would of been Chara. But maybe they already knew Chara wouldnt play for them with all the tension between Ottawa and Toronto. WHo really knows.

    Problem with this is that they won’t be out of play off contention. They might not be IN the Playoffs, but they will always be in contention. I still think they’ll make it in the 7th or 8th seed. I think the young guys are gonna step up big this year.

    And why did they sign Peca? Penalty killing, eating up time, helping stop top lines. They NEEDED a player who can help shut down teams other top players. Peca, Tucker, Kilger could be a great shut down line. The Leafs have never had a problem scoring, and they won’t this year. Especially with more youth and speed.

  39. bpanther83 says:

    Sadly I doubt their will ever be a player who will carry himself as Yzerman did. Someone who would adapt to play any style that the team needed him to play.

    The NHL will miss you Yzerman!

  40. Jar_21 says:

    Actually Sundin had Moginly to play with and that was a deadlly combo even Roberts was alright (playoff time only). First of all how are they suppost to develop young talent if they got guys like Kubina, Mccabe, Kaberle, Gill. I mean they got great cheap! young talent in the minors exe. Carlo should be top 4 if healthy, Pilar might be back and they still have guys like Kronwall, Wosznewski, Harrison, White and Bell. Why bother wasting money on guys like kubina or Gill if u got so many dman who might be capable of being top 4 if given a chance and properly developed. Secondlly, do u actually see this team making the playoffs? Wake up and look at the division Ottawa, Montreal, Buffalo and Boston. Guess what the only team i can see them competing with is Boston and thats already half of their schedual. The only way they are going to be close is if Wellwood, Steen, Stajan, Suglabov, Pohl and the new rookie can contribute. Dont expect more then 20 goals from any of them. Its over even before it began

  41. puckhead94 says:

    Why is this the featured article? Because it’s about the friggen Leafs? If this article were about the Rangers or the Canadiens or the Red Wings, would it be featured as well?

    Just a thought.

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