Top players avoiding Maple Leafs?

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.

95 Responses to Top players avoiding Maple Leafs?

  1. mojo19 says:

    Obviously the big reason why we can’t lure any big name free agents is because we now have a recent tradition of losing. When Burke came in here he was tenacious in luring in Bozak, and Gustavsson who were highly sought after, similarly to Schultz. And Burke got both, he immediately got some credit around here, but he was also able to lure in free agents like that because he was pumping up the team, talking about is vision and how they were a team on the rise, etc. Now that we’ve been perennial bottom feeders there aren’t any UFA’s who would really want to come in and try to save a bad team.

    We pretty much have to build through the draft at this point, Burke’s hands are tied. Go with Reimer and Scrivens, if they play well, great, if not, great, let’s bomb another year.

  2. mojo19 says:

    Check this out. If we had gone with a traditional rebuild, maybe finished a bit lower in the standings, even bombed a year with Pogge as our starter, not made the fast-track Kessel trade… We could have had Seguin, Knight, and let’s say Ryan Strome (selected 4 spots higher than D.Hamilton at 5th overall. Remember we’re deliberately bombing.) And instead of Kadri, if we finish just 3 spots lower that year we draft Evander Kane. Let’s say we draft Rielly either way.

    Our team with the fast track vs. traditional rebuild (hypothetical)

    Fast Track: Phil Kessel, Nazem Kadri, Morgan Rielly
    Traditional: Tyler Seguin, Evander Kane, Ryan Strome, Jared Knight, Morgan Rielly.

    As good as Kessel is, you’d have to prefer that 2nd group. That would be a really good young group to move forward with, right now we’ve got a lot of work still that needs to be done. Moving 3 assets for 1 in the Kessel deal really hurt.

    • HABSdomination says:

      Seriously, after seeing the long term impact on this team, i’m not tryig to argue the fact that the whole Kessel deal turned out to suck major donkey balls, but still… How could Burkie predict that he was giving up a second overall pick? Any idiot that knew he was giving up a second, third, fourth or even a fifth overall pick wouldn’t have done the deal.

      Plus, he still got the second 1st pick back for Kaberle, who in turn, sucks major donkey balls since he got traded. So, suffice to say the O’l Burke saved the day there guys…..

      I mean, he ain’t a complete….donkey. No?

      • mojo19 says:

        You’re right, but the point is no one builds by moving two draft picks like that, especially at the beginning of a rebuild. You can say “Burke couldn’t have predicted it” all you want, he should’ve done a regular rebuild, it doesn’t take a genius to do it, and it works.

        • Steven_Leafs0 says:

          it was a risk but in the year before the Leafs finished with the 7th overall pick without Sundin, without goaltending, and without a team basically. The difference between 2009 and 2010? Kessel. We should have finished higher in the standings, heck if we had made the playoffs that year we would have dominated that trade, those are the breaks sometimes.

          • mojo19 says:

            We added Kessel but we lost Antropov, Ponikarovsky, and Moore who was nothing after he left, but he was a .75 point per game guy the year we dealt him at the deadline, and he was a reason why we overachieved from the year before. We also lost Pavol Kubina in a trade for Garnett Exelby, signed Komisarek who was a flop, and dealt our top goal scorer at mid-season (Nik Hagman) in the Phaneuf trade. We were such a different team there’s no way anyone can say “we were supposed to be better” I’m looking at what went out, and what came back in, and in hindsight why did anyone think we would be better? Kessel makes up for a bit, but he’s just one guy…

            • HABSdomination says:

              That last reply is spot on.

            • Steven_Leafs0 says:

              you can’t count the flops, if we could see that coming then it would make the whole argument moot as there is no risk in the first place.

              Poni is easily replaceable and counting Moore is weird since he isn’t much of a game changer. Kubina yes is a loss but Komisarek should have replaced that.

              Antropov I’ll give you, he was our best forward at the time and his production was a huge loss, in fact him and Kessel could have been interesting (assuming he was going to re-sign with us of course).

              The Phaneuf trade definitely killed our offensive production but weren’t we well out of it by then? Burke would not have sold off our only chance to score goals if our team was in it.

              Anyway in general we should have been better:

              Poni – easily replaced
              Kubina – replaced with Komisarek who was a major upgrade at the time
              Antropov – Phil Kessel, nuff said

              at the start of the season we were technically better.

              • mojo19 says:

                Poni, Moore, Antropov, all these guys are replaceable, all were not replaced. In fact, all were downgraded, pretty much except for the addition of Kessel. And like I said, you can’t say that Moore isn’t much of a game changer, and it doesn’t matter if we would have kept him or got rid of him, because if we kept him he wouldn’t have repeated his career year, so we were almost destined to be a bit worse in that regard. These are the types of player evaluations NHL GM’s have to make and determine if certain players overachieved, and who went out, who came in, and what’s expected of each guy.

                And again, you’re missing the point of the argument. It really doesn’t matter how good Kessel is, the bottom line is we were not at the proper stage of the rebuild to make such a move, period. “But we didn’t know we’d finish 29th!” I don’t really give a shit, you didn’t know you wouldn’t either, obvious fact. Are we really having this discussion again?

                Pittsburgh, Chicago, next up Edmonton. Why did Burke try to re-invent the wheel? Get it?

                • reinjosh says:

                  FLorida, Columbus, NYI, Atlanta.

                  It fails just as much as it works. That’s why he didn’t go that route.

                  • mojo19 says:

                    So what have we established, Josh? That sometimes the traditional rebuild flops, and sometimes it leads to Stanley Cups. This is what we have concluded about that system.

                    What do we know about Burke’s fast track system? …Nothing really, he’s making it up as he goes along. If you have faith in your scouts and you tank properly, the traditional rebuild through the draft is the safest system, making trades like that is a high risk formula Burke went with, and the Kessel trade was a trade best suited for a team close to a Cup, looking for that one last piece. Even then it was a steep price.

                    Also Burke is going with the Atlanta system, not Colubmus, NYI, and Florida. Atlanta didn’t draft high a bunch of times and flop, they traded draft picks, moved a lot of pieces, brought in veterans like Savard, Slava Kozlov, Johan Hedberg, Mark Recchi… okay, not exactly Burke’s system, but definitely not a traditional rebuild. Just because they landed Kovalchuk and Heatley early on after being an expansion team doesn’t mean they qualify as that system because they didn’t stick to it.

                    • reinjosh says:

                      Uh yeah Atlanta did. Stefan/Kovy 1st overall. Lehtonen/Heately 2nd overall in 4 succesive years. Then Coburn at 8th and Valabik at 10. 6 straight years of drafting bottom ten. They got some good players and missed on others. What did they have to show for it? Nadda. One round playoff sweep. They were the definition of a traditional build. And it didn’t exactly work out.

                      Regardless, Burke’s system can’t be judged. It hasn’t been finished. You can’t properly judge something halfway through.

                      And arguably Burke’s gone from a “fast track” back to a traditional rebuild. Going after young player’s with talent is usually what a traditional rebuild is about is it not? He’s done that, just he had to go about it a little differently because of the Kessel trade. Eddentially your growing pissy about the way he’s doing it. Like it or not, chances are the “traditional rebuild” wouldn’t be anymore successful than what we are currently in. Really, only two teams have actually used the traditonal rebuild to win a cup. Pittsburgh and Chicago. Edmonton isn’t a proper example of that yet and until they are they can’t be used as an example to point too.

                      What do you want from Burke? Young players drafted highly in the draft? I’d like to introduce you to Phil Kessel taken at 5th overall and only 24 years old, James van Riemsdyk only 23 years old taken 3rd overall. Plus toss in Phaneuf and Lupul, 27 and 28 repsectively taken at number 9th and 7th seventh overall, both putting up some pretty impressive numbers a bad team.

                    • reinjosh says:

                      Agh, I’m a little jaded with Leaf fans lately. I do apologize if I come across a little antagonistic. No reason to piss off people I usually get along with haha

                    • mojo19 says:

                      Atlanta got a few high picks when they came in as an expansion team, but being an expansion team the cupboards were literally bare, and they went for it far too early, moving many high picks for Tkachuk, and Zhitnik, etc. I really don’t think they followed the proper mould, even though the opportunity was there for them and they started to.

                    • reinjosh says:

                      That’s fair. They did need to get some playoff revenue. And they had some unlucky breaks, such as having to deal Heatley (after the Snyder tragedy) for Hossa (who happened to be older, and therefore closer to FA). So your correct. They don’t really fit into either of the models.

                • Steven_Leafs0 says:

                  lol you should re-read my first post, I admitted it was a risk, when the trade was first made I commented that if we give up a lottery pick this deal could bite us in the ass.

                  But considering the addition of Kessel and the signing of Komisarek and Beauchemin and other bottom liners we should have improved our roster enough to finish higher than 7th overall pick.

                  Also your first line said Antropov, Poni, and Moore were not replaced, we did get Kessel who is/was a better player than all of them, and signed Komisarek and Beauchemin who should have improved our back-end (they didn’t but my original point was still valid, we expected to do better).

                  • mojo19 says:

                    Ya, but that’s bad logic to say think that a couple of defenceman would make a team with that many holes better. There was no guarantee, which is why the trade was just too risky, period. “Hindsight is 20/20”? No shit, I want my GM to have a bit of foresight though, don’t you? That’s kind of his job.

                    • Steven_Leafs0 says:

                      haha you dont have to get upset, I was one of the few who didn’t want to do the Kessel deal in the first place but the fact is the evidence said that we were not going to give up a top 10 pick, that is why Burke did it. Yes there was a risk, I said that a few times now, but if it worked out and we made the playoffs each year then you would be going off about how big of a genius Burke is.

                      You say there is no guarantee, I agreed with you, you said it was too risky, I agree with that too, but the fact is no one was positive we were going to give up the 2nd overall pick and even if we did we still ended up with Phil Kessel, a former 5th overall and one of the best natural scorers in the league who was 4 years ahead in development and was a guaranteed top line forward.

            • DannyLeafs says:

              All of those are good points, but I think the most important factor to how bad the Leafs were that year was Vesa Toskala. He played 26 games for the leafs with an .874 save percentage. No team can expect to win when your starting goaltender puts up those numbers through the first quarter of the season. I mean as strong as Pittsburgh’s offense is, despite the fact that they averaged over 4.3 goals per game in the playoffs, they were crushed because of bad goaltending.

              The leafs got playoff esque Marc-Andrew Fleury goaltending for the first quarter of a season that year. Nobody could have predicted that.

              I don’t think the Kessel trade has been the Leafs biggest problem. Also, I don’t think it’s been Burkes actual asset management either. At this point, it’s been Burke’s mouth that is starting to dig his grave.

              The Leafs were in awful shape when Burke took over. He entered his first offseason with the Leafs with Matt Stajan as our top center, Jason Blake as our top winger, Kaberle and McCabe as our top pairing D, Vesa Toskala as our #1 goalie, and Jiri Tlusty as our top prospect. To go with that over half of the salary cap was committed to Pavel Kubina, Jeff Finger, Jason Blake, Bryan McCabe, Vesa Toskala and Nik Hagman. That is a huge hole to start in.

              All Burke had to do was say that it was going to take a couple of years to tear the team down, and at least a couple more to build it up. He could even have still done everythign else the same including the Kessel deal. He just needs to say that it isn’t about making the playoffs right away, simply that this team needed a can’t miss prospect to start the build and that Kessel is more valuable than 2 random firsts over what didn’t look like top heavy drafts.

              The difference would be expectation. Instead of being absolutely crushed by the Leafs collapse, we could go, “you know, that team competed very well for 2/3’s of the season. We weren’t supposed to be competitive yet, but we are getting close.” Then adding another top 5 pick and trading for JVR looks like yet another step in teh right direction.

              I think where Burke’s mouth hurts most is that because of expectation, free agents aren’t going to want to sign in T.O. until things look like they are starting to go according to plan. That’s what’s killing Burke. He looks like he doesn’t know what he’s doing because the expecation he is setting. If he had set everyone’s expectations at the beginning to a 4-5 year re-build, it would look like they were right on schedule and that Burke’s plan was really taking shape. Instead, everyone is taking a wait and see approach.

              Like I said, I think Burke has done a great job of gathering assets. In 4 years he has done a lot of work. But when you set an unrealistic expectation, you have to be able to back it up. Otherwise your performance cannot be properly evaluated.

              • reinjosh says:

                Your point about his mouth is the biggest one. Burke’s done a pretty damn good job of stocking this team with potential ladden assets and a young core. But people aren’t happy because he idiotically spouted nonsense about being a playoff competitive team.

                He’s arguably done what people are calling for the past two years too. They want a traditional rebuild and he’s done that. Trading away player’s for pick last year to get two first rounders, finishing 5th last this year and drafting top 5, taking on bad contracts to get good prospects (Lupul to get Gardiner, we got a good player in addition to the prospect), trading for young players to fit into our core (JVR).

                People are pissy because he made stupid comments about trying a retool and it not working out. People are pissy because they don’t like how he identified Grabovski as a part of they core when they can’t imagine in any world how he fits into the core.

                Honestly the mouth had an effect on Leaf Nation but it’s mostly the idea that the fans just expect that their word and ideas are gold and they can’t be wrong. They don’t like how Burke can’t be swayed by popular opinion.

                • reinjosh says:

                  Sorry, I’m a little jaded about Leaf fans lately haha.

                  • DannyLeafs says:

                    I agree. There would still be Leafs fans really upset with things even if Burke had set expectations properly.

                    I love most of Burke’s moves. It’s hard to get that big center. Not one Legitimate top six center who’s under 30 has hit the open market since Burke’s time in T.O.

                    Three have been traded, and Burke pushed hard on all and lost out.

                    Letting Grabovski go would have been a terrible move. Young top 6 centers are hard to find, finding two would have been terrible. Grabovski would be hard to replace, and although the money seems like a bit much, the alternative is trying to find 2 top six centers, which makes the leafs an even less appealing place to play.

                    • reinjosh says:

                      He’s not perfect. He’s made mistakes (such as not signing Heard, wasting two 3rd rounders on Olden, signing Connolly, Frasnon/Lombardi hasn’t exactly worked out, Komisarek) but the positives generally outweigh the negatives.

                      And bang on with your thoughts about Grabo.

  3. LN91 says:

    Hello, even Kaberle and Kadri for Kessel.

    Kessel, Seguin, Hamilton, Knight?

  4. LN91 says:

    In some positive news for the future, Komarov is looking like a solid third-liner in the format of Marchand.

    And Biggs has grown to 220 pounds…He will be a beast.

    • mojo19 says:

      Biggs has a real shot to be a good player in the NHL. We’ll see how this season goes for him but he could get a look as soon as next year.

      • LN91 says:

        Brad Ross will be a good third-line player. Even in jr, he always made players around him better.

        You guys always said it was due to Nino and RJ…But he had his best season without him.

        He will probably be Darcy Tucker in his prime. Cannot wait and something we missed

        • mojo19 says:

          Ya you always need those types of agitators, tough guys. That’s like the old Leafs with Domi, Green, Tucker, Corson, Fitzgerald, and Roberts on the bench, then add Owen Nolan who threw big hits, dropped the gloves, we had a big, bad team. I’d love to get back to that.

          If Komorov works out as advertised and Ross can come along in the next couple of years, that would be sweet.

        • reinjosh says:

          Brad Ross is the perfect third line player. I still think he has some second line upside but I think third line is still solid.

          And yeah RJ and Nino haven’t exactly played amazing since they left him. I can’t bring myself to say he made them but he definitely played a game that made it easier for them to play and score.

          And his best season did coincide with an absolutely shredding of the WHL by Sven Baerstchi.

          He plays his best with good players, players he can make room for.

          • LN91 says:

            So…If you think he can play on the second-line. Where does Kadri still fit with the Leafs?

            In all honesty, I have zero idea where he fits.

            • mojo19 says:

              Well, they’re all lottery tickets right now, including Kadri. Good chance Ross becomes nothing, so I’m fine with us holding onto all these guys for now.

              Saying Ross makes Kadri expendable makes no sense at this stage in their development.

            • reinjosh says:

              First, I just said the possibility exists. Didn’t say it was a give.

              2nd, like Mojo said, why not have multiple chances at hits. I’ll trade Kadri away if it brings us a big piece but why do it otherwise? Doesn’t make sense.

              Kadri has elite skill that Ross never will have too.

      • LN91 says:

        I’m still unsure about the Grabovski contract…

        For me, causes more issues in terms of prospects and cap then good.

        • reinjosh says:

          How? His contract at a 70 million cap isn’t exactly earth shatteringly onerous (or even a problem).

          And who is he holding back in terms of prospects?

          We don’t really have any top 6 center prospects. Kadri has been moved to the wing and will likely play that for the remainder of his career (yes, I’m saying he will have one), McKegg’s game is more suited to the wing spot as well, Carrick is a third line center type player.

          Really the only player he could possibly be blocking is Colborne and he hasn’t played anywhere near consistently to justify beating out Grabo (I’m actually more encouraged that Colborne played with an injury all year. Explains his drop to nowhere).

          Even if Colborne is ready, he’s more likely going to the third line.

          If you want to talk about players blocking prospects, look to Lombardi/Connoly before Grabo

        • Gambo says:

          I know what you’re saying, he’s a good 2nd line center, but 5 years really takes away a chance for younger guys to come in. You can’t throw young guys straight into the 1st line and some players development will be ruined if they’re forced into a 3rd line role.

          • Steven_Leafs0 says:

            that is a bad reason to give up on Grabo though. Trade or let our guaranteed 2nd line center walk so that MAYBE one of our prospects can earn the spot? If Grabo gets beat out by Colborne and we end up with 3 centers to fill in 2 spots then we can trade one for something we need. Or we can move one of them to the wing.

            San Jose does play quite a few top 6 centers (Thornton, Marleau, Couture, Pavelski) and they do alright up front.

            • reinjosh says:

              Exactly. How many teams just give up younger 50 plus point scorers in teh center spot, centers that give it there all? Not too many. Everyone talks about Pavelski. Guess what, Grabo is basically our Pavelski. He’s the same age, puts up comparable numbers on a worse team (yeah yeah Pavelski scored more, he also had more to work with). We pay more but that’s called inflation.

  5. LN91 says:

    Some days, I just wanna blow it up and guarantee MacKinnon

    But for the most part…Most of our players are still young. So we’re in a horrible position.

    Theoretically, MacKinnon would solve all of our problems and would probably make us contenders in the East in a few years.

    Kessel trade or not, JFJ did a lot of damage to this franchise as well.

    • mojo19 says:

      No question about that.

      • LN91 says:

        In a perfect world…I would sell both Grabovski and MacArthur to the highest bidder. Fully prepared to let Connolly and Lombardi making us suck until we’re dead last and their contracts are done.

        Draft MacKinnon.

        Maybe swap Kadri for Bernier? Guy will never get a shot in Toronto as it appears right now. Same with Bernier in LA.

        Colborne should be ready to play second-line duties in 2013-2014.

        Colborbe/MacKinnon would be a young/inexperienced 1-2 punch…But atleast it’s more promising then what we have now. The wingers around them would be solid though.

    • toronto77 says:

      Not even JFJ, Pat Quinn!!! JFJ was still cleaning up his mess before he was fired. Even though Burke did not want a 5 year rebuild, he had no choice, This team did not have many good players when he got here, and the best prospect arguably was Schenn and maybe Gunnarsson. Reimer and Frattin were undetermined at the time.

  6. jrlakersfan says:

    So can someone help with this. I have looked at center options through trade and without having to give away the farm these are a few that I would consider going after. Please comment to see if these pieces could be a stop gap until we draft size down the middle.

    Stastny, filpula, horcoff,loktinov

    Plus we have colburne coming up and grabo is a good 2nd C

    • LN91 says:

      That entire list sucks. Only guy I would want is Stasny.

      However, I would not do it since Grabovski/Stasny will be a tiny pair….And joshs hope for tiny up the middle and big on the wings does not work. Could he The Leafs into the playoffs…But not far.

      You can have one small center…But not 2.

      • jrlakersfan says:

        K LN91 what is the realistic list of centermen that we can afford. Even looking through the league there are holes a centre on almost every team where are they hiding.

        • Shoelesshobo says:

          Honestly I think Burke is thinking one of two things right now….

          1. Joe Colbourne really tears it up in the pre season and works his way onto the top line.

          2. JVR finds himself playing center. I am not against it but I would much rather us find a natural center.

          Now as per finding someone who is available I still think the best trading partner for the leafs now is the San Jose Sharks. From what I keep hearing the Sharks want to try and run a more fast paced game and have a glut of centers. Of all of them the most available would be the following…

          – Joe Pavelski
          – Patrick Marleau

          Both of which put up respectable numbers this season. While both had a very poor playoff.

          Pavelski would be my first choice as he is much younger than Marleau and would fit with our team easier. But what is the funny thing about him is he is a American and we know how much Burkie likes his Americans. Off the top of my head I could see something being worked out around Clake MacArthur and maybe one of our glut of defenseman. My guess would be Carl Gunnarsson.

          This is the best upgrade I think we will find.

          • Steven_Leafs0 says:

            unfortunately it is true.

            Pavelski is a bit small though (smaller than Stastny actually). Unfortunately our best option is to play with what we have in regards to center and wait for Getzlaf to become UFA (bad plan to wait for a UFA but I cannot see any big 1st line center available).

            The other option is to hope ANA falls again in the standings and trade for Getzlaf near the trade deadline (again bad plan).

          • reinjosh says:

            Both aren’t exactly great options but both could (I stress could) work. JVR was a natural center his entire life until the NHL. Maybe he takes the next step in that spot.

            Colborne took looked unf*Cking real in the first month of the AHL season. Then he suffered a wrist injury and it just went downhill. If it heals he could show that elite talent he showed back in October.

            I’d prefer Marleau. Rumor is tehy want to get rid of him anyway and he’s the big center we could use. He’s more of a scorer but Kessel’s proven he can work with that.

            • Steven_Leafs0 says:

              if we can bag Marleau and not give up the farm to do it then I say go for it. His contract is big but at a 70M cap we can take it on easily, especially for 2 years.

              I dont know if we have the pieces to do it though, their defense is pretty solid.

        • ZillyHoo says:

          Horcoff is getting 5.5m a year, if he was getting 3.5m less I would get him as our third line center and nothing more.

          Stastny is small, but he’s pretty good playmaker however his injury problems makes him Conolly 2.0

          Rest are crap, don’t suggest NHL video game replacements please

      • HABSdomination says:

        Dude, he did say: “center options through trade and without having to give away the farm”

        This means that if you don’t give up a lot, why not go after a guy like Filpula? And you’d want Stastny that bad? The guy breaks like china.

        Let’s face it, the Leafs are doomed! 😉

    • Gambo says:

      None of them can play 1st line center, Stastny maybe.

      I wouldn’t mind Horcoff on the 3rd line, he plays a tough game and has great leadership.

  7. dumbassdoorman says:

    Problem is Burke will not set the team up to fail on purpose, which to a point I respect. I mean you. Her want to send the message that losing is acceptable, but sometimes you have to get worse to get better. For the record I like the McClement signing, I know his -77 was pointed out but he has played on some bar teams too. I really hope Burke is not done and that we come a cross something we did not expect.

    • reinjosh says:

      I can respect it too. I can’t stand losing and I can see why he wouldn’t want to plan to lose. It’s goes against everything in sports. But I get building for the future too. Thankfully it looks like he won’t make a stupid trade that just gets into the playoffs.

  8. mojo19 says:

    Still think we should roll the dice on Mueller. He would have an opportunity to play first line C with Lupul and Kessel here, where else might he get such a good opportunity for his career? 1 year, $1.5 million with bonuses if he stays healthy that could earn him up to $3 million. Could be a great gamble for both sides.

    • reinjosh says:

      I’m really not interested in giving out anything more than a year contract to him. We already have way to many tweener centers or low-end second line centers (Grabo is not one, LN91 be damned).

      A lot of people are almost completely counting out Colborne. I’d like to see what he can do when he’s not injured for almost a full year.

      If Mueller can be a top line player, he can prove it under a one year contract. If not then no harm done.

      But I’m not interested in adding more potential low-end second liners or bottom 6ers for more than the next year.

  9. mojo19 says:

    I’d like to see the Panthers land Luongo, say for Upshall, then move Theodore and Markstrom to us for Kadri, Bozak, and D’Amigo. The Panther’s take on Luongo as their goalie of the next few years, they’re a team in a “win now” kind of mode with guys like Campbell, Jovonovski, addition of Kuba, then you’ve got guys like Kopecky, Weiss, Parros, Fleischmann, Bergenheim etc. All pretty much in the 28-32 age range. They grab a couple younger guys in Kadri and D’Amigo who could be used over the course of the next couple of seasons at good cap hits, and Bozak fills in right now at a good hit.

    The Leafs move two solid prospects and a quality centre who posted 47 points last year, for a stop-gap goalie, and a goalie with a lot of potential. Not sure if Markstrom could be a star, maybe his trade value would be a little higher even though he’s pretty much completely unproven, I’d be willing to upgrade D’Amigo to another prospect.

    • jrlakersfan says:

      love this idea and hopefully buys us some time to find quality not quantity centers I mean one of the 5 we have internally should step up I thought they were getting paid.we drafted well this year but we need to start drafting for team needs or trade best available for our team needs. look at the last few cup winners you either build through draft or get lucky and pick up key pieces when a team changes identity lake LA did. Watch Min to go deep this year if they get parise.

  10. nordiques100 says:

    Another big name gone. Jagr to….Dallas!

    • Gambo says:

      Jamie Benn and Jagr on the same line.. No way the other team will knock them off the puck.

    • mojo19 says:

      I’m liking the look of the stars here, but they have no centre’s..

      Jamie Benn – Derek Roy – Jaromir Jagr
      Louie Eriksson – Vernon Fiddler – Ray Whitney
      Brendan Morrow – Tomas Vincour – Michael Ryder
      Eric Nystrom – Toby Peterson – Tom Wandell

      The Jagr and Whitney signings give them a couple really good veterans on the wing to go along with Louie, Benn, Morrow, and Ryder. They should be able to roll 3 lines really well, except they have no real depth at centre at all.

      They should consider flipping Morrow or Ryder in a deal for a good C or two. The Ott for Roy deal was necessary, but they need to make another.

      • mojo19 says:

        We should see if they wanna kick tires on Connolly, Bozak, Lombardi.

      • Gambo says:

        I thought Benn played center?

        • Shoelesshobo says:

          Some HFBoard Dallas fans want to ship out Morrow. I purpose something around Connolly. He can be their second line C easy.

          • mojo19 says:

            Connolly and Bozak for Morrow, we throw in a mid pick if necessary, they get a couple of guys who can play C, both on expiring contracts, and the money isn’t too far off on either side, especially when you factor in someone has to take Bozak’s place in the line up.

          • reinjosh says:

            Could work. I know Benn’s a natural winger and there are a lot of Dallas fans and bystanders (who like Benn) that think he’d be better on the wing than Center.

            • Shoelesshobo says:

              I would do that deal Mojo assuming Joe Colborne could take over as third C or even first line. I mean then our Centers would look like…


              Could work but I would feel much better if we got a bonafide top 6 center in Pavelski in a different trade. I am not 100% sure Colborne can take over as #1C yet.

              • mojo19 says:

                Don’t get your hopes up on Colborne. I think he’s got some definite skill and I love the size, but he hasn’t shown the type blue-chip prospect ability on a regular basis as of yet. Flashes of it for sure though. He’s gonna be an NHL’er but it could be as a 2nd/3rd line guy. Again, not counting him out, just saying…

                • LN91 says:

                  When asked in a trade, scouts said they would want Gardiner first, Colborne second, Kadri third, and Schenn fourth.

                  Kadri might be a little further in development but Colborne byfar has the most upside since he’s a 6’6, smooth skating and skilled center.

                  And once again centers are the hardest to find.

                  • reinjosh says:

                    Hopefully he can recover from wrist surgery and come out blazing like he did last year. It would be nice to have something go right for us and have a center develop within the organization.

  11. Gambo says:

    Whitney – Nieuwendyk – Jagr

    Can he sign himself? That line would be older than the entire maple leafs team put together.

  12. nordiques100 says:

    Since free agency was a possibility, the leafs have landed 1 top ufa in his prime and that was cujo.

    Roberts, nieuwy, belfour, mogilny, all graybeards.

    And that was all a long time ago.

    In today’s game, the leafs have been behind the 8 ball. First it was meddling owners needing to review every move JFJ made making the team a mockery.

    Then, they give a guy full autonomy and he puts in so many self imposed rules the team is as competitive as roller hockey teams trying to lure NHL talent.

    The franchise seems like it doesnt want to have anyone to be bigger than the logo. They will never be interested in a Crosby or ovey because they can sell themselves.

    It’s pretty hopeless unless they get 1st or 2nd overall picks for years where ovechkin/Malkin kind of talents available with those picks.

  13. lafleur10 says:

    did anyone hear that brett maclean suffered a cardiac emergency last night in owen sound? my thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family brett get well soon !

  14. TimTheBone says:

    13 years 90million offered to suter by Detroit?!?…. I do hate hearing about these stupid contracts all the time….

    It’s stupid for players and for GMs……

    If I’m a ufa player I’m looking for big money on a cup contender or Edmonton like talent laden team for about 4-6 years… I mean the prime objective is to win the cup… If you as the player sign a contract for 13-15 years as a 25 year old ufa (you’d be lucky to be that young as a ufa BTW)… It could be career suicide….. What happens if the team takes a turn for the worst in competitiveness and becomes a perennial bottom feeder… You’re stuck with an immovable contract on a shitty team with no chance at a championship… And you’re only getting older…..


    • mojo19 says:

      You do realize this contract offer came from Detroit right? Or was that just a comment about contract offers in general? I hope so because Detroit is the class of the NHL. Edmonton, although promising, have finished in last or close to it for a while. Detroit is the only team that has been cup contenders for 20 years and people have been saying for 12 years that they are on the decline. We’ll see what happens now that Lidstrom is gone, but they’re still going to be a good team for a while, and they’re the one team I would count on getting it back together in a hurry if they ever do fall off.

      • reinjosh says:

        Yeah Detroit is the class of the NHL but it would be foolish to think they can be perrenial contenders for the next 15 years. Inevitably they will have to go through at least a year or two of serious down years.

        Yeah people have been saying for years that they would decline. Its going to happen sometime. Just look at New Jersey last year. It may not happen for an extended period of time, but it will happen at least once. Lidstrom will be a big loss. Suter could replace him. Maybe not.

        What happens when Datsyuk/Zetterberg leave? Those are big loses too. Holland has done a fantastic job so far but he’s going to really have his job cut out for him in the next few years.

        • TimTheBone says:

          My comment wasn’t about comparing Detroit to Edmonton… It wasnt about saying Detroit is one thing or another…. You missed the point of my comment…. The point is these contracts are stupid for GMs to continue signing… And it shows where players minds are…. I realize there are always exceptions to the rule…. A guy like crosby makes a team more likely to compete than others…. But most players don’t…. My point is when a lot of players sign these contracts the level of play falls… Some more drastic than others… But once a player has signed his motivation for more money and to win seems lost… Players don’t need to worry about performance unless they have the heart to win…. There’s no bonuses or chances for more pay increase…. Some players don’t seem to care anymore… Again there are always exceptions to the rule but my point is plenty evident around the league…. Wade redden is a prime example… He seemed to play much better under the motivation to make more money than to win…. I personally would rather win a cup again and again than make 5 6 7million for 29 years….that’s the way everyone feels before they have these contracts laid in front of them… Some guys seem to change…

          • mojo19 says:

            I got the point of your comment. You missed the point of mine. The point is, Detroit treats their players right, if I were an NHL’er and Detroit offered me a 13-year deal, I would be thinking in the back of my head “what if the team goes down!” Because the Illich’s and Ken Holland are the one tandem out there who would rectify the situation. There’s no safer option than Detroit, and why wouldn’t you want to play your career for an outstanding organization?

            • TimTheBone says:

              I understand the thought process behind that… But if its me… The only thing I’m thinking about is where can I win a cup…. I understand some people would rather the job security and money and that sometimes wins over the chance of winning…. Hossa did it three times before he won… I liked the one years he kept signing… Choosing just any team isn’t guaranteeing a cup.. obviously…. But to me… That’s the only thing is be thinking about…. Everything else is secondary to me….. And it would always be that way for me…. I know not everyone will agree with my thoughts… I just wouldn’t want to handcuff my career accidentally on the chance that the organization does take a turn…. It’s never telling when an organization might recover… No matter who’s in charge…. You just never know and I would hate to be stuck on a 16 year immovable contract when a team does take the turn… If you can be moved its very limiting…..

              That’s just me

    • reinjosh says:

      Long term has its benefits. You get job security and the likely knowledge that you are going to be living in that city for a long time. Both are going to be incredibly important to a player. It makes total sense from that point of view. But you bring up a good point. What happens if that team bombs. Mojo makes a good point about Detroit but not every team can say that. Some teams will have rough periods. You have to take that into account too.

      Teams want to do it too to lock up big stars. YOu get the security of having a core player locked up right. But if they get injured that becomes a huge problem. Or they don’t turn out the way you hoped?

      It’s a risk for sure, but I have to think the benefits can sometimes outweight the risks. I’ve come around a little on long term contracts.

      I still think they represent big risk. What happens when those players are 35 or older and still have 4/5 years left at a massive cap hit? Look at Luongo. Your basically restricting yourself to maybe one or two interested teams. That contract killed the market for him. How much more is that going to happen?

    • blaze says:

      I think it’s going to be a big point of contention on CBA negotiations. Burke will be the most vocal of the GMs pushing for a cap on term on contracts. Doubt the PA would be fond of that.

    • DannyLeafs says:

      I agree with you completely. The people pushing those deals are agents, since they get paid their commission on the full value of the deal signed it means less work and get the money up front.

      Realisticaly players could get paid more, and play for more competitive teams if they went with higher cap hit, shorter term deals.

      Think about it, if Parise wanted say 8.5 million a year for 5-6 years, teams would have paid it. He would be 32-33 when that deal expired, and chances are he could sign another deal for decent money.

      Think of how much money guys like Brodeur, Whitney, Lidstrom, Selanne and even some other not quite as old guys like Iginla and Chara would have left on the table if they had signed those massive term deals comming out of the lock out.

      Whitney signed a 4 year 16 million dollar deal out of the lockout. Imagine if that was a front loaded deal instead. He probably would have gotten 5.5 million for the first few years, but he would be under contract right now for about .5 million and would have been for the past few years. He probably would have made money in a fasion that looks like
      6 6 5.5 5.5 3 2 .5 .5 .5 for about 29.5 for 10 years. But instead, he has made no less than 4 million a year in the last 8 years, and just signed another 2 years worth 9 million total. That’s an extra 12 million over that span at least, or another way to look at an extra 40% or so.

      How about Iginla, had he signed a career ender instead of a 5 year 35 million contract, it would probably have had come with a 12 year term and average cap hit around 5 million (gotta remember the cap was 44 million not 70). So all in all that’s 60 million at best. So instead Jerome makes 35 million. What do you want to bet he makes more than an additional 25 on his next deal? Or possibly next two deals if he goes shorter term. Also, leaving him the flexability to sign whereever he chooses. If the Pens miss out on Parise, they will pony up some big money for Iginla next year and give him a shot at a cup.

      I don’t really need to go into the rest. For elite players that are in the kind of shape that you expect them to play until their late 30’s, they are leaving a lot on the table by taking these mega deals, not to mention flexability.

  15. reinjosh says:

    So apparently Burke made some comment after the JVR trade involving Kadri. Specifically stating how he was going to be looked at to play in the center spot? I guess this comes after he was switched to the center in the AHL playoffs during the Marlie run.

    It’s a little odd how often he gets switched from wing to center and back again.

    And to be clear, this isn’t some defense of him (like some might think). Just commenting on a weird situation.

    • LN91 says:

      I like that idea. Now we can guarantee last place since him and Kessel will be -20 each.

      In all honesty, would not mind him as the second-line Center…Where he can play with Kulemin and Lupul so the unit is better defensively? But Grabovski is there…so once again everything is still messed

      • reinjosh says:

        When Kadri was on the Leafs this year, he was one of the best puck possession players on the team. Isn’t actually as bad at it as some people think.

        And in 51 NHL games he’s only a combined minus 2. Hardly the massive liability he’s made out to be.

        But I don’t think he’s ready to be the top line center. For one he needs to actually play center at the NHL level. Two, I’m not sure he’s fast enough to paly with Kessel.

  16. reinjosh says:

    You know what annoys me? The fact we didn’t sign Mitch Heard to a contract last year. Guy plays great in camp and opens some eyes. Doesn’t get a contract but goes an plays pretty damn well in the OHL> Then gets draft by the Avs. IN THE 2ND ROUND!

    We missed out on a free second round pick. Likely because of the 50 contract limit.

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