Toronto Maple Leafs: Changes are in the offing, GM Dave Nonis says

As Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis wrapped up his season-ending news conference, there was only one player on the roster who received his unwavering support: Phil Kessel.

When he mentioned the names of others — such as pending unrestricted free agent Tyler Bozak and No. 1 goalie James Reimer — there was praise followed by a quick reminder that changes are in the offing.

The issue with Kessel is come July the Leafs will be able to offer their top forward a contract extension. He was asked if he would.

“I think this is the best stretch of hockey Phil Kessel has ever played,” said Nonis. “He’s — in my mind — one of the top players in the league. Would we look to extend Phil? Again, he has a year left on his contract, there is no urgency in getting him signed to an extension.

“Phil Kessel is going to be a good player in this league for a long time. If there is a deal that makes sense for both of us, then no question we’d look to bring him back for an extended period of time.”

As for Kessel’s centre and best friend — Bozak — Nonis was a tad less effusive in his praise.

Bozak tore his oblique muscle at the end of the season and ripped his triceps muscle during a faceoff in Game 5 and was missing for Games 6 and 7. He said he wants to return to Toronto.

What does Nonis think?

239 Responses to Toronto Maple Leafs: Changes are in the offing, GM Dave Nonis says

  1. LN91 says:

    Haha, there goes another thread…

  2. leafs_wallace93 says:

    All that talk for the first half of the season about ditching Phil, even reports of Nonis shopping him. I get worried when Nonis gets an idea in his head. Nonis being a reactionary to the media is a bit of a concern.

  3. mojo19 says:

    How’s the 2nd round going? Haven’t watched a second of hockey since the Leafs were knocked out.

    All I know is that Chicago is going down.

    • leafy says:

      Blackhawks is 7.

      • mojo19 says:

        Everyone was saying 5 or 6 before the beatdown last game. Again, I didn’t see it so I can’t comment too much, but I did see Johan Franzen launch a long wrester over Crawford’s shoulder.

        Maybe if Howard got hurt and it was Gustavsson vs. Crawford it would be a fair fight, and since Chicago has a better roster I would pick them. But with this goaltending matchup how can everyone except a few of us pick against the Red Wings?

        • leafy says:

          Watching this game tonight, Chicago looks to be in deep trouble in this series. Detroit is better in all aspects of the game.

          • mojo19 says:

            No shit.

            Sorry, Chicago is a fine team, but the short season was an illusion. The Red Wings were a lot better than their record said, the Hawks were definitely at least a bit worse.

            Also, once Babcock figures out a team, he’s one of the best in the biz. Wings in 6 was my original prediction, and I stand by it.

  4. leafy says:

    I heard Bozak’s agent is Jerry Maguire and he told Nonis “show me the money”.

  5. leafy says:

    Leafs are gonna buyout Komisarek and Grabovski, and resign Bozak. You heard it here first.

    • mojo19 says:

      Eww. I’d pay the extra Million, mil and a half for Grabo, rather than waste a buyout and bring back that fat little turd, Bozak. Sorry. Bozak is okay, but there are plenty of half decent third liners out there, who could come way cheaper and on a more reasonable term than what Bozak is expecting.

      • leafy says:

        I’m with you on all that, but Grabo’s contract kind of screws up the works. Everyone will use that contract as a negotiation strategy. The only way out of this pickle is to buy him out. Nothing against Grabovski.

        I also have a gut feeling they’ll resign Bozak in order to make sure his buddy Kessel signs an extension.

        • mojo19 says:

          I like the logic, Leafy. You could be right.

          I think Liles is in on the outs with Carlyle, I believe he’ll be the 2nd buyout.

          • leafy says:

            Yeah Liles is the other guy. He used to put up fairly good numbers, but can’t do that any more. Still, if the Leafs can’t upgrade with someone clearly better, I’d rather just keep him. But if Carlyle makes the call, he’s gone.

            • blaze says:

              I agree no point rushing to buy out. Even a semi bounce back season makes Liles tradable.

              I want the playoffs next season, period. Liles though not nearly as effective as pre-concussion is still an NHL defender and could be needed espcially of Gardiner suffered an injury.

  6. leafy says:

    Glad Bryan Colangelo is getting the boot. What a terrible GM he turned out to be.

  7. nordiques100 says:

    So the Avs will be hiring Patrick Roy to coach them.

    I wonder if he can play D because they are brutal on the blueline.

    Seth Jones will help, should they make him the No. 1 overall pick, which they should.

    I think they should trade Erik Johnson. He has not worked out for them. I am sure some team will take a chance. Like Philly for example.

    The Flyers could move their lottery pick for Johnson as they have a pressing need on D. The Avs should make way for Jones whom they can build around.

    Stastny may go for help on the wings maybe. They have Duchene and O’Reilly to lead the charge up the middle.

    The organization should try and gain some depth, and they could do that trading Johnson and Stastny.

    They have lots of cap space. Another Parenteau like signing would be huge for them. They finally have a hockey guy running things rather than letting Greg Sherman run them into the ground.

    • blaze says:

      Am I the only one that things Colorado might actually surprise and take MacKinnon? I’d take MacKinnon and trade Stastny for D help now.

      • DannyLeafs says:

        It would be surprising given their need, and I really think it’s hard to pass up Jones, but I can see the logic in not going with a defensemen first overall. Defensemen are so much harder to project. Scouts still don’t have it down like they do forwards. If history is any indicator, its unlikely that the first defensemen chosen in the draft will turn out to be the best one. Most years the first defensemen chosen turns out to be a disappointment to some extent. Whether its because they are a real bust, because the forward taken right after them is much better, or because there were a handful of better defensemen taken much later.

        This isn’t to say that Jones won’t be a great defensmen, just pointing out how hard it is to predict.

  8. nordiques100 says:

    Looking at a couple cap situations, the Blackhawks could be one team aiming to rearrange their cap in the off-season.

    They will probably have around 5 mil in cap space going into the summer.

    They will need to re-sign Kruger and Leddy plus add a backup goalie and replace or re-sign Stalberg, Bickell, Roszival and Emery.

    Their lineup includes:




    They may turn the roster over to kids like Hayes, Pirri, Olsen and Leblanc.

    But, I believe they will want to create some cap relief.

    A couple of candidates are Bolland and Hjalmarsson. Both will be UFAs in 2014 and make a combined approx 7 mil.

    IMO both would be a couple of welcome additions to the Leafs. Sure, they’d add to the list of players Toronto would need to re-sign that includes Reimer, Dion and Kessel, but these are two very good, useful, experienced, but still young support players who would add strong depth to the Leafs.

  9. blaze says:

    Woah anyone see rookie Nyquist undress the demi-god Brent Seabrook.

    Imagine that, top defenseman sometimes make bad plays.

  10. nordiques100 says:

    Looks like a possibility Komarov could return to Europe to play next season.

    Big test for Nonis to see if he can keep him around, plus at a affordable rate given he is at best a 3rd line grinder.

    He’d be missed. He gave Toronto an edge. He helped the PK. He provided energy and physicality.

    • mapleleafsfan says:

      Bad news, I like Komarov. Hopefully something reasonable can be worked out. He’s not worth big money by any means but he played his role well.

    • blaze says:

      Boyd Gordon. Won’t replace the hits and agitation but more effective PKer and would be the teams face off ace.

      • nordiques100 says:

        They have McClement as the 4th line guy. Prob want someone who can play more like a Bolland being the 3rd line centre.

        Komarov very unique. With him being a real pain in the neck. That what Toronto needs most out of him. The PK stuff is fine, but they’d really really miss the grit.

        • Gambo says:

          I think McClement could move up to be a 3rd line center. Komarov was a huge addition, hopefully he can stay.

        • blaze says:

          Ya but McClement isnt that great in the dot. Gordon could play on McClements wing or vice verca with one of the knuckle chuckers.

          I completely believe over 82 games if the Leafs PK doesn’t remain top notch and if they don’t improve in face offs they won’t make the playoffs.

          Every knows how unsustainably high Torontos shooting % was so the playoffs are far from a slam dunk.

    • leafy says:

      Komarov was one of the unsung heroes. It would hurt to lose him.

  11. mapleleafsfan says:

    LOL @ Healy saying Datsyuk gets by because he is a hard worker. Is there really a more skilled guy in the league?

    The CBC crew is such a bunch of hacks.

    • leafy says:

      Can’t stand Glenn Healy. He is such a bone head.

    • mojo19 says:

      There’s no one in hockey I hate more than Healy.

      Having said that, Pavol Datsyuk is said to have the hardest work ethic in the league. There’s that story of him and Zetterberg hitting the weight room at night after getting off the plane, after a road trip. Datsyuk is highly skilled, but is also a machine.

  12. blaze says:

    Id be concerned buying Grabo. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not that big into stats but Kadris shooting % is going to go down next season, it’s guaranteed.

    So to expect Kadri to not only maintain his pace but remain effective in an increased role. I’m a big Kadri fan but expecting that and letting Bozak watch would be season suicide.

    Bozak is re-signed unless he is replaced.

    I know not everyone agrees but Kadri – Grabovski – Colborne – McClement down the middle I just don’t think would make the playoffs.

    • leafs_wallace93 says:

      Exactly, I don’t see why everyone subscribes to the idea that Bozak/Garbo aren’t ideal so let them walk in favor of just winging it.

    • toronto77 says:

      I think Colborne has to be put into the line up, it’s time to see what he’s got and he can be paired with a player that he is very familiar with in Matt Frattin and maybe D’Amigo finally makes the team.

      I don’t see how losing Bozak will be such a big difference that the leafs will miss the playoffs next season.

      Kadri had great chemistry with Kessel at times when they played in the playoffs.

      Kadri long term will be way better than Bozak! He is faster, more feistier and takes the puck to the net. Kadri may end up being a better partner for Kessel then Bozak will ever be.

      I hope to God Komarov stays here! He is one of those character players that helps you go deep into the playoffs. The great thing about him is that he is probably the only agitator in the entire NHL that does not retaliate. Draws penalties but doesn’t take any, and he does it in a non coward manner. Smart smart player.

      Next season lineup:


      • mojo19 says:

        Colborne was better in two games of those playoffs than anything Bozak showed (except that sweet short-handed goal, but one awesome play aside he was pretty average.)

        Joe Colborne (23) and Nazem Kadri (22) still have upside, Tyler Bozak (27) is what he is. I really don’t see any reason to re-sign this guy and take ice-time away from guys who could potentially bring us to another level. Bozak doesn’t really bring anything to the table.

        He’s played the bulk of the last two years centring a top 10 league scorer in Kessel and he’s managed to adequately put up about half a point a game. McClement, or any other 3rd line centre in hockey could accomplish that. He’s too small and weak on the puck and gets worked in the corners, leading to quick turnovers and an inability for our top line to sustain any pressure.

        I’d rather just put Colborne out there as at least he’s shown signs of an ability to cycle, which will never be a facet of Bozak’s game. Puck possession plagued the Leafs all year, if we re-sign Bozak its spinning tires, we need to move forward. We need to give opportunities to players who could potentially bring the team to the next level, or else we need to bring in other players.

        Tyler Bozak does not fit into the plans. He’s a plug.

  13. leafy says:

    NY Rangers are on the brink of elimination. Down 3-0 in the series and can be swept aside by Boston on Thursday.

    Is it possible the Leafs are a better team than we thought?

    • mojo19 says:

      I definitely think so. It’s too bad we didn’t win the last game of the year against the habs, because we would’ve downed them in the 1st round, meanwhile the Sens would’ve been torn apart by Boston.

      We’d be facing Boston right now, and Pittsburgh would be facing New York. Ah well, Pittsburgh should come out of the East anyway.

    • toronto77 says:

      I told everyone the winner of Tor v.s Bos would go to the conference finals because neither one of NYR or Wash stands a chance against Tor or Bos right now.

      I want Boston to go to the finals because it looks more respectable losing out to a team that went that far.

  14. Gambo says:

    So I ran into both Dany Heatley and James Reimer today. Heatley at Costco and Reimer at Wendy’s haha. Heatley looked like he’s added a few pounds, but hey, he’s a fucking all star.

  15. kessel_leafs81 says:

    can somebody please explain to me the amnesty buyouts or whatever? like how many you get, what years and what using one means?

    • leafs_wallace93 says:

      Each team has two, they can use them this summer and/or next.

      Buyouts means you pay 2/3 of the overall contract and end the contract.

      So we bought out Tucker and 2/3 of his contract counted against our cap hit.

      With amnesty buyouts teams have two instances when the buyouts won’t count against the cap.

  16. leafs_wallace93 says:

    Koromov might being going back to the KHL according to that fat dude on hockeybuzz.

  17. 93killer93 says:

    Apparently Burmistrov wants out of Winnipeg. Does anyone think we should take a chance on him. 6’1” centre, and he only turns 22 this October.

    • Gambo says:

      I don’t think the leafs should, but I think the Flames should. He has tremendous talent and protects the puck well from what I’ve seen. Never really given much more than a 3rd line role in the Peg though.

  18. Gambo says:

    I was never a fan of the Leafs acquiring Stastny, but i’m leaning towards the idea of it now. He lit it up at the world championship where he played 1st line. He’d have 2 of 3 great wingers in Kessel, Lupul or JVR in Toronto while centering the 1st line. He is pretty good in faceoffs at 52.4%. And he’s around the age of our core players(27).

    His cap hit is pretty large, but that’s not really an issue for the team right now. I think he could easily return to being a 70+ point player playing on our 1st line.

    Colorado wants scoring wingers and defensemen. I can see the Avs wanting Gunnarsson, but that would likely not be enough. Stastny’s value can’t be too high right now though.

    • leafs_wallace93 says:

      The problem with playing Statsny with Phil, Joffrey and JVR is that they can all skate and Paul is too slow.

      • mojo19 says:

        I have no problem with a slow centre. Our problem isn’t speed on the rush, it’s maintaining pressure and developing a cycle. This is another reason why Bozo has to go. Stastny would be help out here.

        • nordiques100 says:

          I think the key things a centre who is going to play with any of those 3 wingers, they have to a) win draws, the puck possession for that line is key, b) be adequate defensively, as Kessel and Lupul aren’t really and c) can keep up with them skill wise.

          Stastny hasn’t the greatest speed but has skill. Not too keen on his defensive skills but he wins draws.

          The options are few and far between sadly.

          I just don’t know if Nonis would trade young assets for a potential rental and at that cap hit of 6.6 mil.

  19. nordiques100 says:

    While AV had to go, I still think Vancouver fired the wrong guy, or at least didn’t fire enough guys.

    Pressure on Gillis now.

    He needs to figure out how to get his team some cap space. He’s got maybe a million bucks to spend with 5-6 roster spots to fill? That is going to be painful.

    Safe to say Keith Ballard will be the first compliance buyout. Will Lou be the other? Gillis has to be open minded about the Lou situation. He can’t just stick to a trade that brings young assets and the other team has to take on the entire contract.

    I guess the money thing, that’s up to ownership, but the organization then has to have some open mindedness to the situation.

    They will likely have to eat a significant amount of contract. That won’t help the cap issue so that’s probably what Gillis is most concerned with.

    In that case, a buyout is a necessity. Either way, it has to be Schnieder’s team going forward. That’s the bed they’ve made and so they got to sleep in it.

    If Lou isn’t bought out, their 2nd buyout could be David Booth. He has all the tools teams look for in a top 6 winger. Good size, good speed, with skill and finish. But he can’t stay healthy.

    If they don’t buy out Booth, they could also find a home for one of their top 4 D. Hamhuis and Edler are probably safe. I don’t think Garrison teams will touch with that contract thus leaving Bieska as the person on the outs. He has 3 years left at 4.6 mil. He could help a lot of teams.

    He is a lesser version of Dion, Nik Kronvall kind of Dman. A guy who can hit, play physical, but provide offence too and log a ton of minutes. He isn’t as good offensively. Some teams though will take a chance at that.

    It will be interesting to see what Gillis can come up with. He has a big ego and so I wonder how many GMs he has rubbed the wrong way and thus have no sympathy for him and his cap plight.

    I think with him staying, its safe to assume the main core of the Sedins, Kesler, Edler, Hamhuis and Schnieder will be going nowhere. The twins though are just signed for one more year so it will be an interesting thing to watch to see how much cap space he can clear up and if they can get them re-signed.

    As for AV, he’ll get another job for sure.

    Phoenix may need a new coach should Tippett not return. Colorado needs a new coach (may be Roy though). I think Edmonton should make a coaching change. SJ may let McLellan go should they lose in this 2nd round. I wonder if Queneville will be moved out? And in the east, Torts is done, I thought Noel should have been let go and same with Laviolette.

    And with AV out there with Ruff, Boucher, Maurice, Jacques Martin, Eakins, Roy among the names out there, there is no shortage.

    • mojo19 says:

      Nice work, Nords. In my opinion, no chance Luongo is bought out. It would cost about $30 million to do so. Ballard, Booth, Bieksa, all these guys are on the chopping block.

      As an aside, I would never call Kronwall a “lesser Dion” they’re pretty comparable. I would argue Nik is better. No knock on Phaneuf, Kronwall is amazing. Bieksa is the least of the 3 hands down, though he is very good.

      • nordiques100 says:

        I said Bieska was the lesser Dion. Kronvall and Dion are at a similar level and Bieska the next level down.

        • mojo19 says:

          Ya, I’m with you. Would you want the Leafs to take advantage of the Canucks cap situation? I like Booth. Bieksa would definitely help.

          • nordiques100 says:

            Again, i think dealing with Gillis is pointless. He’ll only ask Toronto for the world, anyone else he’d be reasonable.

            His feelings against Nonis are personal. Its a poisonous relationship I think perhaps as bad as Sergio/Tiger. As much as Bieska I think would help, I don’t see anything happening between those two franchises.

    • mojo19 says:

      I would take a run at Bieksa. Gritty player.

  20. nordiques100 says:

    The only possible centre I see that fits what Nonis wants in that he has the potential to be a no. 1, no worse than a good no. 2, is young and can grow with the nucleus of players currently with the team and is controllable contractually is, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

    The only problem is that Nonis would have to trade a significant asset or two to acquire him. I think though he doesn’t have a problem or wouldnt have a problem doing that. I think trading 1 or 2 young assets for a rental or older player isn’t what Nonis is looking for.

    I think Nonis would love to get a Lupul type player who is around his mid 20s, has a heftier deal in place and a team is looking to get rid of and he’d provide this player with a “second chance” as Toronto did with Lupul. And, he’d be ok giving up a older player to do it. But, I think that was lightning in a bottle that deal that Burke made with Anaheim.

    So, that would have to leave parting with Gardiner, Reilly perhaps their 1st too or other young assets to get a player to fit that coveted no. 1 centre position.

    I think Nonis would be ok to sign a Stastny, or even a Thornton or Pavelski, but they are a year away from free agency. I think throwing around that cash, to a Bozak, or a Stephen Weiss or Ribiero would be counter productive.

    I think maybe 3-3.5 mil for Bozak is fine, but if he is starting to look for Grabovski, Plekanec, Zajac money, which i suspect he is, then I am ok to see Bozak walk.

    This brings me back to RNH.

    RNH is a former 1st overall pick. He is a highly skilled, top notch pivot who is still growing as a player and still needs growth to his game. But, he has proven so far he can put up some points. Last season was a disaster for him, but his potential is high.

    I am not exactly sure the value. No. 1 overall picks are worth a ton, former or current, and its possible the Oilers instead part with some of their other high picks like Gagner or perhaps Nail.

    But I am really intrigued by RNH. Would you trade Gardiner + for him?

    That plus would be the big questionmark, but I am certain Reilly or Gardiner would have to go the other way. The Leafs 1st rounder, the 21st pick, is simply not enough and neither would be packaging anything else Toronto has save for Kadri, who is going nowhere, or any of their core young vets.

    And no, the Oilers will not trade RNH for Dion, a player with a high contract and not signed long term. The return for Edmonton would have to be a long term solution for them and a key piece to add to their current nucleus that could be with them the next 5, perhaps 10 years.

    Gardiner is that piece. I know, he had a terrific playoff and showed a ton of what he can do. He showed that in his rookie season too. But, the team has Reilly, a player with a similar skill set.

    He isn’t ready yet obviously. Reilly is still eligible to play Junior next year and will likely do so, plus see action again at the WJC. So, its likely he won’t help Toronto next season and the D already currently has holes in the lineup with Gardiner.

    But, RNH is a special guy. While he and Kadri would leave a huge hole in terms of faceoffs since they are two of the worst, not many teams would be able to match that kind of talent and skill up the middle.

    It would mean Nonis too needing to do follow up moves, to shore up the D and to add a valuable centre to fill the 3rd slot, a guy who can play a lot and win draws and be more than just a PK guy like a Boyd Gordon.

    So maybe something like RNH for Gardiner, Biggs and a future 2nd rounder.

    Is that a lot? yes, but again, RNH was a 1st overall pick just 2 years ago. He is still only 20. His potential is skies the limit. You’d have to give up something to get something. I’d even go as far to say that may not even be enough for MacT to accept.

    But, Gardiner though, is a special player in his own right. He partnered with Justin Schultz at Wisconsin for 2 seasons. The Oilers biggest need may be defence. Its definitely defence looking at what they have.

    They have some interesting players coming up, but Gardiner could be a stud for them. He could definitely give them another guy who can push the tempo there to mesh with their young nucleus of forwards.

    He could for sure help Schultz too. The other assets would just add further depth to Edmonton. Biggs would be someone the Oilers just don’t really have. A big power winger. He’d be a nice change of pace to what they have now.

    RNH though is an upgrade on Bozak. He’s the kind of player Nonis wants. He doesn’t seem to want older players. Imagine RNH with Kessel. That’s some kind of combination.

    He is small, and still growing, literally and figuratively, but what a one-two punch with him and Kadri.

    I’d try and follow that up getting a guy like David Bolland to be the team’s 3rd centre. He could be a contract the Hawks try to move.

    So, your centers would be RNH, Kadri, Bolland and McClement. Colborne would be someone who could step in. They would perhaps need to find another additional depth too.

    • leafmeister says:

      I’d do it, but I don’t know if Edmonton would part with one of their precious headlining teenagers.

      Nonis should be careful with any Gardiner trade, but I would not be angry if he traded him to get a long term solution to the center issue.

      • nordiques100 says:

        Ya, i think they may explore moving Gagner first, but I dont know, He’s put up some points but I don’t know if he’d spike as much interest in a team to give up a high end commodity as say RNH would.

    • mapleleafsfan says:

      I wish we could get without giving haha.

      I’d love RNH. Only problem is RNH + Kessel is soft as butter. Insanely talented, but really soft.

      I just love when Gardiner is on his game. He looks like Karlsson out there (relax: not at the same level), the way he slows the game down and controls the play. As his confidence grew in the playoffs he was regularly the best player on the ice.

      I have to admit I haven’t seen Reily play outside of WJC and a few AHL games. Does he control the play the same way Gardiner does? If not, I’d probably look to move Reilly before Gardiner.

      Who knows, maybe MacT will be a brutal GM and get fleeced big time for one of the big 4. That said, I’m not interested in spending assets for any of the big 4 other than RNH.

      • toronto77 says:

        I think that’s why Boston brought in Krug for the second round. Boston was better than Toronto in a lot of ways and the leafs do not have a d-man like Chara, but one thing that the leafs did have that Boston did not was the puck moving d-man in Gardiner.

        All of Boston’s d-men are pretty similar with that stay at home strong play and all shoot from the point. Krug adds a different element and already has 3 goals.

        I like Kadri as the no.1 centre better then RNH. RNH may be a better overall player but not by much, and don’t be fooled by more high end talent. Just because RNH will be a more better player than Kadri doesn’t mean he will have more success as the no.1 centre for the leafs than Kadri. Chemistry is more important, and Kadri has seemed to find a bit of that with Kessel.

        Even though RNH is a former 1st overall pick, I think he is nothing better than 2nd line centre. Reason is he lacks that feistiness to his game that most no.1 centre have like Crosby, Thornton, Zetterberg, Toews, Tavares, Stamkos etc…

        Kadri may not be as good as RNH but he is a lot more physical. Did you see Kadri play against Chara in the playoffs? no fear what so ever, he even took a few runs at him and I think managed to knock him to his knees once. Kadri’s talent compared to Bozak’s alone is enough to open up more space for Kessel, If Kadri continues to crash the net than Chara will have to divide his attention to both of them.

        Back to RNH, he needs really physical wingers to be successful, the same reason that Kessel needs more physical line mates for him to be successful.

    • mojo19 says:

      Love the idea of targeting RNH.

      I don’t know how much trade a value a 1st rounder would be to the Oilers. They’re looking for immediate help.

      Edmonton would be looking to bring back a dman: Franson, Gunnarsson, Gardiner, Phaneuf as part of a larger package.

      Unfortunately, I fear they’d be more prone to hold onto RNH, as centres are the rarest commodity. I think they’ll be able to shop Eberle and Yakupov, and parlay one of them into the coveted defenceman.

  21. nordiques100 says:

    Brad Richards appears to be a healthy scratch for the Rangers tonight. Wow. Torts is officially done.

    • leafy says:

      The entire Rangers team sucks in this series. They can’t create any scoring chances whatsoever.

      • nordiques100 says:

        their roster has the ability to play like Toronto did.

        Its a product of their coach. He couldnt adapt the style. The style the Leafs we saw was successful against Boston.

        I’ve said it before too, the team that gives the Bruins the most trouble over the years, no matter if they’ve sucked or not, has been Montreal. Their trademark has been speed speed speed. The Bruins are a great team but aren’t the fastest or most mobile.

        All they had to do was use their speed. Hagelin, Stepan, Callahan, Nash, their D with MDZ, McDonagh, how many mobile players do they have? plenty. HOw have they been used? poorly.

        I wonder if the Rags take Eakins. He’d be a great fit I think. He’d have them playing agressively. There is too much skill and speed and talent on that team to be absolutely horrible scoring goals. Or as you said, create chances even. Like thats just mind boggling how absolutely terrible they are at it.

  22. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    Vancouver needs cap relief.
    Washington has to make some changes and would like to re-sign Ribeiro apparently…Ribeiro, Backstrom, Laich…a lot of money tied up down the middle.
    The Leafs need centre help.

    Arguments about Dion’s value aside…Is he not EXACTLY what Washington needs? Or Edmomton for that matter.

    How about a three way deal with Toronto, Washington, Vancouver.

    To Washington
    Phaneuf, D’Amigo, Tor 2013 2nd
    To Vancouver
    Gunnarsson, Caps 2013 1st
    To Toronto
    Bieksa, Laich, Ward(moved for caps to make room for Ribeiro)

    Washington gets a hard hitting, big D-man that can still move the puck and play PP and Pk that they lack, a young inexpensive 3rd line winger and a decent pick.

    Vancouver gets a capable defenceman for half the price of Bieksa and another 1st rounder.

    Toronto gets a top pairing, right handed D-man to play with Gardiner, A strong #2 centre and a physical(yet overpaid) third line winger.

    Should the Leafs make a move for a centre, or try to re-sign Bozak(not a fan of doing that) I think the perfect destination for Grabo would be Dallas. Dallas has tons of cap space and virtually no one to play centre.
    Maybe something like ….Rome and a 2nd for Grabo.

  23. LN91 says:

    I kind of want to see Brad Richards with Randy Carlyle…1 year contract?

    • realistic_leafs_fan says:

      I don’t think NYR is buying him out. I think he will get a new lease on life with a new coach next year.

    • nordiques100 says:

      It will cost I think NY 25 million to buy him out. And it will be a cap hit off the books.

      I think he’d still want a multi year deal. If a one year pact, it would be probably still a high amount, over 5 mil, perhaps 6. Tim Connolly got what almost 10 mil over 2 years? So my guess is Richards would want something high.

      Nonis on the flip side is probably more apt to think of something more long term.

      I think Richards still has game. If they were going to spend 5 mil on Bozak, i’d sign Richards instead.

      And I’d rather have him over a short term, but multi year deal. like 16 mil over 3 years. Something like that. I think he’d be a worthy acquisition.

      Its not a back breaking, cap busting deal. Its rich, but he’s a good player. in 11 seasons he’s played 70 or more games, 10 seasons with 20 goals at least.

      I think playing with Kessel, a very very underrated playmaker, I think Richards would have to think shooting. He is not without scoring ability. He has more finish than Bozak.

      I’d be aggressive to acquire him via free agency. I think he’d be a surprising and very smart upgrade. I’d have him over Bozak any day. Over Stastny too. and definitely more than any of those other UFAs that are much like Bozak.

      Sure, Richards isn’t the guy from the Tampa years, but he is still a very very good player. 91 points 2 years ago for Dallas.

      • Gambo says:

        I have my doubts with Richards. If he couldn’t produce with wingers like Gaborik or Nash, what makes it any different with Kessel? It might be Torts, it might not be. While saying that, I would still take a chance short term with him for I believe, like Stastny, he is still capable to produce at a 70+ point rate.

        • nordiques100 says:

          The big problem with Gaborik was him and the coach hated eachother. it was poisonous. That is going to erode confidence.

          They did fare ok together the 1st year they played in NY, it was just this year their play together eroded, and again, IMO due to Torts.

          Nash, well his issue was he played on the periphery. He didn’t get into the dirty areas. At least like one should with that kind of size.

          Torts too likes the blender too much. Much like Wilson too.

          Despite all the issues, for the most part, especially down the stretch, Kessel, Bozak, JVR played together. This even after when Lupul appeared on that line for an odd shift and scored, Carlyle stuck with the set unit. Let them work it out.

          Kessel is a different player. He too is a peripheral guy, but JVR is not. Neither is Lupul if he joins that line.

          Kessel too is a premier playmaker. I think its one of the most underrated parts of his game.

          I don’t see Kessel as predictable as Nash or Gaborik are. If Nash decided to say hey, i want to drive defences nuts and go to the net every play, I don’t think he’d be stopped and Richards would have racked up the points. But Nash, as a Ranger he has shied away from contact a lot.

          Gaborik was in the doghouse day 1. He is a guy who needs to be coddled, not ridden to death. Gaborik was turned into a robot by Torts, or at least thats what Torts wants from all his guys. No creativity.

          I think Carlyle has way more give in that and all he ask is to work hard in your own zone and not cheat the team there.

          • leafmeister says:

            I cannot wait to see what Kessel can do with a player who can score half as well as he can. I think he has a scoring title in him somewhere down the line.

      • leafy says:

        He’s kind of like Jason Allison when he came to the Leafs. Numbers in decline and slow, but still can be a useful player.

        • nordiques100 says:

          I don’t think Richards is slow. Its the pace the Rangers play at that’s slow.

          He has good quickness and a great release. You’d probably see a different Richards if he were a Leaf.

          If Carlyle maintained the need for speed style of play, then I think that would be a big boost for the player. But its all hearsay at this point. He’s still a Rag.

    • mojo19 says:

      Someone will give Richards 3 or 4 years, he won’t even look at a 1 year contract. Unless he has his heart set somewhere and pulls a Marion Hossa, circa 2009.

  24. Gambo says:

    If Toronto loses Bozak, Carlyle is going to need a center that he isn’t afraid to use in all situations. He had that in Anaheim with Getzlaf, last year he used Bozak in all situations.

    McClement does wonders defensively, but can’t be used for offensive situations. Kadri does wonders offensively, but can’t be used defensively. Grabovski can’t be used in all situations with Carlyle like he was with Wilson. Colborne doesn’t have enough experience to be the go to guy in all situations. Bozak was the guy he used for everything, but he isn’t a 5 million dollar player, so he’s probably got to go.

    Who will be Carlyle’s next go to guy?

    • toronto77 says:

      I think Grabo is the next go to guy. He is their best well rounded centre men, he is as defensively responsible as McClement and moves the puck well and crashes the net. Even though he didn’t get a single point in the playoffs, he played amazing in all sides of the rink. He and Kulemin are great together. He’s not that great at face-offs but if Bozak goes I think Grabo is the next go to guy.

      • mojo19 says:

        Grabo is not nearly as responsible defensively as McClement. Give your head a shake. Grabo is pretty tenacious in his own end, and a fairly aware back checker, but not even close.

    • mojo19 says:

      Bozak was the go-to guy out of necessity, for the reasons and breakdown you made of the others. Bozak is pretty good in all area’s. Jack of all trades, master of none, as most quality 3rd line centres in the league are.

      I would be happy to let Bozak walk in favour or Manny Malholtra, a more aware defensive centre, and one of a handful of centres in the league who is better than Bozak on draws. As for Bozak’s offensive side – again, he’s played the bulk of back to back years on a line with Kessel, a top 10 scorer each season, and he’s managed a measly 1/2 point a game. People need to realize that Bozak is adequate offensively, but if you put any Justin Abdelkaeder or Matt Cullen in his situation the results would probably be pretty compatible.

      • mojo19 says:

        So, back to Toronto77’s point. Grabo had a bad year because he was playing in around 14 minutes on most nights. It’s difficult to get involved in the games and play well when you’re not getting the opportunities. In the playoffs, we saw his ice-time increase and we saw a lot more intensity out of Grabo.

        I agree with Toronto77, if we dumped Bozak and gave Grabo more responsibility and ice-time we would see more production from him. He’s capable of playing in more situations, making Bozak even more obsolete. Besides, I’d like to see increased ice time and opportunities for Kadri and Colborne as well. Bozak really doesn’t bring much to the table besides draws and adequacy. Not good enough.

  25. Gambo says:

    So Toronto has Jake Gardiner who has the potential to be a Kris Letang, they have Morgan Rielly who has the potential to be an Eric Karlsson, Stu Percy who is compared to Paul Martin, Matt Finn who I’ve read to be compared to players like John Carlson or Dan Girardi.

    Totally random, but it gets me really excited to read these comparisons of what could be. Though chances are only 3 of them even play in the NHL, 2 of them become impact players and 1 of them reach their true potential. But still, having a Kris Letang or Eric Karlsson would be pretty awesome.

    • leafs_wallace93 says:

      If Morgan Reilly becomes a franchise blueliner it’ll shame this organization for not letting Burke stay on in an advisory role. That pick took balls given how sorely we needed help up front. I for one roasted Burke for it but it looks like it was the right decision. Maybe Burke wasn’t full of complete bs when he said he would have taken Reilly even if he had the 1st overall pick (maybe).

      • DannyLeafs says:

        Taking a defensemen high always seems ballsy, hard to predict, that being said I like picking the most talented D over taking the most dominate. When we look at most successful D picks, they are usually super talented guys like Doughty, Pietrangelo, Karlsson, Ekman-Larsson etc, a lot of bigger dominate defensemen like Hedman, Johnson, Myers, Schenn and the like end up being a little disappointing (given how high they were picked).

        So I am glad that if we are taking a Defensemen so high, it was the guy with the highest skill level available. I have read a couple of re-rankings since the draft that had Rielly rated in the top three if they were to re-draft, and Craig Button (He is sometimes pretty out there though, so take it for what it’s worth) had him ranked #1 if they were to re do the draft now (or a few months ago when I read it).

  26. nordiques100 says:

    So Pat Roy is now a NHL Head Coach. And lucky for him, he has say in personnel decisions. His defence is going to need help.

    Seth Jones, automatic. He will be good I think. He may step in right away. Most 1st overalls do. They better pick him first IMO.

    But who’s the rest of their D? Well, there is $16 million allocated to:

    Erik Johnson – definitely not lived up to expectations. My guess is he is offered up in trade. What a bad deal to move Stewart and Shattenkirk for him.

    Jan Hejda – He’s a no. 4 or no. 5 D making over 3 mil. He provides zero offence. He is pretty solid in his own zone, but while big, he isn’t physical.

    Greg Zanon – He’s a spare part on most teams and he’s making over 2 mil. Waste.

    Ryan Wilson – The Avs actually missed him. He can move the puck ok and work lots of minutes.

    Shane O’Brien – He is a thug. Nothing more than a 6th or 7th depth Dman.
    Matt Hunwick – Another depth Dman.

    Tyson Barrie – Their most prolific offensive Dman with 13 points and a -16 in 32 games. He will probably be better when there is better talent around him.

    Even a team like Toronto, who does need help on defence, has a infinitely better D than that.

    This was a team that had Rob Blake, Ray Bourque and Adam Foote patrolling their blueline. They will need to get back some talent back there big time if they want to advance.

    I don’t think they are that far away from being good. Varlamov is not bad, could stand to be more consistent and Giguere is a great backup/mentor.

    Their forwards are likeable. O’Reilly, Stastny and Duchene, hard to rival that kind of depth at centre. Landeskog shouldn’t be captain. I wonder if Sakic or Roy change that. But he is a great winger or will be great. Parenteau was a great pickup. And McGinn has all the tools, just needs to fix between the ears.

    They could use more forward depth especially on the wings, but really, if they rebuild their D properly, they could go places. Their new division will be tough, with the 3 California teams added, but they could easily leap the Flames, Oilers, Coyotes and perhaps even the Canucks with the right moves.

    Stastny and David Jones could be cut to increase cap space and perhaps be used to get wing assets. Their prospect are rather ordinary. A lot will depend on how quickly JOey Hishon develops after missing so much time due to concussions. He’s the only one really with some high end skill.

    Will be real interesting to see how St Patrick reacts at this level. Its a whole new ballgame here.

    • leafs_wallace93 says:

      I made this mistake thinking Hedman should have been picked over Tavares (at the time of the draft) but consider 1st overall defensemen….

      Roman Hamrlik
      Ed Jovonovski
      Bryan Berard
      Chris Phillips
      Erik Johnson

      That’s ugly.

      • nordiques100 says:

        Ya true, track history isn’t great.

        But, I think they have to go on need. And not much separating Jones vs McKinnon in terms of Talent.

        Its different than last year. Edmonton based on need should have taken Ryan Murray, but no way they could pass on Nail Yakubov, the obvious 1st choice.

        Tambo didnt have any balls to move the pick and move down to get Murray. Or another Dman for that matter in a D heavy draft.

      • mojo19 says:

        I would never take a dman 1st overall. Fwds are easiest to gage. As the draft unfolds, more steady dmen can be found later in the draft, and goalies are generally the toughest to figure out. Makes sense as D and goaltending positions are least evolved for 18 year old players.

        • leafs_wallace93 says:

          I remember watching the draft when I was a kid and buying all the TSN propaganda (well self promotion of pseudo scouts) and being jealously of the Kings taking Aki Berg third overall and getting excited over Jeff Ware. TV made me dumb.

    • DannyLeafs says:

      I was thinking about Johnson being moved basically based on not living up to expectations. I was actually thinking that the Leafs should kick tires if the price is reasonable. Leafs could use another top 4 guy, and not having to be the #1 he could be a good guy for that role.

      • mojo19 says:

        With Gardiner and Rielly in the mix, I’d rather trade up and go for a Centre. That’s always been the most pressing need.

        If we stick where we are and pick around 20th or whatever I still think we could get a pretty decent prospect, based on what I’ve read and looking at the talent that’s out there.

  27. nordiques100 says:

    Brian Burke looks to be out as Team USA GM for Sochi.

    I bet they go with team Pittsburgh and have Ray Shero GM and Dan Bylsma as coach.

    The Yanks are one of the favorites going in IMO.

    Goal: They can choose between Anderson, Schnieder, Miller, Quick and Howard

    Defence: The options include: Jack Johnson, Faulk, Shattenkirk, McDonagh, Gardiner, Suter, Martin, Yandle, Orpik, Carlson, Fowler, Leddy

    Forwards: potential centres include Stastny, Backes, Kesler, Pavelski, Galchenyuk, Stepan and Wingers include, Abdelkader, Kane, Wheeler, Callahan, Kessel, Dustin Brown, Ryan, JVR, Parise, Pacioretty, Saad and Pominville.

    This team will be fast, will have size, will be able to handle all styles from a bang and crash physical game, to a skating game.

    They will be tough to beat.

    • mapleleafsfan says:

      Meh, their defence isn’t anything too special. Forwards are solid but not even comparable to Canada’s. Only thing they really have going for them (and perhaps most importantly), are incredible goaltenders. Quick is so clutch, something we haven’t seen on team USA. He sure as hell wouldn’t have let Crosbys shot in last olympics.

      The goaltending situation scares me in Canada. No goalie has been clutch from WJC up in a long time.

      • mojo19 says:

        mapleleafsfan, don’t compare any team’s forwards to Canada’s. With the exception of the Russia’s top 2 lines, no one comes close. The 2nd best team, in terms of rolling 4 lines if probably Sweden, or Russia or USA, but not even close to Canada’s.

        I’m more worried about or goaltending. As of right now, I never would’ve guessed it four years ago, but I’m almost prone to say that Marty Brodeur should be in the running to be our starter still!

        Hell, if Marty is hot next December-January, let him lace ’em up. Price is prone to completely fall apart in any given high pressure game. Ditto Fleury. Luongo’s game is solid but he hasn’t been outstanding the last 2 years. Cam Ward is fine, Braeden Holtby, James Reimer, couple of capable unprovens. I might actually have the most faith in Mike Smith.

        But no clear cut “Roy – Brodeur – Belfour” type of tandem, or anything.

        • nordiques100 says:

          Price stands to be our best bet in goal.

          They may do what team USA did in 2002. play all 3 goalies in the prelims and then gauge from there who to ride through the playoff round.

          Or, whomever the hot guy is coming into mid Feb.

          With Ward’s injury problems, Price’s fragility and Fleury’s depreciation, this could get bad.

          I think I may go with Marty simply because he’s been there before and he’s more often than not, trusted. I can’t see him falling apart as bad as the above 3 or some of the other guys you mentioned.

          • leafmeister says:

            I think it is foolish to discount Luongo. He has been there, and certainly still has good hockey to play. If he is on a new team next year he could be totally rejuvenated.

            For me, Luongo has a spot. The other two should be the two hottest goalies of Price, Fleury, Ward, Reimer, Holtby, and Smith.

            • mojo19 says:

              No Brodeur, leafmeister? He was banged up a bit this past season, but last year he was outstanding en route to the Stanley Cup final. He’s still in the mix, age aside, it’s a short tourney, if he’s hot next year, put him in.

          • mojo19 says:

            Well that’s just the thing. All of the guys we’ve named are totally capable, and not a single one of them inspires the type of confidence to make anyone in Canada completely comfortable.

            • nordiques100 says:

              That’s why i like Marty. He doesnt get too high or too low. Nothing too much affects him. He’s pretty positive. I think we need that calming influence.

              • mojo19 says:

                If nothing else. He doesn’t had to start, but yes Nords, you are right, Marty Brodeur has to come along if he’s healthy and playing at decent level.

    • mojo19 says:

      Ya I bet Quick starts, with Miller as the 2. Then whoever is hot between Anderson, Howard, or Schneider going into January will ride the pine.

      And ya, they definitely have a good looking squad. Best I’ve seen since the days of Tkachuk, Roenick, Hull, Modano, Chelios, Leetch, etc.

      • nordiques100 says:

        I would say the Americans could be on equal footing on defence with Canada. Maybe not quite there but close. The Canadians have no good LH defenceman other than Keith.

        Subban, Seabrook, Weber, Pietrangelo, Girardi, Letang, Green, Doughty and Boyle are RH’s

        Even quite a few of the younger guys like Myers, Hamilton, Schultz, Hamonic are RH’ers

        After Keith, the next best LH Dmen are either Staal, Del Zotto, Bouwmeester, Hamhuis, Alzner, Campbell or Dion.

        I don’t think Canada could take 3 LH Dmen. The loss on that side with no Pronger or Niedermayer could be tough.

        Keith to me is a shoo-in, but the rest I see being RH. I’d take Letang, Pietrangelo, Weber, Doughty, Subban and Green or Seabrook.

        The 2nd best LH IMO is Dion, or Del Zotto.

        It’s not unusual for Dmen to play their off-side. But, if you don’t normally it’s an adjustment. Also, with the big ice, the angles and such are even more different so, the adjustment could be even more difficult.

        They best adjust quickly.

        • mojo19 says:

          Back in the day we had a great mix of righty’s and lefties –

          L – Niedermayer, Stevens, Pronger, Jovo
          R – Foote, MacInnis, Blake

          Can’t remember who the 8th dman was on the ’02 squad?

        • mojo19 says:

          Looking at that list, Nords, I think we should only bring 2/3 lefty’s maybe.

          Duncan Keith – Alex Pietrangelo
          Jay Bouwmeester – Shea Weber
          Drew Doughty

          I think these 5 are the locks. After that, I don’t know and I don’t care. Any mix of the rest of the guys named would be fine. I suppose it would make sense to bring at least one of Subban or Letang to lead the rush and offer a different look from the back end. Then the last two spots can go to whoever is playing well. Personally I’d go with Marc Staal, and Mike Green (his game is coming back).

          • nordiques100 says:

            JBo a lock? interesting.

            I have Letang a lock IMO.

            Subban seems like a strong bet. say what you want about him, but what a weapon for the PP. He could be this year’s doughty as doughty was in 2010. Come in as the depth guy, but eventually move up the charts.

            Call me bias, but i’d like to see Dion score a spot. Dion/Weber, pretty intimidating. Ya, you know what the sayings will be, rinks too big, Dion not mobile enough etc etc, but you know what? With Weber being such a great eliminator and a stud, I think that elevates Dion’s play. I think Dion can handle the pressure.

            Being captain of the Leafs is high pressure. I think he can take it. I think he can deliver.

            • mojo19 says:

              I would bring one of Letang or Subban, but not both. That’s just me. They’re both great at what they do, but I think we only need one of that type.

              Ya, I’m big on what Bouwmeester does. To me, its the little things. He quietly is one of the most solid d-men in the NHL. He’s just a rock.

  28. nordiques100 says:

    Well speaking of Sochi, who’s Captain Canada?

    After Captain Cool, Toews, had a pout attack in the penalty box last night, I don’t know.

    And Crosby is a whiner on a good day.

    But, I guess 87 takes the reigns. If anything he leads by example with his work ethic.

  29. leafy says:

    Always fun to see Ottawa get eliminated. A joyous occasion.

  30. 93killer93 says:

    Since we’re talking Sochi…




    • leafy says:

      What’s happened to Canada’s goaltending?!

      2 of the 3 were relegated as backups on their own team in this year’s playoffs. Only Reimer has earned his keep.

      Consider at one time we had to choose from: Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur, Curtis Joseph, and Eddie Belfour.

    • mojo19 says:

      Not a bad looking team. I hate the goaltending choices. Both Price and Fleury? You basically want to lose in the semi’s to Switzerland 5-4, or possibly Belarus.

      You forgot to put Iginla on the team as well. One classy veteran would be nice to have. All the great Canadian teams had it.

  31. leafy says:

    It’s gonna be the Leafs…err, I mean, the Bruins vs. Penguins in the conference final.

    Let’s give the Leafs another pat on the back for pushing this very strong Bruins team to the brink.

    Boston vs. Pittsburgh. I remember very well the last time they met in 1991 and 1992. Lemieux and Jagr dominated.

    • toronto77 says:

      Pit/Bos is going to be a REALLY REALLY exciting series!

      I think I want Boston to win, because I would love to see how they match against Detroit or LA, that would be an amazing cup final!

      • leafy says:

        The thing with Pittsburgh however is they seem to have another gear.

        When the Pens blew game 3 to Ottawa, there was talk they lost their offensive punch, and then they come right back with two routs.

        Both Boston and Pittsburgh are good teams, but I`m picking the Pens because of Crosby and Malkin.

  32. leafy says:

    Fun fact on a totally different topic.

    Gordie Howe and Jean Beliveau had a COMBINED total of only ONE overtime goal in their careers. Howe himself never scored an OT goal.

    How many people knew that?

  33. mojo19 says:

    Rick Nash – Sidney Crosby “A” – Jarome Iginla “C”
    Taylor Hall–Jonathan Toews- John Tavares
    Steve Stamkos – Joe Thornton – Martin St.Louis
    Eric Staal – Ryan Getzlaf – Cory Perry
    Mike Richards

    Drew Dougthy – Shea Weber “A”
    Duncan Keith – Brent Seabrook
    Jay Bouwmeester – Alex Pietrangelo
    Dan Boyle – Kris Letang

    Martin Brodeur
    Mike Smith
    (Cam Ward)

    The top line comes back from the last Olympics. Love those three together. Plus, (if Iggy re-signs in Pitty) you’ve got the same kind of approach from the last Olypmics, with the old Sharks line and the Keith-Seabrook pair.

    This time, Crosby and Iggy, Stammer and St.Louis, Getz and Perry again, and on the back end the Hawks come back, and the new Blues unit is in there. Lots of chemistry going in.

    I also think its kind of funny that Marty St.Louis just finished 1st in NHL scoring, has tremendous chemistry with Stamkos, and on most boards I’ve been reading he’s getting no love at all.

    People need to realize, when you’re building team Canada, its a short tourney. It’s not “who would you build a franchise around for the next 20 years?” St.Louis, Brodeur, Iginla, Thornton, Boyle, you’re gonna want these guys.

    • leafy says:

      Oh no Mojo, you left out a goalie named Reimer. Remember that guy that plays for the Leafs?

      Not only is Reimer on the team, but if he plays like this next year, he’s the man!

      Brodeur is a dinosaur. You may as well put in Johnny Bower.

      I like the forwards and defense though. Not a bad team.

      • mojo19 says:

        Marty Brodeur went to the Stanley Cup final, not even a year ago, leafy. He was outstanding last year in the playoffs, then was a good this year, albeit a bit banged up.

        As of right now, Brodeur is still the best Canadian goalie choice, in my opinion. There’s plenty of room for debate, and I guess that’s the big issue with the Canadian team, but to discount Brodeur because of his age mean you haven’t been watching him play. Again, it’s a short tourney.

    • mapleleafsfan says:

      I like it aside from Mike Smith. Smith is a backup goalie who plays well in a defensive system. He’s going to get a sham contract like Bryz this year. I’d put Price, Ward, Reimer and Luo all ahead of smith.

      Agreed with Marty st louis. Why on earth wouldn’t he be on the team? Speedy guy, great passer, big ice, amazing chemistry with our best scorer. It’s a no brainer (unless age finally catches up to him next year).
      I’d also consider Giroux over Hall depending on how next year goes.

      • mojo19 says:

        Claude Giroux was on my team right up until I put “post comment” then I made the hard cut and put in Hall.

        As for the goalies, you could be right about Smith, but he was outstanding in Dallas when he broke into the league, and then picked it up again with the Coyotes last year. Dave Tippett system? Sure. But he was great in the 2nd round last year, he was amazing. Going for the empty net at the end of that series was a thing of beauty. I like his attitude and his competitiveness. He doesn’t seem prone to the bad goals.

        Either way, with the goaltending, we can all speculate all we want, we’re just going to have to wait and see who’s hot leading up to the tournament and go with the hot hand. It may very well end up being James Reimer or Braeden Holtby. Not the sexiest names, but again, who knows.

  34. LN91 says:

    I like all the people adding Dion Phaneuf to Team Canada?

    Can I ask all of you guys a question…If Phaneuf can barely skate on small ice, how do you expect him to skate on a large ice surface?

    When Team Canada makes its selections, skating has to be taken into consideration and mobility. Canada and the USA has historically struggled on the large ice surface.

    • mojo19 says:

      Well I agree that Dion Phaneuf should probably not make the team. I listed 8 guys I like there, and I figure Subban,Green, Girardi, Del Zotto and a handful of other guys will be in the mix/invited to camp. Dion falls into the 2nd category. He’ll at least get an invite. I wouldn’t put him on the team but don’t be too hard on the guy.

      As for Canada and the USA historically struggling on the large ice. 2 of the last 3 Olympics have had a Canada-USA Gold medal game, so I don’t know if I agree with that.

    • blaze says:

      Who says he’s a bad skater?

      He’s a better skater than Weber but he’s a lock.

      Obviously he no Weber but he can break out up ice as good as anyone on TO save Gardiner and maybe Liles.

      • leafmeister says:

        I actually agree, Phaneuf has all the tools of an elite defensemen, hold for puck handling. What prevents him from being a true top defensemen is his decision making, and I don’t see that being fixed any time soon.

        • realistic_leafs_fan says:

          Agree 100% Leafmeister

        • blaze says:

          Pretty accurate. However Im not so sure he can’t improve he has evolved quite a bit since arriving in Toronto.

          • mojo19 says:

            Phaneuf is a fine skater. But he does get worn down in the 3rd. He must have weak legs or endurance problems because he can’t log the big minutes and be effective like the big horses around the league.

            Having said that, he would be a 3rd pairing dman on Canada and wouldn’t be playing much in the 3rd periods. So he might not be a bad pick.

            Back to LN91’s point though. We’ve been unsuccessful on the Olympic ice surface’s. Maybe we should consider Subban, Letang, and Boyle all as options.

  35. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    I have Letang, Weber, Keith, Doughty, Pietrangelo and Seabrook as the top 6.

    After that, I have them picking from… Green, Bouwmeester, Subban, De Zotto, Bieksa, Staal, Boyle, Girardi, Giordano, J. Schultz, Myers, Methot and Phaneuf.
    I can’t see how Dion makes this team. I’m not even sure he gets an invite to camp. No offense to Phaneuf.

    I am curious though, for those who rank Phaneuf very high, will your opinion on him change if he doesn’t make Team Canada? What if he doesn’t even get an invite to camp? Or will you just think those who run Team Canada don’t know what they are doing?
    Not trying to start a “Dion” debate, I’m just curious if it will sway your thoughts on him. I will admit, if Dion makes Team Canada, I will start to look at Phaneuf as being better than I thought he is.

    • blaze says:

      I think your top 6 is pretty bang on. Chemistry is important in a short tourney so I like Keith – Seabrook.

      Weber and Letang would look good. Same with Doughty – Pietrangelo. As for the number 7 for me it’s between Boyle, Phaneuf, Subban and Bouwmeester.

      All four of them are pretty versatile which you need for a 7.

      Either way Dion not making it is hardly a slight. It’s Team Canada. Not making the best 7 isnt an insult.

      I think Dion has some advantages being a Captain in a pressure cooker and being LH but sti I doubt he makes it. I hope he does but it will be tough. Being a little more high risk high reward will hurt as well as him having a mixed reputation.

      The fact were even legitimately talking about whether Dion is invited to camp for Team Canada alone should be an eye opener for people who don’t consider him a number 1 dman.

      • realistic_leafs_fan says:

        Blaze, I agree, I think the 7-8 spot on Team Canada will be a dogfight, but I don’t think Dion is in the top 10.

        As for Dion…I don’t think the question has been if Dion is a top 15 “CANADIAN” defenceman, it’s if he is a top 15 “NHL” defenceman, so discussing him being invited or not to Team Canada camp is not really an eye opener.IMO

        Some have him as a top 12-20 NHL defenceman. Personally, I have him 30-40 in the NHL. That is the issue really. Can he play on a top pair? YES, definitely. It’s not whether he can play on a top pair, it’s at what cost to the Leafs and it’s cap.

        IMO, and it seems some others as well, he is not the kind of 1st pairing D-man that can control a game, or that you can play with a much lesser D-man and he can make his partner look good. He needs high quality help and that will cost us to acquire in picks or prospects and against the cap.

        The debate is…is keeping Dion and getting him help the best for the Leafs and it’s future OR is trading him for assets and building around others the best way to go? As I see it, it’s not about Dion’s talent as much as it is about whether he should be THEE future for the Leafs D because of what it will cost to keep him and find him a partner.

        • blaze says:

          He had a quality year this season did he not? Was he not Captain of the most scrutinized team in the NHL with the longest playoff drought and made the playoffs?

          So how does need a good partner to suceed? Was there any top defenseman in the NHL that played with as low quality of dman as Phaneuf?

          Wouldn’t be a top 10-15 Canadian Dman make him top 15-20 in the world? Which foreign dman are better Chara and Karlsson?

          • leafmeister says:

            He did have a pretty decent half-year. I don’t like to be all gloomy, but the Leafs did not have time to collapse this year. They made tremendous strides, but you have to remember that a very similar team (on ice, obviously the coaching was 100x better) was fine after 48 games in 2011/2012.

            Assuming they improve on D and forward, I would be cautiously optimistic about playoffs 2014, but I’d also keep an eye on those top ranked guys for the 2014 draft. Unless it is used to bring in a first line center, the top pick in 2014 should not be on the trade block.

            • blaze says:

              Oh you’re right there’s no guarantees but personality wise this team was night and day.

              There was character and commitment to D that we havnt seen in years. Not making the playoffs would be very very dissapointing.

          • realistic_leafs_fan says:

            He did play well most of the season. I would say Brian Campbell for one plays with worst partners than Dion. Gunnar is a pretty solid D-man. How is Phaneuf playing with much worse than…Weber plays with Josi(22 years old, 2nd year), Suter with Brodin(rookie),Dan Boyle with Matt Irwin (26 year old rookie), Subban with Gorges, Letang with Niskanen, Doughty with Muzzin(rookie). It is not abnormal for a teams best D-man to play with lesser quality D-men.
            As far as Phaneuf needing a quality partner…that comes from many on here who rank Dion highly.

          • realistic_leafs_fan says:

            You also forgot about all the D-man who are from the USA.

        • blaze says:

          Not even trying to start anything but could you honestly list 30 – 40 dman better than Dion?

          • realistic_leafs_fan says:

            I have already done that in the past. I would put him about 12-15 in Canada, 8-10 in the USA. That puts him 20-25 already.Then add Sweden 4-6, Chara, Russia 3-4, czech 2-3.
            That leaves Phaneuf 30-39. Plus I have left out other countries that some may argue have a D as good as or slightly better than Dion.
            So who is the 15 defencemen in the world that you think are equal to or better than Dion? Interested in seeing who you think Dion is better than.

            • blaze says:

              Haha ok now I know you’re bullshitting you just picked countries and threw out random numbers.

              10 American defenseman ahead of Phaneuf? Um could you even name 3 Czech dman? Your argument lost credibility there.

              • realistic_leafs_fan says:

                Suter, Yandle, Bfyuglien, Shattenkirk, J.Johnson, McDonaugh, Bogosian, Goligoski, Myers (actually american), Carlson, Scuderi, Gardiner, Orpik.
                I am ot saying they are all better than Dion, but he would have atough time making that team either. I would pick 7 of those guys over Dion…putting him 8-10.
                Czech top3 – Rosival, Zidlicky and Smid. Phaneuf would be 2-3.
                I notice how you didn’t put your top 14 ahead of Dion.

                • blaze says:

                  You put Rozival, Zidlick and Smid ahead of Phaneuf, that’s so sad.

                  I’m sorry but you’ve lost every ounce of credibility.

                  Yes Smid would be the answer to Torontos prayers haha. Does Rozival even play.

                • blaze says:

                  Chara, Weber, Karlsson, Doughty, Keith, Pietrangelo, Letang (that’s even a maybe in my mind id like to see how Letang would perform if he swapped roles with Dion), Suter.

                  These players are better than Phaneuf.

                  The there’s a group in the same/similar level, Seabrook, Subban, Kronwall, Boyle and a few others.

                  You put guys like Myers ahead of Phaneuf that’s laughable.

                  • realistic_leafs_fan says:

                    I never said ahead. I said they would be subjective to ranking. Read into it whatever you like to try and provr your point. You think I have no credibility…that’s fine. You ranking Phaneuf 8-9th in the world is what’s laughable.Funny how Phaneuf is not even being talked about to make Team Canada and you have him ranked in the top6 Canadian defenceman…equal to Letang. WOW! And I’m the one with no credibility.LOL

                    • realistic_leafs_fan says:

                      All I ever hear is… Dion logs big minutes, Dion doesn’t have good partners, Dion plays against the toughest competition etc etc etc…Yea, and he’s paid extremely well to do so.
                      Dion played the most with Gunnarsson and Kostka (in that order).
                      This is the partners of 16 of the other number 1 D-men in the NHL.
                      Josi, Gorges, Irwin, Niskanen, Clitsome, Ericsson, Petry, Alzner, Brodin, Tyutin, Hunwick, Dillon, Strachan, Muzzin, Strait and Salo…are those all 1st pairing D-men? Not a chance. How is Gunarsson or Kostka any worse than most of those guys? And I would LOVE to see Letang in Dion’s role here in Toronto.

                    • blaze says:

                      When did I put him in the top 6? I called him a top 15.

                      When you try to argue Smid and all his 4 pts is better than Phaneuf I don’t know if you’re trolling, high or if Dion banged your woman.

                    • realistic_leafs_fan says:

                      You wrote “Chara, Weber, Karlsson, Doughty, Keith, Pietrangelo, Letang (that’s even a maybe in my mind id like to see how Letang would perform if he swapped roles with Dion), Suter.

                      These players are better than Phaneuf.”

                      That is 8 D-men you think are better than Dion. Only 5 are Canadian, one being Letang who you said you are not sure if he’s better than Dion. According to what you wrote, that puts Dion in the top 6 on the Canadian Team and top 9 in the world. How am I misunderstanding that? It’s a pretty clear statement on your part.
                      As far as Smid goes, you asked for 3 Czech D-men. I said Phaneuf would be ranked as high as second and as low as third, hence 2-3. Let’s say you’re right, he is better than all three…now I have him ranked 29-38 overall. I am still ranking him as high as 29th IN THE WORLD. Obviously I think he’s a good defenceman, but you act like I have him out of the top 100.

                • mapleleafsfan says:

                  I’m by no means the biggest Phaneuf supporter, but these are a huge stretch.

                  Phaneuf would 100% be on team Sweden, USA and Czech Republic. Put any of those US guys on the leafs save Suter and maybe Yandle and they are getting crucified just the same. Imagine Buff in Toronto! The media thought Kadri was fat!

                  I’m curious who your 7 of those you would pick over Dion.

                  And Rozsival, Zidlicky and Smid? Cmon man, you’re stretching. Phaneuf is definitely in a different category than them.

                  • realistic_leafs_fan says:

                    I only have him not making Canada or the USA. I ranked him n the top 6 of every other country. Not sure where you get me having him not make Sweden or the Czech team.
                    As for USA. I would take Suter, Yandle, Goligoski, McDonagh, Byfuglien, Bogosain and Gardiner. Some great skaters who move the puck well, some big shots and some size mixed in for the big ice.

                    • mapleleafsfan says:

                      Well 4-6 from Sweden implies he might not make it. But regardless. Agree to disagree I guess. I definitely don’t put Goligoski and Byfuglien ahead of him and for me all of the others are debatable (aside from suter, obviously).

                      Watch any of those guys enough and you’re seeing big flaws on them too.

                    • realistic_leafs_fan says:

                      I have watched them play and I am very aware of their games and what holes in it they have.

  36. nordiques100 says:

    After that performance at the Mem Cup, I have changed my mind and the Avs should probably select MacKinnon. 13 points in 4 games in unreal.

    He really put on a show and showed up when it mattered. Jones didn’t look bad at all, but MacKinnon looks special.

    I think by selecting him, the Avs will have some interesting options.

    Stastny, Duchene, O’Reilly and MacKinnon all play centre. But what a group that is. I guess they could try and model their team after the Pens with powerhouse group up the middle.

    • blaze says:

      I agree completely I never had Jones ahead of MacKinnon.

    • blaze says:

      The fact MacKinnon is almost a full year younger than Jones and I believe Drouin as well should be noted.

      • mojo19 says:

        Seth Jones should go no higher than 3rd or 4th overall. If the Avs take McKinnon then they’ll probably move Stastny one way or another. Or else they’ll definitely flip O’Reilly when the time comes

        • mapleleafsfan says:

          Do you think they might trade Duchene instead? Duchene would garner a higher return and could bring back a pretty significant player. O’Reilly is the better defensive player and would likely make a more ideal 2nd line center than Duchene. Not that two scoring centers is a bad thing, but trading Duchene might make more sense.

          I wonder if they would skip on Jones, draft Mackinnon and then move Duchene in a big deal for a more proven D. Maybe for Myers +? A young D with a high upside but has proven that he can play at the NHL level – reduces the risk of drafting Jones first overall, and they get Mac, whos ceiling is higher than Duchenes but is less likely to flop than Jones.

          • mojo19 says:

            The reason I think O’Reilly is an option, is because of potential bad blood from his whole situation this year. So my understanding is they’re free to trade him a year after the deal was signed which was what? Late January?

            Duchene, I hear your logic and reasoning, and who knows, but I think they’d find a way to get rid of Stastny before it came to moving Duchene. Besides, Duchene grew up a die hard Avs fan, he just seems like the type of character they would want.

            But with Patrick Roy calling the shots, honestly who the hell knows?

  37. Buchleafs77 says:

    I could see the Leafs signing a guy like Richards Lecavalier Briere or even a Stastny if any of these are compliance buyouts… Richards Lecavalier and Briere are all old but they have playoff experience and all have had good NHL careers and would be the perfect mentors for our young roster and could fill that centre roll we are most likely gunna lose when we don’t keep bozak who wants too much money…. However we could keep bozak if we buyout Grabo and Liles although Komisarek is an obvious choice he has 1 year left as opposed to more term with the other guys which could handcuff us if we decide to buy him out over Liles or Grabo… Our Lines would look something like Kessel Richards/Bozak/Lecavalier and Jvr
    Lupul Kadri Frattin
    Kulemin bolland/Filpulla/Colborne/Ufa Komarov
    Orr Mcclement McLaren
    Phaneuf Gunnarson
    Gardiner Obyrne
    Fraser Franson
    solid team maybe a downgrade but there are tradeable pieces in the Marlies and in Junior

  38. blaze says:

    I think your top 6 is pretty bang on. Chemistry is important in a short tourney so I like Keith – Seabrook.

    Weber and Letang would look good. Same with Doughty – Pietrangelo. As for the number 7 for me it’s between Boyle, Phaneuf, Subban and Bouwmeester.

    All four of them are pretty versatile which you need for a 7.

    Either way Dion not making it is hardly a slight. It’s Team Canada. Not making the best 7 isnt an insult.

    I think Dion has some advantages being a Captain in a pressure cooker and being LH but sti I doubt he makes it. I hope he does but it will be tough. Being a little more high risk high reward will hurt as well as him having a mixed reputation.

    The fact were even legitimately talking about whether Dion is invited to camp for Team Canada alone should be an eye opener for people who don’t consider him a number 1 dman.

  39. Buchleafs77 says:

    Dion is solid he just needs some help back there…. he plays a style where he cant play huge minutes he needs a guy back there who can log those minutes and his offensive numbers would increase if we could reunite him with regehr or somebody defensive

    • realistic_leafs_fan says:

      He is fairly solid…how much are you willing to spend to get him help is the issue.

      • Gambo says:

        I look at it more as how much are they willing to spend to help the team rather than how much are they willing to spend to help Dion. A capable partner with Dion doesn’t just help Phaneuf, it helps the whole team significantly.

        And yes, if Phaneuf doesn’t get invited to camp I’ll have a completely different opinion on him. I understand if he doesn’t make the team though.

        • realistic_leafs_fan says:

          Yes it would help the team as long as you don’t mind trading roster players/prospects/picks/whatever to get him OR take money away from other players you would like to re-sign or sign in order to find Dion a partner.
          How many partners has Dion had since he has been here? And no one seems to be the right fit, yet other star D-men seem to be able to play with equal talent that Dion has played with and the team seems fine.

  40. The New York Rangers fired John Tortorella.

  41. nordiques100 says:

    Torts done in NY. They keep Richards now.

    • realistic_leafs_fan says:

      I think that the compliance buy-outs have people thinking that some big names with long term remaining contracts will be bought-out. I really don’t see that happening. I see most teams using it on guys with one-two years left on their contracts. Even Luongo is a long shot to be bought-out IMO. I expect it more to be the Komisarek, Ballard, Jovanovski kind of contracts. Maybe the odd Grabo, Garrison, Leino type of contract, but I doubt see the Richards, Luongo, Lecavalier contracts bought-out.

  42. nordiques100 says:


    1st PP unit would be Crosby, Staal, Giroux, Doughty, Subban
    2nd PP unit would be Stamkos, Tavares, Hall, Letang, Weber

    PK forwards would be Toews and Nash, Couture and Staal, Bergeron and Ladd.

    Honorable Mentions:
    Forwards: Carter, Eberle, O’Reilly, Duchene, Richards, Spezza, Thornton, Sharp, Benn, Staal, Burns, Lucic, Iginla
    Defence: Del Zotto, Staal, Bouwmeester, Boyle, Phaneuf, Green, Hamhuis
    Goal: Luongo, Fleury, Reimer

  43. blaze says:

    One thing I like about all the big name coach firings is it may help keep Eakins around for another season. It goes both ways that more teams are looking but most of these teams seem unlikely to go with a rookie coach.

    Some interesting names out there in the coaching world right now.

  44. toronto77 says:

    I’ve been reading a lot of scouting reports for the 2013 draft and two players that I want the leafs to draft are obviously two centre men in Gauthier and Rychel.

    these two centre men scream everything that the leafs need at the no.1 centre spot.

    If these two players are unavailable at 21 than I want the leafs to take Fucale!

    If the leafs drafted a centre men at the 5th spot last year with either Galchenyuk or Grigorenko that would be ok because these two are not far away from making an impact

    if the leafs drafted a centre men in the top 5 this year with MacKinnon, Barkov, Monohan or Lindholm that would be ok because these guys are not far away from making an impact either.

    But Gauthier or Rychel at 21? how far are one of these guys from making an impact? I doubt they make the NHL next year regardless who they play for.

    The leafs need a no.1 centre men NOW!!!

    That’s why I think Fucale would be a decent pick.

    Reimer has been great but we need a fail safe and though Sparks has been a tremendous surprise after being drafted less then 2 years ago in the 7th round and already signed to an entry level contract, the leafs are still very weak in goalie depth.

    The leafs own all of their picks this year, so if we take Fucale with our 1st, I say we use the remaining 6 picks to take centre men and stay at home d-men.

    If we take a centre men with our 1st, I say we use the 3 of the remaining 6 picks to take goalies. We really need to stock up on goalies sooner or later and see what happens.

    #1 need – no.1 centre men

    #2 need – no.1 goalie

    #3 need – mean stay at home d-men



    • Gambo says:

      I agree and I know a lot of people on here also agree with getting Rychel. I also like the idea of drafting a goalie or two. However, I don’t think drafting by position is the best idea, I’m a believer in taking the best player available unless it’s in the top 3 or 5 where there isn’t 1 player significantly better than the other(this year with Jones, Mackinnon and Drouin is a good example).

      Last year we drafted Finn in the 2nd round even though we had taken a defenseman in the first round and we already had a lot of d prospects. This was because Finn was the best player available. Then again, it’s all preference. Some go for bpa and some go by position.

      I just wish the Leafs could just pull off a massive trade and get the 1st overal to draft Mackinnon 🙂 A top line down the road of JVR-Mackinnon-Kessel would be so sexy. And a 2nd line puch with Kadri, not to mention a developed Gardiner and Rielly on the backend, Reims stopping rubber..

      Give Colorado two 1sts, Phaneuf and Colborne. Get Mackinnon lol.

      • 93killer93 says:

        Patrick Roy has told management they need to consider trading the 1st overall pick. He’s also the one negotiating with other GMs. So if there was ever a time to make a move for that top prospect, it would be now. I wouldn’t mind trading up for Max Domi. That seems more realistic than Mackinnon.

    • leafmeister says:

      Draft the best player available 100% of the time. Address team needs through trades and free agency.

      • doorman says:

        Always BPA, for sure. Fucale will not be there whether we draft 21st or as high as 19th, IMO. I have zero problems with Gauthier or Domi, but Rychel is the guy I want. He is the best combo of size, skill and toughness in the draft, IMO. I see him as the skate through the wall do ANYTHING to win guy we haven’t had in forever. Just my two cents, even if the gov’t took them away!!!

        • leafmeister says:

          Rychel would be my choice too. (assuming the scouts think he is the best player available) He is a pure finisher who could compliment Kessel or Kadri on whatever line he plays, assuming he is a top 6 forward. If not, I could see him as an excellent character bottom 6 forward.

  45. mojo19 says:

    Here boys, I’ll chime in on the whole Phaneuf argument.

    Best Dmen in the NHL:


    Apologies to Tobias Enstrom, a personal favourite, among others who easily could’ve made this list. Honestly, looking through, there are so many interchangeable guys, its really a matter of opinion, preference. Also, trying to weigh an Ekman-Larsson’s offensive ability with Dan Girardi on the wall and in the shooting lanes. It’s very subjective. I tried to keep ice-time into account as well (for those questioning the ability of Brian Campbell who logged more minutes than anyone in the league in most situations and on the worst team).

    • mojo19 says:

      Having said that (referring to the last part) I would not want Campbell on team Canada because he is more one dimensional….

    • leafmeister says:

      I am guessing you forgot Karlsson, who should be somewhere in the top 5.

      • nordiques100 says:

        Mojo hates the Sens LOL

      • mapleleafsfan says:

        Definitely just an oversight. Karlsson is the most valuable defenceman in the league. Maybe not the best right now, but definitely the most valuable.

      • mojo19 says:

        Oversight. Slide Karlsson somewhere betwee Subban and Timonen. In all honesty, I would take the steady, gritty, and sometimes flashy play of Timonen in a game 7 situation over the flakey play of Karlsson.

        He’s really talented, but he’s like a winger. Gonchar used to put up mad pts but was never a top 5 dman.

        I think my brain chose to forget him, he’s on my initial brainstorm list.

        • mapleleafsfan says:

          You put Subban ahead of Karlsson??

          • mojo19 says:

            Ya, they’re the same. PK has more grit in him, Karlsson is smoother. Don’t get me wrong, E.Karl is a tremendous skill, but not a tremendous defenceman.

            If Subban or Letang win this years Norris, it will be a mistake in my opinion. Just like Karlsson last year. It isn’t the award for best offensive dman! Suter is the guy this year. He brings way more to the table. This award has lost its way.

            • mapleleafsfan says:

              Fairly sure Suter will win. If for no reason other than the Eastern sports writers votes will likely be more split between Letang and Subban whereas the Western writers have seen way more of Suter.

        • leafmeister says:

          Karlsson looks badly out of place in a shutdown role, but his puck possession style of game doesn’t force him to play that role very often.

          As of right now, he is pretty one dimensional, but he thinks the game at an elite level.

          His impact on the game has me very excited about a blueline that is soon to be run by Gardiner and Rielly.

        • nordiques100 says:

          Karlsson is in the top 5 and probably top 3.

          This past season and playoff can’t be his gauge. That injury was brutal and was certainly going to affect him physically and mentally. Personally, I don’t think he should have come back that soon. 2 games prior to the playoffs is simply not enough time to get over it.

          His hockey sense is incredible. He probably looked weak defensively, especially in the playoffs because simply I don’t believe his body was battle tested ready.

          And who knows, he may have had some doubts about going into corners again or in any sort of physical confrontation.

          He is one of the biggest impact guys in the game today. I think he’ll bounce back greatly and prove to us all once again he is one of the best players in the world.

          • mojo19 says:

            Karlsson was brutal in last years playoffs, the year he won the Norris. He’s young, he might get there, but right now, no.

            • nordiques100 says:

              Karlsson is already there.

              He thinks the game like very few.

              He is a tremendous impact player.

              Few skate like him, pass like him move the puck like he can.

              So he isn’t physical, big deal.

              And that playoff was his first playoff. He’ll get better. But to lump him in with a player who never made the playoffs until this year is completely erroneous and off base.

              He won the Norris last season. He’s there now. That wasn’t a fluke nor going to be his last.

              • mojo19 says:

                He was undeserving of those honours though. He is great offensively, and he does control the play.

                I’ll say this, because of Igor Larionov logic (I have the puck when I’m on the ice, so why do I have to be good defensively?) His dominance makes him one of the games best. A top 15 for sure, but not top 5 or 3. In a game 7 situation you’re going to want Chara, Weber, Keith, Suter, Doughty, someone who brings more to the table over a Karlsson or Letang.

                Too many people are wowed by speed, but it can be beaten. This is my assessment any way’s. It kind of goes against the same people who were dumb founded by Gardiner’s demotion. There were many Leaf fans out there who didn’t understand, because they were wowed by his flash. But there are multiple elements to the game, that even the elite-skilled players sometimes lack.

        • I’d put McDonagh above Timonen, and Phaneuf to be honest with you. I’d also put Girardi and Staal above Timonem. Of course, I guess I could be called Bias here. I’m not really sure if your list is overall best d-man or best defensive D-man.

          • mojo19 says:

            Overall, but again it was hard to compare some guys, because one might be really good offensively and another defensively. McDonagh, Staal, Girardi, and Del Zotto all on my brainstorm list. In fact, I should have Staal on there, that feels like an oversight. I think he’s the best of the bunch.

    • realistic_leafs_fan says:

      I like the top 10 except the absence of Karlsson. After that…not sure I agree, but it’s all a matter of opinion…some just think theirs is more right than others.LOL

  46. leafy says:

    Now down to 4 teams.

    Interestingly, the 4 teams left are also the Cup winners in the past 4 years.

    • mapleleafsfan says:

      Hah that’s pretty cool, didn’t notice that. I think LA repeats. Chicago struggled to score on Howard – who was good, but not in the same league as Quick. No idea who wins the East, but if it’s Boston, Boston-LA is one tough series.

    • mojo19 says:

      That is a pretty awesome stat. I’ll take it one further. Last night, the 5 teams still remaining won the last 5 Cups.

      • nordiques100 says:

        All 8 head coaches in the 2nd round have a stanley cup ring as coaches.

        MacLean and McLellan assisted Babcock in the 2008 win

        Sutter won last year with LA
        Quenneville won in 2010
        Bylsma won in 2009
        Julien won in 2011
        Torts won in 2004

  47. mojo19 says:

    I’ll take Pittsburgh and LA to meet in the finals. Any combo of these 4 teams should be great.

  48. nordiques100 says:

    The coaching world is a small one.

    Joel Quenneville coached the Blues with Mike Kitchen his current assistant in Chicago and one player who played for them was Todd Reirden who is one of Dan Bylsma’s assistants.

    Tony Granato, another Byslma assistant, played in SJ for coach Darryl Sutter who coaches the Kings. Granato is also a former King.

    Doug Jarvis, assistant coach for the Bruins, played in Hartford and was a teammate of Quenneville.

    Doug Houda, another boston assistant, played with king’s assistant coaches John Stevens in Hartford and Bill Ranford in Detroit.

    Both Claude Julien and Quenneville are Windsor Spitfire alumni.

    Sutter of course is a former Blackhawk. Bylsma a former King.

    And how about some Leaf connections amongst the coaches:

    Dan Bylsma played in Anaheim and his teammate was Jeoffrey Lupul.

    Quenneville and Jarvis were former Leaf draft picks.

    Claude Julien played for the Moncton Hawks and his coach was Dave Farrish, and one of this teammates was Dallas Eakins.

    Speaking of Farrish, his old teammate with the New Brunswick Hawks was Darryl Sutter.

    Farrish also played with Quenneville with the Leafs.

    Mike Kitchen was a former Leaf assistant coach for Pat Burns

    Carlyle was a teammate of Bruins goalie coach Bob Essensa in Winnipeg.

    Julien and Scott Gordon were teammates in the Nordiques farm system.

  49. Here’s a list of players I would take over Phaneuf If I was putting a team together. Please keep in mind that this does not reflect contracts/age, which would obviously play into a huge factor when talking about taking them over Phaneuf for the future.


    USA (In no order)
    Ryan McDonagh

    Canada (In no order)
    Marc Staal
    Mike Green (That means a healthy Mike Green)
    Brian Campbell

    Slava Voynov (I need to see more before taking this guy. But I think this guy is going to be great for years to come)


    • realistic_leafs_fan says:

      Blaze is going to go berzerk when he sees you have 23 D-men infront of Phaneuf, 5th on the Sweeden team and just creeping into the top 6 for the USA. LOL
      I pretty much agree with that list. I would add Seabrook, Bieksa, Bogosian to the list. Also would consider guys like Gardiner, Myers etc…young guys developing.
      Glad to see a non-Leaf fan point of view.

      • mojo19 says:

        Myers has completely fallen off after a good first couple seasons. He might need to get out of Buffalo.

        • Gambo says:

          I’d love to see Myers in Toronto. He’s still really young and has all the potential in the world. But you’re right, he’s fallen off his game recently. I think he definitely needs a change of scenery, which is often the case with struggling young players(Turris, Schenn, JVR).

          • mojo19 says:

            Ya. And 6 years left at $5.5 million, it’s a big ticket, so you’d expect Buffalo might eat some of that to get full value in a trade. Or else, maybe take some salary back.

            But I could see Myers getting shopped a bit. If they are going to trade him I imagine it will be sooner than later, because I believe he has a heavily front loaded contract.

  50. Gambo says:

    How I rate the defensemen:
    (No order within groups)

    Group 1A:
    Suter, Karlsson, Weber, Letang, Chara, Doughty, Pietrangelo, Keith,

    Group 1B:
    Subban, Phaneuf, Markov, Edler, Kronwall, Seabrook, Timonnen, Green, McDonaugh, Yandle, OKL, Boyle, Campbell, Streit.

    Probably missed a few players, however I left Bouwmeester out on purpose. I don’t see why he’s ranked so high for a lot of people. I really don’t think he’s been a special defenseman since he was with Florida.

    And for some clarification, I am a huge fan of Phaneuf, but it’s not Bias. I was a huge fan of him when he played for Calgary. He was actually my favorite denfenseman back then.

    • mojo19 says:

      I have to take issue with the Bouwmeester omission. I watched a lot of Calgary this year for pool reasons (Iggy, Camo, Wideman) and Bouwmeester was the best player for the Flames, often the best player on the ice on a lot of nights.

      He’s not flashy, and so to the untrained eye it’s easy to miss what he brings to the table. He makes it look easy, but he’s just dominant. He picks his moments to jump up wisely, and maybe he’s overly cautious to a fault. He could do more offensively with his abilities, but defensively he’s as good as anyone in the league when he’s on his game.

      • Gambo says:

        That would make sense then, i hadn’t watched too many flames games this year. I had just remembered all the talk about Calgary getting Bouwmerster to bring offense from the back end. I never realized he had devoloped a strong defensive game. Thanks for the insight!

    • mojo19 says:

      Overall, I really like your groupings.

Leave a Reply