Vanek to Minnesota?

We’ll see how it all shakes out, but I would be surprised if Thomas Vanek landed anywhere but Minnesota after his seven-year contract worth $50 million expires.

Vanek already made more money than he imagined before signing the deal. No matter where, or if, the Sabres trade him, his top priority after the 2013-14 season will be finding a team that can contend for a Stanley Cup title.

It would not be surprising if he accepted less money after next season for an opportunity to play for a good team. The Wild already have Zach Parise and Ryan Suter locked into long-term deals and appear committed to winning a Cup by any means possible.

Vanek spends his offseasons in Minnesota, his wife’s home state. The chances would improve greatly if Jason Pominville, his linemate in Buffalo, signed an extension for the same reason.

129 Responses to Vanek to Minnesota?

  1. LN91 says:

    Vanek in Minnesota? Well, this would be not fair haha. When did this team become a desirable place? Oh yeah, every American hockey player or hockey wives is from there…

    They need to add some to the D…But with Vanek and some better D…Just hand them the cup.

  2. mojo19 says:

    Okay so I went 7 for 8, only wrong about my beloved Leafs. One OT goal away from the perfect first round. Apparently LN91 also 7 of 8 missing the Rags. This was nice, last year I think I was about 50/50 haha.

    Round 2 –

    Red Wings in 6 (Crawford meltdown in Motown)
    Kings in 7

    Penguins in 5
    Rangers in 6 (bruins are beat up from war)

  3. mojo19 says:

    As for Tyler Bozak, I really don’t see where this guy fits in with the team. If I’m Nonis I offer him 1 or 2 years at $2 million a year, if he thinks he can get more on the open market (he can), let him walk.

    Mikhail Grabovski was bad this year, but he was only playing 12 or 14 minutes on a lot of nights. It’s hard to get your head in the game when you’re not taking a regular shift. In the last few weeks of the season he started to really heat up and played with an edge and passion in the playoffs when given the opportunity. To get full value out of this guy he has to play in a top-6 role.

    Nazem Kadri will be looked upon to take the next step up. No matter what we’re invested in this guy, we have to bank on him continuing to get better and take that next step if we’re going to improve as a team. He’s a big time x-factor and we should see him tested more against better players next season, like he was starting to late in this season. Also in games 6 and 7 with Bozak out, Kadri made Kessel look more dangerous than he had looked all series. The two of them were making some magic out there and I’d like to see more of that.

    So if we can agree that these two guys need to play, and that obviously McClement is our 3rd/4th line C (depending on who he’s with on any given night), I think we would be better off giving Joe Colborne a shot at filling out the last C spot in lieu of Bozak.

    Joe Coloborne stepped into a high pressure situation games 6 and 7 and did not look at all out of place. He’s big, and he still has upside, unlike Tyler Bozak who is in his prime.

    I really don’t see where Bozak fits in with this group moving forward, except that he’s good on face-offs (only 42% vs the B’s but it was a team best). But anyway, everyone has to be better on draws and this is an issue that the team needs to address by improving with the guys we have. Pittsburgh a few years ago added Tom Fitzgerald to their coaching staff for his ability to coach guys on draws, and it payed big dividends. Something like this could be an option.

  4. leafmeister says:

    I think the core should be: Kessel, Kadri, Lupul, van Riemdsyk, Gardiner, Reimer, Rielly (maybe jumping the gun, but he should be pretty much untouchable).

    Not that they should be looking to dump the rest of the team, but going forward, these are the really important pieces.

    What they need to add is essentially: A two way top 6 center, two top 4 shutdown defensemen, a top 6 winger, and a third line center.

    What they have to acquire said players: Phaneuf, Franson, Kulemin, Gunnarsson, Grabovski, Frattin, Colborne, Liles, any prospect not named Rielly, and any pick in either the next two drafts (Only in a Kessel-deal type situation, not for a rental.)

    Not that those players are all bad, but the role they play on the team will need to be upgraded long term if Toronto wants to contend.

    Losing some depth is absolutely tolerable if it adds a significant long term upgrade on the core.

    • mojo19 says:

      I agree, but having said that, players like Gunnarsson, Franson, Kulemin, and McClement don’t exactly fall off trees, either. Although they aren’t necessarily core players to the extent of the guys you listed, they are ideal support players in my opinion.

      Not untouchables though, so I get your point, but we I would be hard pressed to move one of those four as well.

  5. Here are the updated list for the first round. I will add in the second round as I find them. I haven’t gone through the other thread yet.

    The way the scoring works (and you can obviously keep score anyway you want): I added 1 point for every winning team you got right and 1 point for guessing the correct amount of games.

    Rounding off the top 3:
    Nords – 11 points
    Mojo – 10 points
    LN91 & Kessel_leafs – 9 points

    • mojo19 says:

      I like your scoring system. But no one else got their 2nd round predictions in….

      Listen, I’ll spot you all game 1 Pitty-Ott we all knew Ottawa was going to be hard pressed to win in Pittsburgh game 1. Get your predictions in or this thing will die.

    • coyotes_bettman says:

      The only one I guarantee I got was the Sharks in Four which was enough for me 🙂

  6. leafs_wallace93 says:

    A bit of perspective just consider what we were talking about at the end of last season (namely tank this year for MacKinnon) and fire Burke compared to now how to take the step from playoff team to contender. Plenty of good ingredients and trade chips. Is there really a player on this roster without trade value?

    People talk about a core however it’s the depth of players stepping up, Frattin, Franson (how is he not on a core list?), McClement and Komorov. Quality affordable depth. What the Leafs have missed since the Quinn years.

    Hope Nonis can pull of a shake up, consider Kulemin, Grabovski (ton of heart but -10 and 0 goals in the series?) and Phaneuf trade chips, I’m fine with any of them staying but don’t see them as long term pieces.

  7. mojo19 says:

    I didn’t even flip to the Penguins game tonight. I couldn’t bring myself to watch playoff hockey. I’m just glad R.A. Dickey and Melky Cabrera lit it up tonight, gave me something to enjoy.

    • leafy says:

      Better days lie ahead Mojo. Look at Boston in 2010 when they blew a 3-0 series lead to Philly then won the Stanley Cup the following year.

      Disappointing, but chalk it up to a necessary learning experience for a young team. They were taught a valuable lesson.

      • mojo19 says:

        I agree. Every experience can be turned into a positive as long as you learn from it and grow moving forward, the Leafs are a young team, etc. But focusing on positives is tough right now.

        I’m not even joking, I barely ate today, I feel noxious. I’m actually sick to my stomach and I think its from that game.

    • leafs_wallace93 says:

      It feels like there should be a funeral or eulogy for this season. I’m not watching the rest of the playoffs, I never done that in my 20 years of obsessively following hockey. The Leafs were that good this year and their playoff return was clearly an emotional investment to the point it united a a Leafs Nation that has been fragmented for years.

  8. mojo19 says:

    Sorry to re-hash the most talked about trade in recent NHL history, but how does the play of Seguin, Kessel, and Hamilton in that series impact everyone’s perception of the trade? Personally I feel a lot better about it now.

    I think Seguin is a great skater and he’s going to have a good career, but I don’t know that he’ll ever be as good as Kessel, and Hamilton we’ll have to wait and see, hard to make any kind of judgement, but at least as of right now it’s a much better swap for Toronto than it was a year, year and a half ago.

    • leafy says:

      Yeah as of right now, I like the trade. Much will depend on Seguin’s and Hamilton’s development in the next 2 or 3 years, but today I feel way better about the trade than at any point in the past.

    • leafs_wallace93 says:

      Never had a problem with the Kessel deal, the haunting trade of the series was the Rask deal. I didn’t know Rask was that good. The amount of sick goal saves he made whether it be Garbovski’s behind the net flip to himself or a Dion slap shot poised for the top shelf. The thought of a Riemer/Rask tandem would have set the franchise for years.

    • leafmeister says:

      I’d almost wanna do another one is a big name became available. Adding another star to this roster would be worth the picks, far moreso than it was in 2010.

      • mojo19 says:

        haha, yes this would be a way more ideal time to submit an offer sheet/trade 1st rounders than in years past.

        Here are some RFA’s this summer –

        Alex Pietrangelo, 23 – We’d have to go Philly on Weber to snake him and the Blues would match.

        Chris Stewart, 25
        Zach Bogosian, 22
        Patrick Berglund, 24
        Sam Gagner, 23 (Edm would definitely match, they need no more picks)
        Artem Anisimov, 24
        Cody Hodgson, 23
        Ryan McDonagh, 23 (cap troubled Rags?)
        Kevin Shattenkirk, 24 (4th Blue on the list already, cap probs?)
        Karl Alzner, 24
        Gustav Nyquist, 23
        Carl Hagelin, 24
        Slava Voynov, 23
        Peter Mueller, 25
        Cal Clutterbuck, 25

  9. mojo19 says:

    The wound is still fresh, and my opinion could change throughout the summer but I would be happy to make some minor tweaks, and forge ahead with this basic core.

    Centre’s –
    Kadri, Grabovski, Colborne, and McClement should stay, and I would add 1 more guy into the mix. Preferably someone who can flip to the wing like McClement does, and give Carlyle some flexibility with the line up. Options would be Andy MacDonald, Nik Antropov, or Patrick Elias (dreaming a bit there).

    Or if we could land a real impact guy like Weiss or Ribeiro, why not? Let Joey play up and down with the Marlies in that case.

    Bozak I would let walk. I have no use for him. See my comment up above for justification and further analysis.

    Wingers –
    Kessel, Lupul, and JVR are the forces up front, with Kulemin and Frattin as support guys. Leo is a worthy role player, and Carlyle would want to bring back at least one of Orr or McLaren, if not both. We could leave a spot open for someone at camp such as Biggs or something, but we should be shopping for an addition or two on the wing.

    MacArthur I would let walk, and I would target Brendan Morrow (always been a fan), obviously David Clarkson would be a target, or even on a 1 year deal it would be nice to poach Jaromir Jagr from the B’s. Iginla would be a dream, or even some sand paper/rats like Torres, Cooke, or just someone with size like Zubrus. There are lots of interesting options, but I’d like to get a bit bigger and grittier on the wing. No knock on Clarke MacArthur, but we need some tweaks.

    Defense –
    This is the big debate, isn’t it? Personally, I think we may be a bit better off than a lot of people are giving us credit for, keeping in mind Gardiner, Gunner, Franson, and even Mark Fraser are all relatively young and could be poised to take a step forward next year and add some responsibility to the back end. But having said that, I think everyone would feel a lot more comfortable and confident with the addition of a veteran presence to the back end, preferably someone who could play big minutes.

    I know we all would love to add a guy in the “Marc Staal” mould as Nords has pointed out, a Jay Bouwmeester type guy back there would certainly make a huge impact. Obviously these guys don’t fall off of trees and landing one could prove difficult, so we might have to bank on the young guys playing well and look to add a steady veteran like Ron Hainsey or Jordan Leopold, on a 2-3 year deal and help bridge the gap for players like Rielly, as well as make our team more competitive in the short term.

    I guess I would let Ryan O’Byrne walk, even though he played well in his role, he’s really just a more seasoned Korbinian Holzer, and we could upgrade there with one of the guy’s I mentioned.

    Another option no one has talked about would be to go big on a veteran like Mark Streit (probably cost close to $5 million per season for maybe 4 years). I know he’s considered to be more of an offensive guy, but watching him in that series vs. the Penguins you can see why he wears the ‘C’ and I was really impressed. He’s a great skater, great puck mover, and his high-end skill set makes up for the fact that he doesn’t throw huge hits. He’s also more physical than I would have given him credit for.

    In Goal –
    I think, for all the dark years we’ve just endured, it’s nice to finally see a healthy James Reimer between the pipes giving us a chance to win every night, if nothing else. This guy is 25 and he made a believer out of me, as I’m sure he did with all of you, and he’s still going to grow. No worries about a starter, but with his injury history I will be hoping to see us land a veteran back up. I mean, look at Pittsburgh, they grabbed Vokoun last summer and it’s paying huge dividends right now. Something like this could be key.

    • LN91 says:

      I like Leopold.

      I like O’Byrne. Leafy did not like him, but he did a hell of a job on Jagr.

      • mojo19 says:

        If we bring back O’Byrne, that would be fine. But I think he’s destined to be a 3rd pairing d-man. If we have an opportunity to land a UFA who can bring a little more puck skills to the table and be as reliable defensively, obviously we have to make that upgrade.

        If that looks unlikely, I wouldn’t have a problem extending O’Byrne on a 1 or 2 year deal. Like you said, he played well against Jagr. He’s not mobile but has great size, kind of reminds me of Hal Gill a little bit, so no real problem with O’Byrne, but again we should make at least some tweaks, so why not make one there.

      • leafy says:

        No, I thought O’Byrne was fine after game 4. I didn’t like him early in the series.

  10. Gambo says:

    Reposting what I just said in the other thread just because i’m afraid it’s going to break.

    I just want someone to explain to me how Phaneuf has shown himself to be egotistical. His pinch in game 4 doesn’t count as a reason. I just want to know why so many people on here say he’s egotistical. I’m not criticizing anyone’s opinions, just trying to understand. I want evidence!

  11. Gambo says:

    Just like Blaze said, for all of you who say Phaneuf isn’t a top line defenseman and isn’t the best defenseman on the team, do you really think you know more about hockey than Randy Carlyle? Guy has won a Norris trophy, a Stanley Cup and is a well respected coach in the league. He clearly has outstanding knowledge of the game. He plays Phaneuf as much as he does for a reason.

    Not trying to ride his dick or anything, I do agree that he is overpaid a little and he isn’t the perfect captain or a 1A defenseman. He is a good captain, no Sundin or Clark that’s forsure, but a good captain. He is a 1B at least. In my opinion I have him in the same group as players like Edler and Kronwall. And most top line d men are overpaid(Weber, Campbell, Bouwmeester, Green, Timmonen etc.)

    Also touching on what Mojo asked about trading Phaneuf in a similar deal to the Schenn-JVR trade, I have been wondering lately about a Phaneuf to Edmonton trade for one of their big 4. He’s from Edmonton and is exactly what they’re looking for. I’m not in favor of trading him, but that scenario has crossed my mind.

    • mojo19 says:

      Edmonton is an interesting and unique opportunity given their situation and presumed desperation, isn’t it.

    • realistic_leafs_fan says:

      Better question is…why didn’t Carlysle pair Gardiner WITH Phaneuf…at all? Gardiner had the best chance of matching minutes with Phaneuf. Why did Carlysle keep Phaneuf and Gardiner apart as much as possible?
      Instead of pairing Gardiner with his “best” defenceman and most experienced D-man, he chose to put him with another inexperienced D-man (Franson) and then put them up against Boston’s most productive regular season line.
      Gardiner arguably was the Leafs best D-man in the series, the complexity changed when he entered the game. Why didn’t Carlysle try Phaneuf and Gardiner together since he trusted Phaneuf so much? Boston didn’t shy away from playing Chara with their rookies.
      Yes, Carlysle trusted Phaneuf/Gunnarsson in the last 2 minutes of a two goal lead in game 7 showing he believed in that pairing. After what happened, do you think he would do it exactly the same way again?

      • mojo19 says:

        Retrospectively, maybe not, but Carl Gunnarsson is tougher along the boards, and I would trust him more in that situation than Gardiner 9 times out of 10, at least this year.

        I have no problem with Carlyle, and his decisions. I’ve thought of lots of different scenario’s and things he could have done, but at the end of the day he coached one hell of a series and season, so who am I to question. Obviously after a loss we can say “Could’ve done this, or that…” And it’s a valid point.

  12. Gambo says:

    For fun:

    To flyers: Phaneuf, Colborne, Fraser, +?.
    To leafs: L.Schenn, B.Schenn, Briere(salary dump).



    • leafs_wallace93 says:

      I like it but doubt Nonis goes back to Burke guys in the brothers Schenn.

      What about targeting Bobby Ryan for Phaneuf? Have to imagine that Anaheim is looking to shake things up and the Ducks have always made a good trading partner. The Leafs sorely need another power forward to create screens.

      • leafmeister says:

        That would be ideal IMO. Lupul, Ryan, Kessel and JVR would give the Leafs some of the most feared wings in the league. Center would still be an issue, but would be far less apparent with wings that strong.

        • mojo19 says:

          Ya, you’re rolling two good lines, even without the stud centre when you’ve got 4 wingers like that. Kadri would be in a great position to put up huge numbers as well.

        • leafs_wallace93 says:

          Lupul, Ryan, Kessel and JVR should do wonders in terms of attracting a center to Toronto. I’m of the beleaf (see what I there?) that Toronto is starting to look like the most fun place to play. I can understand players not wanting to deal with the media when the Leafs are struggling but to be the center that turns the Leafs into a contender, that’s mantle worth taking up.

          Every market can offer money, Toronto can offer infamy.

          • mojo19 says:

            Great point. For the first time in a long time Toronto could be poised to be one of the real desirable destinations for free agents in July. The youngest team in the playoffs and I think the boys proved a lot this year.

            Weiss and Ribeiro unfortunately are the big stud centre’s this year. Not exactly Getzlaf like we might have hoped for before the extension, but still there’s a couple guys who could take us to the next level.

            • leafs_wallace93 says:

              If the Pens don’t become a dynasty will Crosby’s cup win really mean anything?

              Maybe Malkin might want to become the highest profile player in hockey, we can offer that.

              I’m thinking more along the lines of a player with a limited trade clause choosing Toronto, not unlike Iggy choosing the Pens.

              For whatever reason one day if a Tavares or a Stamkos want out of their non hockey markets they could choose the Leafs over the Rangers.

      • mojo19 says:

        Wow, you’re not the first guy to bring up a Bobby Ryan for Phaneuf swap on these boards, and I also heard someone call into the radio yesterday and say the same thing.

        Anaheim obviously could use a big horse on the back end, so its an interesting point of discussion. I would be down, but we would need to bring in a couple of dmen via free agency to help offset the minutes and presence Dion would leave behind.

        • leafmeister says:

          Scuderi and Ference could eat Phaneuf’s minutes, and hold down the fort until some of Rielly, Percy, Blacker, Finn, Nilsson, Holzer can take those minutes.

          Gardiner – Scuderi
          Ference – Franson
          Gunnarsson – Fraser

          Would be a pretty good core, and arguably better than a core with Dion at the helm. The young D could definitely use some character vets, and I don’t think Dion is one.

          • LN91 says:

            I think what makes Gardiner so effective is this…

            The puck is like a magnet on his stick, when he has, no one can really get it off of him. It helps him in both his own zone and the offensive zone. The Bergeron line could not touch the puck as Gardiner always had it.

            We mentioned it before, but Phaneuf’s mobility as a player really just hampers him at times…If he worked on his skating, he would be a 10x better player.

          • mojo19 says:

            You know what, think about the Hurricane’s defence when they won the Cup, Niclas Wallin, Frank Kaberle, Oleg Tverdovsky, Brett Hedican, etc. Very workman like group. No Doughty or Duncan Keith in the mix, but everyone good and chipping in.

            I feel like we could get away with not having Dion back there as long as we go 7 or 8 strong on the back end and everyone is solid.

            • leafmeister says:

              Plus they are just placeholders and mentors for the guys like Gardiner, Rielly, Percy, Finn, and Blacker.

              I think Gardiner and Rielly have Duncan Keith like potential. Finn’s upside looks to be that of a Dan Girardi, which would be amazing, and Percy looks like he could be a character, all-around #3 or 4 D. The identity of that blueline going forward looks to be speed and mobility, and they should look to compliment that with big, fast forwards. Ryan would be a major piece.

              I love JVR as much as the next guy, but a properly developed Schenn would really cap off that blueline. Still better of with JVR though.

              • mojo19 says:

                Ya for sure, Gardiner and Rielly have the skill set to become stars on the blueline, and Franson feels like that big stud on the 2nd pairing, or even a quality number 2 if he shores up some of his game. Carl Gunnarsson is like a Hjalmersson, I don’t think he’s suited to be a top pairing d-man on a contending team, but nothing wrong with having him in the mix.

                • leafy says:

                  You were right about Gunnarsson, Mojo. He played fine in the playoffs.

                  Carlyle just over- extended him and Phaneuf, and they both ran out of gas in the last 8-10 minutes.

                  • mojo19 says:

                    Ya good point. They’re both good players, but we weren’t ready for that much responsibility late in the game. They played well but they’re no Keith-Seabrook.

                    Thank you for being fair in your analysis. And to be fair to your criticisms, Gunner had more than his share of bad games this season, but he’s coming along really well overall.

          • mapleleafsfan says:

            I like it a lot. I’d sign Cullen too for the draws. Maybe Clarkson for the right price.

            JVR – Kadri – Kessel
            Lupul – Grabo – Ryan
            Kulie – Cullen – Clarkson
            Komarov – Mclement – Mclaren

            Gardiner – Scuderi
            Ference – Franson
            Gunnarsson – Fraser

            Love that lineup. Clarkson might be too expensive but sub Frattin in there and it’s still solid.

            • mojo19 says:

              Ya, I really like Matt Cullen because he’s got great wheels and a good head for the game. He’s not turning anyone inside out with his hands, but he’s a steady veteran centre who does a lot of good in all area’s.

              I hope Nonis at least takes a look at him if he hits free agency.

              Also the Blues have $24 million in cap space to re-sign Pietrangelo ($6+ mil), Shattenkirk ($5 mil), Berglund ($4ish mil?), Stewart ($4 mil?), plus Andy MacDonald and 5 or 6 role players to fill out the roster, without blowing their load too much, considering guys like Taresenko will need to be re-upped in future years.

              I feel like MacDonald will be a cap casualty, and he’ll hit the open market. Injury problems? Sure. But he’s a guy who’s good in all area’s, plays all 3 fwd positions, and can put the puck in the net. He’s a veteran presence I would like to see Nonis take a run at.

              • leafmeister says:

                Stewart is someone I’d go after. I think Toronto should try and build an identity of fast, smart, puck moving d-men, and big, strong wingers. Maybe then size doesn’t factor in so much in the center issue. Ryan would be a huge step toward that, but that has not even been brought up outside of here.

                With Gardiner and Rielly, they could potentially have an elite puck mover on the ice for 50 minutes, not many teams can claim that. (Obviously Toronto can’t claim it yet, but the potential is there) Good teams play to their strengths.

  13. nordiques100 says:

    Kings in 5
    Hawks in 6
    Pens in 6
    Bruins in 7

    are my predictions

  14. LN91 says:

    Sharks in 7
    Hawks in 6
    Pens in 5
    Rangers in 6


    • mojo19 says:

      Nice picks, I guess I’m the only one who thinks Chicago’s achilles heal will be exposed against the Wings. Detroit has been playing great hockey for the last month now, meanwhile Chicago has been nearly perfect all year. Still, I like the Babcock vs Quenneville matchup and I think Crawford is poised to let in a bad angle shot or two which could be the difference in the series.

      I could be wrong, but going with my gut on the Wings. And like Leafy was saying, I might not watch any games, I had no desire to flip to either game last night.

      Full disclosure, I couldn’t sleep at all last night, I was pacing around at 4 in the morning, kept my girlfriend up all night, then I started to cry. It’s insane how much I’ve let this loss affect me, I’m going through a lot right now…

      • LN91 says:

        Atleast you did not experience a breakup last night…

        When it rains, it pours.

      • leafs_wallace93 says:

        I got my girlfriend, who would just endure my Hockey Night in Canada Saturdays through the season to watch the playoffs and she was on the edge of her seat by game five, it was cute when she’d try to give commentary (and no I didn’t try to fight her). This season/series will breed a generation of Leaf fans like the Gilmour and Quinn years did.

        All of game seven I was literally on my feet a foot away from the television screen, laying down in stress during the commercials.

        • mojo19 says:

          Well said. My girlfriend’s mom is a Filipina lady and by the end of the series she knew everyone’s name and number on the team, haha.

          My stomach was in naughts that entire day, and i didn’t eat at all yesterday. It’s unbelievable how badly this city needed this, I don’t know if anyone could have appreciated the extent until it actually all happened.

          Now I’m just counting the days until the draft. I can’t wait to see what Nonis has in store, what tweaks were going to make and start it all up again next year. It’s gonna be a long summer.

    • realistic_leafs_fan says:

      My predictions are (were)

      Kings in 6
      Hawks in 5
      Pens in 6
      Bruins in 7

      • realistic_leafs_fan says:

        I am re-posting this here since many have moved on. Blaze doesn’t get the point I’m making…is it really that hard to understand?

        For about the 5 millionth time, I will say, I DON’T HATE PHANEUF. Get over… criticism being hate, please. It’s juvenille.
        IF Phaneuf was to sign an extension RIGHT NOW for $4.5 per over the next 5 years…DO it! He’s worth!

        The problem is, Dion does not make $4.5 or even $5, he makes $6.5 and there is no reason to believe he will take a paycut at 29 years old when his contract is due. How many players have taken paycuts at 29 years old when they are considered the best defenceman on their team and captain to boot? I can’t think of any.

        There is no reason to believe Dion will sign for a significant pay-cut, and in a cap world, cap management is as important as puck management. It would be foolish of Leaf management not ot explore other options because, no offense to Dion fans, he is not a $6.5+ mil a year D-man.

        For the same money as Dion to no more than $2.5 mil more( about what Gunnarsson would probably get) you can have 2 solid D-men. Say you have $9 mil to spend on 2 D-men…do you pair Dion with Fraser or O’Byrne…God know! That’s waaay too much money on a shut down pair.

        If Phaneuf wants the same money OR even more to stay, we have Phaneuf and maybe Gunarsson for $9mil, which everyone seems to feel we need an upgrade for Phaneuf as a partner. This is why I feel it is better to move Phaneuf and his cap hit for other assets.

        For $9mil you could find two pretty good d-men that could play together OR be paired with guys like Gardiner and Franson. How does it makes sense to throw as much or MORE money at Phaneuf, AND spend money to find him a partner? How do you re-sign guys like Franson and Gardiner without either taking money away from the forward group or having a low-cost 3rd pairing that you pray doesn’t get scored on? There is only so much money you can spend on your D-core.

        Right now for $9mil…you can have Keith/Scuderi, Kromwall/Letang, Myers/Phillips, Bieksa/Staal, Seabrook/Jackman, Bfgulein/Orpik, Chara/Emelin, Yandle/Seidenberg etc etc.


        don’t those top 4′s look better than


        If we keep Phaneuf should he not be willing to take a huge pay-cut and find him a “suitable partner” ($4mil+ D-man)…our bottom pair will be shit or we will likely lose Franson or Gardiner and Phaneuf will still have to play huge minutes which he cannot handle.

        It’s not “hate” for Phaneuf…it’s cap managment and building a more solid D-core.

  15. Predictions:

    Red Wings 6
    Kings 6

    Penguins 5
    Rangers 6

    I have predictions from Mojo, Nords, LN91, & Realistic_leaf_fan. If anybody else wants to get their predictions in, post them below. I’ll update the list later.

  16. Gambo says:

    Living in BC, I know a bunch of hardcore Vancouver fans. A lot of them are interested in moving either Edler or Bieksa. A lot of them.

    Now most of them want Edler gone, but I’d target Bieksa. He’s a real physical defenseman who is strong in both ends. Born in Ontario too. Bieksa would cost a fortune though, the need for a top 4 RH defenseman is bugging me though.

    • Gambo says:

      The players I see being top 4 next year for Toronto are Phaneuf, Gardiner and Franson. I like Gunnarsson’s positioning, but I feel he could be traded. This means the leafs need one more top 4 defenseman, preferably a right handed one so Phaneuf can stay on the left side.

      Zybnek Michalek really interests me. He’s played against the opponents best this year in Phoenix, basically no skill offensively, though that isn’t a big issue considering the offensive potential we have on the back end. He’s got a 4m cap hit for the next two seasons and we all know that Phoenix doesn’t love spending much money. They have quite a bit of money next year committed to defensemen, I wonder if they’d move him.

      Maybe a Gunnarsson-Michalek swap could work? They could get good use out of Gunnar plus he could be signed pretty cheap. Maybe also swap UFA rights in MacArthur and Gordon.

      Lupul-Kadri-Kessel(Scoring line #1)
      JVR-Grabovski-Frattin(Scoring line #2)
      Komarov-McClement-Kulemin(Shutdown line)


      This lineup doesn’t look much improved, but it puts players in their proper roles on this team(at least I think so). Grabovski has a chance at returning to his 50-60 point player he is capable of being by being given top 6 minutes with a scoring role. The team has an actual shutdown forward line. The team still has the capability to lead the league in hits and fights. Gordon can replace Bozak on the PK and would even be an upgrade on him at faceoffs(57.3%). Kadri could replace and upgrade Bozak from an offensive standpoint too taking over the first line center spot on both 5 on 5 and PP.

      I’m not sure if my value is right in acquiring those players, but the idea is there.

  17. With the leafs making the playoffs, I think you can all rest knowing that a stupid off-season move won’t be made. Trading Kessel/Phaneuf or a valuable player just for the sake of a total shake-up won’t happen.

    Regarding Phaneuf and his issue of not being a great skater: Brian Boyle once hired a figure skater who represented Canada in the Olympics, and his skating has greatly improved.

    • leafmeister says:

      You are right. He will be resigned to the exact same money he makes, and Toronto will continue to spin its wheels. Trading Phaneuf would not be stupid in the least. It may cause temporary pain, but in the long term it would be a positive.

      Phaneuf could be the greatest skater in the world, but it won’t change the fact his hockey IQ is barely above the number on his back.

  18. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    I have often said that it would be better to move Phaneuf for assets and get two players for the price of one(Phaneuf).
    Phaneuf fans don’t like it, and that’s fine. Many have asked me, “Who replaces Phaneuf then? Gardiner?” I have always replied that we use Phaneuf to acquire assets (ie. his replacement + more).

    Here’s where I get confused by Phaneuf supporters and I hope you guys can clear this up. No disrespect, I am confused by the overall responses at times because they have no explanations except…”trading Phaneuf is stupid”.

    So, Phaneuf is a top 20 defenceman in the NHL and his contract is relatively fair according to Phaneuf supporters. Correct? That’s what I am understanding from supporters.

    If this is true, wouldn’t basically all the GM’s be drooling to have Phaneuf? They would right? So the return should be a quality defenceman +, or top 6 forward + to acquire Phaneuf and they would be all over it if Phaneuf was offered. Or a high first round pick+ for Phaneuf. Is that not fair value for a top 20 defenceman? Top 20 defenceman don’t get offered up everyday as many of you have said. How do you get these guys you’ve mentioned…If Phaneuf is better, we should get “that guy” + more.

    If that return could be had for Phaneuf than other Gm’s would be all over these kind of deals and we should be able to build our team without Dion.

    Foe example…Phaneuf for

    Myers and Foligno
    Smid and a 2013 1st
    or Smid and Gagner if we add a mid prospect
    Bieksa and Kassian
    Staal and Boyle
    Cobourn and Simmmonds
    Byfuglien and Wheeler if we add Ashton or D’Amigo
    Hedman and Malone

    etc etc (just examples, you may hate some of them)

    Phaneuf should get this kind of return.

    Now we add a UFA like Scuderi, Murray, Regher. You could even trade Gunnar for a good pick or depth. No more need to sign Clarkson in most cases because we picked up a BIG top 9 winger, or the Smid and a 1st saves the money to afford Clarkson and we could use the 1st from Edmonton to help acquire a centre.

    I mean, top 20 defenceman are highly sought after and since we have talented young D-men in Gardiner, Franson and Reilly…can we not afford to explore it if that would be the possible returns for Phaneuf?

    If all other GM’s wouldn’t do those trades…is Dion really a top 20 D-man? I can’t see how he is then. I mean if Chicago offered us Seabrook for Gardiner and Frattin…Nonis has to give that some serious thought.

    so, please explain to me how the D is so horrible without Dion if his return is as expected for what a top 20 defenceman would be worth.

    • Phaneuf for Byfuglien and Wheeler? I think even Phaneuf fans will tell you to keep dreaming.

    • leafmeister says:

      Maybe an actual #1 defencemen could fetch that, but lord knows Phaneuf ain’t that. Never will be. However, I do think a team will take a chance on him, possibly for good value, so long as Toronto is willing to supplement him with another decent piece.

    • Gambo says:

      I think i’d do most or all of those trades. I don’t know if we could get any of those returns for him though. I know they’re just examples, but most of the players you mentioned aren’t going anywhere. So I don’t really agree with your logic that if those teams wouldn’t do those trades that means Phaneuf isn’t a top 20 defenseman. But if what you guys have been saying all along is that we’d be getting a return like that, especially the Buffalo, Tampa, Winnipeg and Philly ones, then i’m sorry for arguing with you before and count me in on the trade Phaneuf bandwagon lol.

      • realistic_leafs_fan says:

        I took Nords list of D-man and Phaneuf supporters agreed with the quality that he is tied with, which were-Kromvall, Green, McD, Jack Johnson, Seabrook, JBO.

        Hedman, Bogosian, Seth Jones, OEL, Myers, MDZ, Brodin were not quite there yet.

        Based on that …Phaneuf is an upgrade on any of the guys in those trades and should deserve more than just a 1 for 1. Don`t see a problem with that logic. If you can get a better player than the player you are giving up…you make the trade.NO? Malone was a salary thing as Tampa has talked of moving him many times.

        Personally, I don`t think any of those GM`s would do those trades unless we added something…then again, I believe Phaneuf is a top 40 defenceman, not top 20.

        We may get Smid and a 2013 2nd, which I would still do and use the $3mil saved to add another UFA defenceman.

        Make a list of the top 19 D-men in the NHL and add Phaneuf as similar value to 15-19…what would you give up for one of the guys on that list?

    • leafs_wallace93 says:

      What I can’t stomach about that is that you can find replacements with lesser trade bait (i.e. Franson for Lebda). You have to trade Phaneuf for an impact piece. Otherwise you give up an superstar for replacements and set the franchise back (i.e. Calgary given us Phaneuf in the first place and never finding a superstar to take his place).

      A superstar for replacements is a rebuild future move. The Leafs need more of a Heatly for Hossa type move with Phaneuf.

  19. Trading Phaneuf for a shake-up or to just trade him away would be stupid. Hey, I’m not a huge fan of Phaneuf. I got laughed at by calling him a second line pairing -that puts him at a #3-#4 guy.

    My point was not that Phaneuf is so great and should never be considered trade bait. My point is since the leafs made the playoffs, I don’t see them just trading their captain away unless a huge piece comes back.

    • leafmeister says:

      He has inflated value because Toronto’s defence is so weak, so he won’t accept a pay cut. That means, if Toronto ever wants to get good, they have to be paying 6.5+ for a 3/4 d-man. They have to manage the cap.

      • leafy says:

        Yeah the problem is he gets paid so much money. I don’t think any reasonable person would say he’s worth that salary. He plays a lot of course, but that’s largely a reflection of the rest of the D.

        Now with 1 year left on his contract, tough decisions have to be made. Would he accept an extension on a lower salary? If so, resign him. If not, then I would test the market to see what trades are available.

        • leafmeister says:

          This is an area where I am glad Nonis is at the helm rather than Burke. Burke would almost certainly resign Dion to whatever money he wanted since he brought him here, likes him, and tends to be more pro-veteran. Nonis may resign him, but he has less of a connection to the player and the deal, (even though it was apparently largely his handy work) and may look to put more of a Nonis stamp on the team.

          An area where I think Burke would be useful would be in the trade market. Far more so than 2009, this is a time where they can shell out some assets for a core piece. Nonis tends to be more risk adverse, which may be a good thing, but some risks are certainly necessary.

          On a side note; with Edmonton likely looking to make some bold moves, anyone think they may move the 7th overall pick? I would do it straight up for Dion, and it makes sense for them too. They need D, Phaneuf is a big name, born in Edmonton, and only has one year left until they can sign him to a better deal.

          Toronto would get a chance to draft Sean Monahan who could be a long term solution to the center problem. He looks like exactly the kind of player they need. Also, they would get 3 years of a very cap effective player when he breaks into the league.

          When asked about a potential move up scenario at the draft, Nonis said he would be more likely to consider moving up more than a few spaces to draft a player he really wants than moving up 3 or 4 spaces. He also said no one was untouchable when asked about the possibility of trading Phaneuf. (I may be reading into it too much, but from and outsiders perspective it makes sense.)

          • Gambo says:

            If there were any chance that we could get Mackinnon, i’d overpay massively. Kids gonna be the next Toews.

            • leafmeister says:

              Doubt it. The top 3 picks won’t be moved, Nashville doesn’t like to move picks, Carolina moved a high pick last year, and Calgary is desperate for prospects. Edmonton makes sense though. Turning the 7th overall pick into a big minute, local, big name defensemen may be the kind of big splash MacTavish is looking to make.

  20. leafy says:

    To younger fans, if you think Monday’s defeat was tough, now imagine how we older fans felt in 1993 after that bitter loss to L.A. in the Conference final.

    If Kerry Fraser wasn’t a blind bat, it would have been Toronto in the Stanley Cup final against Montreal!!

    It took me WEEKS to recover from that loss, and I’m still not completely over it.

    • realistic_leafs_fan says:

      I will never forget that….I sat slumped for minutes straight after the final horn and was pissed off for weeks. This year doesn’t even come close to comparing how I felt after that one.

      • leafy says:

        Games 6 especially was devastating because you can see the Leafs had all the momentum after Wendel’s famous tying goal. It looked like a matter of time until the Leafs potted the winner…and than Kerry Fraser took over the game.

        • realistic_leafs_fan says:

          The worst was all the horrible calls against Toronto preceeding the missed call against Gretz. I remember Glen Anderson getting a tripping call or something that just baffled me. The games we won, we won dominating and the penalties were about even. The games we lost it was like 5:1 penalty ratio against us…brutal.

        • lafleur10 says:

          leafy that series in 93 would’ve been epic and a classic … that also would’ve been the best stanley cup finals in history with my habs winning over your leafs! lol…

    • nordiques100 says:

      Leafy, you have to blame Bob MacKenzie too.

      People forget or are not old enough to remember. After game 5, he said Gretzky’s done as an elite player. He brought up the possibility he should retire.

      Gretzky then had the winner in game 6 in spite of what Fraser didnt do and of course lit up the Leafs in Game 7.

      • leafy says:

        Good memory Nords. That’s right.

        On a similar note, when Quebec went up 2-0 against the Habs, the Montreal papers called for Patrick Roy to be traded after the season. This motived Roy and he went on to win 11 straight games and dominated the 1993 playoffs.

  21. LN91 says:

    Okay Gillis, we’ll make you a great trade offer for Roberto Luongo…

    Oh wait, did I mention you’re going to have to thrown in Kesler (who he and Edler might get dealt) as well?

    • Gambo says:

      Haha love it.

      Since this is a Vanek thread, I was wondering about a Vanek to Vancouver trade. Wouldn’t Vanek be deadly with the Sedins? The Nucks only have a couple more years of being contenders, might as well go for it.

    • leafmeister says:

      I hope Gillis’s main problem with dealing with Toronto was Burke/Wilson. Nonis seems much easier to deal with.

      • lafleur10 says:

        gillis is a bit of an ass i think no matter who the gm of the leafs is or other teams gillis seems like a dink and is not well liked and he tries to low ball teams or tries to take advantage of teams like he did with you guys in the luongo trade and nonis told him to forget it ,…if nonis sticks to his gins i think he’ll see gillis cave and get the better end of the trade

        • leafmeister says:

          I think after turning down two offers that are better than Gillis could dream of at this point, he won’t accept the nothing that Nonis will offer him now. Unless somehow a ridiculous blockbuster is worked out and Kesler is included, in which case he could get significant value.

          Getting Luongo and Kesler in the same trade would be downright Blue Jay like. Hopefully with better results though.

  22. lafleur10 says:

    no you wouldn’t have in 1993 montreal would’ve won that cup no matter who they played, that year the way patrick roy played that year especially in o.t. nobody would’ve beaten us that year! however it would’ve been the most exciting stanley cup final in history no doubt about it.

    • leafs_wallace93 says:

      Leafs rolled over the Habs and Mrs. Roy twice in the regular season that year, members of that cup winning team have since said they didn’t want to play Toronto. The Leafs were a match up nightmare for the Habs.

      Ignore facts because we all know your Montreal bias is invulnerable to reality.

      • leafmeister says:

        Both teams have to put 1993 out of their minds, considering the absence of success for either team since that time. It sucked, but it was 20 years ago.

      • lafleur10 says:

        so your telling me that potvin would’ve out dueled roy … not a chance roy would’ve schooled him.

        • leafs_wallace93 says:

          No I said Toronto would have beaten Montreal, it was a good match for them. Just like Ottawa beat Montreal.

          Or did Anderson ‘out duel’ Fairy Price?

          • leafmeister says:

            Anderson was the better goalie all year. They are both pretty inconsistent year to year though. When Anderson is on his game is better than Price on his game.

  23. nordiques100 says:

    Queneville, MacLean and Boudreau were the Adams finalists.

    Great and accurate choices.

    • mapleleafsfan says:

      You mad, Lafleur?

      Great choices, Maclean should win IMO. Worst team on paper of the three and still compete well every night. Completely outcoached/embarassed Therrien in the playoffs. Maclean’s a beauty.

      • coyotes_bettman says:

        I still kinda think Capuano should have gotten a nod but I guess Tavares being nominated for the Hart makes up for it.

        • mapleleafsfan says:

          He did a great job, but who does he beat out? Maclean had a worse team and did better, Quenville and the hawks completely dominated and Boudreau finished with a record that over a full season would have lead to 30 more points than last.

          Then you have Therrien who took a 3rd last place team in the league to a 2nd placed team in the east. And Carlyle who was impressive too, going from 3rd last to 5th in the east.

          Lots of good turnarounds this year – definitely hard to pick a winner.

  24. lafleur10 says:

    AGAIN THE AWARD HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE PLAYOFFS! it’s decided in the regular season….. but therrein should’ve been nominated for the outstanding job he did but it is what is we still have 3 other nominees for awards subban for the norris,gallagher for the calder,bergevin for gm of the year.. the playoffs has nothing to with the voting for coach of the year if it did babcock would’ve won it hands down for outcoaching boudreau, babcock is the best coach in the league

  25. leafy says:

    With that earthquake today, that’s the most noise Ottawa will make this entire series.

  26. coyotes_bettman says:

    Round 2 Predictions (Hopefully not late!)

    Pens in six
    Bruins in Six
    Blackhawks in Five
    Sharks in Seven

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