Thursday, November 11, 2010

Centres who might be available

This is all speculation

Here are some players who possibly could be had. I'm only focusing on one position: Centre

David Legwand - Nashville, $4.5 million
After a hot start the Predators have dropped 5 in a row and now they sit at 5-5-3. They miss Jason Arnott (he's currently leading NJ in scoring), and part of the reason they're struggling is because of an injury to Matthew Lombardi. A lot of pressure is on David Legwand (the highest paid player on the team) in this situation and he's just not performing. 2 goals and 3 assists in 13 games, and a -4 (worst among Preds fwd's). Legwand is a guy who i could see Nashville moving as a shake-up trade.

Andrew Cogliano - Edmonton, $1 million
Another shakey start for the Oilers, and another shakey start for Cogliano. Just 1 goal so far this year. I could see Edmonton exploring the option of trading Cogliano before his value gets lower.

Danius Zubrus - New Jersey, $3.4 million
With Parise placed on LTIR there's not really any urgency for Lou to move any of his veterans anymore. But I still think Zubrus could be had. He's a C/LW guy, and mostly plays wing, but i'll include him here regardless.

Max Talbot - Pittsburgh, $1.05 million
With Letestu, and Comrie both outperforming Talbot he's kind of become expendable in Pittsburgh. Despite and injury to Jordan Staal which should have benfitted Talbot, his ice time is down to 12-13 minutes a night. I could see Pittsburgh moving the struggling centre for more depth at wing.

Patrick O'Sullivan - Carolina, $600k (two-way contract)
With the emergence of Jeff Skinner (sometimes a winger) and the continued improved play of Brent Sutter, on top of already having Eric Staal, this O'Sullivan pick up is looking redundant for the Hurricanes. Sully has only appeared in 7 games this year, with 1 goal.

This is all I could come up with for now.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Summer 2011 UFA's

There have been so many re-signings recently, including Bergeron, Thornton, Chara, and a few weeks before that Mikko Koivu. This is a becoming more and more common each year. July 1st used to be a huge day. Coming out of the lockout there were so many big name stars, to go along with quality veterans who can still get it done, and so many guys switched teams on July 1st. But every year since '06 its been less and less players making it to free agency. And even less big name players.

Here are list of the guys who are still scheduled to become UFA's this offseason, as long as they're not extended by their current team before July 1, 2011:

Craig Conroy, 38
John Madden, 37
Alex Kovalev, 37
Mike Knuble, 37
Andrew Brunette, 36
Todd Marchant, 36
Cory Stillman, 36
Fred Modin, 35
Jason Arnott, 35
Mike Grier, 35
Rob Niedermayer, 35
Todd White, 35
Vinny Prospal, 35
Steve Sullivan, 35
Scott Nichol, 35
Jamal Mayers, 35
Milan Hejduk, 34
Jarko Ruutu, 34
Jamie Langenbrunner, 34
Chris Clark, 34
Ethan Moreau, 34
Brendan Morrison, 34
Jeff Halpern, 34
Radek Dvorak, 33
Fernando Pisani, 33
Wade Belak, 33
Michael Handzus, 33
Eric Belanger, 32
Aaron Asham, 32
Marco Sturm, 31
Eric Cole, 31
Ruslan Fedotenko, 31
Sergei Samsonov, 31
Pascal Dupuis, 31
Simon Gagne, 30
Michael Ryder, 30
Alexei Ponikarovsky, 30
Vernon Fiddler, 30
Michael Rupp, 30
Alex Tanguay, 30
Brad Richards, 30
Tim Connolly, 29
Anti Miettenen, 29
Mike Comrie, 29
Radim Vrbata, 29
Joel Ward, 29
Raffi Torres, 29
Chuck Kobasew, 28
Chad Larose, 28
Brian Sutherby, 28
Justin Williams, 28
Alex Frolov, 28
Tomas Kopecky, 28
Chris Higgins, 27
Jussi Jokinen, 27
Brooks Laich, 27
Freddy Sjostrom, 27
Peter Prucha, 27
Curtis Glencross, 27
Chris Thorburn, 27
Ben Eager, 26
Patrick Eaves, 26
Tim Brent, 26
Matt Moulson, 26
Ville Leino, 26
Marcel Goc, 26
Cam Janssen, 26
Scotty Upshall, 26
Drew Miller, 26
Alexander Semin, 26
Tomas Fleischmann, 26
Nikolay Zherdev, 25

Sean O'Donnell, 38
Steve Staios, 36
Roman Hamrilik, 36
Hal Gill, 35
Craig Rivet, 35
Sami Salo, 35
Niclas Wallin, 35
Bryan McCabe, 35
Ruslan Salei, 35
Ed Jovonovski, 34
Brent Sopel, 33
Radek Martinek, 33
Tomas Kaberle, 32
Jan Hejda, 32
Chris Phillips, 32
Eric Brewer, 31
Andrei Markov, 31
Nick Boynton, 31
Kent Huskins, 31
Scott Hannan, 31
Paul Mara, 30
Jim Vandermeer, 30
Steve Montador, 30
John Erskine, 30
Freddy Meyer, 29
Kevin Bieksa, 29
Andrew Alberts, 28
Nathan Paestch, 27
Andy Greene, 27
Christian Ehrhoff, 27
Milan Jurcina, 27
Joni Pitkanen, 26
Trevor Daley, 26
Jeff Woywitka, 26
James Wisniewski, 26
Steve Eminger, 26
Ian White, 26
Anton Babchuk, 26
Jonathan Ericsson, 26
Shane O'Brien, 26
Mark Giordano, 26
Mark Stuart, 26
Adam Pardy, 26

Dwayne Roloson, 40
Chris Osgood, 37
Johan Hedberg, 37
Marty Turco, 34
Brian Boucher, 33
JS Giguere, 33
Jose Theodore, 33
Matthieu Garon, 32
Ilya Bryzgalov, 30
Jason Labarbera, 30
Craig Anderson, 29
Alex Auld, 29
Tomas Vokoun, 29
Mike Smith, 28
Curtis McElhinney, 27
Pascal Leclaire, 27
Peter Budaj, 27
Josh Harding, 26
Jimmy Howard, 26
Anti Niemi, 26

I've highlighted the top 5 highest profile player for each position. Also, if you're in the market for a 26 year old defensman, there are a couple of options....

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What if Kadri doesn't make it?

Would it be the end of the world if Nazem Kadri doesn't make the Leafs? Or what if he spends some time split between the AHL and NHL this season? Would that be a huge failure? Check out some other guys who didn't crack the NHL and stick:

Eric Staal
1st NHL season - 11 goals, 31 points
then a year in AHL
then returns for 2nd NHL season - 45 goals, 100 points, Stanley Cup

Jason Spezza
One year split between NHL and AHL
then 1st full NHL year - 55 points
then a full year in AHL
finally 2nd full NHL season - 90 points

Steve Sullivan
Full year in the AHL
followed by 2 seasons split between NHL and AHL
then 1st full NHL season - 28 points
and this is followed by 8 consecutive 20+ goal seasons (including two 30 goal seasons) and a lot of those seasons were shortened due to injury.

Eric Fehr
3 seasons split between AHL and NHL
then his rookie year - 25 points
and last year in his 2nd season - 21 goals, 39 pts and turning out to be a really good player

Patrice Bergeron
rookie season - 16 goals
then a full year in AHL
2nd NHL season - 31 goals, hasn't really looked back except injuries have been a set back

David Backes
spent a season split between NCAA and AHL
then a season split between AHL and NHL
then his first full NHL season - 13 goals, 31 points
2nd full NHL season - 31 goals, 54 points

Andrew Brunette
Spent a full season in the AHL
followed by 3 up and down seasons split between dominating the AHL and struggling in the NHL
950 career games, and 660 career points later he's been one of the most consistant NHL scorers of the last decade.

These are just some of tons of examples of players who spent time in the AHL in some capacity and they all went on to do well in the NHL. If Kadri isn't quite ready, that's not really a big deal. Having said that, I hope he makes it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Leafs pre-season

Last nights game was bad. Here's a few quick thoughts:

- Lebda and Lashoff were not impressive at all. I was expecting more out of those guys. Of course it was only 1 game.

- Christian Hanson was really good! I'm all turned around on this guy

- Brayden Irwin and Marcel Mueller: These guys weren't great, but they are huge bodies, I wouldn't mind seeing one of them take a roster spot. Irwin was actually one of the best Leafs

- Mike Brown is quickly becoming one of my favourite players. I hope he can keep this up

- Nazem Kadri was pretty good

- Dion Phaneuf... was bad

- Tomas Kaberle was by far the best player on the team

- Jussi Rynnas, judging by his 1/2 game only, does not look NHL ready

Its only been 1 pre-season game, no big deal, these were my thoughts, I'll write about tonights game too.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Leafs Camp Update***

Watching the scrimmage's on the Leafs website, and listening to the comments from Wilson I'm going to narrow down what I think the final roster will look like:

Nikolai Kulemin - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel

*This line finished the year off together last year and they've started training camp together. Ron Wilson seems to like these guys and hopes they can build on the chemistry that they started to establish last season. These guys are all locks and probably will be the top line to start the year.

Mikhail Grabovski and Clarke MacArthur (+Sjostrom?)

Grabovski has been the best looking forward in camp, hands down. I wouldn't have guessed it going in, but he's been amazing. MacArthur has shown that he's got a good set of hands and wheels and these two have been playing together. They could work out together for the year and Ron Wilson hinted that Freddy Sjostrom could be the other guy on that line if he's healthy for the start of the season, which he should be. That would be a speedy line.

Colby Armstrong - Nazem Kadri - Kris Versteeg

This was an interesting combo. I don't know if they'll stay together but they are a cool mix of grit and skill. By the sounds of things Kadri will be making the team, at least to start the year.

Mike Brown and Colton Orr

We already know Orr is on the team, so I'll move onto Mike Brown. I didn't expect a lot out of him but what I've liked so far is how fast he is. He's really quick out there and he looks pretty big. He's going to be a very solid 4th line winger. These guys are both locks.

So that equals 11 forwards, leaving 2 spots up front. Who are the prime candidates right now?

1. John Mitchell - He's got to be right in there, he was a regular last year and he looks pretty good, but not spectacular so far in camp.

2. Marcel Mueller - This guy can play. Here's a good article about him from Mike Ulmer

3. Wayne Primeau - not on my list below, Primeau was invited to camp without a contract. He looks really big and fast in camp and he might be the best option for a 4th line centre. What gives him an edge over guys like Mueller, D'Amigo etc. is that he's not a prospect and he could play 4th line minutes without worrying about hurting his development. He's also strong on draws which can't be said about any of our other centres. Last year he had an edge because of his PK ability but the additions of Sjostrom, Armstrong, and Versteeg should all but push him out of the penalty killing role. Still, I wouldn't be surprised to see him signed at the end of camp.

4. Jerr D'Amigo - Very interesting one, if you listen to the comments from Ron Wilson. D'Amigo was great in the rookie tournament and has turned some heads during the first days of practice at the main camp. Ron Wilson has mentioned D'Amigo a couple of times while talking to the media and said something to the effect of "I pretty much know what the team is going to look like come opening day.... I might have to make adjustments to accomodate D'amigo." So I think its safe to say he's still got a legitimate shot and should be one of the main focuses during pre-season. Keep in mind, at this time last year Stalberg was a fringe player on the outside looking in, but 2 weeks later was a lock to make the team because of strong exhibition games.

5. Luca Caputi - I still think he's got a great shot to make it, but he's got to prove his place on the team. Talent wise he's there, and I think a lot is going to depend on what kind of player Wilson has in mind to fill out the roster. Caputi has an edge because he is different. He's not a fast skater, but he has a great set of hands and could carve a niche as a player who stands in front of the net. He's got a unique skillset so a lot will depend on what Wilson wants.

6. Christian Hanson - I don't think he'll make it. He's a big guy, good skater, but his 2-way contract makes him an easy cut. I think he'll be one of the first to get called up, but I don't see him making it out of camp.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Leafs Training Camp

Brian Burke's final 23 man roster typically consists of 13 forwards, 8 defensmen, and 2 goalies. Keeping that in mind, I'm going to look at 20 forwards who will be competing for 13 spots to play for the Maple Leafs on opening night vs Montreal on October 7.


Nazem Kadri, age 20, 6'0" 188 lbs - This guy turns 20 the day before the regular season starts, he is of course the biggest name prospect coming to the Leafs camp, and he has a legitimate shot to make this team. He was the most prolific scorer in the OHL's playoffs with 27 pts in 12 games, and dominated the regular season. He has really proven himself in Junior and could be NHL ready. He still needs to have a solid camp to really prove that he belongs, but if his hands and ability to play physically can even closely translate from Junior into NHL pre-season then he will make the team. To get top 6 minutes he might have to make the team as a winger, even though he is a natural centre.

Jerry D'Amigo, age 19, 5'11" 196 lbs - D'Amigo would not have been expected to be in this position a year ago but he really broke out in NCAA this past season as an 18 year old. He was a point per game player, plays a two-way game and earned some attention from Burke and Wilson. He is a bit of a longshot but has had a ton of buzz around him this summer and could take a spot with a seriously strong camp.

Tyler Bozak, age 24, 6'1" 195 lbs - Bozak is a pretty much a lock to make this team after being called up late last year and really proving that he can play and produce at an NHL level. His 27 points in 37 games shows a lot of promise. The biggest question around Bozak is whether he'll be playing first or second line.

Luca Caputi, age 22, 6'3" 200 lbs - Another early October birthday, Luca was playing 2nd line at the end of last season, but he will have to prove his worth at camp. He managed 2 goals and 7 assists in 23 NHL games last year and despite being a below average skater, he can make an impact on a game. He's got some size and a good set of hands and could use his strength's to find a role on the team as a guy who drives to the net and finds rebounds, or stands in front on the PP. He will have to good because his spot is one that could be lost to a guy like Kadri, D'Amigo or Mueller, etc.

Mikhail Grabovski, age 26, 5'11" 184 lbs - Mikhail is a guy who will be gunning for the first line centre spot. He put up 35 pts in 59 games last year (47 point pace) and had 48 points the year before. If he can stay healthy and be as productive again this year then he will be a solid 2nd line centre, which is where I think he'll end up.

Kris Versteeg, age 24, 5'10" 182 lbs - Versteeg is a lock. The biggest offseason acquisition by Burke could play top line, and will play at least 2nd line. He's flashy, can score, plays a defensive game, kills penalties, is gritty. This guy should be fun to watch.

Mike Brown, age 25, 5'11" 205 lbs - Brown's 306 career penalty minutes in 142 career games tells you all you need to know. This guy is a scrapper, and should take some of the responsibility off of Orr to be the enforcer. Colton Orr was a very effective defensive forward under Tom Renney but was strictly an enforcer for Toronto last year and Brown should give the Leafs another heavyweight option. Brown, an NHL regular last year, was traded for by Burke in the offseason and he will make this team and play 4th line, or be the 13th forward.

Colton Orr, age 28, 6'3" 222 lbs - Colton Orr is a beast and Brian Burke really praised the way Orr played in his first season with Toronto. Colton scored a few gritty goals, and I actually agree with Don Cherry's assesment, that if Orr were to play more minutes he could be a solid defensive forward who could also chip in up around 10 goals. I don't think he will get those minutes and we should only expect another 4 or 5 goals from Orr, but he will bring the energy, forecheck, backcheck, and he will also continue to be the 2nd best ranked fighter in the NHL behind only Boogaard.

Colby Armstrong, age 27, 6'2" 195 lbs - Armstrong was the big free agent acquisition of the summer for Toronto. He is a lock to make this team, should be a third line energy player who will hit and fight and chip in with some offense. With a strong camp he could force his way onto the 2nd line.

Freddy Sjostrom, age 27, 6'1" 218 lbs - Freddy is a pure checking forward, just a solid defensive guy who should also be a lock for the 3rd or 4th line. However, a shakey camp by Sjostrom, coupled with a terrific camp from one of the younger guys could make things interesting. So Freddy needs to be sharp and the job will remain his to lose.

Christian Hanson, age 24, 6'3" 202 lbs - The last Leaf forward to sign this summer, Hanson inked a two-way deal which could make him an easy candidate to be sent down to start the season. If he doesn't play well enough to really seperate himself from guys like Mitchell, Sjostrom, and Brown, and then guys like Kadri or D'Amigo come out and shine, then it could be the AHL to start the year off for Hanson, again. This camp will be a big test for this guy, who if he uses his size could earn a spot.

Marcel Mueller, age 22, 6'4" 230 lbs - This beast was a star for Germany at the Olympics and posted amazing numbers in the DEL. He had 24 goals and 32 assists for 56 points in 53 games (keeping in mind that you only record 1 assist per goal in that league!). Mueller has the build of a power forward and could be the darkhorse at this camp. For all the fringe players, this could be the guy to watch out for, and he could very well end up on the roster come opening day. As of right now he'll have to be listed as a bit of a long shot.

Phil Kessel, age 23, 5'11" 180 lbs - Kessel is another early October baby, he'll be 23 just before the season starts. He is a lock for the top line, and is the star of this offense. I don't think I need to go on here.

John Mitchell, age 25, 6'1" 205 lbs - Johnny has earned himself a 1 year contract with Toronto but he'll have to work at camp to hold onto his spot. He is one of the fringe players with Sjostrom, Hanson, Brown, and Caputi who has a roster spot to lose. Mitch is a big boy and typically a favourite of Ron Wilson, so he might have an inside edge to be the 3rd or 4th line centre. He will need to have a really good camp to prove he deserves the minutes.

Clarke MacArthur, age 25, 5'11" 191 lbs - Clarke has scored 16 and 17 goals in each of the last two NHL seasons, and has proven to be a decent two-way player. If he can keep playing with that consistancy he should make as a third liner and could fight for 2nd line minutes, where he could give himself an oppurtunity to be even more productive. This camp will be big for MacArthur to try to gel with guys like Kessel, Versteeg, Kulemin, Grabovski, and Bozak and earn a spot as the 6th forward.

Mike Zigomanis, age 29, 6'0" 200 lbs - Veteran NHL journeyman Zigomanis has played for the Hurricanes, Blues, Coyotes, and Penguins and he could have a shot to make the team with a really great camp, although he'll probably be a key player for the Marlies. He's a faceoff specialist and penalty kill guy. A real grinder, and at 29 he's the oldest Leaf forward with a legit shot to make it out of camp. If there are injuries or both Hanson and Mitchell struggle at camp, that could be Zigomanis' chance to make it as a depth centre.

Jay Rosehill, age 25, 6'3" 215 lbs - Rosehill would not have been on anyone's list to make the team out of camp last year and he did. Could he surprise again this year after losing his place on the team? Its possible but not too likely. He takes on the same type of role occupied by Brown and Orr, but if he can have a really great camp he could be on the team to start the season. Count him as a long shot.

Brayden Irwin, age 23, 6'5" 215 lbs - This guy is a tower, another one of Burke's NCAA signings, Irwin came in and played 2 games with the Leafs after his college season ended last year, registering 3 shots on goal and 2 penalty minutes. He has been described by Burke as a potential top 6 forward, but he will have to adjust to the speed of the NHL game as he has a head for the game and tremendous reach and size. In his limited NHL action last year he found himself in good scoring positions a few times but couldn't find the handle. Irwin has a decent chance to make the team but he will have to have a great training camp.

Nikolai Kulemin, age 24, 6'1" 224 lbs - He started last year off in the minors after a shakey camp. I don't think he'll make the same mistake again as he just got better and better as his sophomore year progressed. Expect this guy to be driven and try to prove himself as a sniper. Kulemin has the shot and speed to be a first line player, and is a great defensive forward and probably the Leafs best hitting forward (2nd best now with Armstrong on board). I expect him to play first line, if not 2nd line depending on chemistry in camp.

Mikhail Stefanovich, age 20, 6'2" 202 lbs - Stefanovich is a real long shot here, but he was an absolute scoring machine with 49 goals in 56 games in Junior in '09, followed by dip to 25 goals but massively improved 43 assists last season. His QMJHL numbers are good, and the lanky Belarussian is known for his slick hands and knack around the net. He has the talent and could be a shocker to steal a spot if he comes to camp well conditioned.

So that's it, there's 20 guys, filter out 7 of them and you've got your Leafs, other guys coming to camp include Kenny Ryan, the recently drafted Brad Ross and Greg McKegg, undrafted free agent prospect Robert Slaney, and quality Marlies like Tim Brent and Darryl Boyce.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Leafs Projections

With the latest moves (see my last two blogs below) it appears BB is done playing with the roster as the Leafs head into training camp. Christian Hanson was re-signed today and now the Leafs have the maximum 50 players under contract. What I'd like to do is give my predictions on the team followed by 2 sets of projections. The first is will be what I believe is going to be realistically obtained by these Leafs, and the 2nd is what I think could be feasible, albeit optimistic, and what it would take to bring this roster into the post-season.

PREDICTION: 11th in the East, 23rd overall.

Phil Kessel.....................76.....36....32.....68
Kris Versteeg................82....25....33......58
Tomas Kaberle.............82......7.....47......54
Nikolai Kulemin............82....23....22......45
Tyler Bozak..................72.....16....27.......43
Dion Phaneuf................82.....12....28.......40
Mikhail Grabovski.......70.....14....24.......38
Clarke MacArthur.......82.....15....19.......34
Francois Beauchemin..82.....6......27.......33
Carl Gunnarsson..........82.....7......25.......32
Colby Armstrong.........82.....12....18.......30
Luca Caputi..................62.....10....18......28
Nazem Kadri................45......6.....16.......22
Luke Schenn................82......5.....15........20
John Mitchell...............68......7.......9........16
Fred Sjostrom..............77......5......10.......15
Christian Hanson.........55.....5.......9.........14
Mike Brown..................82.....4.......6.........10
Matt Lashoff.................36.....1.......8..........9
Colton Orr....................82......3.......5..........8
Bret Lebda...................48......2.......4..........6
Mike Komisarek..........60.....1.......3..........4

JS Giguere - 21-20-6/ GAA 2.71/ SV% .903
Jonas Gustavsson - 14-16-5/ GAA 2.78/ SV% .896

These projections would total 216 goals, which would put them around 20th in goal scoring on a typical year (as low as 23-24th as high as 17-18). It would be a scoring by comittee style of team, and I think it has to be. As you can see from these projections, it would not be a good enough team to make the playoffs, but a young team with some promise.

Couple of notes: I have Kadri as making the team for part of the season but spending half the year in the AHL in this prediction. A few guys who are prone to injuries I took out for some games (ie Komisarek misses 22) but ultimately no one misses significant time for the sake of projections. I realize only 6 d-men will dress per game (or maybe sometimes 7) so I have guys like Lashoff and Lebda playing shorter seasons. Other guys that I think could be in and out of the line up are Hanson and Caputi, but that could just as easily be Brown and McArthur, I kind of had to pick and choose, just for the sake of arguement let's say its the guys I said. There is no such team as a team icing 18 skaters for 82 games so I played with the numbers.

Now, if these Leafs are going to make the playoffs, which I think is a possibility, it would take some breakout years from some of these young guys. The rest of the squad will have to pull their own weight and their best players will have to be their best. Here are the tangible numbers that I believe it will take for this team to be a playoff bound team:

Phil Kessel.....................76.....38....35.....73
Kris Versteeg................82....27....34......61
Tomas Kaberle.............82......7.....47......54
Dion Phaneuf................82.....16....37......53
Nikolai Kulemin............82....23....27......50
Tyler Bozak..................72.....18....27.......45
Mikhail Grabovski.......70.....14....31.......45
Clarke MacArthur.......82.....18....22.......40
Colby Armstrong.........82......15....21......36
Francois Beauchemin..82.....6......27.......33
Carl Gunnarsson..........82.....7......25.......32
Luca Caputi..................62.....10....18.......28
Nazem Kadri................45......8.....20.......28
Luke Schenn................82......5.....17........22
John Mitchell...............68......9.......9........18
Fred Sjostrom..............77......5......10.......15
Christian Hanson.........55.....5.......9.........14
Mike Brown..................82.....4.......6.........10
Matt Lashoff.................36.....1.......8..........9
Colton Orr....................82......3.......5..........8
Bret Lebda...................48......2.......4..........6
Mike Komisarek..........60.....1.......3..........4

JS Giguere - 26-19-3/ GAA 2.59/ SV% .916
Jonas Gustavsson - 16-14-4/ GAA 2.67/ SV% .902

This brings them in up over 230 goals which would put them anywhere from 6-15 on a typical year (its usually tight, each team a couple goals apart from eachother), and with improved defensive play from the team, they could make the playoffs. Another key difference in these projections is Dion Phaneuf going from good to great, this will be a big factor.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Leafs Making Moves

Brian Burke just acquired Matt Lashoff from Tampa Bay by moving out 2 minor league contracts. This is not a huge move but it opens up room to acquire more players. NHL teams can only have 50 players under contract total, and the Leafs were right up against the limit, this move now allows them to sign a free agent or make another trade.

So stay tuned for more trades or a UFA signing, it should be coming soon.

The players the Leafs moved are minor leaguer's Alex Berry and Stefano Gilati. Matt Lashoff was a first round pick in 2005 by the Bruins, 22nd overall. He's 6'2", 205 lbs, and his cap hit is $550K. He should push Keith Aulie and Jeff Finger at camp for the 8th spot on the Leafs blueline. Lashoff is set to become an RFA next summer.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Leafs Rumours - Mike Ulmer says that the Leafs could be close to signing UFA Raffi Torres
Hockeybuzz - Eklund says that Paul Kariya has had minor talks with Pittsburgh, serious talks with Anaheim, and if that doesn't work out he could consider Toronto.
- Eklund also writes that the Leafs could be making some sort of deal by Thursday
- Eklund also "heard" that if a Kovalchuk deal gets done in New Jersey they could be moving Danius Zubrus, with Toronto listed as 1 of 3 possible destinations.
Ottawa Sun - Leafs will try to get an extension done with Tomas Kaberle
Toronto Star - Leafs not likely to get an extension done with Tomas Kaberle, won't be asked to waive NTC and will probably walk next summer (Damien Cox, negativity)
Columbus dispatch - Burke has said to have interest in Raffi Torres.
TheFourthPeriod - Leafs not out of contention for Marc Savard
Some random rumours - Leafs minor interest in Mike Comrie at a very low salary? Also Tyler Arnason to a two-way or minor league deal.

That's it for now

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Minnesota making moves

James Sheppard on the block?

Looking at the guys that the Wild brought in this summer, they've given themselves some real depth down the middle with the signings of John Madden and Matt Cullen. I guess with the injuries to PM Bouchard being more severe than originally thought they felt it was necessary to bring in another centre.

But having said that they've got Mikko Koivu as their number 1, and are really paying Cullen to be a number two, which I believe he is capable. John Madden would fill in as a checking line centre, but I don't think Sheppard fits in with this team anymore unless you pencil him in at #2 and push Cullen and Madden down. There has been some other speculation on the internet that Sheppard could be on the block.

Keep an eye on this one

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Long term NHL contracts are BS!!!

So apparently Lou Lamerello may be offering Kovalchuk a 17 year contract worth $100 million. That would be a cap hit of just under $6 mil per season. This is outright cheating, just like the Hossa contract.

This contract would take Kovalchuk up until he's 43 years old, he will almost certainly retire with 5 or more years remaining on this deal. What the hell? I would just offer him a huge contract: 50 years and $151 million. I'd pay him $132 million over the first 12 years of the deal ($11 million per season), then and then drop that to $500 thousand for the next 38 years. His cap hit would be just over $3 million! And we'd have him until he's 76! This is really no different from what New Jersey is proposing, and what Chicago is doing.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Leafs Rumours

Update on what's going on in Toronto. Here are a few blurbs:

- Burke is looking for a depth defensman.
This one doesn't make a ton of sense unless you figure Kaberle is on the way out for sure. So I think a signing like this might be done after Kaberle is dealt. Names that have been mentioned include Bret Lebda, MA Bergeron (played for Burke in Anaheim), Willie Mitchell, Paul Ranger (RFA would be via trade), Freddy Meyer, Shaone Morrison, Jay McKee, and Andy Sutton.

- Tomas Kaberle to LA for Wayne Simmonds and a prospect.
Interesting. Normally I don't read Eklund rumours but I did today and this one might have some legs because its something Bob MacKenzie has talked about before as well, although he said that the Kings were not interested in dealing Simmonds in a deal for Kaberle. Maybe now that the Kovalchuk thing seems to be slipping away and there are no other big names for LA to acquire this could be something they'd consider. If I'm the Leafs I'm not overwhealmed with Simmonds, but depending on who the prospect is (B.Schenn???) It could be worth a real look.

- Beauchemin or Grabovski for Mike Ribeiro.
This is an interesting $ saving move for Dallas, but I don't know if Beauchemin would be available if Kaberle is being dealt. I could see this being a possibility later in the summer if Kaberle is kept past August 15.

- Max Afinogenov to Toronto
I know that Zherdev was reported to not be of interest to Toronto, and I would have to think that this is a false rumour. Although if he hangs around long enough like last summer, I could see this guy being a late summer pick up for the Leafs at the right price.

That's all I could find for now.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Remaining UFA's

After the first two days of free agency there are still some interesting names out there. But before I get into that I just want to say that people are freaking out about Oli Jokinen going back to Calgary. Tanguay and Jokinen are great pick ups by Calgary, mark my words, Calgary makes the playoffs and has a big year next season.

Now here are the top remaining guys:




Handful of other guys on top of these guys. Raffi Torres is one guy who was talked about a lot leading up to the deadline and free agency as a big tough guy who can play 2nd-3rd line and was expected to get up around $3 million. I'm wondering now if he hasn't been getting those offers, especially after a not having a good playoff. Ditto for Alex Ponikarovsky. Now I'm thinking that Torres could be a guy who might be willing to sign a 1-year deal for around $1.5-2.5 range, and could be a good deal.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mike Modano, not in Dallas???

Mike Modano is a pimp. I love this guy, he's my brothers all time favourite player, and a future hall of famer. He has recently said that he will look at all his options this summer. This is very strange, to me, you look at a guy like Modano who has played 20 seasons with the (North)/Stars organization and you think of him as a Stevie Y, Mario Lemieux, Joe Sakic. Were talking about a short list of guys who played amazing careers all with the same team.

But things are slightly different for Modano compared to Yzerman and Sakic. Modano for starters only won 1 Cup compared to Sakic and Yzerman who passed it back and forth to eachother for a decade. Modano was not the captain of the Stars when they won (Hatcher), and Modano was stripped of the 'C' a couple of years ago. If you as me, Mike has not been shown the type of respect he deserves from that organization and for that reason I think it would be okay if he did leave.

In a recent article I read on TSN, Modano was quoted, saying that he will probably wait a few weeks after free agency starts and see how things are looking and then pick a competitive team to play for. Could you see him in a Red Wings jersey, how about Penguins (if they move Jordan Staal), or maybe in Washington? Let's see who the Sharks bring back and re-sign, maybe there will be a fit for Modano in San Jose? Either way it will be bizarre to see a guy who I grew up watching, wearing a different jersey.

I know it doesn't really fit the whole 'contender' thing but I'd love to see this guy in a Leafs jersey, that would be amazing. But I think its pretty unlikely.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Arnott trade is great for NJD

I really like this move by the Devils, even though they don't have a ton of prospects, especially after dealing for Kovalchuk, but Arnott is a great pick up by a team that is very close. I think Arnott is exactly the type of guy that New Jersey was missing in their loss to Philadelphia. They could even use another guy like him. Philly was so much tougher and more rugged.

Another priority this summer for New Jersey is to re-sign David Clarkson. In my opinion Kovalchuk is gone from New Jersey.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Trade Rumours:

Here are a list of names rumoured to be available, as per things I've read in newspapers, seen on TV, heard on the radio, and found online (using discretion of course).

ALEX SEMIN - might be available. The Caps are obviously disapointed with their playoff loss, and here is a very talented underachiever with 1 year left on his deal.

return? I would expect any trade involving this guy to be more of a shake up type trade. The Caps will be looking for someone else who is high profile but different. They might even take a slightly lesser player if he comes at the right cap hit. Like a 60 point player, hard nosed, who earns under $5 mil.

TOMAS KABERLE - You know what Burke wants for him. A top 6 forward (young) and maybe more. Burke has repeated many times that his priority is not to bring in a 1st round pick, despite popular belief.

destination? New Jersey keeps popping up, Buffalo, St.Louis, Anaheim, and supposedly there are 5 teams very interested, these may or may not be 4 of them.

PATRICK SHARP - Really good all around player, could be the cap casuality. You know that its going to be someone (or someones) in Chicago, and its likely it could be Sharp.

return? Someone cheap and talented/prospect/draft pick. I wouldn't be surprised to see a team deal a late 1st rounder for him. My own speculation: Anaheim deals the Flyers pick (acquired in Pronger deal) 29th overall for Sharp.
destination? Latest news says Columbus or Toronto are interested.

JEFF CARTER - Believe it. The Flyers will be in a tough situation with regard to cap numbers, and the latest is that Carter could be the odd man out. The Flyers might be moving one of their higher paid forwards to free up the necessary space to get a legit goalie and another top 4 d-man. Other names rumoured are Briere, Hartnell, and Gagne.

return? A goalie, or a less expensive, equally interesting forward. The speculation from one paper is a Carter for Nate Horton swap. I think Carter for Vokoun makes more sense. (or Gagne for Vokoun makes even more because I wouldn't trade Carter...)

JONATHAN BERNIER - Kings continuing to add more star power up front could use hot shot goalie prospect Bernier as trade bait if they miss out on UFA's like Patrick Marleau or Ilya Kovalchuk.

I'll add more to this later

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Free Agents I'd like to see the Leafs target

A month away from free agency, this is not a good year in terms of star power but there are a handful of solid role players who could help a lot of teams including the Leafs. Here's my wishlist

Depending on what kind of trades Burkie makes at the draft and throughout the summer, this wishlist could change but I'd like to see him add a couple pieces to make the team competitive for next year:
This is a must. I think he'll go the trade route but if he does go with a free agent I'd be interested in the following -
Ilya Kovalchuk - ya I want him. 6 years $45-50 mil, something like that (7.5-8.2 cap hit roughly)
Patrick Marleau - I don't love the guy but he would be a good pick up, 6 years $33-36 mil would be the highest I'd go (5.5-6 cap hit), or 3 years $21 mil.
Ray Whintey - I love him, look at his point totals in each of the last 5 years, and I was really impressed with the way he played in the couple of Canes games I watched. 1-2 years only for the 38 year old, under $2.5-3.5 per season.
Vinny Prospal - He'd be a 1st/2nd line guy, and would only be a 'plan B' for me. I don't think he's a Burke type guy, but he's a decent two way player and can score goals.
I like the idea of Burke adding some muscle up front, preferably a player or two who can also score up around 20 goals.
I'd like to see one or two of these guys signed to 1/2 year deals:
Bertuzzi, Holmstrom, Modin, Cullen, C.Armstrong, Cooke, Artyukhin, Boogaard (maybe), Nichol, Burrish, Malholtra, Nystrom, Ivanans, Pyatt.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Red Wings offseason

Disapointing to see the Red Wings go out in 5 games to the Sharks, especially considering I felt that Detroit was the better team in 3 of the 5 games in that series. There could be some cap issues this summer, and Lidstrom may retire, Maltby has said he'll probably test free agency, Tomas Holmstrom will likely come back, and Jiri Hudler is coming back over from the KHL.

Here is my offseason plan for the Red Wings, but it would require the great Nik Lidstrom to return at severely reduced pay. But you figure Stevie Y was playing for $1 million later in his career for Detroit so I wonder if Lidstrom would take a page out of his book and play for a little over $3 million?

Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Franzen, Cleary, Draper, and Filpulla are all under contract for next year and aren't going anywhere, add Jiri Hudler to the mix ($2.875 million), and you've got a few spots to fill.

- Tomas Holmstrom re-signed, 2 years $3.5 million (cap hit = $1.75 mil)
- Darren Helm re-signed, 2 years $2.2 million (cap hit = $1.1)
- Justin Abdelkader re-signed, 2 years $1.9 million (cap hit = $950k)
- Drew Miller re-signed, 2 years $1.5 million (cap hit = $750k)

- UFA Slava Kozlov is coming off a very weak year in Atlanta, he's an old Red Wing and could be worth taking a gamble on, let's look at the type of money Prospal, Afinogenov got etc. for a comparison and say he that Kozlov (39) could be had on a 1 year deal for $1.1 million. This would be more of a gamble but would be cheaper than re-signing Bertuzzi.
- UFA Adam Mair could fill the role of tough guy, he was up and down with Buffalo this year but I think the guy can still play and could be affordable as the 13th forward, let's say $550k.

Rafalski, Stuart, Kronwall, and Ericsson are all still under contract, and although I'm not a fan of Jonathan Ericsson, he is cheap and he'll be retained.

-Nik Lidstrom re-signed for $3.25 million on a 1 year contract. If he would accept this type of salary, in order to stay competitive then this plan could be somewhat realistic, but its up to Nik.
- Andreas Lilja re-signed 2 years, $2.3 million (cap hit = $1.15 mil)

-UFA Aaron Ward, who bounced around from Boston, Carolina, and Anaheim in the past year is 38 years old, and is not spectacular, but can get the job done as a depth guy. I figure he'll go for around $800k. He might be interested in playing for a big time team like the Wings at this stage in his career as well.


As much as this pains me to write, I guess Osgood's time is passed. He was a great goalie and really underrated but I think the Wings will move on. If he can be moved to play elsewhere then that could be an option, if not then they'll have to get his salary off the books another way.

Jimmy Howard.... This guy is pretty good but I don't see him as a Stanley Cup goalie, at least not right now. He choked against the Sharks and was just okay agains the Coyotes. Looking back to 1996, Chris Osgood was the young starter for the Red Wings but they lost in the final 4, the Wings came back with Veteran Mike Vernon in 1997 and won the cup and then Osgood came back as the starter in 1998 and was ready to be a champion. I think the Red Wings would benefit from some grade A goaltending and shouldn't be so cheap.

UFA Marty Turco, 3 years $12 million (cap hit = $4 million) I don't think that price is unreasonable for either side, and Turco (who still has good hockey left in him) would get a chance to win the cup.

This team would fit under the cap as per, and would breakdown something like this:

Hudler - Zetterberg - Franzen
Fillpula - Datsyuk - Kozlov
Cleary - Helm - Holmstrom
Miller - Draper - Abdelkader/Mair

Lidstrom - Rafalski
Kronwall - Stuart
Ward - Lilja/Ericsson


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

All-Time Roster

Just talking with my brothers yesterday and looking at some stats, so I decided to put together my all-time all-star team:

Gordie Howe - Wayne Gretzky - Mark Messier
Marcel Dionne - Mario Lemieux - Jaromir Jagr
Peter Stastny - Steve Yzerman - Eric Lindros
Phil Esposito - Bryan Trottier - Brett Hull

Bobby Orr - Nik Lidstrom
Ray Bourque - Paul Coffey
Scott Stevens - Chris Chelios

Dominic Hasek
Martin Brodeur

So there it is, I went with a little more of a modern team, had to leave of guys like Doug Harvey (7 Norris trophies in 8 years) and Maurice Richard, because I just don't like to swish around era's that are so different. At least when I watch the ESPN Classic games of players in the 70's and 80's you can compare it to the hockey of today.

Some picks that might surprise some people?

Stastny - Averaged a point and a quarter per game, came into the NHL a bit later in his career, so I think his career numbers could have been even higher. Scored more points in the 1980's than any player besides Gretzky. Just look at his point totals and its tough to argue, he was the Quebec Nordiques.

Lindros - I know this is a controversial pick, but not looking at his career as a whole, but rather
how good he was in his prime. This guy was just so dominant, if only for a short period.

Trottier - I dont' think this one is very surprising, but I was waivering between him and a number of other guys, the clincher for Trottier is his playoff game scoring streak record, which spanned over 3 seasons. This guy also captained one of the best dynasty's in NHL history.

Chris Chelios - Ya I know he's old now, but think way back, he won 3 Norris trophies, was unbelievable in his prime, and was great for a long, long time.

Glaring ommissions?

Joe Sakic - thought about Joe, he could easily come in for a couple of these guys. Again, if you look at his career he gets the nod over Lindros. Sakic was a champion, and I considered that but I wanted a good mix, so I had to go with the big E.

Ron Francis - Amazing player, amazing career, same deal as Sakic, just wasn't room for him.

Patrick Roy - Roy was a great goalie, but I believe Brodeur was better, so I went with him. Hasek is my starter because no goalie was even close to as good as Hasek in his prime. If you could have any goalie in his prime it would have to be Hasek from 1998 to 2000. If you disagree with that, you're wrong.

And again, name any old time hockey guy you want, I didn't really consider many of them.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Top goons who may be available this summer:

Here are some guys who have been involved in trade rumours who were not moved at the deadline, or players who are scheduled to become UFA's this summer. These are all power forwards, gritty feisty guys, or straight up thugs:

Bobby Ryan - Ducks will most likely keep him, but he's an RFA. 22 years old, and tons of potential, he's a filthy sniper who plays with a big time edge. Could become available if contract talks stall in Anaheim.

Nathan Horton - 3 more years at a $4 million cap hit. This guy's name has been in rumours for over a year now. He's tough and talented, and still just 24. Could take a lot to get him out of Florida but I have to consider him on this list because of all the rumours.

Scott Hartnell - 3 years left at $4.2 million, and all over the trade rumours. He's still a Flyer, but could be available. Hartnell is a guy who can score up around 30 goals, and 60 points on a good year, and most importantly he's a beast. He's in your face, hits, fights, gets in the crease. He's a guy you hate to play against.

Dustin Penner - This guy has got 23 or 24 goals on the year so far. Hits hard, skates hard. 26 years old, and 2 years left on his $4.25 million contract. Oilers could move him to free up cap space for other moves.

Todd Bertuzzi - Don't be fooled by his fancy hands, he still hits and plays a mean game. He's not what he was 5 years ago, but still a grizzled vet.

Evgeny Artyukin - "The Animal" is a beast. Not a ton of finish but can move and hits everything. this guy is a pure energy player and a giant. Also he can drop the gloves with the best of 'em. UFA in July.

Wade Belak - Guess who's a UFA. Do I really need to describe this guy?

Keith Tkachuk - Old man. Still awesome. Tough in the corners, drives the net. One of the dirtiest players off all time doesn't score 40 goals a year anymore, and doesn't get suspensions for cross checking guys in the throat anymore. But he'll still make an impact on the game with his physical play.

Scott Walker - 36, not so productive anymore but brings that veteran 4th line physical presence. He's a UFA

Derek Boogaard - Falls into the 'thug' category. Boogie man is a whopping 6'8" and around 260lbs. He is not a fast skater but can make an impact on a game by the way he pushes around opponents, fights, and hits. He's a UFA on july 1st.

Joffrey Lupul - His name bounced around in rumours earlier this year. He's also bounced around a little himself going from the Ducks to the Oilers (for Pronger) to the Flyers (for Pitkanen) and back to the ducks (....for Pronger, again). He's 25, underachieving, and earning $4.25 million for 3 more seasons. But he's got some finish and he hits hard.

Owen Nolan - Grizzled old vet still got some fight in him. He'll drop the gloves, chip in with some big slap shot goals, and finish his check... hard! Owen Nolan is tough SOB. UFA this summer.

Jody Shelley - Pure enforcer, now 33 years old and UFA in July. He's a scrapper.

Ryan Malone - He's been in trade rumours ever since he signed that lucrative 7 year deal. The 30 year old still has 5 years left at a $4.5 million cap hit which makes him available. He's a big guy and he gets his gritty goals.

leafs at the deadline

1)To Pittsburgh: Alexei Ponikarovsky
To Toronto: Luca Caputi, Martin Skoula

2)To New Jersey: Martin Skoula
To Toronto: 5th round pick

3)To Anaheim: Joey MacDonald
To Toronto: 7th round pick

4)To Pittsburgh: 6th round pick
To Toronto: Chris Peluso

5)To Phoenix: Lee Stempniak
To Toronto: Matt Jones, 4th round pick, 7th round pick

In -

4th round pick
5th round pick
7th round pick
7th round pick

Out -

6th round pick

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Dr.Hockey - 20 most rumoured players

1. Dan Hamhuis.....ufa this summer
2. Alex Ponikarovsky.....ufa this summer
3. Tomas Vokoun
4. Raffi Torres........ufa this summer
5. Ray Whitney........ufa this summer (has NTC, wants extension)
6. Andrew Cogliano
7. Scott Niedermyer........ufa this summer
8. Lee Stempniak......ufa this summer
9. Alex Frolov........ufa this summer
10. Slava Kozlov..........ufa this summer (has NTC, requested trade)
11. Nathan Horton
12. Marek Svatos.....ufa this summer (and maybe Wojtec Wolski???)
12. Garnett Exelby...ufa this summer (no typo on the #, luck related)
14. Dan Ellis......ufa this summer
15. Peter Mueller
16. Toni Lydman
17. Rostislav Olesz (not moveable in my opinion)
18. Cristobal Huet (some interesting rumours out there including a flip to Toronto involving Finger, and a potential deal for Vokoun, other variables not known)
19. Fred Modin.......ufa this summer
20. Tomas Kaberle (continues to insist he won't waive NTC, but we have to keep an eye on him)

Friday, February 5, 2010


Here are some spicey rumours for y'al. These are just things I'm reading, hearing, and even smelling. Take them for what they're worth

1. Cam Barker for Scott Niedermyer
2. Jeff Finger (and a younger player, ie Stalberg) for Michael Ryder
3. Marek Svatos to Minnesota for a draft pick
4. Niclas Wallin to the Sharks for ??? (probably a pick)
5. Dan Hamuis for a winger (Steve Ott, Michael Ryder, Raffi Torres, or centre P.Mueller)
6. Ethan Moreau and a pick (3rd-4th) to Toronto for Garnett Exelby or Lee Stempniak
7. Slava Kozlov back to Detroit for mid-late draft pick (3rd-5th)
8. Shawn Horcoff (+ something ie. pick or young player) to Florida for Rostislav Olesz
9. Sabres to..... stand pat.
10. Ray Whitney or Paul Kariya to Montreal for picks/prospects

Lastly, here are the 6 teams that Souray has agreed to waive his NTC for: LA, Dallas, NYR, Washington, Philly, Anaheim.

I don't see Philly, LA, or Washington taking on that salary which carries over to the next couple years. I don't think it makes sense for NYR either but who knows with them. Best bets might be Dallas or Anaheim, or the Oilers might also be stuck, then they'd just have to hope he plays better. Also Dallas is for sale and will only add salary if they can also dump salary, so that probably won't happen either.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Devils a force, need to add a d-man now

NJ brings in Kovalchuk, here's what they're lines will look something like - (Paul Martin should have his cast off in 2 weeks and could rejoin the team after the Olympic break)

Kovalchuk - Zajac - Parise
Langenbrunner - Elias - Zubrus
Rolston - Niedermyer - Clarkson
Pandolfo - McAmmond - Peters/Lablond

Martin - Greene
Mottau - Salvador
White - Salmela/Fraser


I'd say they'll probably add a defensman at, or before the deadline. Other than that, I guess they're okay. You have to consider them among the favourites now (if you didn't already). They're pretty deadly. Here are some options for them to add on the blueline:

Sheldon Souray - although this is a long shot with the $ involved. NJ was linked to Souray rumors. Now with the Kovie trade, I wouldn't count on this.

Niclas Wallin - some kind of trade is in place with SJ, but as of right now Wallin could still be had. Who knows, maybe the hold up is that Wallin won't waive his NTC for the sharks? If that's the case he's still up for grabs, and he's a great playoff guy, type of guy who really steps it up.

Joe Corvo - decent rental from the Canes, shouldn't cost more than a 3rd round pick at most.

Scott Niedermyer - no NTC, but the Ducks have said that they'll give him the chance to choose if and where he wants to go. A return to NJ could make sense but Anaheim would have to take back some salary to make this trade fit.

Garnett Exelby - NJ can get away with some workman-like defense, so maybe picking up XLB for a mid-late pick is all they need, and I could see them going after a guy like this or someone similar.