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Dion Phaneuf

More than ever before, NHL management involves getting out of bad contracts. Always better to move a contract a year early, than a year late. When the full season lockout lifted, free agency was an event with the capacity to shift team’s trajectories and quickly push them up or down the ranks. For example, the Anaheim Ducks signed Scott Niedermayer, their Captain, when they won the Cup. The Blackhawks—and Red Wings—signed Marian Hossa, who was a key piece in their Cup quests. Other teams did not win the Cup, but the Philadelphia Flyers signing Peter Forsberg; the New York Rangers signing...
Dave Nonis Leafs

The evaluation period might not be over, but the reality has hit Leafs Nation. This team is not very good, and it needs a face lift. Not a face lift to the bottom six this time, but to the top players on the team. The real question, though, is who is going to do it? The Leafs have nine players making at least $3M as a capped-out, lottery team, and current-GM Dave Nonis signed every one of those deals save for the JVR contract, which is easily the best bang-for-the-buck deal the team has locked in. Talk around town...

The other day, over at my hockey analytics blog, I wrote an article on the relationship between Possession/Corsi (CF%) and Shooting Percentage (Sh%) in 5v5 close situations. I figured I'd piggy back on that analysis a little and take a look at the Leafs over the past three and a half seasons spanning the Randy Carlyle era. In my article, I showed that, while some elite level teams or truly bad teams can break the trend, there is generally a strong negative correlation between a teams CF% and shooting percentage. Recall that CF% stands for Corsi For Percentage, which is the percentage...

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Peter Horachek speaks with members of the media following Wednesday's morning skate.

Monday's happenings: D Dion Phaneuf is expected to be out "week-to-week" with an upper body injury (hand, from last week's fights). D Stephane Robidas left the ice before practice started. F Leo Komarov is expected to return Wednesday against the Devils, while F Joffrey Lupul and F Peter Holland remain day-to-day. D Petter Granberg and F Josh Leivo were recalled from the Toronto Marlies Practice Pairs: Can you say yikes... Tuesday Links: Anthony Petrielli: Will NHL Teams Start Using NBA Cap Relief Ideas? (MLHS) This is the way the league is going, and it is prevalent to a Leafs team that will possibly/probably want to move guys like David Clarkson, Dion Phaneuf,...

Peter Horachek speaks with members of the media following Tuesday's practice.

Much, if not all, of the grief he received this weekend was in good fun. Still, it seems odd how many people forget that Kessel deserves the respect of … you know, a perennial All-Star. Monday Links: James O'Brien: The hockey world's been awfully hard on Phil Kessel (Pro Hockey Talk) As amusing as some of this stuff is, perhaps it should also prompt a moratorium on Kessel mockery. Let’s face it, the 27-year-old’s been receiving a disproportionate amount of grief for basically his entire NHL career. Kevin McGran: Maple Leafs push centennial wishlist at All Star bash (Toronto Star) The Maple Leafs, with...

In late November, Canadian hockey fans mourned the passing of legendary coach and player Pat Quinn. He was a two-time NHL Coach of the Year, with the 1980 Philadelphia Flyers squad and the 1992 Vancouver Canucks in 1992. He never brought home the Stanley Cup as a coach, but he did lead Canada to Olympic gold. When people talk about Pat Quinn, they speak of him as a good man and a good coach. However, they also remember Quinn the player, and the thing they remember most is the 1969 hit that knocked out Bobby Orr. Although he and Orr...

Toronto Marlies head coach Gord Dineen on William Nylander's debut in last night's 3-0 loss to the Hamilton Bulldogs: Saturday Links: Maple Leafs Hot Stove: Eventful night for Phil Kessel at the NHL All Star Draft (Video) The player least interested in the spotlight took center stage again at the NHL All Star Draft. Mike Zeisberger: Phil Kessel wants to remain a Leaf, says 'I love Toronto' (Toronto Sun) Yet, through all the scrutiny, all the Phil-bashing, all the white noise coming from the outside, Kessel is steadfast in his desire to remain in Toronto. Sean Gentille: NHL All Star Draft -- Finally, it was fun...
Phil Kessel and Tyler Seguin Shake Hands

The player least interested in the spotlight took center stage again at the NHL All Star Draft. Who else but The Phil. In a classy move by Jonathan Toews, he drafted Kessel with his first selection and called him the most coachable player in the League. Kessel took a moment to enjoy some eye candy before the sudden realization hits that he's on national television: Toews then turned his back on Phil and peddled him for Tyler Seguin: Just another day in the life for a nice guy who tries hard and loves the game.

Projected Marlies lines: Marlies Head Coach Gord Dineen on Nylander's debut: Friday Links: Anthony Petrielli: Leafs Notebook -- January 22 (Maple Leafs Hot Stove) If the Leafs keep Nonis, they will do so with the hopes that he can help clean up his own mess, but the last two summers are an indication it is time for a change. Elliotte Friedman: 30 Thoughts -- Points 4-9 on the Maple Leafs ( Phaneuf has a big ticket, and the Maple Leafs will need to get creative in dealing with it, but he could fit where he’s not expected to carry the load. I’d expect Shanahan and...