The off season is here

The off season is here

2063
Dave Nonis

The off season has officially begun after a karmic conclusion to the Stanley Cup Finals last night (eat shit, Bruins). The compliance buyout period will begin Thursday followed by the draft on Sunday.

As we continued to digest the Bernier move yesterday, the Leafs qualified their new goaltender at a price of $1.525 million and will reportedly begin negotiations on a new contract later this week.

After the jump, let’s (roughly) project the Leafs cap situation headed into the 2013 off season.

[table “143” not found /]

* = RFA after 2013-14 season; ** = UFA after 2013-14 season

  • This of course assumes neither MacArthur or Bozak are being re-signed. Also assumes fellow UFAs Ryan O’Byrne and Mike Kostka are walking as well.
  • Note that there’s only 10 forwards listed there, and only 6 defencemen when the team will carry 7.
  • Seems to me that using the other compliance buyout on Liles’ $3.9 million might be worthwhile, if he can’t be traded. The cap will begin to rise again in 2014-15, so why save one if we need the space now? I doubt Liles will serve as anything more than a 5th or 6th guy with Carlyle at the helm, and Franson and Gunnarsson are due up for raises on the back end. Cap space grows to nearly 12 million with Liles off the books.
  • I’m not advocating for the re-signing of McLaren with Orr already signed. Nonis said he wants there to be space for some Marlies to compete, so there isn’t a whole lot of sense in it. I figured I may as well plug him in as a placeholder, cap wise.

Onto the links…

 

Alec Brownscombe is the founder of MapleLeafsHotStove.com, where he has written daily about the Leafs since September of 2008. He was also the editor of the 2009-12 Maple Leafs Annuals. You can contact him at [email protected]

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1440 comments
Alec Brownscombe
Alec Brownscombe moderator

Getting the cap space back from the Armstrong and Tucker buyouts will cover a good chunk of the raises Phaneuf and Kessel will get on the cap. This whole thing is fucking overblown. It'll get done.

Alec Brownscombe
Alec Brownscombe moderator

@Greg Fenton stop pushing your extremely ignorant opinion of Kessel and sidetracking threads if you want to keep participating. 

reversethecurse67
reversethecurse67

For anyone who listened to Dave Nonis @430 on TSN radio, he talked very adamantly about the need to improve the team down the middle. Even though he mentioned re-signing Bozak as possibility, it doesn't amount to an improvement.

He said "you either trade for a centreman or get lucky." Need to target teams willing to move a current #1C or potential #1C. The way he reiterated how important having a dominant centre leading the team tells me he'd be willing to move some major pieces to fill that hole (speculate however you want).

Now, what would it take to get Matt Duchene, Joe Pavelski, or a centre from St. Louis? Otherwise trade options are non-existant...

Gunnarsson isn't getting you a #1C, so one of Gardiner, Phaneuf, Reilly, or Franson must go. Unless, Gunnarsson + Colborne + 1st for Duchene+ or Pavelski+....Just spitballin' here, but there really are few options for a necessary upgrade at C.

DWCMLHS
DWCMLHS

Dion is making $5.5 million this upcoming season. What makes people think he's going to want over $7 million a year on his new deal? That's a huge raise.

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

Carolina is offering their first overall pick. Here's the last fifth overall picks not including Leaf picks.

Ryan Strome, Niño Niederreiter, Brayden Schenn, Luke Schenn, Karl Alzner, Carey Price, Blake Wheeler, Thomas Vanek, Ryan Whitney, Stanislov Chitov, Raffi Torres, Tim Connolley.

Cameron19
Cameron19

Why does Patrik Berglund keep agreeing to such short terms with the Blues?

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Alec Brownscombe I think they'll both get cap hits in the 7 million range, meaning we need approx. 2.1 million in additional cap.  We'll have to give them max term to get cap hits that low, but that's the price you pay. 

mcloki
mcloki

@Alec Brownscombe Plus trades. plus cap going up. You any need possibly 3 million in cap to reup Kessel and Phaneuf. Their agents aren;t dumb. 

Greg Fenton
Greg Fenton

@Alec Brownscombe Kessel and Phaneuf, combined, are going to get more 2 million dollars in raises. Kessel alone will probably get a 3 million or more raise. And I don't think people have concerns about about able to afford Kessel and/or Phaneuf, but whether or not those are the players the money should be spent on.  

Cameron19
Cameron19

@reversethecurse67 Pavelski has been playing RW for 2 years now.  Even when he was a center, he was never a top tier one - more of a fill in.  Great player, but not who I would get excited about. 

-

If we had to move one key piece, I would pick Kessel to move for a 1C. It would be easier to surround Duchene and Kadri with quality wingers than it will be to replace Phaneuf or whoever else you have to trade to get Kessel his center. 

The_Irv
The_Irv

Worth moving Gunnar and 21st for the 5th? Phil Kessel was not a Leafs pick but he was #5 overall and he is a STAR. This is a deep draft. If one team from 1-4 picks off the mark, you have a shot at one of McKinnon, Jones, Barkov, or Drouin. All have chances to be impact players, and the other top 10s are not too shabby.

This is a year I try and get top 10.

Gunnar can be replaced IMO and does not set us back drastically. Does a package like that get us the 5th overall?

newkb
newkb

@Cameron19 Every year it's like he gets another "show me" contract....and every year he shows enough, but maybe not enough to warrant a long-term deal?

Greg Fenton
Greg Fenton

@Cameron19 @Alec Brownscombe I don't think Kessel will leave 1.5-2 million a year on the table to resign here, he doesn't strike me an overly loyal or home discount player (remember, we got him because he wanted more money then Boston was willing to pay), but we'll see. 

Greg Fenton
Greg Fenton

@mcloki @Alec Brownscombe The cap going up will mean salaries go up too. If Kessel would cost 8 million to keep this year, he might be 8.75 next year. 

The max salary this year, I believe, is 9.6 million. If it goes up to 70 million it will be 10.5. When the cap goes up you get more space, but players also get more expensive. 

reversethecurse67
reversethecurse67

@Cameron19 Hard to keep up with who moves to which position. Also don't know who currently slots in at Centre on the Blues, because it seems they have an overabundance of quality Centres.

Would you really rather trade Kessel over Reilly? Don't you think he provides a dynamic that is unreplaceable internally, and considering his very healthy play (contrary to say, Lupul - who has had bad luck, granted), would possibly be too sideways of a move?

Is the advantage of Duchene more pronounced by trading Reilly over Kessel? I think so...Does that mean Phaneuf or Reimer should be traded? No...but, unlike you, i think the decision for trade is between Gardiner and Reilly

heatdreamer
heatdreamer

@The_Irv How about Grabovski and Reimer for Byfuglien of Winnipeg. There is an upgrade on Defense, and than trade Phaneuf for Duchenne from Colorado or Gunnerson for as HIGH a pick as you go get. This way you can sign two centers

djamon
djamon

@The_Irv No way, IMO. I guess the under-valuing of Gunnar continues.

djamon
djamon

@Cameron19 I might...MIGHT,,,be willing to move a star like Kessel for one of the Top 3 in this year's draft. But none of the ones after that are sure things. So why would anyone?

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

Exactly. The group doesn't scream "franchise player."

Greg Fenton
Greg Fenton

@newkb @Cameron19 He might have shown enough for a long term deal but not at the money he wanted. 

I like the shorter, and 1 year contracts. Keep the players more motivated. I'd love it if NOnis could get Kadri, MacLaren, Bernier, Franson on 1 year contracts. 

Greg Fenton
Greg Fenton

@ProfessorRance @Cameron19 Why? He probably wanted more money, the Blue wanted to pay him less. Sign a 1 year deal and revisit after another year under his belt. If he plays and produces  better, he'll get more next time around. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Greg Fenton @Cameron19 @Alec Brownscombe Boston wanted to severely short-change him to the tune of 3.75 million though.  Kessel strikes me just the opposite.  I think if he wasn't loyal, he would have wanted out of this shit show long ago.  I mean, staying here means dealing with "fans" like you.  How much more loyal can you get? 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Greg Fenton @mcloki @Alec Brownscombe Signing UFAs at the start of a CBA will be a huge plus for us long term though.  Even getting Kessel for 8 will end up being a bargain when the cap his 90+ million near the end of that deal.  It worked the same way in the last CBA. Teams who locked their guys up early were in good shape.  Then other teams tried to replicate that by circumventing the cap. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Greg Fenton @Cameron19 @Alec Brownscombe Someone should tell the Oilers, Islanders, Coyotes, Panthers, Jackets, Lightning and so forth how well it works.  .Fact is, the Blackhaws are good because they added Toews and Kane to a group they picked outside the "tanking region". 

Greg Fenton
Greg Fenton

@Cameron19 @Greg Fenton @Alec Brownscombe Its how all players should be treated, not just some. Whether its Kessel or Bozak. No one is irreplaceable, they might not get an equal player back in the same deal, but no one is irreplaceable. 

Grabovski wasn't a tough situation, it was the same situation Burke was in with Moore a few years earlier. He wanted more money then he was worth. I dunno if Burke overpaid because he liked Grabovski more or if he over valued him or felt he had too - but it was the same situation. 

And someone should tell the Blackhawks that tanking doesn't work. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Greg Fenton @Alec Brownscombe I would agree on most counts, but not with Kessel and Phaneuf.  You will never get equal value back in a trade, and what they bring to the team is virtually irreplaceable. 

-

Grabovski was a tough situation that likely came to fruition because of Burke's tenuous position.  Letting Grabovski go would have been a signal to our stars that we aren't interested in competing now.  And to attract talent, you can't just do things the Edmonton way - you have to try and win.  Tanking doesn't work. 

Greg Fenton
Greg Fenton

@Alec Brownscombe @Greg Fenton You don't give him away for nothing, and you don't move him he'll sign a good deal with you. But I'm never in favor of overpaying for a player in a cap system. 

They overpaid to keep Grabovski last year, part of the argument was "who is there to replace him", and they ended up with an over paid 3rd line center this year. I think every player has to be treated the way Burke treated Moore, and the way most want Nonis to treat Bozak. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@reversethecurse67 @Cameron19 I would do it, I just don't know if the Leafs would.  They drafted this kid with very high hopes, and having an elite back-end is probably more important than having elite forwards. 

reversethecurse67
reversethecurse67

@reversethecurse67 @Cameron19 It just makes more sense for both teams. Colorado doesn't need to be paying Kessel his next big contract for years while the team is rebuilding.

They need D, and trading Reilly for a 22-year old #1C Matt Duchene would be in line with trading youth for youth for the Leafs.

reversethecurse67
reversethecurse67

@Cameron19 This is only based on the sorely obvious point that we have a glaring need at #1C, which Nonis took careful mention to point out today, and that the upgrade would very likely be by trade. He did not mention a glaring need on D, just room for improvement. Gunnarsson can the hold the fort on D better than any internal or FA option can do at #1C.

Which is why:

To Col: Reilly and 3rd

To Tor: Duchene

otherwise, i really have no idea how we could get an adequate #1C

Cameron19
Cameron19

That makes sense too.  I just don't see them moving Rielly. 

reversethecurse67
reversethecurse67

@Cameron19 To me, it simply comes down to the fact that by trading Kessel over Gardiner/Reilly, neither of whom are as established as Kessel, it would by nature set us back further.

We're hoping to build momentum off of last year's playoffs, not stifle it. I know its a balance, but if Gardiner is projected as your top pairing D in the future, then replacing Reilly would mean replacing a #3D, which isn't necessarily as difficult, especially when you have a few years.

That way, in the short-term you can ice:
JVR-Duchene-Kessel

Lupul-Kadri-Kulemin

Gunnar - Phaneuf

Gardiner - Franson

And in the long-term, you have the option of keeping Gunnarsson or signing a replacement for him or a 2nd pairing D if Gardiner becomes that.

Otherwise, you're banking on the glory days being when and if Reilly becomes that "star", when we already have the elite talent currently on the roster to build on and "go for it."

Cameron19
Cameron19

@reversethecurse67 @Cameron19 It's just that no one ever trades good D, and if they do, you have to overpay significantly, usually to the point that its detrimental (ie. Neal for Goligoski). So moving Gardiner or Rielly would not be ideal for me.  But yes, admittedly, my hopes for Rielly are VERY high. 

-

If my hypothetical situation came true, we'd be looking at this:

-

J.V.R. - Duchene - Clarkson
Lupul - Kadri - Kulemin
MacA - Grabovski - Colborne

-

We aren't as dynamic offensively, for sure. But we can still score.  But once you can pull off a trade for a star winger, than you can bump your other guys down a peg, and suddenly you have a very complete top 9.

reversethecurse67
reversethecurse67

@Cameron19 I share your belief that Kessel can be replaced externally, but unless you're calling Reilly a star top pairing D, then a player "a notch below what Reilly will project as" to me is just as viable.

In considering who to move, you get a few years to replace what Reilly "would have become." Whereas, for there to be linear improvement, replacing Kessel would have to happen by start of the season. You buy yourself time....(is why trading Reilly or Gardiner is my choice)

Cameron19
Cameron19

@reversethecurse67 @Cameron19 

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Star wingers a notch below Kessel become available pretty consistently though.  For example, you might be able to trade a few picks and prospects for a guy like Chris Stewart.  And later you might be able to nab a guy like Kane after he sufficiently pisses off the Jets.  Bobby Ryan is always on the market.  Any one of these guys, plus Duchene, with Rielly still in the mix, is an upgrade on just Kessel. 

The_Irv
The_Irv

I don't think I'm under-valuing Gunnar. Has he been dependable yes, but he is not a difference maker. Personally I would take MOST, not all obviously of the top 5picks xxxxnew posted, before taking Gunnar.

People have differing opinions on players, I feel Gunnar is a support player and not even close to a difference maker. It's silly how people accuse of under valuing a player because they feel certain other returns are better than the current player.

I think it's a fair value for Gunnar, I don't think many teams would offer a top ten pick for Gunnar... Just my opinion. If you think Gunnar is valued at something better than a top 10 pick then that is your opinion. I would disagree.

Greg Fenton
Greg Fenton

@ProfessorRance @Greg Fenton @Cameron19 Lets say he wanted 4 million, they wanted to pay him 3 - so they settle on a figure int h emiddle, and 1 year. If he does bette,r he'll get better. 

Regardless, if he didn't like the deal he wouldn't sign it.