Dog Day Musings: Thoughts by Position and a little on the Marlies

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Summer has officially entered the dog days in the hockey world and there’s little in the way of new developments to discuss. However, seeing as I was away on vacation for most of July, I wasn’t able to contribute here as much as I normally would so I figure now is as good a time as ever to catch up on some Leafs topics that have been on my mind.

Goaltending
– It’s pretty clear the Leafs are going to roll with one a 1A and 1B model in net where Reimer and Bernier split starts, which is fine. The only thing I hope is that it’s a fair competition as opposed to Bernier getting starts pushed on him and Reimer getting relegated to spot duty to try and justify the trade and contract (and it will be obvious if they are favouring Bernier over Reimer for non on-ice reasons). Whoever is better, so be it, but I hope that is discovered through a fair competition and a split of starts especially early on in the season.

– In the 2008-09 season, Carlyle split starts between Giguere and Hiller with Giguere starting 44 times and Hiller 38. I’d be happy to see that even of a start differential between Bernier and Reimer, provided they are both up to the task and play well.

Defense
– A lot of fans have noted that the Leafs haven’t really added that top four or top pairing defenseman to take their defense to the next level, but has there been one defenseman who has changed teams you’d rather have in the Leafs top 4 than Phaneuf, Gunnarsson, Gardiner, or Franson? Some of the better D to move teams: Gonchar, Ference, Sekera, and Tallinder; while some pretty good UFA D are still available in Hainsey and Lydman. None of those guys are studs first foremost, and secondly, if the end goal is to win a Cup, the Leafs have a better chance at doing so if guys like Gardiner and Franson are growing in heavy minutes and learning because those are the real difference makers.

– I saw Ranger live at give or take five Marlies games and if I’m being honest, I never really came away truly impressed with him. That said, he’s smooth out there, and he makes an effective first pass, is able to get the puck out of the zone cleanly, join the rush, and he has a heavy shot. He’s also effective at playing the body, not in terms of hammering guys but in the way he shields opponents off the puck and veers players into the boards. He’s turning 29 this year so he’s far too young to have lost the ability to play at the level that saw him logging 25 minutes a night in the NHL, but he still has work to do to get there. It’s a great low-risk move and even if he never becomes a top four minute eater again, he should be a solid third pairing guy who can jumpstart the rush and add some offense.

– Frankly, I like the Leafs defense all things considered. There are still unproven commodities (can Franson repeat last season, how will Gardiner do in the top four, what will Fraser look like if he’s not with Franson, what will Ranger do, so on), but the ability is all there. Cronin mentioned in his interview with MLHS that they needed to do a better job of getting the puck out of their own zone quickly, and a full season with Gunnarsson paired alongside Phaneuf, Gardiner playing full-time, and the addition of Ranger should all help that dramatically.

– The Leafs defense is also huge now. As per TSN bios: Franson 6’5, Fraser 6’4, Phaneuf 6’3, Ranger 6’3, Gunnarsson 6’2, Gardiner 6’2, Liles 5’10.

– This season will tell all, but the “Carlyle doesn’t like Gardiner” story just doesn’t compute to me. Yeah, he only played 12 games during the season, but he averaged over 20 minutes a night in those games and even played with Phaneuf for a chunk of time. To me, that doesn’t scream “I don’t like him,” because he wouldn’t have played that much if it were the case; he would have played 15 minutes a night like Komisarek did before being banished. While he didn’t play the first playoff game, he averaged 23 minutes a night after that – second most on the team. Was he sat because of the concussion, or was it something else? I don’t know, but I’m suggesting there’s more than meets the eye there. Carlyle gave similar players like Visnovsky and Fowler a ton of ice in Anaheim, but like I said, ultimately this upcoming season will paint us a better picture here.

– As an aside, there’s no Leaf I enjoy watching play hockey more than Gardiner; not even Kadri or Kessel.

– In mentioning all these defensemen, one guy noticeably absent is Morgan Rielly. Personally, I’d like to see him sent down to junior pretty well no matter what. I don’t think there’s any point in him playing in the top four over any of the incumbents, and I don’t see much use for him on the third pairing considering he’d get little to no power play time with Phaneuf, Franson, Gardiner, Ranger and Liles all more established. Moose Jaw was in the playoff hunt until he left for Team Canada and Leafs training camp, so if he could drag them to the playoffs this year I’d say that’s a pretty lofty challenge. He could also possibly be Canada’s top defenseman (another challenge), and he could aim to lead all defensemen in scoring this year in the WHL (he was fifth), and be the overall best player in the league. There are things for him to do in the WHL and with Team Canada this season. Even if Moose Jaw still sucks, they’ll trade him (Moose Jaw’s GM said they didn’t trade him because of the possibility he’d return next year; obviously if they struggle again Rielly isn’t returning the following season, so logic dictates they’ll trade him). In other words, I don’t think it’s a waste of time for him to go back, but I do acknowledge the drawbacks there too because he is better than most in the WHL and is already a high level player there.

– That all said, it sounds like the Leafs will give him a look and if he shows that he’s ready to be an impact player already, Toronto will pretty well be forced to keep him.

– One thing I’ll be looking for in preseason with Rielly is how he handles one-on-one attacks off the rush. I saw him get beat numerous times in the WJC and AHL to the outside off the rush and that will need to be cleaned up. He’s great with the puck though and loves the backdoor pass.

Forwards
– The funny thing about the forwards is that I think swapping MacArthur with Clarkson, Frattin with Colborne, and Komarov with D’Amigo, could all be upgrades (I think Clarkson brings more to the table than MacArthur, Colborne can play center and wing and is a monster on the cycle, and D’Amigo is just as good on the PK as Komarov but faster and brings a little more offense). However, it sure does feel like the Leafs have lost some depth on offense.

– Here’s their lineup on opening night of the 2013 season:

Lupul-Bozak-Kessel
MacArthur-Grabovski-Kulemin
JVR-Kadri-Komarov
Brown-McClement-Orr
Phaneuf-Kostka
Liles-Franson
Gunnarsson-Komisarek
Scrivens Reimer

– Here’s their lineup for the last game of the season- game 7 against Boston:

JVR-Kadri-Kessel
MacArthur-Grabovski-Kulemin
Lupul-Colborne-Frattin
Komarov-McClement-Orr
Gunnarsson-Phaneuf
Gardiner-Franson
Liles-O’Byrne
Reimer
Scrivens

– Here’s what I think they’ll look for the first game of the season, as of right now:

JVR-Bozak-Kessel
Lupul-Kadri-Clarkson
McClement-Bolland-Kulemin
D’Amigo/McLaren-Colborne-Orr
Gunnarsson-Phaneuf
Gardiner-Franson
Fraser-Ranger
Bernier
Reimer

– That’s quite a transformation and a lot to wrap our heads around. I like the defense better and the goaltending has two good options as opposed to one (however unnecessary that might or might not be). The forwards are anyone’s guess right now, though.

– The roster makes more sense in terms of Carlyle’s image of a top line, shutdown line, scoring line and energy line. To that I say, “Randy, you have your roster now, so you better win with it.”

Marlies
– A lot of fans said “who the hell is Trevor Smith” when the Leafs signed him, but he’s an underrated acquisition. Last year Smith had 54 points in 75 games a season after putting up 69 points in 64 games. The Marlies have lost veterans Ryan Hamilton, Will Acton, Mike Zigomanis, and are going to be a young team overall. They need some guys who have some game and pedigree, and Smith will score which will take some pressure off the young guys. He also pushes Greg McKegg to the 2C hole, which is where he should be. A 1-2 punch of Smith-McKegg is actually pretty decent by AHL standards. I also think there’s a chance we see Smith with the Leafs at one point or another this season.

– There are a couple of other veterans on the team like Troy Bodie, and I’d consider D’Amigo and Ashton veterans at this point, but other than that this team is extremely young. That’s exciting to me because I thought the Marlies were old and lacked the sizzle of having tons of prospects on the team last season, but this year there will be a ton of guys to watch and see grow. I’d hardly put this group of rookies against the Marlies of two years ago that had Kadri, Colborne, Frattin et al in the playoffs, but they’ll be fun to watch because there are a ton of kids. I’m far more interested in the Marlies this season than last season.

– If there’s one player on the Marlies I’d say to watch out for that’s not getting enough attention it would be Stuart Percy. He’s so smooth and smart with the puck that he’ll be ready for a look with the Leafs once he’s physically ready to compete against men and he adjusts to the speed of the pro-game. I’m excited to see what he does in a full season with the Marlies.

That’s it from me for now. I hope you’re all enjoying your summer so far.

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Anthony Petrielli has been at MLHS since 2011. He is known for his weekly "Leafs Notebook" feature, and also writes specific analysis pieces. You can contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @APetrielli.
  • Burtonboy

    Thanks Anthony . Good read . Ryan Lasch is no longer with the team . Gone back to Europe apparently

    • sboulton

      Burtonboy Yep – signed with Vaxjo in Sweden again a few days ago.

      • Anthony Petrielli

        sboulton Burtonboy I was going with capgeek. Thanks for the note, I’ll change it later.

  • dutchman27

    ability to close out games should be much improved with bolland and bernier’s puck handling will be a big difference maker as well. Second line of kadri, lupul, and Clarkson will be huge

  • HHT

    I hope the Leafs improve asset management.  I hope we hold onto Franson and his potential upside unless there’s a really irresistible offer.  Fraser and Liles can go fly a kite.

  • Leafbites

    The biggest difference in last year’s edition of the Leafs with this years will be: a healthy Jake the snake.

  • hometeem

    thanx for the write up, much appreciated

  • HHT

    It’s been a while since the Leafs generated such competition on the Marlies and had so much depth.  They should be a fascinating team to watch.  Not top-end heavy but hard-working, gritty and determined.

  • MaxwellHowe

    A positive article that takes us from the world of shot differentials and salary caps.  Thanks Anthony.

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ Radar O’Rielly

    Leafs fans who complain constantly are wankers.

    • Mind Bomb

      Radar O’Rielly Ahh, I hate it when you say that !
      :)

  • Burtonboy

    https://twitter.com/RealKyper
    D-man Mark Fraser requests 2M in sal arb case while https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Leafs&src=hash comes in at 855 000. Scheduled for Tues if they don’t settle first
    .

    • Mind Bomb

      Burtonboy  Lol Thats higher than I though Nonis would go in at, I thought about 750,000. So arbitrator gives 1.2 mil ?

      • Burtonboy

        Mind Bomb Burtonboy Have no idea. Arb is a crap shoot and someones else is making a decision for you . Not the preferred route to take for sure.

        • wiski

          Burtonboy Mind Bomb Not one player has gone to arbi yet so let’s hope the trend continues.

        • Burtonboy

          wiski Burtonboy Mind Bomb I hope he does go . Then Nonis can sign Kadri and Franson immediately and get the buyout window open .

        • wiski

          Burtonboy wiski Mind Bomb Never thought about it that way, that must be the plan then. 😉

        • Burtonboy

          wiski Burtonboy Mind Bomb Who knows . It means they have to get Kadri and Franson signed by Tuesday in order for it to happen . You would think Its an option that they must have looked at.

        • rustynail

          wiski Burtonboy Mind Bomb I read the CBA last night and did not see any mention you need to be over the cap for the second buyout window just that it starts 3 days after last arb and lasts 48 hours

        • Burtonboy

          rustynail wiski Burtonboy Mind Bomb I looked last night as well and I couldn’t find it either. Maybe you don’t

        • rustynail

          Burtonboy rustynail wiski Mind Bomb that makes more sense. IF they buy out Liles now I will be pissed that they wastes a compliance buy out on Komi with only 1 friggin year  left

        • Burtonboy

          rustynail Burtonboy wiski Mind Bomb I would like to know the rights about what happened there . Still think there is more too it then we know.

      • Black_Hawk

        Mind Bomb Burtonboy that be acceptable

    • Dan39

      I hope he gets something around the middle even though he deserves the full $2M in my mind for the sacrifices he made and damage he took. You gotta reward that to send a message.

    • leafmealone

      Burtonboy No way Fraser gets that. No way. If it goes to arb. then my prediction is 1.3mil.

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ Radar O’Rielly

    Oh yea, great blog this morning.

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ Radar O’Rielly

    People are already ripping Nonis, because Frazer is asking for 2mil….LOL

    • Mind Bomb

      Radar O’Rielly  Why shouldnt he, I knows he is not going to get that. But his Agent has looked at the minutes he has played, and looked at comparables. and add 700 K. I would to :)

      • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ Radar O’Rielly

        Mind Bomb Radar O’Rielly I have no problem with him asking for 2m, but why are they ripping Nonis for it?

        • Mind Bomb

          Radar O’Rielly Mind Bomb Who is ? thats ridiculous, His agent did :)

  • Zep2

    Great read as usual Anthony. To your point about moving the puck out more quickly, I gotta believe that was a big factor in acquiring Bernier. Riemer and Scrivens puck handling and descision making  was abysmal at best  at put huge pressure on the D .

  • wiski

    Good Sunday morning read Anthony

    • Mind Bomb

      wiski  Aye, time for another Coffee and a bowl :)

  • Gerg3d

    Nice to read a positive article. Thanks Anthony. I liked Ranger before his concussion,he was strong in the corners. Hopefully, he will be in top shape for training camp. I agree with your overall assessment of the lineup, will have to go see more Marlies this year.

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ Radar O’Rielly

    If Frazer gets his 2mil, I know the leafs can’t walk away, but if they had to could they put him on waivers and not worry about that cap hit?

    • Zep2

      Radar O’Rielly Under the old CBA, a team could walk away if they didnt like the abtratorrs decision . That how we got Mac. Not sure if thats changed

      • J_hardt

        Zep2 Radar O’Rielly I don’t think you can walk away unless the award is over 3.5 million.

    • wiski

      Radar O’Rielly The cap hit stays if he passes through waivers less 900k or something like that

      • rustynail

        wiski Radar O’Rielly 925K

      • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ Radar O’Rielly

        wiski Radar O’Rielly So all is good.

    • Black_Hawk

      Radar O’Rielly hope he doesnt

  • Jay_Berg

    Our cap situation seems to be getting more worrisome by the day

    • wiski

      Jay_Berg I don’t think Nonis would have bought out Komi if there wasn’t a plan for Liles or someone else. 😉

  • Dan39

    Good write-up. Looking forward to Ranger outperforming all these expectations that he’s not top four material. On the Marlies, key guys to watch:
    1) Leivo – the clear Leafs winner from his draft, needs to maintain momentum
    2) Broll – he’s turned a lot of heads, needs to take his play to next level to cement idea he’s better than selection
    3) Biggs – he has to do something this year, stock falling fast

    • Burtonboy

      Dan39 Biggs is only 20 yrs old . Lots of time yet

    • J_hardt

      Dan39 I would agree, except that Bigg’s stock is falling fast. I think he’s stagnated a bit, but those types of forwards take time to develop.

  • Corporal Klinger

    Regarding Mark Fraser’s arbitration; If the numbers Darren Dreger is reporting this morning are accurate, if the case makes it to the arbitrator a split down the middle would be a salary of 1,145,000. With 11 forwards and 6 D on the roster that would leave $6,363,333 for Kadri and Franson.

  • wiski

    https://twitter.com/wingingitmotownhttps://twitter.com/wingingitmotown/status/361516302118031360
    If the arbitrator tends to split decisions pretty evenly between player/team, the Leafs messed up with Fraser by not offering $0.

  • Mitch92

    I expect Fraser will come to his senses and sign a two year deal for around 975,000 before arbitration.  I think the Leafs can afford to walk away in this case.  Franson should be THE priority here.  Get real Nonis.  Clear the space and get this guy locked up!

    • wiski

      Mitch92 This all started because the leafs offered him a two way deal and he wanted a one way contract. They can still trade his rights before the hearing

  • rustynail

    great write up Anthony , I share your hope that both goalies get an even shot. I suspect they will but man I will be pissed if they don’t

  • Mitch92

    Regardless of cap space, I value Franson at 4.5 million but would want to buy a couple of years of UFA for that.  Realistically, players that might have signed for 6 million a couple of years ago have to accept less in today’s cap driven market.  That is why I see Kadri at less than 5 milion a season for the next couple of years anyway.  He has to earn top line status to expect more than that.

  • Cameron19

    I see you’re adding yourself to the list of people handing Bernier the starter’s role…*sigh*

    Otherwise, good stuff.

    • rustynail

      Cameron19 pretty sure it was concern that Bernier would handed the starters role  that was mentioned.

      • leafmealone

        rustynail Cameron19 That’s definitely how I read it. Fear that Bernier would get the majority of starts in order to justify the trade.

      • Cameron19

        rustynail Cameron19 Ah, my bad.  Must have skipped over that somehow. Saw the roster and jumped to conclusions I guess.  Apologies Anthony.

    • Alec Brownscombe

      I think it’s unfair that we are even declaring a platoon as perfectly OK.
      I don’t know what more Reimer could’ve done I earn the right to be THE starter. Results can change everything of course and rightfully so, but he deserves to at least to start the season in the role.

      • Cameron19

        Alec Brownscombe Yea, many other starting goalies will have shitty pre-seasons and be handed the starter’s role anyways, but if Reimer doesn’t put on a show, he’ll be relegated to back-up.  Not really ideal, in my opinion.

        • wiski

          Cameron19 Alec Brownscombe We start the season with a back to back so we should know quickly how this will play out.

      • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

        Alec Brownscombe https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYanopv3NCs
        I think this sealed the deal that the Leafs needed more in goal to cover up deficiencies. It wasn’t Reimer’s fault, but he’s not blameless and certainly didn’t play well in the biggest game. 
        Also, I’m very curious as to how a goalie that can handle the puck — and handle it very well — will make the Leafs look. I think it will be a huge difference, personally.

        • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

          Alec Brownscombe As an aside, Jack Edwards is, well, Jack Edwards, but they guy that does color with him is actually pretty good.

    • Anthony Petrielli

      Cameron19 Numerous media outlets have said that Bernier’s going to start game 1 so I’m rolling with that. Personally, I’m a Reimer guy. And I loved Frattin too, anyone here will tell you that.

      • Komas Taberle

        Anthony Petrielli Cameron19 I must be the only one that thinks Bernier is a much better goalie than Reimer. Bernier has excellent rebound control, Reimer is bad at rebound control, Bernier has a great glove hand, Reimer not so good, Bernier is faster and more controlled going post to post, Reimer is good but not as fast,Bernier is a much better puck controller, he can actually pass the puck, Reimer is a disaster waiting to happen behind the net.
        Bernier will be #1 within 20 games and Reimer will be dealt at trade deadline, as Jordan says… Book It!

        • Cameron19

          Komas Taberle Anthony Petrielli Cameron19 

          You’re the only one because we largely assume you’re full of shit, unless you were carefully following and waiting for Bernier’s 12 games a season over the last 5 years.

        • Komas Taberle

          Cameron19 Komas Taberle Anthony Petrielli You know what happens when you assume don’t you Cameron.
          Wait and see grasshopper Bernier will take the starting job away.. guaranteed!

        • Anthony Petrielli

          Komas Taberle Anthony Petrielli Cameron19 All I know is Reimer was ridiculously good last year. If that was a fluke –and there isn’t much to suggest that– then yeah Bernier is probably better. If it wasn’t a fluke….

        • Cameron19

          Komas Taberle Cameron19 Anthony Petrielli 

          lol, Sure bud. I’m sure you’re an expert goalie scout.

        • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

          Cameron19 Komas Taberle Anthony Petrielli Good for a re-read.
          http://mapleleafshotstove.com/2013/06/25/talking-jonathan-bernier-james-reimer-with-the-goalie-guild/

        • WendelGilmour

          Komas Taberle Anthony Petrielli Cameron19 Keon posted yesterday, Reimer’s save % on chances from the “home plate” area has been much better than Bernier’s. I say best man wins.

        • wiski

          WendelGilmour Komas Taberle Anthony Petrielli Cameron19 The problem though is Reimer has to play to be good, he won’t succeed in a platooning role imo.

        • lukethenuke

          -Keon- I feel Bernier is/ will be the better goalie… reimer played well as a number one goalie, and Bernier played very well in his short spurts in net, and most goalies that play his style get better with playing time (on a roll) and I think he can put even BETTER numbers up… i like Reimer, and he is good, I just think Bernier will be better…. its like this, would you settle for mediocre and good, or better and excellence and thats what the Leafs managment are clearly thinking in aquiring Bernier, there is no other way to put it

        • Cameron19

          lukethenuke -Keon- 

          Reimer played well posting a 924 save percentage, but Bernier played VERY well posting a 922 save percentage in an easier role?

          I have no problem with your conclusion – wouldn’t shock me at all if Bernier ends up being better.  I just find some of the reasoning I read to be a bit suspect.

        • lukethenuke

          Cameron19 lukethenuke -Keon- yup kings were atrocious in the early stage this past year and when Quick was faltering (or the team, which resulted in Quick as well, whatever) Bernier played unreal and won them multiple games during their struggle, and ultimately they found their way and Quick returned to the net.

        • lukethenuke

          Cameron19 lukethenuke -Keon- Reimer won the Leafs a couple games too, but in the starting role (playing more than Bernier) but still they both stole 3 or 4 games each… makes you wonder what he could do with a number more starts

        • lukethenuke

          Cameron19 lukethenuke -Keon- And then you might say yes, Bernier did against shitty teams, but Reimer’s most notable steal of the season was against the shitty Devils as well this year.  In the ned this is a nice battle :)

  • Doorman

    Nice Read Anthony!!!  Thanks!!!

  • Lescott

    Sometimes I wonder how much our defensive system is geared around the strengths and weaknesses of our goaltending, and whether the increase in the size and physicality of our forwards will effect our d-zone play.

  • wiski

    https://twitter.com/wiski199https://twitter.com/wiski199/status/361533888243314689
    Having some friends over for a BBQ by the pool ☀ https://twitter.com/search?q=%23ribs&src=hash https://twitter.com/search?q=%23yum&src=hash https://twitter.com/search?q=%23friends&src=hash https://twitter.com/search?q=%23summer&src=hash https://twitter.com/search?q=%23perfectsunday&src=hash

  • Xxxxxnew

    Does the arbitrator have to pick one number, like it’s either what the player is asking or what the team is offering? Or does he have leeway to pick a number in between?

    • wiski

      Xxxxxnew they say he usually splits the difference

    • dlb eh

      Xxxxxnew 
      i like how they do that in baseball.  player and team write down a number, arb picks one.

    • Bobsyouruncle

      Xxxxxnew Arbiter can go with a number that is his own assessment.

  • wiski

    https://twitter.com/felixpotvinhttps://twitter.com/felixpotvin/status/361536027493535747
    Dave Nonis wakes up and realizes confusing Franson and Fraser’s names has finally caught up to him.

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    Scouting the Red Wings’ new Eastern Conference opponents: Toronto Maple Leafs are on the rise
    http://www.mlive.com/redwings/index.ssf/2013/07/scouting_the_red_wings_new_eas_6.html

    • mcloki

      DeclanK Always interesting hearing from a non Toronto MSM perspective. We don’t sound so bad.

    • Black_Hawk

      DeclanK better be

    • Pent_House

      DeclanK It’s nice to get an objective view of the team. Nice to hear them say we should challenge Boston for the division.

  • Black_Hawk

    If. Fraser really wants2m then cya

    • Pent_House

      Black_Hawk If he does then yea for sure he’s gone, in saying that, I’m sure he’ll accept 1 and change, less than 1.5

      • J_hardt

        Pent_House Black_Hawk Yeah I think that at the end of the day what he really wants is a one way contract, thats greater than or equal to 1 mil.

    • J_hardt

      Black_Hawk If he gets 2m then we can’t walk away so we’d have to trade him. With something like 9 fights last season, and a great plus/minus, I’d rather get rid of liles. The great thing about our defence is that every single pairing will have someone who’s at least 6’3 and intimidating… meaning that in each scrum after the play there will be at least one player for the opposing team to watch out for if they want to fuck around with our players.

      • MaxwellHowe

        J_hardt Black_Hawk At the end of the day, the Leafs will probably have to choose between trading Gunnar or Kulimen to get the space needed to sign Franson.  Failing to lock up Franson would be a major failure for Nonis.

        • J_hardt

          MaxwellHowe J_hardt Black_Hawk You’re probably right. The first priority of management will be to get Kadri, Franson, and Fraser all signed. Once they’ve done that I’m assuming they will take their time to look at the cap situation, and see what trade options are available, and would make sense to the team.

        • Pent_House

          J_hardt MaxwellHowe Black_Hawk Yup, we can go over 10% during the summer. Once everyone gets signed I’m sure they’ll look at the cap like you say. Liles is really the guy who needs to go.

        • Mitch92

          Pent_House J_hardt MaxwellHowe Black_Hawk I really think Liles deserves more respect from us Leaf fans.  We were generally a better team when he was healthy.  He gets little respect because he has had some bad injury luck since arriving here.  Personally I see Kulemin leaving long before Liles and I was a huge supporter of his for the last few years.  I see him being reunited with Grabbo once he lands somewhere.

        • Knights2Leafs

          Mitch92
          I don’t see many dissing Liles’ game.  Whether or not the deal he got signed to was a good one, it is now causing a cap hit problem.  To fit in Kadri and Franson the only real choices for getting rid salary are JML and Kulemin and most see JML as the less valuable player at this point.

  • Pent_House

    Nice post AP. I completely concur on the Marlies front. It’s sort of going back to the two years before the Calder Cup run where it was a young team with focus on development.

  • Kouba

    Seems like Nonis is getting cornered a bit. Wonder what does his next right hook look like.

  • B_Leaf

    Good write up Anthony.
    Goaltending: I think Reimer holds on to the majority of games (50)…if you split them to evenly the work load is a little infrequent I think. But Reimer plays best when rested…balance. The only advantage I see with Bernier is puck handling.
    Defence: I am feeling very good about our D. Much for the same reasons you say…Gardiner and Franson improvement. I like Ranger for the same reasons you list. I think he was very good pre-concussion, poor afterward.
    Forwards: Scoring depth is an issue up front. Although scoring overall is not. Our back end should produce more. In fact our back end point production could be one of the best in the league IMO. Overall with our forwards I do not feel we have come close to replacing the quality of Frattin and Komarov. Clarkson replaces MacArthur and is an upgrade. Bolland fills Grabovski’s spot…I am not really sure how this will work, not saying bad, not saying good, just unsure.
    Marlies: Two things stand out…they are big…and they are young. If D’Amigo plays for the Leafs it will be a very young team led by Smith, Bodie, Abbott, Ashton, Blacker, Holzer, and a bunch of young guys.

    • Knights2Leafs

      B_Leaf 
      As AP says, while they don’t play the same position, Frattin’s departure opens the door for Colborne and I agree with AP that this may end up being a gain.  It’s make or break time of L’il Joe.  Loved Komarov but also agree that D’Amigo will be a more than adequate replacement.

  • Ze_theLeafsFan

    Someone just suggested to waive Reimer to the Marlies and bring Gibson up to save 300K in cap space…. someone shoot me

    • Xxxxxnew

      i dont think you can hide cap in the minors anyway.

      • Ze_theLeafsFan

        Xxxxxnew you can hide up to 975k I believe… but Reimer would never clear LOL and that is one of the stupidest ideas ever

        • Xxxxxnew

          Ah, I remember reading during the lockout a proposal to do away with that move completely. Didn’t see the final rule to limit it to about a million. And, yes, that is a stupid idea. I think in general fans are way more concerned about being over or under on the cap than GMs are.

    • J_hardt

      Ze_theLeafsFan always follow http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/3tdv7c/ rule

  • Ze_theLeafsFan

    Missed your work Anthony. I actually expected it to be a long piece haha regardless good work

  • Pent_House

    Have a good one boys.

  • Knights2Leafs

    Really happy to read your comments, especially regarding the forwards. We are better off in goal, and with the addition of Ranger I think the talent in our top 5 is near the top of the league.  Just need to live up to that talent.
    Like you, I loved Frattin as a player and liked MacA, who was never as bad as some would have us belief. Having said that I think we have a better group of forwards going forward.  Much has been made of the speed and skill we have lost with the loss of Grabo, Frattin and MacA, but IMHO any loss is negligible and is far outweighed by our increased size, grit and physical play.
    I notice you didn’t mention Grabo and I forget your previous thoughts on this.  Reminder please.

    • Anthony Petrielli

      Knights2Leafs Made more sense to me to keep Grabo, let Bozak walk, and buyout Liles to free up more cap, but what’s done is done.

  • skiingallday

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/leafs-fraser-far-apart-in-arbitration-talks/
    FWIW this is pretty bad.

    • mcloki

      skiingallday 2 million for 16 points. i understand why Fraser is asking for it now Next Year the Leafs wont need him in the Lineup. Their prospects will be banging on the door and Fraser could be on the outside looking in. It’s just the business of hockey. I hope the arbitor awards a decent salary , Toronto Accepts and Fraser starts 7D come September.

      • skiingallday

        mcloki skiingallday I’d rather see the money go towards Franson and Kadri. If Fraser is going to get in the way to that…. then too bad, I guess he’ll have to go

    • Xxxxxnew

      They’ll settle tomorrow,

      • mcloki

        Xxxxxnew I hope so . I like Fraser. But their cap is getting tight right now.

        • Mitch92

          mcloki Xxxxxnew You can’t blame the cap for not being able to sign a fringe seventh defenseman!

      • JMAC17

        Xxxxxnew for something like 1.1M would be good

        • lukethenuke

          JMAC17 Xxxxxnew Lower, 1.1 is still high… for fucks sakes Brennan got what? Thats his comparable, and at least should be. 800K or so

    • Knights2Leafs

      skiingallday
      I’m not sure Fraser is well served by asking for so much in arbitration as it makes him look like the bad guy, but Kypreos has no idea how the actual negotiations are going.  If I’m Fraser, all I’m looking to do is get a one way contract close to $1M so I have a guaranteed salary for a year plus my cap hit doesn’t create too much of an issue.

    • Cameron19

      -Keon- He’s not going anywhere if he goes to arbitration.  We won’t be able to walk away from the deal, or trade him.

      • Cameron19

        -Keon- That won’t help us either, if they settle in the middle of 2 and 855K. Still going to be 500K on the cap – would rather just have him play.  Mind you, he wouldn’t clear waivers.

      • lukethenuke

        Cameron19 -Keon- i think he would clear if he gets awarded more than 1.3.

      • Cameron19

        -Keon- Nah. 1.4 million dollar guy who plays 16 minutes and fights everyone for you?  Lots of teams will want him. Wasted asset for us.

      • dlb eh

        Cameron19 -Keon- 
        don’t forget…players who leave the ice a plus far more often than not and kill penalties (block shots with their face)
        even in 15 minutes a night, that’s a useful player that you fit in if you can, our team or another
        i think someone would snatch him from the waiver wire…he made a name for himself last year around the league, at least to some degree

    • B_Leaf

      skiingallday 
      I really expect they will work this out before the arbitrator. I really don’t see a problem with 1.0-1.3M. Fraser is still young and improving, he is a perfect bottom pair guy. The Leafs are crazy to walk away from him. If Nonis fails to keep Kadri, Franson, and Fraser because of using a compliance buyout on Komi instead of Liles then shame on him. Thats just flat out beyond stupid. A traditional buyout could have still been used on Komi. Anyway I am sure they will work this out, but if not…*spitting on ground in disgust*

  • CallumConnorKnight

    Are the Leafs seriously considering trading Franson???

    • mcloki

      CallumConnorKnight It’s a scare tactic. Only Dreger, highly unreliable cousin of Nonis is putting this out there. I suppose it is a negotiating tactic.

    • dlb eh

      CallumConnorKnight 
      i wouldn’t be shocked either way

    • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

      CallumConnorKnight 
      Fuck no!!

  • lukethenuke

    If jays dont cash in here,,,,

  • Bobsyouruncle

    Franson seems to be overrated by some here. Can’t see this notion that he will be able to replace Phaneuf in 2-3 years. He will never be that kind of top pair player. Maybe fit in the way Gunnar is on OUR 1st pair, but Franson is not good enough to be a true 1 or 2D. imo

    • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

      Bobsyouruncle 
      Franson and Gardiner should be PP1….ahead of Phaneuf.

      • Bobsyouruncle

        Bon Scott was a Leaf fan Bobsyouruncle Maybe. Sometimes I think that. when the PP is frustrating but there is a part of me that says just leave Dion where he is. 
        Non-hockey sidenote: Are you familiar with Ride With Me by Steppenwolf?

        • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

          Bobsyouruncle Bon Scott was a Leaf fan 
          I think Franson (and Gardiner) is better than Dion when it comes to running a power play.  Franson has a better shot with more accuracy.  He was our highest scoring Dman last season.  Make Franson ./ Gardiner PP1….Dion / whoever PP2.
          Listening to Ride With Me right now….typical Steppenwolf groove here.  Was never big into Step….but I do absolutely love Don’t Step On The Grass, Sam….and The Pusher.

        • Mitch92

          Bon Scott was a Leaf fan Bobsyouruncle I have been saying to anyone who will listen that I think Franson is our second most valuable defenseman and deserves to be paid as such.  I hope that Gardiner continues to develop into a top flight guy but it remains to be seen if he can be that guy.  I also have high hopes for Rielly but it is early to evaluate what we have there.  Franson is today and has shown what he is capable of.  At 25 he has easily ten good years in him.  He already showed that he can play the role in Nashville and he is three years further along in his development now.

  • skiingallday

    Can someone just push the fastforward button? I’m ready for the rookie tourney already…. I wanna see Granberg and Reilly on a pairing and just DOMINATE

  • Jordan29

    While Fraser played great last year and I think hes gonna be that good this year again, hes not proven and him asking for 2 mil reminds me of when Moore was doing the same thing. That worked out good for us to be honest

    • dlb eh

      Jordan29 
      yup.  we offered Moore a lot…and were lucky he said pffft
      that puck to the head might have been a reality check as much as having to fight to get back into the NHL.  Fraser knows he has a small window and is aiming high right now hoping to find that stability.  i don’t blame him.
      if he gets anything higher than 1.1 from arbitration i’d be surprised.  anything near 1.1 i won’t be shocked, but it’ll feel generous, and i hope to see him back.
      we’ve seen guys bleed their own blood for the team before and not get the dollar value from that alone.  Fraser will have to shake that #6/7 defenseman label first.

  • Jordan29

    Yaknowwhat Gunnarsson only made an average of 1.35 up until last year and hes better then Fraser. I think thats a good comparable

  • dlb eh

    if Kessel can manage a point a game and lead the team in scoring with linemates JVR and Bozak, he deserves his 8.5 million a year.
    that said, i that line produces, it frees up Lupul to help Kadri and Clarkson be a legit line.
    Colbourne-Bolland-Kulemin.  not sure i looks all that good at first glance, but it wouldn’t be a easy line to beat.  and there’s plenty of skill to produce goals, and Colbourne’s passing just might be the ticket to get Kulemin some of those chances off the cycle that he can burry to get back to his old self.

  • Xxxxxnew

    I like the situation because we have two capable guys who should push each other to get even better and at some point in the future we have another marketable asset we can trade to bolster another position. And because I have no invested emotional attachment to players I don’t care who emerges as our No. 1. I’ve been watching this team so long they’re just names on sweaters until we win a cup.

  • CallumConnorKnight

    I have been very satisfied with the moves made during the off season thus far.. But if for some reason they end up trading Franson, I will be very upset.. I just bought a Franson Jersey!!

    • dlb eh

      CallumConnorKnight 
      on the bright side: if he’s moved the sweater will become vintage

  • Xxxxxnew

    It bothers me the way some players are demanding huge raises based on a 48 game season in a year when the cap is dropping.

  • mike_84

    Looking at your starting line up i assume Liles is in the press box or had he been moved? Does Brennan start with the Marlies?

    • CallumConnorKnight

      mike_84 TJ Brennan is going to win the Norris this year!

    • Anthony Petrielli

      mike_84 Assuming he’s moved or not starting

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    I say, God Damn….GOD DAMN!!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1o9LGuaxHfM

    • mattyice74

      You know I smoke a lot of grass…….and I pop a lot of pills.

    • Bobsyouruncle

      Bon Scott was a Leaf fan Can’t go wrong. Was going to suggest Mars Bonfire’s 1968 version of Ride With Me. Great late night radio tune that never got enough airplay. Wrote it, did it 3-4 years before Steppenwolf. Played with the band just before they changed names. From Oshawa, wrote Born To Be Wild, brother of the drummer.   
      Some other good tunes from The Paupers, a local band, mid sixties.  
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bu08KurlkD8
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7_s6kfsZws  
      Also ‘It’s Your Mind’ is pure 60’s vibe.

    • Xxxxxnew

      I remember seeing John Kay playing with the Sparrows before he was with Steppenwolf.