Monday Mashup: Center Rumours Heat Up

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Good evening! Prepare for a long week of distraction as the Leafs are off until Friday’s tilt with the New Jersey Devils. With Bolland going down on Saturday the team’s strength at centre is about as weak as you could imagine. Not too many people count themselves as big Bozak fans, but with him and Bolland both out, there is a gaping hole down the middle. It’s all but guaranteed this week will bring a deluge of trade speculation, and maybe even a trade to bolster the position. While the Leafs’ record is still pretty good, it’s difficult to feel optimistic about a team featuring Kadri, McClement and Smith up the middle.

Today’s practice lines were as follows:

Lupul – JVR – Kessel

Raymond – Kadri – Clarkson

Kulemin – McClement – Bodie

Orr – Smith – McLaren

That top line is juicy on paper, but that’s on paper. The transition to center for JvR, who did play down the middle in college but never at the pro level, is far from guaranteed to be a seamless one.

Bolland underwent surgery over the weekend to repair a lacerated Achilles tendon, basically identical to the injury Erik Karlsson suffered last season. In other words, don’t expect Bolland to suit up again until the new year. In Ebner’s post-game from Saturday, he said Bolland was wearing protective socks and still suffered the injury when Kassian’s skate blade found the back of his leg. In other words, this injury was even more a freak incident than usual for that type of play. Hopefully the severity of the injury is lessened as a result, but it’s still too early to know for sure.

Bozak was placed on LTIR meaning he will be out a few weeks, so something must be done to fill the holes at centre. If the team opts to dive into the Marlies roster for help, they could go a few different ways depending on how they want to try and address the situation. Perhaps this is an opportunity for Greg McKegg to show how close he is to NHL-ready, although he should really be left to prove himself in a top 6 role with the Marlies if we’re being fair. I would like to see someone with some offensive ability or upside slotted in ahead of McClement and Smith, but the team may opt for more of a checking type player.

Either way, with no games until Friday followed by a back-to-back), expect a lot of talk around how the Leafs are going to handle the injury situation and a tonne of trade speculation.

Surprise to know one, the Maple Leafs are in the market for a forward, preferably a centre. Not a lot available right now.

— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) November 4, 2013

Some Monday evening links:
Anthony’s Notebook from this morning!
http://mapleleafshotstove.com/2013/11/04/leafs-notebook-november-4/

Dave Ebner has the Globe’s recap from Saturday’s game in Vancouver
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/hockey/leafs-beat/leafs-look-to-put-worst-game-of-the-year-behind-them/article15236747/

Traikos at the National Post has an article about Mason Bang-For-Your-Buck Raymond
http://sports.nationalpost.com/2013/11/02/toronto-maple-leafs-mason-raymond-a-prime-example-of-nhls-salary-cap-disparity/

NHL.com’s story on the Bolland injury, including video
http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=689760&navid=nhl:topheads

JP Nikota has a post up about the Leafs collapsing defensively (no fancy stats!)
http://www.pensionplanpuppets.com/2013/11/4/5059676/collapsing-defensively-leafs-coaching-breakouts-101

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    With regards to Couturier, I think he’s a Top 6 centre with excellent two-way capabilities, stuck behind a pretty deep centre core in Philly. 
    Philly was interested in Bernier and LA wanted Couturier in return, but Holmgren wouldn’t part with him.

  • peterbleafs

    Look at our Defense we need an angry beast back there.  Someone with large enough balls to play physical and nasty and threaten to beat the crap out of our own forwards who do not come back and support.

  • peterbleafs

    DeclanK Yup “Coutourier is stuck behind a center who hasnt scored a single goal yet this year.

  • Jordan29

    Did they say anything about Bollands ankle %%%% wise? I remember Karlsson was 70%

  • Mind Bomb

    DeclanK Bet he would now lol

  • wiski

    Jordan29 Severed = 100% to me anyway

  • Xxxxxnew

    All I read was “severed tendon on the outside of his ankle.”

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    peterbleafs DeclanK
    Guy is a total plug. 
    http://imgur.com/d9XnXMv

  • Cameron19

    DeclanK I think that is untrue.  It was only said that Philly could not offer up the back-up goalie that LA needed as part of the trade – not that Holmgren was unwilling to move Couturier.  Couturier, much like JVR and Carter before him, has been mentioned as available constantly.

  • Cameron19

    TheCanucksnaphook I don’t think he can afford to see how things go.  What if we lose another center in that game? Then we literally have no options, and we truly would be desperate.

  • wiski

    TheCanucksnaphook Cameron19 from the one with the bad feelings all the time 😉

  • Alec Brownscombe

    TheCanucksnaphook Cameron19 Who’s? McClement and Smith’s untapped potential?

  • rustynail

    Cameron19 TheCanucksnaphook what if the team bus was in an accident? Mr. Chicken Little lately Cam.

  • Cameron19

    rustynail Cameron19 TheCanucksnaphook Oh I’m not saying the sky is falling, I’m just saying that if it were me, I would make a move now, to avoid potential desperation.  Right now, our position sucks, but were we to sustain another key injury, we’d be toast. Need to prepare for that possibility.

  • docyqx

    NOBODY on Philly should be untouchable this year…..Holmgren is under a lot of pressure to turn things around and make a deal, any deal that even on paper, helps the flyers….

  • Sundin_13

    Alec Brownscombe TheCanucksnaphook Cameron19  lol

  • Burtonboy

    https://twitter.com/KyleTheReporterhttps://twitter.com/KyleTheReporter/status/397509287196368896
    Marlies have recalled centreman Kory Nagy from Orlando

  • Mind Bomb

    Alec Brownscombe TheCanucksnaphook Cameron19 Our potential to go 500 while the injury bug plays out, we may not win the division now, but we still have goaltending and Kessel :)

  • peterbleafs

    Cameron19 rustynail TheCanucksnaphook You would make a move every day of the year.

  • wiski

    TheCanucksnaphook Burtonboy So someone must be coming up

  • Burtonboy

    TheCanucksnaphook Burtonboy Might mean someone from the Marlies is moving up to the Leafs

  • Mind Bomb

    TheCanucksnaphook Alec Brownscombe Aye Phook, make a hockey deal sure, but think first, we will get through this

  • Cameron19

    peterbleafs Cameron19 rustynail TheCanucksnaphook Ha, no I wouldn’t.  I like to discuss trades, but I’m pretty patient in reality.

  • Mind Bomb

    TheCanucksnaphook Burtonboy Hahaha Phook

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Mind Bomb Alec Brownscombe TheCanucksnaphook Cameron19 Oh, I thought he meant potential down the middle

  • Mind Bomb

    Alec Brownscombe Mind Bomb TheCanucksnaphook Cameron19 I hope not lol :)

  • Reversethecurse67

    So is it safe to say Gunnarsson’s trade value has dropped quite a bit, considering any team willing to trade a player like Couturier for him would surely notice the effects of his injuries (and reduced playing time). Too bad, because he was our only real chip on D to get a player.

  • BPsotka

    Jordan29 Somebody earlier mentioned to PentHouse that it was 50%, but I’m not sure who claimed that or if they sourced it

  • Tim Horton

    Couturier for Gardiner straight up?

  • BPsotka

    Tim Horton I’d say no, but I think Couturier is overrated.

  • BPsotka

    TheCanucksnaphook Tim Horton This I would do in a heartbeat.

  • Mind Bomb

    TheCanucksnaphook Tim Horton They would get more from another team

  • Cameron19

    Reversethecurse67 No, I don’t think it’s safe to say that. I don’t think NHL GM’s micro analyze every game and decide if that means a player’s value is rising or falling. That is just a fan perception in my opinion.  Anyone who was interested in Gunnarsson last year is likely still interested now. When you’re acquiring a player, you tend to imagine what that player could do for you.  It’s why Couturier appears more favorably to us than he probably does to Flyer’s fans.  We imagine him between Lupul and Clarkson on the 2nd line – they see him with low minutes in the bottom six and not putting up points.  Does that make his drop? No.

  • MaxwellHowe

    TheCanucksnaphook Tim Horton Gunnar and a first and the Leafs would probably jump at it

  • docyqx

    TheCanucksnaphook 
    even if you were here, thinking of sun and golf is never a totally bad option, lol,

  • Mind Bomb

    BPsotka TheCanucksnaphook Tim Horton They would not we would not be the only team at the dance

  • Cameron19

    Tim Horton I would pass on that one.

  • docyqx

    TheCanucksnaphook docyqx 
    Don’t forget to wear your leafs jersey for good luck !

  • Cameron19

    Mind Bomb TheCanucksnaphook Tim Horton Everyone always says this, and the final deal is always something really reasonable that we feel slighted by – yet the mentality never changes.  Who is out there just salivating the opportunity to break the bank for Sean Couturier and his 18 pts in last 60 games.

  • whalz

    Gunner + 2nd for Couturier
    Or
    Liles + 1st
    Or
    Liles + 2nd rd for Ott
    Get er done Nonis

  • Reversethecurse67

    Cameron19 Reversethecurse67 i’m basing this off Anthony’s perception, who in the past has been extremely complimentary of Gunnar’s game, but now has pointed to effects of an injury having lasted for a while. If i’m a GM looking at Gunnar, i consider that the injury and its effects as a risk factor = lower trade value than a year ago.

  • MaxwellHowe

    think RC is going to go with JVR at centre.  Might be a revelations boys and girls.  But I agree with Anthony that Kulimen or Raymond are preferred left wings on that line.  Then ya got Lupul Kadri Clarkson for a second line.  If JVR doesn’s fit the role, put Raymond in as second line centre.  Obviously, faceoff proficiency doesn’t matter since it hasn’t matter before

  • Cameron19

    Reversethecurse67 Cameron19 And I’m an opposing GM, I see that as an opportunity to strike.  Players overcome injuries in time.

  • MaxwellHowe

    might be “a” revelation”  Not Revelations.  Relax everyone.  #leafsapocalpyse

  • BPsotka

    I think what will decide the success of Lupul-JvR-Kesssel will be their willingness to play the “Bozak role”. At all times they would need to ensure one of them was playing enough on the defensive side of the puck to spring the other two on a rush- and the huge upgrade potential of this line compared to Lupul/JvR-Bozak-Kessel is that any two of the three forwards on the JvR-centered line would be extremely dangerous offensively and so as long as one of three is defending, we can get a quality scoring chance.
    Also, their obvious achilles’ heel would be when zero of three play defense.
    I wonder how many of our goals have actually been on two-on-ones this year? I feel like lots (definitely not all) of our top line’s success has been on the rush, and that will be the determining factor. With Lupul-JvR-Kessel we should have more goals off the cycle.

  • docyqx

    TheCanucksnaphook 
    Yup Dreger….Every team has announced that they’re putting half their team on the trading block, just so you have something to write about……………..NOT

  • Alec Brownscombe

    TheCanucksnaphook He didn’t retire after last season? Just an FA?

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    TheCanucksnaphook 
    Vaclav (Vinny) Prospel??  He’s still playing??  You can’t be serious here.

  • MaxwellHowe

    Cameron19 Tim Horton Cam, even if the Leafs made a deal fro, say, a Couterier, they would still have to find a way to get under the cap when Bolland comes back, right? I mean, a pro rated amount of his salary equal to his time on the LTIR doesn’t get lopped of the Leafs salary liability. Or does it?

  • Alec Brownscombe

    TheCanucksnaphook His numbers for a 37 year old last year weren’t bad at all.