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!
Dave Ebner has the Globe’s recap from Saturday’s game in Vancouver
Traikos at the National Post has an article about Mason Bang-For-Your-Buck Raymond
NHL.com’s story on the Bolland injury, including video
JP Nikota has a post up about the Leafs collapsing defensively (no fancy stats!)
Just throwing this out there, Joe Thornton? Lot of salary and on downside of career but perfect set-up man for Kessel and JVR. He is set to become a UFA so what will it take? We would have to shed salary when the injured players return.
Hangout Live in a Few Minutes: http://mapleleafshotstove.com/2013/11/05/maple-leaf-hangout-ep-11-with-gus-katsaros/
I really REALLY hope JVR works great at centre. Imagine if he did, hes like the exact type centre you want for Kessel. Big, fast, left handed with good passing skills.
based on Claude Loiselles comments today they are looking for a player who could fit in when the others return when healthy....so i cant see someone like Mike Richards or sam Gagner types as they are 2nd line centres and we have enough of them,
id like to see a big player who uses their size and can play a gritty game.. my list although i know Cam doesnt like one of them,,, but based on what it might take to aquire a player and contract status plays a role imo.
Stev Ott - COST??(2nd rd pick) Buff in a total rebuild.
Brian Boyle-COST?? (3rd rd pick) NYR might move him, as a shakeup could be needed and Dominc Moore can play 4th line centre.
Shawn Horcoff-COST? (liles, and Dallas eats 1.5mil of contract)..
id love to see a Couturier or Simmonds but im not holding my breathe.
Any credible trade rumors kicking around? Or does it sound like we're going to solve our center deficiency from within?
@Alec Brownscombe Nice
@Jordan29 He will work there, he is a natural at that position. My thinking is he will make Bozak redundant or force Bolland to the wing.
@Jordan29 Would be very sweet, and change our needs substantially.
@Pent_House Haven't seen him with the Marlies really... anyone know how he's playing? I'd be surprised if he was ready for much of a role. What's the point of having him up if he's going to play like 4 mins?
@whalz I'd do Liles for Horcoff straight up and not worry about salary. They are eating the extra year there.
@whalz I really feel its gonna be Cammalleri. Liles going the other way to make salary work is idea as Burke signed him in the first place and likes him.
@Cameron19 Yep 1-0 Dallas
Personally.....Just my opinion and all, but I don't think ol'Tyler is going to come through the way that Phil broke out in last year's playoffs....LOL,
@gunner_36 No but by the sounds of things, if we lose a game or two, we will probably make a trade. All depends on the next couple games.
@whalz Little of both I guess. Makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Heres one about Cammalleri in the summer
then when Bozak is back
then Bolland back