Home Authors Posts by Alec Brownscombe
Here we go.
David Clarkson.. Stephen Weiss.. talk of 6 million dollars a year.. Tyler Bozak and his ludicrous contract demands.. Someone hold me.
Realistically, the Leafs will not be able to upgrade at center on the recently-bought-out Mikhail Grabovski via the free agent market. Dave Nonis, hopefully, has something better than Weiss or Bozak up his sleeve via trade. That will take time, and that’s fine. I’m worried but I can wait.
If UFA Day is like Christmas, this July we might get the chance to unwrap a few gifts early. At least, hopefully they’re gifts and not 4.5 million pieces of coal for the next 8 years.
The pre-FA negotiation period affords the Leafs the chance to feel out the temperature on certain UFA targets and then, if need be, clear space via the buyout period, which closes tomorrow (July 4) at midnight, or via trade.
The Leafs opted for size and two-way ability down the middle at 21st overall, drafting a 6’5, 214-pounder out of Quebec in Frederik Gauthier. As a player who “needs to work on his offensive game” and who was under a PPG in the Q (worth noting that he broke his jaw during the season), this pick may be a little on the safe side compared to say, the higher offensive ceiling of Hunter Shinkaruk (who slid down and was available at 21). That said, there’s no denying the value of a good centerman and the need for depth at the position. How you feel about this selection depends on whether you like the late-first-round approach of safer picks with strong fundamentals or if you would prefer to role the dice a little on higher upside.
Profile after the jump.
2013 NHL Draft
The Leafs will welcome ~seven new prospects into the organization over the course of the afternoon and evening. If it’s all they do, that’s fine by me.
Some news and rumours tidbits from the past couple of hours:
The buzz as we approach the 3 p.m. draft is that Carolina’s fifth overall pick is in play. Darren Dreger reports that the Maple Leafs have discussed a trade up scenario with Carolina but that it might cost the Leafs “Morgan Rielly as part of a package.” Presumably the Leafs’ 21st pick would also be involved, amounting to a pretty handsome price. Rielly was their fifth overall pick last June, so it would have to be a player they’re really sold on if Nonis is giving up Rielly-plus for another fresh prospect. While it’s important to keep in mind the strength of the top 10 in this draft, that’s still a price that only makes sense for a MacKinnon, Jones or Drouin in my opinion. Dreger is reporting that such a package was discussed, but that no deal is close.
Plenty of chatter but no moves so far this weekend. Regardless of the amount of trade activity today, it will be a busier draft day than usual with all 7 rounds going down today at the Prudential Centre starting at 3 p.m. EST. Coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. on TSN.
As it stands now, the Leafs will pick in each round, selecting 21st, 51st, 82nd, 117th, 142nd, 172nd & 202nd today.
I can’t imagine much changes – Dave Morrison told us as much – with it being Nonis’ first draft at the helm, given he was already an assistant GM for four years and it’s the same Leafs draft team sans Burke. But for what it’s worth, I’ve amassed Dave Nonis’ drafting record as Canucks GM after the jump:
2013 NHL Draft
Bob McKenzie polled a bunch of NHL scouts about the top prospects of the draft class and tweeted the results. The following couple of tweets piqued my interest, as they mentioned a few prospects who are likely to figure into the Leafs range:
The jersey wouldn't even be all that different!
We knew the compliance buyout window would release a few interesting names into the free agent pool, unshackled from their exorbitant contracts. Vincent Lecavalier will be reportedly be one, as Jeff Vinik has decided to eat his $32 million buyout in order to gain the $7.7 million in cap savings.
The more I think about the Jonathan Bernier trade, the more I realize it was a straight-up judgment call by the Leafs’ pro scouts (led by Steve Kasper, this staff includes Mike Penny, Tom Watt and Rob Cowie.. the trade also likely involved a consultation with amateur scout Mike Palmateer). While Bernier has an edge in pedigree based on his draft position, projecting goaltender development can be alchemy and neither Scrivens or Bernier have significant enough sample sizes to their name to really know what either could become. James Reimer’s biggest workload in a single season is 37 games, so despite what he proved in his first stint as a rookie and then again in the shortened season, there is still a fair amount of projection involved in definitively labeling Reimer a high end starter as well.
Why not turn to goalie scout Justin Goldman, Director of Goalie Scouting at McKeen’s Hockey, for his take?
Chris Young/Canadian Press
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.
Everything is indeed happening. Dave Nonis has made a statement that he’s going to be transforming this team into his own this off season. Early signs are concerning. A few notes after the jump:
Anybody who takes rumours at this time of year at face value is either new to hockey and the internet or still reading Hockeybuzz. I’m neither of those. These Jonathan Bernier to Toronto rumours seem like nonsense, and I don’t want to believe them. I really don’t.
Other bloggers have addressed this already, so I won’t retread the obvious. Jonathan Bernier to the Maple Leafs makes no sense. Why on Earth would the Leafs give up assets for him? James Reimer proved all he could possibly prove this season, and all of the underlying numbers indicate he’s on track for a career as a reliable number one, and a good one at that. Ben Scrivens was solid as a back up, and especially when taking the reigns after Reimer fell to injury. Scrivy made a big contribution to the Leafs’ eventual playoff berth when he took over the net last February and posted a 6-3 record with two shutouts. Jonathan Bernier, while a promising young goalie in the sense that he was drafted high and hasn’t got his crack at the starter’s role yet, has proven nothing. He’s played like 25 more games than Scrivens.
The compliance buyout period begins 48 hours after the Stanley Cup Finals.
Not saying the Cup Finals are over at 2-1 Bruins, but you had to know, after the Leafs let a team come back from 4-1 down with 11 minutes remaining in Game 7, that team would go on to win the Cup, right? Right. Of course.
We reviewed Clarke MacArthur the other day here at MLHS. The feedback seemed rather divided on the question of whether to keep or not to keep the pending UFA. Meanwhile, there’s no doubting that David Clarkson’s name will only continue to remain attached to the Leafs in rumour circles as we approach free agency and the Toronto native remains without a contract past July 5.
With a glut of wing talent already, and Phil Kessel in need a contract extension, there’s no way Dave Nonis should re-sign MacArthur and then also go and sign David Clarkson. It’s not a smart allocation of dollars when depth wingers are the easiest assets to come by in the NHL.
Of course, things could play out in such a way where the Leafs lose out on the Clarkson “sweepstakes” (he re-signs or they are outbid or whatever) and then turn and try to bring back MacArthur. But as of today, with both options on the table, there is certainly merit in the question of MacArthur vs. Clarkson. And it’s a tough one.
Peter J. Thompson/National Post, Postmedia News
Mike Kostka: The undrafted 27-year-old rookie defenceman who went from little-known AHL journeyman to, for a while anyway, first pairing defenceman in the spotlight of the hockey universe, soon becoming a lightning rod of criticism amid Randy Carlyle’s perceived poor roster decisions.
In the interest of fairness and context, let’s take this story back to the beginning of the lockout-shortened 2013 season. Coach Carlyle had to be creative in the early going – if not all season – in trying to assemble a steady top four group of defencemen. Recall that Jake Gardiner was not himself at season’s beginning, still recovering from a concussion suffered with the Marlies. Gards did not play in the season opener and came back to play only two games (17 and 20 minutes respectively) before being sent to the Marlies (until March) to rediscover his game shape, timing and confidence. Gardiner was a defenceman who, given the promise of his rookie season and the seeming ease with which he skated the second most minutes per game on the team the year prior, many of us were banking on to shoulder a heavy workload.
Phil Kessel‘s detractors are really running low on material.
I shouldn’t take a rancorous tone with this piece and instead focus purely on all the great things Kessel does for this franchise, and we’ll arrive there eventually, but I can’t resist… Let’s rhyme off all the recycled BS that has for years surrounded Kessel’s name in hockey debates.
I was just getting back into the playoff swing of things and looking forward to taking in a Marlies game at the Ricoh, hopefully… Then the Marlies gave up three goals with under ten to go in Game 6 last night and lost out to the Grand Rapids Griffins. Meanwhile, the Bruins are walking over the Rangers in their round 2 matchup. I’m sure how to feel about this. It’s kind of bittersweet. Sweet in the sense that it’s impressive the Leafs did have these Bruins – who are probably the favourite to emerge out of the East at this point – on the ropes, and bitter in the sense that the Leafs would’ve had a pretty good chance, I think anyway, of advancing to the Conference Finals if they closed. If you are looking to try betting on your favorite nhl team, check out Topbet.eu.
Bahh, back to hockey hibernation.
The Marlies are on the ropes against Grand Rapids after a 4-1 loss last night in Michigan. They’re down 3-1 in their series headed into tonight. If they can take Game 5, the series would come back to Toronto for Games 6 and 7, so you never know. Also on the upside, Carter Ashton has goals in two consecutive.
Audio to tonight’s game will be available here.
I’m finding the playoffs much harder to enjoy now that I’ve been reminded what it’s like with the Leafs in them.
Links after the jump.
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