Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Authors Posts by Alex Tran

Alex Tran

313 POSTS 0 COMMENTS
Alex has been a part of the original MLHS team since way back in 2008. He has contributed to the 2009-12 Maple Leafs Annuals with a special interest in junior hockey and player development.

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Coming off a tough shootout loss against the Flyers last night, the Leafs will look to rebound on the road against the Sabres tonight at HSBC Arena. Despite blowing a late third period lead, there was a lot to like about the Leafs’ performance, including a strong bounce back game from captain Dion Phaneuf and spurts of brilliance from the club’s new top line of Versteeg, Bozak and Kessel. The Buds will be in tough tonight against the Sabres, who will be icing a lineup very similar to the one they will open the season with.

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Matt Fratin, seen here hosting McNaughton Cup (WCHA Regular Season Title) is a breakout candidate for 2010-2011

At this time last year, Jerry D’Amigo was a little known Maple Leafs’ draftee who had been passed over 157 times by other clubs only a few months before. After a banner year at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the NCAA and a brilliant run at the World Juniors, the not even 20 year old D’Amigo currently finds himself with an NHL contract, an invite to training camp, and a legitimate shot at making his dreams come true as soon as this fall. That was last year. Now let’s take a look at some of the names that could be making some serious headway up the Leafs’ organizational depth charts in 2010-2011.

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In the spirit of ranking the organization’s top young talent (prospects + established NHLers), Gus and I will be facing off tonight at approximately 10pm EST in a 1 on 1 drafting session of Maple Leaf players who are 24 years of age or younger (1986 birthdays and on).

Gus IS the Pro Scouting Coordinator for Mckeen’s Hockey, so I will have my work cut out for me, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. We will be selecting 6 forwards, 4 defensemen, and 1 goaltender each for a total of 22 young players with approximately 1 minute pauses between each pick. Contract status and/or cap hit will not be taken into account as this is purely an evaluation of performance and potential.

The draft will take place live in the comments section for all readers to follow, so be sure to come out and provide your two cents as it happens. Following the draft, the MLHS community will have the opportunity to vote to decide which crop of young players they would most like to move forward with.

See you all at 10pm EST tonight!

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According to LeafsTV, the Maple Leafs have signed unrestricted free agent forward Clark MacArthur to a 1-year contract worth $1.1 million. MacArthur has been a relatively productive second/third line “tweener”  over the past couple seasons, posting 17 and 16 goal seasons. The Sabres dealt the diminutive winger to the Thrashers at the trade deadline, but Atlanta decided to walk away from Clark’s $2.4 million arbitration award, thus enabling the 25 year old to become an unrestricted free agent. Seems like a nice, low-risk move though it could mean a roster spot being taken away from a younger player.

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The Toronto Sun reports whispers around the league of the San Jose Sharks offering defensive prospect Derek Joslin along with a first round pick in exchange for Tomas Kaberle. This would be consistent with Burke’s Friday morning comments to the FAN 590 that offers for his premium puck moving defenseman have been primarily “futures oriented”, generally involving a quality young player and a high draft pick. Joslin is a 23 year old puck moving defenseman who has spent parts of the past three seasons posting increasingly impressive point totals in the American Hockey League and was named an AHL All-Star last season. He possesses an absolute bomb of a point shot, taking home the award for the hardest shot in the AHL Skills Competition.

Just under 26 hours left in the Kaberle countdown…

[email protected]

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In case you missed it, here are some of the key points from Burke’s interview on the Fan590 this morning:

  • There have been some legitimate offers made on Tomas Kaberle, though he expects that the quality will continue to increase as the deadline approaches
  • The team continues to look for a top six winger with some size and scoring ability
  • Offers have been primarily “future-oriented”, which would include a quality young player and a high draft pick. He would prefer to receive a package that would help the club more right now, but these offers are serious enough that he may re-evaluate his position and consider accepting one
  • The team is not looking to acquire a big centre. Although they are small down the middle, the priority remains a big, scoring winger.
  • Nazem Kadri has done everything the club has asked him to do and looked “fantastic” at the prospect camp last month. He is stronger in the upper body and is more explosive.
  • They are pleased to have signed Jerry D’Amigo to a pro contract, but were not a factor in his decision to leave RPI. He made that decision on his own and will now battle it out for a spot on the opening night roster. Burke characterizes D’Amigo’s progress over the past season as “meteoric”.
  • He believes that the arbitrator made the right decision in siding with the NHL on the Kovalchuk saga. The Maple Leafs have not and will not take part in these mega long-term contracts that tail off drastically at the end.

[email protected]

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    Listen up MLHS readers, here’s your chance to show the rest of the hockey world that this is the best hockey community on the net. Rivalspot, a video game tournament company, will be sponsoring an NHL 10 tournament on either XBOX 360 or PS3 with the winner taking home a brand new copy of the upcoming NHL 11 game. There is NO ENTRY FEE! The current format will be a elimination-style 16 player bracket per tournament with the 1st place finisher taking home the prize.

    The Penguins bloggers from Pensblog and the boys from Pension Plan Puppets will be among the competitors. We’re expecting some intense inter-community rivalry and we’re expecting you guys to come out in droves and support the MLHS name. Our Godfather, Alec Brownscome (gamer tag – pwnikarovsky) and myself (gamer tag- Acekicker777) will be front and centre. Feel free to challenge us anytime if you’re looking for a pre-tournament warmup. I’ll be putting my skills and my *cough 63% win percentage cough* on full display.

    Refer to this post over at PPP for further contest details and registration information:

    What I Need You Guys to Do:

    1. Click the above image to register even though we don’t have a tournament yet. That will let me know if we need to have more than one tournament.
    2. Post in the comments what system you want to play on. I know we have a ton of Xbox 360 users but I don’t know how many people have NHL 10 on the PS3. If there’s interest there will be a PS3 tournament.
    3. Post when would be good for you to play. Not “this Wednesday at 7pm” be more flexible: something like “weeknights” or “weekend afternoons”, etc.
    4. Feel free to give us feedback if you hate promotions and getting free copies of new video games.

    Hockey, free stuff and heated rivalries. Does it get any better?

    [email protected]

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    It’s been rumored for a few days now, but on Wednesday afternoon, prospect Jerry D’Amigo has finally put pen to paper to sign a 3 year entry-level contract with the Maple Leafs. This signing certainly comes as a surprise as D’Amigo was originally expected to complete a full four year commitment with RPI before turning pro. After a fantastic ’09-’10 season that saw him produce a near point-a-game campaign en route to ECAC Rookie of the Year honours, he rocketed up the team’s depth charts and could find himself in a position to earn a roster spot as early as this fall. Like Tyler Bozak last season, D’Amigo will have two overriding motivations in joining the Maple Leafs.

    One, the money is pretty good: The Toronto Star’s Damien Cox explains that Jerry will earn a “max contract”. Update: D’Amigo’s maximum cap hit if he hits all his bonuses would be $1.125 million. Two, there is opportunity: the team’s forward outlook is still in flux and D’Amigo will be given every opportunity to compete for a full-time job at camp. Cox explains that the organization was willing to give D’Amigo a maximum contract because they feel that if the 2009 draft were redone, Jerry would find himself going in the bottom third of the first round. It’ll be interesting to see how the club will attempt to fit D’Amigo into their financial picture if he is indeed deemed NHL ready to start the season.

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    It’s that time of year again. The Canadian World Junior Development Camp for the 2011 tournament in Buffalo is under way, as the Canadians try to bounce back from a heartbreaking loss against D’Amigo and the Americans. Here are some thoughts on the Leafs’ prospects’ chances of making their respective world junior teams:

    – Bradley Ross is the lone Maple Leaf prospect invited to Canada’s Development Camp, but is sitting out the on-ice scrimmages due to a pulled groin. Barring a terrible season, he should have a good chance making the team in order to assume the agitator/pest role vacated by Cormier and Della Rovere. However, he could be facing stiff competition from Cody Eakin, a top scorer in the WHL, who is tearing up the scoresheet at camp so far.

    – Jesse Blacker and Greg McKegg were not invited to camp. Unless he makes significant strides forward defensively, Blacker will likely not have a realistic chance at making the squad after finishing with a team worst -22 rating for Owen Sound last season. As is the case every year, the Canadians will be absolutely loaded with premium offensive talents so McKegg will also have to step his game up to another level and improve his two-way play if he hopes to crack the team’s top six. The odds are certainly stacked against these two because no player not invited to last year’s Development Camp made the eventual final roster.

    – Jerry D’Amigo should have a top six spot all but locked up for the American squad after being one of the program’s best forwards for both gold medal winning U-18 and U-20 teams over the past couple seasons.

    – Swedish stay-at-home defenseman Petter Granberg could have a shot on Sweden’s blueline. He played on last year’s silver medal U-18 team and will be playing full-time in the Swedish Elite League in the fall.

    – Power forward Sondre Olden will be one of the youngest players at the tournament this year, but that was already the case last season.  At 17 years old, he helped the U-20 Norwegian team capture gold in the Division-1 tournament, thus earning a berth in Canada’s group for the 2011 tournament. He has been a huge centerpiece of their national junior teams, having also singlehandedly led the U-18 team to a Division-1 gold medal with 22 points in 5 games last season. Seriously, who wins two gold medals in one year?

    [email protected]

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    A Comparison of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Defensemen

    By: Byron Nelson (aka: DefenseWinsChampionships)

    Bored at work on a Monday afternoon, I found myself wondering which current Maple Leafs’ defenseman had the best season in 2009/2010. While the obvious pick would be a flashy, high point-producing player like Tomas Kaberle or Dion Phaneuf, it seemed as if a greater deal of investigation would be required to come up with an informative answer. Needless to say, investigate is exactly what I did.

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      Sean Mcindoe, better known as the unmistakeably hilarious voice of Down Goes Brown, has joined forces with the evil Empire that is the Toronto mainstream media. He will be appearing in the National Post as a regular contributor starting here with his first article on Tuesday evening. On behalf of the MLHS staff and the rest of the Maple Leafs Barilkosphere, we’d like to congratulate Sean on making it to the big show!

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      – If the TSN reports that Frolov could sign a 1 year deal comparable to that of Afinogenov last season ($800,000) are true, then why weren’t the Maple Leafs heavily involved in discussions with Frolov’s agent? He’s a big guy who can win some pucks, plays a well-rounded game and would fit perfectly in the top line left wing role at a bargain basement price. Remember a few weeks ago when I talked about a deteriorating market? This potential signing may just be the beginning.

      – The Toronto Sun reports that the Maple Leafs’ Rookie tournament will take place at the John Labatt Centre in London from September 11th-14th this year.

      – The Hockey News makes the case for the Maple Leafs as a surprise playoff team this coming season.

      – On to the FanPosts. Andrew Edwards (AKA Crazyaces) proposes a solution for these ridiculous long-term contracts, while Michael Cuttell continues his preseason synopsis by evaluating the Leafs’ current forward group.

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      Leafs Preseason Synopsis Part 1  – Defense and Goaltending

      By: Michael Cuttell

      With free agency cooling off and countless free-agent and team roster questions floating around, it’s time for Leafs fans to look at what they have, what they can afford to lose , what they need, and what they can realistically get to fill those needs. This is a step by step speculative analysis of those questions.

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      Why the Maple Leafs should make the playoffs in 2010-11‏

      By: Joe Cino

      Everything that could have gone wrong for the Maple Leafs in 2009-10 did. A combination of cold streaks, underperforming veterans, bad goaltending and a slew of injuries capped off a basement finish. The roster has been fine tuned, with additions like Giguere, Phaneuf and Versteeg chief among them, but by and large most of the roster is the same as last year’s iteration. With so many holdovers from the previous year, are the playoffs a realistic goal for the Maple Leafs? I believe that they are, with Corsi ratings, Goals versus Threshold and the realistic impact of the new Leafs taken into account.

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      In case you haven’t already heard, the Maple Leafs have broken off negotiations with prospect Bill Sweatt, acquired in the Versteeg trade from the Blackhawks. In a statement to the Toronto Sun, Burke explained that the club would rather keep a spot on the 50 contract limit open than continue discussions with Sweatt. As the talks continued to stall, the Leafs likely turned and upped their offer to Marcel Mueller, whose ELC contract value sits at $1.12 million. Sweatt is likely looking for a figure close to Blake Wheeler’s $2.825 cap hit as a 4-year college free agent, which is a steep price to pay for a player with speed but limited offensive upside.

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      Great to see such an active group of readers. Here are a couple of FanPosts for your Friday afternoon reading enjoyment with today’s theme being youth, youth and more youth. Paul LeMay (B. Leaf) takes an in-depth look at the team’s organizational prospect depth while Chuck Johnson compares Nazem Kadri’s chances of making the NHL as a 2nd year player with those of previous high draft picks.

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      Got a few minutes, so let’s get to some mail:

      “Q – So the question is, or hypothetical topic, why don’t the Buds buy a European team as a farm team?  Or a Russian team?  Use those like they do the Marlies.  That way they can squirrel away late round picks and have their guys train/mentor them, and make better assessments of when these late rounders are ready… and that would open up all kinds of hidden gems.  Since the Show has a hard cap, MLSE could use this avenue to better their chances of success and all the memorabilia sales that go with it.”

      – Adrian Lok

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      The Maple Leafs announced on Wednesday afternoon that they had come to terms on a two year entry-level contract with 22 year old free agent forward Marcel Mueller. Mueller is a 6’4 212 lb power forward who has spent the past 4 seasons playing against men in the top German league. He had a terrific ’09-’10 breakout campaign that saw him record 56 points in 53 games played, good for 13th overall in league scoring.

      Although it has Mueller has been rumored to be a target of NHL teams for a couple of seasons now, the recent transfer agreement reached by the DEL and NHL in late June has allowed Marcel to be officially pursued by NHL clubs.

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      Let’s Leave A Spot for the Kids: by Caleb Dallman

      I rarely post much in the debate after posts on MLHS, but I try to read most of them.  It seems like a lot of people are waiting on a trade, speculating what we could be getting and for what parts.  No one was able to predict the Phaneuf trade, nor the Giguere trade.  The Versteeg trade also came with few rumours leaking out.

      So where does that leave us?  Is this speculating even worth it when Brian Burke seems to always be able to pull a rabbit out of his hat and stun the fanbase?  Sure, speculating is fun, and there are certainly some players and prospects that are more enticing than others, but in reality, how many of you guys called the Phaneuf trade?

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        As you’ve probably noticed, the amount of content here on MLHS has slowed down a bit over the last little. We sincerely apologize for this and ask that you remain patient as many of our staff writers are working and re-working their drafts for the 2010 Maple Leafs Annual that comes out this fall. We ensure you that things will be back up and running at a regular pace soon. Now with that said, I do have a couple interesting figures to toss your way.