Instead of writing about something Leafs related on another slow day in August, I've decided to take delve into the world of sports media and talk about the release of the Sportsnet magazine, due out in newsstands this fall.
Now, I'll give you a forewarning; when it comes to launches of any new medium in the world of sports media, I'm all over it. Like many other Torontonians, especially the younger crowd, I demand the latest in news and consume it through a number of very diverse mediums. [more…]
As the days trudge along and the countdown begins (61 days!) until puck drop on opening night, there remains some unfinished business for the Leafs front office between now and training camp. Although both the team and the player consider the new deal to be merely a matter of time, and while Schenn is one of 36 RFAs who remain unsigned at this juncture, every Leafs fan will be able to breathe easier once the Human Eraser is under contract.
According to The Globe and Mail, negotiations have begun between Brian Burke and Schenn's agent, Don Meehan. Of course, neither side will reveal any details about specific salary and term for the contract, and it isn't clear how far the two sides are apart at this stage.
Neither Meehan nor Leafs general manager Brian Burke have tipped their hand as to how negotiations on Schennâ€™s contract are progressing, but itâ€™s fair to say heâ€™s one of the harder players in Torontoâ€™s lineup to put a dollar figure on.
Drafted fifth overall by the Leafs three years ago, Schenn has become a dependable defensive defender capable of playing second-pair minutes (he averaged more than 22 a game last season), putting him in a small group among players his age.
In terms of comparable stay-at-home types around the league, Braydon Coburn (Philadelphia Flyers), Roman Polak (St. Louis Blues), Jeff Schultz (Washington Capitals) and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (San Jose Sharks) are all in similar roles and have signed a new contract recently.
Using those comparables listed in the Globe, do you put Schenn with the group that includes the likes of Vlasic, Schultz and Coburn (around $3 million and change)? Mirtle seems to rule out the possibility of Schenn getting Marc Staal money ($3.975 cap hit), but given his age (still only 21 until November), potentially elite shutdown ability and steadily improving offensive numbers, that's just about where I'd put him. While it may seem a tad pricey at the moment, if that's what it takes to lock Schenn down for a considerable term, it will be a steal well before the end of the contract. He's only going to get better, and with his early entry into the league forcing the sides to renegotiate by 21, the Leafs may actually benefit for that very reason.
The Leafs locked up David Broll,Â a sixth round pick (152nd overall) in last month's Entry Draft, to a three-year entry-level contract yesterday.Â The 6-foot-1, 225-pound power forward has split the last two seasons between the Erie Otters, and more recently, the Soo Greyhounds.
More from MapleLeafs.com:
In 41 games with Erie he collected 22 points (eight goals, 14 assists) with 51 penalty minutes. He finished the season playing 24 games for Sault Ste. Marie registering five goals and seven assists for 12 points along with 34 minutes in penalties.
Broll, a native of Mississauga, Ontario, played for Canadaâ€™s Summer Under-18 Team at the 2010 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In five games, he earned two assists and two penalty minutes, while winning a gold medal with Team Canada.
Broll participated in the Maple Leafsâ€™ 2011 Prospect Camp held earlier this July in Etobicoke at the MasterCard Centre for Hockey Excellence.
David Broll won't be expected to tear up the score sheet or pile up points. It feels like we say this a lot (because we do), but he is a 'prototypical Brian Burke type of player' who uses his size to intimidate opponents. One could conservatively project David Broll as a future fit on a fourth line, counted on to throw his weight around and drop the gloves from time to time. However, there has to be reason Leafs brass rushed to put pen to paper with Broll, and it's likely his physicality combined with hints of offensive usefulness to his game. Writes thescoutingreport.org, who tabbed him as an early third round pick before the draft:
His physicality and ability to lay huge hits are two of the main elements to Brollâ€™s game, but he also has some offensive upside. Heâ€™s a great guy to plant in front of the net on the powerplay and does a great job generating offense off the low cycle.
Broll was criticized by scouts for not being in good physical shape leading up to the draft, but Leaf management was impressed with his physical development when he arrived at the annual Rookie Camp in early-July.
On to your links after the jump
So, how about this nice weather? Got any plans for the long weekend? *sigh*
Well, there is virtually nothing to talk about in the hockey world. The Islanders and Devils made a little noise by swinging a deal that sent Brian Rolston and a conditional pick to New York in exchange for Trent Hunter. Rolston is nearing the end of his career, but will provide veteran experience up front and likely play the point on the power play. This move also helps the Devils clear cap space in order to re-sign RFA Zach Parise. While Hunter was a serviceable player throughout his tenure with the Islanders, they needed to move closer to the cap floor, which they accomplished by acquiring Rolston's large salary.
In other news, the Vancouver Canucks avoided arbitration with Jannik Hansen, signing him to a three-year deal.
The countdown is on until we can start talking about our beloved Leafs again. Can't wait.
MLHS' very own Alex Tran had the opportunity to sit down with Maple Leafs Director of Amateur Scouting Dave Morrison, who provided some candid thoughts on the direction that this team is heading and which players to watch in the pipeline.
The rest of the answers will be published in the Maple Leafs Annual magazine, out on newstands in early September. The yearly magazine edited by Alec Brownscombe will also feature exclusive quotes from Brian Burke, Dave Poulin, Dallas Eakins, Tyler Biggs and more.
Another slow day in Leaf land yesterday. Follow the jump for a few interesting articles and to listen to the latest PPP podcast.
Newly acquired defenseman John-Michael Liles has already earned a good first impression with Leaf management, teammates, fans, and, most importantly, some young people in need. Children at the Sick Kids hospital in Toronto visited with Liles yesterday, who made his first public appearance since the trade. He acted as a bright spot for many who have fought hard to live a healthy life.
It's hard to believe that today is already the third Sunday of July. The dog days ofÂ theÂ hockey off-season have arrived with the free agent market [more…]
It's speculative Saturday here at MLHS. With the roster looking more or less set to start the 2011-12 season, take a look deep into your crystal ball and predict what place the Leafs will finish in next season. Do you see them making the playoffs or falling short for a seventh straight season? Be fully honest and be sure to cite, you know, reasons, for your prediction.
As Ryan reported yesterday, the Maple Leafs have re-signed Darryl Boyce to a one-year, two-way extension. The 27-year old forward, who had 13 points in 46 games, will earn $700,000 in the NHL and $105,000 if he is assigned to the Toronto Marlies. His $105,000 AHL salary is key because anything in excess of that number would mean Boyce would have to pass through re-entry waivers if he doesn't make the team out of camp. The two-way deal is important in that way in terms of the flexibility the Leafs will have with Boyce.
It is nice to see at least one of Boyce or Brent rewarded with a contract by the club. Most would have taken Brent over Boyce in a perfect world but given Brent was getting a one-way contract somewhere else if not here and Boyce has been developing in the Maple Leaf organization since 2007-08 (when the Leafs picked him up as an undrafted free agent), it makes a lot of sense why it's ultimately Boyce that's returning.
More links after the jump
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to conclude that the majority of free agents still available on the open market are all either past their prime or borderline NHLers who would be lucky to get a one-way contract. While there are slim pickings, one name in particular comes to mind who would bring a physical element to the roster, along with veteran leadership during his 1,000-plus games over the last 14 years.
Now, don't get me wrong. I didn't take the time to slave over my computer screen on a humid summer day to scour though the remaining available UFAs, but thanks to Michael Langlois from Vintage Leaf Memories, the suggestion to pursue Mike Grier piqued my interest.
Itâ€™s no secret that the Maple Leafs finished in the bottom third of the NHL in goals against despite ample allocation of resources to the blueline, something they have encountered tremendous struggles with dating back to the season following the lockout.
While the Leafs lack of consistent goaltending can be blamed, in large part, for the teamâ€™s shortcomings, the defence has not met the task of shutting down the opposition. That's not to say there havenâ€™t been capable NHL blueliners on the roster. What has hindered the Leafs' defensive units from their full potential, for my money, is the lack of chemistry and familiarity on the backend. Despite his lack of foot speed, Francois Beauchemin was a quality addition to the roster, but the coaching staff couldnâ€™t find a defensive partner to successfully complement his game.
With Beauchemin, Kaberle, and to a lesser extent, Brett Lebda out the door, the stage is set for a young, versatile defence poised to both attack and defend on all cylinders. Led by Dion Phaneuf, the Leafs defence includes four players above 6-foot-3 and 213 pounds â€“ including Keith Aulie (6-foot-5, 217 pounds) and the newly acquired Cody Franson (6-foot-5, 213 pounds), who make up the Twin Towers of the Toronto defence.
It doesnâ€™t stop there.