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Ryan Fancey

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Photo: ESPN

It comes as no real surprise to be passing along this information; Brad Richards will become a New York Ranger, after agreeing to a 9 year 60 million dollar deal.

The news came from Andy Strickland out of St Louis first, and was later confirmed by Darren Dreger of TSN.

Personally, I’m relieved that the Leafs didn’t get into this sort of contract. The Rangers will have a 6.7 million dollar cap hit on the books for a forty year old Richards, meaning you’ll probably see this guy in the minors in a few years.

Dreger has since reported that the Calgary Flames offered up 65 million over nine years, but Richards took the cut to head to New York. The city, and the coach obviously had a lot to do with his decision.

Good on Burke and co. for not committing to this thing too much and letting things get out of hand.

The Leafs will surely look to trade in the coming weeks to address their primary need; a top line center.

Some developments for everyone to discuss;

The Leafs have reportedly met with the Richards camp and presented their offer. More teams on the way, including the LA Kings and Buffalo Sabres. The Kings have brought their entire organization by the sounds of things; President and GM Lombardi, coaches, and ownership.

In the world of bizarre news, Jaromir Jagr has signed with the Philadelphia Flyers, as per McKenzie and numerous other sources.

Also, Scottie Upshall has signed with the Florida Panthers for four years at 14 million (3.5 cap hit)

Few Leafs related tidbits; they’re still in the mix for Max Talbot, and Tim Brent has just signed a deal with the Carolina Hurricanes for two years.

Per McKenzie, Ed Jovanovski signs with the Panthers on a four year deal.

And obviously worth noting, Stamkos and the Lightning  aren’t close on a deal, he can now sign an offer sheet.

Colorado have made a pretty substantial move, trading 1st and 2nd round picks to the Capitals for Semyon Varlamov. Tough break, Avalanche fans.

TSN now reporting that Richards has been meeting with Kings for over two hours. And the New York Rangers will have the chance to match or exceed any deal that’s presented throughout the day. It’s clear the Rangers are the front-runners.

Max Talbot signs in Philadelphia, five years for 9 million.

Few more updates;

Former Leafs Ponikarovsky and Giguere have signed deals with the Hurricanes and Avalanche, respectively.

Michael Ryder heads to Dallas for two years on a 3.5 mill cap hit, and Ville Leino signs a mammoth 27 million dollar deal for six years in Buffalo.

Thankfully the Leafs dodged that Leino deal, as they were expected to make a push to sign him.


More updates as they become available.

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Image: Flickr/HVP

One more day of bizarre contract signings, players’ rights being dealt, and above all else; rumors.

Starting tomorrow at noon, the bidding war will finally get underway for players like Brad Richards, James Wisniewski, Christian Ehrhoff, and Michael Ryder to name a few.

With such a weak UFA class this year, it seems as though a lot of focus has been shifted to the idea of restricted free agents potentially signing offer sheets. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

It would be great to see things really spiral out of control with teams throwing around offer sheets, but the general consensus is that it won’t happen. This is bad news if you want a player like Stamkos, but good news if you want to keep Luke Schenn.

Darren Dreger had this to say regarding the free agency period for the Leafs;

Leafs interested in a number of UFA’s. Richards, Ehrhoff (if free),Upshall, Talbot, etc. Won’t get them all, but will inquire on most.

And while we all want to finally see an end to this Richards saga, tomorrow likely will not be the day it all goes down. Richards will likely narrow down his options to a reasonable number tomorrow, but it could be a few days before a decision is made.

In some Leafs news, Jay Rosehill has re-signed for another year. He’ll make 600k on a one way deal.

Links after the jump

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From Renaud Lavoie of RDS:

The rights of Maxim Talbot were traded to the Maple Leafs. They have until noon july first to make a deal.

There you have it, from a legit source. Bob McKenzie is now reporting that Talbot has not been dealt to the Leafs, and that his agent is free to talk to numerous teams.

McKenzie adds:

OK, my turn for a correction. PIT granted permission for Talbot’s rep to talk only to TOR for 48 hours commencing Sunday.

The two possibilities stemming from this most recent development is that the Leafs are going to take their chances in unrestricted free agency, or Burke didn’t like the going rate and Talbot is out of the picture. Essentially, after all this, we know nothing.

We’ll keep updating as more becomes available. In other news, there is some talk unsigned forward Tim Brent, who gained a lot of fans as the season progressed and seemed like a fit at fourth line center, will not be returning next season. Brent told TheRecord.com:

“As much as I would love for it to be Toronto, unfortunately, by the looks of it, it’s not going to be,”

“To be honest, I haven’t heard from them,” Brent said.

“The disappointing thing is I gave everything I could to playing for the Maple Leafs.”

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Photo Credit: Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

It looks that way. And perhaps even ahead of time, as we’re only a few days away from July 1st and free agency.

From Nick Kypreos at Sportsnet;

I hear #Leafs are working on trading for #Penguins Max Talbot rights prior to waiting July 1st when he becomes a UFA.

To which Darren Dreger at TSN responded;

Leafs talked earlier with Pens about Talbot’s neg rights, but I’m told they’re now out of the mix. Good player. Will make next team better

Which, to me, basically translates into the Leafs making a real effort to sign this guy on Friday. Perhaps they end up negotiating to land his rights before then, but if not you can still be sure Burke is looking to fill out a potential third line of Bozak, Armstrong and Talbot.

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Photo Credit: sportsnet.ca

What a terrible title, no? I don’t care, I’m going with it.

With the NHL free agency period finally arriving this coming Friday, the list of needs for the Maple Leafs isn’t too extensive. But the routes available almost seem endless.

While we anxiously await Brian Burke’s solution to the team’s top line problem, it may be smart to explore some contingency plans. One of which is simply upgrading at the forward position in any way shape or form.

Something that Burke made clear upon his arrival in the hockey mecca, is that he likes to put forward a team formed with top six, bottom six group of players up front. What this basically translates into is a team with skill on the top two lines, and pugnacity (or whatever the hell Burke is talking about) on the bottom two lines.

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Photo: NYDaily

In this morning’s links, Mislav mentioned that the Leafs would be bringing in Greg Cronin as an assistant coach to Ron Wilson.

We’ve now learned that the team has hired both Cronin and Scott Gordon as assistant coaches and will part ways with Keith Acton and Tim Hunter.

Cronin was the head coach of the Northeastern University club, while Gordon is a former coach of the New York Islanders, and also served as an assistant to Wilson with the 2010 U.S. Olympic team.

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(Getty Images 2011)

Of course I’m talking about the Leafs, who will be drafting at #25 and #30 after the Bruins destroyed the Canucks in Vancouver last night.

The Canucks’ best players didn’t play like their best. In fact, they may have been their worst. Roberto Luongo can’t really be blamed for the loss, but he really didn’t do much to help his team win.

The Sedin twins, on the other hand, were atrocious. Both were -4 on the night, while Alex Burrows was -3. Not much of a top line.

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It’s starting to look that way. A sports outlet in Sweden known as “SportBladet” is reporting that Carl Gunnarsson may be extending his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs for at least another two years.

While no contract has officially been signed, agent Peter Werner has informed SportBladet that Gunnarsson has agreed on a two year, one way deal with the blue and white.

Link to the untranslated story is HERE.

From Google Translate, we can decipher the following;

… And now Sportbladet can reveal that he will remain in Toronto for two more years.

“We agree with Toronto, but the contract is yet signed. This shows that Carl is now a solid NHL-back, especially given that the contract is for two years and one-way” said agent Peter Werner of CAA.

While nothing is official until an actual contract is signed, this looks to be good news for the Leafs and Gunnarsson if all goes to plan. The amount of money has not been discussed publicly yet, so I guess we’ll have to wait on that.

Glove tap to our own Mislav Jantoljak for digging up the story. Follow him @Xterratu

If the Leafs go ahead and lock Gunnarsson in for two more years, do they still continue their search for another puck moving defenceman? Or do they just increase his responsibility going forward?

Updated: The Leafs official website has issued a press release for Gunnarsson’s contract extension. It’s confirmed as a two year deal, but there still hasn’t been a cap-hit discussed. Link for the official release found here.

More: From James Mirtle at the Globe and Mail

Gunnarsson’s deal will have a cap hit of roughly $1.3-million a year. Seems reasonable.

And there you have it.

Email [email protected] and follow on twitter/maplestirup

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With the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final upon us, it will soon be time for full-fledged Leafs speculation – if not already.

After hockey has clued up for another season and the draft rolls around, things really kick it up a notch in Leafs land.

From my own experience, at my previous blog, it seemed that June and July would easily ring up the most buzz (the Kaberle situation probably helped.) So before the rush, let’s try to discuss the bigger picture for Burke and the Leafs, without being too focused on one name.

What’ll it be? Patchwork, minor tinkering, or full on aggressiveness?

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Let me just start by saying I was presently surprised by how the Bruins managed to stick to their gameplan last night in another route of the Canucks. What exactly is that gameplan? Hit, hit, and more hitting.

It’s just mind-boggling to see this series turn around the way it has. After the first two Canucks wins in Vancouver I figured they would go back to Boston, get a split and possibly end this thing on home ice Friday – not the case. And in a matter of two games I’m almost looking at this series in the sense that Boston were really two bounces away from a sweep.

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Photo: Yahoo Sports

It’s about as close to a “get out of jail free” card as the NHL could get. When the Canucks’ Aaron Rome decided to step up and clobber Nathan Horton last night, everyone immediately knew the hit was questionable. It’s become engrained in our minds (a good thing, perhaps?).

Upon further review, and some slo-mo replays, it looked like Rome’s hit was a bit late. Though I’ve seen much, much worse over the past few years.

The result was scary, but I wouldn’t call Rome a vicious player by any means.

Either way, the league’s disciplinarian Mike Murphy is faced with one of the easiest suspensions he’ll ever hand out. Not because the hit was easy to categorize as dirty, it wasn’t. In realtime it’s actually a  pretty tough call to make.

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The quicker these Final games clue up, the quicker we can officially look on to the Draft. And it seems like Burke and the Leafs’ brass are already well-focused on the task at hand… umm, sort of:

The Maple Leafs’ scouting staff continues to prepare to draft with picks they’re not even sure they’re going to get.

They have no choice. Having been put on notice by general manager Brian Burke that the team is trying to move up in the selection process — improving on its current two late first-round picks and a second-rounder — director of amateur scouting Dave Morrison is casting a wide net in his talent evaluations.

Maybe they’ll read some of the NHL Draft articles we’ve been working on here at MLHS to give them an edge. I mean, it couldn’t hurt really. Throughout the Barilkosphere we’ve probably discussed every option from #10 to #40 and beyond.

Now, because it’s Sunday (and I really don’t feel like doing another recap for two teams I’m not a fan of), let’s get right to the links;

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Photo Credit: Rick Ernst, PNG

Alex Burrows bit someone, Henrik Sedin flopped around, and Raffi Torres eventually scored the lone goal, and what would obviously be the game winner for the Vancouver Canucks last night. It wasn’t an overtime goal, but it may as well have been.

The Bruins actually played a great road game until the third period, their five on five play was excellent. And in the area of special teams, their penalty kill totally made up for the fact that their powerplay is laughable.

The Canucks really didn’t get a lot going on the powerplay, and Tim Thomas was great in the early and late stages of the game. But one slip up in the final seconds of the third proved costly, as Jannik Hansen threaded a pass to Torres for an easy tap in and a 1-0 series lead for Vancouver.

There are a few links to get to, so let’s check it out.

Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Call it patchwork, a desperation move, whatever you like. But there’s a very real chance that over this summer, the Toronto Maple Leafs will not be able to acquire Brad Richards, Jeff Carter, Paul Stastny, Steve Stamkos, Zach Parise, or any other name people decide to throw out there in the next few weeks.

Of course they could nab one of the names above, who knows? But it’s not far-fetched to think that Burke may have to employ a “Plan B” if he doesn’t land a prized free agent or trade target.

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AP Photo

Though I’m quite aware of the upcoming contract negotiations between Brian Burke and recent overachiever Clarke MacArthur, I’ve yet to give it too much thought until now.

MacArthur is one of five of the team’s restricted free agents, including Luke Schenn, Tyler Bozak, Carl Gunnarsson and James Reimer.

Usually when the conversation arose about his pending new deal I just passed it off with “Yeah, he’ll get a raise like Kulemin’s or something.”

What was I thinking? Clearly I’m an idiot.

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A few tidbits of Leafs news are surfacing as Burke and his colleagues begin team operations again in the coming days. First off, the team has signed prospect Kenny Ryan to a three year entry level contract.

From the mapleleafs.com release:

Ryan, 19, was originally the Maple Leafs’ second choice, selected 50th overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. The 6-0, 210-pound right-winger played the past two seasons for the Ontario Hockey League’s Windsor Spitfires. In 2010-11, he collected 58 points on 21 goals and 37 assists with 42 penalty minutes in 60 games played. He ranked second on the team with a (+16) rating. In 18 playoff games with Windsor, the native of Franklin Village, Michigan registered four goals and eight assists for 12 points along with 25 minutes in penalties.

And in some other interesting news, Brian Burke had this to say at the Memorial Cup game the other night, regarding his plan to move 2 of his top three picks in order to solidify a higher spot in the draft;

Burke also had a few things to say regarding where the team is in terms of trades, and looking ahead to the July 1st free agency period. From Ken Beckett of Hockeybuzz.com:

“It’d be better to do it on July 1st because you get the player for free. All it costs you is salary. You don’t give up any assets, you don’t give up any players or picks. Prior to July 1st, you’ve got to pledge assets.”

“While you can get the guy on July 1st for free, the flip side is he may not be there. He may not even get there and he may not pick your team. There could be six teams all trying to put something together. We are exploring adding a player via the trade route, but if that’s not successful, then we’ll see what’s there July 1st.”

It seems as though our constant search for Leafs news is finally starting to turn up some results. Things should start to snowball from here, at least with any luck.

Email [email protected] and follow on twitter

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In another wild playoff game, the Eastern Conference final was pushed to seven games last night. Despite a David Krejci hat-trick, the Bruins just couldn’t outscore the Lightning in what turned out to be a goal scorer’s field day from the outset.

If goaltending is essential in winning the Stanley Cup, the only evidence of that seems to be coming from the West. Either of these teams will need a much better effort over the course of their meeting with Canucks starting next Wednesday, or else they’ll be steamrolled.

Game seven goes tomorrow night in Boston, and you have to think both tenders will bring their game and keep the score reasonable (by playoff standards).

On to the links!

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Amid the speculation surrounding the Philadelphia Flyers and their cap aches, it was bound to happen that the Leafs’ name would get thrown into the mix. After all, what’s a rumor about a big name NHL player without Toronto somewhere in the headline?

However, much like a few years back, the recent Jeff Carter rumors actually make a lot of sense – simply because the Flyers are in such a jam right now and have to move salary.

As if the Versteeg deal hasn’t turned out good enough, it has effectively compounded the Flyers’ cap troubles even further.Ville Leino can’t be signed without moving out some other cash and Philadelphia are still in desperate, desperate need of a goalie.

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Swedish prospect Joachim Nermark

With a little more than a month remaining before the NHL Entry Draft, discussing possible picks and trade-up scenarios are again becoming commonplace in the hockey world. I really feel no need to mention once again that the Leafs hold two late first-round picks, but I just did.

Of course there are plenty of options Burke and his staff can look at with the picks. Whether it’s a substantial move up the ladder, or simply a quick jostle to a few spots up, the range of prospects in the Leafs’ playing field is obviously quite broad.

Today we’ll just take a quick gander at a few more players – both domestic and international – that could land around Toronto’s draft position, and could possibly become future Leafs.