It looks that way. And perhaps even ahead of time, as we're only a few days away from July 1st and free agency.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It's starting to lookÂ that way. A sports outlet in Sweden known as "SportBladet" is reporting that Carl GunnarssonÂ may be extendingÂ his time with the Toronto Maple [more…]
With the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final upon us, it will soon be time for full-fledged Leafs speculation â€“ if not already.
After hockey has clued up for another season and the draft rolls around, things reallyÂ 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, letâ€™s try to discuss the bigger picture for Burke and the Leafs, without beingÂ too focused on one name.
Whatâ€™ll it be? Patchwork, minor tinkering, or full on aggressiveness?
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.
Itâ€™s about as close to a â€œget out of jail freeâ€ card as the NHL could get. When the Canucksâ€™ 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 Romeâ€™s hit was a bit late. Though Iâ€™ve seen much, much worse over the past few years.
The result was scary, but I wouldnâ€™t call Rome a vicious player by any means.
Either way, the leagueâ€™s disciplinarian Mike Murphy is faced with one of the easiest suspensions heâ€™ll ever hand out. Not because the hit was easy to categorize as dirty, it wasnâ€™t. In realtime itâ€™s actually a Â pretty tough call to make.
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 Leafsâ€™ scouting staff continues to prepare to draft with picks theyâ€™re not even sure theyâ€™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 â€” improving on its current two late first-round picks and a second-rounder â€” 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;
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.
Call it patchwork, a desperation move, whatever you like. But thereâ€™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 itâ€™s not far-fetched to think that Burke may have to employ a â€œPlan Bâ€ if he doesnâ€™t land a prized free agent or trade target.
Though Iâ€™m quite aware of theÂ upcoming contract negotiations between Brian Burke and recent overachiever Clarke MacArthur,Â I've yetÂ to give it too much thought until now.
MacArthur is one of five of the teamâ€™s restricted free agents, including Luke Schenn, Tyler Bozak, Carl Gunnarsson and James Reimer.
Usually when the conversation arose about hisÂ pendingÂ newÂ deal I just passed it off with â€œYeah, heâ€™ll get a raise likeÂ Kulemin's or something.â€
What was I thinking? Clearly Iâ€™m an idiot.