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 [more…]
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!
Amid the speculation surrounding the Philadelphia Flyers and their cap aches, it was bound to happen that the Leafsâ€™ name would get thrown into the mix. After all, whatâ€™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 â€“ simply because the Flyers are in such a jam right now and have to move salary.
As if the Versteeg deal hasnâ€™t turned out good enough, it has effectively compounded the Flyersâ€™ cap troubles even further.Ville Leino canâ€™t be signed without moving out some other cash and Philadelphia are still in desperate, desperate need of a goalie.
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 itâ€™s a substantial move up the ladder, or simply a quick jostle to a few spots up, the range of prospects in the Leafsâ€™ playing field is obviously quite broad.
Today weâ€™ll just take a quick gander at a few more players â€“ both domestic and international - that could land around Torontoâ€™s draft position, and could possibly become future Leafs.
While the rest of the folks in Leafs Nation go on pulling their hair out trying to figure out how the team will land another offensive forward, thereâ€™s probably a bigger item on Brian Burkeâ€™s to-do list: negotiating Luke Schennâ€™s new contract.
Itâ€™s inevitable that this deal will get done, but much like the dealings with Nik Kulemin last summer, the price is still up in the air. Putting a cap on a playerâ€™s value is tough, and even more so when itâ€™s a young player with barrels of potential like Schenn. But Jon S of Puckineh.com has done just that, and heâ€™s done a pretty good job;
Ryan Suter's contract of $3.5 million a season is the contract of a team's number two defenseman, and player that can be counted on in all situations. Presently this is not Luke Schenn, though it could very well be as soon as next season.
Itâ€™s hard to disagree with this statement. Schenn could well be on his way to becoming a defenseman that logs more powerplay time and develops a minor offensive role from the blue line. Currently he isnâ€™t there, but heâ€™s showing strides to getting there, and you have to wonder how much that will play into his contract negotiations.
Weâ€™ve onlyÂ just enteredÂ a crucial time of playoff hockey in the past week or so, but for a lot of fans of teams left on the outside, October canâ€™t get here any quicker. And for Ron Wilson, I think the situation is probably similar.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have been a failure for all of Wilsonâ€™s tenure thus far. But, as if out of some superhero movie, Ron was recently saved by the one they call â€œOptimus Reimâ€ down the stretch.
When Leafs fans called for Wilsonâ€™s head in the early part of this past season, I sort of held my tongue. It was easy to recognize that things werenâ€™t looking up for the guy, but I really had no idea as to what was the right move.
By now weâ€™ve all jostled with the idea of the Leafs landing Brad Richards in some way or other. These thingsÂ tend to happen when itâ€™s basically been talked about for over a year prior to his upcoming free agency period.
Much like Rick Nash in the past, Leafs fans have plotted their potential line combinations with Richardsâ€™ name embedded on the top unit for some time now.
For me, the Richards idea sort of fell by the wayside a while ago as I came to grips with the fact that heâ€™d likely become a Ranger in the off-season. Returning to the free agency list, a few people began to throw around Brooks Laichâ€™s name â€“ which, I think, is a great thing. But the Richards situation has sort of resurfaced for me over the past week or so, and I think Iâ€™ve had a change of heart (or hope).
It's a tough pill to swallow, watching from the outside as sixteen teams that aren't the Leafs battle it out for the Stanley Cup. But it's something I've grown used to in recent years, considering I haven't actually been able to watch a Leafs playoff game since my high school graduating year.
Like many of you, I'm a die-hard fan of the blue and white, but I'm also a die-hard fan of the game of hockey in general. And this will become quite evident to those around me as I literally paste myself to the couch for the coming weeks and watch game upon game.
It's all over now but the crying. Except there won't be any tears shed on my behalf.
Tonight the Toronto Maple Leafs will ice a team that looks like something out of 2013, with Matt Frattin and Joe Colborne both making their debuts.
The team will host the arch-rival Canadiens at the Air Canada Centre, and will be playing for some more pride after their elimination from playoff contention earlier this week.
With the Leafs looking to stay within distance of the eighth and final playoff spot, tonight sees the team hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bolts have given the Leafs all kinds of headaches this year, as they look to close out the season series with a 4-0 sweep.
While the Lightning's slight struggles recently make this is a very winnable game for the home-side, it's also a crucial must win regardless - the ground made up by the Leafs on Saturday night was quickly taken away in the form of a Sabres win yesterday.
Right now the Leafs sit six points behind both Buffalo and New York, while holding a game in hand on the Rangers.
Toronto simply cannot allow the Rangers or Sabres an opportunity to put eight points between them and the postseason at this point.
With another trade deadline behind us, the NHL season truly enters "crunch time" as rosters are set (for the most part) and the push for the Cup gets underway.
Most teams, including the Leafs, chose not to ripple any waters on February 28th - save for a few minor deals and an even smaller amount of major transactions.
While some media outlets will suggest that the teams surrounding the Leafs in the playoff race added key components while Brian Burke sat on his hands, this simply isn't true.
If Toronto fail to make the postseason, it won't be due to the fact that the Hurricanes and Thrashers added Bryan Allen and Radek Dvorak, respectively. Nor will it be because Brad Boyes is now a Buffalo Sabre.
Another night, another game where James Reimer puts on a show for Leafs fans. On Tuesday night the Toronto Maple Leafs moved to 7-2-2 in the month of February with an enormous win against the visiting New York Islanders.
While Isles' goaltender Al Montoya had a solid outing of his own, the focus had to be shifted to Reimer as he turned away 28 of 29 shots and nailed down two very important points for the home side.
Early in the game, Toronto looked solid, generating scoring chances but failing to capitalize outside of a Clarke MacArthur goal at 10:13 of the first frame. From there the game essentially went back and forth while both goaltenders held steady.