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Free Agency

Phil Kessel

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The naming of Joffrey Lupul as an alternate captain and the announcement of his charity initiative Lupes Troops (granted this doesn't always guarantee a spot in Toronto for the indefinite future) in recent days were both indicators that Nonis and Carlyle see Lupul as a face of the franchise going forward. Faces of the franchise usually need long term contracts, but few would've expected one for Lupul this soon in the season. When you boil it down, the Leafs just paid Lupul to be the player he was last season for five more seasons after this shortened one. There is...

Cody Franson

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The NHLPA has ratified the new CBA, now the NHL and NHLPA will sign off on the pre-CBA document known as a Memorandum of Understanding. Two hours after the ink is dry on the MOU, player signings and trades can begin in preparation for the new season. For the Leafs' part, they are expected to announce the signing of defenceman Cody Franson to a one-year deal for a shade over a $1 million: A cheap one-year re-up to bring the right-hander back from Sweden in time for camp and have him compete for the spot vacated by Luke Schenn. Failing...

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The Toronto Maple Leafs have re-signed winger Nikolai Kulemin to a two-year, estimated $5.6-million contract this morning.  The Leafs avoided the potentially acrimonious arbitration process, signing the Magnitogorsk native to a deal with a modest cap hit of $2.8-million. Kulemin, a 2006 second round draft pick, struggled mightily prior to a season-ending finger injury last season, posting career lows with seven goals and 28 points in 70 games.  He scored 30 goals for the Maple Leafs in the 2010-2011 season. The two-year term means Kulemin will be a UFA at deal's end, as opposed to a "show me" one-year deal which...

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So, Nik Kulemin is up for Club Elected Arbitration. Seems interesting, and given Burke’s statements in the past about arbitration I’d assume they’ll actually go through the process. What this means is that Kulemin will likely be on a one year deal, giving him one more round of restricted free agency after this one. Not a bad way for the Leafs to hold the cards, but it also gives Kulemin a chance to show if he’s the seven goal scorer we saw last season or if he’s the 30 goal scorer from the previous season (TRUTH: he’s somewhere in between.) Arbitrations...

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The Leafs have added some strength down the middle by signing Jay McClement to a two-year deal worth $3 million total. They were also able to agree to terms with Matt Frattin on a two-year deal that totals $1.7 million, while resigning Ryan Hamilton and Jussi Rynnas as well as adding Mike Kostka to the organization, too. It wasn't a banner day for the Leafs, but it was still an important one. Most notably, they finally added the third line center they've needed for quite some time and that has serious ramifications on the rest of the roster. Burke talked about it in...

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The Leafs have signed Jay McClement to a 2-year, $3-million (1.5 mil. per) contract. McClement is a 29-year-old centerman from Kingston, Ontario (that one's for you, Don Cherry). A left handed shooter, he stands 6 ft 1 in tall and weighs in at 205 lbs. He is your prototypical shutdown centerman with little offense. But what he does, he does well. A guy with good faceoff numbers, McClement is a player who is more mobile than Steckel, excels on the penalty kill and has decent size. Viewed as a sturdy player, McClement has played 80 or more games in the past 6 seasons. A guy...

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Ah, July 1st. The day we celebrate our nation's birth by tracking NHL free agent signings. The Maple Leafs enter UFA Day with 14 million and change in cap space, but I wouldn't expect them to spend too much of it today, as all indications remain that Burke will do his heavy lifting via trade. While Burke has made it clear he won't be in the mix for the two big fish in Parise and Suter in any meaningful way, one thing that may be on the mandate for Burke today is the addition of size up front (and possibly a...

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NHL Free Agency was, originally, to be a major component of the Brian Burke 'rebuild' model - or 'retool,' whatever you want to call it - when the Maple Leafs' new GM arrived in Toronto. And despite perpetual inflation, it remains the surest and easiest avenue for a team to obtain top-quality players in their prime without sacrificing any organizational assets beyond cash. Factoring in the promises of a quick turnaround and transactions we shall not name, lest we incite debate involving high-end draft picks exchanged for promising young stars, free agency to the Brian Burke model becomes...well, not...

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Some free agency news this evening, presented without comment: He’s been associated with the Phoenix Coyotes (ne Winnipeg Jets) franchise for so long that no one could see this coming. But general manager Don Mahoney confirmed on NHL Radio on Tuesday that team captain Shane Doan will test the free agent market starting on Sunday. Doan, 35, has spent every one of his 17 seasons with Winnipeg/Phoenix and is the only remaining Coyote to have been a Jet. He is coming off a five-year, $22.75 million contract, and his 50 points (22 goals) was his lowest output in 10 seasons. Doan is considered...

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MLHS reader Charlie posed an interesting question this morning: "Why is Weber a RFA after this contract? Parise, same draft year, is UFA next year." On the surface, it does seem a bit odd - two players, same draft year, both went to arbitration, yet one will be a restricted free agent in a year while the other will be unrestricted. How exactly does that work? The answer to that quandary lies in a sliding condition in the CBA which is currently known as the "27 or 7" Rule. . NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement, July 22, 2005- September 15, 2011 Section 10.1 --...

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After failing to agree to terms on a new contract, the Blackhawks have chosen to walk away from defenseman Chris Campoli's $2.5 million arbitration award. The 27 year old puck-mover will become an unrestricted free agent, free to sign with any club. However, the Mississauga native has expressed an interest in joining his childhood team, the Maple Leafs. Much like with the Clarke MacArthur signing for $1.2 million last summer, the Leafs appear to be in prime position to land a capable young player at a potentially reduced salary should they so choose. The problem lies in the current backlog...

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The Leafs continue to plug the holes on their roster with today's signing of bottom-six center Philippe Dupuis, formerly of the Colorado Avalanche.  Dupuis secured himself a two-way deal from Toronto, hoping to build on 2010-2011, his first full NHL season in which he accumulated 17 points in 74 games.  More importantly, he displayed energy and hustle on most nights, above and beyond that of his at-times despondent teammates.  He has a penchant for hitting with some penalty killing aptitude and should compete for the fourth line center spot with the Leafs this fall. From what I've seen, Dupuis has the wheels...

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Announced just fifteen minutes before the arbitration deadline, Clarke MacArthur will be in Blue and White for the next two seasons at $3.25 million per annum (the updated cap situation is available here, with the Leafs now at roughly $7.34 million in cap space with Schenn and Bozak left to sign). It seems the talk from Brian Burke about going to arbitration and "re-evaluating" if the settlement was too high was a bit of a negotiating tactic to get this deal done before it went before an arbitrator. The talk for months was about Burke's unwillingness to go above three million a season...

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As usual, Brian Burke looks and sounds really confident. "Clarke MacArthur has arbitration rights and he may well file for arbitration. We're fine if that's what he chooses," said Burke. "We have a lot of financial clout behind this team and we have a lot of cap space. We're not worried about someone trying to take a player out of here through an offer sheet and we anticipate we'll be able to re-sign all the players we want to re-sign." Considering how fond the management and coaching staff are of MacArthur, the fact his contract status remains an unsolved problem for...

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In part 2 of our ongoing analysis of the 2011 Off-season, we’ll be looking at the July 3rd, 2011 trade that saw Brett Lebda, a conditional 4th round pick in 2013 and Robert Slaney (who?) shipped out to Nashville in exchange for head patient Matthew Lombardi and Leaf-fan Cody Franson.  After the jump, we’ll take a longer look at the acquisitions and what it means for the Leafs come October Matthew Lombardi His tenure with the Toronto Maple Leafs might only be a footnote in the annals, albeit an expensive one.  Lombardi comes to Toronto as the 7 million dollar service...

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As per The National Post's Michael Traikos, the Leafs front office will take a breather after busy days two and three of free agency: #Leafs Brian Burke told me "we’re going to sit back and catch our breath now … I don’t like the depth chart being full going into camp." We know Brian Burke is big on depth and roster spot competition, but it's also important to create opportunities at training camp for some of this club's developing youth to fight for. In fact much of the competition for spots can come from within. There's Matt Frattin, for who Burke...

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Apparently, Paul Holmgren is not the only GM that wants to re-tool his team. After a series of surprising UFA contracts the Sharks shocked everyone in the water trading  star forward Dany Heatley to Minnesota in exchange for Martin Havlat, a forward that always had that star potential, but never quite got there. This isn’t the first time these two teams tangoed together in a trade this summer. During the NHL Entry Draft, the Sharks traded promising RW Devin Setoguchi, along with Charlie Coyle and a first round pick (2011) to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Brent Burns and...

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It's been an interesting few days in Leaf land to say the least. Leafs brass opted to sit on their hands on Friday as the rest of the league's front offices threw significant sums of money at free agents like a bunch of drunken sailors, leading some angry fans to assume true the least logical possibility that Burke simply said "screw it all!" in favour of an Afghan vacation. With Brad Richards choosing to consign himself to a...

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Let me guess, Tim Connolly isn't what you hoped for? Well, to tell you the truth he wasn't for this writer. Then again, Tim Connolly was the 2nd best center available in this year’s free agency and an option for an upgrade at center without having to give up assets. I’d be the first to admit I didn’t like the idea of overpaying for Brad Richards. Not only were his term demands only considered reasonable by New York and Glen Sather, I’m just not sure their logic of aggressively signing free agents is a sound one. It didn’t exactly single...

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Some quick tidbits from Brad Richards' interview with Hockey Central late Friday night: - When pressed on the factors most important to Brad's decision making process, he listed a stable ownership group and a commitment to win both in the short and long-term. He specifically cited the Tampa Bay situation where the team was blown up just two years after taking home the Cup as something he does not want to go through again. - A decision will most likely come sometime earlier in the day on Saturday. Brad had originally hoped to have the matter resolved on the first day,...