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 availableÂ 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 theÂ settlementÂ 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 for this player, but a return to Toronto is what both sides wanted and was accomplished with a little compromise (and perhaps som consideration for the new cap climate). 'Mac in the USSR' is back and what was a pleasant surprise of a season in 2010-11 has become the expectation for Clarke heading into 2011-12. [more…]
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,Â the fact his contract status remains an unsolved problem for the Leafs is somewhat surprising. On the other hand, him having a career year while being the league's best bargain last season in Clarke's mind could just as easily warrant a big pay day.
We could argue both sides equally. Clarke doesnâ€™t fit the bill of a greedy player. He clearly stated he wants to stay in Toronto, and showed heâ€™s a emotional, character player who played his heart out for the Leafs last season. On the other hand, we know how reluctant Burke is when it comes to giving significant salary increases to one year wonders. The differential between his second best season in the league and his career high last season is almost double in points; it's no wonder this is a tough negotiation in which Burke is playing hardball.
In part 2 of our ongoing analysis of the 2011 Off-season, weâ€™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.Â After the jump, weâ€™ll take a longer look at the acquisitions and what it means for the Leafs come October
His tenure with the Toronto Maple Leafs might only be a footnote in the annals, albeit an expensive one.Â Lombardi comes to Toronto as the 7 million dollar service charge for Cody Franson one year into a 3 year-10.5 million dollar deal he signed with Nashville.Â His 2010 â€“ 2011 season was cut short when he suffered a devastating concussion â€“ his second - on October 13, 2010 against the Chicago Blackhawks.Â The reality is that Lombardi isnâ€™t ready resume workouts, almost nine months after sustaining the injury. [more…]
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 "weâ€™re going to sit back and catch our breath now â€¦ I donâ€™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 has gone on record as suggesting the AHL may be an unnecessary step as he had about as an impressive final game cameo as one could have hoped for with stand out physical ability on and off the puck. Nazem Kadri - who settled in surprisingly well onto a third line winger's role to finish the season - figures to be in competition for that spot again in September as well as Joe Colborne potentially, who finished brightly with the Marlies and didn't look out of place in his Leafs cameo either. [more…]
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 tradingÂ 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 isnâ€™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 a second round pick (2012).
Personally, itâ€™s pretty clear Minnesota won both trades. Yes, the Burns - Setoguchi trade looks like a good deal for both clubs because Burns still might end up as a great NHL defenseman but when you factor in Charlie Coyle (THNâ€™s 11th ranked prospect in the 2011 Future Watch edition) and a first round pick used to draft Zack Phillips this year, itâ€™s really hard not to see them as winners. [more…]
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 Wade Redden-esque fate in the Big Apple, Leafs management sprung into action on day two with the signing of 30-year-old centerman Tim Connolly to a two-year, $9.5 million contract. Then, on day three, the Leafs proceeded to buy Cody Franson off of Nashville (more to come on that in Part 2).
Firstly, let's get this out of the way about Brad Richards, and the dog and pony show that was last Friday at Newport Sports. Brian Burke flew to Sweden on the eve of 2009 free agency in hopes of sitting down with the Sedin twins if they became unrestricted at noon of July 1st. He went to meet Jonas Gustavsson on the same trip, who was at the time a target of the Leafs and was grieving the recent loss of his mother, whose funeral Burke offered to attend. If Burke felt the Leafs had a chance at signing Brad Richards on Friday, he would have been there with Cliff Fletcher and Dave Nonis making his pitch at Newport Sports. Instead, Burke decided to, in the pursuit something worthwhile, support a cause important to himself and the team over in Afghanistan on Canada Day. There's a lot of questions to be asked about the way Brad Richards and his representatives conducted their business on Friday, but when it comes down to it there's a reason why you can't rely on a free agent with control over his own destiny as the key to your organization's future plans. Regardless of the ballyhoo that surrounded the entire process, Richards as a UFA had the right to choose his next team on whatever basis he desired; city preference, or for a coach that probably won't be there for more than a quarter of his contract. May he join Drury and Redden in cap casualty hell, both of whom had their career reputations ruined by the horrible contracts handed to them by the New York Ranger franchise. [more…]
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 yearâ€™s free agency and an option for an upgrade at center without having to give up assets.
Iâ€™d be the first to admit I didnâ€™t like the idea of overpaying for Brad Richards. Not only were his term demands only considered reasonable by New York and Glen Sather, Iâ€™m just not sure their logic of aggressively signing free agents is a sound one. It didnâ€™t exactly single handedly win Cups or produce any real results in the past. I did however silently pray that Richards would reconsider his term demands and that John Tortorella said something bad about his mother. Both reasons of course leading him to Toronto. There is a reason why you can't bank on a free agent with the freedom to chose his own destination, however. With the Rangers seemingly the front runner all along and the rest of the teams mentioned mere pawns to increase Pat Morris' bargaining power, sadly it didnâ€™t happen, and in the words of the immortal hockey hero Sean Avery, weâ€™re left with sloppy seconds.
Now for my overly optimistic or very reasonable assessment (depends which camp youâ€™re in) of Tim Connolly. Firstly, I donâ€™t like referring to a 65 point NHL player as sloppy seconds, however oft injured he might be. Secondly, this might just be the only player in Free Agency so far that hasnâ€™t been badly overpaid and actually wants to play in Toronto. To me, that means something.
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 [more…]
It has been a crazy day. As we speak the Calgary Flames are pitching a plan to Brad Richards. Yes, the Calgary Flames are apparently [more…]
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 LightningÂ 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.
July 1st is finally here and regardless of a limited pool of exciting free agents, expectations in Leafs Nation are once again sky high. The big fish is obviously Brad Richards, a 31 year old skilled passing center, out of Murray Harbour, P.E.I., Canada.
Obviously, the biggest and most discussed need the Leafs have is at that top line center position and thatâ€™s exactly where the majority of fans and pundits keep putting Richards. His offensive acumen, imagination and playmaking ability would surely benefit Phil Kessel and his leadership already helped the development of players like Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson.
Brad Richards tallied 90+ points twice in the NHL (91 both times) and crossed the 70 point plateau four more times. He was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy for his efforts during the 2003-04 Tampa Bay Stanley Cup run and was selected for the All Star game in 2010-11. Such a player would certainly help the Leafs gain instant playoff credibility around the league but would undoubtedly come with a long term price tag.
There is little question that next season is the one Brian Burke has been working towards as the beginning of his team's perennial contention; playoffs are no longer the hope, they're the expectation for 2011-12.Â Brian Burke enters year three at the helm of the team. Â The team has improved steadily in the previous years under Burke, and with the way last season finished, fans will be expecting bigger and better things from the Leafs this year.
Even the most optimistic of Leafs fans would have a hard time believing the roster as currently constituted is a playoff lock. There's work to be done this summer once Burke finishes vacationing in Afghanistan (that's a joke). With that in mind, I've compiled a list of players who may be on the Maple Leafs radar. Â It's important to note I've included only UFAs, and the course the Leafs take in free agency will be altered in many different ways, by many different decisions.Â Let's take a look at a few names that could help the Leafs move forward. [more…]