(Photo: Getty Images)
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.
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 Franson’s ability to crack the lineup, this is still a win as the Leafs retain possession of a tradable asset.
Not too much of this for Kulemin this season (Photo Credit: AP).
Not too much of this for Kulemin this season (Photo Credit: AP).
The Toronto Maple Leafs have re-signed winger Nikolai Kulemin to a two-year, estimated $5.6-million contract this morning.Â 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.Â 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 would’ve seen him become an RFA again next off-season, but there’s little doubting this is good value if Kulemin’s offensive game even half rebounds.
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 6Â ftÂ 1Â 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.
"I never liked Carrie Underwood anyway"
"I never liked Carrie Underwood anyway" (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
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.
Courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
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 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.