From the National Post's Sean Fitzgerald:
On making any more roster changes before a season begins:
â€œBased on the lack of activity that I see [more…]
Brian Burke all but promised changes this summer. Other than a few moves though, fans probably haven't seen the changes they thought were coming.
At this point, we can probably blame that on the lack of a CBA currently in place as all teams, including the Leafs, have to be weary of making any moves right now considering they don't know the financial landscape of the (possible) season ahead.
That has to be one of the bigger reasons why players such as Matt Lombardi, Tim Connolly and Cody Franson are still on the team. While none of those guys are particularly attractive pieces to acquire at the moment due to lackluster seasons for all, they are players that at least some teams should be willing to take a chance on due to their expiring contracts after next season.
But with no CBA in place, there aren't going to be any teams willing to take that kind of chance. [more…]
Recently I had an opportunity to interview Dave Poulin, vice president of hockey operations for the Toronto Maple Leafs, for Lindyâ€™s Sports Maple Leafs Annual magazine.Â Poulin, whose job focuses heavily on player acquisition and development at both the pro and amateur ranks, shared rare insight into almost all facets of the game.Â From principles of drafting, the mechanics of pro scouting, and internal team growth, Poulin shed light on the important, behind-the-scenes work that dictates the future success of the franchise.
As is often the case in any written work, more is discussed than can be shown.Â Inspired by MLHS readersâ€™ questions, here are a couple pearls that Poulin shared with me relating to draft draft methodology, player value and prospect depth within the organization that - Â due to space constraints - couldnâ€™t be included in the feature.
Be sure to check out Alex Tranâ€™s mag preview with Dave Morrison, if you havenâ€™t already.Â More info on the magazine release and availability will follow soon.Â Looking forward to your thoughts; enjoy.
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. [more…]
Anthony Petrielli and I will be interviewing Toronto Maple Leafs Vice-President of Hockey Operations, Dave Poulin, tomorrow afternoon for an upcoming feature. Â The discussion will [more…]
Next weekend I will be chatting with Leafs Director of Amateur Scouting Dave Morrison about prospects and the draft for an upcoming magazine feature. If [more…]
Apologies in advance for the rushed mashup, due primarily to two things: A) The distinct lack of summertime topics means we need to spread whatever discussion we can think of as thinly as possible over about 12 weeks, and B) the fact that I spent a generous portion of the night with a friend in the ER, post-rec league hockey, dealing with what I believe is a severely sprained shoulder on his part. A heartbreaking 1-0 loss in our first (and last) playoff game, too. I told him the waves of pain he was feeling made him look incredibly badass, even in defeat. He just wheezed, and didn't seem to care. I think he was trying to say he wanted water. They got him some water.
Anywho, two major items of newsworthiness happened in Leafland yesterday, and I can't decide which one makes for a better Mashup topic, so here they both are. [more…]
After the jump is the James van Riemsdyk Twitter Q&A and media scrum from this morning. In the meantime, Ken Holland had a fantastic idea:
"When we began the process of determining who should be on the roster for the Red Wings alumni team, it became very obvious, very quickly that we simply did not have enough room on one bench to hold enough of the many deserving players," said Holland. "When we contacted Toronto and asked them what they thought about the possibility of two games, they immediately breathed a sigh of relief as they were going through the exact same issues we were in trying to fit all these players on one team."
So,Â Nik Kulemin is up for Club Elected Arbitration. Seems interesting, and given Burkeâ€™s statements in the past about arbitration Iâ€™d assume theyâ€™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 heâ€™s the seven goal scorer we saw last season or if heâ€™s the 30 goal scorer from the previous season (TRUTH: heâ€™s somewhere in between.)
Arbitrations are generally not a fun process and best of all the decision results in either taking the one year deal or letting Kulemin walk for nothing. Joy! So, what is Kulemin likely to get out of this? Letâ€™s take a gander. [more…]
Part 2 of Brian Burke's interview with TVO.
It's a collective message from prominent NHL players: "If you can play, you can play." Homophobia has no place in Canada's game.
The You Can Play project was created to honour the memory of Brendan Burke. His father, Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke, sits down with Piya Chattopadhyay to tell us how professional sports can move beyond the concept of a "gay athlete," to simply an "athlete."
Brian Burke and Bob McCown dance a dance about unnamed goalies with long term contracts *cough*, unproven, but equally highly regarded young goalies playing behind established staters *cough* and older goalies that played well in defensively stiff teams *cough*.
As always, a good interview with Burke. [more…]