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How many different ways can you debate the Leafs’ remaining cap space? We’re working our way toward finding out.

While we lose our minds, several Leafs prospects are busy plying their trade against the best junior players in the world.  Yesterday, Canada took on Finland, which featured centerman Frederik Gauthier, winger Ryan Rupert, and defenseman Matt Finn. Dominic Toninato, although having made the first cut of the US Hockey National Junior Eval Camp, did not compete against Sweden.

Thanks to the powers that be, hockey fans from all around the world will once again be treated to 2 weeks of best-on-best hockey.  There really isn’t any thing else like it. As a kid, you often think of the All-Star game as THE event where all the game’s stars come together for some friendly hockey.  Well, the Olympics are just basically the All-Star game on stero… immune-boosting vitamins.

As national training camps announce their respective invitees, there has been considerable debate surrounding their compositions. Although regular season performance will play a big role in determining the team, we are already getting our first glimpses into what Yzerman & Co. are thinking. Apart from the returnees from 2010′s gold medal squad, new invitees include newly-minted superstars in Stamkos, Giroux, and Tavares, along with emerging elite defensemen like Letang and Subban.  On the other hand, goaltending is going to be an intriguing, albeit nervous, story-line for the Canadians. I expect this topic to get beaten to death by the MSM so we’ll move along.

Speaking of goaltending, Finland and Sweden are boasting potential pairings of Lundqvist-Fasth and Rask-Rinne. That’s frightening, especially when you consider that Finland possesses, what is essentially, two of the world’s top-three goaltenders.  Fans will also have the benefit of witnessing (hopefully) a healthy Erik Karlsson on international sized ice, and possibly the Sedin twins, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Selanne’s final Olympic performances.  There is tons to look forward to and it just increases the anticipation for the beginning of the season.

In this week’s Round Table, I thought we’d pick our writers’ brains on what they thought about some of the Leafs’ invitees and their prospects for making the cut.  A lot has changed since 2010 and of note is Burke’s dismissal from his prior role as the GM of the Free World.  The boys will also touch on this and explore what the change in managerial philosophy might mean for our American Leafs.

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What do you make of Dion Phaneuf’s invitation to camp?

“If Toronto was going to have one player represent them at the Canada camp it probably should have been Reimer, but it’s hard not making a case for Phaneuf being there too when you look at who else is on the invite list. I won’t go into too much detail here because a later question sums up what I think Canada’s blueline will look like, but I can realistically see Phaneuf being near the top of the list for injury replacements once the NHL season takes its toll. Phaneuf’s versatility will also give him an advantage as he can play on either side and Canada doesn’t have the same depth on the left as they do on the right. In short, good for Dion and he deserves to get recognized for being as good as he is.” -Jon Steitzer (@YakovMironov)

“It’s good that Phaneuf is getting and invitation, but don’t read too much into it.  While I believe that Phaneuf is a top-20 defenseman league-wide, a lot of the players who are better than him just happen to be Canadian.  Add to that the fact that Phaneuf plays the right side (where the Canadians could already have any of Weber, Seabrook, Letang and Subban), and this looks like more of a courtesy by Hockey Canada than anything else. For the record, I think he’d be an option as the eighth defenseman, should the team carry eight. But the only way Phaneuf makes the team ahead of the games is if a couple of his betters sustain injuries that will keep them out of Sochi.” -Michael Stephens (@MLHS_Mike)

USA GM Poile: “(In 2010) you heard Brian Burke talking about words like truculence…I’m not trying to say that’s not important, but maybe it’s  less important in 2014.” What does this change in philosophy hold for USA hopefuls like Kessel, van Riemsdyk, and Gardiner?

“The Americans rode timely scoring and piping hot goaltending towards a terrific overtime finish in the gold medal game in Vancouver.  But they won’t have Tim Thomas to save them this time around.  If Poile is to be believed, he’s trying to assemble a team that can compete skill-on-skill on the wider European ice surface.  If true, you’ve got to like the chances for all three of the Leafs hopefuls to make the team.  But I think it’ll only be two out of three, which ain’t bad.Phil Kessel is a sure thing.  The past 2-3 seasons, Kessel has been the most dynamic offensive threat in the Americans’ arsenal (or second-most after Patrick Kane if you’re a fan of not the Maple Leafs).  He’ll rock the stars and bars as he did in 2010, but he’ll be playing a bigger role and face tougher scrutiny.  He’ll be the prime scoring threat for the yanks, and he’ll need to improve upon his meagre 2-point showing from Vancouver.I also like James van Riemsdyk’s chances of cracking the Olympic squad, especially should he have a hot start to the 2013-2014 season.  He’s represented the United States countless times before and really grew his offensive game in Toronto this year.  He’s got a rare blend of size and skill, and wouldn’t look out of place on the second or third line and in front of the net on the power play.  The US can ill-afford to leave a 30-goal scorer off their roster, and JvR could become just that.

Through no fault of his own, Jake Gardiner isn’t ready for the Olympics.  While I’d rather have Gardiner on my NHL roster over most of the defensemen invited to the US camp, he’s still not a proven commodity at the NHL-level and is still a couple years away from reaching the peak of his career.  Not to mention the fact that defense stands to be the States’ greatest strength, with the likes of Suter, Yandle, Byfuglien, McDonagh, Bogosian and Johnson and Johnson.   Unless he plays as he did in the first round against Boston through the first half of the season, there’s no way Gardiner supplants all of them.” -Michael

Only good things are in store for the Leafs three American camp invitees. Kessel is a lock despite not being a huge factor in Vancouver. He’s the second best American winger after Kane, and possibly the third best American skater after Kane and Suter. Jake Gardiner’s skating on an international sized rink seems like he should be able to move ahead of more experienced defenders like Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin, but Gardiner is still probably more of a taxi squad player as Yandle, Shattenkirk, McDonagh, Suter, Byfuglien, and the Johnsons are probably ahead of him. While van Riemsdyk also has a good shot at making the team he’s up against a lot of depth on the wing for Team USA, though his penalty killing experience could get him a nod for a third or fourth line role working with Kesler or Callahan. America ridding itself of the idiotic “truculence” mantra as the tournament moves to international ice only makes sense, but that being said someone needs to explain to me why they invited Trevor Lewis.” -Jon

Is there a player, from any country, who you felt should have gotten an invite, but didn’t?

“The list is long and plentiful for this question so I’ll do my best to limit my answer. For Canada there were a few obvious names absent (Benn, Spezza, Kane, Beauchemin, Reimer), but the player I would considered is Brent Burns. I think he brings a lot of useful elements and I wonder if his recent use as a forward hurt him in this consideration. For Sweden I was certainly disappointed that Gunnarsson didn’t get a mention, and there are several names on Sweden’s list that I consider Gunnarsson to be far superior to and I wonder if his name will creep back into consideration once the season starts. Also in the interest of reaching for an interesting name I’ll acknowledge the snub of Matt Moulson for Canada. Dude is a three time thirty goal guy and just off a point a game pace last year. If Crosby gets to bring Kunitz to camp then I think Tavares should get to bring Moulson.” -Jon

“Staying with the Americans, if they were trying to avoid truculence in favour of skill, then leaving Jason Pominville off their camp list is quite surprising.  On an American squad that could be hard-pressed to repeat their sterling performance in 2010, why on earth does Team USA not want Pominville? Here’s a guy who has recorded an 80-point season, a 70-point season, and three 60-point seasons through his career and will be just 31 years old at Sochi. Real head scratcher.” -Michael

Who is your tournament dark horse?

“When looking at a dark horse, you’re looking at a team that probably has no right medalling, so I’ve got to go with Finland.  For years now, Finnish hockey has produced a bevy of top-level goaltenders.   Ahead of Sochi, the Finns will have five quality NHL starters (Backstrom, Rinne, Niemi, Rask and Lehtonen) battling for top spot in nets.  The Finns are incredibly shallow at forward save for the brothers Koivu; and hardly a fortress on the back end.  But if Rask or Rinne should catch fire during the short tournament, the Finns could finish on the podium under a heavy bombardment and some shocking upsets.” -Michael

“It seems like every time there’s an international tournament I start up with the “don’t count out Finland” talk. I’m going to do the same thing again here despite their blueline. Rask and Rinne splitting the net isn’t a bad place to start. The forwards are a collection of strong two-way hockey players who are familiar with international ice and rules, and there is also a part of me that wants to see Selanne do well in what will be his last Olympic appearance. If possible it would be nice to see Finland top Sweden on a Selanne goal with an immediate camera cut to a heartbroken Daniel Alfredsson. That’s good TV.” -Jon

Your projections for Canada’s line-up?

“The biggest problems I see with my roster below is that Duncan Keith seems to be my only left handed defenseman. I’d argue that this doesn’t matter that much, but it means that two very young defensemen will be playing on a side that they aren’t familiar with. In regards to the forwards I’d like to see two all out scoring lines with two shutdown lines. There is no need to carry an agitator like Marchand or a heavy hitter like Lucic when you can roll up their abilities into a more talented player like Corey Perry. I’d hope for a lineup that’s chosen for overall skill and not for trying to fit in unnecessary roles. While Sharp and Nash might not be the next best players the fact that they can both lineup on either wing gives options if some of the centres are struggling in adjusting to the side. Staal and Phaneuf provide left handed shot options if the higher skill right handed shooting players can’t figure out the otherside of the ice.” -Jon

“Gotta admit, this was a pretty agonizing task to complete.  Canada is so deep with talent, at forward especially, that there’s no possible ‘best roster’ that can’t be scrutinized up and down.  I apparently only care about faceoffs, because about 90% of the team is made up of centremen.  Oh well, enjoy.” -Michael

Olympic Roster ProjectionsOlympic Roster Projections

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Paul Ranger

The Maple Leafs have signed former Toronto Marlie and Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Paul Ranger to a one-year, $1,000,000 NHL contract. With Paul Ranger added to the mix, a cap clearing measure will surely have to follow, at least eventually, with Franson, Kadri and Fraser left to re-sign and only 6 or so million in cap space remaining.

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Carl Gunnarsson

The Toronto Maple Leafs have avoided arbitration with defenseman Carl Gunnarsson, with the two sides agreeing to terms on a three-year contract. TSN’s Darren Dreger is reporting it’s worth $9.45 million.  Salary is listed at : $2.85m, $3.15m & $3.45m.

The 26-year-old Gunnarsson had one goal and 15 points in 37 regular-season games for the Maple Leafs in 2012-13 and added an assist in seven Stanley Cup Playoff games.

A seventh-round pick in the 2007 NHL Draft, Gunnarsson has 12 goals and 69 points in 224 games for the Maple Leafs.

Michael Stevens Stephens had a great year end write up on Gunnarsson. He has this to say about re-signing him.

But when looking at Carl Gunnarsson’s future with the Toronto Maple Leafs, it isn’t a question of ‘if?’ It’s a question of ‘how much?’ The soon-to-be 27 year old is a restricted free agent this summer (on account of a late birthday) and you’ve got think he’s the third highest priority to re-sign after fellow RFAs Nazem Kadri and Cody Franson.

On the most recent Leaf Report podcast, both James Mirtle and Jonas Siegel agreed that Gunnarsson’s cap hit would likely fall between $2.5 and 2.9 million.  Given the number of tough-as-nails minutes he plays, his chemistry with Phaneuf and burgeoning offensive game, I’d reckon his money will be closer to 3.5 million come July 5.

Whatever the cost, I wouldn’t miss the money, as 30-point defensemen and shutdown defensemen are not usually contained within the body of one man, and to have one so cheaply is doubly rare.  The Leafs may need to improve their D corps, but Dave Nonis has real keeper in Carl Gunnarsson.

Scoring Stats Goals Assists Ice Time
Season Age Tm Lg GP G A PTS GC +/- PIM EV PP SH GW EV SH PP S S% TOI ATOI
2009-10 23 TOR NHL 43 3 12 15 5 8 10 3 0 0 0 9 1 2 45 6.7 922 21:26
2010-11 24 TOR NHL 68 4 16 20 7 -2 14 3 1 0 1 13 0 3 69 5.8 1240 18:15
2011-12 25 TOR NHL 76 4 15 19 6 -9 20 4 0 0 0 9 0 6 89 4.5 1649 21:42
2012-13 26 TOR NHL 37 1 14 15 4 5 14 1 0 0 0 14 0 0 28 3.6 787 21:17
Career NHL 224 12 57 69 22 2 58 11 1 0 1 45 1 11 231 5.2 4599 20:32
Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/22/2013.

Here is a list of comparable cap hits among defencemen.

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6 Leafs invited to Olympic Camps

Per TSN:

Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews lead a list of 47 players invited to a summer orientation camp for the Canadian men’s Olympic hockey team.

The newcomers on the list include young guns like defencemen Alex Pietrangelo and P.K. Subban and forwards Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Claude Giroux and Brad Marchand.

The others are goalie Roberto Luongo, defencemen Dan Boyle, Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Shea Weber, and forwards Patrice Bergeron, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Rick Nash, Mike Richards, Eric Staal and Joe Thornton.

The goalies are Luongo, who was the starter in the 2010 gold-medal game, as well as Carey Price, Mike Smith, Corey Crawford and Braden Holtby.

The other defencemen are Karl Alzner, Jay Bouwmeester, Mike Green, Dan Hamhuis, Travis Hamonic, Kristopher Letang, Marc Methot, Dion Phaneuf, Marc Staal and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

The other forwards are Jeff Carter, Logan Couture, Matt Duchene, Chris Kunitz, Andrew Ladd, Milan Lucic, James Neal, Patrick Sharp, Jordan Staal and Martin St.Louis.

Wingers Nikolai Kulemin and Leo Komarov were invited to orientation camps for the Russian and Finnish Olympic squads.

USA Hockey had their roster announced Monday afternoon and Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner, wingers Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk were invited.

Leafs Links

 

 

Let’s have a moment of silence for Daniel Alfredsson’s reputation in Ottawa…

As ‘sad’ as it is to see him go, given all the moves that Ottawa has made and the departure of Alfie, it seems we will be entering a new era in the Battle of Ontario next Fall. The departure of Alfie may partly take away the thrill of attending a Leafs game in Ottawa and showering boos on the home captain, but with the additions of Clarke MacArthur and Bobby Ryan the  provincial battle certainly won’t be lacking in storylines.

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Joe Colborne Traded

Joe Colborne, restricted free agent no longer, has re-signed with the Maple Leafs to a one-year, one-way contract valued at $600,000.

The Leafs remaining RFAs include Cody Franson, Carl Gunnarsson, Mark Fraser and Nazem Kadri. By handing out the one-way deal, Colborne came in at a pretty cheap hit of $600,000, leaving the Leafs with around $10 million in available cap space.

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I will be conducting my annual interview with Maple Leafs Director of Amateur Scouting Dave Morrison later this afternoon.

Please post any suggested questions in the comments below.  Thanks.

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LiveFyre is still about 1,000 comments behind on the last one.

To a certain extent, signing Clarkson to an insanely long contract is part and parcel with playing the UFA game. If you want to upgrade in the short run through FA, and Clarkson does fill a need for this team, it is going to be by doing something regrettable down the line. It just seems to the nature of the business now; do now, think later, and hope the cap ceiling skyrockets. 7 years at 5.25 million for a 29-year-old second/third line winger who has broke 40 points once is insane. It disagrees with every ounce of logic in me. But I will like seeing Clarkson in the lineup in the fall. Bolland and Clarkson add a nice dimension to the forward group.

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The Leafs extended their relationship with center Tyler Bozak and signed winger David Clarkson from Free Agency. Bozak’s new deal is a 5-year, $21M deal while Clarkson comes in on a 7-year contract worth just north of $5M per over that span. Clarkson’s contract includes limited No-Trade and No-Movement clauses.

We all know what Bozak brings, and, in my mind, it’s nowhere close to the term and contract value received. As for Clarkson, it’s an overpayment yes, one that doesn’t worry me so much; not because of him not really being a true 30 goal scorer, but because he’s a player who does numerous other things to help your team.

David has a solid frame and plays a hard nosed game. He can defend teammates and is a dangerous offensive player on both wings. Clarkson can create havoc when utilized up close on the powerplay. He’s strong on the cycle, he provides net presence and can finish in tight. The Leafs needed a forward like him.

BUT. It’s the term on the contract is what I find most baffling. Clarkson is 29 years old, and even if he can continue to play on the level shown during the last two years (45 goals in 128 games, 216 PIMs in that span) he probably won’t be at that level for even 2/3 of the contract duration.

While Clarkson is an upgrade on MacAthur, MacArthur just went to Ottawa for 3.25 million for 2 years. Make of it what you will.

Discuss.

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Mikhail Grabovski - 3/18/2013


In a curious decision, a little over a year after signing him to a 5 year contract, at 5.5 million dollars on March 6th, 2012, the Leafs are going to be using their second compliance buyout on Mikhail Grabovski. With Tyler Bozak hopefully not resigning in Toronto, Toronto has only Kadri in their top 2 center slots. This almost certainly signals a trade of some sort, or Dave Nonis is making a very, very bad decision by buying out a very good player so that he can bring back an average player.

Here’s to hoping that this signals a trade for a legit 1C that fits the age group of the Leafs. Tomorrow is going to be interesting.

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Chiarelli: Hey, Mike. Don’t look so worried. Schneider is probably an Andrew Raycroft anyways, right?

Gillis: F*** you, Peter.

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Firstly, I just wanted to wish our American readers a safe and happy 4th of July.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the date, it’s basically America’s Cinco de Mayo.

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So, where to begin. I think the best way to describe what this off-season feels like is that nothing is happening while everything is happening. With the window of time allotted to negotiations winding down to its final 24 hours, the anticipation is deafening. It’s been four days since the draft and now that all involved have had some time to settle down and evaluate their portfolios, decisions will need to made on who stays, who goes, and who gets how much.

You almost gets the sense that despite the lack of trade activity, there is a bottle-neck of potential transactions just waiting to happen, all it needs is the right catalyst. Admittedly, some of the things we hoped that would happen eventually never came to fruition. For example, many of us were clamoring for Nonis to flex MLSE’s financial muscle and you can’t him for not trying. Lecavalier was one cap-circumventing move away from becoming a Maple Leaf.  The intention was there.

I know that most trade rumors, signings, extensions, and transactions have been debated and discussed ad nauseum. For this week’s Round Table, I thought I’d spare you the routine details and, instead, ask our writers some big-picture questions.

Grab some popcorn.

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Who were the biggest winners/losers at the Entry Draft?

“From the many mock drafts and prognosticators pre-draft, it has to be Buffalo.  I don’t know too much about the NHL draft because I stopped watching junior hockey, but everyone seems to agree that Buffalo absolutely killed at the draft.  They picked up four players I can name from reading prior to the draft, and several more I have read up on.  While all these players have their warts (what prospect doesn’t?), Buffalo seem to have aimed for upside and versatility.” -(@mORRganRielly)

“The biggest loser – to me – is a toss-up between the Canucks and the Oilers.  For the ‘Nucks, they offloaded a No. 1 goaltender in Cory Schneider to the New Jersey Devils for the 9th overall pick and proceeded to take Bo Horvat, passing over potential top-5 talent Valeri Nichushkin (the Dallas Stars selected him 10th overall).  Worse yet, GM Mike Gillis had the stones to lie to everyone saying that trading Schneider was always the plan.  This debacle continued Wednesday when reports surfaced suggesting that Schneider was traded for “off ice issues.”  While the goaltending fiasco rages on in Vancity, the Devils just solidified their nets for years.” -Michael Stephens (@MLHS_Mike)

“The biggest mind-boggle is Vancouver. Trading Cory Schneider for the 9th overall pick was just such a comically unexpected and strange move that it’s hard to fully process. This answer’s a bit unfair in that it uses a perspective bigger than “the draft,” but honestly, I just still can’t believe it. Listen – I’m from Rodney, I know Bo Horvat’s family, Bo Horvat is going to be a tremendously good player, and he was the best possible pick Vancouver could have made. I’m thrilled he went that high, and thrilled he’s staying in Canada. But the fact that Vancouver’s in the position to make that pick at all is just craziness.” -Matt Mistele (@TOTruculent)

“This might seem surprising, but I think one the biggest winner of this year’s draft are actually the LA Kings. Not having a first round pick, they made a bold and timely move, trading their 57th, 88th, and 96th picks to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for the 37th overall selection which they used to draft forward Valentin Zykov. 18 year old Zykov is a left wing out of St. Petersburg, Russia. The 5-11, 209-pounder played for Baie-Comeau (QMJHL) this past season. In 67 regular season games he recorded 75 points — including 40 goals — a plus-29 rating and 60 penalty minutes and is, in my mind, good enough to have been selected in the first round.” -Mislav Jantoljak (@Xterratu)

What, in your mind, explains the general lack of activity on the trade front?

“As always, it’s that first shoe to drop. In my mind, there are fewer teams out there in need of a goaltender so when the Devils actually made their coup, acquiring Schneider from the Canucks, it never sparked the avalanche of trades because that domino wasn’t the right domino to fall. As always, when teams start signing the “cream of the buyout crop” and UFAs things will start to pick up.” -Mislav

“Uncertainty. New rules, adjusted process, new timeline. Managers waiting until the end to retain leverage and see how other situations shake out.” -Matt

“I think Nonis made it pretty clear from the outset: the reduction of the salary cap for next season is the largest impediment to trades.  There’s the same number of holes for each team to fill, but this is the first time since the implementation of the salary cap that it has gone down.  Even with the Maple Leafs sitting on $19 million in cap space, that number realistically becomes less than seven million dollars when accounting for RFA re-signing. It’s hard to swing a trade when both teams want young cheap roster players and are offering pricy veteran contracts.” -Michael

“Personally, I think it’s as simple as General Managers being unreasonable and trying to navigate both the current salary cap as well as next year’s cap when it likely goes up.  In addition, people are still gauging the free-agent market.  I think after the market has been set, you will start seeing more moves.  Right now, General Managers are just being cautious.” -(@mORRganRielly)

Realistically, do you think the Leafs should/will acquire any of the ‘popular’ UFAs this summer?

“I don’t think they should acquire any of the marquee names available, since this free agent cohort is thin and declining in potential as July 5th nears.  With the acquisition of David Bolland and the pending re-signing of Nazem Kadri, the Leafs have two capable top 6 centres and top capable bottom 6 centres, so Derek Roy and Stephen Weiss become irrelevant.  Hopefully the shrinking cap and numerous RFAs left to re-sign will price the Leafs out of the market for 2014 compliance buyout candidate and good Toronto boy David Clarkson.” -Michael

“Well, Nathan Horton immediately springs to mind. That’s the “should or I want” – provided that the amount overpaid (and he would be) is still below the insanity limit. Realistically though, I want the Leafs to go after Rob Scuderi and, to a lesser extent, Stephen Weiss. They could also try to sign a more affordable UFA winger and then trade certain assets for Stastny or maybe even go for Valtteri Filppula. Oh the humanity!” -Mislav

“Well, I hope not.  I think it was Chris Johnson who said that the free agent frenzy of July 1, 2008 was an embarrassment.  That year set the table, or at least guided the league, into a lockout; just look at this pathetic list: http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/feature/?id=11353.  Commodore, Campbell, Hainsey, Orpik, Horcoff, Redden, Rolston, etc.  The list goes on.  It was just a brutal off-season.  If anything, that day was the precursor in which the fans could no longer trust their teams or the league to make coherent and responsible decisions.  This was just three years after the 2005 lockout.” -(@mORRganRielly)

“There’s a case to be made for signing or avoiding all of them. Let’s all be honest and admit that we want David Clarkson on this team, just absoluteley not at the dollars many are suggesting he’ll command. Probably the same situation with Horton, who apparently doesn’t even want to come here. It’s a pretty bad crop beyond that.” -Matt

Following the Bernier trade, will the Leafs acquire any more RFAs?

“If one fits a need and comes at the right price, maybe? At this point, I’d doubt it. RFAs tend to come with wickedly inflated price tags (I seem to be in the minority that think Bernier was a steal). I’m so anxious to see what Nonis does by this weekend that I’m sort of holding off on the prediction game.” -Matt

“If they do, it will be via trade.  You can bet bottom dollar that the Leafs won’t offer sheet any of the RFAs available.  Looking over the answers to the past three questions, it seems to me that the Leafs will mostly stand pat and hope for internal improvements as they compete for back-to-back playoff berths for the first time since 2004.” -Michael

“No.  I think the Leafs are going to play it safe at this point.  They aren’t a franchise ready to take the next step to contention, so I feel that this is another development year.  This year is much less important than recent years because we got to see what players can raise their game when it matters most.  Now, management is fine-tuning the system on the ice, down in the farm, and looking for ways to build on it.  In addition, we’ve already got several RFAs to sign – adding more without significant subtraction only further burdens the limited cap that we have.” -(@mORRganRielly)

“Not sure, am not willing to predict anything on that front because thing seem quite unpredictable, at least from where Nonis is sitting.” -Mislav

Any parting words for Mike Komisarek?

“As with any Leafs player, I’ll thank him for the time he spent in the blue and white, but looking into the future, considering all that had happened, I doubt I’ll remember him as Leafs player at the end of his hockey career. Good luck, Mike.” -Mislav

“Mike, by all accounts, was a tremendous person and teammate. I have no reason to personally dislike him, and from what I saw, his attitude was always a positive one – much to the benefit of those around him. Having said that, his professional tenure in Toronto was a complete disaster. He was paid a great deal of money to come here and do one thing very well, and was never able to do it to a level you could even call satisfactory. I have to believe more was going on behind the scenes than we were aware of. I wish him the best of luck, and hope he finds a role somewhere that suits everything he’s capable of bringing to the table.” -Matt

“I actually ran into Komisarek last summer in Toronto.  I didn’t speak to him, but I couldn’t help notice that he was smiling the entire time I caught a glimpse of him walking up and down Yonge.  Garret Sparks’ recent tweet about Komisarek should reaffirm what we all knew – Mike is a terrific teammate and an even better human being.  There’s always a future for those people who have compassion and empathy for others.  I wish him the best in his career.” -(@mORRganRielly)

“Thank you, Komi, for ruining people’s opinions of blonde dudes named Mike in the city of Toronto.  Our people many never overcome your actions.  But seriously, while your signing was an egregious error, you were a consummate professional throughout your tenure here.  You won’t be missed on the ice, but your philanthropic spirit will be.  Just do all of us in Toronto a favour and don’t have a career resurgence with a divisional rival.” -Michael

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Morning Links:

Fortune Magazine: Where did the hockey millions go? - Faceoff, Madoff.

Jason Botchford: Canucks shopping Edler despite NTCIs Gillis low-hanging fruit right now?

Elliott Friedman: Coyotes saga ends with team staying in Arizona - C’est dommage, mes amies…

Down Goes Brown: Free agency previewCheck out Vinny’s ‘Blue Steel’

Stumble Upon: NHL GM dartboardThis has to be from Holmgren’s front-office.

James Mirtle: Top unrestricted free agentsYour primer.

Backhand Shelf: The Quiet Room: Bergeron was a disaster - I guess ‘disaster’ is the new ‘zombie’.

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Morgan Rielly

From the Official Site:

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced Monday the schedule for the 2013 Rookie Tournament in London, Ontario. This year, Maple Leafs’ prospects will compete in three games at Budweiser Gardens beginning Thursday, September 5 versus rookie teams from the Ottawa Senators, Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks.

“The Maple Leafs are thrilled to return to a great hockey city like London for the annual Rookie Tournament,” said Leafs Senior Vice-President and General Manager David Nonis. “It’s a great opportunity for us to evaluate the players in our system against their peers from other NHL clubs.”

Tickets for the 2013 Rookie Tournament officially go on sale Saturday, June 8 at 10 a.m. Tickets can be purchased at the Budweiser Gardens Box Office, by phone at (866) 455-2849 or online at www.budweisergardens.com. Ticket prices for the evening games are Adults – $19.25 and Students/Seniors/Kids – $14.25. Prices for the afternoon games are Adults – $16.75 and Students/Seniors/Kids – $11.75. Additionally this year, Full Day Passes will also be offered at $26.00 for Adults and $21.00 for Students/Seniors/Kids.

Toronto, Ottawa, Pittsburgh and Chicago’s 2013 Rookie Tournament rosters will be announced at a later date.

2013 Rookie Tournament Schedule

DATE                     TIME                       EVENT                      LOCATION
Thur. Sept. 5         2:00 PM            Pitt vs. Ott                       Budweiser Gardens
7:00 PM            Chi vs. Tor                       Budweiser Gardens
Fri. Sept. 6             T.B.A.                Practice                          Budweiser Gardens
Sat. Sept. 7           2:00 PM            Ott vs. Chi                       Budweiser Gardens
7:00 PM            Tor vs. Pitt                       Budweiser Gardens
Sun. Sept. 8          2:00 PM           Chi vs. Pitt                        Budweiser Gardens
7:00 PM            Tor vs. Ott                        Budweiser Gardens