Saturday, February 28, 2015
Morning Mashup

Morning Mashup

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We've pinched ourselves and waited 'till morning. David Clarkson is still a Columbus Blue Jacket. Strapped with way too many long term deals for a bottom five hockey club, the Leafs needed to open up cap flexibility. Nobody expected they would be able to offload the League's biggest boat anchor. Not in a million years, not without giving up assets and retaining salary. Thankfully Columbus came knocking, in a terrible spot with Nathan Horton's large and uninsured contract. Nonis kept a straight face, pulled the trigger, and the Leafs are in a much, much better position today than they were yesterday. Long Term Injured Reserve contracts count during the offseason, but teams...

Tyler Bozak, Morgan Rielly

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With the Daniel Winnik trade goes the Leafs' most consistent player of the past couple of months, as the Leafs get necessarily worse in the short term while fetching good value for their final major pending-UFA (Jokinen, Holzer and Booth could be moved, but if there's any value to be had is unknown). Roman Polak, with one year left on his contract, seems to be the most likely remaining candidate to be moved for value, while Tyler Bozak's name has been gaining steam as well, with Bob McKenzie reporting a possible New York Rangers connection yesterday. The Rangers don't ostensibly have the cap room,...

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Steve Spott hopped on Leafs Lunch yesterday to discuss coaching amid the Leafs' death spiral. Spott mentioned there's been  added emphasis on the amount of time spent on individual development with some of the younger assets on the team, mentioning Holland, Panik and Kadri. On coaching objectives in a lost cause: What we’re trying to do here, we’ve talked about it at length, is lots of individual stuff. This morning I did a session with Peter Holland, Chris Dennis is meeting with Richard Panik. You have your team message, then you have a lot of individual stuff. It’s hard when you have 22 guys in...

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An OT win over the Jets, combined with a Carolina loss to New Jersey, means the tank takes a step back, but a Daniel Winnik Gordie Howe hat trick, in front of a potential suitor to boot, and more good stuff from Morgan Rielly in the lead up to the OT winner are nothing but good things. In other news, it's nice to see that, after going ahead with the yearly shutdown of outdoor rinks in Toronto, MLSE sponsored keeping them open at the cost of $4,500 per rink, per week, to be split with waste management firm Green for...

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In a league where contenders are looking for defence, there’s interest in Toronto’s Roman Polak. The Los Angeles Kings, who have discussed Dion Phaneuf, are in on this too, but they are not alone. It probably comes down to a.) price and b.) how a potential trade partner feels about term. Polak has one more year left on his contract at $2.75 million. Even in a tight cap world, there are teams who prefer multiple years if giving up an asset. If the offers are less than a 2nd round pick, keeping Roman Polak around for another season -- a good veteran...

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Amid the sense of the relief that seemed to sweep over Leafs fans concerning the report that Brendan Shanahan is set to tear things down and commit to the draft,  came this downer moment after the game last night: https://twitter.com/markhmasters/status/566067801186922497 Blame a faulty attempt at a fast tracked rebuild, or the flawed thinking behind the timing of the original Kessel trade, or blame Dave Nonis for subsequently dropping the ball on the hand off, but either way it doesn't change the fact that Phil Kessel is an elite talent who was let down by poor management and things outside his own control. If he does go sometime in...

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Four roster players of name value plus three prospects and a first round pick changed hands in a rare modern day multi-player NHL blockbuster. Buffalo may well end up with the two best players in the deal if Bogosian and Kane can stay healthy and progress, with the convenience of Kane not being able to hurt their draft position at all for the rest of the season. For Winnipeg, Tyler Myers has flashed a lot of upside in his mixed career to date, plus there's futures heading Winnipeg's way, and for the stretch run they add a veteran scorer in Drew Stafford...

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Strange goings on with the goaltending situation as of late, with Jonathan Bernier missing last Saturday's game, giving Reimer both games in the back to back, and then Bernier himself being the first to announce James Reimer as the starter for the third consecutive game tonight versus the Rangers. https://twitter.com/reporterchris/status/564835602764279808 That alone is not much to go on, but there was also this surfacing yesterday on Twitter: https://twitter.com/bradyfan590/status/564863175665786880 Still far from definitive, especially in the climate of rumour season, but some inconsistency and Bernier struggling with injuries later on in the season has been a two-year pattern since he got to Toronto, and with him...

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Monday Links: Mike Johnston:  Leafs could trade Bozak before trade deadline (Sportsnet) Damien Cox reported, via Elliotte Friedman, during the Headlines portion ofHockey Night in Canada that the Maple Leafs are nowhere near close to coming to terms with pending unrestricted free agents Cody Franson, Mike Santorelli and Daniel Winnik and that all three could be dealt. In addition to Franson, Santorelli and Winnik, centre Tyler Bozak’s name is out there and could potentially be moved by the deadline, according to Cox. Jonas Sigel: Rielly shines as Leafs' slide ends (TSN.ca) Rielly has been one of the rare bright spots from another epic Maple...

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Rumour du jour: https://twitter.com/Hope_Smoke/status/563100127062425602 https://twitter.com/Hope_Smoke/status/563098217395810305 https://twitter.com/Hope_Smoke/status/563098072717479936 Bob McKenzie's full segment with lots of Leafy bits can be found here. Thursday Links: Elliotte Friedman: 30 Thoughts: What's Happening with Evander Kane and lots more (Sportsnet.ca) While the McDavid/Eichel watch has everyone fixated on the bottom of the standings, there is another effect. Pittsburgh was unafraid to deal its first-rounder, because the Penguins know they will be in the playoffs. (The Blues, Islanders and Rangers already traded them last year.) But, teams who are uncertain of a post-season position are loathe to give up such a pick, knowing if they don’t make it, they’ve given up a lottery spot. And...

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10 straight losses ties a franchise record, but last night's game worked out nicely for a number of rooting interests, current realities considered. The Leafs played the top team in the League tightly, scored some goals finally, their potential deadline trade chips all played well and produced (Santorelli, Winnik, Franson), and they ultimately lost their tenth straight to keep the tank alive (lottery odds can be tracked via the MLHS sidebar). Onto the links. Wednesday Links: Anthony Petrielli:  Goal scoring problems under Horachek, Reimer, Bernier, Notes, 5 things I’d do & more (MLHS) The other interesting thing is how the Leafs are playing, and how it...

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https://twitter.com/mirtle/status/561692591302139905 And yet: https://twitter.com/mirtle/status/561718026543063042 Monday Links: Jonas Siegel: The referendum on the Leafs' core is over -- and they know it (TSN.ca) That was the first collapse. Nearly three years later, amid three more meltdowns of varying order, change isn’t likely to be so minimal for the heart of the Leafs' roster. And they know it.   JP Nikota: Mr. Shanahan, tear down this team (Pension Plan Puppets) In short, the development has stalled because no elite players have been acquired via trade or free agency, and now the Leafs' core is getting old. We had a brief window where we were slightly hopeful for the future,...

Sean Couturier

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Saturday Links: Damien Cox: Rebuilding Maple Leafs need to get value in a Dion Phaneuf trade - The Star Chapin Landvogt: SHL Prospects Notebook - Hockey's Future Sam Carchidi: Flyers not looking past lowly Maple Leafs - Philly.com CP: Nylander, Gibson lead Marlies over Comets 3-2 - CP24 Mark Zwolinski: Felix Potvin's lesson for Jonathan Bernier - The Star David Pagnotta: Leafs, Kings engaged in serious discussions - The Fourth Period Mark Easson: Rumors: Flames, Kings, Canes, Leafs, Ducks, Coyotes and Canucks - My NHL Trade Rumors Mark Easson: Rumors II: Avalanche, Maple Leafs and Flyers - My NHL Trade Rumors Mark Easson: Rumors I: Vermette, Winnik, O’Reilly, Legwand and the Canucks - My NHL Trade Rumors Chris Nichols: McKenzie on possibility of...

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A Leaf team that’s proven to have a weak psyche the past few seasons, now mired in one of the worst slumps in recent franchise history, had about the worst thing that could’ve happened happen with the Jonathan Bernier brainfart to start the third, followed by another weak goal against shortly after. One of the worst teams in the League at chasing the lead not surprisingly faded into the night. For the best in the long run, but it’s sure tough to watch in the meantime. The offense has been feast or famine the past two seasons, but the Leafs can't even get...

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Tuesday Practice Lines: https://twitter.com/jonastsn1050/status/560126412078993408 https://twitter.com/markhmasters/status/560131498968641536 https://twitter.com/markhmasters/status/560131954671362048 Injury Updates: https://twitter.com/jonastsn1050/status/560141020491702272 Wednesday Links: Elliotte Friedman: 30 Thoughts -- Leafs & Mike Richards (Sportsnet.ca) Calgary and Toronto were reported to be the two teams most involved in a Richards trade. I do believe the Dion Phaneuf-Richards idea was seriously considered, although other pieces were going to be involved. I don’t know which team asked, or how the overall package was going to look, but word is the Kings ultimately said no to any deal because they were unwilling to include either Tanner Pearson or Tyler Toffoli. Jonas Siegel: Franson unsure of Leaf future as trade talks swirl (TSN.ca) Already looking tight with next...

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Monday's happenings: D Dion Phaneuf is expected to be out "week-to-week" with an upper body injury (hand, from last week's fights). D Stephane Robidas left the ice before practice started. F Leo Komarov is expected to return Wednesday against the Devils, while F Joffrey Lupul and F Peter Holland remain day-to-day. D Petter Granberg and F Josh Leivo were recalled from the Toronto Marlies Practice Pairs: https://twitter.com/markhmasters/status/559839038438662144 Can you say yikes... Tuesday Links: Anthony Petrielli: Will NHL Teams Start Using NBA Cap Relief Ideas? (MLHS) This is the way the league is going, and it is prevalent to a Leafs team that will possibly/probably want to move guys like David Clarkson, Dion Phaneuf,...

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Much, if not all, of the grief he received this weekend was in good fun. Still, it seems odd how many people forget that Kessel deserves the respect of … you know, a perennial All-Star. Monday Links: James O'Brien: The hockey world's been awfully hard on Phil Kessel (Pro Hockey Talk) As amusing as some of this stuff is, perhaps it should also prompt a moratorium on Kessel mockery. Let’s face it, the 27-year-old’s been receiving a disproportionate amount of grief for basically his entire NHL career. Kevin McGran: Maple Leafs push centennial wishlist at All Star bash (Toronto Star) The Maple Leafs, with...

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Toronto Marlies head coach Gord Dineen on William Nylander's debut in last night's 3-0 loss to the Hamilton Bulldogs: Saturday Links: Maple Leafs Hot Stove: Eventful night for Phil Kessel at the NHL All Star Draft (Video) The player least interested in the spotlight took center stage again at the NHL All Star Draft. Mike Zeisberger: Phil Kessel wants to remain a Leaf, says 'I love Toronto' (Toronto Sun) Yet, through all the scrutiny, all the Phil-bashing, all the white noise coming from the outside, Kessel is steadfast in his desire to remain in Toronto. Sean Gentille: NHL All Star Draft -- Finally, it was fun...

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Projected Marlies lines: https://twitter.com/KyleTheReporter/status/558300450047680513 Marlies Head Coach Gord Dineen on Nylander's debut: Friday Links: Anthony Petrielli: Leafs Notebook -- January 22 (Maple Leafs Hot Stove) If the Leafs keep Nonis, they will do so with the hopes that he can help clean up his own mess, but the last two summers are an indication it is time for a change. Elliotte Friedman: 30 Thoughts -- Points 4-9 on the Maple Leafs (Sportsnet.ca) Phaneuf has a big ticket, and the Maple Leafs will need to get creative in dealing with it, but he could fit where he’s not expected to carry the load. I’d expect Shanahan and...

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Jokes aside, there's two teams that all Leafs fans, whether motivated by playoffs or draft picks, unequivocally must cheer for their team to beat -- The Sens and the Habs. Yesterday's Leafs lines, sans Bozak (missed practice due to personal reasons): https://twitter.com/jonasTSN1050/status/557579181580890112 Wednesday Links: Corey Pronman: William Nylander the best prospect outside the NHL (TSN 1050) ESPN NHL Prospects Writer Corey Pronman joins Mike Hogan and Jeremy Taggart to discuss William Nylander's rank among the world's top prospects and more. Sportsnet Staff: Struggling Maple Leafs recall Josh Leivo, Stuart Percy (Sportsnet.ca) The Leafs have recalled forward Josh Leivo and defenceman Stuart Percy from the Toronto Marlies, and reassigned...