The Clarkson-free Leafs had a strong first twenty-five minutes, out-chancing the Flyers and opening up a 2-0 lead on a pair of goals from the top line.
The rest of the second period was all Philadelphia, as they dominated the chances, 10-1, but couldn't find a way past Jonathan Bernier. The Leafs started the third by widening the lead even further, but faced some penalty problems, as the Flyers had a number of chances on special teams, including a pair of power-play goals. Bernier stood strong, though, and the Leafs earned their first back-to-back wins of 2015.
The first period was...
As Leafs fans rightfully celebrate not having to watch David Clarkson play hockey for 5 more years while taking up $5.25 million a season of their team’s cap space, here’s a basic reminder of how LTIR works now that the injured Nathan Horton is getting paid by the Leafs organization.
Placing a player on Long Term Injured Reserve does not remove a cap hit altogether. In cases of LTIR, the cap hit is still technically on the books and the team is granted an exemption that allows them to exceed the cap by upwards of the full amount of the injured player’s cap...
Best day ever? Best day ever.
The David Clarkson era ends, the Zach Sill era begins.
Maple Leafs Projected Lines
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel
Joffrey Lupul - Nazem Kadri - Richard Panik
Leo Komarov - Olli Jokinen - David Clarkson
Zach Sill - Peter Holland - David Booth
Dion Phaneuf - Korbinian Holzer
Morgan Rielly - Roman Polak
Jake Gardiner - Stephane Robidas
Scratched: Brandon Kozun, Petter Granberg
Injured: Trevor Smith (lower body)
This is an amazing save by the Leafs and MLSE, flexing their financial muscle to expunge the worst contract mistake in team history.
On Long Term Injured Reserve and effectively off the cap* (note: there are some ramifications on the cap for LTIR), Nathan Horton's career looks to be over due to horrible back injuries. From a piece by Greg Wyshynski:
“I can’t stand up like a normal person; I can’t bend over. I can’t run. I can’t play with my kids. To get in and out of the car, I’m like a 75-year-old man … so slow and stiff. I can’t sleep at night. I...
The Leafs have re-acquired defenceman TJ Brennan in exchange for forward Spencer Abbott.
The Leafs re-signed Abbott, a former free agent signing out of college, while letting Brennan go last July, and have evidently decided to reverse their decision with this trade.. After an All-Star AHL season with 69 points in 66 games (and 11 more points in 11 playoff games), a season which included his first NHL game as a callup, Abbott took a considerable step back this season and, turning 27 in a few months, doesn’t appear to have a future at the highest level. Reasonably skilled but undersized and not particularly...
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,...
The Leafs receive Zach Sill, a 2nd round pick in 2016 and a 4th round pick in 2015.
This is a handsome return for a depth forward and a late summer pickup out of the bargain bin. The second round pick is in 2016, meaning the Leafs are still without one in 2015, but now have two in 2016.
The Leafs also retained half of Winnik's $1.3 million salary for the remainder of the season, which helped grease the wheels on the trade for Pittsburgh's cap but is next to meaningless as far as Leafs are concerned given it's a one-year contract.
The one thing worth noting...
Bob McKenzie on TSN Drive:
Sill is obviously a component where the contact had to come back the other way. The Penguins not only needed the Leafs to eat half of Winnik’s salary for remainder of the deal -- it’s only rest of this season -- but they also needed them to take Sill, that’s how tight things are vis-a-vis the salary cap. Whether they want Sill or whether he was just an economic consideration remains to be seen; probably an economic consideration. Hey, two draft picks for a guy you signed in the summer for a...
Lots stirring on the Joffrey Lupul front the past few days. The roundup:
Elliotte Friedman yesterday on Sportsnet 960:
"Thing about Lupul is he is injury prone, but he is two or three years removed where he was among the top 10 players in scoring at the time he got injured at the end of the year. I heard last year that Montreal has asked about him and Toronto may deal him. When I met with Dave Nonis in the summer, I asked him about that. He said there has been interest, but he made a really good point to me. He said,...
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...
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...
The first period didn't have a lot of even strength action, as the two teams combined to generate just three ES chances.
Most of the action in the period happened with a man in the penalty box, including all three goals occurring on Winnipeg power-plays. The Jets dominated special teams in the second, out-chancing Toronto while the Leafs had the extra man, but the teams were close to even at ES, despite a late goal from Winnipeg that re-established their lead. Nazem Kadri got the Leafs level early in the third period, and though both teams had some close chances...
The Maple Leafs hit game #60 of the season tonight - roughly the three-quarters pole - which has Toronto fans going, "there's still 22 more of these?"
The Jets are one of a collection of teams rumoured to be interested in adding Daniel Winnik at the deadline, for whatever that's worth.
The Leafs mustered zero shots on four powerplay opportunities last night and just six scoring chances over the final 40 minutes, as their ineptitude during this protracted slump keeps finding new ways to express itself.
Similar to last night's opponent in the Hurricanes, the Leafs have been dominated in this matchup in recent times, losing their last five consecutive to...
The opening period was an offensive, back-and-forth one, as Toronto and Carolina traded chances.
The Leafs had the better of it, out-chancing the 'Canes 10-6 at even strength. Brandon Kozun's first NHL goal drew them level on the scoreboard, but it took less than a minute for them to fall back behind, a deficit they never recovered from. After that first, both coaches must have been unhappy with their team's defensive performance, as the chances went drastically down. Toronto hardly got any offense in the rest of the game, despite four power-plays, on which they generated not a single shot on...
In their last visit to Raleigh, a week before Christmas, the Maple Leafs were riding a six-game winning streak, sitting 19-9-3, two points out of the Atlantic Division lead with two games in hand on Tampa Bay.
Before that last visit with the Hurricanes, we wrote:
There’s also a parallel to last season here that can serve as a cautionary tale: The Leafs beat the Kings and Ducks amid their hottest streak of 2013-14, and proceeded to lose to a struggling Capitals team, the start of their epic collapse. Win streaks can’t last forever and a loss on a weekday visit to Carolina...
Hot off the airwaves from Bob McKenzie on TSN Drive:
(Twitter Question) With the Leafs’ horrible drafting, why has there not been some fired scouts?
Dave Morrison has been heading up their scoring department and continues to, although there is probably a greater degree of oversight. Some would argue Mark Hunter is the de facto, in charge of all scouting issues. In a manner of speaking, I guess it kind of is a new look. You get that a lot, there was all sorts of talk when Jim Benning took over in Vancouver that Vancouver hadn’t been perceived as a strong scouting team...
After practice today, Jonas Siegel pulled Joffrey Lupul aside for a one-on-one chat about the buzz of a major rebuild in Leafland. The most candid and thoughtful interviewee on the team had a few interesting things to say.
I don’t really get it, blow it up. We’re just going to restart with a complete new group with four new guys next year and try to finish last? I don’t think that… I haven’t spoken to management at all, but I’m sure that’s not their idea. You can play a bunch of young guys and lose all year, who is to say...