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In the first column of this two-part series, we took a quick look at Leaf prospect Jiri Tlusty’sÂ breakout campaign in the American Hockey League this season.Â Entering a season whereÂ expectations were tempered and hope and patience were preached, we’ve beenÂ privy toÂ a few oustanding seasons by Leaf youngsters across all levels of junior, minor, and collegiate hockey. Today, the spotlight’s onÂ Mikhail Stefanovich of the Quebec Remparts.
From the Leafs webiste: “The Leafs announced Saturday that forward Chris DiDomenico has been signed to a three-year entry level contract. The 20-year-old native of Toronto was selected by the Leafs in the sixth round, 164th overall, in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.”
When was the last time the Toronto Maple Leafs produced a bonafide star calibre forward through their development system? Sadly, the only one in recent memory, Brad Boyes, doesn’t even play for the Leafs, but rather for the St. Louis Blues (where Toronto 1st rounders go as they mature).
John Tavares has emphatically put a stamp on what will likely be his last season of junior hockey by netting a hat trick today, including the game winner to propel the London Knights to a 4-3 victory over the powerhouse Windsor Spitfires.
Elliotte Friedman of CBC is reporting that the Toronto Maple Leafs have expressed interest in putting in a waiver claim on veteran goaltender Martin Gerber. It’s speculated that this surprising interest may be a result of two possible scenarios:
#1 – The Leafs have lined up an appropriate trading partner for Toskala and need a veteran goalie to stick in the net for the rest of the season.
#2 – As rumored for the past few weeks, Toskala may indeed be hurting and the Leafs may choose to shut him down for the rest of the season as he undergoes surgery.
With the rebuild process in full effect, the Toronto Maple Leafs are exhausting every single possibility when it comes to bringing quality young players into their system. Dave Nonis, senior VP of hockey operations for the Leafs,Â was just on the Bill Watters show earlier this hour and discussed a number of topics pertaining to the Leafs, including the team’s approach to handling its NCAA prospects as well as possible interest in some of the prized college free agents.
As the trade deadline looms ever closer, the Ottawa Senators have just completed the second major trade in the last few days, by sending San Jose’s 2009 1st round pick acquired from Tampa in the Andrej Mezaros trade along with center Dean McAmmond to the New York Islanders in exchange for center Mike Comrie and defenseman Chris Campoli.
I can’t provide anything more than rumours and speculation at this point, but there appears to be a story of considerable magnitude brewing tonight concerning several Montreal Canadiens players. Earlier tonight, RDS, the main television station for the Habs reported that there would be a “huge bomb” dropped on the city of Montreal tomorrow.
Update: Sportsnet will have the entire breaking story starting at midnight.
According to TSN, the Montreal Canadiens have made the first move of the much anticipated trade deadline frenzy. Bob Gainey has acquired defenseman Mathieu Schneider from the Atlanta Trashers in exchange for 2nd and 3rd round picks.
Update: TSN is now reporting that the 2nd round pick is in 2009, while the 3rd round pick is in 2010. There is also a conditional pick heading back Montreal’s way.
At a time when the Alex Rodriguez steroid issue is making the rounds around the sporting world, I’m wondering if Leaf coach Ron Wilson has some of that “magic stuff” stashed inside that doghouse of his. After Ian White and Jason Blake were healthy scratches early on during the season, both players have been playing exceptionally well of late. Ian White is logging a ton of very efficient ice-time on the blueline, while Blake is almost singlehandedly carrying the Maple Leaf offense.
I was reading through a few archived sports articles involving statistical and economic analyses the other day, and came across a very interesting piece titled “Blood Money: Incentives for Violence in NHL Hockey”. I was reading the article as part of an economics of professional sports course I was taking at the university, and was intrigued because it had been written by a Dr. John P. Haisken Denew, a Hamilton native who had taken the very same course I was taking some many years ago.
Haha maybe Ray Emery has a personal vendetta against caps (baseball and salary), who knows. Seriously, this guy has a Owens-esque ability to attract negative media attention. Will he ever get it?
Breaking News from NHL.com:
Toronto acquires LW Ryan Hamilton from Minnesota in exchange for LW Robbie Earl.
This is pretty much a lateral move in terms of both teams exchanging a pair of underachieving 23 year old left wingers with the hope that a change in scenery would do them both some good.
As has been the case for most of this season, rookie defenseman Luke Schenn was one of the lone brights spots as the Toronto Maple Leafs came away with yet another disappointing result on Friday night against the Atlanta Thrashers. Schenn logged nearly 25 minutes of ice-time, 4 minutes on the PK, recorded an assist, made a brilliant defensive play on the Kovalchuk near-breakaway and threw in a couple of resounding hits for good measure. Among the 4 defensemen who logged 20+ minutes of ice-time (Kubina, Kaberle, Schenn, White), Luke was the only one not to finish with a minus rating.
Thanks to the lack of high end technology (No PVR damnit!) at home, I was faced with a tough decision tonight: CHL Top Prospects Skills Competition or Leafs vs. Preds. Sadly, I chose the Leaf game. Pretty much a low chance, slow pace snoozer from the get-go so I eventually started flipping back and forth to catch glimpses of the NHL’s next crop of exciting young stars showing off their various talents. Little metaphor there I suppose?
Some of the news making the rounds this morning in Russia includes the trade of one of the league’s top young defenders, Leaf prospect Dmitri Vorobiev from Tolyatti Lada to Salavat Yulaev Ufa.Â This trade moves Vorobiev from Lada, a small market team bottom feeder toÂ a larger market team currently sitting atop the league standings. It should allow Dmitri the opportunity to get some more recognition amongst the hockey world as well as provide him with the chance at a deep KHL playoff run.
Ed. Note: Ultimately a rather minor roster move; Burke doesn’t like the inconsistent intensity he’s seen so far from the Buds so he turns to a familiar face in the 6’1, 205 pound Brad May, who has followed Burke wherever he’s gone. After a quick/lazy look into 6th round success, there is a 12 percent chance that a sixth rounder plays more than 100 NHL games based on the six drafts between ’95-’00. The pick is also conditional, so there’s no knowing whether or not it’ll actually change hands (as Alex Tran points out, it could very well be compensation should the Leafs re-sign May). As for Kulemin, this is likely a move made in order to avoid the Tlusty situation of last season. Kulemin’s had his moments, but needs the ice-time he wasn’t earning with the Leafs in order to gain confidence and consistency in his game.
Brian Burke made his first two moves as general manager of the Maple Leafs today. First, he assigned Nikolai Kulemin to the AHL – not a bad decision; this allows the youngster to get acquainted with more ice time and the smaller ice surface. He is provided the opportunity to dominate and gain more confidence at a lower level.
Hey folks, Alec’s traditionally done this in the past, but I’ll be taking over for this one as he’s been bogged down with work lately. With the way the Leafs have played over the past few years, we find ourselves looking forward to the future, hoping that there’s help on the horizon. Well let’s take a gander at what the Toronto Maple Leafs are cultivating down on the farm:
In a season geared more towards the June entry draft than an April playoff berth, and with the World Junior Championships, the annual showcase of young hockey talent, stealing the hockey headlines as of late – at least in Canada, – it’s hard not to start dwelling on the possibilities available for the Maple Leafs when June rolls around. There are perhaps more imminent Leaf matters at hand in the form of the changes Brian Burke is expected to execute in the nearer few months, but I think I speak on behalf of all of Leaf Nation when I say last June, the time at which the Leafs welcomed Luke Schenn to the organization, was one of the most exciting and promising moments for the fanbase in recent times. This June will hopefully bring about similar jubilation and promise as Burke adds at least one more prized first-round pick to the fold of the re-building Maple Leafs.
Here’s an interesting little excerpt from Eric Smith’s (Columbus Blue Jackets Blogger) blog over at Hockeybuzz, (props to TML35 for the heads up) that might spur a little armchair GM fantasizing:
“With the 2-0 start to the season hinging road trip, Howson looks like he is sharpening his pencil and putting the wheels in motion for a trade. The Jackets have 2 scouts in Toronto tonight
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