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Atlanta Thrashers


    Just wanted to share a fantastic bit of work done by Nights, one of our many enthusiastic and intelligent readers, who evaluated how the NHL landscape would look without the first 8 games of the season during which the Maple Leafs struggled mightily. Great work!


      Tonight, the Atlanta Thrashers will visit the Toronto Maple Leafs at the ACC, and it will be the return of both Nik Antropov and Pavel Kubina. Exelby is in for Finger, so he'll get a chance to face his former team. For those with their fingers crossed, I also hope Exelby will fight Eric Boulton.


        Looks like we can get ready to cross off another free agent target off the list. A few weeks after Blue Jackets sniper Rick Nash agreed to an 8 year, $62.5M contract to stay in Columbus, a Russian source is reporting that the Atlanta Thrashers are expected to ink star winger Ilya Kovalchuk to a record-setting contract worth $11.36M a season, which is 20% of the team’s total cap ($58.6M) and the maximum salary a player can receive under the current CBA. The two-time 50 goal scorer will now shatter Ovechkin’s previous record annual salary of $9M a year.


          Official Deal: Kubina + Tim Stapleton for Garnet Exelby + Colin Stuart.

          Turns out it’s Garnet Exelby + a few other parts coming back. Looks to be a salary cap clearance more than anything for something bigger… Burke’s expected to make a major push for Komisarek now as reported here earlier.

          Exelby’s a tough customer and a Canadian boy. The theme continues….

          The Leafs gain $2 million in cap space in the exchange.


            The Star is reporting.. Colby Armstrong + pick the rumoured return. Update: hearing it’s the Thrashers’ 2nd but I’m trying to confirm… talk of a prospect being involved as well.


              (Cross-posted at Checking From Behind)
              4:20 PM

              Fan 590 suggests the Dallas Stars have offered the #8 selection and Ondrej Roman or Perttu Lindgren for Tomas Kaberle.

              3:00 PM

              Thanks to Andrew Stoeten for finding this tidbit:
              “Columbus is not interested in Leafs defenceman Tomas Kaberle, and one rumour circulating is that the Thrashers will land him, as part of a package that will see the Leafs get Atlanta’s fourth-overall pick” – Columbus Dispatch.


                With only one day remaining before the draft, the NHL rumour mill is of course running rampant.

                Here is an update on the latest “non-source” chatter I’ve been hearing regarding draft moves, trade possibilities, and free agent speculation as it may or may not pertain to our boys in blue.


                  Celebrating a decade of squandered potential and faded dreams, the draft of 1999 turned out shallower than an infant’s paddling pool, yet despite being regarded as an acrimonious footnote in league history the draft of ’99 also served as an unlikely backdrop to one of the most meticulously engineered pre-draft coups ever.


                    The latest from a trusted source:

                    “Burke may have been playing possum in order to move up to get Duchene when he was saying he wanted Tavares but no one is indulging him….


                      This time of year pretty much everyone is doing a mock draft of some sort.  So, with one week to go until the Entry Draft, I figure it’s time I chip in with my two cents on what may or may not unfold with the top 10 picks come June 26.

                      Note that the draft projections listed here are made based on current draft positions, and are not reflective of any possible trades involving the top 10 picks.


                        According to TSN, the Maple Leafs continued their signing spree on Tuesday morning, inking University of Vermont foward Viktor Stalberg to a two-year entry level contract. The 23-year old powerforward could potentially join the Toronto Marlies as early as tomorrow night as they embark on their playoff quest.


                          With Files from Gil Brown

                          The current point system is most equitable for playoff races in January and individual franchise marketing, beginning as early as midseason.

                          Part of the logic behind Detroit Red Wing’s GM Ken Holland’s proposal, shot down in GM meetings in Naples, Florida in March, to change the season ending tie-breaking measures from Wins, to Regulation Wins is incentive for teams to get the job done in 60-minutes.

                          It’s about motivation, from puck drop in October through to April. But the current point system has greater connotations for marketing games, ticket sales and shaping the playoff race, the biggest issues for owners.


                            With Files from Gil Brown

                            Brian Burke doesn’t take credit for the Maple Leafs drafting Luke Schenn 5th overall in 2008, but he’s sure glad they did.  Under different circumstances, which we’ll get into over a series of posts, Burke’s Ducks would have been in the mix for the Saskatoon native at the 2008 draft.

                            Fortune shined on the blue and white allowing them to trade up to 5th overall pick.  There was an associated cost from their original seventh spot, but the end result is a potential future Maple Leafs captain of the Scott Stevens mold.

                            Unbelievable as it seems; perhaps, even laughable, Schenn, could have been wearing Ducks colors.

                            The story doesn’t begin in Anaheim, however.  It starts in Edmonton.


                              When it comes to trade rumours, generally the first thing we look at is the salary cap, and how much cap space the teams in question have available.  But how important is the cap, in order for potential trades to become reality?


                                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.


                                  A combination of terrible goaltending and suspect defensive coverage undid the Maple Leafs tonight as they sat on an early 3-0 lead thinking they would ride it to the finish line, failing to take into the account the fact that, with a goaltender that’s seriously struggling between the pipes, leads can disappear on the turn of a dime, let alone over the course of 40 minutes. The end result is one which will please neither side of tanking/playoff spectrum.


                                    Firstly, an interesting item of news – the Vancouver Canucks have acquired goaltender Jason LeBarbera from the LA Kings in exchange for a 7th round pick. Update: Hat-tip to Sarah, who points out that Curtis Sanford has been placed on the IR alongside Roberto Luongo, necessitating the deal for another ‘tender.


                                      Ron Wilson appears to have assembled a winning combination up front. After an 8-5 beating at the hands of the Boston Bruins, Wilson re-united the line of Nik Antropov, Matt Stajan and Alexei Ponikarovsky atop the roster, kept in tact the dynamic third line of Jason Blake, Dominic Moore and Jeremy Williams and it’s resulted in two dominating wins by a collective score of 13-5. For the first time since early October, the Leafs have surpassed the .500 mark at 14-13-6 after winning five of their last six.