This is part one of a preview series on potential trade deadline targets for the Leafs. Important to keep in mind is the framework in which I'm analyzing these trade options in this series: BrianÂ Burke will be weighing the future against the present. Burke's only going to be dealing for immediate help if it equally benefits the team long term. There will be no selling out for this season; as much as Burke is feeling the pressure to make the playoffs in his fourth season as Leafs czar, more patience is needed as his team simply isn't at that stage of the competition yet.
The attraction to the 37-year-old pending UFA is one, how well he's fared in front of a porous Islanders defense since his return to the NHL, and two, his history of success under head coach Ron Wilson in San Jose.
The Islanders have struggled to find consistent reliability in net as much as the Leafs have in recent seasons, so dealing Nabokov as opposed to signing him seems unlikely at this point barring an inability to come to terms in contract negotiations. [more…]
Despite an encouraging 3-0-4 record in their past 7 games, the Maple Leafs continue to explore ways to improve their roster with an eye to both the current season and the future. Â The following is a rundown of the latest rumours making their way around the campfire in reference to the boys in blue.
Leafs Nation can breathe a sigh of relief.Â The long wait for Swedish goalie Jonas Gustavsson's decision is over.Â Reports indicate that the tender has finally chosen the Toronto Maple Leafs after a long wooing process from a number of interested teams.
The contract is a one year deal totaling $900,000.Â Many expect Gustavsson to be brought in as Vesa Toskala's backup and be a constant source of competition for our Finnish goaltender.Â Of course, there is the possibility that "the best goaltender outside of the NHL" exceeds expectations and steals the number one spot.
ESPN's Pierre LeBrun is reporting that Brian Burke has been kicking the tires on a more adequate back-up for Vesa Toskala than Leafs' current incumbent, the antiquated Curtis Joseph. What was initially tabbed as win-win move has proved to be a misstep engendered by nostalgia. The mandate wasn't overly demanding for Joseph as the logic was that Vesa Toskala, coming off an impressive first year as a full-fledged starter, would only require relief for 15 games on the season. This hasn't worked out for two reasons - Curtis Joseph has not proven adequate enough to play at a passable level for 15 games on the season (4.12 GAA, 0.843 SV%) and Toskala hasn't by any stretch of the imagination been the unquestioned starter he was last season. [more…]