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Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager, Brian Burke should have uttered one phrase to explain the situation, one simple little phrase to envelope the reasoning for the Phil Kessel trade;
â€œOur picks in our vision of where we ended up are overvalued in accordance to the available crop of prospects.â€
But in Toronto, to admit that in whatâ€™s deemed as a â€˜rebuildâ€™ would have been a PR disaster.
Despite popular opinion, he wasnâ€™t wrong.
The world is no longer flat, itâ€™s round .. like a full-cirle
Even with news breaking this afternoon of Ilya Kovalchuk’s new $60 million contract extension (potentially) with the New Jersey Devils, this 2010 free agency period has been one of the most uneventful and slow-developing offseasons in recent memory. The reason being? Despite a mediocre at best free agent group, there simply isn’t enough money to pay these guys what they’re probably worth. As one unnamed NHL General Manager put it last week: “The teams with cap don’t have cash and the teams with cash don’t have cap”. The Maple Leafs however, are fortunate enough to have both, and have the opportunity to exploit the market to their advantage.
Pension Plan Puppets’ Chemmy has the details on why turn-coating for the Habs for the sake of returning the Cup to Canada is staggeringly ludicrous. Here’s why, if you must cheer for someone (a better alternative: perusing Down Goes Brown‘s youtube Wendel collection for your spring-time fix), the Hawks are your safest bandwagon to board while maintaining some sense of pride and loyalty:
Tonight, the Buds and Habs are set to battle it out and put their win streaks on the line. The Leafs are 5-1-0 in their last 6 outings, while the Canadiens are riding an impressive 6 game string of victories. With Toronto now over 0.500 at home (15-14-5), they are looking to play the role of heartbreakers this season, and what better way to continue doing so then by throwing a big fat L at Montreal tonight?
TSN’s Bob Mckenzie is reporting that the Maple Leafs have claimed forward Jaime Lundmark off waivers from the Calgary Flames. The 29 year old Lundmark was originally drafted 9th overall in 1999 by the New York Rangers. In 280 career NHL games, Jamie has recorded 39 goals and 57 assists. In 47 games with the Flames over the past 2 seasons, Lundmark has accumulated 12 goals and 25 points, while also earning 15 minutes of ice-time this season. In Lundmark, the Leafs will hope to reproduce the same waiver wire success they experienced with Dominic Moore, picking up a feisty two-way player with respectable offensive numbers at other levels.
Alright, it’s not a blockbuster, but I found it funny. Reports suggest Montreal acquired Dominic Moore from the Panthers for, you guessed it, another 2nd round pick. He’s becoming the 2nd round pick man, for some reason. He has 8 goals and 9 assists this season. Knowing Poni is commanding a 2nd round pick and a roster player or a prospect, perhaps Poni is worth a 1st in comparison.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times and it was the most idiotic decision in Dominic Moore's career. From a player who was initially claimed by the Maple Leafs off waivers from the Minnesota Wild, and became the ether to Jason Blake's resurgence last season, it seems either greed, a serious misjudgment, or just flat out stupidity cost him nearly $4M dollars.
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.
Amid speculation that Brian Burke is positioning himself to extend an offer sheet – perhaps to long-rumoured target, 22-year-old winger Phil Kessel – after swapping picks to recover the Leafs’ 2010 second round pick in a deal that would seemingly make little sense otherwise, there is another possibility to consider in regards to trade negotiations.
So few players seem to ignite the dichotomy of emotions Jason Blake inspires. Undrafted, undersized and inconsistent, Blake rode the wave of a steep and late developmental curve and earned himself a five year $20 million contract at 34. A prototypical throwback to the malaise of JFJ’s overpriced veteran acquisitions, Blake has taken his lumps in the media, demands for his trade by fans and rekindled some of the form that made him a 40 goal scoring all-star on Long Island.
Yet regardless of his contemporary state of play or his trading value, few have a bad word to say about the Moorhead, Minnesota native.
Small wonder, with an immovable contract analogous to maligned teammate Jeff Finger, Blake has ebbed and flowed in rhythm with the turbulence of back room upheaval like no other. Dubbed a one season wonder whose goal scoring exploits for the Islanders were anomalous to a side lacking offensive leadership, Blake went from big fish in a shallow pool to floundering in the Toronto fishbowl.
The Toronto Sun is reporting that Brian Burke is back from his fishing trip, and that the action is supposed to pick up over the next little while. Some quick hits:
- Brian Burke confirms that the team will not be pursuing free agent Dominic Moore
- The signing of Rickard Wallin will serve as Moore’s replacement
- Just a reminder: Tomas Kaberle’s no-trade clause kicks back in after August 15th
Although it has been widely reported that Farjestads BK forward Rickard Wallin is considering leaving Sweden to return to the NHL, and that the team interested in bringing him back to North America is the Toronto Maple Leafs, there is no definite timetable on when he might sign.
One would assume a decision is likely to happen within the next week.Â Â Wallin’s four year contract with Farjestads includes a clause which allows him to sign with an NHL team, but that clause is only in effect until July 15th.
The Ottawa Citizen‘s reporting “speculation” that Dominic Moore is interested in a return to the Maple Leafs this summer. Presumably, if Moore is interested then he’ll be ready to accept Burke’s terms that he walked away from at the deadline. However, since the deadline we’ve seen John Mitchell ably step into Moore’s former role as a third line center that can provide a solid two-way presence as well as some offensive impetus. It seems that the third line center role is Mitchell’s for the taking at the start of the season. There could be other options available in terms of availing a roster spot such as parting ways with Matt Stajan, who has been rumoured to be on Burke’s summer shopping block.
In the MLSE land of unreasonable expectations, even a superstar troupe like Burke and Wilson will not be afforded another record breaking season; at least not if said record is a fifth consecutive season of playoff free hockey. Subsequently Burke is going to be looking for a catalyst to the rebuilding project come summer and the most obvious route will arrive in early July, not a week earlier in Montreal.
Now that the 2008-09 regular season has officially ended, it’s time to take a look back over the roster to assess each of the Maple Leafs’ players.
Note that I’m only including players who finished the season with at least one game played for the Maple Leafs, and am excluding those traded away during the course of the season.
Statistics for those who were acquired mid-season reflect games played as members of the Maple Leafs only.
So you’re Brian Burke and it’s July 1st.
Who do you go after? And what is the contract you offer?
Martin Gerber stole this game for the Toronto Maple Leafs.Â A few months ago, that sentence would have made absolutely no sense for so many reasons.Â In his first game as a Leaf, Gerber played in a fashion that will make more than a few Senator fans shake their heads in frustration.Â Other than a late goal that broke his shutout, Toronto’s new Swiss goaltender stopped a Washington squad that has admittedly struggled of late.
A message to those disappointed in yesterday’s anti-climactic outcome:
Stop expecting the big deals (except Kaberle, see below). Watch the small things in the context of the big picture. Yesterday may not have been ideal, but it symbolically stamped the new regime in Toronto as legit. No more stop gap solutions.
â€œThe Day after Yesterdayâ€ (the prequel to â€œDay after Tomorrowâ€). These two things have a lot in common. Millions of people watched it all unfold, hoping the guy in the lead role could do the impossible and save the day (it didnâ€™t happen, the world still froze over and the Leafs still donâ€™t have a second 1st round pick). There was a serious injury that needed medical aid (Toskalaâ€™s hip/groin, and Laura Chapmanâ€™s blood poisoning). And everyone was running around frantically once they found out about the strange phenomenon (Guy 1: â€œHey look, a giant tsunami!â€ Guy 2: â€œWho cares, Andy Wozniewski was traded!â€ Guy 1: â€œYou’re right! That’s far more bizarre.â€)
On a night where the real buzz was focused on mounting trade talk, the Leafs tied a NHL record for consecutive overtime games.Â Vesa Toskala played an exceptional game in net, and the Leafs came alive in the third period to transform an otherwise dull game into an exciting back-and-forth goaltender’s battle. After an almost full five minutes of riveting overtime play, Toronto eventually succumbed to an Oduya winner.
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