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I read an article in the Toronto Star the other day, in which Damien Cox suggests that the Maple Leafs weren’t as soft of a club as many believe last season, due mostly to the fact that the Leafs were tied for 13th in the NHL regarding fighting misconducts, and were 15th overall when it came to penalty minutes. The point was to demonstrate that the club was average in terms of team toughness, not the soft club many of us and Brian Burke believe.
Leafs coach, Ron Wilson made it clear, Nazem Kadri will not be getting a nine-game audition this season, just to be sent down to the OHL London Knights. Answering questions in the media scrum after the scrimmage at training camp in the Mastercard Centre of Hockey Excellence, Wilson was adamant about being against an audition for the young pivot. In order to stick with the Leafs, the 1st round pick in the 2009 draft will have to beat out one of Mikhail Grabovski, or Matt Stajan for a top-6 role in order to stick, and as of Wilson right now, both are â€˜way aheadâ€™ of Kadri for a spot at the moment.
Kadri will get every opportunity to earn a top-6 spot, but unless he completely overwhelms, expect to see him in London for the entire season.
More notes from Training Camp, Day 2.
The Maple Leafs began on-ice workouts today at their new practice facility, the Mastercard Centre for Hockey Excellence.
Iâ€™ve been given credentials and was on site for the first day and will be attending all three days of on ice practice.
The following are a series of notes from Day 1 â€¦
By now, I’m sure many of you have seen ESPN’s report of a significant offer by the Maple Leafs for Phil Kessel: two 1st round picks and a 2nd round pick. The general reflex reaction that we’ve been conditioned to by the Toronto media the last few seasons is to avoid moving 1st round selections by any means necessary. The thought of moving two such commodities is beyond horrifying. I’ve seen the name Taylor Hall used as the backbone of many an argument over the last few days, often associated with the “chance” of landing said player. If we’re gonna turn this into a game of chance, let’s at least get all the cards on the table.
Earlier today I was able to catch up with the Leafs at their new practise facility, a day before training camps officially open. I had just arrived and pulled into a parking spot and just as I was about to step out of my car, a beast of a Cadillac Escalade pulled into the spot right beside me. I had noticed the New York plates as it drove in, and was quite pleased to see new Leaf Mike Komisarek step out. It was my first time meeting the former Hab in person and it didn’t take long to figure out why he was so popular and well liked amongst his peers and fans in Montreal. He was more than willing to sign any autograph demands from his new fans, and was quite easy going. Any questions regarding his relationship with Grabovski, and if there were any ill feelings between the two can be put to rest. During skating drills and the scrimmage that followed, Grabs and Komi were often laughing it up and joking around with each other with playful jabs and hooks. If there is any animosity between the two, it was far from evident. It was a pleasure watching Komi having a good time with his new team and cleary getting comfortable and fitting in with the group.
Leafs-related news has slowed to a crawl during the final weeks of the offseason, and this year’s summer movie scene has been rather unspectacular. Â I propose a cure for both maladies:Â a hockey movie to fill the void of a puck-deprived offseason, complete with all the excitement of a sports flick and all the truculence of an action blockbuster.
And so, without further ado, here is the game-day casting call for your 2009-10 Toronto Maple Leafs.
A tip o’ the hat to Don over at Mondesi’s House for the inspiration.
Author: B Leaf
Last season, the Leafs were 10th in scoring (244) and 9th in shots on goal (2,603). There is no major reason why that number should drop other than the loss of Antropov. There are other players who should have better years and help fill his ice time with similar results. On the powerplay, the Leafs were middle of the road at 16th. The Leafs were a respectable 17th in shots allowed (2481), but were a league worst in goals against (286). The PK% was also a league worst. Not all the blame can be placed on the goaltending, but a lot of it can. The collective save percentage for the team was an abysmal .885%.
To date, it has been a rather busy offseason for the Toronto Maple Leafs, with a number of free agent signings, roster re-signings, a few trades and even some coaching changes.
The following is a chronological listing of Maple Leafs’ transactions during the 2009 offseason.
Note: this list will continue to be updated with any further transactions made prior to the start of the 2009-10 regular season.
Today was the deadline for Tomas Kaberle’s NTC lift, and he is still a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs. While some fans were demanding for an immediate rebuild with some youth in return for a trade for Kaberle, others notice how strong the current Leafs defense core has the potential to be and are curious to see how Kaberle can perform with a physical presence around him. Brian Burke is among those who are interested. “I look forth to seeing what Tomas can do with a little more size and toughness around him when he’s not picking his teeth out of the glass all night.”
The Maple Leafs finished as the league’s worst defensive team last season, giving up an astounding 286 goals, which works out to about 3.5 goals against a game. As such, much of the team’s summer remodeling took place on the blueline, which saw the departure of Kubina and the additions of shutdown defensemenÂ Beauchemin and Komisarek. With nearly $20M dollars committed per season through 2011 to the group of Kaberle, Komisarek, Beauchemin, Schenn and Finger, and Tomas being the only player above the age of 30, it appears on paper at least, that this will be the core of the defense for the foreseeable future. If that’s the case, how do they stack up against the rest of the league?
After a short hiatus, Brian Burke has gotten right back on the horse. RDS and TSN are reporting that the Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired checking forward Wayne Primeau and a 2nd round pick in 2011 from the Calgary Flames in exchange for defenseman Anton Stralman, forward Colin Stuart, and a 7th round pick in 2012. Primeau was limited to just 4 assists in 24 regular season games for Calgary last season due to a broken foot. The 33 year old carries 1 year left on his contract at a value of $1.4 million. Anton Stralman recorded 16 points in 36 AHL games and was named to the league’s all-star team last season.
An article in the London Free Press explains that the reasons for the earlier 7pm ET start times for home games this season: to cater to a younger audience and to allow for more efficient getaways in the case of a road game the following night. A slew of other small headlines including contract details for Komisarek, the Grabovski-Kostitsyn feud, and Justin Pogge.
Not a whole lot of news coming out of the NHL ranks these last few days, as the few free agents still available are playing the waiting game (kind of surprising to note that Alex Tanguay’s still out there). As we try to make it through the last work day before the weekend, let’s touch upon more trade speculation out of Chicago, Leaf prospect Mikhail Stefanovich, early playoff predictions and the Leafs’ second annual Coca Cola Fans First Game.
A month into the offseason, one thing can be said for sure about the steps the Toronto Maple Leafs have taken toward rebuilding the team:Â credit Brian Burke with having a plan, and sticking to it.
The beginnings of that plan are clearly reflected in the sweeping changes to the goaltending and defence corps this summer, as well as a noticeable infusion of truculence.
Sportsnet is reporting that the Maple Leafs have agreed to terms with free agent defenseman Francois Beauchemin on a 3 year contract, worth $11.5 million. The Beauchemin-Burke reunion has long been rumored by various news outlets since the end of the season.
Staying consistent with the outlined game plan prior to the start of free agent frenzy, the Leafs have added yet another “under 30″ core piece to the puzzle, by bringing in a key cog of a championship calibre defense who just turned 29 last month. This signing will provide the young Leafs’ defense core with a savvy veteran, locker room leader, and proven winner.
… you’ve got to lay the foundation.
The house is the main attraction; it catches the eye and makes people want to stop and look.Â But it is the foundation that holds it together at the core, and keeps it from sinking into the ground.
Brian Burke has taken major steps towards building that foundation for the Toronto Maple Leafs, with his offseason moves thus far.
As reported, Leafs deal Kubina and then turn and sign Mike Komisarek. $4.5 per for 5 years (pretty damn good value).
Burke’s defensive corps is starting to take its shape… Leafs getting increasingly badass.
Update: Komisarek turned down more money to go to T.O.
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.
Kubina deal not done yet despite The Star’s report of a done deal. A source suggests that Komisarek will become a Leaf if Kubina goes.
Stay tuned to the Cover-it-live for up-to-the-minute updates.
It is being reported by TSN that Dany Heatley has refused to waive his NTC in a deal to the Edmonton Oilers for the speculated return of Andrew Cogliano, Ladislav Smid, and Dustin Penner. I’m not usually one to have an opinion, but that was somewhat classless, then again, he signed a NTC for a reason, so he could have this control.
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