I would first like state that I am addressing this rumor because it is, in fact, circulating around the league that Toronto is interested in the Atlanta Thrashers' sniper Ilya Kovalchuk. Yes, this rumor did come to light due to an Eklund blog, but no, it is not fake. In fact, every team in the league would love to get their hands on Kovalchuk. So there you have it, the rumor is true, but it was an easy one to pinpoint by Eklund because every single team in the league understands that Kovalchuk is available, and every single team in the league would love to have him on their powerplay. It's as simple as that. Now to the non-obvious part.
The Leafs and Islanders have a fair bit of history between them. The Mike Peca/Darcy Tucker incident, the Leafs trading up to acquire Luke Schenn, and even the Islanders beating the Devils (who played Scott Clemmenson instead of Martin Brodeur) in a shootout to knock the Leafs out of the 2006-07 playoffs by one point in the final game of the season. Tonight, they meet again in Toronto.
Speculation on whoÂ is likely to be scratched for Saturday'sÂ rematchÂ against the New York Rangers, an update on Phil Kessel, and (surprise, surprise) some early-season trade chatter.
Talking to sources this evening, I've managed to partially reconstruct -- there is obviously much more to it than what is posted here -- how the trade for Phil Kessel ultimately came about, and the origin of many of the rumours that circulated prior to the deal finally going down.
The Bruins wanted at least one player in a deal, but no suitable player-based deal could ultimately be found with any of Nashville, New York, or Toronto. Â At the end of the day, Bruins' GM Peter Chiarelli opted to accept a package of picks that was originally offered by the Leafs nearly a full week before the deal was finally consummated.
Here's how it is said to have happened.
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.
With news of the trade to re-acquire Toronto's 2010 2nd round selection, rumors and speculation of a looming offer sheet have been a hot topic of discussion among Leaf fans and around the NHL. Among the many RFA's, the three most prominent and likely targets appear to be Boston's Phil Kessel, Buffalo's Drew Stafford and New York's Brandon Dubinsky. Here's the latest news pertaining to that trio. [more…]
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.
The word on the streetÂ is Rangers' wingerÂ Nikolai ZherdevÂ has beenÂ awarded $3.9m in arbitration (unconfirmed).Â Â If true, many suspect the amount to be out of GM Glen Sather's price range, and he may allow Zherdev to walk as a result.
A hot rumour today has the Maple Leafs' monitoring the situation closely, and many have said that if the Rangers decline the arbitration result, Leafs' GM Brian Burke is expected to be at the head of the line of teams attempting to sign the mercurial, but immensely talented, winger.
The Cammalleri camp has countered an offer from Brian Burke... working on figures. Sportsnet now reporting: Ottawa, New York, Toronto in on Cammalleri. [more…]
It was something that immediately popped into my head when it was announced that the Ponikarovsky to Nashville rumors were untrue and Antropov was dealt to the Rangers minutes later â€“ did Antropov do for the Leafs what Sundin never would? The Leafs were only looking at a pick for Moore and a 4th rounder they purchased from the Lightning. The deadline was looming over their heads and off went Antropov and the remainder of his one year deal.
According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, it seems that Islander GM Garth Snow has turned on the tables on Brian Burke. Apparently, "the Islanders would be willing to deal, all right . . . willing to deal for Toronto's seventh-overall selection, that is." Quite the interesting twist.