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.
Chatter … non existent.
Rumors … rampant speculation, but nothing really.
Movement … absolutely dismal amount of transactions (if you don’t count waiver placement)
Just, eerily quiet …
And I have a theory as to why. But first, some good news.
Ed. Note: Ultimately a rather minor roster move; Burke doesn’t like the inconsistent intensity he’s seen so far from the Buds so he turns to a familiar face in the 6’1, 205 pound Brad May, who has followed Burke wherever he’s gone. After a quick/lazy look into 6th round success, there is a 12 percent chance that a sixth rounder plays more than 100 NHL games based on the six drafts between ’95-’00. The pick is also conditional, so there’s no knowing whether or not it’ll actually change hands (as Alex Tran points out, it could very well be compensation should the Leafs re-sign May). As for Kulemin, this is likely a move made in order to avoid the Tlusty situation of last season. Kulemin’s had his moments, but needs the ice-time he wasn’t earning with the Leafs in order to gain confidence and consistency in his game.
Brian Burke made his first two moves as general manager of the Maple Leafs today. First, he assigned Nikolai Kulemin to the AHL – not a bad decision; this allows the youngster to get acquainted with more ice time and the smaller ice surface. He is provided the opportunity to dominate and gain more confidence at a lower level.
It’s hard to imagine that by the Christmas break, the offensively-challenged, Sundin-less forward corps of the Toronto Maple Leafs would be sitting at 7th overall in league scoring. They’re averaging a robust 3.10 goals for a game, which is a marked improvement over their 2.74 goals for average from last season. And what’s even more impressive is that key roles are being played by some of the Leafs younger players.
The passing of Pit Martin this past weekend prompted me to look up his hometown, which was reported as Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, a town I most closely associated with my favourite Maple Leaf of all time, Dave Keon.
That’s what I think of when I hear the rumors and buzz going on about Brian Burke potentially being the next Leafs GM. Everyone associates him with the ability to assemble a championship calibre core and then win it all like he did with the Ducks in ’07. The reality of the situation is that he is NOT the right man for the Toronto Maple Leafs job, and I’m going to explain why I think so.
The team has confirmed the reported deal in a 5:41pm press release:
Leafs Acquire Mike Van Ryn
Toronto Maple Leafs
Sep 2, 2008, 5:41 PM EDT
Cliff Fletcher, general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, announced Tuesday that the team has traded defenceman Bryan McCabe and their fourth-round draft selection in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft to the Florida Panthers. In exchange, the Maple Leafs receive veteran defenceman Mike Van Ryn.
Van Ryn, 29, completed his seventh NHL season and fourth with Florida in 2007-08. A wrist injury in November and the subsequent surgery sidelined him for the final 60 games last season. The native of London, Ontario recorded two points (both assists) in 20 contests in 2007-08. He turned professional after signing as a free agent by St. Louis on June 30, 2000 and he was later traded to Florida on March 11, 2003 for Valeri Bure and Floridaâ€™s fifth-round choice (Nikita Nikitin) in the 2004 Entry Draft. Van Ryn set career-highs in goals (13), points (37-tie) and powerplay goals (six) in his first season with the Panthers in 2003-04. Internationally, he represented Canada at the World Junior Championships in 1998 and 1999 and he was a member of the University of Michiganâ€™s 1998 NCAA National Championship team.
Last season with Toronto, McCabe recorded five goals and 18 assists in 54 games with 81 penalty minutes. McCabe, 33 ranks sixth on the clubâ€™s all-time scoring list among team defencemen with 297 points by virtue of his 83 goals and 214 assists. He is tied for 33rd on the Leafsâ€™ all-time scoring list and he sits in 32nd spot on the teamâ€™s all-time games played list with 523 games.
In 917 career NHL games with the Islanders, Canucks, Blackhawks and Maple Leafs he has 115 goals and 303 assists for 418 points with 1,574 minutes in penalties.
McCabe was originally acquired by Toronto from Chicago in exchange for Alexander Karpovtsev and the Leafsâ€™ fourth-round draft choice (Vladimir Gusev) in the 2001 Entry Draft. He was the New York Islandersâ€™ second choice, 40th overall, in the 1993 Entry Draft.