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    Just got a tip that the Stralman-Primeau swap is the tip of the iceberg to something larger happening in Toronto.   Being told to keep an eye on the Blue Jackets – Brassard and Klesla are two names that have been bandied about in the rumour mill.

    There has been a lot of talk surrounding Columbus, Vancouver and St. Louis during the past week.   The *suspicion* is that today’s Stralman trade was a necessary move to facilitate another, larger move with one of the three aforementioned teams.

    Speculate away, folks.  Things are getting real interesting, real fast.  Updates will come as I receive them.

      1

      Now that we’re in the TRUE off-season (in which nothing usually happens until September) I came across a little rumor not started by Eklund that raised an eyebrow, so I decided to pass it on. Keep in mind, I don’t even know the people personally who brought this up so it’s definitely peculation as of right now, but still interesting to say the least. It involves the Leafs, Lightning and Blues.

        26

        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.

          67

          As the Trade Deadline approaches, speculation will continue to grow over which Maple Leaf players may be moving on to new NHL destinations.

          The following is my own personal estimation of the likelihood of regular roster players actually getting dealt, based upon contract status, playoff/stretch drive impact potential, comments from players/coaches/management, and of course the metaphorical smoke & fire (the amount of repetition in the rumour mills).   To quote the great Chazz Palminteri, “a rumour’s not a rumour that doesn’t die”.

            18

            First of all, I know what you’re thinking, and we’re thinking it too; the “torch” for the upcoming Winter Games looks retarded. Anyways, it comes as no surprise as yet another team tries out their backup goaltender against the Leafs this season. Last year, by the end of January, the Leafs played 23 games against backup goaltenders in which they were 4-17-2. This year, same story, different team. Toskala looked to rebound back to his great 40 minutes in the Panthers game, but instead showed up as the guy who played the last 20 minutes and let in 3 goals in less than 10 minutes.

              19

              For all the hype surrounding the seemingly inevitable fight between Grabovksi and Kostitsyn, the two Belorussians were not quite at the forefront of a very chippy game between the Leafs and the Canadiens.  The animosity apparently encompassed both squads, as the tone was set early by a first period showdown between Georges Laraque and Brad May.  As is the case with most matchups of these two rivals in Montreal, the crowd’s energy fed into a quick-paced sixty minutes that saw both teams control the play in the offensive zone for lengths of time on end.

                15

                Just six months ago many a grapevine was carrying rumor of NHL expansion while I lamented the integrity of a revenue bound salary cap. Even into the new season few had foreseen the sheer gravity of the global economic downturn and its impact on jobs, housing, businesses and every facet of life down to sport. Now as international markets stutter into a depression that many an analyst believe could change the face of modern capitalism forever, the NHL seems to remain steadfast in addressing it’s minor successes as opposed to it’s crippling and potentially devastating financial model.

                  27

                  Trade talks are heating up, in the NHL rumour mills, and online forums.  To that end, I’ve compiled a list of notable free-agents to be, both UFA and RFA, across the league, who may be subject to trade.

                    6

                    Lee Stempniak appears to be another high-cost, low-profile acquisition for Trader Cliff, who has developed a penchant for paying whatever-it-takes to land players that he feels are underrated and on the brink of a breakout.

                      9

                      A couple of weeks ago, Leafs defenceman Mike Van Ryn was battling for a spot on the Toronto blueline. Perhaps he still is.

                        7

                        With tonight’s preseason game just a few hours away, there appears to be a shift of mood in the locker room for the duration of the preseason. It looks as if the days are numbered not only for those who won’t be joining the regular crop this year, but also for a few regulars.

                        1

                        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 Florida’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 Michigan’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 club’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 Leafs’ all-time scoring list and he sits in 32nd spot on the team’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 Leafs’ fourth-round draft choice (Vladimir Gusev) in the 2001 Entry Draft. He was the New York Islanders’ second choice, 40th overall, in the 1993 Entry Draft.