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With the Olympics wrapping up (and in the process Canada securing the record for most gold medals, capped off by our Men’s and Women’s hockey teams), the focus among hockey fans now shifts to the NHL trade deadline.
While there are few untouchables on the Maple Leafs’ roster, speculation is that only a handful of players are likely to be dealt between Monday and Wednesday. Here’s a look at some of the speculation surrounding the most-talked about candidates to swap jerseys.
Random talking points on a variety of topics including Giguere’s shutout streak, a refreshing new attitude, the Schenn/Phaneuf connection, pending UFAs and more.
Wanted to take a minute and congratulate our very own Gus Katsaros on his segment on the Fan590 this afternoon.Â Outstanding analysis of both the Phil Kessel/Savard relationship and analysis of the Boston Bruins schedule last year vs this year.Â The little snip at Mr MacLean at the end was priceless as well..Â Congrats Gus, and again, wonderful work..
This past Saturday, The Fourth Period discussed on their radio segment the possibility of the Toronto Maple Leafs trading Tomas Kaberle at some point this season, if the team’s fortunes do not begin to improve.
The topic itself is not exactly news; talk of Kaberle being moved for some sort of tantalizing return or another has been commonplace in Toronto during the past couple of seasons. What is interesting, however, is the timing. Â Kaberle has been on a statistical tear to begin the year, leading all NHL defensemen with 17 points (2g, 15a) in 12 games. Â Coming off a disasterous 2008-09 campaign, Kaberle is back on the collective radars of several teams who believe a top-flight offensive blue-liner may be the final piece to their puzzle.
To generate some discussion, Capitals blogger Steven Hindle threw out an interesting trade idea involving the Toronto Maple Leafs: Michael Nylander. Yes, he’s old (turns 37 in about two weeks). Yes, he’s coming off a brutal 33 point season. Yes, he’s carrying a ridiculous $4.875M cap hit for the next two seasons. But, there is no denying the history of talent and production, including 199 points in 200 games from 2005-2007. Perhaps there is a possible trade fit involving the exchange of some undesirable contracts?
Adnan Virk of Leafs TV recently caught up with GM Brian Burke for a brief chat and in his latest blog on mapleleafs.com, dishes out a few very revealing and interesting tidbits. Among the hot topics of discussion are: Burke’s projected top six defense core (including a few surprises), his expectations and hopes for Alexei Ponikarovsky, and the possibility of the Leafs ’09 7th overall pick Nazem Kadri cracking the roster out of training camp.
Since taking over the reigns of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Brian Burke identified several glaring weaknesses in his team.Â In several press conferences, he clearly and succinctly described these weaknesses and his intention and plans to amend his product.Â Being one of the more active General Managers, commencing with the NCAA free agent period right through til today, Mr Burke has lived up to the expectations most Leaf fans would have.Â Commencing with the signings of Tyler Bozak and Christian Hanson, followed up with deadline trades to acquire draft picks, drafting London Knights sensation Nazim Kadri, signing key UFA’s specifically addressing his teams needs and the signing of top European goalie Jonas Gustuvvson led to renewed optimism amongst Leaf supporters – not of an imminent Stanley Cup victory, but, rather of a renewed direction and focus, once again bringing hope of a contending Leafs team being iced in the not too distant future.
Looks like the numbers have changed a bit from last year.
While he would never admit it, Ontario native Nazem Kadri must of felt a twinge of anger at how the biggest day in his life panned out. Treated like a high steak pawn at the 2009 draft where the dreams he worked so hard to achieve were to be realized, Kadri watched as a bitter Brian Burke failed to secure the vaunted trade northwards, then faced the ignominy of TSN analyst Darren Dreger questioning Burke about Brayden Schenn as he sat in silence, festooned in his Maple Leafs jersey. For sure it must have been disappointing and one can only hope he didnâ€™t venture toward any Leafs related websites that night.
Sportsnet is reporting that the Maple Leafs have extended a qualifying offer to goaltender Justin Pogge, thus making him a restricted free agent. The team now has the ability to match any offer sheet Pogge receives, or choose to decline to get draft picks as compensation.
Today’s 5pm qualiying deadline saw a few interesting young players hit the UFA market: D Steve Eminger, LW Dan Fristche, C Marcel Goc, RW Anthony Stewart. Eminger has a boatload of talent, while the three other names may make for intriguing bottom six forward possibilities.
Also of note, veterans LW Peter Schaefer and D Jay Mckee have been placed on waivers by their respective clubs with the anticipation that they will be bought out. Mckee, one of the league’s perennial top shot blockers, may be a good fit as a veteran leader in the locker room and steadying presence on the blueline should Kaberle and/or Kubina be shipped out during the offseason.
Don’t shoot the messenger when you read this.
I had the opportunity to catch Kurtis McLean at Hockey Heritage North in Kirkland Lake, Ontario and ask him a few questions about his career and his future in the NHL. The 28 year old NCAA and AHL star has been nothing short of a hard worker and the type of player every team wants in their system for strength and leadership. Kurtis talks about his career, his first NHL goal, and who he thinks the Islanders are going to select with their 1st overall pick.
I’ll be answering a question or two every few days to fill time and space while we wait for the dog days of another playoff-less spring to wane away. It should also give each topic it’s due deliberation as opposed to throwing a series of topics at you guys at once. Today’s topic: The UFA-eligible Jeremy Williams.
Slow times in Leafland these days, so let’s have a crack at a couple of those questions.
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.
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).Â Â To quote the great Chazz Palminteri, “a rumour’s not a rumour that doesn’t die”.
The reputable Eklund is reporting with an always reliable “e4″ rating that the Maple Leafs are closing in on a deal with the Vancouver Canucks that will involve Nikolai Antropov heading west in exchange for a first round pick and a prospect. To no one’s surprise, Brian Burke and Mike Gillis have been carrying out negotiations for some time now, primarily on the subjects of Antropov and Tomas Kaberle. A deal is not as imminent as Eklund’s reporting, but there appears to be deal potential in Vancouver and potentially of the blockbuster variety.
As the trade deadline looms ever closer, the Ottawa Senators have just completed the second major trade in the last few days, by sending San Jose’s 2009 1st round pick acquired from Tampa in the Andrej Mezaros trade along with center Dean McAmmond to the New York Islanders in exchange for center Mike Comrie and defenseman Chris Campoli.
Most recent Leafs trade talk in the mainstream media centers largely around Pavel Kubina and Tomas Kaberle. Just about enough has been mentioned on those fronts; Brian Burke will not compromise in his return demands for either of his coveted blue-liners and it appears that only time will tell. Here are three other interesting to trade or not to trade scenarios:
Here’s an interesting little excerpt from Eric Smith’s (Columbus Blue Jackets Blogger) blog over at Hockeybuzz, (props to TML35 for the heads up) that might spur a little armchair GM fantasizing:
“With the 2-0 start to the season hinging road trip, Howson looks like he is sharpening his pencil and putting the wheels in motion for a trade. The Jackets have 2 scouts in Toronto tonight
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