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In just over two weeks, the NHL Entry Draft will be upon us.Â Naturally, speculation as to the future destination of the top prospects is heating up.Â Â With July 1st rapidly approaching, trade rumours (some related to the draft, some not) and free agent speculation are abounding with fury.Â And, of course, possible internal team moves are getting their fair share of play as well.
Here are a few scenarios based on the latest buzz surrounding the Maple Leafs.Â The question is:Â which of these scenarios would you consider, and why?
I’m going to take a moment to depart from hockey talk, and encourage readers and fellow bloggers to join our friends at Toronto Sports Media in their open challenge to raise unprecedented Barilkosphere support for The Ride To Conquer Cancer.
From June 13-14, registered cyclists (including AM 640′s Greg Brady) will ride 200km in two days from Toronto to Niagara Falls. Donations will support research, teaching, and compassionate care at the Princess Margaret Hospital, one of the top cancer research hospitals in the world.
Anybody who has played an EA Sports hockey title in the last decade will be familiar with the create-a-team function whereby the gamer is allowed to shape a franchise, choose its name, logo and location and in some cases even build their own virtual arena. Taking that concept to a slightly grander scale yesterday at the Rosewater Supper Club, yet another â€œconsortiumâ€ broke ranks from correct NHL procedure to unveil their somewhat bizarre vision for a new expansion franchise in Toronto.
The interview between league Commissioner, Gary Bettman, on Toronto radio station, FAN590 segment “The Game Plan” featuring Doug Maclean and Jack Armstrong, was a first hand look at the battle the relocation to Hamilton has become. Stating that after Jim Balsillie’s attempts at hijacking the Nashville Predators to Hamilton, the commish indicated he sat down with the billionaire outlining what it would take to become an NHL owner.
In the MLSE land of unreasonable expectations, even a superstar troupe like Burke and Wilson will not be afforded another record breaking season; at least not if said record is a fifth consecutive season of playoff free hockey. Subsequently Burke is going to be looking for a catalyst to the rebuilding project come summer and the most obvious route will arrive in early July, not a week earlier in Montreal.
Maple Leafs’ GM Brian Burke, per the Toronto Star:
“We intend to be pushing the cap every year. We want to spend the money intelligently. We’re Big Blue, we’re going to spend to the cap.”
Now, your initial reaction to that is probably one of surprise, given Burke’s previous statements about a potential cap decline. Â Â Does that mean his statement today runs counter to the theory of a rebuilding effort?Â Â Â Â Not at all.
Mats Sundin’s season with the Vancouver Canucks, his chase for the 2009 Stanley Cup that brought him out of pseudo-retirement, and possibly his NHL career, ended tonight with the Canucks’ elimination from the playoffs at the hands of the young Chicago Blackhawks.
And now the “future of Sundin” questions, and subsequent “will-he-or-won’t-he” Favrian (or is it Favresque?) soap opera will surely begin anew.
Well, well, well.
In the non-surprise of the century, Jim Balsillie put in an offer on the recently-bankrupted Phoenix Coyotes before the ink had even dried on the bankruptcy papers.Â Â Â With a condition, of course:Â that he would have the right to move the team to Southern Ontario.
It’s not so much the offer that is of note – it’s been rumoured for months that he was targeting the franchise – but the timing of it is quite intriguing.Â Â Could there be some legs to those rumours of a second team in the GTA after all?
This proposed offer to purchase the struggling Phoenix Coyotes by Jim Balsillie may be a better possibility this time around. It may seem impossible to fathom another NHL club so close to its flagship franchise, the Leafs and the Buffalo Sabres, but it’s not jurisdiction that’s at the heart of the issue here.
It’s the salary cap, revenue and a return to the dead puck era.
Slow times in Leafland these days, so let’s have a crack at a couple of those questions.
NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly was on HockeyCentral At Noon today, and among other topics he briefly discussed the possibility of a second NHL team coming to Toronto.
When asked why Toronto has not been seriously considered to date as a home for another franchise, despite the enormous fan base and subsequent opportunity to succeed financially, Kelly suggested that MLSE was not the source of resistance.
Finally some movement on the Jonas Gustavsson front, the 24 year old star netminder of the Swedish Elite League. From the Toronto Sun: “According to a Swedish source familiar with the situation, Burke will be in the Danish capital of Copenhagen today to meet with Par Larsson, Gustavsson’s Swedish-based agent. ”
Following some of the discussion surrounding the Matt Gilroy signing in NY, and specifically the one-way versus two-way contract debate, I thought I’d provide for you guys a look at how the NHL waiver process is constructed under terms of the current NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement.
As per TSN, the Rangers have signed Boston University free agent defenseman Matt Gilroy, winner of the Hobey Baker Award as this year’s best college hockey player. It is believed Gilroy and the Rangers have agreed to terms in the 2 year, $3-4 million range. Burke’s been seriously interested in Gilroy for a few years now but he appears to have balked at the ultimate signing price on the New York native (could this have played a role as well?). It’s obviously a letdown, but sometimes the best signings are the ones you don’t make. Time will only tell if Burke was right to stick to his guns here.
Even though the Maple Leafs season is officially over, it doesn’t mean that there’s no playoff hockey here in Toronto. The Marlies just started their Round 1 series of the AHL playoffs last night against the #1 ranked Manitoba Moose.
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.
Less than 24 hours after the Leafs season officially ended with a win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night, the fans and media have already turned their attention to two important dates: June 26th, the date of the NHL Entry Draft, and July 1st, when free agent frenzy takes off. Just for discussion’s sake, here are a few interesting scenarios currently being tossed various news outlets today:
Christian Hanson’s getting ready to make his NHL debut tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers. Tyler Bozak is pretty much signed, sealed and delivered. But according to multiple news outlets, Brian Burke’s just getting warmed up. Next on his list: Boston University’s Matt Gilroy and Northeastern University’s Brad Thiessen.
The Maple Leafs have forfeited a fourth round draft pick and $500 000 for paying Swedish defenseman Jonas Frogren a $750 000 signing bonus this past summer, part of which he used to buy out his former contract at Swedish club Farjestad.
The American Hockey League has released the 2008-09 Clear Day Period lists for each of its 29 member clubs.
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