Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
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In today’s Leafs links, Bruce Boudreau discusses his interest in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ assistant coaching position, Elliotte Friedman provides the latest on the Frederik Andersen trade rumours, and Wayne Simmonds suggests he would be open to a call from Toronto when the UFA window opens in October.

Leafs Links

Dreger on Dubas’ asking price in trades + market for Andersen (TSN1050)
Darren Dreger joined First Up with Michael Landsberg and Carlo Colaiacovo on Labour Day to discuss the reports of NHL GMs finding Kyle Dubas’ asking prices unreasonably high.

I think that is a bit unfair. Every NHL GM is going to a little overvalue their own property and merchandise. It comes with the territory. You are not giving good players away.

In Freddy’s case, we know there has been interest. We know there have been conversations — trade-related conversations. But it is not like he is trying to push this guy out the door.

Does Toronto have some interest in potentially changing the look of their goaltending? Yes. Obviously, you do that because you are looking for some form of an upgrade. But there is no guarantee you are going to be able to do that, and Kyle is abundantly aware of that.

Freddy is a heck of a goaltender. He should be asking for a high price — no question about that. To suggest that Kyle overvalues a player — in this case, Freddy Andersen, or his players in general — I don’t think that is entirely fair. Look at the trades he’s made. If he hadn’t dug in on Kasperi Kapanen, he is not getting the return he got on Kasperi Kapanen from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

I am okay with the approach of Kyle Dubas.

Dreger on the odds of Mike Babcock landing in Washington:

I don’t know if I am willing to call him the lead candidate, but he is a candidate, no question. That shouldn’t be grounds for news breaking or a huge surprise, either. Let’s not forget that Brian MacLellan made it clear what he was looking for when he let Todd Reirden go. It sounded a lot like the resume of Barry Trotz, who left Washington, obviously, to join the Islanders. But Brian is looking for a veteran coach — somebody who can handle veteran players, which Washington has in abundance.

Just by simple process of elimination, you are looking at Mike Babcock, Peter Laviolette, Gerard Gallant.

Friedman on latest on Frederik Andersen trade rumours (Sportsnet 590)
Elliotte Friedman provided an update over the weekend on latest on the Frederik Andersen trade rumours and the report that Kyle Dubas contacted Andersen in wake of the recent media reports.

The most concrete info I can give you is that I know that, since the rumours got going, Kyle Dubas has reached out to Frederik Andersen and spoke to him twice just to kind of fill him in on what is happening. From what I understand, he has told him, “We are not shopping you, but we are getting asked about you, and there are teams that have interest in you.” Where those conversations have gone from there I can’t tell you, but I know that is the general tone of the message.

I don’t think the Leafs are going to make a move just for a sake of making the move. I don’t think they are going to do anything laterally. If they do anything, they will see it as an upgrade. The most likely scenario — but not guaranteed to be the scenario — is that they will wait to see how things shake down with all of these available goalies and decide to pursue from there.

I know Kyle has spoken to him a couple of times and just said, “Look, we are not trying to do anything, but we are getting asked about you.”

Friedman on why Dubas contacted Andersen if the calls are coming in vs. going out:

I think because it’s kind of gotten out that he might be traded. I think Carolina is a team that has interest and want to upgrade from Mrazek – Reimer. Andersen would clearly be an upgrade. He would be the kind of guy that Carolina would go after because, 1) He is a good goalie, and 2) He is very cost-effective. He has a salary that has been mostly paid. That makes him very attractive.

That narrative has kind of gotten more out of control than the Maple Leafs would like. I do legitimately think that this has gotten to some degree of wildfire this past week and it has gone further than the Leafs like. They wanted to be up front with the player and say, “This is really what is going on.”

Friedman on Andersen’s trade value:

There are a couple of things going on here. One is that with the Kapanen trade, it was about creating room. It wasn’t as much of a hockey trade as much as it was about clearing room and giving them the flexibility to do things. If Andersen gets traded, it is about that kind of thing, too. It is because they have something else in mind they like in goal, and it is a means to get them to that. That is what I think it is.

If he gets traded, it is about getting them to another situation in goal that they like better. That is the tough thing for me to answer. That trade is about, “Okay, we’ve got something else we want to do, and now we are going to create the room to do it.”

Friedman on the tricky logistics of upgrading in net with cap space at a premium:

I think they look at it as: He is a good goalie and he is very cost effective. There has been a lot of talk about Matt Murray. From a base point of view on whether they like Matt Murray, I think the answer is yes. But do you like Matt Murray at the price point he is going to come in at? I think right now the answer is no. I don’t think they can afford his number.

What we are talking about here is an upgrade in talent at a salary cap number that make sense or a cash number that makes sense. Andersen’s cap hit next year is five, but his actual cash is a million. If you paid that bonus, there is something to be said for — why not keep him and have a benefit of a lower actual cash salary?

It has to be a situation that makes sense at a number that makes sense. The issue with Matt Murray was not necessarily his play. It is what his number is going to be.

Boudreau: “If the Leafs call me, I’d definitely consider it” (TSN1050)
On Leafs Lunch last week, Bruce Boudreau discussed his interest in the Leafs‘ assistant coaching vacancy, how far off from winning he thinks the Leafs currently are, and the story of his dad putting a curse on the team after Bruce left the team as a player back in the ’80s.

We make a lot of statements against the Leafs, and that is what happens when you live in Toronto. But you look at who they have lost to in the last three years and it has been Boston, Boston, Columbus, and they have all gone to the limit. I have lost enough Game 7s to know that sometimes it just a fluke. You miss one in your end and you score in the other end.

I think they are very close. They have great talent. When I was a coach in Washington, we had a lot of young guys. Ovechkin guy was great. Backstrom was great. Semin was great. Mike Green was great. But they didn’t learn to win. It took them eight years, nine years later to finally win the Cup. Sometimes, you have to go through the losing to learn what it takes to win.

I think the Leafs are in that state. They remind me very much of our Washington club in about 2010. We were dynamic, fun to watch, we could score, and we had a great power play, but we didn’t win — for whatever reason. Sometimes you run into a hot goaltender. Sometimes it’s just bad breaks. I really do believe that they are very close. They are maybe a player — a little tweak in their game — away. If they get by that first round, they will be a really tough team to beat because confidence will soar like crazy through the dressing room and through the organization.

On his interest in the Leafs’ AC position:

Anyone who has been in the game as long as I have doesn’t want to go out in a negative way. You lose your job and you don’t want that to be the end of your career. You want to get another job. I think I am really capable of still doing the job. I want to get back into it.

My first choice, obviously, is as a head coach. I think I am pretty good at that job. But like I’ve said to anybody, I want to coach. I love the NHL. I want to be behind the bench. If it was an assistant coach — Jacques Martin switched pretty easily. Lindy Ruff switched pretty easily — I think I could be a real advantage to some team.

When I heard these rumours, too, I was going, “I am willing to listen to anything.” Number one preference — I have been a head coach for 25 years. You’d like to do that. But I’d like to be in the game.

If the Leafs end up deciding to want to call me, I’d definitely consider it.

On the story that his dad put a curse on the Leafs after Boudreau left as a player:

He was so mad. My dad was born in Montreal. He was a diehard Canadiens fan. Me being through the Marlies, the minor Marlies, and the Malboro Junior As converted him into a Leafs fan. His hopes were dashed when they finally decided, “If you want to go to Europe, go to Europe.” He said they’ll never win a Stanley Cup until I come back.

It’s funny that they haven’t, but I don’t think the curse was all my Dad.

LeBrun: What does the future hold for pending UFA Simmonds? (The Athletic)
While his best before date appears to have passed and the Leafs’ ability to fit him in cap-wise is questionable at best, the 32-year-old Scarborough native says he is open to hearing from Toronto when the UFA period opens.

“I moved up to Aurora (north of Toronto) probably three summers ago, my wife and I and our daughter. I’ve been walking around the neighbourhood way more frequently than I usually do because I’ve been here a lot longer than normal and all I keep hearing is, `When are you going to sign with the Leafs?’

“So of course it’s crossed my mind. I know they’re in a bit of a salary cap situation and things of that nature, but you know I’m open to everything, Toronto’s got a great core of players and I think that’s definitely a team where I could go in and make an impact right away. It’s up to the teams. Whoever wants to choose me, I’ll be waiting. I’ll definitely be ready to go.’’