In the draft night edition of Leafs Links, the insiders discuss the latest on the Maple Leafs’ goaltending situation, the lack of meaningful negotiations between Jack Campbell and the Leafs, and recent contract negotiations with RFA defenseman Rasmus Sandin.
Garrioch: The Leafs have most certainly kicked tires on Matt Murray (TSN1200)
On TSN1200’s In The Box, Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch confirmed conversations have taken place between Pierre Dorion and Kyle Dubas about goaltender Matt Murray, who is signed for two more seasons at $6.25 million AAV.
I can tell you, pretty much factually, that the Maple Leafs have most certainly kicked tires with the Senators on Matt Murray. I think that is a team that Matt Murray would, in fact, go to. That is a tough one for Pierre Dorion and the Senators. I know they have done deals with the Leafs before, but I think that is a tough one for them.
Garrioch on Connor Brown’s availability:
Connor Brown will have as much value now as he will have at the trade deadline in February. You might be able to get a second-round pick for Brown this summer or maybe a player on a similar contract. You could maybe get a first-round pick at the draft.
They have absolutely thrown Brown’s name out there. They are willing to listen if they get the right offer. There seems to be a sense that Connor Brown wants to test UFA. I don’t know what has happened with the relationship here, but it might have nothing to do with the relationship… It may have to do with the fact that Connor Brown thinks he is going to get one opportunity to cash in. He wants to do that.
Johnston: Dubas and Sandin’s agent met before the draft in Montreal (TSN)
On TSN Insider Trading, the insiders provided the latest on the Leafs‘ goaltending situation and the contract negotiation with RFA Rasmus Sandin.
Johnston on the Leafs‘ situation in goal heading into the draft:
I thought it was interesting Kyle Dubas said he is still talking to Jack Campbell and his reps. From what I can tell, there is not much progress toward a deal here. At this point out a week from free agency, I am expecting Jack Campbell to hit the open market. That leaves the Leafs looking for at least one goalie.
They have Petr Mrazek signed to a contract that is way above the way he performed. Dubas hinted that he is maybe going to stick around next year. That might be a surprise to some in Leafs Nation.
As to how they might replace Campbell, Marc-Andre Fleury is a name to look at for Toronto. He is one of the guys that is out there. I do think the Leafs have interest in him.
Dreger on Campbell’s possible destination:
There is a difference between having discussions and meaningful negotiations. They are not having meaningful negotiations. It is highly likely that Campbell hits the open market. The two teams that are most interested — I’ll start with the Edmonton Oilers, and then we look at the New Jersey Devils.
We know what the needs are of the Oilers in goal. I also think Ken Holland and the Oilers have the stomach to go to five years at $5 million per. That’ll matter to Jack Campbell. There is also the Devils, and Washington and Detroit are honorable mentions.
Johnston on Kyle Dubas meeting with Rasmus Sandin’s agent in Montreal:
After Dubas met reporters, he then went to meet with Rasmus Sandin’s agent in Montreal. I think that is significant. Yes, he needs a contract, and he is on his second deal. He doesn’t have a ton of leverage or anything, but he is an important player. His concerns are not just money. It is not just arguing over how the contract works. It is his role on the team. With Mark Giordano already signed, and Jake Muzzin and Morgan Rielly ahead of him on the depth chart, that is some of what needs to be smoothed over before they get his signature on a contract.
Friedman: Not true that Marc-Andre Fleury didn’t want to go to Toronto at the deadline; sides couldn’t reach a trade (32T Podcast)
On the latest 32 Thoughts Podcast, Elliotte Friedman discussed the Leafs’ possible interest in Marc-Andre Fleury and why contract negotiations have seemingly been so quiet between Jack Campbell and the Leafs.
I do think the goalies and their representatives are trying to figure out who is in and who is out and where the chairs are at the table. Fleury is one of the guys who has to figure out what he is thinking. He could have multiple options. One of them is Minnesota. One of them is Pittsburgh. I think one of them could be Colorado. The other one could be Toronto.
Fleury, because his incumbent team is trying to sign him in the Wild, has to make that decision first. I think he is really beginning to think about it now — about what he wants to do. I think we could get some clarity on Fleury in the not-so-distant future.
There are some people who said he did not want to go to Toronto. I don’t think that is true. I just think the Leafs and Blackhawks could not agree on the trade. Chicago wanted Knies, and Toronto wasn’t willing to do that. I think, if they had made a deal, he was going to Toronto.
Friedman on the cold negotiations between Campbell and the Leafs:
I don’t think there is a whole lot going on. I assume at some point they are going to have a conversation, but I have heard there is nothing really going on there right now. I think Edmonton is interested. I think New Jersey is interested. I have had some people say he will end up with the Devils and some people say he will end up with the Oilers. It says to me that people don’t really have a good handle on it yet.
This has been a weird year of negotiations between Toronto and Campbell. The team is not talking. The agent is not talking. I have reported before that I heard the first offer from Toronto to Campbell was 3 x 2.75. That, I think, was maybe even before the year started. What someone told me on Monday was that the third year of that deal was really low.
What I am guessing is that Campbell came back — like most players would in that situation — with a really big number that the Leafs just said, “We are not doing that.” I am not sure if any of this stuff is still relevant. I get a sense that everybody here would argue that is over and we are in a new spot.
Someone was just telling me this on Monday, and it has been so wild how the Leafs and Campbell haven’t been on the same page contract-wise all season. Sometimes you have a gulf, and eventually, you move together… This person said to me that the two of them haven’t been in the same universe for some time with that third year in that offer to Campbell being, “uniquely low,” and what they must have come back with on the opposite end of spectrum.
What it basically did was shut down negotiations between the two sides. They haven’t really picked up again. This is one of those situations where all the goalies, all the teams that need a goalie, and all of the agents are trying to figure out where the landscape is. It is a big poker game right now.
… I have had people suggest some that he could get five years. I think the five-ish number is probably where that gets to.
Weekes: I’d be all in on Gibson or Fleury if I were the Leafs (TSN1050)
Analyst and insider Kevin Weekes joined TSN Overdrive to discuss the Leafs’ options in net and the direction he would take with Petr Mrazek and in the free agency market.
Weeks on whether Mrazek could return as a Leaf next season:
I can picture a scenario, yes. Petr Mrazek had a really horrific season last year, and he would be the first to say that. Generally, throughout his career, he has played well, but he really struggled last year and struggled with injury. He would be the first one to tell you.
Is Mrazek 100% healthy this offseason at home in the Czech Republic? Does he feel great? Does he look great? If he feels and looks really healthy and good, of course he can come in and play 30-35 and play well. He has done that his entire career to this point save for last year.
The question the Leafs are going to have to hedge: where does his health lie right now? How does he look? How does he feel? Is he 100% healthy? Can we depend on the hips and the groins to be that dependable core stabilizing musculature we are going to need for him to kick for us for 30-35 games next year. That is what they are weighing and have to weigh.
Once they can best ascertain that in a way that is accurate, then they can make their decision. Even if you are looking to move him to another suitor, the buyer is going to have to do their homework on him, too, and there has to be that dependability for the buyer to be able to acquire him. That is kind of what it comes down to now. They are going to have to weigh that out if you are the Leafs and Kyle Dubas.
Weekes on the best solution in goal for the Leafs this offseason:
Five years ago, at the World Cup of Hockey, I told Shanny and Lou Lamoriello — two people I am very familiar with; I played with Shanny and played for Lou twice — that they had a steal in Freddy Andersen. For the last three years, I have been saying on NHL Network and on ESPN to go and get John Gibson.
I have been tracking John Gibson since he played in Kitchener. He is a Pittsburgh kid who played in Kitchener who was money in the U17, U18, and World Junior — gold in all of them. He was at the men’s world championships after his last year in Kitchener. He was a three-time All-Star playing in Anaheim.
I don’t understand why they haven’t gone out and gotten him yet. Everyone tells you at every rink back home: no goalie, you can’t win anything. Then go and get the guy!
If they are not going to go and get Gibson via trade, the most attractive solution in the marketplace if it is not Gibson is Marc-Andre Fleury. If I were them, they have to get one of those two guys.
If I am Kyle and Shanny, we don’t rest this offseason and unless and until we get Gibson or MA Fleury in free agency.
Weekes on Fleury’s potential interest in coming to Toronto:
I do know that Minnesota is on the table. He had a good time there. Just based on my relationship and knowing him, I think he would be open to playing in Toronto, but a lot of it depends on the pitch and what the plan is. This is a guy with three rings and is a Hall of Fame lock. He is going down as a top-five goalie in the history of the game. Minnesota has a really good team. They got a little uptight and couldn’t score, and St. Louis has more Cup experience.
If I were the Leafs, I would definitely be pitching Flower to come there for sure. I would go all out.
Dreger: Minnesota, Toronto, Colorado, and New Jersey among the suitors for MA Fleury (TSN1050)
On First Up with Aaron Korolnek and Matt Cauz, TSN insider Darren Dreger discussed the current sweepstakes for MA Fleury if he makes it to the open market.
At least three and maybe four teams [are in the mix for Fleury]. I don’t want to rank them in position because I don’t have that information, but I guess I would give the inside track to Minnesota and Bill Guerin. He is coming with the experience with the Wild. I know Allan Walsh and Guerin met yesterday afternoon. I am sure Walsh is giving him the parameters of what a deal might look like.
It is appropriate to say Toronto is an option for MA Fleury but is Toronto a better option than Minnesota or Colorado?
When I look at the landscape for Fleury — Minnesota, Toronto, Colorado, New Jersey, and maybe Edmonton, but I think Edmonton is more locked in on Jack Campbell if they can make that work.
Dreger on the odds of Petr Mrazek returning next season:
There is a decent chance that Petr Mrazek is part of the goaltending department of the Maple Leafs next season. They have him under contract. The belief is very optimistic, and I am okay with it.
Dubas looks at the small body of work this past season and recognizes that it was the worst season of his career from a health perspective and a performance standpoint. Are you betting on the optimism and believing the Petr Mrazek of old is going to surface? If he does, you have a solid 1B or backup goalie, and that is what Toronto needs, whether it is Mrazek or somebody else.