Morning Hits: Mason, Jagr, Maple Leafs, KHL and Vasilevski

  • Ken Wiebe: Flyers Steve Mason confirmed that he missed Game 1 and 2 with a concussion.
  • Chris Johnston: Devils Jaromir Jagr contract breakdown: $3.5 million salary with a $250,000 bonus every five games from game 10 to 45. Up to $5.5 million.
  • Hope Smoke: Maple Leafs CEO Tim Leiweke: “What I can tell you is Shanahan is everything I thought he was.” … “He is meeting with everyone from the coaches, to the players to the trainers. He’s thorough.” … “Brendan is going to make changes here. He is going to change our culture. Won’t make changes just for the sake of making changes” … “In the near future there will be a decision on the coach. That will be a decision Brendan and Dave will make”
  • Hope Smoke: Dreger said that Leafs GM Dave Nonis told him that the Leafs were having internal talks about their scouting staff.
  • Slava Malamud: With Atlant, Novokuznetsk and Spartak Moscow in financial difficulties, the KHL could end up with less than 31 teams next year.
  • Igor Eronko: Lightning’s 2012 first round pick Andrei Vasilevski will leave Salavat of the KHL for the Lightning.


  1. Chris

    May 1, 2014 at 11:36 am

    Hopefully those ‘talks with the scouting staff’ involve a new direction in terms of their scouting and draft strategy.

    The Leafs need to stop doing stupid shit at the draft like trading UP to get plugs Tyler Biggs instead of using those picks wisely (like the team they traded with) and picking up legitimate prospects. The team, by the way, was Anaheim and they used those picks to select Rickard Rackell (who is about to start round 2 of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs and had 2 points in 3 games in the 1st round) and John Gibson who is one of the best goaltending prospects in the league.

    Other options that fell between 30 and 39 (the picks they traded for Biggs): Ty Rattie, Thomas Jurco and Boone Jenner).

    Tyler Biggs meanwhile had 9 points in 57 AHL games and 0 points in 2 AHL playoff games.

    Your scouting has to do a better job than drafting 4th line AHL players in the 1st round.

    This strategy is questionable at best. Last year they took Frederick Gauthier who is projected to be a 3rd line centre. Morgan Rielly was a great pick in 2012 but a 5th overall is difficult to screw up.

    2010 they traded Jimmy Hayes (who plays for the Panthers now) for the 43rd pick and took Brad Ross who spent time in the ECHL this year and put up 10 points and a -14 for the Marlies. They could have drafted Tyler Taffoli if they’re scouting was better.

    In 2009 they took Kenny Ryan at 50 and Jesse Blacker at 58. Neither guy has played an NHL game while 4 of the 7 players selected in between the two picks have played NHL games and picks 59-67 have ALL played NHL games.

    This means that between picks 50 and 67 only FOUR players have yet to play a game in the NHL and TWO of them are Leaf draft picks.

    This is unacceptable for a team with Toronto’s resources. You can say the draft is a crap shoot and you’d be right; except that if you have a strategy to draft skilled players with hockey IQs instead of utility guys who might ‘fill a hole’ someday then you’ll have much better luck.

    It’s not luck that the Kings have used the later rounds to pick Toffoli, Quick, Clifford, Voynov, Simmonds etc. It’s not luck that Chicago used the later rounds to draft Keith, Hjalmersson, Saad, Shaw, Bickell, Bolland, Kruger and Smith. It’s not luck that Detroit have used the later rounds to pick the likes of Nyquist, Helm, Jurco, Tatar, Abdelkater etc.

    Think of it this way, if you have 7 draft picks per year and your strategy is to pick skill guys like the guys above you may only be successful 1 out of 7 times but the player who is successful will be a top six forward or a top 4 defenceman. If you’re the Leafs and you pick just average ‘jack of all trades’ guys and and are successful two or 3 times out of 7 in that you get a bottom 6 forward or a bottom 2 d man.

    Which would you rather have? I’d rather have Rickard Rackell AND Boone Jenner than Tyler Biggs. I’d rather have Tyler Taffoli than Brad Ross.

    There is no salary cap on scouting. It is inexcusable for the Leafs scouts to miss players like this SO MANY TIMES. You can’t bat .1000 but the fact that outside of Kadri and Rielly, the Leafs haven’t drafted any legitimate top six forward or top 4 d men since maybe Carl Gunnarson in 2007.

    Something is clearly wrong when in that same period most NHL teams are getting very good players outside the 1st round.

    If this team is ever going to improve it’s gonna need a lot more than Greg McKegg, and Jerry D’Amigo.

  2. hotwings

    May 1, 2014 at 12:01 pm


  3. Chris

    May 1, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Great insight as usual.

    Still waiting for you prove me wrong on the Leafs whole draft/develop strategy being among the worst in the NHL. The facts aren’t on your side so I’m not shocked that you haven’t tried.

  4. hotwings

    May 1, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Another example of your bland, childlike analysis:

    “If this team is ever going to improve it’s gonna need a lot more than Greg McKegg, and Jerry D’Amigo.”

    Hopefully you get that position as editor in your grade 6 class newspaper.

  5. Chris

    May 1, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    My bland childlike analysis?

    Every contention I made in that post was backed up with facts. My analysis (and I’ve made no secret of this in previous posts) is based on Ken Holland’s 9 points which you can find here:

    I do not claim to be an expert but every point Holland makes is UNTRUE of the Leafs and it’s why they are a dogshit team and the Red Wings are always competitive.

    Outside of Kadri and Rielly (who were high picks) Name a prospect in the Leafs system that is as good as any one of these prospects Chicago took after the first round: Brandon Saad (2011), Andrew Shaw (2011), Marcus Kruger (2009) or Ben Smith (2008).

    Since Carl Gunnarson was picked in the 7th round in 2007, the Leafs have not drafted and developed a single NHL regular outside of the 1st round. Literally the best they have done is Jerry D’Amigo who was a 6th rounder in 2009 and has played 22 games.

    Call my statment childlike all you want but what do the Leafs have in the way of legitimate prospects that will take them to the next level?

  6. Chris

    May 1, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Here’s a statistical fact for you: in the past seven drafts (from 2007 up to and including 2013) the Leafs have selected 48 players.

    Of those 48 players only SIX have played more than 50 NHL games and one of those players was traded before he even played a game in the Leafs organization (Jimmy Hayes). Incidentally he was traded for another flop of a pick in Brad Ross.

    The other five are Carl Gunnarson, Matt Frattin, Luke Schenn, Nazem Kadri and Morgan Rielly.

    So the last 7 drafts have produced three homegrown roster players.

    Do you think this is a good way to build a hockey team?

  7. hotwings

    May 1, 2014 at 3:25 pm


  8. Chris

    May 1, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Yeah I thought so.

  9. hotwings

    May 1, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    sorry chris, your *exact* thoughts on the leafs’ situation have been parroted so many damn times in the media, forums, blogs, websites, etc, that at the end of the day, it is just laughable and somewhat ridiculous that you trudge out the exact same talking points that any moderate leaf fan has heard a million times before.

    you will have to forgive me that I regard you as an autistic, vapid moron.

  10. Doug oldtimer

    May 2, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Watching the leafs from the 50’s, not that this qualifies me as an expert in anyway. I must say I agree with Chris and his comments. Their scouting department sucks.
    Look at the records of Ballard, Felecher, Quinn, Ferguson, right up to now and compare with Detroit just to see how far behind the curve they are. Easy to be negative comebacks, do some research folks.