NHL Rumors I: Maple Leafs Edition

  • Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun: Simmons thinks the Maple Leafs will qualify James Reimer and will sign him this offseason. The Leafs have already received some calls on him. The Leafs need to get a truce between Randy Carlyle and Jake Gardiner. Leafs GM Dave Nonis isn’t in favor of trading young defenseman. If the Leafs can’t re-sign Dave Bolland and Nikolai Kulemin by July 1st, they will look to trade their rights for draft picks.
  • Hope Smoke: Darren Dreger: “I can tell you that the Leafs are concerned primarily with their defensive core. They want to upgrade there” … “Does that mean they want to attack their top 4 spots? Umm, I’m not sure. They’d like to add a top 4, but that’s not news breaking” … “They’d like to add some veteran presence on D or up front to work with their younger roster” … “The names that are being discussed with other teams are Gardiner, Kadri.”
  • Hope  Smoke: Darren Dreger “I don’t think anyone should be alarmed that Bolland and Kulemin’s name are in there considering their pending UFAs” … “The priority is still for the Leafs to sign both Bolland & Kulemin, but they need to see if the dollar amount would be to keep them” … “If the dollar amount is too high [to retain Bolland & Kulemin] then they’ll move their rights for a draft pick”
  • Hope Smoke: Darren Dreger: “Primarily when you’re adding pieces or trying to initiate change, you look at 3 departments…” “…1st you look at the minor league dept & the Leafs believe their may be a couple of players ready to make the jump…” “…2nd, you look at FA and that’s probably where they’ll identify that veteran experience, if the dollar amount is right…” “…3rd is trade that is something the Leafs are eager to get involved in”
  • Hope Smoke: Darren Dreger: “For me, Muller seems to be a better fit as an assistant with the Blues than with the Leafs” … “When Shanahan and Nonis met in Vegas, and Carlyle was there briefly, I’m sure they put a list together of assistant coach names” … “This is going to be an interesting collection of hires. Traditionally the head coach has a tonne of say, as he should, in the hires” … “But this is a three headed beast in Toronto. Nonis & Carlyle will remain in play, but Shanahan will have considerable input as well” … “The Leafs do see value in having new ideas and new voices. Motivated guys that can push Carlyle as well”


  1. luvhockey

    May 11, 2014 at 9:44 am

    The leafs would be wise to let gardiner continue to develop, and to play him in a top 4 role. The way he can skate and move the puck is unreal. The defensive side will come as he matures and gains experience. They just have to be patient. He’s a 40pt per year d man at the least if they hang on to him

  2. Eakiness

    May 11, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    I keep thinking you move Dion to the AvS for ORielly
    8th to the Sabres for Myers
    Sign Niskinin

    Or 8th, kadri, Gardiner for 1st and Barkov
    Sign Niskinin

  3. Eakiness

    May 11, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    My point is i’d rather.lose Dion and sign veterans like Markov or Boyle then lose Gardiner.
    Only losing him for a great piece like Barkov.
    Kadri i hate losing but YOU MUST give to get.

  4. EastCoastHockeyFan

    May 11, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    Gardiner’s name shouldn’t even be on the table at this point, let him come into his own he will be a top offensive d man in the league sooner rather than later and Eakiness is right the d side will come with age and experience, Kadri has potential and should be a solid number 2 center that MAY be able to do the number one slot with the right people with him in a few years BUT the leaf’s need barganing chips and if you need to move Gardiner Kadri or Rielly i would move kadri out every time

  5. Dave

    May 12, 2014 at 10:38 am

    I doubt the Avs would trade OReily for Phaneuf. Unless they’re convinced OReily was a fluke this year then that would be a horrible trade imo.

  6. Chris

    May 12, 2014 at 11:07 am

    I also doubt the Aves would trade O’Reilly for Phaneuf. They might consider it if the Leafs a) took some salary or b) threw in prospects and/or draft picks.

    I think the more likely scenario would be b). Ryan O’Reilly will make 6.5 mil at least (that’s his qualifying offer) next year which is Toews type money and as good as he is, he’s not a 7 million dollar player. Since Phaneuf is also a good defenceman (NOT ELITE) but not a 7 mil defenceman I could see the Aves trading O’Reilly for Phaneuf + a prospect or pick for O’Reilly and then re-signing Stastny.

    It’s a possibility but I’m not sure how likely.

  7. Chris

    May 12, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Oh and trade Gardiner? NO
    Trade Kadri? NO

    I don’t get it. Brayden Schenn played more games than Kadri last year and got less points but nobody in Philly are giving up on him.

    This is what I hate about Toronto. I’m so sick of watching the Leafs give up on 22 and 23 year olds, trading them away and then watching these guys develop into good to great NHLers.

    A few spring to mind

    – Alex Steen (would be the Leafs best all round forward right now)

    – Tuukka Rask (would have negated the Leafs having to trade a 1st, 2nd and 4th for Toskala to try to make up for the Raycroft deal and that 1st, 2nd and 4th were used by the Sharks to trade up to get Couture. It also would have negated having to trade a 2nd round pick and prospects for Bernier.)

    – Jimmy Hayes – a big winger now playing a top 6 role in Florida.

    – Jiri Tlusty – a 20 goal winger.

    – Anton Stralman – Would play in the Leafs top 4 and provide what they lack.

    Leaf fans need to realize that players take time to develop. 23 year olds will be better when they are 25 year olds. The question is, are you willing to bet that in 3 years a 26 year old Kadri and a 26 year old Gardiner won’t be better with 3 more years of NHL experience?

    Gardiner has 167 games of NHL experience which is almost exactly 2 full seasons.

    Kadri has 177 games.

    I’m willing to bet that when these guys have three, four or five years of NHL experience they will be better hockey players. That means that in 2 or 3 years Kadri could develop to be a 70-80 point centre and Gardiner could shore up his defensive game and develop from a 30 point D man to a 50 point d man.

    Why give up on them for a short term fix?

    If you need cap space long term, the guys you give up on are Gleason, Ranger, Orr, Clarkson (if you could), Bolland, Raymond, Phaneuf etc. you don’t give up on what could be the solutions to your problems with a little patience.

  8. Dave

    May 12, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Can’t always know which young guys will pan out and which won’t, every team has this happen.

    The Rask one especially is straight up not fair. If you recall, at the time the Leafs had Pogge and Rask and they had to trade one of them. On paper, both goalies had star potential, Pogge was the good looking Canadian boy who led the juniors to a gold medal and could seriously put butts in the seats over the Finn. Most people (myself included) would of gone with Pogge over Rask. It’s just unfortunate that Pogge washed out of the NHL and Rask became a superstar

  9. Dave

    May 12, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Also, keep in mind that some players become stars because of the team they’re on, playing that team’s system and playing with that team’s players. You can’t assume that someone like Steen would of produced the same here as he has in STL. The leafs had Steen for 3 full seasons (and 1 partial) and he did not exactly show signs that he was going to be a superstar at the time.

  10. Chris

    May 12, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Dave that’s the point. Good teams know a) the value of the players they are giving up and b) how to develop them.

    And the Rask deal was brutal even at the time. If the Leafs scouts and management determined Pogge’s value based on the World Juniors then they are amateurs and should get new jobs as bloggers.

    You don’t make franchise altering decisions based on a 2 week tournament played by a bunch of kids. You need a much bigger body of work. Rask was also amazing in that tournament and Pogge was playing behind a powerhouse while Rask was not.

    It’s not your job or my job to see that but it most certainly is their job.

    Of course there’s no guarantee that Steen would have been as good as he is today; the point is that the return for all of the above players did not justify the assets traded for the return. At least in the Kessel deal the Leafs got a top 10 NHL scorer for the high picks.

    Rask went for Raycroft who was coming off of a terrible year. It’s not like they got him in his Calder winning year which might have been understandable with hindsight. It would be like the Leafs trading Morgan Rielly for Cam Ward right now.

    Steen and Coliacovo went for Lee Stempniak who was traded away for nothing.

    Stralman they let walk for nothing

    Hayes went for Brad Ross.

    The Leafs ability to assess talent is absolutely atrocious.

    John Gibson, who stole the show for Anaheim the other night and Rickard Rackell who played in that game were BOTH selected in 2011 with the 2 draft picks the Leafs gave them to move up to 22 and take Tyler Biggs.

    Rackell has 2 points in 4 playoff games for the Ducks.
    Gibson has 1 playoff game and a shutout

    Tyler Biggs has 0 points in 2 playoff games with the Marlies.

    If the Leafs could actually assess talent they could have drafted both of these players without moving at all. Biggs had never shown any offensive skill at any time before or since he was drafted. The idea that the Leafs can draft big oafs like Biggs and Gauthier and ‘develop their skill’ is ridiculous. Good teams draft skill and then develop things that are easy to develop: Size, strength, defensive awareness…you can’t take Frederick Gauthier and turn him into Datsyuk but you can take a Datsyuk and spend 5 years building the rest of his game around the skill he has (which is exactly what the Wings did)

    These kind of moves are deliberate and only illustrate how bad the Leafs are at assessing talent.

    Outside of Morgan Rielly and Nazem Kadri (who were top 10 picks and could improve) the Leafs have not drafted and developed any top line NHL players since Thomas Kaberle in 1996. The best they can manage is bottom six and bottom 4 guys and good AHL guys.

    That is inexcusable.

  11. Dave

    May 12, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    Maybe the leafs should trade Kadri for the Red Wings scouting staff :)

  12. Chris

    May 12, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    And Dave your comment that Steen ‘had three full seasons plus one partial’ says a lot about your expectations.

    3-5 years is the norm. Anybody who develops into a top line player before that is an exception or a top draft pick. He was a 42 point centre as a 23 year old and was in that range for the 3 full seasons he played with the Leafs. The Leafs was every reason to keep him and let him improve.

    Brayden Schenn is in exactly the same spot right now.

    Ryan O’Reilly got 6 million dollars for 55 points as a 23 year old.

    The Leafs need to stop looking at it that way.

  13. Dave

    May 12, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    @Chris except Steen had 3 years of so-so and then his 4th season he had 2g in 20 games before they traded him which didn’t bode well for him looking like the next big thing.

    Now that being said, when they did trade him and Colaiacovo for Lee Stempniak I remember hating that trade and thinking we got shafted, but I wasn’t entirely upset that he did get traded in general.

  14. eakieness

    May 12, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    That was a bizarre trade as everybody knew Fletcher.was getting replaced.

    Regardless….stempniak lands us Dion