NHL Rumors I: Holy Smoke – Sharks, Leafs, Panthers and Senators

Holy Smoke - Sharks, Leafs, Panthers and Senators
  • Hope Smoke: Bob McKenzie: “The Sharks are obviously trying to go through something of an overhaul” … “Don’t know if that [DW saying he wants players who want to play & not just live in SJ] is a shot about anyone in particular” … “I can tell you this, the sense in SJ when the season ended was if coach & GM would be back then Thornton or Marleau wouldn’t be” … “Now keep in mind, both [Marleau & Thornton] have NMC & they’re not going anywhere if they don’t want to” … “Thornton is not going to be too quickly predisposed to leave SJ even though he might get the sense that they’d like him to leave” … “I think Thornton’s name is going to be eminently available in trade talk, but again he holds the final cards” … “Curious situation for the SJ b/c trying to maybe move forward into a new era but they just signed both guys to 3 year contracts” … “I suspect both guys might think they took hometown discounts in order to stay in SJ & they’ve got NMC that go with it and now, all of a sudden, they may be asked to relocate & I imagine the players would think: whoa, wait a minute we took less than market value to stay in SJ & now you’ve quickly decided you want to move in a new direction?” … “I think that whole Marleau/Thornton v SJ situation is going to be fascinating to see how it plays out” … “I think the first round exit changed everything in terms of the dynamic in SJ” … “But listen we’re watching the Kings going to the Final here & the Sharks had them down 3-0.” … “Whether the combination of the Sharks blowing it or the Kings overtaking them, this Sharks group has never made Final and rarely made the Conf final so same change has to come” … “Kind of torn between looking at SJ & saying you know what they can come back intact next yr & be the team we thought they were, but I don’t think you can sell that to the market in SJ and that’s why change is being looked at harder than it was prior to signing Marleu/Thornton to extensions”
  • Hope Smoke: Darren Dreger: “Marleau and Thornton are two names that are legitimately in play and it could get ugly in SJ due to their NMC”
  • Hope Smoke: Darren Dreger: “I’m sure Thornton doesn’t want to leave SJ & he’s going to fight, scratch, claw and do everything he can to hold tight” .. “I’m sure in Thornton’s world he’d like to be bought out by the Sharks but that’s not how they do business.”
  • Hope Smoke: Darren Dreger: “Speculation continues to build that Tallon is keenly interested in Bolland.” … “Nonis & Shanahan are going to try & sign him but if they can’t get him below $5 million they’ll trade his rights” … “Shanahan will lean on Nonis who has spent more time in that GM chair in Toronto”
  • Hope Smoke: Darren Dreger: “I think Toronto is going to be active in some of those big names that will be out there. Leafs still need that big centre” Dreger says that the Leafs could be looking at Hurricanes Eric Staal.
  • Hope Smoke: Darren Dreger: “I’m sure Nonis & Shanahan have spent a long time trying to develop a vision that both agree is best for the Leafs” … “If they’ve done that then they’re not sharing what ultimately that vision is” … “I think Leafs are very realistic and know where they are as an organization. Want to make moves to push things along, not expedite” … “Nonis isn’t one who is willing to blow things up because he sees a quick fix. That’s not him at all. He’s realistic” … “I think Nonis manages in a very methodical fashion. He looks to improve by trade, FA & draft.” … “To get a Sam Bennett you’re going to have to move some pieces to get into that position or it’s going to get real ugly…””…I don’t think there’s much of a stomach to do that”
  • Hope Smoke: Darren Dreger: “Every time I’ve spoken to Tallon he has told me that he’ll be active & he won’t be restricted by finances like in the past”
  • Hope Smoke: Darren Dreger: “The Spezza watch is in full alert. Bryan Murray is telling teams they have to pay the price he paid to get Bobby Ryan”


  1. Jeff

    June 4, 2014 at 9:06 am

    If FLA wont be restricted by finances, why are there stories of them firing front office to save $’s?

  2. Galactus

    June 4, 2014 at 9:45 am

    What stories? Where? I would like to read them.

  3. Chris

    June 4, 2014 at 10:30 am

    Jeff, Because through revenue sharing teams like the Leafs will be paying the bills. So in a way either the Leafs will give Bolland 5 mil or they’ll pay a portion of Tallon’s contract offer.

    The salary cap is such crap. Teams who keep the league afloat are penalized while having no advantages while these teams like Florida can use welfare money and a pressure free atmosphere (because nobody cares about hockey in places like Florida) to sign guys while getting no advantages. If you can’t afford to pay your players you shouldn’t have a team. Absolute ridiculousness. They keep talking about expansion when they should be talking about contraction.

  4. Jeff

    June 4, 2014 at 10:33 am

    I dont think they should be talking about contraction, but rather, a new commissioner!

  5. Galactus

    June 4, 2014 at 11:22 am

    Chris, would you rather have a 15 team NHL with the Leafs and Rangers signing every good player year after year leaving only scraps for the others?

  6. sheila

    June 4, 2014 at 12:45 pm


  7. Chris

    June 4, 2014 at 12:58 pm


    YES! I would LOVE that. I think teams in Canadian markets are at a severe disadvantage under a cap system.

    Guys don’t want to sign in Canadian markets unless those teams severely overpay. They’d rather play pressure free in a market where they are either not the #1 attraction (Chicago/Boston/LA) or not even on the radar (Florida/Phoenix). What does Toronto or Montreal have to offer free agents? It’s cold all winter and you’ll be under intense scrutiny every day vs a team like Florida or LA saying “we’ll give you the same money as Toronto/Montreal except you’ll have zero media pressure, you’ll pay far less tax (which is essentially like giving them more money) and you can wear sandals to practice.”

    It’s also a lot harder to develop prospects in those environments. Every time a big name kid is drafted in Montreal or Toronto or Edmonton etc. they are expected to be superstars whereas in a place like San Jose, guys like Logan Couture can take five years to make the NHL and another few to develop there with zero pressure. These teams have big time advantages over the Canadian teams that keep the league afloat financially and it’s grossly unfair.

    It wouldn’t even need to go down to 15 teams. If the league simply lopped off Florida, Phoenix,Nashville, Tampa, Carolina and Dallas (teams that rarely, if ever, make money or have to go on a huge playoff run just to break even) they’d have a 24 team league with far better talent (no more enforcers for all you anti-fighting advocates) and a lot more money for the teams that actually make it.

    I can’t imagine a shopping mall where all the shops that make money are forced to finance the stores that constantly lose money. The whole concept is ridiculous.

    So yes. I would like your scenario because it would stop the bleed of money and players from big market teams to small market teams.

  8. Galactus

    June 4, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    The stores doing well in the shopping mall would not do so well if half the mall is closed.

    I don’t mind not agreeing with someone as long as the other has good points. You have very good points. Almost made me change my mind 😉

  9. Hankbemis

    June 4, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    Wow Chris, I didn’t realize I liked you so much. Only, I would’ve made a different, more obvious comparison than the mall for why a welfare system doesn’t work……..

  10. Hankbemis

    June 4, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Also, the mall does not have the same relationship w it’s stores as the NHL has w it’s teams.

    What about spezza to Toronto?? Has that been mentioned? Why can it and can’t it happen?

  11. Lightning

    June 4, 2014 at 4:34 pm


    Yes, the Leafs are on their own planet in terms of revenue in the NHL.

    The Lightning are doing just fine, thank you very much. Don’t just generalize and throw us in with other teams not doing well. If you are going purely from a financial aspect, how about adding some others on your list? New York Islanders (only like $20 mil in ticket sales for the year)? San Jose Sharks (lose like $15 mil a year I think)? New Jersey Devils (rarely sell out)? Or even… the Detroit Red Wings (rarely sell out, and the city they are in is dying)? Columbus Blue Jackets (pretty sure they are in the negative as well)?

    To end my own rant, don’t be angry that the Leafs are not in a good place right now. Shanahan is going to get you all going in the right direction. The NHL does not need to go to a system like the MLB, where there is no parity (parity makes the NHL very fun to watch). I think the real issue you have is with Toronto management and some of the crazy contracts they have given (Clarkson, Phaneuf), and some of the prospects they have given up (I’ll just say Tuukka). Like I said, I think Shanahan will right the ship for the Leafs.

    P.S. Stamkos is getting a big extension after this season (when he will be eligible for negotiations).

    Go Bolts!

  12. Hankbemis

    June 4, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    Actually the wings were at 104% capacity this season, and that has been the case for a while. http://espn.go.com/nhl/attendance
    Just because you see empty seats on TV does not mean that a corporate sponsor hasn’t bought them up!

    What exactly do you mean by dying in reference to Detroit? Public debt? Incompetent and corrupt leaders? No longer producing anything? Where are you from brother? Dont knock it til you tried it my man…

  13. ChrisB

    June 4, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    110% actually. 104% is their overall, which includes their drawing power for their 41 away games.

    As long as the Illitch’s own the Wings, the team isn’t going anywhere. Mike Illitch was born in Detroit, and started building his empire in Detroit and SW Michigan. He started in 1959(bought the Wings in 1982), there’s too much loyalty to the city and area to just sell now. He and his wife, Marion, who also holds an executive position with Illitch Holdings are worth roughly $3.6 billion combined.

    Their kids are a different story. 2 of them hold executive positions also, while the others went their own way. Eventually they will inherit everything. How it is all divvied out, and how it plays out from there is the only real basis for concern.

  14. Chris

    June 5, 2014 at 10:06 am


    The reason the Leafs are so bad is because of terrible drafting and development. I’m not making any excuses for that. Montreal has shown that a Canadian team CAN make good draft/development decisions; I just think it’s significantly harder to do so and more difficult than that is luring free agents at good prices.

    I will say though, that a guy like Hedman would have been considered a total bust in Toronto because he wasn’t a superstar right away. In Tampa he’s been allowed to develop pressure free.

    And the other teams you mentioned….I’d be happy with them gone too. A 20 team league playing 60 games a year would yield a far better product.

    Here’s what I would love and it’s all ‘pie in the sky’ theory:

    1. A two tier league like European soccer. 15 teams in the ‘premier league’ and 15 teams in the ‘second division’. No salary Cap. No revenue sharing. The bottom three teams in the premier league are either relegated or have to play the top 3 teams in the 2nd division in a playoff to determine who plays where.

    2. A 60 game schedule starting in October and ending in March or April followed by some sort of world cup or champions league tournament in June, July or August.

    This will NEVER happen and I know it. I think it would make the product so much more exciting internationally and domestically.

  15. Chris

    June 5, 2014 at 10:54 am

    Of course I’d settle right now for a cap system that makes up for the tax differences between states/provinces.

    I think the tax rate for millionaires in Ontario is close to 35 or 40% (but I’m not exactly sure). If that tax rate is 25% in Florida that’s an extra 10% take home income.

    That means if the Panthers and Leafs both offer Matt Niskanen 6 million dollars, technically the panthers are offering him more money because he gets to take an extra 600 000 dollars home per year. If it’s a five year deal, you’re talking an extra 3,000,000 dollars in take home pay.

    So to compensate for that the Leafs have to offer him 6.6 or more. Multiply this over a 23 man roster and the Leafs actually have LESS cap space in theory if they want to compete with tax rates in different parts of the continent.

    How is this at all fair?