Sunday, June 28, 2009

What can the Leafs get for Tomas Kaberle?

The Maple Leafs look to have moved to the top of the table when you look at teams looking for a top defensemen to make a run for the Stanley Cup next season, with Chris Pronger traded to the Flyers and Jay Bouwmeester's rights traded to Calgary the Leafs Tomas Kaberle is the next big meal ticket out there and gives Brian Burke a chance to play teams against one another to maximize the return he can get for Kaberle. Tomas Kaberle has great vision and at 31 would be a vital component where he can contribute to any top team he goes to. The problem if he stays in Toronto is that by the time the Leafs are competitive once again Kaberle could be 34 or 35 and would not garner the return that he will today and the Leafs would be wise to get a least one player in return that is an NHL ready player to add to their forward corps. The change of scene should help Kaberle since its been a long while since he has been part of any contending team, so now we take a look at who we feel will be in the hunt for Kaberle and what the Leafs may get in return.

Boston Bruins- The Leafs may now be able to get the Bruins RFA Phil Kessel straight up for Kaberle after backing out of the deal this weekend when the Bruins wanted the teams 1st Round pick.

Potential Trade- Tomas Kaberle for F-Phil Kessel.

San Jose Sharks- The Sharks have some interest in Kaberle and would look great on the beack end with Boyle, Kaberle, Erhoff and the potential re-signing of Rob Blake.

Potential Trade- Tomas Kaberle for F-Jonathan Cheechoo and D-Mike Moore.

Vancouver Canucks- The Canucks look as if they may being doing an overhaul with the Sedins, Sundin and Ohlund possibly not returning Kaberle would be a more then adequate replacement for Ohlund.

Potential Trade- Tomas Kaberle for F-Ryan Kesler and D-Shane O'Brien

Buffalo Sabres- The Sabres are looking for a powerplay quarterback something they were missing all of last season.

Potential Trade- Tomas Kaberle for F- Daniel Paille and F- Zack Kassian

Florida Panthers- The Panthers need to replace Bouwmeester and could re-unite Kaberle and former Leaf Bryan McCabe.

Potential Trade- Tomas Kaberle for F- David Booth and D- Adam Comrie

There could be some other potential players in the Kaberle sweepstakes and other Maple Leafs added to any deal but the key is to get a young player who can be on the roster this coming season and if Brian Burke gets the right offer from another team this will be the first time since the 1997-98 season that we won't see the famaliar #15 in the Leafs back end.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Maple Leafs 2009 NHL Draft Selections

The Toronto Maple Leafs have completed their 2009 NHL Draft and one thing stands out of the new Brian Burke era, Burke did not draft one European player. I'm not sure if he feels their are too many on the team already but it did stand out, it looks like Burke decided to stick to North American players in this draft. Here are the Maple Leafs selections.

NHL Draft 2009

1st Round Pick: Nazem Kadri, C (London Knights, OHL) GP 56 G 25 A 53 PTS 78

2nd Round Pick: Kenny Ryan, RW (USA U18 Progam) GP53 G21 A20 PTS 41

2nd Round Pick: Jesse Blacker, D (Windsor Spitfires, OHL)) GP 67 G 4 A17 PTS 21

3rd Round Pick: Jaime Devane, LW (Plymouth Whalers, OHL) GP 64 G 5 A 12 PTS 17

5th Round Pick: Eric Knodel, D (Philadelphia Jr. Flyers, USMAAA) GP 51 G 13 A 32 PTS 45

6th Round Pick: Jerry D'Amigo, RW (USA U18 Program) GP 44 G 19 A 24 PTS 43

7th Round Pick: Barron Smith, D (Peterborough Petes, OHL) GP 34 G 0 A 2 PTS 2

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Maple Leafs select Nazem Kadri from the London Knights

The Toronto Maple Leafs have selected in the 2009 NHL Draft Nazem Kadri from the London Knights. Kadri had 78 points in 58 games for the Knights last season chipping in 25 goals. Kadri grew up a Montreal Canadiens fan but I'm guessing that he has a new favourite team now.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Best and Worst Leafs 1st Round Picks in the last 20 years

The days continue to count down to the NHL Draft edition 2009. Brian Burke huddles with his team of scouts wondering which prospect the Leafs will select with their 1st Round pick hoping that he finds a blue chip prospect. The Leafs have the 7th Overall pick if they remain their and in our mock draft we have the Leafs selecting defensemen Jared Cowan, if the Leafs select Cowan or any other player how will they rank compared to the previous players Leafs first round picks?

The Leafs over the previous twenty drafts have had nineteen first round picks with three of the picks coming in the 1989 draft and two each in the 1992 and 1993 drafts. The Leafs have had no first round pick in six of the past twenty drafts.

The Toronto Maple Leafs Top 5, 1st Round Picks from 1988-2008

1- Brad Boyes taken in the 2000 Draft, 24th Overall

Boyes never did dress as a Maple Leaf but has scored 76 goals over the last two seasons in St. Louis, something we could use more of in the blue and white. Boyes was part of the 2005-06 NHL All Rookie team as a member of the Boston Bruins.

Note: Brad Boyes was traded along with Alyn McCauley and a 1st Round pick in 2003 (Mark Stuart) to the San Jose Sharks for Owen Nolan. (March 5, 2003)

2- Kenny Jonsson taken in the 1993 Draft, 12th Overall

Jonsson was to be a future cog of the Leafs defense for years but he lasted all of 89 games. Jonsson was named to the 1994-95 NHL All Rookie team and the 1999 All Star Game.

Note: Kenny Jonsson was traded along with Darby Hendrickson, Sean Haggerty and the Leafs 1st Round pick in 1997 (Roberto Luongo) to the New York Islanders for Wendel Clark, Mathieu Schneider and D.J. Smith. (March 13, 1996)

3- Nik Antropov taken in the 1998 Draft, 10th Overall

Antropov started his career spending many nights in the teams medical room dealing with injuries but has been injury free the past two seasons and chipped in 47 goals over that span. Antropov played in 510 games as a Leaf.

Note: Nik Antropov was traded to the New York Rangers for a 2nd Round pick in 2009 and a conditional pick. (February 9, 2009)

4- Scott Thornton taken in the 1989 Draft, 3rd Overall

Thornton played in only 33 games as a Leaf but the gritty player had a long NHL career in which he dressed in 941 games. Thornton played for three Canadian NHL teams in Toronto, Montreal and Edmonton.

Note: Scott Thornton was traded along with Vincent Damphousse, Luke Richardson and Peter Ing to the Edmonton Oilers for Grant Fuhr, Glenn Anderson and Craig Berube. (September 19, 1991)

5- Luke Schenn taken in the 2008 Draft, 5th Overall

Schenn stormed into Toronto this past season, cracking the Leafs roster and being selected to the 2008-09 NHL All Rookie team. Schenn may move up this ladder over his career, this is not a knock on Schenn but it clearly shows how poor the Leafs have drafted over the last twenty seasons to have a player in the Top rankings after just one season.

Note: Luke Schenn was a member of the 2007-08 Canadian World Junior Gold Winning Team.

The Toronto Maple Leafs Worst 5, 1st Round Picks from 1988-2008

1- Scott Pearson taken in the 1988 Draft, 6th Overall

Pearson played in 292 career NHL games with 63 in the blue and white. The Leafs expected alot more from Pearson taken so high in the draft and being taken ahead of a few future star NHL players was one by far the worst pick in the last 20 years.

Notable players taken just after Pearson: Jeremy Roenick, Teemu Selanne, Rob Brind'Amour

Note: Scott Pearson was traded along with the Leafs 2nd Round pick in 1991 (Eric Lavigne) to the Quebec Nordiques for Michel Petit, Aaron Broten and Lucien DeBlois.

2- Brandon Convery taken in the 1992 Draft, 8th Overall

Convery played all of 50 games for the Maple Leafs and 72 in his total NHL career. The Leafs expected more from an 8th Overall Pick. Convery spend most of his time in the AHL and Europe. Convery played more NHL games then only five out of the twenty-four first round picks that season.

Notable players taken just after Convery: Sergei Gonchar, Martin Straka, Jason Smith.

Note: Brandon Convery was traded to the Vancouver Canucks for Lonny Bohonos (March 7, 1998)

3- Steve Bancroft taken in the 1989 Draft, 21st Overall

Bancroft was part of the Belleville Three taken in the 1989 Draft by the Leafs in the 1st Round. Bancroft played a total of 6 NHL games which was more then three out of the twenty-one players taken in the draft and none with Toronto. Bancroft was a career AHL and IHL player.

Notable players taken just after Bancroft: Adam Foote, Kent Manderville, Travis Green

Note: Steve Bancroft was traded to the Boston Bruins for Rob Cimetta (November 9, 1990)

4- Luca Cereda taken in the 1999 Draft, 24th Overall

Cereda did not play an NHL game and was diagnosed with a heart condition early on his Leaf career but did finish off his career in the Swiss league. Cereda was tied with two others as the worst 1st Round pick in the draft at zero games played.

Notable players taken just after Cereda: Martin Havlat, Alexei Semenov

Note: Luca Cereda was released by the team.

5- Jeff Ware taken in the 1995 Draft, 15th Overall

Ware played a total of 21 NHL games, 15 in a Leafs uniform. Ware ended up playing most of his hockey in the AHL. Ware was the fifth worst 1st round pick out of twenty-six in the draft.

Notable players taken just after Ware: Martin Biron, Petr Sykora, Denis Gauthier

Note: Jeff Ware was traded to the Florida Panthers for David Nemirovsky (February 17, 2009)

Brian Burke will be looking to make his mark with the Leafs Friday night in Montreal, lets all hope that his pick will better then what we are usually accustomed to in Toronto over the last twenty drafts.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

TMLs 2009 NHL Mock Draft

The NHL Draft is coming up this Saturday in Montreal with many questions to be asked. Who will go number one? Who will make a trade to move up? Will there be any blockbusters? but nothing is more fun then making your own Mock Draft of what could happen this week. We take a look at who will go where based on the current draft order.

New York Islanders (1st Overall Pick)

John Tavares (London Knights, OHL) Forward

The best pure goal scorer in the draft the Islanders have the man everyone has been watching for the last four years. The Islanders do need defense but how can you pass up on a scorer who will fill your seats and sell jerseys.

Tampa Bay Lightning (2nd Overall Pick)

Victor Hedman (Modo, Sweden) Defensemen

One year after taken Stamkos first overall the Lightning return to the draft and take a defensemen to build around for the future. Plenty of rumours have the Lightning trading this pick away but if not look for Hedman to anchor the D for years to come.

Colorado Avalance (3rd Overall Pick)

Matt Duchene (Brampton Battalion, OHL) Forward

The scouts have him as the best all around player in the NHL draft, the Avs are looking for a replacement for the soon to be retired Sakic and Duchene has all the tools to oblige.

Atlants Thrashers (4th Overall Pick)

Evander Kane (Vancouver Giants, WHL) Forward

Kane came on strong after a great World Junior Championship and with the Thrashers drafting Bogosian last season, they are looking for some scoring up front. Kane will bring that along with an edge.

Los Angeles Kings (5th Overall Pick)

Braydon Schenn (Brandon Wheat Kings, WHL) Forward

Schenn looks to follow his brother Luke to the NHL. Schenn has the perfect combination of skill and grit and would be a great addition to the Kings young forward units.

Phoenix Coyotes (6th Overall Pick)

Dmitry Kulikov (Drummondville Voltigeurs, QMJHL) Defensemen

The Coyotes need an offensive defensemen and one of the best in the draft is Kulikov. He won a tonne of awards last season in the QMJHL and can control the pace of the game like a veteran.

Toronto Maple Leafs (7th Overall Pick)

Jared Cowan (Spokane Chiefs, WHL) Defensemen

The Leafs add another big shut down defensemen in Cowan to go along with last years pick Schenn. Cowan is big, mean and mobile and exactly what the Leafs need as they continue their rebuilding plan.

Dallas Stars (8th Overall Pick)

Ryan Ellis (Windsor Spitfires, OHL) Defensemen

Ellis is a tremendous power play point man with great vision and calm in the back end. The Stars are looking for Zubov's potential replacement and have found it in Ellis.

Ottawa Senators (9th Overall Pick)

Nazem Kadri (London Knights, OHL) Forward

The Sens may be looking for a replacement for Heatley after the trade request and wouldn't go wrong with Kadri who is a slick forward with many offensive skills.

Edmonton Oilers (10th Overall Pick)

Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Leksand, Sweden) Defensemen

Ekman-Larsson has great vision as an offensive defensemen something the Oilers are lacking especially on the powerplay.

Nashville Predators (11th Overall Pick)

Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson (Timra, Sweden) Forward

Paajarvi-Svensson is a dangler and the best player available in this spot for the Predators who would instantly add a scorer up front. Paajarvi-Svensson outshone Hedman at this past World Junior Championships.

Minnesota Wild (12th Overall Pick)

Zack Kassian (Peterborough Petes OHL) Forward

Kassian may be the meanest player in this draft with a good set of hands and would be a definite fan favorite in Minnesota, many scouts compare him to Milan Lucic.

Buffalo Sabres (13th Overall Pick)

John Moore (Chicago, USHL) Defensemen

The Sabres will select a defensemen again this year and the best puck moving defensive in the draft at this point is Moore. Moore will go well with last seasons pick Tyler Myers.

Florida Panthers (14th Overall Pick)

David Rundblad (Skelleftea, Sweden) Defensemen

The Panthers look to lose Jay Bouwmeester this off season and Rundblad is a big Swede who can quarterback the powerplay.

Anaheim Ducks (15th Overall Pick)

Jacob Josefson (Djurgardens, Sweden) Forward

Josefson may just be the best two way forward in the entire draft and the Ducks will look to replace some of the depth trading away this past season.

Columbus Blue Jackets (16th Overall Pick)

Nick Leddy (Eden Prairie, Minnesota H.S.) Defensemen

The Jackets have a wealth of young forward talent so will be looking for a defensemen in this position. Leddy is a puck moving defensemen and this years Mr. Hockey Award winner.

St. Louis Blues (17th Overall Pick)

Scott Glennie (Brandon Wheat Kings, WHL) Forward

Glennie is a high skilled offensive forward, who can score and playmake. The Blues will be happy to get Glennie with this pick and add another piece to their roster.

Montreal Canadiens (18th Overall Pick)

Jordan Schroeder (Minnesota, NCAA) Forward

The Habs will look to replace a mass exodus of players this off season by adding Schroeder a gifted player who's speed sends opposing defense into a panic.

New York Rangers (19th Overall Pick)

Peter Holland (Guelph Storm, OHL) Forward

The Rangers are looking to move either Drury or Gomez and Holland is a gifted player who can fill the void at center.

Calgary Flames (20th Overall Pick)

Chris Kreider (Andover, Mass. H.S.) Forward

Kreider will bring size and skill to the Flames with the potential to becoming a first line player for years to come.

Philadelphia Flyers (21st Overall Pick)

Stefan Elliott (Saskatoon Blades, WHL) Defensemen

Elliott is a mobile puck moving defensemen just what the Flyers are looking for in this draft. Elliott is a smart player in all three zones.

Vancouver Canucks (22nd Overall Pick)

Landon Ferraro (Red Deer Rebels, WHL) Forward

Ferraro is a pure goal scorer who can fill the net and just like his NHL dad Ray is a hard nosed player with great leadership skills.

New Jersey Devils (23rd Overall Pick)

Louis Leblanc (Omaha, USHL) Forward

Leblanc is a great two way player, just the type of player that the Devils GM is always looking to draft for the Devils.

Washington Capitals (24th Overall Pick)

Jeremy Morin (National Program, USA) Forward

Morin is a great goal scorer second to only Tavares in this draft. The Capitals would like nothing better up front to take some pressure off of Ovechkin.

Boston Bruins (25th Overall Pick)

Ryan O'Reilly (Erie Otters, OHL) Forward

O'Reilly has worked his way up the draft rankings with his hard work and determination something the Bruins tend to covet.

New York Islanders (26th Overall Pick)

Kyle Palmieri (National Program, USA) Forward

The Islanders get another pick in round one from Ottawa via San Jose and why not give Tavares a gifted offensive forward in Palmieri who's hockey sense would mesh well with JT.

Carolina Hurricanes (27th Overall Pick)

Carter Ashton (Lethbridge Hurricanes, WHL) Forward

Ashton goes from one Hurricane to another as this big aggressive winger with a scoring touch looks to make his mark in the league as a power forward. NHL dad is Brent.

Chicago Blackhawks (28th Overall Pick)

Dylan Olsen (Camrose, AJHL) Defensemen

Olsen had a breakout year in the AJHL for the Kodiaks, he is a good skater and aware in both ends.

Detroit Red Wings (29th Overall Pick)

Edward Pasquale (Saginaw Spirit, OHL) Goaltender

Pasquale is the best goaltender in the draft and one of the few spots in which the Red Wings lack depth.

Pittsburgh Penguins (30th Overall Pick)

Jordan Caron (Rimouski Oceanic, QMJHL) Forward

Caron was one of the most dangerous offensive threats in the QMJHL and would be an ideal player on the wing of either Crosby or Malkin.

The NHL draft is an exciting time for many NHL fans lets hope this one is full of surprises.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Brian Burke signs first big name free agent?

This will be the future headline in all the newspapers, tv stations and the internet once the free agent period begins on July 1, 2009. Brian Burke looks to place his own big stamp on the Toronto Maple Leafs this summer and rebuild this team back into a playoff contender this off season when the UFA period begins. The questions many Maple Leaf fans have, myself included is who will it be?. There are a number of offensive players that Burke could go after in the UFA market with the Leafs currently having roughly $13 million in cap space to spend. The money is there for a player or two or possible three if Burke is wheeling and dealing to open up even more cap space.

The best suited UFAs for the Maple Leafs and chances of these players putting on the Blue and White:(0- No chance, 10- Sure Thing)

The Sedin Twins: Burke wheeled and dealed to be able to draft these two brothers and have them together in Vancouver he would love to do the same for Toronto. The Sedins, Daniel and Henrik would be a potent first line pairing for the Leafs for years to come and at the age of 27 would be around for a long time.

Possible Contract: 5 years at around $5.5 to $6.5 million a piece.

Realistic Chance to land in Toronto: 4

Mike Cammalleri: Burke has seen enough of this player when he was in Anaheim and Cammalleri in L.A., so has an idea what he could bring to the table, Cammalleri a lifetime Leaf fan and two time thirty goal scorer is currently 27 and could like nothing better to play in front of family and friends in the prime of his career.

Possible Contract: 6 years at around $5 to $6 million a season.

Realistic Chance to land in Toronto: 8

Francois Beauchemin: Another player from Burke's old stomping ground, former Stanley Cup champ, tough defensemen and 29. Burke would like to bring him to Toronto and becomes more valuable to the team if Kaberle or Kubina are moved out.

Possible Contract: 4 years at around $3 to $4 million a season.

Realistic Chance to land in Toronto: 6

Travis Moen: Another player from Burke's Stanley Cup champs and fits Burke's theory on what the back six forwards should be like on an NHL roster, has a mean streak and plays his role well at 27 many years left.

Possible Contract: 4 years at around $1.5 to $2.5 million a season

Realistic Chance to land in Toronto: 6

Chris Neil: This is Burke's type of player a mean player who chips in the odd goal, willing to stand up for teammates and the time may have come for him to cross the province and join the other side of the Battle of Ontario. At 29 Neil has lost a step but fits the mold of Burke's back six forwards and change of scene could spark the player.

Possible Contract: 2 years at around $1 to $2 million a season

Realistic Chance to land in Toronto: 8

Jay Bouwmeester: The possible future Maple Leafs number one defensemen, critics wonder how Bouwmeester would respond to playing in hockeys hot bed after playing his whole career in the quiet atmosphere of Miami. The catch of the UFA season and at 25 still has aways to go in potential.

Possible Contract: 7 years at around $7 to $8 million a season

Realistic Chance to land in Toronto: 5

Mike Komisarek: He likes to hit anything the moves and is a tremoendous physical package for any NHL team. Komisarek's mean streak is just what Burke has in mind for this passive blueline and at 27 is entering his prime.

Possible Contract: 5 years at around $5 to $6 million a season.

Realistic Chance to land in Toronto: 3

There are many other potential NHL free agents but this looks to be the best options i can see that would mold this team to Burke's liking and with some of the potential youngsters already on the roster we may just find out what playoff hockey is for the first time since the lockout.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Will Brian Burke stick to his motto come draft day?

The NHL season is over and it has been another season where we have missed the Buds in the post season. The team has been preparing for the off season with many moves concerning the Marlies team coaching staff, goaltending coaches and medical staff but will these moves be as big as what can happen on Draft day June 26/27 in Montreal? I think not. Brian Burke has in the past been a player via the trade route on draft day but the jury is still out if he can perform some magic this time around that would benefit the Maple Leafs. The Leafs currently have the 7th Overall Pick in the draft this season and there are many players the team could take at this slot to help the team in the future unfortunately none are named Tavares or Hedman. Burke has always been an avid fan of building a team from the goalie out and if this continues their is no better pick at this spot in the draft then big 6 foot 5 Spokane defensemen Jared Cowan. Cowan and Schenn could be a potent shut down pair in the blue and white for years to come. Cowan is getting over a knee injury but his size and great skating for a prospect of his age is something the Leafs would enjoy. Cowan is underated in his offensive ability and has been compared to Adam Foote in some circles. The Leafs could also go another way and take Russian prospect and Drummondville offensive defensemen Dmitry Kulikov who was awarded the best defensemen in the QMJHL this past season. Kulikov has the potential to be a number one or two defensemen in the NHL . Kulikov does not only have offensive flair but is also strong in his own end and partnered with Schenn in the Blue and White could provide the team with a potent 1-2 punch in future years. The key of course is will Cowan or Kulikov live up to their potential to be solid defensemen in the NHL for years to come, if that is the case then the next question would be if Burke sticks to his rule of building the team from the goaltender out and if the answer is yes which many think so then one of these two young prospects could be wearing the team colors when training camp opens up in September.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Toronto is Maple Leafs country

The rumours continue to swirl around another team in the greater Toronto area after another group the third in the last month came out this past week to show their blueprint for another team in the area. Toronto can handle another NHL team their is no doubt about it but the Leafs seem to want to keep the area all to themselves, the last thing they want is a team to compete in its market and worse yet be successful both on and off the ice. Toronto and its billions of dollars is the most successful team in the league when it comes to making money and another team in the area would dip into the teams revenue streams. The Maple Leafs do not want to lose that one ticket buyer, that one jersey purchaser or that one tv viewer to another team in their market and unless the team is compensated to their liking in the form of millions of dollars, we will not see another NHL team in their market for a very long time no matter who decides to call the next news conference in this city. Toronto is Maple Leaf country and no Toronto Legacy, Toronados or whatever other team nickname some interested investors come up with is going to change that. The trick to getting a team in Toronto just might be to sit with MLSE and tell them how many millions your willing to give them to get another team in this city and then and only then might they listen.