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Category: Toronto-Maple-Leafs

2 Forwards, 3 Defensemen?

from Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star,

“It’s logical why most teams don’t go 2F3D. It’s because there’s not enough good, mobile, skilled, imaginative defencemen — or backs — available to fill those spots,” Han said. “You’re always going to leave talent on the table if you dress more defencemen than forwards, because growing up the best players play forward, generally speaking.”

Still, there’s another force at work here: Forwards are expensive. You may have heard the Leafs have half their salary cap tied up in four. Defencemen are relatively cheaper. And the Leafs happen to have what Han considers a promising cache of modestly-paid blueliners with the skating ability and hockey sense to make a 2-3 configuration work. At the top of that list reside Rasmus Sandin, Timothy Liljegren and Mac Hollowell; Han considers the latter “an extremely underrated prospect.”

Plus, the Leafs have been using forward pairs — Auston Matthews-William Nylander and John Tavares-Mitch Marner, or vice versa, with assorted wingers tacked on — for a few years now.

“They’re heavy up top, and they have a lot of Ds who are OK but need a little help. It’s a configuration that can help them,” he said. “It’s a way to find cap efficiency. It’s also a way to maximize your talent and insulate some of the weaknesses these talents have.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Leafs Have Been Here Before

from Damien Cox at the Toronto Star,

Promising players such as Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnson are gone. Joe Thornton and Wayne Simmonds have arrived as replacements, formerly elite players signed at bargain prices to ease the salary-cap crunch but also to add character in lieu of the offensive stats they once produced.

If you know your Maple Leafs history, these manoeuvres are as old as the uniform itself. Once upon a time they even worked. Players such as Andy Bathgate, Red Kelly, Marcel Pronovost and Terry Sawchuk joined Punch Imlach’s Leafs in the 1960s after all-star careers with other NHL clubs. They helped the Leafs win multiple Stanley Cups....

Now come Thornton and Simmonds. The Leafs hope they can add character, along with a few goals. Maybe they can.

Simmonds has moved a lot late in his career — playing for Philadelphia, Nashville, New Jersey and Buffalo over the past two seasons. Thornton is a future Hall of Fame player, and has been one of the most approachable and amiable NHL personalities for years. Everybody loves Jumbo. The Leafs believe he’ll bring leadership and that elusive character, although the Sharks stripped him of the captaincy in 2014.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Four Players On The Toronto Maple Leafs Account For Half Of The Salary Cap

from Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star,

...given that Tavares and hard-negotiating colleagues Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander will combine to earn about 50 per cent of the $81.5-million salary cap next season, the top-heavy roster has created a problematic imbalance in Leafland.

The imbalance, for now, is financial. Time will tell if it gets personal. While the Leafs have spent the off-season attempting to address various weaknesses — adding to their depth on defence while addressing the lack of “grit and work ethic” acknowledged by team president Brendan Shanahan at last season’s end — they’ve also created the potential for a dressing-room divide.

At the top of the food chain is a few star players who, if they don’t perform superbly, can be easily framed as greedy hogs who’ve commandeered the trough. Meanwhile, there’s a larger group of modestly paid but still important players who can make the case — as Mikheyev already has — that they have, unlike their highest-paid brethren, sacrificed for the cause. Count among that cadre veteran grit provider Wayne Simmonds, who signed on for a modest $1.5 million; Joe Thornton, the 41-year-old Hockey Hall of Famer in waiting who signed for the veteran minimum of $700,000; and Jason Spezza, another $700,000 lifer. Thornton and Spezza aren’t the only potentially key contributors who’ve jumped at the chance to play for the Leafs even though they will earn $1 million or less next season. The list also includes Zach Bogosian, Jimmy Vesey and KHL defenceman Mikko Lehtonen.

Marner, a year after engaging in the hardest of hardball negotiations with the club that brought him a six-year deal worth an annual $10.893 million, sounded more than slightly tone deaf this week when he lauded the willingness of so many of the new arrivals to join the Leafs for relatively humble wages.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Morning Line- Joe Thornton


added 5:23pm, below, wtch Thornton on why Toronto...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Toronto Maple Leafs Have Signed Joe Thornton

from the Toronto Maple Leafs,

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that the hockey club has signed forward Joe Thornton to a one-year contract. The value of the contract is $700,000.

Thornton, 41, skated in 70 regular season games with San Jose last season, registering 31 points (7 goals, 24 assists). In 1,636 career NHL regular season games between the Boston Bruins and San Jose Sharks, Thornton has recorded 1,509 points (420 goals, 1089 assists) while adding 133 points (31 goals, 102 assists) in 179 playoff games. The six-time All Star captured both the Art Ross Trophy and Hart Memorial Trophy in 2006.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Audio/Video- Joe Thornton Not A Fit In Toronto According To Brian Burke

via Sportsnet,

HC's Brian Burke discusses why it doesn't make a lick of sense for the Maple Leafs to bring in Joe Thornton in free agency, saying he loves him, but he's a piece they don't need right now.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

T.J. Brodie Signs With Toronto

via a press release from the Toronto Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that the hockey club has signed defenceman TJ Brodie to a four-year contract. The contract carries an average annual value of $5.0 million.

Brodie, 30, played in 64 games for the Calgary Flames during the 2019-20 season, recording four goals and 15 assists, before adding a goal and three assists in 10 Stanley Cup playoff games. In 634 career NHL games, all with Calgary, he has recorded 266 points (48 goals, 218 assists) and has recorded four goals and 11 assists in 30 career playoff contests.

Internationally, the Chatham, Ont., native represented Canada at the 2013 IIHF World Championships where he recorded an assist in seven games.

Brodie was originally selected by the Calgary Flames in the fourth round (114th overall) of the 2008 NHL Draft.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Are The Toronto Maple Leafs A Playoff Team?

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

As much as the Leafs need to deepen and strengthen their roster, they also need to alter the way in which they game. Dubas admitted that much in a media gathering on Monday. He admired what Tampa displayed in winning, how great its truly great players played and competed, how difficult it was to play against the rest of the Lightning team.

In four years of Auston Matthews and friends, the Leafs stars are yet to be giants at playoff time, the rest of its roster yet to be a challenge to play against, have yet to win a playoff or elimination round.

The first step now is making the playoffs. That’s a challenge all by itself in a tightening Eastern Conference. And that’s something we wouldn’t have thought about not so long ago.

much more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Afternoon Line- Steve Simmons On John Tavares

You don’t pay $11 million a year for ordinary, although in fairness to Tavares, he has scored 148 points in 145 games as a Maple Leaf. That isn’t ordinary. Those are Tavares numbers, year after year after year. His career is a straight line that way.

But the Leafs have needed it be more than that for the past two post-seasons. They needed a rising stock. In 12 games, seven playoffs, five pre-real-playoffs, he has eight points. That’s a 55-point pace. That’s not good enough.

-Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun where you can read more on Tavares.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Toronto Maple Leafs Trading Kasperi Kapanen To The Pittsburgh Penguins

added 12:01pm,


added 12:12pm, Pittsburgh release is below.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com


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