Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
Toronto Maple Leafs top draft pick Auston Matthews remained without a contract on Wednesday, the sticking point apparently over performance bonuses that GM Lou Lamoriello has historically avoided in his time as an NHL executive.
There is no reason to panic yet, with hockey still two months away.
But some find it a curious way to do to business for a team that has invested heavily in building through youth, and spent so much time selling the pain of losing to land a player of Matthews calibre.
“This one, to me, feels foolish,” an NHL source not involved in the talks told The Star. “I don’t know what Lou’s reward is if he wins for the amount of risk you take by going this direction.”
The Leafs not only risk alienating Matthews and his camp — souring future talks when Matthews will have more leverage — but they may be sending a negative message to players around the league about how the team treats stars, he said.
from Kristen Shelton of TSN,
The media scrum tracking Auston Matthews at the first day of Toronto Maple Leafs Development Camp was so large, it had to be broken into two groups.
There were twice as many TV cameras there to film him (eight) as the actual number of on-ice drills he went through (four). For just 12 minutes.
And to the surprise of many Leaf fans on social media, Matthews is wearing No. 63 at this week’s development camp and not his usual No. 34, which was last worn by James Reimer.
Welcome to Toronto.
“This is the hockey Mecca of the world,” the 18-year old told reporters at the MasterCard Centre. “With that comes a lot of media and a lot of pressure and stuff like that, but it’s definitely something you want to embrace.”
via the Toronto Maple Leafs,
The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that the hockey club has signed free agent defenceman Roman Polak to a one-year contract.
Polak split last season between Toronto and San Jose. The Ostrava, Czech Republic native recorded one goal and 12 assists in 55 games with Toronto. With the Sharks, he collected three assists in 24 regular season games while also skating in 24 playoff games en route to San Jose’s appearance in the Stanley Cup Final.
Steven Stamkos will be a Leaf if the Leafs break the bank for him. 11 or 12 million say and Steven will be even better in Toronto than he was in Tampa believe it or not because everyone knows Ontario boys play better in Ontario than other players because of friends and family so says coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs Mike Babcock and so says American GM Brian Burke when he was with Toronto.
That’s why Toronto went out and drafted in the first 3 rounds, a Russian, a Swede and 3 Americans. Mark Hunter, the draftee or whatever you want to call him, is from Ontario. His expertise is one of the reasons he was hired, he knows all the kids in Ontario. He was GM for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. Mark was going to be our hero, from Ontario and the 40,000 kids that play for the GHTL of Ontario were looking forward to this draft.
We were looking forward to the draft so much and he drafts 3 Americans, a Swede and a Russian in the first 3 rounds but we will still cheer and support the Leafs. I have season seats and we will definitely cheer for the Leafs because it seems in Ontario we like to get kicked in the n-ts.
-Don Cherry via Twitter....
Another tweet from McKenzie,
The pick in TOR-CBJ is a conditional 5th. If Harrington is put on waivers by CBJ and gets claimed, CBJ gets a 5th. If he clears, no pick.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
Now he becomes the most important player to pull on a Leafs sweater in more than three decades.
The team will be mindful not to bill him as such, but after essentially punting on the 2015-16 season to set itself up for the chance to pick No. 1, it’s tough to conclude otherwise. Matthews is the organization’s first top draft choice since Wendel Clark in 1985 and stands to become the cornerstone piece of a long-overdue rebuild.
Scouts project him out as a high-end No. 1 centre – the Leafs haven’t had one of those since Mats Sundin – and some compared him to Joe Sakic during a draft year where he dominated the Swiss League while playing for the Zurich Lions.
That Matthews will enter the NHL as a player of high interest during its centennial season is only fitting. Roughly 25 years have passed since the league embarked on a sunbelt expansion strategy designed to attract new fans and players to the sport.
He instantly becomes a poster child for that movement.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
...the Toronto Maple Leafs select Auston Matthews,
added 5:08pm, Ducks release is below...
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.
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