Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Michael Traikos of the National Post,
They have a forward who ranked in the top five in league scoring and a goaltender who was amongst the league’s best. But ask Stephane Robidas what attracted him to the Toronto Maple Leafs and he immediately says the team’s defence.
“Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner,” Robidas said from his off-season home in Sherbrooke, Que. “When we talked about my role and what the Leafs are looking for, they’d like me to help the younger defencemen. To me that’s a great opportunity. I’ve watched them play. I know exactly how good they are and everything. Having a chance to play with one of the two and try to help those guys is going to be good for me.”...
In his first year in the NHL, Rielly scored two goals and 27 points in 73 games. But the fifth overall pick in 2012, who had a minus-13 rating, could have used someone to pick him up after a bad game. Gardiner, who was arguably Toronto’s best defenceman in the second half of the season but often clashed with head coach Randy Carlyle because of his sometimes risky decisions with the puck, might have also benefited from a veteran to lean on....
“I think it’s the poise they play with,” he said. “If I’m speaking for myself, I was never a high draft pick or the type of player that they are. It’s not easy to play defence in the NHL. To do it at a young age, it always amazes me how younger guys can come in and play and play well with that kind of confidence. To me, it’s not easy. Some people overlook it. It takes time to become comfortable.
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
Perhaps the realization on both sides that the market for goalies is limited — there are still a number of unrestricted free-agent netminders available — and the return for Reimer would be small.
Perhaps it was the realization by Reimer that the opportunity to be a starter would be no better anywhere else.
Perhaps it was the realization by the Leafs that they don’t have much depth and another injury to Bernier without an adequate backup could paralyze the team.
So the conversation changed. The Leafs told Reimer they needed him. The Leafs told Reimer he could unseat Bernier for the top job if he plays well enough.
“That’s pretty much what I’ve been told,” said Reimer. “That’s all a guy can ask for. All you want is a chance, and I intend to make the most of it.
“My goal is to go in there and be the No. 1 guy. Worst-case scenario: Me and Bernier push each other and we get great goaltending.”
via the Toronto Maple Leafs,
David Nonis, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, announced Monday the hockey club has signed forward Daniel Winnik to a one-year contract.
Winnik, 29, played 76 games for the Anaheim Ducks in 2013-14, registering career highs in assists (24) and points (30) while adding six goals, 23 penalty minutes and a plus-six rating. He also posted an assist and two penalty minutes in nine playoff games with the Ducks last season.
The 6-2, 207-pound centreman has accumulated 150 career NHL points (49 goals, 101 assists) and 226 penalty minutes in 490 games with Phoenix, Colorado, San Jose and Anaheim. A native of Toronto, Ontario, Winnik was originally selected by Phoenix in the ninth round, 265th overall, in the 2004 Entry Draft.
from Kavitha A. Davidson at Bloomberg View,
After missing the playoffs for the eighth time in nine seasons, the Toronto Maple Leafs think it's time for a different approach. And the success of the Oakland A's this season should give them hope.
The Leafs have fired assistant general managers Dave Poulin and Claude Loiselle, replacing both with "boy wonder" Kyle Dubas. The 28-year-old stats guru -- dubbed the "Billy Beane of hockey," after the A's general manager -- is jumping to the big leagues after serving in the Ontario Hockey League. In just three seasons, Kubas turned around the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds from worst to first in the Western division, building a team around advanced statistics.
In addition to Beane, Kubas draws comparisons to Chicago Cubs general manager Theo Epstein, who embodied the youth movement in baseball's front offices.
via the Toronto Maple Leafs,
David Nonis, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, announced Tuesday the hockey club has signed forward David Booth to a one-year contract.
Booth, 29, played 66 games for the Vancouver Canucks in 2013-14, collecting nine goals, 10 assists, 19 points and 18 penalty minutes. The 6-0, 212-pound winger has registered 218 career NHL points (113 goals, 105 assists) and 181 penalty minutes in 443 games with the Canucks and Florida Panthers. In 2008-09 with the Panthers, Booth set career highs in goals (31), assists (29) and points (60) in 72 games.
A native of Detroit, Michigan, Booth was selected by Florida in the second round, 53rd overall, in the 2004 Entry Draft.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
To deny the significance of possession stats in hockey is to be on the wrong side of history. Before Tuesday morning, the Toronto Maple Leafs were on the wrong side of history.
Suddenly, after a significant front-office shakeup, the organization is at the forefront of a movement that has already began to shift the industry … and will soon reshape it entirely.
The surprising decision to hire 28-year-old Kyle Dubas as assistant general manager does not guarantee that the Leafs will be transformed into a Stanley Cup contender. However, it is a tacit acknowledgement that new methods must be used to evaluate talent and build teams.
The times, they are a-changin’.
from the Toronto Maple Leafs,
The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today the hiring of Kyle Dubas, who served the past three seasons as General Manager of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, as Assistant General Manager to David Nonis.
As part of a front office restructuring, the club also announced the departures of Vice President of Hockey Operations Dave Poulin and Vice President and Assistant General Manager Claude Loiselle.
“Kyle is a young executive that has made a strong name for himself in hockey with a progressive style, work ethic and maturation beyond his years,” said Toronto Maple Leafs President Brendan Shanahan. “He has a fresh approach that we feel will benefit our club for years to come.”
“At the same time, I would like to thank Dave Poulin and Claude Loiselle for their tireless dedication during their time with the Toronto Maple Leafs. They are both very accomplished hockey executives who have helped put this team in a position to take the next step.”
from Sean Fitz-Gerald of the National Post,
The Leafs are still willing to entertain discussion, but aside from a summertime free agent signing or two, the roster of players assembled now will very likely be the roster the team fields heading into training camp this fall.
“There’s still a couple little pieces there that we may have interest in,” Nonis said. “But we’ll see. There’s a few players where we’ve kicked the tires, and we’ll see if there’s a fit. But by and large, what we have right now is what we’re going to start with.”...
The Leafs still have two restricted free agents left to sign. Defenceman Jake Gardiner is one, and goaltender James Reimer — the one-time starter who had been hoping to move to a different team — is another.
There will be money left to spend beyond those two, which is why Nonis has been able to poke around the remainder bin of the unrestricted free agent market. Largely, though, the roster will look familiar to the one from last year, with most of the changes made to the blue line.
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.
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