Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
Cliff Fletcher is now in the market for a backup goalie who won’t break the bank….
Wade Dubielewicz just left the New York Islanders, but is headed for Russia. Another journeyman, 6-foot-6 Etobicoke native Steve Valiquette, is expected to depart the Rangers after his most active year in the NHL (13 games behind Henrik Lundqvist), but could be joining the Vancouver Canucks. Curtis Joseph’s name has been mentioned, but agent Don Meehan so far is playing down the chances of him coming back.
After a long talk with Andrew Raycroft’s agent Jordan Neumann, Fletcher is deferring his call on the ex-backup’s fate until Monday. He’s considering putting Raycroft on waivers again to facilitate a buyout or gauge interest in him around the league.
From Darren Dreger at TSN:
Sources tell TSN the Maple Leafs approached [Bryan] McCabe’s agent, Ian Pulver before the NHL Entry Draft hoping to encourage the veteran defenceman to waive his no-movement clause to open the door for a trade.
However, this time, whether intended or not, Toronto turned up the heat and according to sources, hinted McCabe may be asked to stay home, rather than join his teammates for training camp if he wasn’t willing to change his mind.
Those close to McCabe say he will not be strong-armed and if attempts are made to force him out, a grievance will be filed with the NHL Players’ Association.
Maple Leafs assistant general manager Jeff Jackson contends there have been no threats. “Neither Cliff nor I have threatened anything,” Jackson told TSN. “We’ve had discussions with Ian Pulver about Bryan’s future in Toronto.”
from James Deacon at AOL Sports Canada,
There will be more blood, it appears, and there should be. The Leafs are lousy and they have an empty minor-league larder, so for fans it’s vital that those managers stick to their commitment to rebuild, even though it’s going to be a hard road at first.
No one is saying anything publicly, but MLSE officials had to reel Fletcher in. Despite efforts to off-load salaries, Fletcher’s recent dealings make you wonder if the organization really has the stomach to do the right thing.
Does the purge mean Fletcher has been reminded that the team’s goal is a complete demolition? Or will the Leafs settle for their usual half-baked reno?
From Damien Cox in The Spin at the Toronto Star,
Fair or not, Tucker was viewed as one of the leaders of the so-called Muskoka Five, a gang now broken up by GM Cliff Fletcher. Fletcher vowed big changes, and you have to give him credit for following through. Tucker’s gone, Mats Sundin’s all but gone, and Kyle Wellwood, John Pohl and Andrew Raycroft are also no longer Leafs.
Bryan McCabe, by autumn, will almost certainly be playing somewhere else, as well. So the players who banded together to defy the wishes of management and remain Leafs at the 2008 trade deadline have, really, gained very little in the end.
Tomas Kaberle, at this point, seems the only one of the five certain to stick around.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
Darcy Tucker’s career with the Toronto Maple Leafs is over.
Maple Leafs general manager Cliff Fletcher alerted Tucker of Toronto’s intention to buy him out on Tuesday afternoon.
“Its a business, Darcy knows that,” Tucker’s agent Carlos Sosa told TSN.
According to Fan590 in Toronto, Andrew Raycroft and Kyle Wellwood have been placed on waivers.
added 12:59pm, from TSN,
The Toronto Maple Leafs took another step toward rebuilding on Tuesday, placing forward Kyle Wellwood and goaltender Andrew Raycroft on waivers.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Wellwood, 25, will be a restricted free agent on July 1. He will then quickly become an unrestricted free agent, although Fletcher, the Leafs’ interim general manager, declined to confirm that yesterday. However, a source close to the team said there are no plans to offer Wellwood a contract.
It could be that Wellwood’s NHL career will end after just three seasons, which would be ironic.
more on the Leafs…
The New York Rangers were granted permission by Maple Leafs general manager Cliff Fletcher to talk to free-agent-to-be Mats Sundin before the Montreal Canadiens were last week, Sportsnet has learned.
My opinion on this, which is only going to get bigger the next ten days, Mats doesn’t sign with anyone until after July 1st.
update 8:14pm, from Michael Traikos of the National Post,
There are other teams interested in Sundin - the New York Rangers and Detroit are believed to be among them - but Fletcher dismissed a Sportsnet report Monday that the Leafs had given the Rangers permission to talk to Sundin before giving the same opportunity to the Canadiens.
“That is absolutely untrue,” Fletcher said yesterday. “We gave exclusive negotiating rights to the Montreal Canadiens and nobody else.”
more on Sundin…
added 8:33pm, from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
The truth is, this is all happening too fast for Sundin, who doesn’t feel comfortable being pressured into deciding right now which NHL team he wants to play for because he hasn’t gone through his annual introspection of whether he is even going to play another season.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Those close to him doubt he will retire, let alone come back to the Leafs. He is said to still be miffed at Toronto management for simply not coming out and saying: “Mats does not want to be traded and will not be traded” weeks before the Feb. 26 trade deadline instead of allowing the speculation to drag out in public as it did.
Keeping that in mind, why would he now want to do the Leafs any favours by coming to terms with the Canadiens prior to the opening of the unrestricted free agent period one week from tomorrow?
Were he to do that, the Leafs would receive compensation from the Habs as part of a conditional deal that already is in place.
Why not, instead, wait to go on the open market July 1?
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
If you were to ask Ken Holland, GM of the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings, to identify the quality his scouts look for when it comes to the annual entry draft, his answer would be succinct.
“Skill,” he’d say, just as he’s said it many times before.
Nine teams followed that mantra when it came to making selections with the top 10 picks of the NHL entry draft on Friday night.
One did not.
That team would be your Maple Leafs.
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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