Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Hell in a handbasket.
There’s no other way to describe it. When a young man named Jeff Finger (Who?) plays one full season in the NHL, including being a healthy scratch for five of his team’s 10 playoff games, and is rewarded with a contract that pays him a mind-blowing $3.75 million (all figures U.S.) per season – a 733 per cent raise in salary – something’s seriously out of whack.
Somewhere, Bob Goodenow is giggling….
Cliff Fletcher’s no longer the caretaker. He’s in charge indefinitely and there’s a plan in place, or so he says. So we’re all trying to figure it out. Jamal Mayers was brought in because he’s a good guy, and maybe that’s the reason for repatriating Joseph, too, once again establishing the Leafs as the NHL team most likely to employ the same player twice.
via TSN Tracker,
Toronto Maple Leafs sign UFA forward Niklas Hagman to a four-year contract
Update 7:02pm ET: TSN notes the deal for Hagman is 4 years, $12 million contract.
From TSN (link not yet available):
The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed defenceman Jeff Finger to a four-year deal worth $3.5 million a season, and goaltender Curtis Joseph to a one-year, $700,000 contract. Details to follow.
Update 3:34pm ET: TSN link.
From AM 640 radio:
Curtis Joseph will be returning to the Maple Leafs.
AM 640 Toronto Hockey Expert Bill Watters says he’s hearing that Cujo will return as a back-up goaltender, and will be signing a one-year contract worth about $700,000.
*hat-tip to John for the link!
Update 1:09pm ET: Sportsnet agrees with the earlier reports:
Toronto Maple Leaf fans can expect at least one familiar face next season. Sources are telling Sportsnet that goaltender Curtis Joseph has agreed to a one-year deal with his former club.
Update 3:31pm ET: Joseph signing confirmed.
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
In a major test of Cliff Fletcher’s resolve to follow a patient, in-house rebuilding plan, the general manager must fight the craving to sign one or two veterans for short-term playoff hopes in favour of augmenting the current Leafs roster with some lesser known free agents, farmhands, perhaps a trade and letting the chips fall.
“There will be no temptation, but let’s get to 12:01 and see what drops,” Fletcher said last night. “We’re not expecting a big-time centre to be there, but we might look for a couple of wingers and then move someone to centre, say Nik Antropov. There are some young free agents, particularly under 30, who could play with our team for a few years and be rewarded in the end.”
from Gunnar Nordström of Expressen (translated),
The pressure on Mats Sundin is on the increase. Toronto wants to know if he will play hockey in the autumn. Montreal hoping for answers before Tuesday that he will choose to continue the NHL career there.
But as it looks for day, no response from Mats before July 1, “says Sundin agent, Claes Elefalk at CAA Sports.
thanks to a KK member for the pointer…
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.
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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