Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Globe and Mail,
On Friday afternoon, he spent two hours meeting with the Leafs’ first-round pick, William Nylander, and his father, Michael, reminiscing with a former teammate but also doing some last-minute due diligence.
Then, when Saturday’s trade began coming together with the St. Louis Blues for defenceman Roman Polak, Shanahan was in the video room and making calls to hockey minds who have a close eye on one of his former teams and knew the big man well.
“I still have some friends in St. Louis whose opinions I trust,” Shanahan said.
This will be, in other words, no figurehead position – not for any length of time.
Shanahan intends to provide as much help as possible to Nonis and Co., even on days like the draft when, he admitted, many of the kids chosen had already finished their seasons by the time he took the Leafs top job this spring.
from Michael Traikos of the National Post,
There were rumours that the Florida Panthers wanted James van Riemsdyk in exchange for the No. 1 pick in this weekend’s draft. But the core of the Leafs remains off-limits for now. And help is not necessarily on the way either.
According to president Brendan Shanahan, “I don’t think July 1st is ever a great day to rely upon.” That being said, Shanahan wants to bring back David Bolland and reportedly has interest in signing 42-year-old Martin Brodeur to share the net with Jonathan Bernier.
And yet, management is somehow hopeful for a different outcome next season.
The Leafs are banking on young players, like Jake Gardiner and Morgan Rielly, to take another step forward and assume more responsibility. They expect that the Toronto Marlies, who advanced to the Calder Cup semi-final, will fill bottom-six roles at a bargain price. And they believe that the coaching staff, which will once again include Carlyle and as-yet-to-be-named new assistant coaches, will coax this team to be more competitive.
It’s a lot to ask. It’s maybe a little unrealistic. But the people in charge are under the assumption that this team’s problems are not as big as others suggest.
Just over four minutes long, Dave Nonis talks about the Polak trade, the players who were drafted by the Leafs and how busy they may be in the UFA pool.
Brendan Shanahan and Brian Burke.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired defenceman Roman Polak from the St. Louis Blues for Carl Gunnarsson and the 94th overall pick.
via Darren Dreger tweets,
At least 6 teams expected to talk to Bolland's agent, Anton Thun during allowed talking period. Wants to stay with Leafs. Looks unlikely.
Meanwhile, Bolland continues to make progress in rehab, rebuilding strength in leg. Expects to be 100% by camp.
As a first time ufa, Bolland wants to maximize his value, but 8 years at just under $5 mil per is likely too much for Toronto.
from Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun,
Q: Expect free agency to be pretty crazy this year?
Nonis: It is every year, I think there’s always that sprint the first 6-8 hours, and then after Day 1 it slows down a little bit. I think it will be the same. There’s some good players at free agency, there might be a few more added if there’s buyouts between now and then. It will be quick like it usually is, and then after that it’s a drawn out affair, with players trying to find their level in what their worth and teams looking for bargains at that point.
Q: Bolland. Are you still hopeful of re-signing him?
Nonis: Yeah, we’re hopeful. There’s work to do for sure. Dave is a quality guy and a good player and brings a lot of the things we want to keep with our team. There’s got to be a number that makes sense for both sides, and if there isn’t, then he can go to free agency. But we’re still in contact with Dave and our opinion of him hasn’t changed.
Q: What is this Leafs team? The team that took Boston to seven games in 2013 or the team that missed the playoffs this year?
Nonis: I think we collectively, fans, people with the team, you are too negative when things don’t go well and too positive when things do go well. I think our team is right in the mix with a number of other teams that could finish anywhere from four to 10. And that’s what we even said going into the year. We believed we had the makings of a playoff team but so did six other teams that were fighting for the same spot. We’re still a team trying to grow that needs to get deeper, we still need to get more experience. Our Marlies team is looking like they’re starting to give us some options with some players. All those things have to continue, we’re not anywhere near where we need to be. We’re happy with some of the strides we’ve taken, we’re moving in the right direction. But we have a lot of work to do.
from Mark Zwolinski of the Toronto Star,
Six years after leaving Toronto, Darcy Tucker is still signing autographs for the Maple Leafs.
Six years after buying him out, the Leafs have finally stopped mailing him a regular paycheque.
Tucker has been receiving a million dollars annually since then Leafs GM Cliff Fletcher decided in 2008 that the franchise wanted to go in another direction. Tucker, now 39, played eight seasons in Toronto, and the club made the playoffs in five of them (and missed by one and two points, respectively, in the two years after the 2004-05 lockout).
from Gare Joyce of Sportsnet,
A brief survey of NHL execs suggests that the Florida Panthers might get off the No. 1 pick in the draft, but they won’t get off it for anything along the lines of a much-floated rumour out there: the Leafs’ No. 8 pick, plus defenceman Jake Gardiner and centre Nazem Kadri. The way the scenario goes (at least in the imagination of Leafs’ brass and ardent fans), Toronto would use the pick on Barrie defenceman Aaron Ekblad and thus have a first-pair right-hand shot at the point for a generation.
Said one senior exec: “I get the sense that [the No. 1 pick] is out there. [Pathers GM] Dale Tallon has all kinds of young players in the organization and wants to make the playoffs sooner rather than later. Still, Kadri in the package won’t get it done. JVR [LW James van Riemsdyk] might if he’s with the pick and Gardiner… or he might not. Tallon will wait it out to see what the best offer is. It’s a big one to sit tight and close on the floor but I wouldn’t rule it out.”
continue for more draft talk...
Nine different teams have lost the Stanley Cup the past nine seasons, six of them from the Eastern Conference. The opening is there as always for Leafs management. This isn’t the West. Playing catch-up in the East is not impossible.
-Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun and you can read more on why the Leafs may be closer than some people may think.
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