Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Darren Dreger of the Dreger Report,
There has been much speculation on Nashville's interest in Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Cody Franson.
However, general manager David Poile is as much or more interested in one of Toronto's forwards to strengthen his lineup. Poile isn't looking to add a major piece and risk disrupting what he has up front, but there could be a fit with centre Mike Santorelli or winger Daniel Winnik. Poile and Leafs GM Dave Nonis met in Nashville on Thursday night, but neither appears to be in any rush to make something happen.
The Maple Leafs did have some discussions with Santorelli's agent J.P. Barry about re-signing the pending unrestricted free agent, but the Leafs have not made an offer to extend. It's believed Santorelli is looking for a three-year term with a minimum of $3 million per season to stay in Toronto.
read on for Evander Kane and Mike Richards talk...
It was rumoured that Florida was asking for JvR+ or Kessel+ for the 1st OA pick. Leafs weren't interested then, but maybe they are now.
JvR + Gardiner
Florida needs help on the wing and they could use size up front. JvR provides both of those needs. Gardiner has been given a hard time this season but has been playing well and settles in as a good 2nd pairing D-man who can play the PP. There were rumors before that Florida was interested when Gardiner was available. Toronto overpays but gets a core piece to build around and begins blowing it up.
Kessel + Bozak(or Holland)
Jones + 1st
Poile has recently said how highly he thinks of Kessel, he saw him be the best forward in the Olympics (not my opinion, he just won the award for best Forward at the olympics). Also Nashville has a need for a top line RW. And honestly 8 million for a top scorer is a solid deal, not sure why people hate on it so much. Kane is get 10+, Stamkos is apparently asking for the same etc... He's a top scorer locked up through his prime for a deal that will look really good in a couple years. Bozak shores up their C depth if they still need it, and someone who can play the PK win draws and play with Kessel. If they want a cheaper option Holland has been having a good year. Right now Nashville's D is stacked and Jones won't get the minutes to best utilize him.
Anyways, think it fits the teams needed and value isn't terrible.
Leafs go forward with a D core of Rielly, Jones and Ekblad and build around that from the blue line out.
from Mark Zwolinski of the Toronto Star,
One of the hardest things for Maple Leafs coach Peter Horachek to hear right now is talk he shouldn’t be the Leafs’ coach at all.
With his club 1-11 since he took over the coaching reins, Leafs Nation is rife with talk that, maybe, it wasn’t so bad under former coach Randy Carlyle after all.
Horachek’s mantra is to keep pressing forward with the process, but he’s not idling and hoping for a break from critics and a bone from the Hockey Gods in the form of a win.
Horachek is likely more frustrated than any of his players or fans; this is a coach who spent nine years as an assistant in a solid Nashville Predators program, took over a hopeless situation on an interim basis in Florida last year, then progressed to an equally untenable situation in Toronto as an interim coach at the moment.
For the moment, Horachek remains stoic for public consumption, but is pressing buttons with his players harder and harder behind the scenes.
from Jonas Siegel of TSN,
Stepping outside the visiting dressing room and into the belly of Bridgestone Arena, Phil Kessel gazed up at a television monitor, pausing to watch the league-leading Nashville Predators celebrating another hard-earned one-goal win.
Kessel and the Leafs, meanwhile, were left in a feeling of familiar despair, reeling from their 10th consecutive loss Tuesday and 18th in 21 games (3-17-1). There's no stopping this 18-wheeler.
"Right now we can't win a game," said Kessel, especially quiet in the 4-3 defeat. "I don't know what to say."
He and the Leafs continue to find ways to lose in every soul-sapping manner, now sixth from last overall after yet another defeat. They held an unlikely third period lead in Music City, only to fumble it away against the best team currently playing in the NHL.
Right now the Leafs look like a team that's in shock from another collapse, unable and sometimes unwilling to find the necessary gumption to turn the tides of a stretch that's getting uglier by the day.
Must be a slow news day...
On Sportsnet's Prime Time Sports today...
Nick Kypreos joins Prime Time Sports where they ask the question if Dave Nonis and Brendan Shanahan should live in Toronto since they work for the Maple Leafs.
The TSN Insiders talked about, drum rolllllll.. The Toronto Maple Leafs available players for trade.
The Ottawa Senators were also mentioned and Pierre LeBrun states Chris Neil is drawing interest.
Then Bob McKenzie talked about the advance stats that will hit NHL.com on Februay 20th. Bob McKenzie says "massive changes".
Watch here... US readers too...
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Odds are Cody Franson will be moved before the March 2 trade deadline unless the Toronto Maple Leafs have a change of heart on what they’re willing to agree to contract-wise with the pending UFA blueliner.
The Leafs and Franson’s agent Gerry Johansson chatted last week. Toronto expressed willingness to do something in the neighborhood of three years and around $4.4 million to $4.5 million a year.
That’s just not going to cut it for a defenseman of his ilk who knows he can get six to seven years on the July 1 market at easily north of $5 million...
There are a lot of teams interested in him, including the likes of Detroit and Los Angeles, both in need of a top-four, right-handed defenseman. Nashville is another team we heard has expressed some interest. Of course the Predators drafted Franson, so there’s some history there. They know the player.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
Toronto produced just 16 goals in 13 January games — five of which came in the only victory it registered all month. That average of 1.23 was slightly worse than what the St. Patricks had in February 1927 (1.25) and the rebranded Maple Leafs had in January 1929 (1.31), which happens to be the last NHL season before the forward pass was introduced.
This is a team with Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk and Nazem Kadri at forward and offensively-minded Cody Franson, Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner on defence. It is a flawed group, one that will again miss the playoffs, but there was absolutely nothing to forecast the depths of futility it would mine during an ice-cold January.
As a collective, the Leafs managed just a 4.2 shooting percentage while actually playing a style more conducive to success than they did under previous coach Randy Carlyle. They have cut down significantly on the number of chances against while generating shots at a similar rate to when they were the NHL’s highest-scoring outfit.
Toronto might not be very good, but it is clearly not very lucky either.
This poses some difficult questions for Brendan Shanahan and a revamped Leafs front office whose lone holdover from the collapses of the past three seasons is Dave Nonis. Four weeks out from the March 2 trade deadline, how drastic should the changes be? How much stock should be placed in the results of the last month? Is it time to start some form of rebuild?
Because the Leafs are not the Buffalo Sabres or the Edmonton Oilers. They have far more high-end (and high-priced) talent than the bottom feeders and as they proved for a stretch before the current collapse, they are capable of sustained success. Phil Kessel, bless his fat and lazy soul, is a talent. He’s even a durable talent, out there night after night, perhaps because he doesn’t wear himself out backchecking. But he’s the Carmelo Anthony of the NHL, an entitled coach-killer whose tantalizing potential only makes the annual disappointment more bitter.
While Kessel and Dion Phaneuf have led Toronto down the garbage chute, the Canadiens have climbed into more-or-less secure membership in that group of the league’s elite, the teams with genuine Stanley Cup ambitions. They blew a chance to move into first place in the Eastern Conference on Sunday with that 3-2 loss to Arizona, but the Habs are still right there, a point behind the Tampa Bay Lightning with two games in hand.
-Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette where you can read more on the Leafs and Canadiens.
from Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun,
It has become pretty clear that Maple Leafs management dropped the ball when they fired Randy Carlyle on Jan.6.
That’s one victory in 11 games since Carlyle was axed.
Say what you want about the Leafs under Carlyle, but at least they were in position to make the playoffs, or at least fight for a playoff spot. Why didn’t Dave Nonis and Brendan Shanahan wait until the end of the year before deciding on what to do with their coaching situation?
Saturday’s 1-0 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers — a team that certainly doesn’t look like world beaters — represents the Leafs’ ninth straight loss, and fourth time in January they were shut out. Some fans are taking some kind of pathetic joy in the defeats, something about how it’s all a big tank job to get a better draft pick.
added 9:01am, from Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star,
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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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