Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
The first thing you need to know about the Toronto Maple Leafs escape from salary cap jail is that it was the Columbus Blue Jackets who first proposed Thursday’s stunning David Clarkson for Nathan Horton swap.
In fact, the Leafs probably wouldn’t have even believed such a transaction was possible with Horton’s career in jeopardy because of a serious back injury.
However, they learned in recent days that Horton’s contract wasn’t insured and Columbus didn’t want to pay the veteran winger $26.1-million over the next five years to not play. Given that Toronto no longer wanted to pay Clarkson $27.5-million for the next five years to play, there was a perfect fit.
Everything basically came together in a little more than a day.
"The money lined up, which was a big part of it," said Toronto GM Dave Nonis.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
The Maple Leafs got rid of Clarkson's contract and the only thing it costs them is money, which they seem to print no matter what is happening with the team on the ice. That's an easy win and the Leafs haven't had a lot of wins, easy or otherwise, on the ice, so they might as well celebrate this one. All shots aside, though, it's a smart move for the Leafs to use their financial wherewithal to their advantage. It can't happen as often under a salary cap system, but it worked in this situation and it's a pretty good sign that the Maple Leafs were creative enough to find a way to escape their biggest contract mistake.
Scott Cullen of TSN where you can read more on the trade.
COLUMBUS, OHIO --- The Columbus Blue Jackets have acquired right wing David Clarkson from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for right wing Nathan Horton, club General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced today.
Clarkson, 30, has registered 112 goals and 84 assists for 196 points with 955 penalty minutes in 544 career NHL games with the Maple Leafs and New Jersey Devils, while adding 5-9-14 and 79 penalty minutes in 44 career Stanley Cup Playoff games. He has collected 10-5-15 and 92 penalty minutes in 58 games this season.
“David Clarkson has been a 30-goal scorer in the NHL who will bring added character and leadership to our group and we believe he will be a valuable contributor to our team,” said Kekalainen. “While we are excited to welcome David to the Blue Jackets, it is also difficult that Nathan’s time here has ended prematurely due to his injury situation. He is a tremendous person and we wish him and his family all the best in the future.”
Toronto release below...
from Mark Zwolinski of the Toronto Star,
The word “future” carries more meaning to Nazem Kadri now than the immediate concern of signing a long-term deal with the Leafs.
Kadri and his agents remain in talks with the Leafs regarding a new contract, and if those talks finish with a multi-year extension, they will bear an added responsibility for the 24-year-old centre — leadership.
In fact, leadership has been a mixed bag for the Leafs over the past few seasons, and it wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination to put Kadri in line for a role as an assistant or even team captain if he signs long term in Toronto.
“It’s something you think about a bit right now,” Kadri said as the Leafs wrapped up a third straight day of practice Wednesday in preparation for Thursday’s home game against the Flyers.
“Being a young guy, you want to take steps in the right direction. I’ve had that (leadership) role before in junior, so if it comes, I hope I’m in the right shoes to do it.”
from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,
With all due respect to Paul Maurice, who knows the challenges of the Toronto market, the Leafs have put themselves in front of the firing squad.
Maurice made some noise on Friday after his Winnipeg Jets practised here in advance of a game vs. the Leafs the following night, suggesting that media criticism can make playing hockey here like a “drive-by shooting.”
After the Leafs latest loss, a 2-1 snoozer to the Carolina Hurricanes last night in Raleigh, the Leafs will limp home, shoulders slumped and wondering just how low it can go.
But the notion that media and fan criticism is responsible for the two-month long debacle is a bunch of crap.
As a coach here, Maurice knows how rough things can get and how managing the reaction to criticism is important. But he also knows the difference between good and bad hockey.
“So if you’re saying something good about a player, he’s a rock star. And if a guy has a tough night, and you want to deal with the media honestly, you gotta be careful about how hard you go at his play, because the next day, or even that day, it’s a drive-by shooting.
“It’s 40 people in the (player’s) stall figuring out whether they should play him, trade him or execute him. And that’s a challenge for controlling that room.”
Paul Maurice, head coach of the Winnipeg Jets on the environment in Toronto. More from Luke Fox of Sportsnet.
from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,
In their home city, the Leafs are subject to a fan base and hockey culture that makes it difficult to breathe when things are spiralling out of control.
In Carolina, they will play before a half-empty house in a region where hockey can be an afterthought and, on Friday, a family of four can each get a ticket, pop, hot dog and soda for a combined $99.
Pick your poison.
While it’s difficult to feel too much sympathy for the hardships of millionaire athletes, the perception of Toronto trouble can become reality and is undoubtedly an added challenge in the Brendan Shanahan-led rebuild.
Players around the NHL have been avid viewers of the Leafs circus — TSN, Sportsnet and the NHL Network blare in every dressing room in the league — and, for some, it’s the last place they would prefer to be.
“They don’t really ask, they kind of just see it,” Leafs centre Tyler Bozak said on Thursday when we wondered whether other players are curious about life under the big tent. “It’s going to be a little negative when things are going the way they’ve been going right now.
“For someone who did look at the media and was already feeling down, reading some negative things about you or the team, it probably doesn’t help.”
from Jonas Siegel of TSN,
Lupul knows and understands that a deconstruction of the current core and roster is coming. Failure with the same group year after year brings about that change. But he's openly wary about the concept of completely deconstructing the roster to the barest foundations. Beyond just the difficulty and challenge of rebuilding it back up is the consequent temptation of rushing young players along, as has been the case with his former team.
Trading everyone, he insists, is not the answer.
"What are we going to just restart with a whole complete group with four guys next year and just try and finish last? I haven't spoken to management at all but I'm sure that's not their idea," Lupul said. "You can play a bunch of young guys and lose all year, but who's to say that those young guys are going to develop? I don't know. I think [the tear-down idea is] maybe more of a media-driven thing.
"There's trade rumours on every guy in here so who are we going to put on the ice next year? A bunch of draft picks?"
from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,
“We’ve got to buy in more and we’ve got to stop finding excuses for ourselves,” Holland said following the team’s late-morning practice in Etobicoke. “We keep telling ourselves that we’re in games and we’re finding ways to lose. It’s about time we find ways to win.”
The latest loss came Tuesday at the Air Canada Centre, a 3-2 defeat to the Florida Panthers in the first game following the trade of Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli to Nashville. New Leaf Olli Jokinen talked post game about the negative vibe surrounding the team, a feeling that’s difficult for the players who have been around the team all year to shake.
“I’m frustrated,” Holland said. “It’s tough being a young guy in my position. I don’t want to step on anybody’s toes, but if I was a veteran guy, I think I may have spoken up a little bit more.
“Guys care, but the run we’re on. It’s enough.”
via Damien Cox tweets,
Leaf fans have to steel themselves for 3-5 yrs out of playoffs, and have to understand can't really evaluate any drafted player for 5 yrs.
Leaf ownership, meanwhile, has to commit to Shanahan and his program at least until spring of 2019. 2-3 yrs isn't enuf to judge.
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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