News, Statistics, Trades, Rumors, Signings, Videos, Insight

Covering anything hockey but mostly stories involving my favourite team, the Toronto Maple Leafs. I try to update the blog every day or two and encourage comments and suggestions. Some of my influences are TSN's Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie. Enjoy







Friday, October 15, 2010

Average spread of talent in the NHL

Some old stats I stumbled upon that I had researched a few months ago.
- Felt they were worth noting

The following are the total number of players who fit into each scoring category, by season, for the past 3 NHL seasons:

Goals          07-08       08-09       09-10Average
20+102120110110.7
25+63695863.3
30+28392430.3
40+10878.3
50+3132.3
Assists       07-08        08-09       09-10
30+107119115113.7
40+54534851.7
50+20201518.3
60+5856.0
70+0211.0
Points       07-08       08-09       09-10
50+106109102105.7
60+63625560.0
70+39403036.3
80+19171717.7
90+8777.3
100+2343.0


The following charts display the average number of players a team will have from each scoring category.





Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Predicted Final standings and Award Winners

  
2010-11 season predicted standings (Sept. 28, 2010)

East

1. Washington
2. New Jersey
3. Boston
4. Pittsburgh
5. Buffalo
6. Philadelphia
7. Tampa Bay
8. Ottawa
----------------
9. Montreal
10. Toronto
11. New York Rangers
12. Atlanta
13. Carolina
14. Florida
15. New York Islanders







West
1. Vancouver
2. San Jose
3. Chicago
4. Los Angeles
5. Detroit
6. Phoenix
7. St. Louis
8. Anaheim
----------------
9. Colorado
10. Nashville
11. Dallas
12. Calgary
13. Minnesota
14. Edmonton
15. Columbus

AWARD WINNERS:

Art Ross: Sidney Crosby
Rocket Richard: Alex Ovechkin
Hart: Sidney Crosby
Norris: Drew Doughty
Vezina: Tukka Rask
Lindsay: Sidney Crosby
Calder: Jordan Eberle
Byng: Martin St. Louis
Selke: Pavol Datsyuk
Messier: Sidney Crosby
Adams: Terry Murray

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Playoffs: First round predictions

First round playoff predictions

East
Washington/Montreal:  Capitals in 5
New Jersey/Philadelphia: Flyers in 7
Buffalo/Boston:  Sabres in 6
Pittsburgh/Ottawa:  Penguins in 5

West
San Jose/Colorado: Sharks in 4
Chicago/Nashville: Blackhawks in 5
Vancouver/Los Angeles: Canucks in 5
Phoenix/Detroit: Wings in 6

Monday, April 12, 2010

2010 NHL Playoffs


Its Playoff time and every year I like to make my own tree to keep track of each team's progress throughout their run.

As per usual, I'am backing the Penguins as my Eastern team and the Canucks in the West so ideally either Sid gets yet another cup to rub in Ovie's face or the cup finally reuturns to Canada after 17 long years. (Plus that was the habs that last won so it's not fun anyway)

Anyways not much to say atm but GO NUCKS!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Toronto's going to have a tough time aquiring a high-level forward for at least a couple years

First of all let's start by examining what the leafs have to work with draft-wise in the next two entry drafts:

2010 Entry draft picks:
3rd round (Toronto)
4th round (Phoenix)
5th round (New Jersey)
5th round (Toronto)
7th round (Phoenix)
7th round (Toronto)

2011 Picks
2nd round (Toronto)
4th round (Toronto)
5th (Toronto)
6th (Toronto)
7th (Toronto)
7th (Anaheim)

What I see here is a clear lack of quality picks coupled with a relatively low quantity given that we're in a supposed "rebuilding" phase.

Now heres a look at some interesting statistics regarding the ages, draft positions and other methods of acquiring top level NHL players:

Current scoring leaders and draft positions (as of 6pm March 3rd):

Name - Draft round/number (age) d: drafted by current team, t: traded to current team

1. Ovechkin - 1/1 (24) d
2. H. Sedin - 1/3 (29) d
3. Crosby - 1/1 (22) d
4. Thornton - 1/1 (30) t
5. Backstrom - 1/4 (22) d
6. St. Louis - Undrafted (34) t (traded early in career)
7. Stamkos - 1/1 (20) d
8. Kane - 1/1 (21) d
9. Gaborik - 1/3 (28) t
10. B. Richards - 3/64 (29) t
11. Heatley - 1/2 (29) t
12. Malkin - 1/2 (23) d
13. Kopitar - 1/11 (22) d
14. Kovalchuk - 1/1 (26) t
15. Semin - 1/13 (25) d
16. Marleau - 1/2 (30) d
17. Parise - 1/17 (25) d
18. Getzlaf - 1/19 (24) d
19. Plekanec - 3/71 (27) d
20. Green - 1/29 (24) d
21. Perry - 1/28 (24) d
22. Nash - 1/1 (25) d
23. Iginla - 1/11 (32) t (traded in draft year)
24. M. Koivu - 1/6 (26) d
25. Lecavalier - 1/1 (29) d
26. D. Sedin - 1/2 (29) d
27. Connolly - 1/5 (28) t (traded 2 years after draft)
28. Kesler - 1/23 (25) d
29. Statsny - 2/44 (24) d
30. Eriksson - 2/33 (24) d

- Average age: 26
- Average draft position: ~13th overall
- 25/30 drafted in 1st round
- 2/30 2nd round
- 2/30 3rd round
- 1/30 undrafted
- 22/25 drafted in 1st round
- 8 first overall picks
- 5 of top 8 are 1st overall picks
- 10 of top 12 drafted 4th overall or earlier
- 17 of 30 drafted 10th overall or earlier
- 22/30 remain on same team they were drafted by
- 25/30 still on the same team they were farmed with

What this essentially tells us is that top notch NHL scorers are almost unconditionally acquired through the draft and are typically selected in the first round. Toronto will have some serious difficulty getting their hands on a franchise player without a first round pick in the next two drafts. It also shows how much the Kessel deal will impact the future of the team as the lottery pick we would have had for the 2010 draft has huge potential to produce a marquee player. If the leafs continue on their current path, Boston is likely to receive a top 3 selection and acquire the potential franchise forward which Toronto badly needs.

Top Goaltenders by GAA (Min 30 games played):

1. Rask - 1/21 (22) t (traded before any NHL games)
2. Miller - 5/138 (29) d
3. Kiprusoff - 5/116 (33) t
4. Howard - 2/64 (25) d
5. Nabokov - 9/219 (34) d
6. Huet - 7/214 (34) t
7. Brodeur - 1/20 (37) d
8. Luongo - 1/4 (30) t
9. Vokoun - 9/226 (33) t
10. Bryzgalov - 2/44 (29) t
11. Lundqvist - 7/205 (27) d
12. Anderson - 3/73 (28) t
13. Quick - 3/72 (24) d
14. Mason - 5/122 (33) t
15. Thomas - 9/217 (35) t (before any NHL games)

- Average age: 30.2
- Average draft position: ~117th overall
- 3/15 drafted in the 1st round
- 2/15 2nd round
- 5/15 3rd-5th rounds
- 5/15 6th round or later
- Basically goaltenders are very difficult to predict
- 8/15 still on the same team they were farmed with

As the numbers display, drafting a successful goaltender requires a lot of luck (wide spread of draft rounds) . It is much harder for scouts to accurately predict a goalies future at such a young age than it is for that of a scoring forward. Trading for an elite goaltender however is a lot easier than trying to trade for an elite forward as teams often give up on a goalie before he reaches the apex of his career. The average age for a successful NHL goalie is about 30 right now so clearly they take longer to develop. With our abundance of late picks and current uncertainty in the crease, drafting a goalie might be a good idea in the upcoming draft

Top defencemen based on minutes played/game:

(There are several stats I could have used for defencemen but I felt this was the most comprehensive) 

1. Pitkanen - 1/4 (26)
2. Keith - 2/54 (26)
3. Bouwmeester - 1/3 (26)
4. Niedermayer - 1/3 (36)
5. Boyle - Undrafted (33)
6. Pronger - 1/2 (35)
7. Lidstrom - 3/53 (39)
8. Streit - 9/262 (32)
9. Beauchemin - 3/75 (29)
10. Chara - 3/56 (32)
11. Corvo - 4/83 (32)
12. Green - 1/29 (24)
13. Gonchar - 1/14 (35)
14. Doughty - 1/2 (20)
15. Whitney - 1/5 (27)
16. Rafalski - Undrafted (36)
17. Greene - Undrafted (27)
18. Robidas - 7/164 (32)
19. Quincey - 4/132 (24)
20. Markov - 6/162 (31)
21. Wisniewski - 5/156 (26)
22. Suter - 1/7 (25)
23. Seabrook - 1/14 (24)
24. Wideman - 8/241 (26)
25. Stuart - 1/3 (30)
26. Zidlicky - 6/176 (33)
27. Hamrlik - 1/1 (35)
28. Myers - 1/12 (20)
29. Campbell - 6/156 (30)
30. Phaneuf - 1/9 (24)

- Average age: 29.17
- Average draft position: ~70th overall
- Average draft position (top 15): ~46th overall
- 14/30 drafted in 1st round
- 1/30 in 2nd round
- 7/30 3rd-5th rounds
- 6/30 6th or later
- 3/30 undrafted
- 10/30 drafted in the top 10 overall

The leafs are looking fairly secure on defence now so drafting/trading for a top notch defenceman probably won't be a priority. The ability to draft top defenders without a 1st round pick is clearly possible but close to half of the top 30 were indeed selected in that round. Perhaps using some of the later picks to select defencemen and goalies rather than forwards provides the best odds of finding that diamond in the rough and producing elite talent. Even if the type of player selected does not quite meet our current needs, that player might be of high value to other teams and could provide a good return in the future.

The Leaf's 3 most pressing needs at this point are (a) Scoring forwards, (b) a Captain and (c) a Goalie
There are also 3 basic ways of acquiring players:
- Drafting
- Trading
- Free agency
I have already showed that we will not get a high-end forward through the draft anytime too soon with our lack of early picks and trading for such talent is extremely difficult in today's NHL. With all the long-term, big money contracts being handed out to the top players, trading will not address our scoring needs. Then comes the free agency which could potentially include a top notch NHL forward but it is rare and there are few impending options available over the next few years.
Burkie does certainly enjoy signing a lot of college free agents and has had some success with Jonas Hiller in Anaheim and Bozak looking promising for the Leafs. Maybe we'll get lucky and nab late bloomer like Martin St. Louis from the college ranks or some alternate league.

Ultimately, I feel we are kind of in somewhat of a bind when it comes to filling all the forward gaps in the lineup but hopefully Burke can work some magic and somehow get it done..

Monday, February 15, 2010

Some interesting NHL statistics as the olympic break begins..

  • Plus/Minus leaders: 
- 6 of the top 10 +/- leaders are from Washington
- the top 4 are all from the Capitals
Top 5 
Alexander Ovechkin: +43
Jeff Shultz: +37
Nicklas Backstrom: +32
Mike Green: +28
Alexandre Burrows: +28
  •  Shorthanded goals:
- Marian Hossa leads with 5 despite only having played in 37 games this season
  •  Game winning goals:
- Daniel Sedin has won the game for his team with 7 of his 16 goals
  • Division Points:
- Despite being in probably the toughest division in the East, Crosby leads the NHL with 15 division goals and 30 points in 18 Atlantic division games.
  • Game misconducts:
- Alex Ovechkin is the only player to have had 2 game misconducts this year..
  • Hits:
- For the second consecutive year, Minnesota's 22 year old Cal Clutterbuck leads the NHL in hits with 252. Thats an average of 4.66 hits/game, almost a hit-per-game better than the next best hitter, Ryan Callahan.
- Clutterbuck, Callahan, Brooks Orpik and Dustin Brown have been 4 of the top 5 hitters for 2 years running.
  • Giveaways:
- 3 of the top 5 leaders in giveaways are Montreal Canadiens defencemen: Jaroslav Spacek (1st), Roman Hamrlik (2nd) and Hal Gill (5th).
  • Shots on goal:
- For all 5 years of Ovechkin's NHL career he has led the league in shots on goal, quite a feat..
- Ovie's 5.2 shots per game are down from last years 6.6, however his shooting percentage is up 4% from last season so he's making his shots more worthwhile.
-  Sidney Crosby is firing and average of 3.7 shots/game and has one of the leagues best shooting percentage at 18.6%. Crosby has not only benefited through more goals this season but his shooting success has risen by over 4% from his previous year's average.
- While Ovechkin is typically considered to be the best goal scorer in the league, his shooting numbers look less impressive than Crosby's this year.
  •  Time on ice:
- Ovechkin and Crosby have averaged an almost identical time-on-ice/game this season ranking 4th (21:51) and 5th (21:49) respectively in average ice time for forwards.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Phaneuf swagger and some Ovechkin..

The Dion Phaneuf swagger:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3W8lTZAslqw

Ovechkin's top 10 goals video I made last April:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrckZNzSCjk

plus one more which would probably take over the number 4 spot:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-D4fBkdnoU

Monday, February 8, 2010

Team Canada Men's Olympic schedule

February 16 (Tuesday), 7:30 P.M.: Canada vs. Norway
    18 (Thursday) 7:30 P.M.: Switzerland vs. Canada
    21 (Sunday) 7:40 P.M.: Canada vs. USA
    23 (Tuesday) : Qualification Rounds (Top 4 teams receive a by)
    24 (Wednesday): Quarter-final rounds
    26 (Friday): Semi-final rounds
             
    27 (Saturday), 10 P.M.: Bronze-medal game
    28 (Sunday), 3:15 P.M.: Gold-medal game
-----------------------------------------------------------------------     
Predicted Quarter-final rounds:

Canada vs. Finland
USA vs. Czech Republic
Russia vs. Switzerland
Sweden vs. Slovakia

Predicted Semi-final rounds:

Canada vs. USA
Russia vs. Sweden

Predicted Gold-medal game:

Canada vs. Russia


more to come...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Brendan Burke...


Leafs GM Brian Burke's youngest son, Brendan was killed Friday following a car crash in Indiana.

I didn't even really know about the guy until his recent "coming out" as being gay. From what I heard from him in interviews at the time though, he seemed like a pretty legit guy who, like his dad,  had the hockey smarts to make a name for him self sometime in the National hockey league.

Tough loss for Brian..

Hopefully he can push through this and it may, in fact, motivate him more so to be the best GM he can be as I am sure it's what his son would have wanted..

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Phaneuf's going a bit too far saying the Leafs could still make the playoffs

"It's not over yet" says Phaneuf in regards to the leafs' playoff hopes. In an article from the Toronto Star, Phaneuf declared that the team can and should still make a push for the post-season and while I am a fan of the enthusiasm, it's much to late for a late-season surge.

According to sportsclubstats.com, a reliable playoff forecasting site which uses complex formulas to determine a team's chances of making it to the post-season, the Leafs' odds are at  0.06631%.... thats roughly 1 in 1500. To make it past the season's 82 games, the Leafs will need to play at a minimum of .800 for the remainder of the season to even have a shot. With 25 games left, the buds will have to put up W's in about 20 of those not to mention the 6 teams between them and 8th place will have to avoid any late surges as well.

I truly believe we are a much better team after the recent trades but winning 20/25 games?? Come on, thats not even plausible.

http://www.sportsclubstats.com/NHL.html

J.S. Giguere and why he is a major key to the Leaf's future

While every Leaf fan has been going off about how great the Phaneuf deal was and how key the 24 year old defenceman will be to the future of this team, Burke's brilliant trade for all-star goaltender J.S. Giguere is equally monumental if not more..

Anaheim parted ways with Giguere for 3 simple reasons:
- Jonas Hiller has been absolutely stellar in his first 3 years of NHL service and put on a spectacular display last spring helping the Ducks upset San Jose in the first round of the playoffs before almost eliminating the reigning Cup champion Detroit Red Wings.
- Giguere hasn't quite been on the ball for the past couple seasons and let his starting goalie role slip away
- With Hiller having recently resigned with the Ducks, there was no room for 2 high paid goaltenders so Giggy had to go

The Leafs have not had much success with goaltenders since the lockout as both Andrew Raycroft and Vesa Toskala failed to meet expectations and pretty well bombed in Toronto. So why should we expect Giguere to be any different?

Raycroft and Toskala were both relatively unproven goalies who appeared to have the potential for #1 netminder duties but when put to the test, proved otherwise. Giguere on the other hand is a proven number one goalie in the NHL, evidence by his solid and relatively consistent career numbers both regular and post-season. He is a Stanley Cup Champion (2006-07) as well as a Conn-Smythe trophy winner for MVP of the playoffs (2002-03). It should also be noted that these prestigious awards were gathered in 2 separate post-seasons which shows that Giguere is obviously a determined playoff performer who has the ability to go all the way. Such a resume is pretty hard to come by for a goalie who, at 32, is still in his prime and should have a lot more to offer.

As for the concern with his declining play over the past couple seasons, there shouldn't be much to worry about there. NHL players will have their up and down seasons.. look at other star goalies like Mikka Kiprusoff, Evgeni Nabokov or Backstrom. All are star level puck stoppers but hit a slump at some point or another in their careers. Giguere's career numbers have simply been to good to ignore and if you saw Tuesday's game vs. the Devils you'll have a pretty good idea how great the change of scenery has been for him.

Let's take a look at some of Giggy's career stats:
Regular Season
Career Save % - .913 (5th place all time!)
Career GAA - 2.51 (Top 25 all time)
Playoffs
Save % - .925
GAA - 2.08

- 2nd place among active goaltenders in career OT wins
-  4th most playoff wins among active goaltenders

If his season-by-season numbers are of any indication, Giguere should easily be capable of good enough play to earn his 6 million dollar paycheque and potentially take this team on a long playoff run in the next few years. He will be an excellent role model for young Jonas Gustavsson who should learn a lot from the veteran as well as taking a burden off his shoulders and providing some legitimate competition for playing time.

Giguere has many more productive years left in the tank and for the Leafs to have obtained an All-Star quality goaltender for almost nothing but a weak predecessor in Toskala and an aging, unproductive leukemia patient (Jason Blake) is a huge streak of luck for a Toronto squad dying for some better fortune.

Mark my words, Giguere is for real and his trade was probably the best one the Leaf's have made post-lockout.

- Scott Urquhart

Monday, February 1, 2010

6 players shipped out of Toronto in two huge trades Sunday.. Full analysis

  •  Toronto gets: D Dion Phaneuf, F Fredrik Sjostrom, D Keith Aulie and G Jean-Sebastien Giguere
  •  Calgary gets: F Niklas Hagman, F Matt Stajan, F Jamal Mayers and D Ian White 
  •  Anaheim gets: F Jason Blake and G Vesa Toskala
Lets take a look at the impact these trades will have on the Leafs:

Hagman and Stajan

Basically I think both trades are excellent moves for the Leafs for numerous reasons.

In the trade with Calgary, the leafs lose 2 top 6, but not necessarily hard to replace forwards in Hagman and Stajan, swap one checking line player (Mayers) for another in Sjostrom, and exchange the solid, fan favourite defenceman Ian White for a potential franchise defenceman, Dion Phaneuf.

Stajan and Mayers are pending UFA's so it's nice to be able to get some sort of a return for them and both were expected to be moved before March 3rd anyway. With Hagman we lose a small, yet strong-on-the-puck forward capable of 30 goals but he was never really a core piece to the rebuild and I knew even from his signing with back in 2008 that he could be trade bait in the future.

It's a little saddening to see White go after spending almost 5 seasons in Toronto but with a return like Phaneuf its good to see those 5 years add up to something.

I was pretty shocked when I heard that Jason Blake was headed out of Toronto after a few disappointing seasons.. After that first 15 goal season with the buds I thought we were stuck with his waste of cap space till 2012 but even after a more successful year last season I'm certainly happy to see him go.

As for Toskala, not much needs to be said.. He will be unrestricted at season's end either way and wouldn't have seen many more starts anyway. Just another one of Ferguson's old mistakes finally being cleaned up.

Now let's take a look at what the Leafs get back:

DION PHANEUF
Position: Defence
Age: 24
6'3", 214 Lbs.
Drafted 9th overall in 2003
Contract status: In 2nd of 6 year deal averaging $6.5M/year

After a strong rookie year in which he put up 20 goals and was nominated for the Calder trophy, many thought Phaneuf was a future Norris candidate and a core piece to the future of the Flames. A decline in his play over the past couple seasons coupled with the addition of Jay Bouwmeester to the Calgary blueline opened the door for a trade and this is the end result.
Phaneuf adds even more physicality to an already hard-hitting Leafs defence corps  as well as a booming shot and has already begun practicing alongside Beauchemin. His 125 hits this season are good for 12th place in the league amongst defencemen.

This trade opens the door for a possible Kaberle move as the leafs now have a league leading 43% of their cap space (almost 27 million) tied up on defencemen, over 10% more than the league average.

Despite what some are saying, Phaneuf is not going to be Toronto's next captain, along with Kessel he is a key building block to the Leafs future but we still lack that elite star forward. Whenever a blockbuster deal like this goes down it's never the random bits and pieces that the trade is remembered for, its the biggest player in the deal. Phaneuf is the real focal point of the trade and I am certain he will be a fan favourite in Toronto and a key contributor to their next cup run whenever that may be.

JEAN-SEBASTIEN GIGUERE
Position: Goalie
Age: 32
6'1", 201Lbs.
Drafted 13th overall in 1995
Contract status: In 3rd of a 4 year deal averaging $6M/year

After a great playoff run by Anaheim's backup, Jonas Hiller, followed by Giguere's less than stellar season thus far, he lost the starting role with the Ducks and subsequently became expendable. His career numbers are pretty good but the question at hand is whether or not he can regain his form in a new City and take the lowly leafs to the next level.

Giguere brings in a ton of NHL experience both regular season and playoff, and is poised to be the number one Toronto goalie for the near future. I had the opportunity to watch Giguere for a few years at the beginning of his career playing for the AHL's Saint John Flames (now the Abbotsford Heat) and he certainly has top-notch talent. He is a former Conn-Smythe trophy winner and Stanley Cup champion all with Anaheim and will be the definite #1 goalie in Leafland for the remainder of the season.

Despite his profusion of experience, "Jiggy" is only in his early thirties and should still have a lot to offer. He will serve as an excellent mentor to Gustavsson, whom Burke still believes is Toronto's goalie of the future.

- On a side note, Phil Kessel is no longer the highest paid Leaf and in fact, isn't even the number two. Phaneuf's cap hit of $6.5 million and Giguere's hit of $6M annually both surpass Kessel's $5.4M

FREDDY SJOSTROM & KEITH AULIE

After being drafted 11th overall by the Coyotes in 2001, Sjostrom hasn't quite put up the offensive numbers he was expected to but has since developed into a solid checking line forward thus fitting Burke's prerequisites. Aulie is a big 20 year old 6'6", 208 pound defender drafted by Calgary in the 4th round of 2007's NHL entry draft. He was part of Canada's 2009 World Junior gold medal winning team and could develop into a very intimidating shut-down defender for the Leafs in the next couple of years.

In conclusion, I think the Leafs come out as the winner's in both trades and have made a couple key moves towards becoming a legitimate playoff team once again.

DION PHANEUF, and other major changes in T.O.

Calgary trades Dion Phaneuf, Fredrik Sjostrom and prospect Keith Aulie to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Niklas Hagman, Matt Stajan, Jamal Mayers and Ian White.

Goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere is traded to the Leafs from the Anaheim Ducks for Jason Blake and Vesa Toskala.

TSN story http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=308479

Full analysis coming soon..

Friday, January 29, 2010

Fistric Bashes Nystrom with helmet in a fight and doesn't get suspended???

It's not often that items referred to as "foreign objects" are used during a scrap in and NHL game but it happened just this week.
During a fight between Mark Fistric and Eric Nystrom during the Dallas/Calgary game on Wednesday, Fistric removed Nystrom's helmet and proceeded to whack him once in the head with it before letting it go throwing a few more punches.

Yesterday, Fistric was given a $2,500 fine for his actions and insisted "The helmet got caught in my hand and I went to swing and the helmet was still there."

2 major issues here

- First of all, a "fine"????? Why does the NHL even bother handing out these measly fines anyway? I mean this guy is still on a rookie contract but is making almost a million bucks this year so how much discipline is Fistric really going to learn by paying this out of his pocket change?

- Secondly, as I read through comments made by others on the incident, the general public opinion seems to be that Fistric clearly did not mean to do it and that it was a mere "heat of the moment" kind of thing.
These excuses have been used far too long whenever a player tries to get out of a suspension...

Watch the video... There is no way in heck Fistric was trying to throw a punch and the helmet just happened to have gotten stuck to his hand. He tried to hit Nystrom with the helmet and regardless if it was a moment of intensity and his thinking wasn't so clear, it was a reckless and does not belong in the NHL.

Fistric should have been suspended.. end of story.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ilya Kovalchuk trade?

Darren Dregger's #1 most likely player to be traded before this years deadline as contract negotiations with Atlanta are long over. GM Don Waddell is demanding 4-5 assets for the Russian sniper. He wants young roster player(s) plus a package of draft picks and prospects.

The Leafs have neither prospects nor draft picks and the few young players with some potential that Toronto does have will probably not be enough to make a legitimate pitch at the superstar forward.

He'll probably go to a cup contender anyways, not the 28th team...

Leafs - Salary Cap and the Trade deadline

Burkie's best chance yet to really start building the core of the Leafs will come very soon.. Beginning with this season's upcoming trade deadline, the team is in for some radical changes once again.

Similar to last year, there are a few notable leafs on the trade bubble but nobody of any substantial value aside from Kaberle. It's also likely nearing the time for Burke to being signing a few of the plethora players becoming free agents at the seasons end. Burke needs to figure out, for the most part,  who will be resigned and who to let go well before the March deadline so he knows who will be on the trading block. Expect a few signings in the upcoming month..

Here are the straight facts on where the leafs sit both cap and roster-wise for the remainder of this season and the 2010-11 season:

Salary Cap - ~56.8M
Leafs salary cap hit with bonuses and LTIR - ~62.5M
Cap hit before bonuses and LTIR - 54.4M
Bonus - 4.3M
LTIR - 3.8M
Cap Space remaining - ~2.4M

- Performance bonuses are awarded to a few players but do not count against the cap.
- LTIR (long term injury reserve) Salaries of replacement players for those on LTIR (not held against cap)
- 2.4 Million in cap space remaining

(were still paying buyout costs for raycroft (final season) and tucker(till 2013-14 season))

Currently 26 Players signed

*2010-11 Season*

estimated cap hit 37.6M
estimated cap room - 19-22M

11 players signed
- 7 Forwards
- 5 Defencemen
- 0 Goalies

Returning

  Kessel (W)
Blake (LW)
Hagman(LW)
Grabovski (C)
Bozak (C)
Orr (RW)

Komisarek (D)
Kaberle
Beauchemin
Finger
Schenn

*marlies signed: Stalberg, Gunnarsson, Rosehill, Reimer

 Here are the unsigned players and what i think should/might be done with them:

Unrestricted free agents (UFA)
  • Lee Stempniak (RW) - Could be flipped at the deadline. He's a hard worker though and i wouldn't mind seeing him resign
  • Alexei Ponikarovsky (LW) - He's probably gone. Ranked #5 on Darren Dregger's top 10 players most likely to be traded by the deadline. Another player who I would like to see stay in blue/white and one of only a handful of leafs to have been around for more than 2-3 seasons. Could fetch a 2nd rounder or a couple prospects.
  • Matt Stajan (C) - The other player most likely to go is #4 on Dregger's list. Same with Pony, I hate to see him go but the return could be too good to resist. Likely looking at picks/prospects.
  • Wayne Primeau (C) - Probably a free agent in the summer.
  • Jamal Mayers (RW) - Has already begun looking for a potential trade partner. Burke will probably flip him for a later pick.
  •  Rickard Wallin (C) - Less than stellar season so far lines him up to remain unsigned come spring.
  • Mike Van Ryn (D) -  Hasn't and probably won't play all season. Will most likely be let go.
  • Garnet Exelby (D) - Has made it publicly clear he wants out of Toronto thus unlikely to return.
  • Jonas Frogren (D) - Could land a contract on TO but not for more than a couple million
  • Vesa Toskala (G) - Has not played like an NHL calibre goaltender for 2 years running. He will not be returning to Toronto next season regardless how he goes. 
  • Joey MacDonald (G) -  With Toskala gone, and Gustavsson primed to be the starter next season, the buds will probably need to find a backup but MacDonald could remain in the mix as the 2nd or 3rd guy
Restricted free agents (RFA)
  • .Nikolai Kulemin (LW) - Praised as on of the most improved leafs this season, I would bet that he signs in Toronto. The only threat is that he comes into trade talks as the deadline approaches or is lured away to the KHL
  • John Mitchell (C) - Will need a strong finish to the season to remain a leaf.
  • Christian Hanson (C) - Should resign.
  • Ian White (D) - White has blossomed into a solid 2-way defenceman with an underrated scoring touch and a plus rating despite being on the 28th place team. If we can sign him for 3 million I would consider it a success. He will likely want more though and could be trade bait.
  • Jonas Gustavsson (G) -  Still considered by many fans to be the goalie of the future, the Monster will resign in Toronto provided he plays out the remainder of the season as he has done so far. Hasn't put up any outstanding numbers so he shouldn't demand any salary too unreasonable.
My final prediction is that Stajan, Ponikarovsky, Mayers will be traded on or before March 3rd with Exelby, Kaberle, Hagman still in the mix.

Similar to last season's deadline, there should be few players that would be considered "untouchable" on the Leafs so really anything could happen. One thing for sure is that the roster will look a lot different come the start of next season.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ian White

A couple interesting statistics on Ian White provided by Darren Dregger:


 - 7 of 9 goals scored even strength (2nd most by defencemen)
- 2nd in the league for total even-strength time on ice
 *Duncan Keith is number 1 in both categories

An upcoming RFA, what kind of a return could the Leafs get for White if he goes before the trade deadline on March 3rd?
If resigned in Toronto, what kind of salary are we looking at here?

I'll get back on those..