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, 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


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

Komisarek (D)

*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..