Who should play with Kessel and Bozak?

Blake Murphy
August 11 2013 11:19AM

Like it or not, there's a strong chance that the Toronto Maple Leafs enter 2013-14 with Tyler Bozak manning the pivot on the top line alongside Phil Kessel. The Leafs Nation has beaten to death why that's not the optimal situation, but it's high time the focus turns to making the best out of a bad situation.

So, if Bozak and Kessel are on the top unit, who should be the winger alongside them?

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How The Leafs Have Shifted Asset Allocation for 2013-14

Blake Murphy
July 31 2013 11:37AM

As you may have heard ad nausem throughout the offseason, the Toronto Maple Leafs have made some interesting decisions with respect to salary cap management for the 2013-14 season. With many of their best value deals coming up for raises by way of the restricted free agency process, the Leafs now find themselves short on bargain deals that helped them find success without just out-spending other teams.

This summer, though, Dave Nonis hasn't been tight with the purse strings - he bought out Mikhail Grabovski and Mike Komisarek, he opened up the cheque book for Tyler Bozak and David Clarkson, and he's had RFAs receive more than the anticipated amount.

All of that adds up to leave the Leafs in a precarious cap situation, with just under $5M left to sign both Nazem Kadri and Cody Franson (spoiler: not happening). So, with a different cap situation and a few changes to the roster, I wanted to look at how the Leafs have shifted their allocation of assets.

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Explaining the Grabovski-Bozak "Stats" Debate in Shinny Hockey Terms

Blake Murphy
July 06 2013 09:22AM

First thing’s first: Mikhail Grabovski is an absolute gem. Whether or not you think it’s appropriate, you have to laugh at the crazy rant Grabo went on to Jonas Siegel after he was bought out on Thursday. Can’t say I blame him, or that he was wrong on any of those points.

There has been some discussion on Twitter and via articles as to whether Grabovski was a good player, a victim of circumstance and underappreciated or a guy blown up by #fancystats who just couldn't get the job done. It hasn’t been a back and forth so much as people restating their opinion over and over again, with analytically minded people (or people who watch the games at both ends of the ice) thinking this move is asinine and some main stream media people and Bozak fanboys supporting it. There are people in between those poles but those extremes yell the loudest.

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Leafs Sign Young Defenceman T.J. Brennan

Blake Murphy
July 05 2013 02:40PM

 

 

According to the TSN panel and multiple insiders on Twitter, the Toronto Maple Leafs have signed defenceman T.J. Brennan. 

Bobby Mac gives you the financial details there - it's a fine depth signing at nearly a minimum cost, a necessity for the Leafs given that, prior to this move, they had a hair over $14M in cap space left to sign their six remaining restricted free agents and two more players to fill out the 23-man roster.

A friendly $0.6M cap hit for Brennan, who will slot in as the number seven of eight defenceman (or, as Jeffler points out, on the Marlies' top pair). This is a better low-cost signing than the Orr/McLaren types, simply for the reason that Brennan has more upside and potential than the other two.

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Breaking: Leafs Re-Sign Frazer McLaren

Blake Murphy
July 05 2013 10:46AM

 

Per James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Maple Leafs have agreed to terms on a two-year deal with restricted free agent Frazer McLaren. Mirtle reports the salary figure as $700,000 per season. 

McLaren previously had a cap hit of $632,500, so he's receiving a slight and expected raise as an RFA. The Leafs claimed McLaren off of waivers from the San Jose Sharks in January of this year, deploying him in 35 games. He tallied just five points and racked up 102 penalty minutes, placing third in the NHL with 12 fights, per HockeyFights.com.

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