June 18 2013 02:39PM
Our pal Steve Dangle wrote a post on Monday afternoon about David Clarkson and why the Toronto Maple Leafs shouldn't sign him. His primary reason was that unrestricted free agents usually end up being disappointments. It's tough to disagree with that assertion. Generally, players peak in scoring between ages 24 and 27, not later, so signed UFAs on average are, well, disappointments.
But I want to get into Clarkson a little more as a commodity, and specifically, isolate his key characteristics—size and shots per game rate—and see how players that produced at his level from ages 26 to 28 produced ages 29 through 32.
Also, just to be clear before we get into it, I went into this bit of research firmly in the anti-David Clarkson on the Leafs camp, but mostly because I think Toronto has enough wingers to compete. I don't think their Top Six is too small and I think Jonathan Willis has proved that good teams aren't necessarily good because of size. Toronto's organizational strength lies in wingers.
However, I was open to the possibility that Clarkson's traits, particularly his 2.86 shots per game rate over his last three seasons, may make him more valuable perhaps than others.
June 18 2013 10:22AM
Odd tweet sent out here from Nick Kypreos:
I don't think that Jonathan Bernier is a bad goaltender. It may even be reasonable to suggest that Bernier would have success as James Reimer's backup. The Leafs will need a guy who can give the team 30 starts, but at this point in Bernier's career he wants to be a starting goaltender. As a restricted free agent, he's going to be looking for a contract worth more than that of a backup because there is going to be some team who sees "former first round pick" and pays for potential.
As for the Leafs? They have their young guy, and their Goalie Of The Future™. James Reimer is the same age as Bernier and has more experience than Bernier. Full stop.
June 17 2013 04:47PM
Here's an interesting possibility that's come up.
The Philadelphia Flyers did Philadelphia Flyers things today, signing 36-year-old Mark Streit to a four-year contract worth $21M. It's a big number, it's four years, and we know that the Flyers can't possibly fit this team under the salary cap.
That team simply has more money than brains, and after the ill-advised decision to sign Ilya Bryzgalov two summers ago, it's looking like a certainty that he'll be out. Darren Dreger and Bob MacKenzie have each theorized that the second amnesty buy-out used by the Flyers will be on centreman Danny Briere.
June 17 2013 04:04AM
Midway through the MMVA's last night, the humble editors of The Leafs Nation dot com took to the stage to present the winners of the Leafs Nation dot com's first annual awards ceremony. You'll recall at the conclusion of the regular season, we put together a list of nominees and people voted.
Now that the NHL has released its vote winners, TLN has its champions. Shocker: Phil Kessel and James Reimer were both rewarded by the voters for their play all season.
June 15 2013 06:14PM
The NHL Awards came and went Saturday night, and no Toronto Maple Leaf picked up hardware. That's not a travesty, of course. There wasn't a compelling argument for any Leaf to be nominated or win any awards, although the PHWA placed Dion Phaneuf 11th in Norris voting, Randy Carlyle came 7th in Jack Adams, and Sporting News bro Jesse Spector gave James Reimer a 5th place Hart Trophy vote.
Here's where I'm particularly surprised: Phil Kessel, the fourth-leading scorer among players on teams that made the playoffs, did not get a single vote for the Hart Trophy. I thought going in that he had a case to be at least in the discussion, if not among the finalists,. He ought to have merited consideration for the top five most valuable players in the NHL, but he wasn't.
Phil Kessel did not get a single vote for the Hart Trophy, left off of all 179 ballots cast.