July 01 2012 06:55PM
Tyler Bozak. Mikhail Grabovski. Tim Connolly. David Steckel. Jay McClement. Quick, which of these is not like the others?
Four of those players will be Toronto Maple Leafs next season. One will indubitably not. If any hockey mathematics are to be trusted, it's that a team can't have five guys playing centre with only four spots available.
July 01 2012 03:44PM
Looks like it was Bob McKenzie who broke the news late Sunday afternoon...
TOR signs Jay McClement to to 2 year deal worth $3M.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 1, 2012
McClement represents a very savvy signing by Brian Burke. Similar to last season's major pick-up of David Steckel, Jay McClement is a checking centreman who has spent time with the Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues. He is a darling with underlying numbers.
July 01 2012 01:34PM
The first couple of hours of free agency were hardly notable for the Toronto Maple Leafs. That's not exactly new. Though Brian Burke said that the team might be active on July 1st, there's not a lot of recent history to suggest he would.
Last year, Burke took the hardly-publicized trip to Afghanistan to meet with the troops. His overall summer was very quiet, signing only Tim Connolly and Pascal Dupuis. Both deals at the time seemed like good bets, Dupuis especially since it was signed at the league-minimum. A year prior, he had signed Colby Armstrong to a three year deal, but rectified that mistake with a very savvy signing of Clarke MacArthur.
June 30 2012 09:56AM
Colby Armstrong was bought out Saturday, the day before NHL free agency, as per several hockey sources including Colby Armstrong's own Twitter account:
Thanks to the leaf nation for the support over the last couple seasons. Although I had tough luck thanks for everything. #lotsleftinme— Colby Armstrong (@armdog) June 30, 2012
It's not really a huge debate, but Armstrong certainly had his share of misfortune in Toronto. He had strong underlying numbers in Atlanta and Pittsburgh, but his health took a turn for the worse in Toronto. He missed games with everything from "blurred vision" to a "sprained left foot" and played just 79 games in two seasons for the Maple Leafs, most of them below replacement level.
June 30 2012 09:40AM
----This new regular Friday/Saturday feature column was written by Matt Wright. Follow him on Twitter @mattwright9
Welcome to the first *official* edition of 13 thoughts: a simultaneous tribute to the inspiration for the column (Elliotte Friedman’s “30 Thoughts” – the best hockey column on the internet right now) and the Leafs all-time point leader and most recent Hall of Famer. As the season approaches, this column will be a source for Leafs facts and behind-the-scenes information. However, due to my writing hiatus I’d like to take Volume 1 of this post and column on some of the most important matters since the off-season.
The last time I wrote for this website was February 10th. To give you a frame of reference, when I wrote that column, the Leafs were cruising to make the playoffs, the Kings were on the outside looking in, and Roberto Luongo was a Canuck…well, okay, we’re not all the way there, but the fact is, a lot has changed. However, there is one constant. Take a look at thought #10 from my previous entry:
The Schenn for James Van Riemsdyk trade talks refuse to go away. To be honest, I'm okay with it. It's no secret Burke wants JVR, so I asked noted Philly fan @DownGoesSpezza who he'd want for Van Riemsdyk: Luke Schenn and a second rounder.
Done. JVR is going to be a real beauty and is young enough to grow with this team. While I like Schenn, he's surplus to requirements and is a little slow compared to the rest of our defense. The only knock I have on Van Riemsdyk is the concussion issue. Let's make sure he's healthy before we do anything drastic.