June 28 2016 11:00AM
In three days, we'll likely see the whole Stamkos Saga (or #StamkosWatch, or whatever you want to call it) come to an end. The window for teams to talk to the one-time 60-goal-scorer got underway just hours after Toronto drafted Auston Matthews this past weekend, and you can bet that by now he has a good idea of what kind of money and situation he'll be signing on for when free agency opens officially on Friday.
June 28 2016 08:30AM
Today is June 28th. Steven Stamkos is just 73 hours away from being able to sign with another NHL team, which, if the gossip holds, may very well be the Toronto Maple Leafs. But the debates continue to rage about where else he could head. Will he take the Buffalo Sabres' likely massive offer? Will he take the winning past of the Detroit Red Wings? Will he be another New York Rangers victim of July?
Many feel he'll end up staying in Tampa Bay. You'd think he'd have signed at this point if that were the case, but most feel that he'll give in due to their silver bullet; their tax benefit. But what if I told you that there's a good chance that the benefit doesn't actually exist?
June 28 2016 06:23AM
When the Toronto Maple Leafs signed Frederik Andersen to a five-year contract with a $5 million cap hit, they made a pretty bold statement. It's clear that they see Andersen as a goalie who will backstop the franchise to success over a long period of time, not as merely a stop-gap. A five-year contract for a goalie is a major gamble. If you sign a winger to a big deal and it doesn't work out, you can put him on the 3rd line and shelter him from difficult competition in order to try to salvage some value from the contract. On the other hand, if a goalie is signed to a hefty contract that doesn't work out, you're trapped. Look at Detroit's situation with Jimmy Howard or Dallas's with Kari Lehtonen as examples.
It's clear that the Leafs think Andersen will be able to keep up a high level of play over the long haul. The key question is: are they right?
June 27 2016 05:43PM
There is no easily-identifiable title for THAT player, is there? Not exactly, "Mr. Irrelevant" from the NFL Draft. Whoever the final 7th round pick is every year, has that title forced upon him by the media, and if he even makes it to his team's main training camp in late July, he's forced to acknowledge such in every print/TV/radio interview for the rest of that preseason.
But the Leafs had the distinction this year of having that near-1st round pick, and, yes, barring trades, it's often owned by the worst team in hockey. Let's face it -- that 31st pick is usually far better off being chosen by a struggling team than a roster rich with excellent players already, and a stocked farm system. But this was no ordinary 31st selection, was it? Instead of taking an 18-year old CHL player or a USHL player committed to a U.S. college program, the Leafs took a player turning 20 years of age next month, who was teammates his rookie year with former NHLers Jiri Novotny, Geoff Platt, and Staffan Kronwall. No, not exactly All-Stars, but the Leafs must have been intrigued by the fact Yegor Korshkov has played in a "men's league" for two seasons. Though the offensive numbers do anything but dazzle, 15 points in 69 games (counting this past spring's playoffs), Toronto must be banking on him earning more minutes in the KHL next season, and seeing what the potential is. 31st is simply too high to be drafting players you'd never expect to play in the NHL, although some do and some don't, and I thought it'd be interesting to chart that out since the turn of the 21st Century. And here we go:
June 27 2016 04:36PM
It's been an eternity (nearly forty-eight hours) since any real Leafs news, but we'll get some tonight in the form of their list of qualified restricted free agents. Toronto had nine players who were eligible to be extended offers by the deadline today - Garret Sparks, Peter Holland, Frank Corrado, Josh Leivo, Martin Marincin, Stuart Percy, Colin Smith, and Carricks Connor and Sam.