August 16 2015 08:00AM
Over the past couple weeks, I've been breaking down the good and the bad of what's happened so far during the 2015 NHL offseason. After going through all four divisions, looking at the players that teams have added and subtracted, and how they've spent their money, I figured I would put together a big list of which teams are winners and losers, and which teams are floating in their own category somewhere in the middle. Hey, it's the summer and we still have like seven weeks until the season starts, so it's the perfect time to sit back and speculate.
August 16 2015 06:44AM
The weird thing about a team as illustrious as the Toronto Maple Leafs was that, despite being only behind the Montreal Canadiens in the historical depth charts, they rarely had players that you could argue to be the best in the world, even in their role. They'd grab a Borje Salming, but Denis Potvin would be across the border ready to take him in Long Island. Mats Sundin was a first-ballot hall of famer, but played in the Gretzky-Lemieux-Jagr stretch generation, with even further talent overlapping him on any given year. Darryl Sittler would get out-shone by Guy Lafleur. Frank Mahovlich was no Gordie Howe. It goes on, and on.
But Charlie Conacher was the exception to that rule. Not only did he have his moment where he was the best, he had his better part of a decade. Charlie Conacher was the thirties, something no other Leaf could truly compare to.
August 14 2015 06:13PM
Robbie Russo was drafted in the fourth round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders - but in their hurry to fill organizational needs on the blue line, they filled up roster spots that could have potentially been his by now.
August 14 2015 11:34AM
Even a month and half after the Toronto Maple Leafs drafted Latvian winger Martins Dzierkals in the third round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, there's still tremendously little information about him out in ther internet wilderness. Dzierkals was drafted out of the MHL, Russia's top Junior league, meaning that many Western-based scouts never had a great chance to see him play. Even on the international circuit, the Latvian U20 team he suited up for played in the Division I A tournament held this year in Italy. Only the U18 team played in the IIHF's top division, meaning those six games were the best chance to see Dzierkals live.
Here's what we do know, though... Dzierkals, standing 5'11, 180lbs, put up good points with each of the four teams he represented this past season. With Ogre/Saga 18, a junior club based just outside Riga, Dzierkals posted 10 points in six games. With HK Riga in the MHL, it was 28 points in 32 games.
August 14 2015 08:38AM
Yesterday we had some news out of Montreal that the Leafs had contacted Jacques Lemaire, one of the most well-recognized coaches in league history, to join their bench as an assistant. Today the team made it official, adding Lemaire as a special assignment coach.