August 13 2012 11:41AM
Somebody ask Stephane da Costa how his rookie season went.
It's been 925 days now since Brian Burke pulled the trigger on arguably his best deal: On January 31, the Toronto Maple Leafs traded Matt Stajan, Ian White, Jamal Mayers and Niklas Hagman for Fredrik Sjostrom, Keith Aulie and, of course, Dion Phaneuf. Phaneuf has become the Captain of the team and the clear #1 defenceman, while White was the only player going in return who has managed to make himself worth anything in this league. He played with Nick Lidstrom in Detroit.
Aulie is since gone, traded for Carter Ashton, and Fredrik Sjostrom is no longer. The only remaining piece of this deal is the 6'3" 214-lb rugged Phaneuf, who has calmed down since joining the Leafs and has become a strong two-way force who plays against tough competition.
August 13 2012 09:35AM
We're in the midst of the interminable mid-August hockey lull, and news is sparse. But neither CBA uncertainty, nor a lack of material can deter Allan Mitchell! On this week's episode of Nation Radio, Allan is joined by the likes of player agent Tom Lynn, Andrey Osadchenko, Nations overlord Kent Wilson and Scott Reynolds of NHLNumbers and Copper and Blue. Allan and his guests breakdown the news of the week, gush about Nail Yakupov's play at the Subway Super Series and, of course, suss out some reasonable expectations for Jordan Eberle.
This is Nation Radio.
August 13 2012 07:02AM
Xs and Os from The Backhand Shelf's Whiteboard section
If you've been reading this blog all summer, you'd probably be aware that I'm not too optimistic about the Leafs' chances next season. It's not that I think the team lacks leadership and stability and the character required to win, I just don't think the team has enough talented players to roll out a competent top nine forward group and top four defence. There are some good pieces there, but overall, the team needs to focus its efforts on improving the high-end skaters.
The Leafs haven't gotten expressly worse this offseason and I think generally Brian Burke has done a good job in a vacuum with the limited assets. The acquisition of James van Riemsdyk was a very good one, but the team still has some major holes. Van Riemsdyk is a good hockey player, but he won't necessarily help the Leafs in their most pressing issue: the fact the team is a bottom-third team in puck possession.
August 12 2012 12:12PM
McKegg warms up for Team Irish wearing number 74.
Saturday afternoon, I caught up with Greg McKegg in Lucan, Ontario, where he was playing in a charity game for Lucan Minor Hockey. The event was spearheaded by Logan Couture, and brought together a mix of hockey players from across North America.
August 11 2012 11:38AM
Imagine if you traded a potential top six centre-man and a potential top four defenseman for a guy who was a year and a half removed from scoring 27 goals on a 16.27 shooting percentage. That might even be a bad enough trade to get yourself a sarcastic shout-out in a certain blogger's footnote.
You all know who I'm talking about, of course. I'm talking about Cliff Fletcher's magical Alex Steen and Carlo Colaiacovo for Lee Stempniak trade. And yes, if you're wondering, it was a bad enough trade to get a sarcastic shout-out in a certain blogger's footnote.
With Alex Steen signed to a sickeningly amazing contract for the next two years and Lee Stempniak being a bad hockey player who, for some reason, can double his career shooting percentage for stretches (only when he's not playing with the Leafs though) there is only one player from this deal to wonder about.
This brings me to my next UFA spotlight, follow me over the jump to find out who it is.