January 18 2013 10:36AM
The Toronto Maple Leafs have finalized their 23-man roster, cutting Morgan Rielly and Matt Frattin Friday to trim their roster and set the lineup they'll likely run with tomorrow in Montreal. (Meanwhile, Tim Connolly cleared waivers, and Dave Nonis says he'll report to the Toronto Marlies)
The moves aren't particularly surprising. Frattin is waiver-exempt, and as a player in his scoring peak he barely moved the needle at the NHL-level. He fits better with the Toronto Marlies and as the first-injury call-up for the Leafs. Morgan Rielly will be sent back to junior in Moose Jaw, impressive as he is as an 18-year-old, the reality of the situation is that he's too chaotic in his own end to benefit the hockey team, and it doesn't benefit Rielly as a player to play 15 minutes a night of panicky hockey.
Rielly will get his chance some day, but clearly that is not today.
January 17 2013 11:32AM
Some interesting developments on the waiver wire on Thursday. It's a fairly rare occurrence that happens but during this week's roster crunch, teams have a chance to open doors to the hockey equivalent of baseball's "AAAA" players this week.
The first is Keith Aucoin, who was waived by the Leafs for the purpose of letting him continue skating on their first line with the Toronto Marlies. Him and his team-leading 37 points were claimed by the New York Islanders. There's a chance he could get another NHL shot.
The bigger story though, is who was placed on waivers Thursday. Tim Connolly was placed on there by the Leafs, along with a couple of players Toronto could use.
January 17 2013 10:12AM
First, stop hurting your teammates.
Firing pucks and injuring Leafs winger, James Van Riemsdyk is only the latest incident.
Mike Komisarek has not lived up to the $4.5 million cap hit signed as an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2009. That much is crystal clear.
With two more seasons, barring a trade or buy out at the end of the 2013 season – a likely candidate – Komisarek must make adjustments in his game. No longer can he aimlessly seek targets for body contact, he has to change things up.
It’s doubtful he can ever justify the $4.5 million cap, and never did, but with some tweaks and a lower, altered expectation, for a specific role, not the cap hit, he could still be of use.
January 16 2013 06:49PM
I think for those of us expecting a bigger trade, this one sorely disappoints. It does, however, clear up some issues for the Leafs' roster this Saturday, namely the team's logjam at centre.
Leafs trade Lombardi to Phx for a conditional pick. Toronto also retains some salary in deal.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 17, 2013
As it happens, Toronto couldn't collect any assets for Matthew Lombardi. The pick is a 4th rounder in next year's draft, or a 3rd if Lombardi re-signs with the Coyotes or "meets certain stats". That's likely a games played threshold, given Lombardi's concussion issues in the last three seasons. It's not a salary dump, because the Leafs are loaded with cap space this season.
Unfortunately, Matthew Lombardi did not work out in Toronto, with 8 goals in 62 games. He did his job, though, as the Leafs paid him so Nashville wouldn't have to, and in return the Predators exchanged Brett Lebda for Cody Franson. With Franson re-signing, that deal looks a bit better now.
The Leafs are still overloaded down the middle, with Tyler Bozak, Mikhail Grabovski, David Steckel, Jay McClement, and Tim Connolly on the depth chart, all of them legitimate NHLers. One of them may have to slide over to wing.
January 16 2013 01:30PM
Even though Ron Wilson has been fired, it's still interesting to look back on his career and what he did with his goaltenders. Like I mentioned earlier, Dave Tippett and Ken Hitchcock's goalies can expect higher save percentages in those systems.
Wilson, however, well, let's just say the goaltending record in his time as coach was awful. The Leafs have bounced from below-average starter to below-average starter. The Leafs haven't had a goaltender play 50 games in a season since Vesa Toskala in 2008-2009, and they haven't had a goalie play 50 games in three consecutive seasons since Curtis Joseph between 1999-2002.