Thirteen thoughts: Mats in the Hall, forward depth

Cam Charron
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.

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Leafs to be active July 1st, but not on the big names

Cam Charron
June 29 2012 11:03AM

Kudos to the guys from Maple Leaf Hot Stove who extracted audio from Brian Burke's stint on Halifax radio yesterday. If there's one positive thing I can say about Burke that we can agree on, it's that he's available, he's clear, he's concise, and he doesn't leave anybody in the dark.

On this stint, he spoke a bit about Maple Leafs team needs, the James van Riemsdyk trade, and why he doesn't think that Morgan Rielly should play in the NHL next year, but the major bit of information in there was about his plans for July 1st and free agency day.

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Rushing young injured players

Cam Charron
June 29 2012 07:48AM

Last week, James Reimer's agent Ray Petkau sent out the following tweet in response to a question asked by a frequent commenter of the Barilkosphere, @LeafErikson:

Wait, what do you mean "since April"?

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Maple Leafs announce prospect camp invitees (Who are these guys?)

Cam Charron
June 28 2012 11:55AM

As per a team release...

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced Thursday that the team’s prospect camp, held from July 2-to-5, will feature 42 players. The group will consist of four goaltenders, 25 forwards and 13 defencemen. All six of the Maple Leafs’ 2012 draft choices will be in attendance.

The camp will include on-ice practice sessions at MasterCard Centre for Hockey Excellence and seminars on conditioning, media awareness, personal development and nutrition. The camp will open with on-ice workouts on Monday at 10:00 a.m. The week will be highlighted with three intra-squad games which will take place from Tuesday-to-Thursday. The tentative on-ice schedule for the camp is as follows:

So that's that. Morgan Rielly, Matt Finn, Dominic Toninato and all your favourite Toronto draftees from 2012 will be in attendance. Still, there are also a couple of more notable names on the roster.

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Finding a right side partner for Jake Gardiner via UFA

Cam Charron
June 28 2012 07:24AM

James Mirtle came out with his list of 35 unrestricted free agent defencemen at the Globe's website on Wednesday afternoon, and after a bit of perusing, I've found a couple of names worth going after. The list was shortened as the Calgary Flames traded for, and signed, Dennis Wideman to a pretty sizeable contract, 5 years, $26M.

Goes to show just how badly teams will overpay for top free agents, and while Wideman was the best of the "second-tier" defencemen in this class, he will be remarkably overpaid. Suffice to say, you can't get a good free agent without looking for a bit of value.

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