June 22 2015 12:00PM
There is a lot of information and analysis to consider when it comes to the NHL entry draft. Hundreds of draft eligible kids, thousands of stats lines, dozens of draft coverage publications/blogs and innumerable opinions about who is going to pick whom.
If you're like me, you probably spend a lot of time clicking from tab-to-tab in your browser, or wasting your time searching for draft reports, mock drafts and consensus rankings. So to make things easier for myself (and for you), I've compiled all the lists, ranks and tools I use to follow the draft.
June 22 2015 11:33AM
Ridiculous Photo by Jon Steitzer
Phil Kessel has been the most talked-about trade piece in Toronto (and possibly the entire NHL) since the start of the off-season, when rumors began to circulate that the Leafs were willing to move the 27 year old winger.
The takes have ranged from exciting to heartbreaking, and they seem to get more outrageous by the day - which is where this piece by Dave Molinari of the Post-Gazette comes into play.
The Pittsburgh Penguins reporter suggests that the Pittsburgh Penguins, who only hold one draft pick in the first four rounds of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, could be at least a casually interested party in regards to a Kessel acquisition.
"Perhaps because there are so few top-six wingers in play now, the Penguins are believed to have at least a kick-the-tires level of interest in Toronto’s Phil Kessel.
Kessel, 27, is one of the NHL’s top goal-scorers — he has 247 in 668 games with the Maple Leafs and Boston — but comes with an $8 million salary-cap hit on a contract that runs through the 2021-22 season."
June 22 2015 08:00AM
Director of Amateur Scouting Dave Morrison's has been with the Toronto Maple Leafs since 2004 and in his current role since 2006. Because the Leafs have quite clearly not been exactly the NHL's most talented team in that timeframe, it's natural to wonder exactly what's going on in their scouting department.
Prior to the 2013 draft, our own Justin Fisher wrote a piece examining the history of Dave Morrison's draft tendencies, looking at the leagues where Morrison often decided to cast his scouting rod
June 22 2015 08:00AM
Photo Credit: Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports
The outcome of the Stanley Cup Final will, in many ways, vindicate Stan Bowman's decisions at the trade deadline this year. He spent big to get Antoine Vermette and Kimmo Timonen (a combined cost of two second-round picks, a first, and a decent prospect) and hadn't, for most of the playoffs, gotten much out of them.
There wasn't much of a surprise there with Timonen, because the guy is like 112 years old and coming off a very serious health concern that almost ended his career. But the performance of Vermette, which has only began to sort itself out late in the run, long seemed a point of concern to say the least.
We're obviously working with a very limited data set here (just 39 games from the regular season through the end of the playoffs) but 4-6-10 in all situations and a sub-50 percent possession number on a team as good as Chicago is deeply problematic. Which goes a long way toward explaining his getting just 13:35 per game from Joel Quenneville; he hasn't averaged that few since he was a sophomore in the league, back in 2005-06.
At best, Bowman was "vindicated" with a Cup win (in much the same way the Tomas Kaberle trade once didn't-matter after the Bruins won the Cup), but at worst, the Vermette and Timonen trades could look like terrible decisions.
And though he came on late, the fact that scoring two goals in six games was a coup probably throws Vermette's price in the UFA market into serious doubt, if nothing else.
June 22 2015 07:04AM
Last week we had an interesting day trying to figure out if the Leafs had signed defenceman Nikita Zaitsev out of the KHL. Initially it looked like he would be coming to Toronto, foregoing his last year in Russia with CSKA Moscow, but eventually it became clear nothing would be sorted out until after next season.
Igor Eronko, a writer for Sports.ru who first relayed the news of Zaitsev and the Leafs being linked, provided a few updates on the situation this morning.