May 20 2013 01:17AM
Image via Mark Staffieri at Ice Hockey Wiki
There's going to be a lack of Toronto Maple Leafs-related news until the conclusion of the Stanley Cup playoffs. This week I'm focusing much of my time tracking zone entries for the Memorial Cup (work will be published over at Yahoo's Buzzing the Net) and only doing so because there is an absolute glut of prospects at the event.
Three of them, Seth Jones, Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin, will be well out of reach by the time the Toronto Maple Leafs pick, which could land anywhere between 19 and 22nd, depending on how the second round of the playoffs shakes out. If New York, Ottawa, Detroit and San Jose were all to win their series… that would bump Toronto up to 19th. While that's a possibility, it won't put Toronto high enough up to put them into Drouin territory.
However, there's a familiar name at the Memorial Cup familiar to Leafs fans.
May 17 2013 11:58AM
Clarke MacArthur was picked up for a song late in the 2010 free agency period. There was nothing terribly wrong with MacArthur. He scored 16 goals in a season split between the Atlanta Thrashers and Buffalo Sabres the year before, but apparently, the Thrashers' acquisition of Andrew Ladd that summer made MacArthur an expendable piece.
Ladd has since become the captain of the franchise after the move to Winnipeg, while the team walked away from MacArthur's $2.4-million arbitration award, one they didn't really fight. Reading up on it now, it sounds like the Thrashers terribly mis-managed MacArthur, seeing the 16-goal scorer as a third liner who didn't fit into their system.
The Leafs, who had the cap room, spent the aforementioned song on MacArthur, which ended up being $440K less than the qualifying offer MacArthur rejected. The Leafs re-upped him for two seasons two summers ago, a more appropriate $3.25-million, and he scored 20 goals in 2012 and a pro-rated 16 in 2013.
He's up for free agency again, but there is very little buzz.
May 17 2013 11:00AM
via Claus Anderson/Getty
Okay, maybe that wasn't the *big* news of the day, but it's something that happened. Tyler Bozak, the first-line centreman for the Leafs for the last four years, is an unrestricted free agent this summer and it doesn't sound like the Maple Leafs have a huge interest in bringing him back.
In the playoffs, the Leafs were short-handed for two games without Bozak—games six and seven—and replaced his spot in the lineup with Nazem Kadri and filled Kadri's spot with Joe Colborne. In an effort to stack the deck against Bruins' defenceman Zdeno Chara, Kessel spent a lot of time in the playoffs, pre-Bozak injury, on a line with Kadri while Bozak played with Joffrey Lupul and Matt Frattin as an improvised third line.
Kessel's offence was unaffected by this.
May 16 2013 11:49AM
It was locker clear out day in Toronto Thursday morning, which means the coaches and players are available to talk about the disappointment of not getting the job done.
Randy Carlyle and Dave Nonis also spoke. I'll focus more on Nonis because ultimately, he's the guy who runs the team and makes the final decisions. Nonis is a very reserved talker and is as conservative with words as he is as a manager—it's rare he'll open up or deviate from the script.
Here are Nonis' thoughts on Phil Kessel, the Meltdown, his strategy and what they'll do going into the draft:
May 16 2013 09:41AM
Say Good Night Gracie
I guess it would be foolish not to start off this post with at least addressing Game Seven, though frankly, I’m over it. There is nothing this franchise can do anymore that legitimately surprises me. While a collapse like this is unprecedented and unlikely statistically, it doesn’t change the fact that the Leafs struggle defensively, and the Bruins are a more talented team that Toronto is incapable of matching when they are firing on all cylinders.
I’ve divorced myself from the last ten minutes of the Leafs season, which is a pleasant change after normally trying to rid my brain of entire Leaf seasons, instead I’ll put myself back in the mindset I was in after Game Four. “At least the Leafs didn’t get swept.” Despite picking the Leafs to win the series in six, all I ever wanted out of this series was to avoid a sweep, for the Leafs to not be embarrassed by Seguin, Hamilton, and Rask, and for Phil Kessel to prove that he can play against Zdeno Chara. All of those things happened, and we got to watch some really good hockey before heading into summer hiatus.