June 16 2015 11:00AM
Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports
This is a series counting down the top-10 pending UFAs. It will be posted across the Nation Network over the next month! Enjoy!
Almost every postseason there arises an unlikely hero from the middle of a team's roster to make headlines. And any time that player is a pending free agent, teams line up to pay that him too much money as a result. Call it the Bickell effect.
This year, that player is Matt Beleskey. The Ducks 27-year old winger has been a run-of-the-mill NHL forward for years, but his 8-goal in 16-games playoff performance combined with his size (6', 205 pounds) has him on a lot of GM's radars heading into July. Just to make his agent even happier, Beleskey also put up the best regular season of his NHL career, managing 22-goals and 32-points. His underlying numbers, however, tell a much more complicated story than his counting stats.
June 16 2015 09:27AM
The season's over, and the draft is just eight business days away. We've been digging into the numbers, video, everything in the last month or so in order to get ourselves ready for it, but we know the actual selections won't fall perfectly in line with our rankings or anyone else's.
There are team needs to consider, and mistakes to be made. With that in mind, each year many around the internet try to nail down their version of a mock draft, and we checked in on how they see things shaking out for the Leafs in that first round.
June 16 2015 08:32AM
Yesterday there was a report circulating that the Leafs had offered D.J. Smith an assistant coaching gig with the Leafs. This morning Damien Cox is reporting that it's all but certain that Smith will be accepting that role.
Sure sounds like D.J. Smith will be an assistant coach along with Jim Hiller under Mike Babcock with the Leafs. 4-year deal.— Damien Cox (@DamoSpin) June 16, 2015
The fact that Cox is reporting the term is a good sign that this is actually happening. What is also interesting is that apparently Jim Hiller is all but confirmed as well. More from Cox after the jump
June 16 2015 07:00AM
Photo Credit: Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports
In the three weeks since he became the head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs - it still feels good, doesn't it - we haven’t seen a single public action or comment (aside from the lengthy introductory press conference) from Mike Babcock, but undoubtedly he’s a big part
of the discussions that are leading into the biggest player transaction period
of the year.
There aren't any specific rumours floating around in the ether involving Babcock's former charges, but it's frequently observed that in sports, and in all industries and walks of life, familiarity can be a decisive factor when it comes to personnel decisions. While Babcock pulling Niklas Lidstrom out of retirement, or magically poaching Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Nyquist, and Kronwall would help the Maple Leafs, I can’t shake the feeling that it's not a realistic possibility. On the flip side, I also doubts that Babcock is still looking to drain the last hockey from Dan Cleary’s bones..
With those players off the table, here’s a list of five former Babcock players whom the Maple Leafs could be looking to target this offseason.
June 15 2015 05:36PM
The Maple Leafs may be going to back to the Ontario Hockey League in order to fill one of their vacant assistant coaching positions.
According to Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun, the Maple Leafs have offered Memorial Cup winning coach D.J. Smith a position behind the bench alongside Mike Babcock.