June 03 2015 09:00AM
Photo Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki/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!
If you're looking for a veteran presence that Chicago might be inclined to let walk, especially from that blue line, Johnny Oduya seems as likely a candidate as anyone. While he is part of the four-headed beast that arose in these playoffs because Joel Quenneville literally doesn't trust anyone else to patrol the blue line, Oduya best matches the description of a guy who will probably be allowed to walk.
The reasons why should be clear enough: He'll be 34 on Oct. 1, he probably wants one last multi-year deal, he probably wants a raise from his current $3.375 cap hit per NHLNumbers.com, and he's wrapping up a season in which he was vilified for much of the year by his own fans.
Stan Bowman is a smart general manager and while it's not totally clear how he's going to address his blue line's depth problems, giving a 34-year-old coming off a bad year multiple seasons and a raise doesn't seem like part of the plan. So in other words, it's very likely that Oduya is available to the highest bidder come July 1.
June 02 2015 07:32PM
The Sun is setting, the summer is approaching, and it's a Tuesday night. Time to party, right? Nah. I'm not ILoveMakkonen. Mannequins are weird, and I spent enough time near them at a hair convention this weekend. Drake is busy with the Raptors. We're just going to go with the mailbag instead. Like we do every Tuesday. Except for the 99% of the Mailbags that were posted on Monday. Uhh, lets start.
June 02 2015 01:00PM
It's a month until the Free Agency period opens, and with it the expectation that
Dave Nonis does something incredibly stupid the Leafs remain relatively quiet. Of course, that doesn't mean the Leafs will have anything close to a full roster based on who they will likely let walk and their intention to properly develop their prospects in the minors. While it's likely that most of the current holes in the roster can be filled by taking on contracts being dumped from other teams via trades, there will likely be a need to at least dip their toes into free agency at some point and attempt to find some hidden gems (a la Mason Raymond, Clarke MacArthur, Daniel Winnik, and Mike Santorelli.)
There are certainly some worthwhile players who may come available like Andrej Sekara, Mike Green, Justin Williams and Michael Frolik, but overpaying for well known names isn't where the Leafs are at today, instead here are ten players that the Leafs could consider without blowing the budget and could potentially flip in deals similar to the Winnik and Santorelli/Franson deals pulled off this season. At least three of the names on this list are incredibly familiar to Leafs fans.
June 02 2015 10:13AM
Today in our search for the Leafs 24th overall pick we venture off into the fabled Western Canadas to see what mysterious treasure can be unearthed there. Low and behold, there's a hockey league out there! And it's actually a pretty good one too. Maybe we should consider bringing in one of these players for a change? That Morgan Rielly fella worked out well, and we were able to flip Luke Schenn for van Riemsdyk, I think WHL first rounders might be the way to go for this team.
That brings us to Jake DeBrusk. Not only does Jake have the stigma of not being from Ontario, he's got the added pressure of making you realize that he is no way an enforcer, despite his father playing that role in the NHL for many years. Though maybe since Louie played for the London Knights Jake will count as legacy OHL and the Leafs will take a look at one of the more talented goal scorers projected to go in the late first round.
June 01 2015 06:44PM
Today we'll take a closer look at the first SHL prospect we've covered so far in TLN's First Round Targets series, a league in which the Toronto Maple Leafs have uncovered some serious talent lately. Can Oliver Kylington, the 6'0, 181lb Farjestad defender, be a building block in Toronto's rebuild much in the same way that William Nylander and Andreas Johnson are expected to be? Let's break it down...
Another prospect that can be found all over the place in pre-draft rankings, some see Kylington as a top flight talent worthy mid-first round pick, while others don't see him as a top thirty prospect. Kylington was ranked as the top European skater at the midterm mark by NHL Central Scouting, but slipped to 6th in their final rankings. Future Considerations has Kylington ranked 38th, while McKeen's recently dropped him all the way down to 46th. ESPN's Corey Pronman has him 15th. There's a good chance that Kylington is still available when Toronto picks 24th overall, but it wouldn't be too crazy if another team reached for him just prior.