July 04 2012 02:44AM
In a conference call after his acquisition of James Van Riemsdyk, Brian Burke mentioned that Nazem Kadri could be looked at to fill a spot at centre ice for the Maple Leafs next year. This might be somewhat surprising to some, as Kadri has played on the wing for nearly every shift of his pro career.
However, during the Calder Cup Playoffs this year Kadri was switched to centre where he obviously impressed Burke with his performance. Actually, it would be tough for anyone not to be impressed with his performance seeing as he was an integral piece to the Marlies Calder Cup final berth (which he unfortunately didn't play in due to injury). He scored three goals and 10 points in 11 AHL playoff games.
Leafs Nation Podcast
July 03 2012 05:26PM
As you might have expect, this week Danny Gray and I chat about two main topics: free agency and Mats Sundin. We review Brian Burke's progress with the lineup so far this off-season, and attempt to determine what the next focus should be for a trade. You might be surprised at our conclusion, there.
July 03 2012 11:26AM
What shocks me the most about living in Toronto is the way people view Phil Kessel. I've gone on about this topic before in this space. Basically, Kessel's portrayal in the Toronto media borders on unfair, but the reality of the situation is that Kessel isn't a play-driving, two-way winger and his line needs a centreman to improve its defensive play.
I've also wondered aloud on occasion as to whether a winger exists at the NHL-level that can score a high number of goals and be good enough defensively, to be the sort of player that Toronto fans expect. I found one after a search.
July 02 2012 01:13PM
If the Leafs seek to improve their Top Four defencemen via trade or free agency, it will be a surprising move, given Brian Burke's recent comments about the teams situation. In the July 1 conference call [transcript here] Burke suggested that it was a "lower priority" to upgrade the D. This doesn't match my own individual assessment of the team. There are still some possibilities for free on the market that the Leafs could bring in to upgrade the Top Four.
It's true that the major hurdles for the team are centre and goaltending, but the fact is that Toronto doesn't have four defencemen who have shown the ability to play Top Four minutes in the NHL.
July 02 2012 09:39AM
'Twas the night before a frenzy and all through the league, every pundit was prepping for long weekend fatigue...
The big day turned out to be rather uneventful, with only a few notable names finding homes. That said, it was a good weekend for the Edmonton Oilers - they won the Schultz sweepstakes and retained the still very effective Ryan Smyth on an extremely reasonable deal. Those additions and others across the Nation were set-up and discussed yesterday by LT and a wide range of guests, including Terry Jones, Tom Lynn and Bruce McCurdy.
This is Nation Radio.