A Year Of Vinny?

Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
June 30 2013 12:34AM

The Toronto Maple Leafs appear to be hoping to make several moves over the course of this offseason, and rumours have been aplenty as a result. Think what you want about the Jonathan Bernier trade, and opinions really are all over the place (I'm still trying to convince myself to have a conclusive opinion), but it at least means that speculation involving goaltenders is over and done with for this offseason. The defence is probably the team's most practical concern, and potential moves range from retaining borderline players, to extending restricted free agents, and even possibly going after superstars. But whether you like it or not, the public pressure is on for Dave Nonis to acquire a top line centre.
Personally, I'm not of the belief that the Leafs need to acquire someone for this role. I think that while Nazem Kadri's production will not stay at the video-game like totals he put up last year, he's more than able to exceed the production of Tyler Bozak, while not being a "weak link" in a line with Phil Kessel and whichever of Lupul or van Reimsdyk plays left wing. Mikhail Grabovski's production dipped last year, but a decrease of and stylistic change of minutes has me optimistic that he can return to form on the second line. Joe Colborne appears to be back on track with a healed wrist, and Jay McClement is the fourth line centre of Toronto's dreams. I genuinely believe that they're in a good position. But this is a situation that won't be forgotten unless it's addressed. So, with all of that said, I think Vincent Lecavalier may be the best possible option. 

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Per Aaron Ward, Mark Fraser rejects two-way qualifying offer

Cam Charron
June 29 2013 12:52PM

There are an awful lot of trade rumours out there and few have any substance behind them. We'll concentrate instead on stuff that is likely to come out to be true or false in the coming days.

Earlier, the Leafs gave qualifying offers to all of the players on the team's NHL roster, meaning that they'll all keep their restricted free agent status when their contracts expire. QOs are generally one-year, small raises on the previous deal and are rejected by most key NHL players, allowing the team and the player to work on something more substantial.

But here's a fun nugget from Aaron Ward:

This is good news.

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Leafs Draft Preview: All the D

Justin Fisher
June 29 2013 09:27AM

Madison Bowey and Joshua Morrisey (Photo: www.raiderhockey.com)
Madison Bowey & Joshua Morrissey (Photo: www.raiderhockey.com)
If teams drafted for need, this article would have never been written. Just last year, Toronto used the fifth overall pick on future repeat Norris winner Morgan Rielly, building upon an already impressive group of defensive prospects including Jesse Blacker, Stuart Percy, Matt Finn, and Petter Granberg.
Luckily for me, it's generally considered best practice to draft for best player available. And by the time the 21st pick comes up, it's entirely possible that the Leafs' best player available is a blueliner.
Here's a few defencemen that could be pulling a Leafs jersey over their head on Sunday afternoon...

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Three 2012 Leafs picks to Team Canada's summer camp

Cam Charron
June 28 2013 09:40AM

Just a quick note from Lance Hornby, on a day we're all discussing prospects to an extent:

Nobody should be surprised at all by Morgan Rielly. He made last year's team and unless there's a significant loss of intelligence among the Leafs executive, Rielly will spend his 19-year-old season in junior and not in the Toronto Maple Leafs defensive corps.

It's nice to see Matt Finn there as well. Behind Stuart Percy, Jesse Blacker and Rielly, it's easy to forget that the Leafs had a prospect with 11 goals and 41 points in just 31 OHL games last year. He's still an NHL longshot.

Ryan Rupert, however, is a surprise.

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Mock drafts: who are the Leafs projected to select?

Cam Charron
June 28 2013 09:11AM

I've been scouring through a few mock drafts in the last couple of days to get a handle on the kind of player the Maple Leafs will get. The consensus seems to be that Toronto is going to be taking a big forward, after a year of taking two smooth-skating defencemen Morgan Rielly and Matt Finn early in the first and second rounds.

One problem with the Leafs system is that they don't have any "wow" forward prospects on the farm looking to come up. Since selecting Nazem Kadri, none of their forward prospects have become wicked productive in junior hockey or considered for Team Canada at the juniors, so it's tough to get excited about them. Tyler Biggs was on the American gold medal-winning team this past winter, but in a supporting role. At 21, I think the Leafs really, really, really need to go for skill over size more than anything else.

So, uh... who are people giving us?

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