Archive for July, 2011

What Can We Expect From The Toronto Maple Leafs In 2011-12?

July 24th, 2011 9 Comments

Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke went into the summer of 2011 with two objectives: Strengthen his forward lines and acquire enough depth up front to give his team a fighting chance at a playoff spot. Free agent signings Tim Connolly, Phillippe Dupuis and Matthew Lombardi are expected to bolster the Leafs attack down the middle, while defensemen Cody Franson and John-Michael Liles (both acquired via trade) are expected to create offense from the back end—an area the Maple Leafs were abysmal at last season. Re-signing forward Clarke MacArthur will allow the Leafs to continue to employ one of the NHL’s most dangerous second lines which includes Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin—all of whom had career years in goals, assists and points in 2010-11. Together, MacArthur, Grabovski and Kulemin combined for 70 goals (including 21 power play markers) and

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Are Goaltending Issues Looming For the Toronto Maple Leafs?

July 21st, 2011 2 Comments

Last season the Toronto Maple Leafs finished the 82-game schedule with the 25th ranked goals against per game at 2.99. It was a modest improvement from the Blue and Whites 3.21 goals against average in 2009-10 when the Leafs ranked 29th overall, but hardly good enough to be considered an elite defensive team. The off-season saw veteran goaltender J.S. Giguere take his act to the Colorado Avalanche, leaving sophomore James Reimer and the oft-injured Jonas “the monster” Gustavsson to assume the goaltending duties in 2011-12. Reimer recorded a 20-10-5 record with a 2.60 goals against average, .921 save percentage and three shutouts. All-in-all, Reimer’s numbers were excellent, especially when you consider Giguere’s 11-11-4 record (2.87 GAA, .900 SV%) and Gustavsson’s 6-13-2 record (3.29 GAA, .890 save percentage). The inconsistent play from Giguere and Gustavsson played a huge roll in the

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Breaking News: The Toronto Maple Leafs Still Need a Centre

July 7th, 2011 No Comments

After the acquisitions of Matthew Lombardi and Tim Connolly, many fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs felt that their beloved Buds had solved their need for a centre. Now, don’t get me wrong. When healthy, both Lombardi and Connolly can be effective players. That said, given Lombardi’s concussion issues that saw him miss 80 of the 82 games in the 2010-11 season (which still carries lingering effects) and Connolly’s fragile china doll reputation, there is every reason to believe Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke is not done trying to address the centre position. As good a season as Mikhail Grabovski had last year, Burke looks to be penciling him onto the second line where he will play with Clarke MacArthur and Nikolai Kulemin, all of whom had career years in 2010-11 playing as the Buds second unit. On the

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Is Luke Schenn Trade bait?

July 6th, 2011 No Comments

When you look at the Toronto Maple Leafs defense corps there appears to be a logjam, not only at the NHL level, but on the farm as well. Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke has assembled a defense which includes team captain Dion Phaneuf, Carl Gunnarsson, Keith Aulie, Mike Komisarek and the newly acquired John-Michael Liles and Cody Franson. Knocking on the door are a pair of youngsters, who, in many people’s minds, are not far off from being NHL ready. Originally taken in the first round (17th overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Jake Gardiner came over from the Anaheim Ducks in the Francois Beauchemin deal. Known as a smooth skating, offensive defenseman with a high hockey IQ, Gardiner has the ability to be a top defenseman one day. While it is still very early, Gardiner is

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What is Luke Schenn Worth?

July 5th, 2011 6 Comments

The Toronto Maple Leafs signed two of their four restricted free agents today, inking Clarke MacArthur to a two-year, $6.5 million deal and Tyler Bozak to a two year deal (terms have not been released yet). The two remaining RFA’s are defensemen Matt Lashoff, who is eligible for salary arbitration, and Luke Schenn, who is not eligible for salary arbitration. Lashoff looks to be the odd man out on the Maple Leafs blueline. If (and it’s a big “if”) Lashoff is resigned by Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke, look for it to be a two-way contract in the $750,000 range. According to capgeek.com, the Maple Leafs have a total of 20 players locked up for the 2011-12 season at a cost of $55,665,000, leaving Burke with $8,635,000 with which to fill out his roster. These numbers do not

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Clarke MacArthur Signs Two-Year Contract Extension With Toronto Maple Leafs

July 5th, 2011 No Comments

Just hours away from having to go to salary arbitration for the second straight summer, Clarke MacArthur signed a two-year, $6.5 million deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs. MacArthur’s signing solidifies the Maple Leafs second unit which includes Mikhail Grabovski, Nikolai Kulemin and the aforementioned MacArthur. MacArthur had a career high 62 points (21 goals) last season, as did Grabovski and Kulemin who had 58 points (29 goals) and 57 points (30 goals), respectively. The trio of misfits were one of the NHL’s most effective second units, combining for a total of 80 goals, 177 points and a plus/minus rating of plus-18. Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke said all along that he would not overpay for a player he deemed had only put together one good season. That said, with time ticking away and few options available via

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