2012 NHL Entry Draft: Which Player Will Burke Draft?

June 22nd, 2012 No Comments

With just a few hours remaining before the 2012 NHL Entry draft commences each and every hockey fan has the same question on their mind- which player will their beloved hockey team draft? For fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs the thought of adding the likes of forwards Nail Yakapov or Alex Galchenyuk would seem to be the most enticing, but it is doubtful either player will be available at the five slot. Defenseman Ryan Murray should go in the top three as well, which means Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke will have to choose from a list of players which may include the likes of forwards Filip Forsberg, Teuvo Teravainen and Radek Faksa, while defensemen Mathew Dumba, Griffin Reinhart and Morgan Rielly will also be intriguing options. For the most part each and every NHL general manager

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Justin Schultz Expected To Become A UFA: Burke Calling?

May 26th, 2012 18 Comments

Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke has already acquired two of the prospects that he drafted while serving as the GM of the Anaheim Ducks in defenseman Jake Gardiner and centre Nicolas Deschamps, now it appears as if Burke will make every effort to sign another former Burke draft choice in defensive prospect Justin Schultz. TSN’s Bob McKenzie is reporting that Schultz has officially de-registered from the University Of Wisconsin, which should make the highly regarded Schultz an unrestricted free agent in time for the NHL Entry Draft in June, although, unless he is traded, the Ducks would still hold his rights until June 22nd, with Schultz becoming a UFA on July 1st. Schultz was Jake Gardiner’s defensive partner at the University of Wisconsin where they enjoyed good chemistry both on and off the ice. While nothing has been confirmed,

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Nikolai Kulemin: Deal, Or No Deal?

May 25th, 2012 3 Comments

Originally drafted in the second round (44th overall) of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Nikolai Kulemin has had an up and down career in his three seasons with the Blue and White. Signed to a three-year deal by the Buds in 2007, Kulemin chose to stay in the KHL in the first year of his contract playing for Metallurg Magnitogorsk-Russia where he scored 21 goals and added 12 assists for a total of 33 points through 57 games. The following season Kulemin played 73 games with the Maple Leafs, where he lit the lamp 15 times and added 16 assists along the way for a total of 31 points in his rookie season. Kulemin hit similar totals in 2009-10 when he scored 16 and added 20 assists for a total of 36 points through 78

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Where Will Jonas Gustavsson Sign?

May 22nd, 2012 4 Comments

Fresh off another lackluster season in which he posted a 17-17-4 record to go along with a 2.92 goals against average and a paltry 0.902 save percentage, it appears as if Jonas Gustavsson’s days as a Toronto Maple Leaf are over. Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke made reference to Gustavsson’s departure at his season ending press conference when he suggested his team would be foolish to start the 2012-13 season with two goaltenders with limited NHL experience. “Positionally we have to look at the goaltending, it wasn’t good enough this year,” said Burke at his press conference. “I think that James Reimer is the real deal; I think we can still plan on him being a number one guy, but we have to look at if we can bring in a guy that can bring us more options and

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Is Tomas Vokoun An Option For The Maple Leafs?

May 18th, 2012 6 Comments

When you consider the overall depth between the pipes for the Toronto Maple Leafs there are far more questions than sure things. Sure, Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke has the likes of James Reimer, Ben Scrivens (pending RFA this summer), Jussi Rynnas (pending RFA this summer) and Mark Owuya in the system, but what has he really got? James Reimer’s disruptive injuries last season saw him go from a franchise savior in 2010-11 when he posted a 20-10-5 record to go along with a 2.60 goals against average and a 0.921 save percentage, to a very average goaltender in 2011-12 when he posted a 14-14-4 record with a 3.10 goals aganist average and a 0.900 save percentage. Sophomore slumps occur for many second year goaltenders. In the case of Reimer, most of his issues look to be injury related, although

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Could Jason Arnott and Jamie Langenbrunner Be On Brian Burke’s Radar?

April 30th, 2012 9 Comments

With rumors swirling around the internet and the daily rags about Roberto Luongo’s future with the Vancouver Canucks and a possible trade to the Toronto Maple Leafs, I couldn’t help but think back to last summer’s UFA signings and how they panned out for their respective teams. Sure, big trades and big signings are what drives the headlines, but what about the smaller, less sexy moves? How do they fit into the equation? While not the most popular signings, sometimes a teams depth moves prove to be the best ones of the off-season, which brought to mind two players for me. The players in question would be a pair of veterans who, while probably well past their prime, have made invaluable contributions to the St. Louis Blues organization, throughout the regular season and the playoffs. Known for their leadership and

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