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Updated: 2014-10-04T19:55:41.119-04:00

 



Hockeyleaks.com Free Fantasy Hockey

2011-10-11T15:03:28.858-04:00

One Day FREE Fantasy Contest - $100 in cash prizes

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You're Only As Good As Your Line...

2011-01-18T13:43:41.115-05:00

Here is a new blog by another one of our new bloggers, Craig DiMarco. He will be giving us a different perspective on the Toronto Maple Leafs. Make sure to drop by the forums to comment on it. Thanks


***

“You’re only as good as your line mates out there. The pass he (Grabovski) made through the skates was unbelievable; I think the goalie was still looking behind the net”. That said by Clarke MacArthur coming off a 2 goal night against the penguins and inching him closer to put his name in the record book for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The unreal chemistry among Kulemin, Grabovski and MacArthur was not foreseen by Ron Wilson or any coaching staff. This line would become the new number one line in no time at all. Each player on the line, nearing career high points at the half way point of the season.
MacArthur’s Career High last year was split between the Buffalo Sabers and the Atlanta Thrasers, totalling 16 goals and 35 points. He has 14 goals and 37 points at 44 games with the blue and white.

Mikhail Grabovski’s Career high was the 08-09 season notching 20 goals and 48 points. Now the arguably more matured hockey player, playing with his heart on his shoulder night in and night out has 18 goals and 35 points at half point of the 10-11 season.

Nikolai Kulemin has been doing everything right for this line, working the corners, taking bodies and most importantly holding down the front of the net. Kulemin’s career year was last year with 16 goals and 36 points, now at 44 games in he’s got 16 goals and 33 points.

The line has been one of the bright spots of this year’s leafs. If we look back to all the line changes Wilson has tried to do you can see the only untouched line was that of the Grabovski line, the old saying is why fix something that’s not broken.

What happened to our first line with Kessel? I’m not implying that Bozak isn’t a great center, but who does Kessel have to play with that can match or overtake that the play of Savard. A question that needs to be answered by only our General Manager Brian Burke, the need for a true number one line center would reignite Kessel’s goal production.

Until then, we must be happy with the kids from the Marlies doing straight WORK. Joey Crabb, Darryl Boyce and saving the best for last James Reimer. These kids show you how development is so important in the cap era of the NHL, each player igniting all players on their lines to scoring and most importantly playing hard two-way hockey!

Being out of the last spot for the playoffs by more than 10 points, doesn’t put the greatest feeling into the pit of the hockey crazed fan here in Toronto, but seeing how the development and chemistry is starting to mend together gives everyone here in Toronto something to be optimistic for. A few missing puzzle pieces could be the exact formula to become a strong contender in the near future.



New Caps Blogger

2011-01-10T15:59:24.687-05:00

Over the next few days, you will start to see more blogs going up on Hockeyleaks.com's Column Section. The first of which is by Stacie Beasley, a great writer who has a passion for the Washington Capitals. Make sure to check the blog out below, and stop by the Columns forum to comment on it. Welcome to the team, Stacie!***C-A-P-S CAPS CAPS CAPS! LET’S GO PENS! F**K THE FLYERS!What would happen if you traveled to your teams’ rival city?By: Stacie Beasley 1/7/11 Prior to this NHL season, many questioned if the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins had established a true rivalry. While each of the eight playoff series that they have played against each other were intense, Pens fans will argue since they won 7 of the 8 series that they don’t consider the Caps a rival, just a punching bag to warm them up for the Finals. It’s the Caps fans with a grudge that are creating the image of a rivalry, they say. When the NHL announced this past summer that the Capitals were to play the Penguins in the 4th annual Winter Classic at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, everyone started talking. For most, it went something like this: “What!? The Pens are in the Winter Classic, AGAIN?” and “Caps and Pens aren’t a rivalry… Bettman is just trying to shove Ovechkin and Crosby down our throats again. (Insert team here) should be playing (insert team here) in (insert city here.)” However, Caps and Pens fans immediately researched how to get tickets and set the countdown clocks to New Year’s Day. Being a Capitals season ticket holder, I was privy to getting tickets. Excitement built over the days leading to the event despite concerns about abnormal weather putting a “damper” on things. Due to the rain, the Winter Classic was postponed to 8pm which allowed A LOT more time for tailgating in the parking lots near Heinz Field. As my group of Caps fans wandered through the cars, ice sculptures (hockey fans take tailgating to a whole new level) and thousands of happy Pens and Caps fans, we were cheered and mostly jeered due to Pens fans buying up all the tailgating spaces. We mingled with fans from both teams, and I learned that Pens fans really aren’t so bad. You see, in the Washington, D.C. area, Caps fans passionately hate Crosby and the Penguins. When Pittsburgh came to town before the Caps regained popularity, too many Penguin fans did too, which triggered the Caps/Pens fans rivalry. Anxiety was high for Caps fans hanging out in enemy territory. One could compare the feelings to a Redskins fan hanging out in Dallas before their team played the Cowboys (the biggest rivalry in the NFL) or something Canadians might relate better to is a Leafs fan attending a Habs game in Montreal. After hours of drinking and playing games with good-natured hockey fans from both sides, everyone walked to Heinz Field in good “spirits”. We all knew that when the game ended, things would be different… or would they? Standing in line to get into the stadium, Caps and Pens fans were in awkwardly close quarters. Despite some fans exchanging a few hostile words, Caps fans and Pens fans were enthusiastically chatting about various topics. We all appreciated the fact that we were getting to take part in an extraordinary event and we respected each other’s passion for the great sport of hockey. After a battle of screaming “C-A-P-S CAPS CAPS CAPS” and “LET’S GO PENS”, we found common ground as someone began a chant of “F**K THE FLYERS!” which was something fans from both teams could agree on. Though once the puck dropped, civility stopped. Snide remarks were everywhere. When one fan base chanted, the other would attempt to override them creating a “Let’s go Pens/Caps” blend. When the Penguins scored first, the Pens fans rubbed it into the faces of the Caps fans. When the Caps scored, Caps fans did likewise but then some unfortunately discovered a beer puddle in their seats as they sat back down. Some P[...]



Late Night Rumblings

2011-01-07T00:48:21.612-05:00

First of all, I'm addicted to the new Twitter for Mac App. For those who don't know, Apple launched a new app store for Mac Computers today. Haven't really gotten a chance to look at many yet, but the Twitter one is a definite win.

On to what really matters:

As I tweeted early this afternoon, I received a random email from an author-less sender today telling me that Jamie Langenbrunner was on his way to the Dallas Stars. I get a lot of emails on a daily basis and several times a week I get "insiders" telling me rumoured deals that are "about to go down". Usually I can discard these immediately from my own knowledge, while others quickly get shot down the second I mention them to one of my own sources. But sometimes, these emails have substance.

I remember breaking the Sean Avery to Dallas signing a couple years back. It was an email from a random person in Dallas who knew someone who knew something. While I didn't know how credible this person was, when I did some digging, I found out that Avery was indeed about to sign with the Dallas Stars.

Same situation happened in Calgary a couple of seasons ago when they re-acquired Craig Conroy in 2007. An individual from a local Calgary TV station emailed me and said "Flames have told us there is a press conference tomorrow to re-introduce Conroy." I had never talked to this person before, so I wasn't going to immediately jump the gun and make the deal official, but sure enough, a few sources later and I knew Conroy was about to be Calgary bound.

That leads us to today, when I received a similar email stating that Jamie Langenbrunner had been or was in the process of being traded to the Dallas Stars. Several hours after receiving this email, it came out that Langenbrunner was indeed on the trading block and may have been asked to waive his NTC. Either way, it looks like he's done in NJ.

Is he going to Dallas? That I don't know. To me, Dallas doesn't make sense, as we keep hearing about how they are looking to cut costs and shed salary. But either way, it's something I'm keeping my eye on.

Something else to keep an eye on? The Columbus Blue Jackets, who are apparently close to landing a significant puck moving defenseman from the Eastern Conference. No names have surfaced yet, but sources tell Hockeyleaks.com that the deal has been discussed for almost a month and that the Blue Jackets and the other team involved are ready to pull the trigger.

As we head towards the trade deadline, things are sure to heat up. A lot of teams think they are "in it" this year, and this year more than ever, I expect some big names to be on the move.



Rumours for Jan. 03

2011-01-03T12:30:52.328-05:00

- With the Tampa Bay Lightning acquiring Roloson, they are no longer looking to sign Nabokov. While things have quieted down on the Nabokov front, the sinking Chicago Blackhawks could look to the veteran Russian if their struggles continue. Their are a few other teams interested, with whispers suggesting the Ottawa Senators could be one of them.

- The Toronto Maple Leafs are starting to get active on the trade front, with several of their players getting interest from other teams. Francois Beauchemin, despite his big contract, has received interest from up to five teams. The Phoenix Coyotes and San Jose Sharks are two of them. Kris Versteeg has been asked about by a few teams as well, with the Atlanta Thrashers and Carolina Hurricanes being two of them.

- The Leafs, meanwhile, have kicked tires with Florida on Stephen Weiss' availability. In final Leafs trade rumour news for the days, many teams have asked about Clarke MacArther's availability. Toronto would like to keep both him and Versteeg but would be willing to move either in a deal to bring a bonafide number one centre to Toronto. Detroit and Pittsburgh are two teams who have shown interest in MacArther.

Jerome Iginlas' recent strong play has more teams asking about him, with LA and Philadelphia being two of them. While the Flames continue to sit near the bottom of the Western Conference, don't expect an Iginla trade until right up until the trade deadline. One source tells me "I think Iginla will be moved, but the Flames don't want to move him. This reminds me a lot of the Ryan Smyth situation, and it could be dead on. Iggy could end up where we least expect him at the very last minute."

The Thrashers and Predators have been talking about a deal that would send Niklas Bergfors to Nashville for a prospect and a mid-level draft pick.

The Blue Jackets had significant interest in James Wisniewski before he was traded to Montreal. Look for the Blue Jackets to make a move for a puck moving defensemen as soon as they possibly can.



Nabokov to NHL?

2010-12-13T15:00:15.176-05:00

If you were surprised when Evgeni Nabokov signed with a KHL team this past summer, you were not alone. Nabokov was widely considered one of the premier goalies in the NHL, constantly leading the San Jose Sharks to success, season after season. SKA St. Petersburg, Nabokov's KHL team, terminated his four year contract earlier today citing family problem. Sources tell me that those problems stem from his family, who remained in North America (his Children were born in the States), being unable to adjust to a Russian lifestyle.

So Nabokov is on his way to North America as I write this and everyone I speak to believes his immediate future is in the NHL. But where will the prized Russian netminder end up?

The leading contender is Tampa Bay, who have allowed a league high 106 goals. The Bolts are currently going with a Mike Smith / Dan Ellis platoon, but it's become clear that both are unable to carry this team where they want to go. Mike Smith's best days appear to be behind him in Dallas, while it's becoming quite clear that Dan Ellis' past success likely had more to do with Nashville's defensive system than his skill.

While burrying one of this two in the minors (assuming they are both untradeable, which seems to be the case) would be a risky move for GM Yzerman, It's probably the right one. Nabokov would give this team it's best goalie since Khabibulin and would transform Tampa Bay from a fringe team to a legitimate contender.

But getting Nabokov won't be easy. Because of the NHL's waiver rules, wherever Nabokov signs, he must pass through waivers before joining any team. Tampa isn't the only team with interest.

Sources tell Hockeyleaks.com that as many as five teams could have interest in Russian olympian, including Washington, who have lost six straight, and Ottawa, who are getting fed up with "Starter" Pascal Leclaire's injuries.

So keep an eye of Evgeni Nabokov over the next couple of weeks. There is significant interest around the NHL in the former all-star goalie and all bets are on him being on an NHL roster before long. He really could be the difference maker for a team like Tampa Bay or Washington, who have all the offense they need but a big hole between the pipes.



Rumours for November 26, 2010

2010-11-26T13:49:39.935-05:00

- With Marc-Andre Bergeron cleared to play, the next step is a team signing him. Two of his former clubs, the New York Islanders and Montreal Canadiens, have shown interest due to injuries to their respective top d-men (Streit and Markov). Look for Bergeron to sign with an Eastern club sometime in the next 10-14 days. The Tampa Bay Lightning are also said to be very interested in the hard-shooting defenseman.

- The Columbus Blue Jackets continue to look for a puck-moving defenseman, something they have been looking to acquire for the past few seasons. While recent speculation has the team talking to the Sens about Brian Lee and Erik Karlsson, sources tell Hockeyleaks.com that talks between the two teams have stalled and are not expected to resume.

- With Sabres captain Craig Rivet once again set to be a healthy scratch, it appears as though the team may push him to give up his captaincy. While the Sabres may attempt to move Rivet, his 3.5 million dollar salary will make him a tough sell.

- The San Jose Sharks continue to look for some blueline help. They've been rumoured to have interest in the previously mentioned Bergeron, while recent whispers around Toronto suggest they have interest in a pair of Maple Leafs defenders, including Luke Schenn.

- With the Devils tight against the cap, they may look at moving the struggling David Clarkson. Clarkson has just six points in 22 games.

- With the Flyers also up against the cap, they will struggle to resign Ville Leino, who the club is said to be hopeful to extend. Brayden Coburn could be dealt to make room. Coburn has another year left on his deal and is owed 3.2 million next season.



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2010-11-30T11:30:18.279-05:00

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2010-11 Predictions: Western Conference

2010-10-06T22:44:58.086-04:00

So while I have several controversial choices, my picks for the West are likely to be less "out there". I believe this is because the West is always so strong that if an underdog makes the playoffs, its still not THAT big of a surprise. So here are my picks for how the 15 Western teams will finish.1. Vancouver CanucksThis is a team that I believe really has what it takes to put it all together and win it all this season. They're solid in net with Luongo, they're a force on D with Bieksa, Edler, Ballard, and Humhuis, while the top line of Sedin, Sedin and Burrows (once healthy) is comparable to any top line in the league. The Canucks should have no problem winning the Northwest and will have every opportunity to be the top team in the conference.2. Detroit Red WingsI expect the Wings to bounce back from last season's mediocre result. With Hudler back in the fold, and an almost guarentee of less injuries than last year, the Wings shouldn't have a problem improving on 2009-10. That, paired with Chicago getting weaker in every area, and the Central should belong to Detroit.3. San Jose SharksI don't necessarily like the moves this team made, resigning Marleau is a risk while their goaltending is weaker without Nabokov, but the Sharks are a very strong regular season team. I expect big things from Joe Thornton in a contract year and I think Pavelski, Clowe and the young defense will continue to develop and get better. The Sharks may struggle in the post season, but they're always a force in the first 82.4. LA KingsAs the Kings core gets older, they will get better. I think this will be the first year you really notice how good the Kings are. With guys like Brown, Johnson and Brown still reaching their potential, this team will be scary and soon. If Steve Bernier can take the leap this season to be a number one or one(a) goalie, the Kings could be a force and give San Jose a run for the Pacific.5. Chicago BlackhawksThey're not as good as last season, especially up front and in net, but the Blackhawks can't be counted out as long as they have Toews and Kane. This team is still young, fast and explosive. Thats good enough for them to be a serious threat in a very deep western conference.6. Calgary FlamesI think the Flames will bounce back this season, despite their questionable off-season moves. I see bounce back seasons from Tanguay and Bouwmeester, while Kiprusoff should be better as well. I still don't understand the Jokinen signing, as it didnt work the first time, but if the Flames falter, I'll be shocked if longtime GM Sutter can hold onto his job.7. Nashville PredatorsThis is a team that no matter where you put them in your preseason standings, 9th or 15th, they squeek into the playoffs. The Preds didnt make any massive additions, but they filled some holes and have a great young goalie in Pekke Rinne. 8. St. Louis BluesLike LA, this team will only get better with time. Adding Halak will be huge for this club and I strongly believe it's time for the Blues to return to meaningful hockey in the spring.9. Phoenix CoyotesWhile this team overachieved last year, I think they'll fall back to earth a little this season. Losing Lombardi will hurt, while Ray Whitney, in my opinion, wasn't the right move for the desert dogs. With that said, this team has a great young core with an unbelievable goalie, so anything is possible. 10. Anaheim DucksGone are the days where the Ducks had a stacked defense. Instead, the Ducks will be relying on youth like Cam Fowler and Luca Sbisa. Up front, the Ducks are strong with Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Parry, but if the defense struggles, Jonas Hiller could be in for a rough season.11. Colorado AvalancheAnother team that I believe overachieved last season, the Avs will be on the playoff border all season long. I'm not sold on their goaltending, while so[...]



2010-11 Season Predictions - Eastern Conference

2010-09-29T17:51:35.316-04:00

So here we are, eight more sleeps until the start of the 2010-11 season. We've endured one of the slowest offseasons in recent memory and I'll be the first to say, that puck couldn't drop on the season soon enough.While the offseason may have been a slow one, a few major things happened that have reshaped the league's landscape. Chicago's roster got retooled by the salary cap, San Jose let go of their franchise goaltender, Carolina continued to get younger, Montreal's epic goaltending went questionable, and much, much more. So now that the dust has settled (for the most part) and teams are making their final decisions on their opening night rosters, it's time to take a look at how I think things could finish this year. It's always tough to make predictions because I am well aware that players who I expect to perform will have off-years or get hurt. Over the coarse of the year, we'll see unpredicted management changes, trades and even free agent signings that rock the NHL's landscape once again. Even so, it's fun to make preseason predictions as to what might be:Eastern Conference1. Washington CapitalsIt was a quiet offseason in Washington, but the team that will step on the ice next week will be much of the same that went out in round one to the Montreal Canadiens. The Caps knew they hit a hot goalie and were smart to not retool too much. Jose Theodore is gone, but a healthy Simeon Varlamov and Michael Neuvirth will give the Caps one of the best young goalie tandems in the league. Washington remains the league's most explosive threat up front and while I'm not sold on their defensive ability, I think the Caps will be just fine.2. Pittsburgh PenguinsThe Penguins upgraded their biggest weakness this summer: their D. While losing Gonchar hurts, the additions of Michalek and Martin make Pittsburgh's overall defensive depth better. This should create more room up front for their offensive stars while giving Marc-Andre Fleury an easier time in net. The Penguins still could use some secondary scoring up front, but I expect both Crosby and Malkin to do just fine carrying the offensive load for these birds.3. Boston BruinsI didn't necessarily like the offseason the Bruins had, but it's a no-brainer that these bears really underachieved last season. Losing Dennis Wideman on the blueline will hurt, but the offensive additions of Nathan Horton and Tyler Seguin (should he get proper minutes), as well as a healthy Bergeron, should make the Bruins the best team in the NorthEast. With a weaker blueline, however, the pressure will be on both Rask and Thomas. If one of these goalies can't stand out and steal the number one job early, Boston could struggle.4. New Jersey DevilsWith Parise, Kovalchuk and Zajac up front, the once defensive first Devils should be a serious threat up front. While Brodeur is getting older, the veteran netminder still should be solid enough to make New Jersey a top threat in the East. On defense, the loss of Paul Martin will hurt, but kudos to the team for somewhat replacing him with Anton Volchenkov, who will be surely missed in Ottawa. Andy Greene should continue to develop into a top-line defenseman and the Devils should stay neck-and-neck with the Penguins all season for their division.5. New York RangersThe Rangers will continue to get better with time, as young players like Dubinsky, Del Zotto and Callahan will get more dangerous as they develop. Frolov should add more offensive punch up front while I expect a bounceback year from Lundqvist. I think Derek Steppan could turn some heads should he get the opportunity with the big club. The East is wide open from about fifth to 12th, but the Rangers have every opportunity to be the best of that bunch.6. Tampa Bay LightningThe Bolts finished the year off strong last year and that should carry over i[...]



The Latest + 5 up/5 down

2010-09-11T23:55:11.908-04:00

With less than a month until the start of the regular season, things are finally picking up around the NHL. We'll start in Carolina, where rumours are floating that the Canes are speaking to several veterans about try out contracts, including Bill Guerin and Owen Nolan. Carolina will be icing a very young team this season and would love to add a couple of older bodies to add leadership.In New Jersey, the team faces a larger cap crunch than any other team. A couple of players are being rumoured back to their old teams, with Salvadore being linked to St. Louis and Rolston being linked to Minnesota. Both will be very tough sells due to their contracts and the Devils will have to sweeten the pot with a decent prospect or high pick going along with their respective veterans. The Bobby Ryan saga continues in Anaheim, with the two sides still not close on a contract to end their summer-long stalemate. The Ducks would love to have Ryan signed to start training camp but at this point, it seems unlikely. It was almost a year ago that Kessel was dealt to Toronto after being unable to come to terms in Boston. It will be interesting to see how long the Ducks wait before they start seriously shopping the very promising winger. No folks, Toronto is not in the running for Bobby Ryan, they simply don't have the tradable assets needed to bring him in.Talk out of San Jose is that the team still has one more move up their sleeve, with a puck moving d-man still being their number one target. The Blue Jackets are also looking for the same thing. Despite his NTC, Kaberle's name continues to surface, as does Sheldon Souray's. Whispers around the league suggest that both teams have asked the Rangers about Marc Staal, but the Rangers have no intention of dealing him, despite the contract battle currently going on with him.Now for a look at the five teams who I think improved the most over the off-season, as well as the teams who I think took the biggest step backwards:5 Up5. Atlanta ThrashersThe fact that they basically got all of Chicago's leftovers is significant. Adding Sopel, Eager, Byfuglien and Ladd will make this team better both up front and on defense, while Chris Mason is the best goalie this franchise has had yet. If some of the younger players like Kane and Little can step up their games, the Thrashers could surprise and compete for a playoff spot this season.4. Toronto Maple LeafsIf you look back at the Leafs from the start of the season last year, they are significantly better. Between puck drop and their first tee-off of the offseason, the Leafs added Phaneuf, Giguere, Sjostrom and Caputi, while they promoted Bozak and Gunnarsson to the big club, with both excelling. Pair those additions with healthy, full seasons from Kessel, Komisarek and Gustavsson and the team the Leafs finished the year last year nowhere resembled their place in the standings. While the Leafs failed to address their biggest need in the offseason, that being a number one centre, they did make their team better overall by adding Kris Versteeg, Colby Armstrong, Clarke MacArthur and two depth d-men in Lashoff and Lebda. Add that to Bozak, Gustavsson, Kulemin, Schenn, Gunnarsson and Caputi all being another year older, and I think this Leafs team is significantly improved from one year ago.I'm not saying the Leafs will go from 29th to 1st, 2nd or even the top 10, but I don't believe it's out of the question to think the Leafs could compete for a playoff spot this season, probably somewhere in the 6 to 8 range...especially after looking at what some of the other teams in the East have done, or in some cases, haven't done.3. Pittsburgh PenguinsDestined to be losing Sergei Gonchar, the Penguins already thin defense was heading into this summer facing a major crisis. Instead, the [...]



Will he stay or will he go?

2010-08-15T11:34:10.382-04:00

We thought Tomas Kaberle would be traded at the draft, but that never happened.

We then thought he'd be moved shortly after July 1st, but to no avail.

Now we arrive on August 15th, 12 hours away from Kaberle's no trade clause kicking back in and questions are swirling about the skilled Czech's immediate future.

Burke went public over the last few days saying the offers were getting closer, but still no cigar. This morning he said much of the same, that their were several offers on the table but none of which were worth taking, yet.

Not including Kaberle, Burke has six NHL calibre defenseman ready to start the season, seven if you include Jeff Finger. Kaberle's value is higher now than it would be at the deadline, where a team would only be trading for a player they'd only get to use for 20 or so games, plus the playoffs. In my opinion, Burke must move Kaberle now in order to build the best team going forward.

But what are the current offers? We've heard Derek Joslin and a 1st from the Sharks, something I'd consider if I was Burke. We've heard Wayne Simmonds and a mid-round pick, something else I'd consider. Burke's top priority was to bring in a big, scoring forward for Kaberle, and he still may be able to, with names like Ryan Malone still floating around. If it's pure skill Burke wants, names like Logan Couture, Devan Setoguchi and Marc Savard are still floating. But if I'm Burke, I go to bed taking the best deal offered, even if it's not 100% what I'm hoping for.

Prior to last season, it made sense to keep Kaberle. Beauchemin was coming off an injury and his skill level was unclear, while Luke Schenn, Jeff Finger and Mike Komisarek were hardly puck moving d-men. Fast forward to now and Beauchemin has proven he can still move the puck, Schenn has developed his offensive game, the team acquired Dion Phaneuff and Carl Gunnarsson has basically replaced Kaberle's puck moving abilities on his own. Kaberle's value is too high and his importance to the team is too low for him to be kept around.

So where does Kaberle end up, if he does in fact get moved? My vote right now goes to San Jose, who has both young players (Couture, Joslin) and young established players (Setoguchi, Clowe) to somehow get a deal done. I'm not saying the Leafs will get Clowe and a 1st for Kaberle, or even Couture and a first for him, because it's unlikely, but the Leafs are not against adding to the deal to make another deal better.

As for other teams involved? The Blues are still in this and David Backes is still an option for Toronto. I don't believe the Kings are still as active as they once were, but at the drop of a hat they could be right back in this. Tampa Bay is definitely involved, with the thought of re-pairing Kaberle and Kubina on Yzerman's mind. And don't forget the Bruins, who in my mind still have to replace Dennis Wideman.

It's going to be an interesting 12 hours and I for one will be glad when Kaberle is finally dealt. If he isn't, I think Burke has missed out on an opportunity to better his team now and in the future.



Kaberle Watch 2010

2010-08-05T12:28:43.337-04:00

With ten days remaining in Tomas Kaberle's lack of no trade clause, it's expected that the offers will start going north when it comes to his value.

Sources tell Hockeyleaks.com that there are currently three teams with significant offers on the table: San Jose, Boston and LA. Whispers suggest Florida and Washington are involved as well, but how truthful those two teams interest are, im unsure.

The deal with the Bruins is likely the closest to happening, with the Bruins said to be offering Marc Savard and a high draft pick, possibly Boston's own first rounder. While Savard has a lengthy contract and a history of concussion problems, he had success with Phil Kessel and would fill a giant void up the middle for Toronto. With Boston signing Seguin earlier this week, the team would love nothing more than to move out one of the veteran centres.

San Jose's offer, from what I've been told, involves Ryan Clowe and a defensive prospect. Clowe wouldn't solve the Leafs problem up the middle, but would give the Leafs another offensive option on the wing. The prospect would play for the marlies and would be someone who could join the team mid-season when injuries strike.

The most interesting option may be the LA Kings, who apparently are only offering prospects and draft picks for the popular Czech defenseman. While this wouldn't help the Leafs now, the prospects being talked about outvalue the offers of both San Jose and Boston.

The feeling around the league is that Burke will deal Kaberle by the 15th of August and will simply take the deal that makes the most sense at that time. He knows that Kaberle's value will not be any higher than it is now, and he's very aware that Kaberle has no spot in Toronto this season, despite what he says publically.

Niemi remains a free agent and likely will heading into next week. I still believe the Sharks are the frontrunners to land him and making that offer sheet a few weeks ago was all part of their plan to lure the latest goaltender to win the Stanley Cup to California. Rumours of Montreal having interest in Niemi are false, but there are a few Canadian teams with interest: Edmonton and Ottawa. One other team to keep an eye on in all of this: Atlanta.

And finally we turn to Ilya Kovalchuk, who should know where he sits tomorrow. I pray that he remains a New Jersey Devil and that the league is forced to honour his contract, because once the Kovalchuk domino falls, a lot more should fall into place.



The Best of the Rest

2010-07-06T11:12:47.685-04:00

So we are almost one week into free agency and their are still a couple of gems out there. Now that the 4th of July long weekend has passed, expect things to start picking up today.

I'll start with Ilya Kovalchuk, who according to various reports has signed a seven year, $60 million dollar deal with the Devils. This isn't confirmed and the longer this goes without being confirmed, the less likely it is to happen. One source told me the Devils are working on a trade to clear some cap room before announcing the trade, while another source tells me Kovalchuk is the one holding off on the deal, hoping something else comes in. Time will tell but regardless I think we'll know by tomorrow.

What about the Leafs, who have signed just one free agent of note so far: Colby Armstrong. Look for the Leafs to lock up a d-man over the next few days, with WIllie Mitchell being my guess. Other d-men the team has looked at include Andy Sutton, M-A Bergeron and Shoane Morrison. Once the d-man is signed, the Kaberle sweeps will pick up. One team who has recently joined them? Colorado. Speaking of the Leafs, I just realized they re-signed John Mitchell, where have I been? One year, 725,000. Finally, several sources have told me that the Leafs have a small interest in Mike Comrie and could go to him if all else fails on the trade market.

What about Evgeni Nabokov? He's still being linked to the Flyers, but cap concerns there make it almost impossible. It looks as though Simon Gagne will be the odd man out in Philly, but where he ends up is anyones guess right now. Two teams to keep your eye on here are the Islanders and Columbus.

There has been very little interest in Alex Frolov, who had a rough season last year. The Habs and Bruins have both kicked tires, while the Panthers have interest but it doesn't appear mutual. At this point, he could be KHL bound.

Finally, word out of San Jose last night has the team close to dealing Ryan Clowe to the Eastern Conference. I'll currently digging for details.

For all the latest make sure to check out http://www.hockeyleaks.com, our forums and our twitter at http://www.twitter.com/hockeyleaks



Gauthier's first big move a miss

2010-06-17T21:57:41.817-04:00

A reminder to check out the brand new Hockeyleaks.com!

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Pierre Gauthier was named the General Manager of the Montreal Canadiens to fix the situation Bob Gainey put them in. With big contracts like Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta on the books for years to come, the Habs new GM had his work cut out building the Habs into a bonafide Stanley Cup contender.

However, the Habs became just that this off-season because of the play of number one goaltender Jaroslav Halak, who stole the job from Carey Price and ran with it, despite the team icing a depleted defense core.

So what is Gauthier's first off-season move? Trading the one and only reason the Canadiens upset Washington and Pittsburgh in the first two rounds of the playoffs.

I'm not saying Gauthier shouldn't have traded Halak, the fact of the matter is Halak is an RFA who would have wanted a big pay raise and the Habs may not have been able to afford him. My problem is the timing. With the draft eight days away, teams are still accessing their needs and dealing Halak this far before the draft was a serious mistake.

While Halak scored the Habs two mediocre prospects, neither has the potential to be a game-stealer, something Halak proved he was this season and deep into the playoffs. Bob Gainey's asking price for Halak this season was a number one center (Jeff Carter) and when the Flyers wouldn't push, Gainey walked away. Lars Eller is no Jeff Carter and will never evolve into anything close.

So the Habs enter the draft with Carey Price, who showed no signs of being a number one goalie last season, as their top netminder. They also have a team who is too close to the cap to significantly improve. The Habs may have made the final four this season, but with their best player now in St. Louis, the future no longer looks as promising in Montreal as it did yesterday.



The Stanley Cup

2010-05-31T12:03:04.439-04:00

Sorry I'm a few days behind, but what a start to the Stanley Cup finals. 11 goals? Nobody was expecting that. Both the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers have a strong core of forwards up front, and if game one showed us anything, it's that this series will be a close one. Both teams also have relatively unknown goaltenders, so it will be interesting to see who steps up and who falters.

As for my prediction, it's very hard for me to say anything else but the Blackhawks will win the cup. This team has waited longer than anyone else for their "next" cup victory and this young group of kids, not to mention Hossa, deserves it. Hawks in 6.

Finally, I know things have been slower than usual but do not fear, many updates are coming.

I am pleased to announce that following the conclusion of the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals, Hockeyleaks 5.0 will be launched. New Design, New Columnists, New Media Player featuring podcasts, interviews, etc. and much more will launch along with the site. I've been working with the designer who created the original Hockeyleaks.com layout back in 2005 and both of us are very excited for the future.

If you are interested in writing a weekly column for Hockeyleaks.com, please send me an email at cjohnson202@hockeyleaks.com.

We will be your best source for all the latest news and rumours heading towards the draft and July 1, 2010.



Being Injured Pays? + The Return of the Jets?

2010-05-11T18:29:33.900-04:00

First of all, $3.5 million a year for three years for Kari Lehtonen? I know Dallas is desperate for a goalie, but this is a guy who has spent more time injured since being drafted than in the crease. When Jonas Gustavsson signed in Toronto for $1.3 million for two years in Toronto, I thought that could potentially drive the cost of goaltending down this summer. Now with Lehtonen getting $3.5, what does this mean for other UFA/RFA goalies who are better and more reliable? Halak, Mason and Niemi must be licking their chops right now.

And how about the news coming out over the past few days that the Phoenix Coyotes could be playing their home schedule in Winnipeg next season. While I've been told nothing is for certain, the City of Glendale is struggling with just about everyone they talk to, and after a year where it seemed like the Coyotes could never be moved, it seems like a move to Winnipeg may be much simpler than we all thought. With that said, if the Coyotes are leaving Phoenix, expect some sort of move by Kansas City or Las Vegas in an attempt to bring the team to their respective cities. At this point, if I'm a betting man, which I am, I'm putting my money on the Coyotes leaving Phoenix by next season. Winnipeg, you may be getting your team back. It'd be the first good move the NHL has made regarding it's failing franchises in a long, long time.



Here We Go! Round 2

2010-04-30T11:54:36.463-04:00

What a great game last night between the Sharks and the Red Wings. This is going to be a great series. Here are the hockeyleaks.com predictions for the second round.

East

(4) Pittsburgh vs. (8) Montreal

Very few had the Habs picked to go to the second round of the playoffs. The fact that the fourth seeded Penguins now are the top seed in the East shows how full of upsets the first round was. Can the Habs do it again? With Halak in net, anything is possible and the Habs have shown that they cannot be counted out. I think the Penguins will take this series, but it could go the distance. With that said, i dont think it will. Penguins in six.

(6) Boston vs. (7) Philadelphia

The Bruins are already winners as they have the #2 pick in the NHL draft. The Flyers showed heart in their first round knock off of new jersey, but Savard coming back is huge for the Bruins and should give them the boost they need. Goaltending is going to be key in this series, with both Rask and Boucher very unproven at this stage in the game. Bruins in six.

West

(1) San Jose vs. (5) Detroit

The Sharks took game one, but that game could have gone either way. The Wings are famous for playing their best hockey at this time of year while the Sharks are famous for failing to show up in the post-season. The Sharks had a great first round while Detroit had an up-and-down series with the Coyotes. I think the Wings lack of rest and inexperience in net could be their downfaill. Sharks in seven.

(2) Chicago vs. (3) Vancouver

This is the best series of the second round, with both teams picked by many to win the Stanley Cup. The Hawks have arguably the best offense in the game while the Canucks have the best goaltender. I firmly believe the Sedins are at the point where they can elevate the Canucks to the next level, but the biggest question of this series is the play of Chicago's goaltending. At the deadline I felt that both Chicago and Washington needed to address their goaltending, and they didnt. We saw how that turned out for Washington, and I think the Blackhawks could suffer a similar fate. Canucks in seven.

Want to place a wager on the games? Make sure to head over to Party Bets



2010 Playoffs - Opening Round Predictions

2010-04-13T18:26:31.435-04:00

First of all, I am sorry for basically going MIA since the trade deadline. Work gone insane, I switched from a Dell to a Mac which was a battle, and i've done nothing but search for a new place to live in my spare time. All issues are now cleared up, I move this weekend, my mac is a beauty, and work has calmed. All in time for the playoffs.Here are my predictions as we head into the first round of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs.East(1) Washington vs. (8) MontrealFrom my view, goaltending will be the biggest story of this series. The Caps goaltending has been a question all season long, while Jaroslav Halak has shown he can steal a game or two when needed. Both him and Theodore are playing for new contracts and are expected to put on a show in the opening round. In the end, the Caps fire power will be too much, but the Habs won't go down without one hell of a fight.Caps in 6(2) New Jersey vs. (7) PhiladelphiaMartin Brodeur and Ilya Kovalchuk are my two players to watch for the Devils. Kovalchuk's previous playoff success is non-existant, while Brodeur is getting up there in age and his game is starting to show just that. Luckily for the Devils, the Flyers have no goaltending depth and their team has really disappointed this year.Devils in 5(3) Buffalo vs. (6) BostonThe Ryan Miller Show lasted all season long and have the Sabres opening the post season at home. The Bruins offense has been non-existant and Tim Thomas has followed up his vezina winning season with a subpar season, to say the least. With that said, the Bruins have some fight left in them and an upset isn't out of the question. Even if the Bruins lose, at least they'll get one of Hall or Seguin to take the sting away.Bruins in 7(4) Pittsburgh vs. (5) OttawaThe last time the Sens and Pens met, Ottawa went home after four games. The Sens are stronger than back then while I believe the Pens are a little weaker. Still, the gap between the two still exists and the end result will be similar.Penguins in 6West(1) San Jose vs. (8) ColoradoAnother early exit for San Jose would spell HUGE changes for the Sharks. While Marleau isn't expected back, an opening round loss would also likely spell the end for several other high profile Sharks. The Avs have cooled down a lot since their early season dominance and are still too young to hang around with the big boys.Sharks in 5(2) Chicago vs. (7) NashvilleThe Preds continue to be post-season players every year, despite not having a super-star loaded roster. The Blackhawks, however, are the definition of super-star loaded. The Blackhawks, despite the questions in net, are probably the team to beat in the West.Blackhawks in 5(3) Vancouver vs. (6) LA The Kings were a nice surprise this season and have the young talent up front to really compete with the leagues best. Unfortunately in net it's Quick vs. Luongo, and Luongo's already got some big-game experience behind him. The Kings will make it closer than many think, however.Canucks in 6(4) Phoenix vs. (5) DetroitPhoenix's incredible season earned them a date with Detroit, hardly a reward. With that said, the Coyotes have the speed and skill to compete with the Wings. This series is a complete toss-up and will likely go 7. It could come down to who's goalie is hotter, and I'm still not sold on Howard.Coyotes in 7'Agree? Disagree? Stop by the forums and throw down a comment as well as your own predictions.[...]



Trade Deadline 2010 Preview

2010-02-28T14:25:34.721-05:00

Well folks, this time tomorrow it's likely we will already have seen two or three trades come through the wire. The Olympic trade freeze ends at midnight tonight, opening up the NHL for action. The playoff races are hotter than they've ever been, with some pretty big sellers around with a lot to sell (Toronto, Carolina, Edmonton, Florida). While Wednesday may not break the record for most trades ever, remember that this deadline is different than ever before. The long Olympic break resulted in some of the bigger trades (Phaneuf, Giguere, Kovalchuk, Barker, Cullen) moving before the Olympic freeze. We'll also see several trades announced tomorrow that were worked on during the trade freeze, deals that would normally be worked out on deadline day itself.Make sure to tune into Hockeyleaks.com all week for the latest trade deadline news and rumours. Our chat will return tomorrow, with several scheduled chats happening between now and Wednesday's 3 PM deadline. Starting around 10 AM on Wednesday, I will be in the chat room all day, letting you guys know what I'm hearing and hopefully breaking a few trades for you.Here is a look at what each might do and what players are available.AnaheimIf I was the GM of the Ducks, I'd be a seller. Trading impending UFAs like Koivu, Niedermayer and Selanne could get the Ducks some young prospects that make them much better down the road. With that said, the Ducks are two points out of the playoffs and will not be sellers going into Wednesday. Players AvailableJames WisniewskiTeams Interested: Chicago, BostonChances of being moved: 75 percentAtlantaThe Thrashers have already traded Kovalchuk and Lehtonen, so you'd expect them to continue to sell. However, GM Waddell says he wants his team to make the playoffs and will make moves to help make that happen. In my opinion, however, the deals won't be there for the Thrashers to make to get better, so they'll become semi-sellers at the deadlinePlayers AvailableColby ArmstrongTeams Interested: Pittsburgh, St. Louis, LA, Boston, ColoradoChances of being moved: 85 percentVyacheslav KozlovTeams Interested: Vancouver, Phoenix, MontrealChances of being moved: 90 percentPavel KubinaTeams Interested: Buffalo, Vancouver, OttawaChances of being moved: 45 percentMax AfinigenovTeams Interested: Vancouver, Washington, PittsburghChances of being moved: 60 percentBostonThe Bruins will be buyers and their wishlist is pretty big. They'd love some offense, they'd love to dump an expensive, under-producing player, a puck-moving d-man and a d-man that could play a good shutdown role. Unfortunatly, cap issues will make it hard for the Bruins to swing too many deals. With two first round picks, though, the Bruins have the pieces to make a significant deal.Players AvailableMichael RyderTeams Interested: Toronto, Phoenix, NashvilleChances of being moved: 20 percentTim ThomasTeams Interested: UnknownChances of being moved: 10 percentBuffaloAfter a smoking hot start to the season, the Bruins have really slowed down. They'd like a puck-moving d-man, secondary scoring and a backup goalie.Players AvailableDrew StaffordTeams interested: Toronto, Edmonton, FloridaChances of being moved: 15 percentCarolinaWith Cam Ward likely shutdown for the season, the Hurricanes have no reason not to tank. They'll move out vets to give guys like Boychuk and Sutter more ice-time.Players AvailableRay WhitneyTeams interested: Pittsburgh, LAChances of being moved: 100 percentJoe CorvoTeams interested: Boston, Buffalo, VancouverChances of being moved: 60 percentAaron WardTe[...]



Going for Gold

2010-02-15T12:12:30.308-05:00

Well folks, tomorrow the greatest hockey tournament in the world kicks off and I couldn't be more excited. I won't lie, I wasn't as stoked as I've been in the past for this tournament in the weeks leading up to it. Maybe it was because I am Canadian and I'm still hurting from our seventh place finish four years ago. I remember taking a "sick" day to watch that game, only to have my heart broken when the final buzzer rang and Russia was leaving Canada out of the semi-finals. With that said, I am incredibly excited for the tournament to be kicking off tomorrow, mostly because I am caught up in Olympic fever. I have watched just about every event thus far, screaming and yelling at every accomplishment Canada has made. I'm sure a lot of our American and European readers can relate to what I'm going though, it's awesome to see your country have success on the world's largest stage.Looking ahead, it's also incredibly exciting to know that as soon as this tournament is over, a compressed NHL schedule means a lot of great stretch-drive hockey for us to enjoy. Oh, and there is also that Trade Deadline thing just days after this all ends. It's going to be one the craziest deadlines ever, no worries there.Here are a few reasons why I am excited for the 2010 Olymic Hockey Tournament:Welcome BackSome of our favourite stars of the past are back to thrill us once again. I'm a huge Ziggy Palffy fan and cannot wait to see him back in action. He's been flying in his home country, putting up almost two points-per-game! He's still got it and along with a few other strong Slovaks like Jaroslav Halak, they have the potential to really upset some teams. I'm also excited to see Jaromir Jagr back on the ice. It sounds like a strong tournament could land him back in the NHL next season, which wouldn't be a bad thing at all. I'm also excited to see some others, such as Russia's Morozov and Sweden's Forsberg...it should be a blast.UpsetsEvery year there is always that big upset that changes everything. In 2002, it was Belarus beating Sweden in the quarter final, a result that nobody could have ever predicted. In 2006, it was the Swiss beating Canada, giving Canada a very unfavourable Quarters match with Russia. Who will it be in 2010? Teams like Latvia, Germany and Norway would love nothing more than to play the roll of spoiler for one of the world's top nations.PrideNothing is more exciting than seeing an entire nation embracing a sport. I love seeing the Canadians, the Americans, the Swedes, etc. cheer on their nation, knowing everything is on the line. I encourage you all, no matter where you are from, to watch the games with a large group of people. It gets intense and there is no better feeling.Predictions:Here is how I am predicting things will go down.Bronze: U.S.A.While many people will have Sweden, Finland or Czech cracking the top three, I am going to give the Bronze to the United States. Yes, they are underdogs, but Ryan Miller is good enough to steal a game when it matters, and I think that will be what propels the U.S.A. to Bronze. If Ryan Miller is good enough, a trip to the finals isn't out of the question.Silver: RussiaThe Russians may have the most deadly offense in the tournament. Malkin, Ovechkin and Kovalchuk are going to dazzle us with their skills and keep them in every game they play in. For me, the Russians have two big questionmarks, however. #1 - Are the players from the KHL good enough to keep up with the NHLers from Canada and U.S.A? #2 - Is this defense str[...]



Two Minutes for Instigating - Feb. 6

2010-02-06T21:49:13.001-05:00

First off all, im sorry for the lack of column last week and the lateness on this one tonight. I've been crazy busy!Second, my thoughts and prayers with Brian Burke and his family. Losing someone is never easy and I cannot even imagine losing your son. Parents are not suppose to bury their kids, and anytime I see this happen it breaks my heart. My thoughts are with the Burke family.We'll start in Toronto...Minus the late meltdown on Friday against New Jersey, the Leafs have looked amazing since the trade with Calgary. Kessel picked a great time to refind his scoring touch, but even without him, it sure doesn't look like Toronto will struggle to score goals.As far as what to expect from Toronto between now and March 3rd, there are still 2-3 more deals to go down. One will involve Ponikarovsky, who will at least fetch a 2nd round pick, likely more. He's one of the best players available at the deadline and I wouldn't be surprised if the Leafs are able to package Poni with someone else to grab a 1st round pick in return.The Leafs and Sharks have been scouting each other like mad the past three weeks. Everyone is pointing at Ryan Clowe, but I know Burke loves Joe Pavelski...I could see something happening there.I honestly believe Kaberle will go before the deadline. He has a chance to pick where he goes, and it's clear he's not longer wanted. His time time has been cut and the Leafs have too much money tied up to their blueline. A strong season by Gunnarsson and a late-season blooming of Luke Schenn makes it that easier for Kaberle to be dealt for the offensive center the Leafs badly need. I'd be shocked if he wasn't traded before 3 pm on March 3rdGreedy HurricanesCan someone tell Ray Whitney and Niclas Wallin that they play for the Hurricanes? Whitney will only waive his NTC if he can sign an extension, something apparently LA wasn't willing to do earlier in the week. Sources tell Hockeyleaks.com that a deal between the Kings and Canes was almost complete when Whitney vetoed the deal because LA woudln't sign him to a three-year deal. News flash Ray: You're 37, you're not getting a three year contract.Now it's come out that Wallin wouldn't waive to go to SJ because they wouldn't sign him to a one-year deal. San Jose is actively seeking defensive depth, you have to wonder if Kaberle is a fit there. $40 million apart?You always hear how a team and player are often $500,000 and $1 million apart, but the Thrashers and Kovy were over $40 million apart!! Kovalchuk wanted 13 years at 11.2 million per season, which he isn't going to get anywhere (minus the KHL, of coarse).While NHL GMs everywhere are saying Atlanta got the best they could for Kovalchuk, I don't buy it. A 5-6 D-man, A third line forward, a troubled prospect and a draft pick that will be in the mid-20s? You're telling me Boston, LA or Chicago couldn't match that offer? Reports have Ottawa as one of the finalists for Kovy, you're telling me they couldn't make a better offer? Put the Bear to sleepPut a fork in the Bruins, they're done. 10 straight losses and things don't seem to be gettign any better. The Bruins are too good to throw in the towel, so expect them to throw some of their draft picks around to try to get some offensive help. One of those picks may also be used to get rid of Michael Ryder, who is due $4 million next season. His awesome season last year was clearly due to Phil Kessel...Washington is pretty good...What other team can lose both goalies and pull off 10+ str[...]



What A Day For Toronto...

2010-01-31T16:00:56.671-05:00

If you are a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs, you better haeve a smile on your face.

The Leafs traded spare parts, all of which can be easily replaced, for two players who could play a big role in the Leafs turn around. And no, I'm not talking about Sjostrom and Aulie.

In the first deal, the Leafs acquire a top-two defenseman for a #3 center (stajan), a 4th line grinder (Mayers), a 2nd line winger (Hagman) and a underrated d-man (White). Hagman is the hardest to lose, a potential 30 goal scorer with speed. Mayers had no value, while Stajan was always over valued by the Toronto media. Finally, Ian White is tough to lose, but you're getting a much better defenseman in return and remember, White is an RFA who apparently wants 3.5 - 4 million next season.

In the second deal, the Leafs basically robbed a bank. Whether you like Giguere or not (I do), the fact that the Leafs moved Blakes contract makes them the winners. Giguere still has a few good years left in him, and with one year left on his deal, he makes perfect sense for Toronto. This gives the Leafs one more year to determine just how good the Monster is, while if Giggy performs well, holding onto him may not be so bad either.

So here is how I'd guess the Leafs line up, assuming everyone is healthy (even though a few of these guys are not)

Kulemin - Bozak - Kessel
Stalberg - Grabovski - Ponikarovsky
Sjostrom - Mitchell - Stempniak
Rosehill - Primeau - Orr

Extra: Wallin

Kaberle - Phaneuf
Beauchemin - Komisarek
Schenn - Gunnarsson

Extras: Exelby, Finger

Giguere
Gustavsson

Looking at that lineup, I honestly believe the Leafs are much better today than they were yesterday. With that said, the makeover is not over. I expect a d-man, such as Kaberle or possibly Schenn (who may be available with Phaneuf being brought in) to be moved for some offense and a pick. Poni, Stempniak and Exelby are also still being shopped around the league.

It's an exciting time to be a Leafs fan, and I cannot wait until March 4 when we get to see exactly how the Leafs line up.



Kovalchuk To Kings a real possibility

2010-01-27T00:18:14.270-05:00

If you haven't read this yet, please do!

http://thehockeynews.com/articles/31066-THNcom-Blog-Kings-Thrashers-talking-Kovalchuk-trade.html

So Kovalchuk is officially in play, and I can confirm this first hand as I was at the Kings/Leafs game tonight as a member of the media. Ten NHL scouts were at this game, including Mr. Bob Gainey himself, as well as representitives from the Flames and Rangers, among others.

The Thrashers asking price is too high for the Kings at the moment, but what do you expect? The Thrashers are going to start out by asking for as much as possible, and will ask for a little less starting at about 2 pm on March 3rd. With that said, don't be surprised if a team pays the maximum price in order to insure they get Kovalchuk.

While prior to tonight I would have told you that the Kings would be crazy to bring in Kovalchuk, this team is for real and has enough depth where losing a few prospects for Kovy wouldn't hurt them that bad.

What were some of the other scouts looking at? Talking to people tonight, the rumours are that the Habs were scouting LA, most likely Frolov. The Flames were scouting Toronto, I'm hearing they have significant interest in Hagman. The Rangers, well not totally sure about that one.

Sticking with the Rangers, they are looking for a veteran goalie to back up Lundqvist, and may look to their neighbours in the New York Islanders. Lundqvist is their guy, but if he were to ever get hurt, the team would go nowhere with the rookie goaltenders they've been calling up and down as of late. Biron isn't playing on the Island, and wouldn't play much with the Rangers, but one or two games is better than nothing.

I'm also hearing the Leafs are hoping to make two moves before the Olympic freeze. Ponikarovsky is all but assured to be gone, while I'm hearing both Ian White and Matt Stajan have been asked how much it would cost to keep them. If either answer was too high, Burke planned to move them. A few weeks ago I would have told you Ian White was untouchable, but I'm not so sure now, especially with Gunnarsson playing as well as he has.

While Gainey was for sure looking at the Kings, he may have some interest in dealing with Toronto. Not only was he at tonight's game, but he was at the Marlies game this past weekend. With that said, the Marlies were playing Montreal's AHL affiliate, the Bulldogs.

The Bruins continue to have an eye on Ray Whitney, who I think makes a lot of sense for this team. He would be a great role model for a lot of their young guys. Also, I know for a fact that Bruins intend to keep Toronto's first pick, but have no problem dealing their own pick if the right deal came along.

The Oilers lost again tonight, only a matter of time before they start shipping bodies out. Souray's given his list of teams he'd accept a trade to. San Jose, LA, Anaheim, Vancouver and Colorado were on it, among a few unknown others.

Finally, if Thomas Kaberle is available, count the Vancouver Canucks in.

For all the latest check out http://www.hockeyleaks.com



Mailbag - Jan. 25

2010-01-25T01:01:21.851-05:00

I took some questions tonight from some of our lovely readers. Enjoy!----NYfan1610 asks: Do you see Calgary moving Phaneuf? and who do you think will shit the bed and trade for a rental Kovalchuk?I do see Calgary moving Phaneuf, because simply put they need to spread their talent around more evenly. This team has a world class goaltender and a strong as hell defense, but their depth at forward just isn’t there, and Phaneuf is the best chip they have to play. The Flames D will be just fine with Jay-Bo and crew, and Phaneuf will benefit by playing on a new team. Expect the Flames to get a top centre in return.As far as Kovalchuk goes, I’ve talked to some people in the know and they believe Kovalchuk wants to remain a thrasher. I’m told the amount is settled on, it’s all about term. If he does get moved, the Bruins and the Caps are the two teams with the most to offer at the moment. While you are hearing a lot from Eklund and other insiders about the Kings being the frontrunners, I don’t think the Kings are close enough to spend picks and prospects for a rental player.chickenman92 asks: what do you see the canucks doing at the deadline? who might they get and what will they give up? The Canucks are looking for two things: some grit, in the form of a third line winger, and a top pairing d-man. David Backes has been a guy whose name has floated around as far as Vancouver is concerned, but I really don’t see St. Louis trading this kid, especially to a Western foe. As for the top pairing d-man, Souray would fit if they could figure out how to fit him under the cap, while Toronto’s Kaberle would also work, if they could convince him to waive his NTC to come west.sethmandel asks: Who do you see as the Leafs' goaltending tandem next season?The Leafs didn’t work so hard to get Gustavsson for him to be a one-and-done player, so he’ll be part of Toronto’s duo next season. If the Leafs are not comfortable with him being #1 guy, I think Burke will turn his attention to Hiller, who will be a UFA on July 1st. If The Monster has a stellar final 20 games and proves he’s a #1 goalie, then he’ll look for a cheaper back up, Marty Biron may fit that roll.Thor040 asks: you think the Islanders may be making a trade move next month???They sure will. Biron will go to a contender to give them some insurance, but they won’t get a whole lot for him. With that said, a late draft pick always has potential, and they’ll take what they can for their third-string goalie. I think the Islanders will also look to add to their back-end, and will go for a young defenseman who can help them this season and beyond. Maybe they can trade one of their young forwards (which they seem to have tons of) to LA for Jack Johnson?Sniper asks: Is Vinny being shopped and if so what teams do you think he would waive his NTC too?Nobody seems to know for sure if Lecavalier is available or not. Some people swear he is, while others swear the opposite. I still think he’d look great beside Iggy in Calgary, but in the end, I think his contract is just too massive for Tampa Bay to trade away. I think there will be a few teams that inquire about him, the Islanders could be one, but so many things would have to go right (he’d have to waive, the team would have to have the cap space, and the offer would have to blow TB away) for any deal to happen. It’s just not likely.latinoiler asks: who [...]