Latest Maple Leafs News – April 13, 2011.

Leafs GM Brian Burke hopes to land a number one center plus a look at what their goalie tandem could look like next season.

TORONTO SUN/TORONTO STAR: reports Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke said finding a first line center would be his top priority this summer though he acknowledged it would be no easy task. He said he intends to be active when July 1st (the start of the UFA period) begins but also hinted he might have to consider the trade route if he cannot find what he seeks on the free agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: He’ll probably look at Dallas Stars center Brad Richards but he could lose out on landing him, or perhaps his asking price could be more than Burke is willing to pay. Beyond Richards there isn’t much depth in this summer’s UFA market for first line centers, and given the Leafs depth in draft picks and prospects I wouldn’t be surprised if Burke goes shopping for that center as early as the entry draft weekend.

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reports Burke has confidence in James Reimer as his starting goalie for next season but could consider using Jonas Gustavsson as his backup. He said he wouldn’t consider signing a proven veteran for the backup role at this point, opting to wait and see how things look during training camp.

TORONTO STAR: Damien Cox reports Burke wouldn’t rule out a possible return of JS Giguere, who’ll undergo groin surgery this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fortunately for Burke there will probably still be plenty of unsigned veteran goalies available in September if Burke feels he needs to bring in an experienced backup goalie.

 

19 Comments

  1. It’s tough to say what Burke will do about a center. But I am glad that he admits we need to fill that hole. I was pretty disappointed last year when nothing was done and we went with bozak to center kessel. Burke seems to have a different mentality this year so I’m stoked.
    Burke did say he would like to see what he could get through free agency, but the problem is what if you can’t/won’t sign Richards? You’ve already made your draft selection so now you gamble on the other gm liking your choices if you decide to deal. 2 first rounders are better before the draft then after. What if the other gm didn’t want those picks? I would like to get a deal done at the draft because I think the chances of Richards coming here is slim at best. But then again, what if we deal for stastny and then find out later that we could have gotten Richards AND kept our draft picks. What to do?

  2. It’s tough, Durt. I’m a Habs fan, so we have all kinds of other problems. But for the Leafs, it’s definitely tricky. The list of UFA centres is pretty weak this year:

    http://www.sportscity.com/nhl/2011-nhl-free-agents-by-position-unrestricted/#Centers

    That said, I’ve see no indication that Richards wants to sign with the Leafs. That doesn’t mean he won’t, but I do believe it means he won’t for cheap. So even if he does, I think that would kill your salary structure in the future. So next summer, you may not be able to re-sign Grabovski because you won’t have the cap space.

    I’d take the bird in the hand here (the 2 draft picks) and work with those. A deal for Stastny or another top line centre that’s signed for a few years for cheaper will make the Buds a better team long-term, even if that centre is a slight downgrade from Richards (which Stastny isn’t, in my opinion).

  3. I think Burke was looking for the right fit for the right terms and I do not think he saw that last year regarding a centre, and did not really have the draft picks to trade with that would help deliver a top line centre. I think he realizes he now has a good second line ( Grabo, Mac & Kulemin) the makings of a good third line ( Kadri, Bozak, Armstrong) and enough interchangeable 4th liners ( Brent, Boyce, Sjostrom, Brown, Rosehill , and prospects etc) to focus on finding the right player to centre Kessel and Lupul. All the evidence seems to point to Richards not wanting to come to Toronto, but who knows. I cannot imagine Stastny waould want to stay in Colorado after the year they have had. At things look promising in T.O. Burke has a tendency to beat everyone to the punch so I suspect he will make a deal at the draft, or at the very least deal to move up in the draft. I hope its a trade though, because I do not think this years draft is as strong as last years. His “hint” that he may have to consider the trade route is his way of saying “start making me offers.”

  4. Personally i think we should keep the draft picks. If we get a chance to move up in the draft then take it but the whole problem with the leafs in the past was trading draft picks and i would not like to return to that. The direction Burke is going allows me to be patient where as before every year wed be stuck in the same position again. But then again if Burke has a trade for a centre 26 and under i guess its better to get a proven guy then hope a draft pick pans out

  5. All you Leafs fans are so grandiose that you all think that you can have any player you wish merely on a whim. You all seem to think that Toronto is God’s gift to hockey and that all hockey players wet themselves with excitement at every opportunity to become a Maple Leaf. You all seem to think that Brian Burke is the God of hockey GM’s and whenever he wills it, it is done.

    I am baffled, if not curiously amused, at every Maple Leafs fan’s complete, and delusional, insistance that their very own Maple Leaf rummage sale of a roster and farm system turns magically into golden posessions in the eyes of all general managers in the league whenever Burkie puts up the “For Sale” sign.

    It’s slightly chaffing that every Maple Leaf fan thinks that they have automatic “dibs” on any and all coveted players, or that any player would stop and drop everything for a chance to go to Toronto.

    You Leafs fans are so delusional that when Brad Richards basically said no to Toronto you all created the theory that he was just speaking code so as not to give away his real intention of actually wanting to sign with the Leafs.

    You have nothing of value for Colorado for Stastny. In fact, there is nothing in Toronto, or it’s cupboard, that would benefit the Avs for Any of our players. As far as the Avs are concerned, no player, players, combination of players, nor sum of players would be sufficient value for any of our players at this time. Nor, does Toronto have anything we desire, need, or could use to make us better at this time.

    Hey Leafs fans. No hard feelings or ill will. Every team in this league has pay thier dues. Every team and it’s fans all have to earn thier glory. You can’t win through fantasy land. Just accept the reality that the Leafs suck right now. Hopefully your GM knows what he’s doing and that not building your team through the draft really will work out in the long run. And, hopefully, someday a big superstar hockey player will sign a big contract in Toronto. But, it’s probably more likely that the Maple Leafs will have to draft, season, and grow one from scratch first. But if you keep on just missing the playoffs you Leafs fans will be stuck in limbo for awhile longer.

  6. Hey Stream, although I would completely agree that a large number fellow Leaf fans are severely delusional for the most part but for you to insinuate that the Leafs have absolutely nothing of value to offer the Avs for Statsny or any player is as shortsighted and stupid comment as the comments you are railing against. I am not suggesting a Komisarek plus first round from Boston but it is a rather asinine comment to belittle the entire prospect/player pool in Toronto as completely valueless. There is plenty of combinations of assets/picks etc that could be put together to make a trade with a large majority of teams/players in the NHL. Key is what, how much and what value do you place on the need to get a particular player.

    Comments like you make are no better than the ones my brethern make to suggest we can trade crap ++ for established players. There are commodities in Toronto as well as the ability to pull off major swaps. Take off your hate everything Leaf glasses before you comment. Although Leaf fans do make it easy to swipe at us. Not all of us are idiots.

  7. I think that stream your in will take you to the bay thats full of narcistic, loud mouths that no one gives a crap about and your avalanche will crumble all of you to smaller pieces of worthless skin than your already in. .. But hey, at least youll be less in the way of respectable people who make valid opinions and aren’t loudly prejudgemental of things they are already extremely ignorant about.
    This message is not in any waay relating to other avalanche fans just the stream that washes its self up in its own ignorance.

  8. Stream; you have to be the most litterate moron I’ve read in a while.
    Who stated that Richards or Stastny where a sure thing? Any post I have read has simply stated that those are the players they would WANT. And 90% of Leaf fans agree Richards isn’t coming here anyway.
    Although taking time out of your day to click on a Leafs post just to simply bash it’s fan base seems fun, you are merely a keyboard warrior. Maybe you should devote your precious computer time to Internet porn…more bang for your buck.
    Ps. When did first round picks become worthless?
    Pps. I’m not sold on you being an Av’s fan. Your distain smacks of La Belle Province.

  9. Mr Stream your use of the words”our”and “we” might make one think, you, in fact, were part of Colorado managment or perhaps a player. I remember when most of the children in my neighborhood spoke the same way during childish hockey bantering. I have a feeling Colorado people would not be commenting on Spectors Rumour page, let alone a Leafs link. So I have to agree with Durt you smell to me of a fan of the team who wear a toilet seat as a crest.

  10. Stream,
    I think you are correct in your assumptions and have identified that the majority of leaf fans behave that way….but having said that there are a lot of leaf fans in general and do have to believe that there are intelligent ones out there like the reasonable leafer and his post. I think (relax dudes this is an opinion) that the ridiculous leaf fans drown out the realistic ones. I have to imagine that the same goes for the habs fans..I can not know for sure cause I do not speak french and can not participate in those disscussions. It is cute however that aside from reasonable leaf, all the guys think your a hab fan and lying about being a Avs fan….. Yeah everyone who beats up on my team is a Flamer!!!

    I have friends that are Habs fans that think Chara should be banned from hockey now. (ridiculous) I have friends that are leaf fans that think the Kessel trade was a good one (again ridiculous). There are meathead fans for every team.

    I will say you all must be Canadian because taking these post so seriously and personal.
    Lyle, great web site, been reading for years….first time posting.
    Enjoy the playoffs fellas

  11. I must admit stream’s rant was rather amusing. I especially enjoy the part about Leafs fans all being delusional about Brad Richards coming to Toronto. Let’s review the comments made prior to stream’s rant, shall we?

    DurtMCHurt – “… I think the chances of Richards coming here is slim at best.”
    northby9 (Habs fan, but we’ll count their comments anyway) – ” I’ve see no indication that Richards wants to sign with the Leafs.”
    murph – “All the evidence seems to point to Richards not wanting to come to Toronto, but who knows.”
    LeafsFan – Wait, you didn’t comment directly on Richards at all? Did you not get the memo that’s all we’re supposed to be talking about?

    After reviewing the posts stream, it is cleary evident that somebody on here absolutely is delusional.

    And, for the record once upon a time Brad Richards said regarding his upcoming free agency “[...]Toronto’s always a No. 1 hockey destination. It would be great being a Canadian playing in Toronto[...]”

    Source: http://sports.nationalpost.com/2010/11/22/unplugged-brad-richards-addresses-leafs-rumours/

  12. @stream

    From a Hawks fan. Have you looked at your goaltender duo? I bet TO has somethign the AVS want.

    @LeafsFan

    Leafs porblems of old wasn’t trading away their draft picks. It was trading away their draft picks for players getting ready to retire. If the leafs would’ve trader for players in their prime like you said 26ish years old, I would think they would be doing alright. The 1st rounder they traded to the lsanders for Wendel Clarke was Roberto . That one would hurt the most.

  13. Nice job LeafsNation US.

    I will take Brian Burke over Greg Sherman as GM anytime, and the draft will prove it.., or you could just ask Peter Stastny how he is doing. The Leafs finished 22nd overall. The Avs finished 29th overall. Neither record is anything to brag about. Both teams had injuries. Both teams have excellent players in specific positions. Neither team is “complete”. You are correct Stream, not everyone wants to play in Toronto. But the exact same can be said for Colorado. Leaf fans never assume someone wants to or should want to play here. The pressure is far greater in Toronto, where hockey is #1, as opposed to Colorado. 700 of the best hockey players in the world are interchangeable on the whim of a GM or the negotiating of an agent. Nothing is impossible. Other teams have and do see value in trading with any other team, depending on their specific needs. Ask Jason Blake and Vesa Toskala if they ever thought anyone would pick up their contracts. “Your Avs” still need a big rough defenseman. But don’t worry, maybe Burkie will let you have Komisarek…..

  14. A wise man once told me, “I smell a troll.”

    Unless Mr. Richards happens to be a regular reader and would like to chime in on his plans, I think we all have to assume he’s going to do whatever he wants, be it sign for a discount in Dallas, a king’s ransom in New York, or any of the other 28 teams for whatever they offer. Why not talk about it if that’s what we enjoy? Trolls need not apply.

  15. Anyway…

    I’m not sure why Stastny to the Leafs is the talking point of the day for Toronto’s next top centre, but there’s pretty much no way the Leafs get Stastny without Kadri going the other way. Look at Colorado’s roster and prospects. They need players between 20, Duchene’s age, and 23, Erik Johnson’s age, to add to their young core, plus draft picks. Particularly, they need a goaltender and a high end forward or two. Assuming the Leafs won’t be keen to move Reimer, they can’t really help in the goaltending department. That pretty mcuh leaves Kadri and…Kadri. Otherwise, it’s hard to see why Colorado would have incentive to make the deal. Not being a cap floor team and all.

  16. heres what richards said about totornto
    Does Toronto’s alleged involvement pique his interest?
    “When the time comes, if that’s an option, Toronto’s always a No. 1 hockey destination. It would be great being a Canadian playing in Toronto, but we’re not even close to that bridge yet. And like I said, I’m focused here. I have so much respect for Joe Nieuwendyk, and to even talk about other teams is not even close to being fair.”

  17. Not being a Leafs or an Avs fan, I can see a pretty fair deal involving Kadri and Stasny. If you set something up like Kadri/later 1st round for Stasny/3rd round 2012 then you might have something that works for both parties. Salarywise your looking at at a bit of a dump for the time being for Colorado until Kadri is off the rookie contract. They still get someone who could be a very useful player in a couple of years, plus the draft pick is great being what it is. For the Leafs, they loose the first rounder, but being a weaker draft year thats not so bad. Specifically you are getting the number 1 centre you need. And if the Avs wouldn’t go for this I would probably start adding assets to the mix until it works. The Leafs have put together and interesting core so far and have paid a lot to do so, which isn’t wrong or bad. But because of the investment already in several players they need to make an investment and get a deal done for someone of the calibre and potential as Stasny or else the previous investments made in players will never get them the most value they possibly can.

  18. I’ve said it all along. Burke should contact Dallas BEFORE July 1st about acquiring Mike Ribeiro as Toronto’s #1 centre. From a statistical perspective he was a Joe Thornton clone this year. Not only does this relieve Dallas of Ribeiro’s contract for next year but it allows them to sign the guy they covet (Brad Richards). Makes SO much sense I don’t understand why it isn’t talked about. Ribeiro could be had for very little I suspect too. One of the first round picks and a prospect. Book it.

  19. Kyle certainly has something on his hands. I have thought about this for awhile now as well, but I think people are reluctant to really look at it. This would be a deal where both teams win. If I am Dallas, I would make a tentative deal with Burke. I would think something along the lines of Ribeiro for Colburne or maybe a package deal, etc. Then I sign Richards to a contract to something fair ($8 million maybe). The Leafs deal is tentative on Richards signing in Dallas so that you don’t screw yourself by trading the only replacement you have if he walks. Once this happens. pick up the phone and finish the deal. The 5 mill comes off Dallas’ books which gives them not only room to sign Richards, but a couple of the other UFA and RFA’s and possibly even an extra million to go shopping with, plus whatever Toronto flips in on the deal. Toronto gets a decent number 1 (not a franchise player) who can step in and play big minutes and produce which he has shown he can do when given the chance (Check out his ppg numbers he had in Dallas after his trade from Montreals 2nd/3rd line and before the Richards trade where he was on the first line) and with the right people, people like Kessel.