Latest on the Maple Leafs and Flames – April 1, 2012.

Some suggested moves for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and updates on Olli Jokinen’s future with the Calgary Flames.

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reports the challenge for Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke is finding a top quality goaltender this summer. Tomas Vokoun, Josh Harding, Martin Biron and Chris Mason will be available via free agency, but Koshan calls on Burke to aim higher. “Could Roberto Luongo, whose contract last forever, or Cory Schneider be on the market in Vancouver if the Canucks flame out in the playoffs? Has Miikka Kiprusoff run his course in Calgary? Will the San Jose Sharks revamp their goaltending situation if they have yet another early exit, provided they make the playoffs?”

THE GLOBE AND MAIL: James Mirtle recently suggested the Maple Leafs are asking defenseman Dion Phaneuf to do too much. Mirtle doesn’t believe Phaneuf is “the type of all-around player who is going to excel as a No. 1 defenceman, and Burke would be well served by trying to find someone to bring in who could bump Phaneuf down the depth chart at least one spot”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Good point by Mirtle, which could have some folks musing about the Leafs pursuing Nashville’s Ryan Suter if he should test this summer’s UFA market. The priority, however, is the goaltending, and Koshan is right that Burke will have to make a trade if he hopes to land a true quality starter. It remains to be seen what happens in Vancouver or Calgary. They won’t be the only clubs Burke could contact about goalies.

Does Jokinen fit in Flames future plans?

CALGARY HERALD/CALGARY SUN: Another disappointing season raises questions over the future of center Olli Jokinen with the Calgary Flames. Though Jokinen, an unrestricted free agent this summer, had a bounce-back season, over the past ten games he had only two points, which were contributing factors in the Flames inability to secure a playoff spot. Jokinen maintains his desire is to return with the Flames.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While Jokinen and his family love Calgary and wish to stay, the Flames could be facing a significant, and long overdue, rebuild in the off-season. It remains to be seen if he’ll be part of that rebuild. The determining factor could come down to what he seeks for a new contract, and what the Flames are willing to pay.

15 Comments

  1. With the collapse of the leafs this spring it has become evedent that Dion is not a top defenseman and placing emphasis on going after Weber is the #1 priority in my opinion for the leafs ..they need an anchor back there , they will have Holzer up next year for sure and hopefully they can sign UFA Shultz to compliment Gardner ….with that they need to get rid of Schenn, Komisarek and Liles. I wish they had signed Andy Sutton from Oilers when he was available this year for his size!
    Franson should be worked into the powerplay for his big shot and accuracy!

    As for Goaltending its very apparent that Scrivens is the best guy they have moving forward and they should trade Riemer and let Gustavson go to UFA !
    With that they need to make a SERIOUS trade pitch for these goalies :
    1) Halak
    2) Kipprusoff
    3) Leightonen
    4) Lindback
    5) Tim Thomas

    Anything else would be sending a message of mediocrity and patch work!

    the leafs also need to work Kadri into next year and go through a full year with this kid and give some confidence hes a very talented goal scorer….

    Leafs have to look at some solid role players as well and make some serious inquiries for the likes of Steve Ott Matt Cooke, Adam Burrish and Raffe Torres they are in desperate ned of at least 2 of these players on the third line!

    Drafting
    to finish they should really draft Dumba for his over all strong physical game who can score which they lack the most in every player !!

    To conclude : The Vancouver Canucks should not trade Cory Schnieder and Roberto Luongo would get eaten alive in Toronto why would he want to play in that hell hole when he has the power of his own destiny and can play down south again and be with his family …doesnt make sense!

  2. It’s time Calgary does a rebuild and trade Iginla and Kiprusoff. I can’t see Calgary trading with anyone in their conference if at all possible which leaves the teams in the eastern conference. I would think Toronto would give you some good young assets for Kiprusoff and seems like the most likely trading partner since Rangers, B’s, Pitts, Canes, Buff and Montral are set in goal, Brodeur looks like he will be back with NJ, Philly is handcuffed with Brez, Sen’s, Jets, FLA and NYI seem happy with who they have which really only leaves the Cap’s, TB and the Leafs. Out of those 3 I’d say the Leafs are the most desperate and would probably give up the most youth as Burkie’s job is on the line if the Leafs don’t make it next year. I’d say the Cap’s and TB would also take a hard stab so it would be a good situation for Calgary to get the best return for their goalie. Another year or two they could end up with nothing because he only has two more years on his contract so now is the best time to try and move him. Rynnas is Finnish which could turn into a nice mentoring role with Kiper. He also has two years remaining with a decent cap hit the Leafs can afford.

    Luongo seems like more of a long shot with the Leafs because of his 10 yr contract. We all know how Burke feels about taking on stupid long term contracts beyond 5 or 6 years.

  3. I beg to differ about Scrivens being the best goalie the Leafs have considering he did not play well in the few games he played earlier this year. Last nights game does not vault him to be Toronto’s next number one goalie prospect. Toronto has Reimer, Scrivens, Rynnas and Owuya to ponder over. Reimer may or may not return to form from his cuncussion issues, Rynnas looked very slow good post to post and seemed far from being a NHL caliber, Scrivens had a hard time holding it together in his brief stint here a few months ago, Owuya has not had an opportunity yet. All these guys are young and in desperate need of starting behind a top notch NHL goalie such as Kiprusoff for 2 or 3 years before they are thrown to the sharks. I don’t think anyone can say which of these 4 goalies will be an NHL caliber goalie in 2 or 3 years unless you have a crystal ball.

  4. @ Beergoggles
    I was not suggesting that Scrivens be the new # 1 I was just saying that he is the best over all goalie the leafs have in his style of play that can be the #2 as I would part with Riemer & Gustavson and keep Rynass in the mix in the minors …Scrivens would be the best option moving forward! He has been solid for the Marlies this year and may be the MVP there ….you cant blame him for the losses he had as the Leafs now collapse was how they played then adn was the first glimpse we had seen to what has happened now!This collpase started after the all star game it was just hidden by Gustavson playing a couple good games in January !

    I agree with your Calgary comment

  5. Flames should resign Jokinen to a one-year deal. Simply to use for desperate teams at the trade deadline next year. He would garnish a first round pick or a really amazing prospect come trade deadline.

    This next year should be a little rebuild within Calgary. There are too many 3/4th line players on the team and not enough top tier talent.

    In my opinion the best course of action:

    Trade Iginla out East (He has 1 year remaining @ 7 million, if he loved Calgary, send him to somewhere he has a chance to win a cup for one year, then resign him next year for 4 or so million dollars) he’s going to demand a massive return, and there are many teams in the East that have the assets to pull this kind of deal.

    Buyout Matt Stajan (especially if there’s a free buyout period again) you cut a couple million you owe him each year if you do, valuable millions.

    Trade Jay Bouwmeesters ANYWHERE. You could send him even to a Western team, simply because he isn’t an impact player during the game (he’ll play 24 minutes, but 16 of them you won’t hear his name). He’s not a big hitter, so there’s really nothing to worry about. You should be able to get some kind of return for him. Probably not a first round pick, but you should be able to get a decent prospect or a trade for a player with some legitimate scoring ability.

    Have to let the kids up. Sven, Max & Ferland are three prospects that are pretty decent. In addition John Gaudreau and Bill Arnold could actually be decent players (they need to be playing in the AHL next season, and not NCAA). Also Markus Granlund has 34 points in 47 games in the Finish Elite league. So he is playing with men. Give him another year there to see if he can be a ppg or ppg+ player with an additional year under his belt.

    The key is to do some smart signings in the offseason and let a lot of players go. Give Backlund a one-year deal, and give him the second line (not like give him the first line, then watch him play the fourth line). Een if he struggles, keep him there, and make sure he’s playing a Sven; could finally be a skill line in Calgary.

    Should be fun to see what happens!

  6. @Slap&shot
    Ya, I didn’t mean to insinuate you were saying he was a number one starter that’s why I wrote, Toronto’s next number one goalie “prospect”. I still think that putting Remier back on the Marles after he came back from his concussion probably would have faulted him into the lead once again. Then again Owuya has played well when called upon and has a slightly better numbers then Scrivens be it less games played too. I still think it’s way to early to tell between these 4 prospects.What I saw last year from Reimer was a guy who always let in one bad goal every game but when the pressure came later in the game or once they fell behind by a goal he turned into a stone wall.This year he has still let in the bad goal but then is just average for the remained of the game which is why he is where he is. Either way none of these guys will ever be an NHL goalie with the Leafs if they keep throwing them to the wolves.

    I posted a few days ago that the Leafs only seem to have a winning team when they have a Belfour, Joseph, Potvin #1 NHL franchise goalie. Everytime they try this young prospect approach they wollow in the cellar no matter how the rest of the team stacks up. I truely believe the media and fans are to much for a young goalie in Toronto so unless Burke goes out and gets a Kiprusoff, Luongo or Thomas (can’t see Thomas) then the Leafs will remain out of the playoffs for years to come. I really don’t think Leightonen or Lindback could handle the pressure either. Possibly Halak could because of his playoff experience in Montreal but that would also be a crap shoot. I just remember Belfour’s first few preseason games when the media was all over him after loosing a few and giving up some soft goals he basically told them all to F off and wasn’t even remotely affected by it. Then came the regular season and he made them eat their words which shut them all up immediately. That’s the attitude and experience the Leaf’s
    need in goal and without it… Well you know…

  7. I find it funny that in Toronto Phaneuf is taking the heat, even though hes been a respectable 40-point defenseman this season– I really don’t know what people wanted from him, he hasnt scored 20 goals since his rookie season, and he hasn’t scored over 50-points in more than 5 years. Yet, when it comes to the Flames, they have an easy scapegoat with Jokinen. People willingly neglect the fact that Jarome Iginla, believed to be one of the league best Captain’s, has one goal in his last nine games.

  8. The Flames are long overdue for a rebuild. But I’m not convinced it will happen this summer. I really think there are too many people drinking the kool-aid in Calgary, and refuse to admitt that they need a new identity. Not saying I think they should trade Iginla…but with the exception of him and a few prospects, this team needs to be gutted. On that note, as a Leaf fan, I would give my left nut for Kipper. Can we have him?…please.

  9. @ Beergoggles
    Riemer has shown that he can not come back from diversity and carry the load which means he can not take th eteam to the paloffs and win in the tough games …a goalie in hi rookie season who did this perfectly and kept doing it was Fleury …Riemer needs to be moved out hes not the ONE..I believe Scrivens can do this but time will tell dont have a crystal ball either just my gut !!
    Owuya is at least 4 years away and could not be inserted into the rebuild until it is complete or they will kill him to !
    They really need to hit a hoerun with a # 1 goalie ..it will not be Luongo as he has to OK the trade and why in the world would he want to come to this hell hole under another Canadian microscope and fail !!!

    It really is Kipper Halak or Lindback or bust …Schneieder will not be traded out Van hes to valuable to the long term sucess of the franchise !

  10. Living in Calgary and being a die hard leaf fan i would love to see the Buds steal kipper from Calgary,the asking price scares me then so does his age 36 yrs old don’t his 1 hell of a goalie if wasn’t for him this year calgary would of been in 14th place in the west,i still think somebody younger will pop up this summer,and last if Rick Nash is still out there i for one say go for it,Mr BURKE has too find way to win back the leaf fans..

  11. @ Mio kid

    Iginla
    I dont see Iginla being traded as I feel they will trade Kipper first and see what kind of solid pieces they can get back and then try it out with Iginla and have him there for mentorship and of course leadership in the rebuild I have posted here before that Boumeester has to go as well and that he may fetch a good couple of pieces as D men with his skating ability are a rarity so with Kipper and Boumeester going first se hwt you can get back and build around Iginla once gaian for leadership.

    Iginla has the say where he wants to go if he goes and my take is that he stays out west as hes born in Alberta and has been there his whole life so he will stay very close to home on his own accord as its his choice but I still say he stays if they dont move forward maybe he goes at the trade deadline next year with a little nore convincing to a contender for a cup run ! That makes the most sense to me !

  12. One thing about teams like Calgary and Toronto doing rebuilds is that they cant be done in one year. Florida was unique in the fact that they actually “had” to overpay players to come to get up to the cap floor. The fact they gelled as a team says more about the coach than any distinct rebuild plan.

    The Flames are in a tough spot, years of moving “A” prospects for older players, NMC/NTC to aging players, and overpaying average players (Stajan), and waiting too long to possibly move their two marketable starts Iggy/Kipper.

    If the flames try to go the way of youth and the draft, it is going to be more painful than the Oilers version. The Oilers already had some of the pieces (Eberle /Paarjavi /Omark /Petry etc) before deciding to go that route.

    The Flames have honestly, 1 piece Baertchi, who is still a question mark as far as size and being one dimensional, though a very good offensive prospect. So the Flames have to rely on trades bringing in prospects.

    Well Iginla isn’t going to get you more than Smyth did a few years back, 2 “B” prospects and a 2nd rounder. Kipper could get you a first rounder and a solid prospect. The only other asset you have to move to get anything? Giordano or Glencross, and I think you have to keep them as a part of the “core”

    As far as Toronto, they have a bit more in the system, though no real “A” prospects. Lot of players who top out as maybe middle six forwards and middle pairing D. The biggest problem with Toronto unlike Calgary, is the top players who usually get you the most are players unlikely to draw huge interest in the league….Phaneuf/Kessel/Schenn. For a variety of reasons those players come with serious question marks and those type of players usually don’t reap huge rewards. The players that could you need to keep ie Gardiner.

    Either way, both teams are stuck, minimal cap space, tough contracts, and a year or two away from being able to make truly sweeping changes.

  13. @Old Soldier

    I believe Iginla will get more than someone like Smyth. He has been one of the top 5 most recognizable names in the NHL for the past decade. Any team nearing a contender, but missing that last piece would gobble him up and give back a ton.

    Now, as for comparing Edmonton and Calgary.
    Eberle /Paarjavi /Omark /Petry ; only two of those players are NHL players. The reason Edmonton “rebuilt” wasn’t because they had kids in the system, it was because they were a miserable team in the West for four years before getting the first overall.

    One thing I can’t stand is the chest beating done by Oiler fans especially at Calgary. A non-competing team for six years, and because they get two first round picks all of a sudden they’re top of the world. Remind me quickly, which one is Hall or Crosby or Toews? and RNH; Malkin or Kane?

    I can accept the fact that Calgary has had poor drafting for the longest time (especially during the Suter years, where third/fourth line players are being selected /w first round picks). Still a ways to go, but if Calgary’s anything like the last two years of drafting, I think they have a closer team than most people give them credit.

  14. Mio Kid
    Calgary is a horrid team its all smoke and mirrors just like the Leafs …the only reason Calgary even looks worthy of the 9 th 10th or even 11th spot is purely becauase of Kipper any other reason is just uncivilized…THEY STINK !Kipper is fouth in the League with wins for a team that is not making the playoffs.

    They traded away Jokinen and Tanguay and then brought them back… WOW! brilliant ! oh and Cammaleri too!
    Edmonton has lots of work to do still ..LOTS…but they are much closer to breaking out and moving forward then 95% of the league in rebuild mode next year and staying consitant for many after that!
    They tried to patch holes like the Leafs over the last 3 4-5 years its not working …everyone knows you have to bottom out then rebuild and then be smart managing assets from there ..know when to trade and know when to hold but never too long and too many at once …consistancy in any sport is the absolute key to a championship and personal goals !

  15. Actually all 4 of those players are considered top 6 or top 4 prospects. THN and TSN most recent evaluations of each teams prospects. Oilers 3rd and 4th respectively, Flames 28th for both. The Oilers with 13 probably NHL prospects, the Flames with 4. Now then again, those “experts” could be wrong, but then again they both figured Calgary for 11th or 12th this season.

    Speaking of delusional is the fact the Flames continue to consider Iginla as an icon and leader. Check zone starts, corsi. If Glencross was given the same he would be outscoring Iginla. And Iginla is a huge defensive liability on most occasions, preferring to float around the red line when the other team is in the offensive zone.

    The biggest difference between the Oil and Flames is simply a couple years ago, Oil management decided to come clean, admit the team sucked, and honestly told the fans they would do their best to rebuild with youth and skill. Whether it succeeds or not is yet to be seen, but the reason the Oilers fans are accepting it is the respect management gave the fans in being honest.

    In Calgary (who in 21 years have only gotten past the first round once), despite every hockey expert around predicting another 11th/12th place finish for the 3rd straight year, the team management decided to continue feeding the fans the “playoff kool-aid”. And fans being fans, crossed their fingers and hoped it would happen. It didn’t. So unless Flames management is willing to admit what even people like Eklund are saying (now that’s pathetic), the fans are going to be force fed Kool-Aid again, and does anyone really expect the results to be different.