Latest on the Maple Leafs and Panthers – September 27, 2013.

Cody Franson’s re-signing will force the Toronto Maple Leafs to shed some salary, while the Florida Panthers signing of Tim Thomas creates a possible logjam in their crease.

Are John-Michael Liles days with the Leafs numbered?

Are John-Michael Liles days with the Leafs numbered?

ESPN.COM/TORONTO SUN/TORONTO STAR/THE GLOBE AND MAIL: The Toronto Maple Leafs re-signing defenseman Cody Franson to a one-year, $2 million contract pushes their payroll to slightly over the $64.3 million salary cap ($64.816, according to CapGeek), forcing the club to shed salary to be under the cap when the season opens on October 1. Most observers suggest veteran defenseman John-Michael Liles could be the likely candidate  moved via trade or waivers. If he’s demoted, however, the Leafs will only get $925K in cap savings, as the remainder of his salary would still count against their cap.

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun claims the Leafs would love to trade Liles but his salary ($3.875 million per season) hampers that possibility unless they’re willing to absorb part of his salary or add another player in the deal. LeBrun mentions the rebuilding Calgary Flames as a possible trade destination, based on their cap space and the fact former Leafs GM Brian Burke – who acquired Liles from Colorado and signed him to his current contract – is now the Flames president of hockey operations. However, LeBrun believes the Flames would want a young player (like Joe Colborne, whose name has been mentioned of late in trade rumors) as part of the return.

The Toronto Star’s Kevin McGran suggests the possibility of another player getting dealt, suggesting Carl Gunnarson, Jake Gardiner and Nikolai Kulemin “might want to get used to trade rumours.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Leafs move Liles, it’ll likely be via demotion, as the cap savings would be just enough to put them under the cap ceiling. It won’t leave much wiggle room for anything else, which could keep GM Dave Nonis busy trying to find ways to stay cap compliant. I don’t believe Gunnarson or Gardiner will be moved. Kulemin could be a trade possibility but it appears the Leafs intend to start the season with him.  We won’t have to wait long to find out what Nonis has in store, as the Leafs must be cap compliant by Monday.

NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: James O’Brien reports the Florida Panthers signing of Tim Thomas to a one year contract creates a logjam in their crease for the upcoming season. The Panthers already had Jacob Markstrom and Scott Clemmensen under contracts for this season. GM Dale Tallon claims he hasn’t thought about demoting Clemmensen, who scurrently rehabbing a knee injury, which should give Tallon a bit of time to reach a decision.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Markstrom is waiver exempt so demoting him seems the obvious choice when Clemmensen has recovered from his knee injury, but it’s believed the Panthers signed Thomas in part to tutor Markstrom. If so, that leave Clemmensen as the odd man out.


  1. According to Cap Geek:

    KORBINIAN HOLZER has been demoted. Leafs Cap Space is now –$216,667.

    Solutions to get under the cap are:

    Demote Colton Orr $925,000 & then Promote a player with a salary under $708,333
    (Josh Leivo or Jamie Devane or Troy Bodie??)
    (Morgan Reilly’s salary is $924,167 and cannot be promoted under this scenario)
    (Carter Ashton’s salary is $840,000 and cannot be promoted under this scenario)

    2) Trade a player that makes a salary over $925,000

    That is it. Better hurry. Roster Deadline is Monday Midnight.

    • If they demote Trevor Smith they would have a 22 man roster with $333,333 remaining on the cap.

      With Clarkson gone for 10 that is a 21 man roster and they don’t have the space right now to call anybody up. Carter Ashton cap hit is 1,040,000.

      If they did demote Colton Orr, they would have the space to bring up Ashton.

      • If they demote Orr someone picks him off waivers

        • YEP !

          They could send Liles to the AHL, but it would only give them a cap savings of $925,000

          After listening to Claude Loiselle on the radio, it doesn’t sound like the Maple Leafs have any plans to play John-Michael Liles.

          Some teams may use only 19 players, one below roster minimum, so that they can recall players that won’t count against the cap. The Leafs could send Liles to the minors, but still would be able to fit Morgan Rielly in. In the CBA, there is a rule that allows teams to call up players that don’t count against the cap as a “roster emergency exception.” There stipulations to Provision 50.10(e):
          1) Teams have to have less cap room than the league minimum salary (which is $550,000 this season) plus $100,000
          2) A player has to become “unfit or unable to play” or be suspended
          3) The team is unable to recall a player using the long-term injury provision
          4) The team played its last game with fewer than 20 players (18 skaters and two goaltenders)
          If teams meet that stipulations, they can add players who make $650,000 or less without counting against the cap. For the Leafs, they have Joe Colborne, Trevor Smith, Troy Bodie, TJ Brennan and Drew MacIntyre at under $650,000.

        • They can have Colton Orr.

          It’s a win win.

          • Why would you lose Orr when you can demote Liles who will get no ice time for the same savings off the cap?

        • why would anyone pickup orr?

          • For one most would probably rather play with him than against him 2 some teams like the Oilers could and probably would demote a guy like McIntyre and keep Orr he is probably top 5 or 6 guys in the league at doing what he think if they could get him at under a million bucks why not? I get what some say about no place for fighting in the game but the truth of it is its there and until the NHL gets rid of it (which they wont imo until someone dies or they face a huge lawsuit) a guy like Orr at under a million bucks who you give up nothing to pick up off waivers is a no brainer. You dont think if he was on waivers Burke (who loves the guy) wouldnt be telling Feaster to grab him up?

      • NHL League Rules state you have to have a 23 Man Roster by 11:59pm Monday September 30th Deadline to start the 2013/2014 Regular Season.

        You can have 20 players on your starting roster starting Wednesday October 2nd.

        Clarkson’s suspension is delayed as it is being appealed. Clarkson can play until the appeal process is over.

        Carter Ashton’s contract is $1,040,000 – $200,000 Bonus= $840,000. Bonus’s don’t count against the cap until they are met.

        • You dont have to have a 23 man roster….you can have no more than a 23 man roster and no less then 20 on your opening day playing roster, which is submited Tuesday I believe.

          • Is this true?

            Lyle, can you confirm?

          • Some teams may use only 19 players, one below roster minimum, so that they can recall players that won’t count against the cap. The Leafs could send Liles to the minors, but still would be able to fit Morgan Rielly in. In the CBA, there is a rule that allows teams to call up players that don’t count against the cap as a “roster emergency exception.” There stipulations to Provision 50.10(e):
            1) Teams have to have less cap room than the league minimum salary (which is $550,000 this season) plus $100,000
            2) A player has to become “unfit or unable to play” or be suspended
            3) The team is unable to recall a player using the long-term injury provision
            4) The team played its last game with fewer than 20 players (18 skaters and two goaltenders)
            If teams meet that stipulations, they can add players who make $650,000 or less without counting against the cap. For the Leafs, they have Joe Colborne, Trevor Smith, Troy Bodie, TJ Brennan and Drew MacIntyre at under $650,000.

        • John, Clarkson has decided not to appeal the suspension.

          • Thanks for update. :)

            Bad signing. Do you agree?

  2. Teams that can take Liles who under the cap without having to move money out !

    If th eLeafs move Liles they will have to sweeten the deal as Ive said all along …you will have to add a player to take the money !

    Nashville Predators » $63,412,976 $4,122,024 23 $0
    25. Buffalo Sabres » $58,895,357 $6,254,643 22 $6,254,643
    26. Ottawa Senators » $56,935,833 $8,214,167 23 $0 INTERNAL CAP
    27. Florida Panthers » $60,865,375 $8,257,125 25 $0
    28. Colorado Avalanche » $57,933,333 $11,189,167 22 $11,189,167
    29. Calgary Flames » $52,457,917 $13,223,333 23 $0
    30. New York Islanders » $49,496,976 $15,653,024 23 $0

    • If Liles (or another player) is traded these are the teams being considered:

      NY Islanders $15,653,024
      Calgary $13,223,333 (Burke traded for him)
      Colorado $11,189,167 (Back to Colorado?)
      Ottawa $8,214,167
      Buffalo $6,254,643
      Nashville $4,122,024

      Florida now has 25 players so they will have to demote players. I don’t think they will be in the mix anymore.

      • Liles will first be demoted I don’t see any scenerio outside a monster plague of injuries where liles plays this year. If he passes through waivers he will then sit there until a team calls needing a dman. I don’t see demoting another player who has to pass through waivers being an option until they exercise every other option.

      • You can scratch off Buffalo, they have too many D of their own.

  3. Trade both Colborne and Liles in a packaged deal. (Unlikely to happen, but)

    To Toronto: Backlund
    To Calgary: Liles + Colborne

    • Liles & Orr for Backlund is much more sellable.

      The Leafs don’t need Orr anymore after their acquisitions and Roster callups.

      Don’t give up on Joe just yet. He’s got potential he’s just a late bloomer. With the Leafs there is time for him to grow for another year. Other players turn right now to make the jump.

      • Hi John I have seen some good posts by you …BUT Colborne is not NHL quality !!

        AND ….Burke will NOT do any favors for the leafs even if Nonis is such a good friend !!

        NEVER!!! He hates MLSE

        • Tannebaum screwed over Burke as well as Pat Quinn in the past.

          Tannebaum needs to be less involved. He’s making monumental mistakes over and over.

          I doubt Burke is upset with Nonis. If you looked into Nonis’s eyes after Burke was let go he was like a deer in the headlights and shocked. That rarely happens in the sports business nowadays because of the greed and manipulation but his reaction was completely genuine.

          If Burke doesn’t deal with the Leafs it’s because of his hatred for Larry and only Larry.

          • And Lewicki who called for Burkes head before he would agree to join MLSE ….has nothing to do with Nonis …Burke will not do any favours for MLSE

        • Thanks for the kind words and compliment. Your posts are decent as well. Lyle has a great website and I am thankful I can post here.

          Ok now enough of this talk LOL!

    • That’s funny! How about Liles + Gardiner + Riley + 5 first round picks for Tim Jackman?

      If you’re going to make up a proposal, think about it a bit first. If a deal between the Flames and leafs would happen, I could see Liles + either Colborne, Gardiner, Reimer or a pick going to the Flames for a prospect or a lower pick. The Leafs can’t really take Backlund because they don’t have space for him and the Flames don’t want to give up on him yet. The leafs aren’t dealing from a position of power here, they’re going to have to give something up in order for a team to help them out. Nonis did a bad job here and he has to fix it.

      • The leafs are not going to give up Gardiner or Reimer to the flames just to become cap compliant especially for Backlund who should be a fixture on the flames by now. Nonis will do some juggling but he wont just give quality players away. Everyone needs to just relax and quit worrying about stuff Nonis probably isn’t worried about.

      • Almost every team this year is battling the Cap.

        Some have done better with it than others but the majority are in “panic” mode.

        The Leafs have signed players to good low contracts but did poorly at managing the roster.

        Next year they are in the same situation if not worse.

        • Only 5 teams are in panic mode, while 3 more will merely demote players to get under the max cap. Four other teams that are near the cap ceiling, will merely demote players as well. That is only 12 teams, I don’t know where you’re getting “majority are in panic mode”.

    • Why the f*#* would the Flames trade one of their best prospects for Liles and Colborne? Who suck btw.

  4. Who would you rather have?

    Colton Orr (31 years old, 2.55 PIM AVG., PTS .057 Avg.) $925,000


    Frazer McLaren (26 years old, 2.49 PIM Avg., .147 PTS Avg.) $700,000

    and Tyler Biggs and Troy Bodie (both GOONS, much younger and cheaper) ready to make the jump!

    Colton, all the best to you on ANOTHER TEAM! :)

    • Biggs is a goon??? Umm no…also makes more then Orr even if he was. Bodie has been around awhile and isnt that much younger then Orr maybe a year or 2 and I bet you Randy rather have Orr at the end of the bench over Bodie especially for the whopping 300k savings. During the regular season Randy will want McClaren and Orr around that dressing room as much as in the line up.

      • Bodie is 3 years younger and $325,000 less at the moment.

        If demoting Colton Orr is not an option then your left with only 2 options.

        Start the season with 22 or less players on your roster



        • Bodie isn’t the greatest fighter. A good player for the Marlies. Devane on the other hand has shined in preseason and can scrap pretty well

      • Tyler Biggs is 20 years old and his salary minus bonus is 894,167.

        Tyler is 10 years younger than Colton and 56,000 cheaper.

        Tyler plays a very physical game. Comparable is CLARKSON.

        Much higher upside than Colton with similar penalty average, much higher point production and 10 years younger.

        • Do you know why Orr makes more? Do you know why he is more valuable than Biggs right now? Experience, and Orr is a fighter, Clarkson and Biggs are agitators. They drop their gloves if they have to, but they are not fighters. We need someone who can fight with anyone else in the League, Clarkson and Biggs can’t. Clarkson and Biggs would be demolished fighting people like MacIntyre, Parros, S.Thornton, McGrattan etc.

  5. Offense is easier to replace than Defense.

    Liles’s salary is an issue but if I had demote either Colton or Liles I would demote Colton first.

    Colton has become replaceable. Liles still isn’t as much as Colton is.

  6. I actually agree the Leafs don’t need 2 goons on the roster. We will be tough enough with Clarson, McLaren and Fraser. Oilers might have interest in Orr for a year at that price.

    • Fraser is more-so a dman that can fight, he isn’t a goon per say. McLaren maybe, Orr yes. Liles has lost a roster spot, more-so now with Franson re-signed. Colborne has a very cheap contract, which what would make it so damn hard to give up, but lets face it, for his potential, we can’t let that go to waste on our 3rd/4th line. Also, with Colbornes extremely cap friendly hit, packaging him with someone that doesn’t have such a great contract cap hit in Liles, could even out and be trade-able.

    • Plus, the Oilers already have Brown and just picked MacIntyre off waivers.

      • What team needs a Goon?? LOL

        • Every team needs goons, they need to even out the playing field with the type of roster players.

          Top Line = Top Talent
          2nd Line = Mixture Of Top-type Talent & Grit
          3rd Line = Mixture of Grit & Fight
          4th Line = Fight & Some Mixture Of Grit

          Goons are need to try and change the course of how the game is going. If a team is down by a goal or two, a fight can bolster the teams energy. A goon is also around to fight for their players and teach teams not to mess with their star players. Do you think that someone like a Chris Neil is going to let another player to try and push around Ryan/Spezza? Same goes for Orr/McLaren standing up for Kessel or Kadri.

          • Top Line- Stars or Top Talent
            Line 2- Veterans or Talented Rookies or Injured Top Talent
            Line 3- Talented Rookies or Veterans or Checkers
            Line 4- Grinders or Fighters or Checkers

            Did Orr or McLaren step up for Kessel? NOPE! Code is changing :(

          • Code isn’t changing, even Bergevin explained it. Anyway, it is something you wouldn’t know about.

  7. You keep Orr. He’s heart and soul. You saw the difference last year when they brought him back to the big team.

    • Yep

  8. A few things about the Leafs:

    1. The Toronto GM is making a huge mistake going into the season with Kessel and Phaneuf as UFAs next season. If Toronto is in a playoff position (they should be), they won’t be able to trade either at the deadline. Then Toronto will be forced to overpay them or risk losing them for nothing. This is exactly what happened to the Ducks last year with Perry and Getzlaf.

    2. Look at the debate that’s going on now with Liles and remember that when people suggest that Kessel should get north of $8M. The difference between even $500k is huge in this cap era. Teams that want to win cups don’t overpay players. Look at Chicago. Kane, Toews, Sharp, and Hossa all make below $7M per season. Suppose Kadri just gets better. If Kessel gets $8M per season, how much should Kadri get? How much does Franson deserve if they want to lock him up long term?

    • The mistake was overpaying during the Off Season for Clarkson and Bozak. Bozak is a good 3rd liner type player, $4.2M is way too much for him. While Clarkson is a decent 2nd liner, or a very good 3rd liner. $5.25M is shameful. Bozak should only be getting $3.2M and Clarkson $4M. As for Phaneuf, he’ll get a cap hit demotion…as he should.

      Now with re-signing players beyond this season, the salary cap is going to be going up and showing now signs of falling anytime soon. With the 2 outdoor games, and a few more teams getting better and tallying in more fans in their rinks, the Cap Floor is looking to hit the $70M range.

    • Hossa’s deal is cap circumventing 12 year deal where he makes 7.9 mill for the first 7 years before dropping to a mill for 4 years! (who has more points the past 4years Hossa or Kessel?) in 2 years Im betting Toews and Kane make close to Crosby Malkin type money they signed those deals as RFAs. They are not great comparisons.

  9. I say keep Colborne for his $650,000 cap hit & move Kulimen & his almost $3 mil cap hit. Colborne could be just as agood of a fit on the 3rd line as Kulemin. Colborne is a rfa next year where as Kulimen is an ufa. I don’t think that the Leafs will have space for Kulimen’s new contract (he is making just under $3 mil now. Do you think they are going to want to pay more than that for a 3rd liner). If they move Kulemin now they could get something decent for him or if you took less, like say instead of a 2nd round pick, maybe take a 4th or 5th round pick for him, you maybe able to include Liles in a deal. I also think that all Toronto has to do is maybe pick up say $1.75 mil of Liles’s contract and for $2 mil maybe someone like Carolina or Calgary picks him up for future considerations.

    • Kevin,

      Kulemin is a winger, Colborne is a centerman

      • Yes. Kulemin is a winger & Colborne is a centreman. However Colborne can also play the wing position as well. Having another center on any line is never a bad idea either.

        • Sure, but centermen now-a-day are more valuable, wingers a practically a dime a dozen.

  10. If you keep ORR then you have to make a TRADE!

    If you can’t trade Liles or Kulemin or Colborne then why not trade PHANEUF??

    Is Phaneuf really that good anymore?

    I consider him to be overvalued and overated.

    Kessel is a building block but he is not the main piece that you can build around. He is worth around 6-6.5. If he gets more TRADE HIM!

    • So trade your number 1 defenceman your best defensive forward, or one of the leaders in the room to make some cap room?….ya that sounds like a sure plan for success. Should probably throw Kessel in there 2 to save some money next year after all it not a goal to win a a cup its who ever has the prettiest cap that gets all the rewards right?

      • Shticky, he’s going on and on with nonsense throughout this entire page.

        • If you think he’s over rated so does someone else. Why would they want him?

  11. Wow these threads are getting ridiculous.

  12. Mr Simpson you must not have been watching much Leafs games the last 9 years. The number one reason the Leafs made the play-off last year and not the previous 8 was lack of team toughness. Orr, McLaren, and Fraser are very important to our team Liles is not. Do you know how many times the Leafs played a team with one fighter that had to fight both Orr and Mclaren in one game? Colborne and Liles have no role or place on this team. Both are decent players that would do better on another team. Trade them, or place them on waivers and demote them if they clear. This will save us the money to be cap compliant. Carlyle said he wants to keep Reilly for the 9 or 10 games and send him back to juniors so we will only pay a small percent of his salary. Plus I think by the trade deadline we will be trading a couple of players who do fit the future plan of the Maple Leafs.

    • Don’t forget Komarov

  13. Phil Kessel (25 years old, .752 PTS Avg., $5,400,000)

    Comparables at .752 PTS Avg. and HIGHER and Same Age (25 years old) are:

    Claude Giroux (25 years old, 1.02 PTS Avg., $3,750,000) WOW What a deal!
    Jonathan Toews (25 years old, 1.11 PTS Avg, $6,300,000)
    Nicklas Backstrom (25 years old, 1.14 PTS Avg., $6,700,000)

    Just a few I found.

    Phil’s a good player at 6-6.5. Anything more than that is too much.

    • You are clueless, Giroux after this season, will be making $8.275M. Then after Kane’s and Teow’s $6.3, they’ll easily fetch more than Giroux. You rely too much on what players make today, and not the future. Especially how you’re basing what Kessel will get, which is a future event. You really should quit while you’re ahead…or seeing how you are not ahead…JUST QUIT!

    • As for Backstrom, sure he has a cap hit of $6.7M, but this is what he will actually get paid:

      2014/15 = $6.5M
      2015/16 = $6.5M
      2016/17 = $7M
      2017/18 & 2018/19 = $7.5M
      2019/20 = $8M

      You really do need to make CapGeek your friend!

      • I’d also like to add Phil scores GOALS and is not just an assist machine.

  14. Why not Orr to the Oilers? They are looking for some “protection” right?

    • EDM signed MacIntyre.

      They are good now.

  15. Only 2 SOLUTIONS.

    1. Start Regular Season with 22 (Minimum 20) with a demotion(s) which clear waivers.

    13 forwards, 5 defensemen, 2 goalies, 0 reserves = 20 players
    12 forwards, 6 defensemen, 2 goalies, 0 reserves = 20 players

    There is always a way to circumvent the cap.


    2. TRADE!

    • JUST an…. F Y I …..I was talking about Clarkson being the next face of the Leafs Franchise and possible Captain …I took a lot of ribbing on that comment also from LYLE as he thinks its Kessel ( not) ….TSN just posted its pictures of the Out door game on the Homepage and LOW AND BEHOLD theres Howard – Phaneuf and YEP ….Clarkson as the third wheel !!


  16. For those who said McClaren & Orr didn’t step up for Kessel … they weren’t dressed or playing that game. I wonder what the min suspension is for coming down from the press box?

  17. Trade Orr keep Devane…

    • I don’t mind that. Devane can actually play the game decently as well. The leafs would save about $225,000.

  18. Now that Theodore has signed in Omsk, does anyone give Bryzgalov a shot?

    • Hmmm…no

    • Maybe a shot of vodka.