NHL Canadian Corner – July 2, 2014

Reaction to the Spezza trade, the Canucks signing Ryan Miller, and the moves made by the other Canadian teams during the opening day of the NHL’s free-agent period. 

OTTAWA CITIZEN: Wayne Scanlan reports the Senators trading Jason Spezza to Dallas leaves a gaping hole in their point production. It also continues the “end of an era” as another remnant of the once-dominant Senators is gone.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once again, the Senators are a budget team, and while management promises a hard-working, entertaining team going forward, their development could be hampered by ownership’s inability to keep pace with a rising salary cap. They’re still stocked with promising players, but it will be difficult to augment that talent with skilled veterans.

Ryan Miller welcomed by Canucks GM Jim Benning.

Ryan Miller welcomed by Canucks GM Jim Benning.

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Jason Botchford suggests the Canucks signing Ryan Miller could set up a potential goalie controversy with backup Eddie Lack.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It becomes a controversy only if Lack outplays Miller over the next three years. If he doesn’t, signing Miller could prove a wise investment.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens have added P.A. Parenteau, Tom Gilbert and Manny Malhotra while parting ways with Daniel Briere, Brian Gionta and Josh Gorges.  GM Marc Bergevin acknowledged trading away Gorges won’t be popular but said he’s not in the job to be popular.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Parenteau should bolster their scoring and Malhotra is strong on faceoffs. Gilbert could also provide offense from the blueline, but he won’t replace Gorges’ defensive skills. They cleared cap space by trading Gorges for a draft pick  but that’s about the only good thing about that swap.

THE GLOBE & MAIL: James Mirtle notes the limited moves by the Toronto Maple Leafs during the opening day of free agency. While the good news is they didn’t overspend and still have $7 million in cap space for other additions, the bad news is the roster remains pretty much the same one which fell out of playoff contention last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  As Mirtle points out, it appears as though the Leafs are hoping this roster can regain the form which got them into the playoffs in 2013. Better that, I guess, than blowing their budget on another overpriced, overrated free agent. 

EDMONTON SUN: Oilers GM Craig MacTavish believes his club still has room for improvement but he feels his recent additions (Leon Draisaitl, Teddy Purcell, Nikita Nikitin, Benoit Pouliot, Mark Fayne, Keith Aulie) makes the Oilers a more well-rounded team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The additions of Purcell, Nikitin and Fayne should help, as could Draisaitl if he proves to be NHL-ready this fall. It remains to be seen how Pouliot pans out. If he plays as well as he did for the Rangers, this too could be a worthwhile addition.

CALGARY HERALD: Flames GM Brad Treliving will continue to look for further opportunities this summer to improve his club. Yesterday he signed Jonas Hiller, Mason Raymond and Deryk Engelland.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I like the addition of Hiller, but I’m concerned about Raymond’s inconsistency. They also grossly overpaid Engelland (there-years at $2.9 million per season). 

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets addressed their need for a third-line center by signing Mathieu Perreault.


  1. Prediction:
    Leafs miss the playoffs again
    Nonis is fired
    Carlyle is fired
    One of the two new assistants is fired (again)
    The new Leafs GM is stuck against the cap for at least two years and cannot trade any of the dead wood contracts Nonis has inked
    Nonis goes down as one of the worst GM’s since JFJ
    Burke hires Nonis next summer
    Carlyle is ostracized for a few years from coaching (like Wilson).
    Phaneuf has one of his worst plus minus years
    Bozak’s number slip
    Komorov cannot change the team culture as originally thought by Nonis and the crew and fans are saying he is way over paid
    Shanny has a very rough start to his new career and is on short lease with MLSE.

    • What a Leaf fan you are. There are 29 other teams out there – find one.

      • Just calling it the way I see it. Sorry if it hurts but most of it will probably come true.

        • Explain how the leafs are stuvk against the cap? 14 guys signed 16 mill in space
          4 rfas to sign lets ball park that at 10 mill (which is high Ashton is not making 2.5 mill) thst leaves 6mill to sign 3 or 4 guys if they move no one, now consider some of the Marlies available to fill roles this year Granberg Levio both 800k so 1.6 leaves 4.4 mill in space with a roster of 20 without making a single move sign a depth guy for 2-2.5 thers is 21 guys signed 2 mill in space. Move a guy like Lupul for a younger more affordable 3rd liner or a pick and it could be substantially more than that.

          • for missing the playoffs again the leafs are stuck against the cap take montreal for example they 21 players signed and have 15 million in cap space! they have to sign subban and eller so yes the leafs are in cap trouble with the brutal contracts of phaneuf,clarkson,lupul

          • Right Jello and how did they get that space? They moved an aging player while they could like Georges and let the ufas walk, so younger guys could play if the Leafs do that with Lupul and Franson it could leave them with about 9 mill in space with20 guys signed in other words about as up against the cap as the Habs.

          • but the leafs cant get rid of lupul and franson!! and your saying they re not in cap trouble they have 16 million to sign 11 players! the leafs might be your team but wake up! its because of bad free agency ( Clarkson) and bad trades to the bruins! just imagine the leafs with seguin,hamilton and rask! instead of just fat phil

          • also players this yr took less money to go other places! a big reason for that is your captain and coach

          • 14 mill now withonly the RFAs to sign

            Holland 800k
            Ashton 1 mill
            Gardiner 3 mill
            Franson 3 Mill
            Riemer 2.75 mill

            = 3,.75 mill in space and I bet ya Franson and Riemer at least are moved…
            Lots of room.

        • Obviously you’re a pessimist :-) But if you expect the worst, it can only get better! But reading your previous comments, you would welcome the firing of Nonis and Carlyle. And maybe this leads to Eichel or McDavid 😉 Maybe this is the intention of MLSE! Tank the season and nobody realizes it until it’s to late and then get to the promise land with McDavid :-)

  2. Please find a new team…….or wrap your car around a telephone pole! Either works for me you loser plug!

    • josh
      I wish I could find new team but MLSE veto’s any new team coming into the area. Wake up buddy after 46 years you think you would see the writing on the wall for this coming year. Keeping you head buried in the sand then.

      • lol plug…

  3. Gorges was a heart and soul guy but his overall contribution to the team no longer meets the requirements. The team as a whole has developed beyond Gorges’ game. You can love his shot blocking and last gasp efforts on the PK but for every incident of that kind he has failed to make three breakout passes and reversed the puck back into the zone twice instead of getting it out. This latter move killed the Habs time and time again last year as they helped keep the puck in their zone, prolonged the pressure, and then iced the puck and could not change exhausted defenders. There is more than one way to play defensive hockey and one of those ways is based on a good defense is to be on the offense.

    I will have to wait and see Gilbert play but if he can keep his position (Gorges could not) and can get the puck out fast (ditto) then he may very well be the better choice. I would like to see one Hamilton youngster make the team next year but I get the team needs to have options to work with.

  4. It was a very interesting free agent frenzy(FAF) to say the least, The Jets signing of Mathieu Perreault seems like another gross over payment when you had players like Brad Richards, David Legwan, Mikhail Grabovski, some of which are still on the board available at the time. Perhaps they didn’t want to go to Winnipeg, but if you are going to overpay maybe overpay on a proven veteran with a winning pedigree. With Vancouver signing Miller i’m a bit perplexed, they seem to be in the same scenario that Calgary was a few seasons ago when they had aging all-stars and rose colored glasses thinking they had a good enough team to get them into the playoffs, bless their little overpaid hearts. Edmonton did ok for themselves but they still look like a 9-12th spot in the very stacked pacific western conference.
    I don’t mind the Calgary signings, sure Engelland was an overpayment but if you look at what he can do for you( fight and play D) then it doesn’t seem that bad, Jk. The signing was obviously to bring them closer to the Cap floor and elimination a fighters contract while having a serviceable D-men, hope they finish last and first in the Connor McDavid Sweeps :). MTL’s Marc B is a really smart GM, he knows that torch had to be passed to the young kids, and because of that Georges became a victim of the circumstance. A crappy way of doing it but it’s just business. And then there’s the Sens and Leafs- i’m not going to touch those with a 10 Ft pole ‘Nuff Said.

  5. Leafs24/7 – Spot on, we should go for beers and wallow together about our shameful Ontario teams.

    • I started by laughing at Leaf24/7’s comments but then stopped myself and said ‘what am I laughing at?” Hope I’m wrong but this could be a long painful season for fan’s of either team…

      • Ehh not much more painful than last year, and who knows that could also mean a pleasant surprise or 2.

  6. only thing i see is a Connor McDavis year for Toronto

    GL with that

    • If ya dont know the kids name I question your judgment.

  7. McDavid …