NHL Canadian Corner – May 31, 2012.

The latest on the Maple Leafs, Jets and Canadiens.


Will Burke pursue a veteran goalie for the Leafs?

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke is  believed in the market for a veteran netminder to help young James Reimer carry the load, but  won’t comment on which goalies he could pursue. Capitals pending UFA Tomas Vokoun has been mentioned as a possibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Leafs pursue Roberto Luongo, his long-term contract spells the end of any long-term future for Reimer in Toronto. If Burke is truly committed to Reimer as his future starter, he’ll look for a short-term (one-two years) option, like Vokoun.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets captain Andrew Ladd reflects on the first anniversary of the announcement the Atlanta Thrashers were relocating to Winnipeg, the euphoria among Winnipeggers (which he witnessed first-hand), the positive effect upon the players this season, and looked ahead to building toward playoff contention.

LA PRESSE: The Montreal Canadiens have not contacted the Zurich Lions to seek permission to speak with Bob Hartley, who’s been linked to the Canadiens as a candidate for their vacant head coach position.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin said there wouldn’t be an announcement on a new head coach this week, but expects to make it in the near future.



  1. Burke has some tough choices to make and none will be tougher than deciding on not only who to have in goal for the Leafs this coming season but for years to come. Is James Reimer going to be a star in this league soon or at all is one of his toughest decisions. If he believes Reimer can be that guy then Burke goes the short term route and gets a goalie for one or two years and bets that by then Reimer will be ready. If he bets against JR them he may go for a long term guy like Luongo for example and puts his goaltending worries behind him and concentrates on getting the other positions locked up.
    Either way Burke must be very sure of his decision as his job and also his ego are on the line.

  2. I dont understand why you keep saying that trading for Luongo means the end of James Reimer in Toronto? If Reimer is the real deal, wouldn’t we see a scenario strikingly similar to the one that happened in Vancouver this past season, whereby the young backup eventually supersedes his mentor? I’m not saying Reimer will be Cory Schneider, I’m just saying that it’s a possibility if his career pans out the way Leafs management is preaching and hoping it will… and then you cant forget Luongo’s lack of a NMC, where he can be buried in the minors.

  3. Sean: easier said that done. Burke hates – HATES – those big, front-loaded contracts with no-trade clauses that Luongo carries. And he’s also no fan of burying players in the minors. Yes, he did so with Jeff Finger, but he did it grudgingly, because he was stuck with a predecessor’s contract. You’ve also got to understand that, while Luongo has value now at 33, that value decreases on the trade market in two or three years. If Reimer’s ready to step up in two years time, having Luongo’s big contract buried in the minors still means they’re paying him big bucks to ride the buses, something Burke and MLSE won’t be keen to do.

    If Reimer’s going to be the main man in a year or two, better to take on a short-term option (like Vokoun, perhaps) than Luongo’s big ass salary. Otherwise, the other option is Luongo gets the bulk of the playing time in order to justify paying him that salary, Reimer’s development stalls, and ultimately he ends up traded away or playing in Europe.

  4. Don’t go after Luongo, …, he’s way too expensive and NOT that great. Develop the roster slow and steady. The Leafs have been trying the ‘quick fix’ for decades now and it’s never worked for them. Wise up and take note of the franchises that have displayed patience.

    • Pittsburgh, Detroit, Boston, Flyers, New Jersey have all built sensibly over time. Leafs ‘have not'; they always trade away their future assets for fast solutions that have failed them time after time. This nonsense has been going on for 45 years. How can a hockey “hotbed” like Toronto mis-manage their long term plans longer than any organization in the 30 team NHL. Enough !