Latest on the Leafs & Sharks – July 11, 2017

by | Jul 11, 2017 | Rumors | 53 comments

Toronto Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak remains a hot topic in the trade rumor mill.

Toronto Maple Leafs could make a salary-dumping deal and Chris Tierney has an uncertain future with the San Jose Sharks. 

TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran reports a lack of salary-cap space means the Toronto Maple Leafs currently can’t afford to re-sign restricted free agent forward Connor Brown. The 23-year-old isn’t interested in signing an offer sheet with another club and is willing to wait for the Leafs to sort out their salary-cap issue.

Teams are allowed to spend over the cap ceiling by 10 percent. The Leafs currently have around $420K of available cap room. McGran suggests they could wait until the start of the season to re-sign Brown, as they would clear sufficient cap room by assigning players to the minors and placing some on injured reserve. 

McGran said trade rumors linked center Tyler Bozak to the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins. One had the Rangers offering up Nick Holden for Bozak but McGran cites sources saying the Leafs aren’t interested in what the Blueshirts proposed. Another rumor has the Penguins interested in reuniting Phil Kessel with Bozak, leading McGran to wonder if they might part with defenseman Olli Maatta.

McGran also noted there was talk last month of swapping Brown for Anaheim’s Sami Vatanen but that died when the Ducks successfully protected him in the expansion draft.  Los Angeles Kings blueliner Drew Doughty sparked some speculation when he mused that one day he might like to play for the Leafs, but McGran believes it would cost more than Brown and Bozak to get him. 

Freelance Leafs pundit Howard Berger yesterday tweeted the Leafs “apparently talking trade with Colorado, Calgary and the Rangers. Details sketchy. But, looking to off-load salary for a d-man.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bozak and left wing James van Riemsdyk have surfaced of late as trade candidates. Both carry annual salary-cap hits of over $4 million for 2017-18 and are eligible for UFA status next summer. It’s believed the Leafs offered up van Riemsdyk to the New York Islanders last month for defenseman Travis Hamonic before he was shipped to the Calgary Flames.

While the Leafs are feeling the offseason cap squeeze, Brown’s patience and unwillingness to sign an offer sheet relieves pressure to make an immediate move. If they do trade Bozak or JVR for a defenseman, they still must ensure they have sufficient cap room for Brown, who’ll likely cost over $2 million annually to re-sign on a short-term bridge deal.

I can’t see the Penguins trading away Maatta for Bozak unless the latter is willing to re-sign a long-term deal. Even then, moving out Maatta would leave the Pens thin on the blueline. The Ducks reportedly took Vatanen off the market after the expansion draft so it’s likely pointless to pursue him now. Doughty’s got two seasons left on his current contract and isn’t going anywhere. Don’t be surprised if the Kings re-sign him next summer.

CSN BAY AREA: Kevin Kurz reports the San Jose Sharks re-signed restricted free agent center Chris Tierney to a one-year, $735K contract. Kurz points out, however, the Sharks didn’t offer the 23-year-old more than his qualifying offer while re-signing center Ryan Carpenter to a two-year deal. That’s prompted questions about Tierney’s future with the Sharks and won’t quell the trade speculation about him. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tierney’s a checking-line center who specializes in killing penalties. While he showed some offensive promise in 2014-15 with 21 points in 43 games, he tallied only 20 points in 79 games the following season and 23 points last season. This season could be make or break for Tierney with the Sharks. 



  1. Maatta for Blowzak is a joke even if he signed for longer. Leafs would have to add Kapanan or something comparable. Maatta and Kapanan actually got to be good friends during their short time on the Pens together. If not for Mike Johnston, Kapanan would have made the team that year and Daniel Sprong may be a Leaf right now. And wouldn’t that be a shame? Right now the Penguins are looking at some combo of Cole, Pouliot and Hunwick as their bottom pairing. Moving Maatta would put one of those 3 in the top 4 where none of them should be. Maybe Cole for Bozak is a better deal for both teams. It would give the Leafs a capable dman and 2 mill to sign Brown. It would definitely keep Hainsy off the ice where it’s the safest for everyone.

    • “Blowzak” put up 55 points last year…. Bonino put up 37 and his career high is 39! I get that you don’t want to move Maata. There is no denying he’d be an upgrade from Bonino or his history/ chemistry with Kessel. But why the homer jabs insults in the process?

      • Agree completely. Bozak would be a monumental improvement over Bonino. But whether someone chooses to believe that or discard it as nonsense does not give them liberty to toss out juvenile, school-yard name-changing insults. That simply betrays their lack of maturity.

      • actually I’ve been a fan of the leafs for 30 years and don’t miss to many games—Blozak is terrible in my opinion–he soft on the puck—loses it a tonne—only gets easy points 95% of the time—the other linemates make the player–he is only good at faceoffs—to me he is one of the most annoying players ever on the leafs—good riddance hopefully

      • Any opportunity to give me a hard time huh george? It must be something to be so much better than everyone. Bozak is not the defensive player Bonino is and definitely does not have the heart. There aren’t enough points to go around on the Penguins and Bonino didn’t get the PP time Bozak does. And at that cap hit I’m passing on the player and I will call him whatever I want. Figure it out.

      • Aww get off your sanctimonious hard-done-by horse Deeeee. My only complaint was your too often butchering of players names to mock them while making a point.

      • And if you insist on the juvenile approach I will continue to call you out on it. Figure it out.

      • Pretty impartial to this but any time you say something like ‘blowzak’ it immediately makes me consider you to be someone who should be on the yahoo forums.

        I would do Bozak for Cole, cole was probably the most stable defenseman on the pens roster in the regular season. In order to do well in the playoffs you need to make it there first.

      • Bozak has been thrown under the bus for his entire Leafs tenure Nyr4life. Not sure why. On another note didn’t Doughty make it clear he wanted no part of playing with the Leafs?

    • if the Leafs will take Ian Cole plus maybe something like a 3rd or a mid level prospect for Bozak the Pens should take it. even if Bozak isn’t extended immediately.

      Pens should look at JVR (only if he will sign an extension) rather than Bozak. Play Guentzal at third line centre? Trade Olli Maatta for JVR. Maatta hasn’t looked great the last few years.

    • What do you have against Hainsey? He just helped Pit win a cup. He & Dumoulin formed the #1 shut down pairing & logged hard minutes & the most minutes.

      • Did you actually watch the playoffs Striker? The Pens won despite Hainsy not because of him and it’s a testament to how good Dumoulin actually is when he had to carry Hainsys butt around. The team’s entire strategy is built around dmen who can make breakout passes which Hainsy is completely incapable of doing. High and around the glass every time. Any narrative where Hainsy is responsible for the Pens cup is very uninformed.

      • I think you will find that most of the experts disagree with you Deeeee. We all watched the playoffs. Hainsey has the new contract because of how solid he was in the playoffs.
        He played his role in the cup win and if you think he wasn’t an integral part to the run then you have some serious bias.

      • Deeeeee.

        Of course I watched & I can assure if he was as bad as you portray him to be his coach wouldn’t have put him on the ice as often against the other teams best players he would have played him less.

        All players make mistakes & the NHL generates data to reflect them. Some is better than others. Hainsey logged huge minutes for Pit & was as important to Pit winning the cup as almost anyone. Had Pit had to dress Ruhwedel or Streit would they have won the cup?

        If Hainsey was as bad as you say he is why did Sullivan play him ahead of Cole for almost 2.5 minutes a game? Both were lefties. Hainsey played as Pit #2, Cole their #6.

      • Hainsey was terrific in the number one pairing with Dumolin he played a ton of minutes he will help the Leafs no doubt

    • DEEEEEE… no no no Cole and Schultz play great together…Letang Dumolin 1 and 2 Oli Matta is number #5 if he isn’t moved…

    • Why would Leafs need to add anything for a band aid on skates

  2. It sure doesn’t take much to set some in the TO media off to the races with their trade rumours – “Doughty sparked some speculation when he mused that one day he might like to play for the Leafs, but McGran believes it would cost more than Brown and Bozak to get him.”

    That likely stemmed back to the interview last month with Sid of the Tim & Sid Show when, asked by Sid if he ever dreamed of playing for the Leafs one day as a child growing up in the GTA, he replied “yes” – but then went on to elaborate why that’s no longer a consideration. Naturally, the rumour-mongers don’t mention THAT part of the conversation.

    • “So you’re saying there’s a chance”

    • Yes I thought the same thing George. Selective memory I guess.

  3. I was shocked at how slow Matta looked in the playoffs. I don’t see him enough to know if there was an injury issue or not. I’d be reluctant to pick him up. The good thing with the Leafs Mgmt team is I feel safe they will make the right move 95% of the time, that has sure not been the case in the past.

    • He certainly wasn’t 100%, but his foot speed was never great. Which, for a young defenseman isn’t what you’d like to see.

      However, he’s a much better defenseman than the highlight reel sometimes shows. He quietly very smart and effective all over the ice. He needs to have a bounce back season to win over the Pens fanbase again.

      Pretty crazy that after back to back cups, anyone should have to win fans over, but he’s become kind of a polarizing player over the past year or two.

    • I think people need to try & remeber Maatta is only 22 years old. Most Dman are just getting to the NHL as part time players at 22, limited games, minutes & responsibilities & he already has 220 regular season games played, & 56 playoff games. Maatta turns 23 in August & is still over 2 years away from being fully developed. NHL Dman start entering their prime between 26 & 28 & have 5 to 6 years of playing at a very high level before most start a progressive decline. The 80/20 rule applies here as well.

      • For once I agree with you completely Striker. Not to mention he had labrum surgery and throat cancer to boot. He hasn’t had a healthy offseason to recover. Next year we will see a different Maatta. He will be playing with Letang where he has had the most success, aside from Niskanan.

    • I guess Marleau represents the remaining 5% eh Randy Alexander. I agree with you but on that one wow? What do you think?

    • Matta is slow everyone thinks he is a top 2 or 4 he isn’t nice player slow a foot..

  4. As a Ranger fan i would love to see Bozak in a NYR uniform , we are still pretty thin at center.

    • Bozak for Holden sounds good

    • agree. we could use him! don’t think holden would get it done though.

      • Agreed.

        NYR’s C situation isn’t as bad as people perceive. Not every team gets a stud, elite superstar, most have to make do with far less. NYR has cup aspirations & Holden played an important role for NYR, logging the 2nd most TOI/GP & posting 11 goals & 34 points. By the time Zibanejad is signed there will be little cap space left. The top 3 C’s will be Zibanejad, Hayes & Desharnais.

        There is a chance Andersson may make NYR out of his draft year, good size & has played the last 2 years with men in Sweden. There is a reason this kid was selected 7th overall. Then there is the wildcard Vinni Lettieri signed as a UFA coming out of 4 years of College at the U of Minn., the other possible 4th line C options would be Tambellini or Fontaine.

        If none of these players are ready for 4th line minutes out of the gate NYR will sign someone on the cheap, pick 1 up when teams need to get roster compliant & start waiving players or trade for 1. Unlikely they trade Holden to acquire 1. Desharnais isn’t really suited to a 4th line roll, not really well suited to a 3rd but in this cap world we have to make sacrifices some where.

  5. We can joke about lou handling of Robidas island players. But the Space and LTIR in summer causes real problems. That’s the reason why the flyers traded Pronger’s contract to Phoenix. Because of the handcuffing of the summer transactions no doubt the leafs will have to trade someone.
    But I cannot see Lou trading bozak. He is worth more to the current roster then he is on the market. Better option is to dump a lupul or Horton on someone with draft picks as a kicker.

    • Horton is virtually unmovable. His contract wasn’t insurable meaning Toronto is paying the full salary to insurance. The reason Columbus was willing to take Clarkson, the couldn’t afford the actual cost. This isn’t normal virtually all players have insurance but no underwriter felt Horton could overcome his back injury but Columbus signed him anyway knowing he was un insurable.

      Isn’t Lupul healthy now? Tor exposed him in the expansion draft saying he was fit to play. Has he suffered a set back not playing? Who knew groin surgery would take over a year to recover from, usually best case is 6 weeks worst 12.

      • Lupul will make an interesting interview once MLSE has paid their last dollar owed to him.

        Out of all the other situations, that is the one that really just seems way off.

        Robidas is around, and has two broken legs in his late 30’s, and seems to be at peace with not being able to play, so I don’t get the feeling he was told to stay away so much as he made the choice that he would rather be on LTIR because of his legs than being in the press box because of his on ice abilities.

        Lupul fell off the face of the earth, or more likely was told to basically go away and keep his mouth shut if he wanted to collect his full salary.

        I have hated what was done with him, as if he was healthy at all, why not let him play? Even in his last year with the Leafs in a very reduced role he was paced for about 20 goals. If he played at that level at all, he could likely get traded (with 50% salary retained and maybe a sweetner). The risk isn’t as severe as people imagine, as the Leafs haven’t needed the LTIR space, and if Lupul comes back, is slower, doesn’t crack the line up because of his back slowing him down, he likely makes the choice to go on LTIR rather than being a scratch or demotion. Allowing him to make that choice, and making it clear he had one, would save a lot of potential drama and rumors.

      • @Danny Robidas works for the Leafs as a coach. Right now he`s working the Leafs development camp with Scott Pelerin and Barb Underhill. Lupul waived his NMC hoping Vegas would take him, Lupul wants to play.

  6. Lou painted himself into this ‘cap crunch’ corner, other teams are totally aware & will play hardball with him.
    They don’t have anywhere near the organizational depth at centre to be even talking of trading Bozak this summer.
    Their depth is on the wings & JVR is their main chip; I’d be happy if they get a Defence prospect & draft pick for him. Someone like a 21 year old Steve Santini, NJ, or 20 year old Hayden Fleury, CAR.

    • I agree. Nor can any other C on the team win a faceoff consistently. Matthews 46.8% & Kadri 48%. Bozak’s 56.8% taking 1366 faceoffs puts him in the top 25; 23rd, buy draws taken & of the 22 C’s in front of him only Bergeron, Kelser & O’Reilly had better faceoff winning %’s & his 55 points in a tie for 21st in scoring for C’s. What’s not to like? Easy points? What’s an easy point? Last time I checked they all count & the fact he’s getting them helps win games.

      • how about deangelo and a 3rd round pick for Bozak? I know, unproven/head case but the leafs are definitely up against the wall…

      • NYR won’t have the cap space to take on Bozak unless salary is returned. I don’t see NYR & Tor as trade partners.

        Zibanejad will get 4.75 to 5.5 in arbitration or NYR will signing him for longer. Only leaving about 3 mil to add a #8 Dman & 13th forward to get to their 23 man roster.

        NYR’s roster is essentially set for next season. What you see is what you get. Unless someone is willing to take Nash in some form of trade but I don’t see that happening, perhaps at the trade deadline if things unravel in NYR but this is a very good young team & I can see know way they aren’t right in the think of it again in the east next season.

      • Safe to say that the Leafs and Brown will come to terms before the start of the season. They will place Horton on IR and sign Brown as an RFA on a bridge deal.
        I think the Leafs being in a cap-crunch is no more than another story from the Toronto Media.

        Or maybe I am wrong about how the contract would work out or how LTIR woudl work in this case?

      • Cap space is a problem in the off season. Should you choose to put a player on LTIR before opening day it reduces the monies that can be claimed for LTIR significantly during the regular season.

        That said there is tons of time to address & resolve & what ever path has to be followed will be, even if it means Brown isn’t signed until opening day. I assume it will be long solved before then but if not not an issue. Aagin Brown wouldn’t be the 1st or last to have it play out that way if that’;s what the roster & cap force Tor to have to do.

  7. What would the cost be to the leafs for someone to acquire Lupul or Horton contract. Lupul with one year left would be the easier one to move.

    • Hortons contract it’s probably more difficult as it is not insured. Lupol could probably be handed off to a non-Team for a third round pick.

      • Flo paid NJ a 2nd to take Savard’s cap hit last summer & his actual salary was 575K, insurance only covers 80%. Cap hit was a little over 4 mil.

        I would think that’s the cost at a minimum.

      • The difference is, Lupul can probably still play as I don’t believe for one fleeting second that he was “incapable” last season – that was just Loophole Lou finagling the rules and Lupul going along for the free ride. The ONLY question with Lupul is, how much would he play before going down with another – and likely completely different – injury? He was never “incapable” – more like “unreliable.”

      • I agree fully George & it confounds me neither the NHLPA, NHL or Lupul & our another NHL team didn’t raise an issue over these shenanigans.

        The Hossa situation wreaks to. Not a single person I have spoke to ever expected Hossa to play out the last 4 years of that deal at a mil per season. Now he’s got a condition that mysteriously appears that makes him unable. I’m a hockey freak & had never heard a single report about him battling this skin issue ever.

  8. Tor can just wait until opening day to sign Brown if necessary. There is a greater financial benefit if players are placed on LTIR on opening day then before submitting their 23 man protected roster the day prior.

    Toronto wouldn’t be the 1st team to do this nor would the be the last. It means to pre season games but as long as he’s willing he can risk practicing with the team.

    That said I assume some form of trade is coming. Toronto has to many forwards. I don’t see Pit trading Maatta. The D market has returned to normal, that being a wasteland, nothing available & the cost extreme if you can convince anyone to trade 1 that can actually tie his own skates.

    • Agreed. Not sure regarding league rules but could the Leafs not sign Brown to a PTO so he can play those pre-season games but only sign him to a real contract after the season officially starts?

    • All of which makes me wonder about Bettman’s culpability. These things had to have crossed his mind as well.

  9. 22 year old Olli Maatta who is under cost control for 5 more years in exchange for one year of 31 year old Tyler Bozak?


    Try Scott Wilson or Carter Rowney for Bozak.

    Getting Bozak to play on a third line with Kessel is intriguing, but getting a 3C who can’t replace Bonino’s penalty killing is only a half win compromise.

    I’d still rather offer a bigger return for a guy like Radek Faksa.

    • That is a stud 2 way C in the making, can’t see Dal moving him unless an offer to good to refuse.

      Finding a 3rd line checking C shouldn’t be that difficult. Pit has decent cap space now, 11 mil. Dumoulin & Sheary are getting raises Dumoulin moving into the 4.5 range but Sheary? Might have to take a 1 year show me deal for 2.5ish, perhaps 3.

      Could Guentzel be moved into the #3 slot & then perhaps Rowney moves to C the 4th or Simon is promoted. Would have been a great opportunity for Sundqvist to finally get a real shot but lost to get Reaves.

      • moving Guentzal to the 3rd line C would be crazy in my opinion. After what we saw in the playoffs I would be surprised if he doesnt line up to the right of Sid again

      • I agree Taz, just green lighting possible solutions. He maybe able to drive offense on his own. He may not need Sid or Malkin to make it possible for him to do so.

        Limited monies to address in trade unless salary is sent out. The UFA market is pretty barren. Might Fisher sign a 1 year deal? Unlikely, they just had a baby not long ago but other than that the UFA market for C’s is virtually dead.