Latest on the Leafs and Flames – November 14, 2017

by | Nov 14, 2017 | Rumors | 77 comments

Latest speculation on James van Riemsdyk, Sam Bennett and Nikita Soshnikov in your NHL rumor mill. 

SPORTSNET: Doug MacLean believes the Toronto Maple Leafs will soon face a difficult decision regarding left wing James van Riemsdyk, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. MacLean speculates van Riemsdyk could get around $6.5 million annually for six years on the open market. He doubts the Leafs can afford it and wonders if he’ll accept a discount to remain with the promising Leafs. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner due new contracts by 2019, the Leafs could be leery about investing too much in van Riemsdyk. If they’re still in playoff contention by the Feb. 26 trade deadline I doubt they’ll put him on the trade block if he’s unsigned by then. They could attempt to move him leading up to July 1, perhaps for a skilled top-four defenseman. Of course, the Leafs could surprise us by re-signing JVR and making other moves to ensure sufficient cap room to re-sign their rising young stars. 

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reports today is the deadline for Leafs forward Nikita Soshnikov, who’s currently skating with their AHL farm team, to decide if he’ll use his option to return to the KHL if he’s not part of the Leafs roster. Soshnikov’s agent, Dan Milstein, said there’s no expectation his client will use employ that option.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In recent days there was some expectation the Leafs might make a roster move, such as a trade, to make room for Soshnikov. We’ll find out by the end of today how this situations works out. 

TSN: Calgary Flames president and former Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke said he’s glad struggling Flames forward Sam Bennett plays in Calgary and not in Toronto, where he would face far more media scrutiny over his performance and future. “If he were in Toronto, they would have traded him 70 times, shot him six times, condemned his parents four times,” Burke said, adding the Flames still have faith in the 21-year-old center. “Sam has had a tough start. We really think the world of this young man and he’s going to be fine.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Burke’s facetious comments aside, Bennett’s struggles has made him a topic of trade chatter in recent weeks. Some of it originated in the Calgary media, though obviously not at the same frenzied level that he might have encountered if he played in Toronto. If we take Burke’s remarks about Bennett’s status with the Flames at face value, they don’t seem keen to trade him. 

Burke also said the Flames took a long look at bringing back former Flames right wing Jarome Iginla before signing Jaromir Jagr. He said they’re not considering adding Iginla to their roster now. 



  1. “Doug Maclean …. wonders if he (Van Riemsdyk) will accept a discount to remain with the promising Leafs”

    That kind of thinking can be applied to a number of “promising” teams who have key players approaching UFA status – for example: Wahington – Lars Eller & John Carlson; St. Louis – Paul Stastny; Pittsburgh – Patrik Horqvist; NYI – John Tavares & Calvin De Haan; Columbuis – Cam Atkinson and Jack Johnson; Winniopeg – Toby Enstrom.

    Why would Van Riemsdyk leave any substantial amount on the table? Just because it’s Toronto?

    • Discount or not, I don’t think Toronto can commit the amount of money necessary for JVR to stay given their depth at the forward position, unless they are moving another winger set to get paid a substantial amount of money.

      I don’t think it’s all that strange to wonder if a player will take a discount to stay with a team they have played with for a number of years, especially if that team is turning a corner. That speculation is typical whenever a longer tenured player hits UFA status. I don’t think JVR necessarily should do so, as he has provided great value for his salary over his previous contract, and if he wants to make up some of that, his next contract is the place to do it. I also don’t think any discount would be enough for Toronto to keep him long term. The problem is that Babcock plays him 4th line minutes with some PP time. He gets less ice time than 6 other regular wingers. I can’t see a scenario where you invest big in a player you use like that.

      • Oh yeah, players have agreed to the “hometown discount” now and then – but I did say “substantial” – and for anything like that to work for the Leafs with the contracts they have looming, it would have to be really substantial. Like, somewhere close to the current $4.25 million he’s receiving now. And from his perspective, that would be nuts as he’ll easily get $6 to $6.5 mil on the open market. And I doubt they can handle that over 4 to 5 years what with the others they’ll soon need to sign.

        I keep thinking back to what Bill Veeck of baseball lore said years ago “”It isn’t the high price of stars that is expensive, it’s the high price of mediocrity.”

      • I was more commenting on why a broadcaster would speculate. I am in total agreement, that it isn’t going to be Substantial. JVR is a UFA and knows that 25-30 goal, 60 pt wingers in their 20’s get paid. Even if he took a big discount ($5.5 M would be a big discount), how can the Leafs justify paying him that much for 6 or so years given the role he would have on that team, and given the fact that his role would likely continue to diminish. I just don’t see any way he stays, unless someone makes a big mistake.

      • Heh. So true. That’s kind of thinking is one reason why Maclean went from being a GM to becoming a pundit.

    • This whole “hometown discount” thing is a joke! That’s what people say when the player realized he couldn’t get more elsewhere. Look at Radulov, the only reason he went to Dallas is due to the lower taxes. I am sure I will be corrected but did he not sign for very similar dollars?

      • What about Stamkos, he took a huge home town discount.

        I think it happens more then people realize

      • Not when you factor in taxes Dino. $8.5 mil with negligible taxes is a lot better than $10 mil in Ontario or Quebec where we’re taxed left and right.

        JVR signing for $6 or $6.5 mil in a similar tax environment will ultimately put more money at his spending disposal than a similar deal in TO.

      • It was still a big discount, even factoring in taxes.

      • not a joke… just not all that common. It does not happen because of loyalty… that is a myth. sometimes its stars taking less to help put together a champion caliber team (Crosby and pens) sometimes its family (not pulling kids out of schools, sick parents etc) sometimes its taxes as said above, sometimes its endorsements…

    • He is wondering, what is the issue spaz?

      • And thats what they sgould fix in the nhl. They want salary cap, so thats ok, but all prices should he equal, and tax differential would be paid on a side by a team. That us simple 8 mln in Florida would be 8 in Ontario. But obviously Bettman doesnt want strong teams in Canada except Toronto

      • I agree with most of your comment. But how do you justify your last sentence? “But obviously Bettman doesnt want strong teams in Canada except Toronto”

      • so the nhl should make decisions for their business based on the economic decisions of 31 different cities? makes a lot of sense.

      • Man working out the legalities of evening out the taces leagie wide woth so many jirisdictions would be mind boggeling. Players dont want to pit money in escrow as it is.

    •’s been reported a deal somewhat as the Oshie deal that took place. .

  2. While it may be tough to move a good player like JVR while looking like a playoff team, I do think the Leafs should strongly consider it, if they can do so in a trade with a team wanting to keep him long term, similar to the Turris Deal. Nashville paid a pretty good price for Turris, and while JVR may not command quite as much, as he isn’t a centre, a team who can immediately sign him should pay a decent price.

    The Leafs will lose a little offense, but given that he further down the list of primary offensive weapons with the Leafs than he would be on a lot of teams, and the Leafs can likely swap him with a player like Leivo, who can likely score at 60% or so of the Rate JVR can, it shouldn’t hurt them much. Also, the talk in Toronto is always about getting a young top 4 D, but they also need more organizational depth at C. They need to consider getting a young player who can step in and eat those #3 C minutes as a viable return as well.

    Burke is doing what Burke does, and I’ve always liked that about him. His comments are not just to show vocal support for Bennett, but to stir the pot so at least a little of the discussion is around Burke’s comment rather than Bennett. Maybe some of it is about getting attention, but he seems a little strategic whenever he has a comment in the media. He wants more discussion about a new stadium, he makes a bold comment, a player struggles, he makes a comment to take on some of the attention.

    • Hes a winger on an expiring contract. At best, they will get a draft pick and or a d man on expiring contract. He is a winger they hold less value.

      If they want a top 4 d they more then likely will be packaging top prospects and draft picks

      • Absolutely. That is why I think they need to open themselves up to the idea of getting a good young 3C as well, even a prospect C. They have a need for that position, and he isn’t likely to be the piece that lands the D they want.

  3. Who would take anything Burke says at face value? Sounds like some personal transference occurring there in my opinion. This guy is such a negative person. I am so glad he is in Calgary!

    • Burke will always be extremely loyal to all of his players whether it’s in Vancouver, Toronto, or wherever. He’s the type of guy that will take a Bullet for his players while others would laugh at him for it. I remember years ago when Burke was here, he went onto HNIC to tear a strip off of AL Strachan and the Hot Stove cast for putting Brendan Morrison in trade rumours. Was priceless.
      He is right tho in what would happen if Bennett were in Toronto but same can be said for most Canadian markets. Just ask Vancouver fans how Virtanen is doing.

      • Like I said I don’t like Burke; however, anyone telling off Strachan gains a point in my books! Jeez, I sound negative don’t I? 🙂

        When I lived in Ontario I went to a Leafs game one night and we got near the back of the building to get autographs. Strachan was there and he was signing something for me and I told him I was from the Maritimes. He said, “we all have our crosses to bear”, I just walked away and left him there; what a jerk!
        On the flip side, I must also say that during my time in Ontario I made many great friends who certainly had no problem with me being from the Maritimes.

        It’s people like this snob who perpetuate and recreate stereotypes with this kind of attitude. He might think I am a hick because of my place of origin, but I refuse to add to the stereotype back this way that many from “away” are like him.

        I guess you could argue that Burke defends his players; however, his act does get tiring.

      • Steven, I wasn’t there but sounds like a joke to me. Just standard small talk stuff. I get juiced about my Sask roots here in AB consistently and fire it right back. Just talking sh**, all in good fun and not perpetuating sterotypes. When did we become so sensitive that we can’t joke around with the boys, especially at the rink?
        Like I said, I wasn’t there but that is the standard small talk joke that has been made a thousand times a year for decades.
        Lighten up dude.

      • Rebel Circus posted a great quote the other day.

        “I almost showed up for work today with a positive attitude but sarcasm stepped in & saved the day.”

  4. He would be dead meat if he played in Montreal, Toronto media is soft compared to Montreals.

    • Toronto media is Soff compared to Montreals.

  5. By removing JVR from the leafs roster, this team takes a step backwards, there is no reason for JVR to take a discount; he’s presently playing on a discount and at the age of 28yrs old this is probably his last chance to cash in on a big contract. I don’t see no reason the leafs can’t resign him 6yrs at $6.5 per. Cap space is there, salary cap will rise, Bridge Nylander this year and Marner next, pay Matthews 8yrs at $10 per and Marleau $6.5 comes off the books. JVR is the type of player you win championships with not trade away or let walk.

    • Matthews is no mcdavid but the leafs wont get him for eichel money.

      12 or 12.5 x 8…. marner gets delt if i was to guess and nylander 7.5-8.5 if he keeps putting up solid numbers . The leafs wont keep both Nylander and Marner as one of them will be packaged with draft picks and or prospects for a dman.

      The multi year Marleau deal will be tough to monouver around as they still need a number 1 d and maybe a number 4.

      • Matthews is closer to McDavid than many people realize.

      • Without sounding like a complete homer, I actually do agree with Steven.
        McDavid seems like the more gifted player offensively but Matthews is a lot better defensively.
        If Matthews can develop a slap shot I think they may be neck and neck.

        Twin is bag on with 12 – 12.5 range and Marner being packages for a Dman

      • Matthews certainly has more offensive firepower around him than McDavid does in Edmonton.

        McDavid – 19 pts in 17 gp; Draisaitl – 12 pts in 13 gp; Nugent-Hopkins – 12 pts in 17 gp; then Maroon and Lucic at 10 each – then off a cliff;

        Matthews – 19 pts in 16 gp; Kadri – 16; Rielly – 16; JVR – 15; Marleau – 13; Nylander – 13; Marner – 13; Brown – 11; Hyman – 10

      • Mathews is damn good. Damn damn good. But McDavid is better.

    • The Leafs can’t pay JVR that money, bridge deals or not. It doesn’t make sense to give a player you only play 13 minutes a night that kind of money, given that his role is more likely to diminish, not increase. He doesn’t hold enough value internally to just shovel that kind of money at.

      • No. No he’s not. I don’t know why all the talk on Mcdavids D play. Don’t just watch the Toronto media and go with that. He is pretty good on the D side of the puck. On offense no one is better, just take a look at the plays he makes. Noone can do that in the NHL. I’m a habs fan, I would take McDavid over 2 Mathews.

      • Anyone that says Matthews is close to mcdavid is a leaf fan!

      • hate the leafs and he is close.

      • I would say close is a reasonable statement, but McDavid is clearly the better player thus far. It’s still really early, the gap could start to widen out, or maybe even close.

        Close is also pretty relative. Malkin is close to Crosby to me, but Crosby is still very clearly the better player. Malkin is a center capable of playing on Crosby’s level for extended periods of time, Crosby just lives at that level, while Malkin comes in for long visits.

      • They are both going to be great players, they have different strengths.
        Can’t wait to watch them go head to head in the Olympics!
        Oh yeah…..

      • Funny if some one says player A is close im calibre to player B. In my mind the difference would not be clear.

        If you view one as clearly better than its not close at all. Yourcjust talking out of both sides of your mouth, as they say.

    • ” … salary cap will rise …”

      I would recommend you take a closer heed to what economists are saying about North American economy over the next few years … it isn’t a rosy picture and you could see some pro franchises folding, never mind salaries (and caps where applicable) going up.

      • George O.

        Now you are making me happy! The more folded franchises in the NHL the better! Would love an 18 team League where truly the best players earn a spot!

      • Very true Steven – from a hockey fan’s perspective. But if economic conditions deteriorate to the point that pro franchises need to fold (not just in hockey), then an 18-team NHL becomes purely academic. We’re all in deep do-do!

      • No NHL franchises are folding. There will be at least 1 relocation possibly 2 in the next decade.

        The NHL will adding another NHL franchise before the current CBA expires.

        The next lock out will help current revenue streams for the have nots. The NHL has Quebec City in it’s back pocket. Carolina will eventually relocate to Seattle, or Seattle will be the expansion team & Quebec will get Carolina. Although in the 2nd scenario Quebec could be passed over for Houston or Kansas City.

      • No one says they are folding – at – this – time. We’re talking about some notable economic forecast warnings if current trends continue – e.g. the collapse of NAFTA (never under-estimate Trump) – unbalanced trade deals (for Canada) with Asian countries in an ill-advised attempt to make up for lost U.S. trade, and highly-questionable policies such as carbon-taxing (we’re already taxed to death) and Trudeau – like his old man – is burying us in debt in the BILLIONS while his Finance minister comes up with policies favourable to himself and his multi-millionaire cronies.

      • Ottawa may very well be one of them. Those attendance numbers better start climbing

      • They will as soon as Turdeau and his inept cabinet fixes the Phoenix pay system now adversely affecting hundred of thousands of public servants – by far THE biggest employer in the region. Hard to fork over hundreds of dollars for games, parking. snacks, beer when you’re trying to hang onto your house and feed/clothe yourself and your family.

      • plenty of talent out there… no neeed to cut down to 18 teams to see it… eliminate the awful chl agreement… eliminate the concept of fighting/enforcers… eliminate the stupid idea of PK specialists littering the bottom lines… eliminate the idea that small players cant hold up to bigger ones… and you would have 32 plus teams playing young, fast, skilled hockey.

      • I’ll go along with some of it, but the talk of eliminating Pk specialist is bordering crazy talk. These players are as much of the game as the superstars. And we’re talking about roughly 1/2 the league. How are you eliminating and replacing that many players?

        There isn’t enough Crosby , Mcdavids, Karlssons, etc to go around.

        Honestly I never get the talk of needing more scoring in any sport. To me , the defensive aspects of the games are just as good and entertaining as the offensive side. One thing I don’t want, is the MLB, NHL turning into the NBA

      • It would certainly be a different game chrisms – more like we used to see in Europe – and removing or severely limiting the hitting would reduce if not eliminate the most severe head injuries (Scott Stevens couldn’t play even in TODAY’S game).

        That would need a real culture change right from about bantam/midget up. They’re already in the process of eliminating the kind of hitting I grew up on in football, in the NFL at least, so why not hockey? And while they’re at it, take a few seats out of each arena and give us the European dimensions. I could live with that. Hard to hit what you can’t catch.

      • Nyr4life, you mean you’re not thrilled by umpteen variations of the SLAM DUNK???

      • Squeak squeak squeak swoosh, Squeak squeak squeak swoosh, it’s riveting! Lol. Talk about eliminating games, teams … the NBA season should be one game per season all played in the final 30 seconds of the 4th quarter.

      • The last post got a laugh out of me ny 😂. And any talented player can be a “pk specialist “ I would argue half is a bit much… more like 25 percent. And hitting to separate a man from the puck is an essential part of hockey George but hitting to hurt or send a message should not be.

      • Very true chrisms – but it’s a fine line and would then come down to a referee’s “judgement” as to whether a hit was meant to separate the opponent from the puck or his head from his shoulders. And then watch the squawking and endless boardroom complaints about “rule interpretation.” Gawwwd!

      • Speaking of “riveting” Nyr4life, how about tennis – watch it – bounce, bounce, bounce – WHACK – out of bounds … bounce, bounce, bounce – WHACK – hit the net – bounce, bounce, bounce – WHACK. Almost as compelling as curling, which we get inundated with on TV with endless bonspiels or whatever the hell they call them, from now to the end of frikken May – HARD, HARD, HARD – oops … a bit TOO hard there sweepers. Fun game to play – but watch??

      • It will rise. Its like the stock market. Sure it dips but in the end it always rises.

      • Hey i watch curling and tennis. But i prefer lady tennis. Better views yes but the rallies tend ro last longer as well.

  6. “JVR . . they could attempt to move him leading up to July 1, perhaps for a skilled top 4 D man.”

    A top 4 D man? I don’t think so. The best they can get for him by then would be a draft pick & a prospect.

    I could see them putting together a package including JVR in the off-season for a D man.

    • Does he have NMC/limited trade clauses? If so, a deadline deal would limit some top contenders from acquiring him due to cap considerations, even factoring in what’s left on his cap cost as of Feb. At best he becomes a rental for, as you say, a pick and a prospect. If he has NMC/trade limitations, I doubt he’d go to, say, a rebuilding team like Arizona or Buffalo or Colorado unless they make it known to him that they’d sign him long-term for the money he’ll be seeking as a UFA. Then the question becomes. does he WANT to go to yet another re-building team, having already done that with Toronto. And if the Leafs believe, come trade deadline day, they can go deep in the playoffs next spring, would they bite the bullet and hang onto him until the end and to hell with a pick and a prospect?

      So many factors to consider.

      • Modified NTC, 10 team no trade list.

  7. Hey George O.,

    Trump will save us!

    • LOL. Yeah. With help from Santa Claus!

      • those elves setting up fake facebook accounts?

  8. Only way I see the Leafs dealing Marner is for a legit top blueliner or soon to be one (Slavin/Trouba/Lindholm)or in a package for Doughty. Maybe even for a lottery pick in the summer…
    JVR is gone after this season as is Bozak and Komorov- too much depth up and coming and defensively that trio is their worst line.

    • Slavin is already one of the top defensemen in the league and Carolina’s most valuable player. He’s the Canes fans favorite player and probably the future captain of the Hurricanes. If any Carolina player is considered untouchable, it’s Slavin.

  9. George O.,

    Here’s my dream NHL

    Smythe; Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, SJ, Anaheim, Los Angeles

    Norris; Chicago, Minnesota, St. Louis, Toronto, Detroit, Winnipeg

    Adams; Montreal, Quebec (CAR), Ottawa, Boston, Buffalo, Tampa

    Patrick; Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, NYR, NYI, NJD, Washington

    Remember those division names, when hockey was cognizant of its history? These are personal choices of course, notwithstanding which teams might actually fold due to economic troubles. Some choices are also reflective of the fact that hockey has worked in some non- traditional markets such as California and Florida (Tampa in particular).

    I did say 18 teams but acknowledge how difficult it is to make an argument for cutting that many teams.

    These are just my wishes as a hockey fan.

    • besides George who remembers or cares about nhl ancient history. either 4 8 team divisions, Lemieux, Gretzky, Messier, Broduer. or eliminate them all and have home and home series between all 32 teams and cut the season down to 62 games… making them much more important.

      • The divisions are in place to reduce cost by reducing travel distance. Ottawa playongvmontreal 6 times is cheaper than them playing dallas the ssme amount.

  10. As long as television contracts are getting signed to the values they are there will be no folding teams in any of the major 4 sports. With the emphasis on live sports as being PVR proof these,broadcasting rights will be sought after.
    In addition the prognosis for medium term oil prices(five years) is strong. That will translate into a high Canadian dollar which equals high salary cap.

    • Once the Keystone is dead in the water – just like the one to B.C. and the one east to NB (which is what the Arabic and Venezuelan oil producers have wanted all along – then they’ll start pumping more oil at the prices THEY want (all eastern Canada oil comes from those sources) – which will do zilch to help the North American economy. Nor will carbon taxes do anything for the economy, nor raising the minimum wage as that idiot at Queen’s Park is doing.

      • Sad state of affairs isn’t it George?
        Why aren’t we doing anything about it?
        I’ve lost all faith in government.

      • Agree that oil outlook is good, but our dollar is not just dependent on oil although it does play a factor.
        Too early to say Keystone is dead. Decision due Nov 20 from Nebraska regulator. Much of it is already built.
        Kinder Morgan twinning to southern BC is approved federally (which is who the final decision is with) but faces opposition.
        Enbridge line 3 is in final hearings in Minnesota, they conclude Nov 22.
        Energy East pipeline, don’t get me started.
        It seems some folks can’t make the connection to the fuel in their tanks to the oil in the pipeline.
        Bottom line is that oil consumption is up year after year after year. While there is plenty of oil in the US, Permian shale deposits are delivering close to 50% less than predicted yield in some areas which makes it costly and producers cannot ramp up quickly enough to meet increase demand due to financial restraints and so far OPEC cutbacks are sticking. The unknown is that they can ramp up production any time they want if they perceive they are losing market share. Which they are.

      • Come on raisinv the mjnimal wage always helps the economy. Whag is it now any ways?

      • A number of big stores are already gearing up to introduce automatic check-outs – guess who loses their jobs as a result. All the kids and others who have been around for years running the cash and packing the bags. Now it will be “do it yourself” – and don’t expect an “employee discount” either.

        THAT’S what raising the minimum wage is going to do to the economy. Lost jobs.

  11. Your literally in my field. I work as a consultant in the natural resource industry, primarily 90% Oil & Gas.

    None of my clients share your negative few. If the market softens not sold today, it’s hedged for tomorrow, it’s like a shell game. No pun intended.

    Lets get back on hockey. The NHL is the fastest growing professional sport in the US. The growth of hockey at the grass roots level, minor hockey is exploding creating a huge stream of players & fans.

    The NHL’s joint marketing deal with NBC is up in 4 years. It’s next US National TV deal will be it’s biggest ever by a substatial margin.

    The next lock out will make it even better for the have nots & just keep making the rich richer including the players.

    If you think the NHL is contracting your dilussional, but at least that’s probably better than being a narcissist. Ha-ha!

  12. The NHL has endured a strike, 2 lock outs, a 62 cent CDN $ for years, 911 & the 2008 finacial crisis growing thru all of it significantly to the point 2 cities were happy to pony up 500 mil US, the NHL choose 1.

    Has there been some pain, yes, numerous cities were or have been very close to folding. Bettman & Co navigated thru all of it. This isn’t 2004, 8 teams are losing money before revenue sharing, any losses since 2005-05 lock out have been recoveted in frachise appreciatipn in the 100’s of millions for most.

    No 1’s ponying up to help Carolina & Hettman says all the right things as that lease is unbreakable with out huge penalties for several years but as it comes up for renewal the line will change significantly & if no 1 ponies up locally on all levels they’ll be gone just as fast as Atlanta, well maybe not that fast. That happened in the blink of an eye. Hahahahaha

  13. Go canucks go

    • Go where?