Latest on the Leafs and Flames – November 14, 2017
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.