Latest Leafs Speculation – March 21, 2018

by | Mar 21, 2018 | Rumors | 38 comments

Five potential destinations for James van Riemsdyk plus the Leafs possible plans at center in your NHL rumor mill.

TSN: Craig Button believes the free-agent market will determine where Toronto Maple Leafs winger James van Riemsdyk signs this summer. He feels van Riemsdyk may have to give up some money to stay with the Leafs. If he goes to market, Button thinks he will attract plenty of interest.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger James van Riemsdyk could be a very attractive free-agent target this summer. (Photo via NHL Images)

 The Edmonton Oilers tops Button’s list of possible destinations for van Riemsyk, giving him the opportunity to play with Connor McDavid plus he could help their woeful power play. Next is the Carolina Hurricanes, as he can bring size and presence to their anemic offensive game. The New Jersey Devils could be another option, as they have salary-cap room, Taylor Hall and some good centers.

Host Mark Roe suggested the Buffalo Sabres, as van Riemsdyk would have the opportunity to play alongside Jack Eichel. Button admits he’d be a great fit there but doubts the Leafs winger would be interested in joining a very flawed Sabres roster. He suggested the Arizona Coyotes might be a better fit, given their considerable salary-cap space plus their significant improvement in the second half of this season. Button feels they’re moving in the right direction.

Roe and Button agreed the Columbus Blue Jackets would be “an unbelievable fit” as they’re a contender that need help on the power play and will have some salary coming off the books this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All of this is merely conjecture on their part, as both admit they don’t know what van Riemsdyk’s plans are once this season is over. Of the clubs they bandied about, the Blue Jackets and Devils could be the best options if he wants to join a contender. As per Cap Friendly, the Jackets have over $57 million invested in 17 players for 2018-19 while the Devils have over $54 million committed to 16 players. 

The Sabres, Hurricanes and Coyotes have more cap space but van Riemsdyk might be leery of signing with rebuilding clubs at this stage of his career. The chance to play with McDavid could be tempting but I’m not sure how keen the Oilers will be to take on another high-salaried forward. 

THE ATHLETIC: Jonas Siegel recently wondered if the Leafs will give William Nylander a shot as a full-time center next season. Noting Tomas Plekanec and possibly Tyler Bozak could depart via free agency, Siegel points out there aren’t many good long-term options (apart from John Tavares) at center via the UFA market. Winnipeg Jets center Paul Stastny is 32 years old and could seek more than the Leafs are wiling to pay while long-time San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton is 39 and coming off an injury-riddled season. The Leafs could pursue a trade but Siegel notes not many teams will be willing to trade a quality center this summer. Even if they re-sign Bozak, Nylander might be their most attractive option at center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Using Nylander at center would be a more affordable option for the Leafs than blowing their brains out signing Tavares to a huge contract. That move would also hamstring the Leafs’ efforts to bolster their defensive depth, especially if they harbor a desire to pursue someone such as Los Angeles Kings blueliner Drew Doughty if he decides to test the market next summer. 



  1. How does Edm take on 6.5 for JVR ?
    I say he stays a Leaf rather than going to a bottom feeder

    • You obviously don’t know what your talking about! Bottom feeders???

      This is an off year for the oilers. Losing Sekera for months to start the season, Klefbom has not been not 100 percent all year. Larsens family issues.RNH. I could keep going.

      You should get your facts straight before making retarded comments. Not sure if you’ve noticed but with a half healthy line up they been winning and will contend again next year

      • Off year? More like an off generation.

      • Ahaha….tough year? They have had one good year in what ten years? Coming from a leaf fan, so I shouldn’t be laughing too hard

      • I did not mean Oilers were bottom feeders but the others certainly are . But since you want to attack Twin with one brain -they made the playoffs once in over a decade and how many number ones . Sounds like a description of a bottom feeder to me . Speak when spoken to!

  2. Saw JVR score two last night vs. our Bolts. Hard to understand why Toronto fans rag so hard on their players. Not sure every free agent wants to face the pressure; not sure every player performs at best without being given some slack from time to time. Stamkos after Boston game said (paraphrase) Hey, we’ve been playing hard and working things out…give us some space. Fanbase said, OK.
    One reason he’s here, and not there.

    • I remember Kessel getting a lot of heat when he played there… Maybe that was driven by the media since I think THN was in Toronto. It worked out great for him winning a few cups even his sister got a gold medal who is very pretty :). I guess JVR will win 2 cups when he leaves Toronto instead of there ;). I think Toronto was on the right track when had the guy from Kings who is now w/ the Seattle expansion group… Its like LEwiski or whatever, he wanted to change the culture there… Though they pushed back on his parade route along w/ him wanting to remove links to the past to move into the future ;). Like instead of them living on what they did decades or centuries ago… He wanted to discard that stuff or move it so players didn’t see it all over locker room and arena ;).

    • I don’t believe the Leafs fans give JVR a hard time at all. He is an absolute bargain at his current contract.
      The issue isn’t that the Leafs don’t want him back but they have to make a judgement call on who they’d rather keep, Nylander/Marner of JvR.

      There is the off chance that both Nylander and Marner are signed to bridge deals and JvR signs for 5.5M – 6M which. By the time the bridge contracts run out Marleau will be off the books.

      The prospect of signing a defenseman like Doughty would be out of question though.

      So again, its more of an issue of not being able to sign JvR as opposed to not wanting to sign him

  3. I think I just passed out. Did someone in the Canadian media admit the Notes are playing well and could land a top FA? Not possible, no just not possible, Canadians don’t watch hockey south of the border unless it’s an original 6 team. 😉
    All kidding aside, it’s about time! Happy to see the team turning it around. Hopefully it continues into next season as well.

    • Maybe it has more to do with not being in the playoff since 2011-2012.
      Players looking to go to a Arizona might be wondering what OEL is deciding before they head south if it for competitive reasons, if it for money then that probably won’t factor into their decision.

  4. It of course all depends on how the Leafs do in the playoffs, but if they don’t make it past the second round, how about Thornton for one year, $7.5M?

    Buys them a year of time, doesn’t impact their long-term re-signings, and maybe re-ups Joe’s game if he plays with Marleau again, or some of the young talent the Leafs have

    (written by a non-Leafs fan, so I’m expecting to be attacked by those who know better haha)

    • I think Jumbo Joe is done, maybe 3.5M cap hit but not 7-8M BS :). Sharks wanted to over pay for his past or whatever… This is two years in a row he got hurt in a weak area of the knees… So even if he returns he wont be as good or fast as he was. I think he should look at retirement since I doubt he even plays in the playoffs. If Sharks were smart shutting him down when had their last Cup run maybe they would have won it ;). I know his injury prior to this they had a pretty padded point total so playing him was asking for trouble ;). At this stage of his career any routine play he can be out of the season. Why not sign Ilya Kovalchuk if your going to throw money away coming off his gold medal performance ;).

  5. What team in their right mind let’s a 32 goal scorer to leave their team ? They are few and far between in the NHL. These idiots are only trying to get headlines jvr is going nowhere.

    • I think Tor gave JvR’s money to Marleau. They can fit JvR’s salary next season but where does the money come from after that?

      • Striker maybe they think the cap going up will compensate them for JVR’s salary… They might plan to fail another player from his physical to put on LTIR like Lupul or others :). I think they are still paying for part of KEssel’s salary not even sure :). They might be the richest team but don’t seem they manage the cap best. Somebody else would probably have to be traded or bought out. This team managed to trade Dion Phaneuf without retaining any of his salary so don’t sell them short :).

      • As I wrote above, a bridge deal to Nylander and Marner would give them enough time and space to sign JvR until Marleau is off the books. Easier said than done though

  6. A good friend of mine bleeds blue and white ,when I asked him if Leafs should sign JVR he said no. He said all he does is score goals he doesn’t hit or back check one dimensional. I do not necessarily agree but I also don’t follow them. Leafs may pass Boston and get home ice not sure how Bruins can even ice a team. Bergeron Chara Nash Debrusk Backes McAvoy all injured not a bad core to build team around lol

    • Obe, I’m a Leafs fan, and your friends assessment of JVR is why I’m torn on what I hope management does with him. A 32 and counting goal scorer is hard to let walk, but when he doesn’t score he is nearly invisible and can be a defensive liability. It’s a hard question for Leafs brass to deal with. I’m fine with letting Bozak and Komorov walk but JVR…

    • You could say the same about Tarasenko, Gaudreau etc. Every team needs a goal scorer, lets not forget that JvR is doing this while playing in the third line with Bozak

      • No kidding. My team has been shut out 12 times this year and in 40 games have scored two goals or less. I say who cares if he doesn’t hit or like to back check. Sign him up.

      • Taz its like Kings passed on Tarasenko to take D. Forbort… Yet they cling to forbort even protecting him letting McNabb lose when Lewis easily could have been taken too… Hell look at who Kings drafted right before King Karl if want a real moment of dread :). They could have had Drew, King Karl, Voynov all in the same draft haha :). People its not like Leddy who is nearly as bad as Mathieu Schneider on defense ;). Now that was a guy who couldn’t play defense for real but I think he won a cup w/ Detroit or somebody anyways :).

  7. Spice your assessment on JVR is almost exactly the same as his. I think it will come down to how much he wants to remain a Leaf. I do believe a few teams will pay his asking price.

    • It’s the reason JVR is amoung the lowest ice time recipients of the top 9/10. Babcock is obviously not a fan of his. Scoring goals is needed, but 200 foot players are needed too. I’m fine with the Leafs letting him go. Some team that needs goals more desperately then we do will pay him 6.5×6 or so and that to me is too much. If he wants to stay in TO and is willing take less term and dollars, I don’t mind what he brings for the right price. He isn’t doing that, so he’ll be gone.

      • Absolutely spot on with how I feel as well Trekkie in regards to JVR.

      • I’m not a fan of Babcock he barely beat Latvia 2-1 at Olympics :). He would bench that PK Subban guy who is a real fringe player getting like 9M a year… I guess all he can do is score goals or generate offense ;). HE is the type who would be playing Roman Polock or whatever his name while PK Subban was a healthy scratch :). I never liked him as a coach, maybe back in the age of dinosaurs when Daryl Sutter was cutting edge ;). He is no Al Arbour the legend best coach ever beating Bowman when Turgeon got Dale Huntered… All these articles how Islanders will get swept lucky if they even score a goal… Only to have Volek score in OT who the owners wanted to put on waivers until Al said he would quit if they did ;). He told them you still want to put him on waivers :). I think Toronto has some space that frees up depending on how the LTIR is resolved. Lots depends how much the cap goes up 3M or 5M each year etc. Also they can probably unload a contract or money when Seattle gets a franchise to help afford their youngsters too…

  8. Alot of these JVR comments sound just like the Kessel comments a few years ago. 1 deminsional, dont back check, etc.
    Kessel just happened to anchor one of the best 3rd lines in of the playoffs in recent history pulling down 2 cups in the process. If a team dont have the right players to make up for 1 that happens to be a 35+ goal scorer this year maybe its not just the 1 player???

  9. With Johnsson and Timashov coming up JVR might be replacable, maybe not 32 goals, maybe not right away but at the expected $6.5 it will cost resign him that’s a tough sell. If we can get him more in the $5.5 range I’m in for sure but we’ll need to break the bank on Matthews and to a lesser extent Marner in 19-20.

    Side note Johnsson has looked pretty decent in his recent couple games with the leafs.

  10. I think Jumbo Joe is done, I doubt he will even return for playoffs. The guy is nearly 40 years old, his body has quit on him. His knees are breaking down or being torn its the end of the line… Unless he is ready to play like 4th line minutes taking 1-3M a year or some incentive laden BS :).

    Spector I don’t think its in the realm of reality to lump Carolina in w/ Buffalo and Coyotes… Carolina is not rebuilding, they whipped Oilers in the SCF their 2nd time there or so :). Seriously they just missed out on the playoffs by their goalie struggling or Ron Francis getting gun shy then fired… Maybe they wish they still had E. Staal w/ his 40ish goals instead of Jordan ;). I guess this isn’t basketball, they are just a team growing who hasn’t gotten there yet. You gotta give credit to teams like Florida, Devils, Flyers, who rebounded when looked like they would be bottom dwellers ;)… A team like Buffalo or Coyotes are always rebuilding as a nice way to say they suck :).

    I don’t see why he would play for Buffalo since Eichel would just be hurt entire year or so :). Talk about a bad contract paying a guy 10M who will never even score 40+ goals like Mathews on Toronto :). I could see him fitting in better on CBJ or NJ, he probably would be another Clarkson on Carolina or that guy Horton or whatever his name was. He would break his leg blocking a shot or lose an eye then Tortz would be fired ;). Carolina does need some forwards that score if they want to make playoffs even w/ the goalie struggling :).

    I thought Toronto was going to win the STanley Cup so why would anybody leave there ;)? I think Stasny will sign for 8 years to stay in Winnipeg :). Maybe not that long but he could end up staying there since they might pay him the best rate. I think Duche will be traded at the draft or deadline for Senators. I wonder if a reason King Karl wasn’t smiling in the team photo had to do w/ his kid… Like if they were having some complications or concerns before the death of the unborn. I don’t recall there being any mention… I heard he posted a video where he shot something showing it was blue to be a boy. This reminds me a bit of the Married w/ Children where Peg was pregnant in real life… So they wrote that into the story, then she had some issue so the child died or wasn’t born etc… Best do keep that stuff private, not make it public in case something goes wrong. I don’t know if it jinxes anything, I would keep everything private until the birth where everything was alright though. Since I think the emotional impact is much worse when everybody in public knew or was expecting along w/ the parents. Shame that have people who murder their babies calling it abortion while those who want them end up losing to complications or whatever circumstances. Maybe he just needs a change, a new team might help cope better than staying where he is currently. Though if he feels really supported he might decide to not leave too. Life just isn’t fair, those that most want to live end up dead… While many with nothing to live for can’t seem to end their suffering. Then just have random events where people die from a mail bomb or car accident etc.

    • Condolences to the Karlsson family. Dao, to keep it simple without rippng you a new one, this is a hockey site, period.

      • Drew as for hockey I wonder about the guy who lashed out at me saying how he would score the most points from a D-man. I remember saying he wont how the guy thinks he can see the future. I’m glad they didn’t let NHL player at olympics since it helped Donato among others. Then again I had another on here tell me Brown will score 30 goals :). I figured 25 was more realistic. I feel bad now though, all this trade speculation about a player. I’m glad Kane got moved to Sharks or would be reading about him until the draft :). I really don’t get into the off ice stuff for the most part. I never watched hockey wives or any of that stuff.

        I think Flyers are most likely team for Florida to catch if they make playoffs. Devils if they can beat the Penguins will probably make it in… They can win 4/5 since figure Tampa will beat them… Yet think Devils can take Islanders/CArolina maybe sweep Penguins :). JVR on Florida would be interesting… Shame they wont be paying 1.2M per year for him like they did Kessel to anchor Penguins w/ 2 cups of his :).

    • Time for bed champ. You’ve had enough

      • Yeah sleep would be nice if this puppy would stop running around snow :). Friday I thought I was done for… Figured that is just how things happen or go. I’ll sleep better depending who makes it into the post season :). Fleury might be hurt so Knights could slip if Sharks can keep scoring 6 or so goals ;). Sad Bishop got hurt again though it opens door for Kings a bit wider ;). Would have been twisting the knife if Dallas beat them out for spot w/ goalie they traded :). Lots of snow it looked like Winnipeg having a white out ;).

  11. Sabres fan here, no way I want JVR, too old and not very fast.

    • Matt you must be a fan of Logan’s Run :). The guy is like 28ish, he could play another 10 years like Jumbo Joe among others ;). Just funny how quick people want to stick a fork into somebody. Look at Whitney who Sharks figured was a bust before the light went on for him to have a nice long career :). While fat balloon would be a bust basically.

      • I hate to break the news to you but forwards today’s game are done at age 31. I can name 2 dozen star players or above average guys that were done early 30s. Vinnie LeCavier, Brad Richards Mike Richards etc. never a good idea to give a forward a long term deal when he’s close to age 30. JVR will be 29 during next season. There is a big difference with guys playing great past 30 and guys who just hang around no where near their normal self(Jagr).

      • JVR is slow, when he loses a step he will be turtle. Sabres are already slowest team in a fast league.

  12. “All he does is score goals…..” Take a look in the mirror, buddy, and give yourself a shake.
    What’s next? “All he does is stop pucks…”
    “All he does is block shots….”
    “All he does is kill penalties…”

    • I remember this guy was critical of a player Carter… He said “All he does is catch touchdowns…” haha ;). I had people laugh at me when on Kings FB wanted them to trade for Schultz… They told me he sucks on defense, Penguins got 2 Cups :). Kings blew a lot to get Sekera in contrast like a 1st rounder or some other assets who play on right w/ a lefty shot ;). They passed on Petry, yet would trade like Zykov, among other stuff for Versteeg who was a healthy scratch of benched when he played on Chicago :)… Miller was another guy they said he isn’t good on defense or in his own end… Yeah he is really having a rough year in Vegas just like McNabb ;). Yeah Mike Bossy all he did was score like a goal a game while winning Lady Byng ;).