NHL Rumor Mill – July 19, 2018

by | Jul 19, 2018 | Rumors | 106 comments

Updates on Jacob Trouba, Brandon Montour and Brock Nelson as their arbitration hearings approach, plus the latest on the Toronto Maple Leafs in your NHL rumor mill.

With an arbitration hearing approaching, the Winnipeg Jets and defenseman Jacob Trouba are reportedly millions apart (Photo via NHL Images)


NBC SPORTS: Scott Billeck yesterday cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting the Winnipeg Jets and Jacob Trouba remains “millions apart” with the defenseman’s July 20th arbitration hearing fast approaching. Friedman said the 24-year-old blueliner seeks $7-million annually while the Jets have offered $4 million.

Billeck points out this isn’t an unusual strategy for a team to make a low-ball offer while the players “shoots for the moon” leading up to arbitration. He also notes Trouba’s underlying numbers suggests he’s among the league’s best blueliners but his offensive numbers and durability could work against him.

Billeck lists Columbus’ Seth Jones ($5.4 million per season), St. Louis’ Colton Parayko (five years, $27.5 million) and Nashville’s Roman Josi (seven years, $28 million) as comparables. He speculates a one-year deal worth between $5-$5.5 million could be the outcome for Trouba.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  It’ll be interesting to see if the two sides avoid the process and reach agreement on a long-term contract before Friday.  If this goes to arbitration, the Winnipeg Sun’s Ken Wiebe expects the Jets will choose a one-year award as Trouba is eligible for unrestricted free agency on July 1, 2020. It’s possible the defenseman gets a one-year deal from an arbiter for around $5.25 million and he and the Jets attempt to work out another deal before next summer.

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens reports Anaheim Ducks defenseman Brandon Montour’s arbitration hearing is slated for Tuesday, July 24. Contract negotiations have been going on between the two sides. Montour’s agent, Matt Keator, said those discussions are going well, adding “we will see” if the two sides move closer to an agreement before the hearing. Stephens wonders if they’ll get something done, be it a two- or three-year bridge deal or something longer.

Arthur Staple reports there’s been plenty of discussions between New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello and forward Brock Nelson but they don’t appear close to a deal. Nelson’s arbitration hearing is slated for Aug. 3. As he’s a year away from UFA eligibility, Nelson can only get a one-year deal through arbitration. Staple feels Lamoriello could seek a one-year deal, either via arbitration or negotiation, with the promise of a longer-term contract after the Isles GM has had a full season to evaluate Nelson as their second-line center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s possible Montour and Nelson will be re-signed before their respective arbitration hearings. As Stephens points out, it’ll be interesting to see if the Ducks want to sign Montour to a bridge deal or lock him up for a longer term. Sounds like Nelson will get a one-year deal one way or the other. 


THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, James Mirtle was asked if he believes Jake Gardiner will still be with the Toronto Maple Leafs at the start of 2018-19. Though Gardiner’s a year away from UFA eligibility, Mirtle believes he’ll still be with the Leafs this season. “It only makes sense to move Gardiner if (a) you don’t want to meet his contract demands, (b) (Travis) Dermott is ready and (c) you get a good return that doesn’t impact your ability to win now.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Gardiner’s defensive weaknesses, he’s a solid offensive contributor. It makes no sense to trade him this summer if there’s no suitable replacement to be found via trade or free agency. 

Asked if the possibility of the Leafs acquiring Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, Mirtle said his general understanding is Ottawa has an “anyone but Toronto” mentality with that deal. He doesn’t see a direct deal between the two clubs involving Karlsson, though he acknowledged the possibility of a three-team deal.  Mirtle also points out there’s a limit to the Leafs’ salary-cap situation and adding a defenseman who could cost $11 million annually to re-sign might not be possible. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s possible a team could trade for Karlsson and flip him to the Leafs, but I doubt very much that scenario takes place. Whoever acquires the Senators’ superstar intends to keep him. 

Mirtle also thinks too much is being made of the Leafs’ need to trade for a top defenseman, “mainly by people outside Toronto”. He believes there’s “a very legitimate case” that Morgan Reilly is a No. 1 defenseman.”Gardiner is a top four D. Dermott is getting close to that. And they have a whole bunch of players you can argue are very cromulent third-pair options.”

While he agrees the Leafs should try to improve the right side of their defense, he believes the forward lines will be better defensively while incredible depth at center could go a long way. If the Leafs don’t do anything by the trade deadline and there’s still a need to improve the defense, Mirtle feels there will be enough cap space to address that issue next summer. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Count me in as one of those people outside of Toronto who believes the Leafs need to improve their defense corps. No one’s arguing Reilly isn’t top-two caliber. Gardiner’s offensive skills makes him at least a second-pairing rearguard.

However, Ron Hainsey will be 38 in March and shouldn’t be logging top-pairing minutes anymore, as he appeared out of gas in that series against the Bruins. Dermott has potential but lacks experience. Nikita Zaitsev must bounce back from last season’s inconsistent performance while Connor Carrick was a frequent healthy scratch. 

This is pretty much the same Leafs blueline that was shredded by the Boston Bruins during the opening round of last spring’s playoffs. Without adding a top-four rearguard via trade or a promising young kid stepping up from within their ranks, I’m not optimistic about their chances of significant improvement.



  1. Vegas odds – Toronto Maple Leafs are the favorite winning the Stanley Cup. How???? Unless the Leafs acquire better defensemen.

    • People need to understand that the odds are not set as an accurate reflection of a team’s chances. They are set to do two things…

      1) Try to get an equal amount of money bet on both sides of any given bets.

      2) Try to get as many bets as possible.

      The bookmakers were trying to take advantage of the large base of Leafs’ fans jubilation after signing JT.

      • Sorry MG

        Was typing (single finger) at time you were … wasn’t meaning to duplicate uf thoughts … I was in synch with ur thoughts …. just slow at posting … age, weirdness; bad eye-sight; fat finger 🙂

    • Hi Speed Kills

      The Vegas odds are a product of those throwing down the wagers not a logical, mathematical and/or Scientific probability of Leafs winning

      When I was in Vegas last year …. I had no belief at all that Leafs would win the cup …. absolutely no chance in my mind … but I dropped down a $50 bet just to say I did it (yes also after a few wobbly pops and after having to allow my wife to do a shopping spree there)….. this will not be a unique situation…. many Canucks in Vegas do this … all my buds do it when they are there as well

      This artificially skews the odds … odds will vary as time goes on

      If I’m in LV soon again…I’ll do it again … and as at now …. I believe Leafs have absolutely no chance at winning SC

      They absolutely must address their D situation …. no ifs ands or buts…

      Leafs IMO will be very good in the reg season …. but not built for playoffs… they could win reg season Div and maybe even Conf but come playoff time … might not get to ECF

      If TBay gets EK and Leafs don’t shore up D… I really can’t see a SC appearance in next 3 years….. I absolutely hope I’m way off in that mark …. I’ve waited 50+ years for another cup … so I’m realistically biased and skeptical

    • Agreed.they are probably a playoff team for sure barring major injuries. .but they’ll be patient for that elusive rh dman IMHO. .maybe target McKeown from Carolina? Roy/Heed from San Jose? ..or higher sight of Montour?

  2. Shredded by Boston? They lost in the third period of game seven. They didn’t have Tavares on the team and Kadri missed two games. Gotta think if that series was replayed with the current roster it would be the Bruins that would be “shredded”!

    Not to mention the big three will be a year older and better through natural progression. Next year Boston and Toronto won’t even be a first round matchup.

    • Game 7, biggest game of the Leafs season.

      Jake Gardiner -5. Somebody got shredded.

      • Yes! And Nylander looked soft as mink fur all playoffs and Golden boy Matthews didn’t score well in playoffs. Gardner looked like a slice of Swiss cheese

    • Why because you got JT? With the loss of JVR, Bozak, Komarov. I don’t have the leafs much better then last season; they’ll still battle Tampa and Boston for the division. The key word here is battle, meaning not blow them away or easily win the division.
      The Bruins d is better the leafs, the leafs have the better forward and the goaltending is a wash.
      A lot of talk is given to the natural progression, which isn’t so natural, not all players progress at the same level, some regress that you’ll have to wait and see.
      Jake Debrusk scored 16g in 70games and 6g in 12g in the playoffs, does that mean he’ll score 41g this season; Mitch Marner 22-47-69 in 82 games, playoffs 2-7-9 in 7g will he get 105pts this I don’t think so for both.
      If your talking natural progression, other teams have players also who they hope will have a natural progression.

    • Mst, the Leafs defensive stats were among the worst of the 2018 playoffs. Shots-against per game (35.0): third-highest. Goals-against per game (4.00): tied with Anaheim and Columbus for the second-most. Penalty-killing percentage (66.7): tied with Columbus as the worst.

      I stand by my statement. The Leafs blueline got shredded by the Bruins. Or perhaps “mauled” would be a better term? 😉

    • Bos & Tor could very easily face each other in the 1st round again next season. TB, Bos & Tor will be battling it out for the div & 2 of those 3 teams are going to play each other in the 1st round. & all 3 could finish in the top 7 or 8 teams in the league.

      The NHL needs to kill this stupid playoff format.

      Shredded is a pretty strong description but in 2 of those 3 wins, game 3 & game 5 Bos seriously outplayed Toronto & lost.

      • Mirtle is a huge leafs homer everyone around the hockey world knows how terrible the leafs defense is except the people in Toronto

      • You put Trouba on Leafs at 7.5 million for 7 years they probably win the cup, although even on a loaded, super fast Jets team they failed in playoffs.

      • Big Bear

        I live in Toronto— I know the Leafs need to upgrade D– so count me out on that thought. all my buddies agree — however, my sons and their friends disagree— it could be a generational skew (and that is a small sample size– my friends and my kids friends)

        …. so maybe …. just maybe …. its the viewpoint of those that are much closer in age to the actual players compared to us guys that remember actually watching (as wee wee lads) the cup win in ’67!!

        Not sure

        … I want to upgrade the Leafs D— that is for sure

      • PO format all of a sudden is stupid?

        Why? Cuz a perennial loser deserves better. Get some D or keep losing to better teams.

    • Yes, with J.T. and his long history of playoff success leading the charge you can pretty much bank on a parade down Yonge Street. Add in the future HOFer Matthews and his annual playoff disappearing act along with Mr -5 Gardiner anchoring the inpenetrable defence victory is all but assured. The regular season and playoffs are but a formality to the Crowning of the coming Leafs Dynasty.


    • Sittler- didnt get it done
      Gilmour- didnt get it done
      Sundin-didnt get it done
      Matthews- hasnt even come close
      Tavares-see Matthews

      Good luck, 67 forever, lol

  3. Cue the “Pittsburgh won with a mediocre defense” posts claiming that the Leaf’s D is good enough…

    Pittsburgh did not win with a mediocre D.

    The people who say that just don’t know enough about those players and consider them in their own minds to be mediocre. But, back in reality, each is a notch or two better than they were given credit for by such pundits.

    How do I know? They WON THE STANLEY CUP.

    You don’t win the Stanley Cup with a mediocre defense*.

    Hainsey was a #6 on the 2017 team at 36. Asking him to be a #4 at 38 shows that Toronto’s D needs work.

    *Unless you are the 2006 Hurricanes and even then, it takes you 7 games against a backup goalie.

    • …. and MG …. re ’06 Caines… the benefit of a “questionable” goal… LOL

    • Hainsey was far from number six. He was playing top 4 minutes the whole playoffs

      • Hi Chrisms

        Agree …. Hainsey was more prominent than 6D… he stepped up into 4D type of games for a large portion of that run … however that was 14 months ago …. he was certainly not playing at that prominence for a substantial part of last season and IMO I don’t see a return to form (of ’17 playoffs) this season let alone next playoffs when he is 2 years older (will be 38 early next year… Feb? Mar?)

        …. again …. I know I’m beating a dead horse… I hope I’m wrong ….. but unless there is a move to shore up Leaf D… my personal Leaf Cup drought will reach 55+ years (Freedom 55??)

      • Minutes are hardly the best way of gauging a player’s value. You can rack up long shifts on the PK.

        He was the sixth best Dman on that team.

      • That I’d agree with mg. But he was a top 4 based on minutes and deployment. To say otherwise is trying to rewrite history

    • I wasn’t aware that #6 Dman played the 2nd most TOI/GP in the playoffs. That’s an interesting feat.

      Hainsey regardless of age is a solid defensive Dman who logs difficult minutes playing against the leagues best players. Yes expecting him to continue to play over 21 mins a night is challenging but his game isn’t built on speed or finesse but smarts. He plays within his limitations.

      Hainsey isn’t a #6 Dman, he hasn’t been since he cut his teeth in the NHL, his 1st few seasons, he has played as a 2nd pairing Dman seeing nominally fewer minutes than the 1st pairing Dman but that’s only as his days as a PP Dman stopped a very long time ago.

      His acquisition by Tor was to buy time to allow for Tor’s younger D to be integrated slowly. Tor’s D isn’t as bad as people make it out to be. It’s incredibly young with the exception of Hainsey both by age & NHL experience. No progression/development isn’t linear, it takes Dman 5 to 6 years of NHL experience or in or around 400 NHL regular season games regardless of age to fully develop, & show what they will be but serious stumbles tend to happen in years 2 or 3 not following. In later years it does become far more linear barring injuries.

      • Sorry, it should read. “2nd most TOI/GP in the playoffs for their respective teams.”

      • So, if Dominik Simon plays on Sid’s line and gets more ice time than Kessel that makes him a top line winger and Phil a third line plugger?

        Hainsey was the sixth best Dman on the 2017 Penguins.

        And yes, he did a great job by playing within his limitations (that one Bobby Orr looking goal from out of nowhere aside) and the Pens did a great job putting him in the right role.

        I like Hainsey, BTW, but the Leafs need a better D to win a Cup, bottom line.

      • Yes. In the context of that game or games if Simon is playing with Sid on the top lines then he is a top line winger. One can argue whether he should be in that role (he shouldn’t) but he is being deployed as a top 6 winger.

      • Striker,MG, and Chrisms

        outside of where each of us perceive/perceived Hainsey’s minutes/status on the Pens cup drive— I still believe that next Spring he will be nowhere near what he was in Spring of ’17

        He will certainly be a dressing room motivator— that goes without saying

        I just can’t see the Leaf D as currently made up; and/or with the maturity coming from current younger Leaf D (or Marlies D)— that Leafs can win the SC in next 3 years. On top of that , IMO if Tbay gets EK— I don’t see Leafs even getting out of the ECSF in the next 3 years.

        I would like a cup soon— before I retire would be great

      • Hainsy was awful, he had one good shift those entire playoffs. Brian Dumoulin carried him the rest of the time. Hainsy can’t make a simple breakout pass. He just blasts the puck around the dasher to clear it out. The Penguins won despite him. The Leafs never had a Kris Letang to teach their young guys how to make plays, Dumoulin, Maatta and Shultz did and that is the real difference.

      • Hainsey was fine. He played as well as you could ask a 35 year old third pairing rental in their first playoffs.

        FTR, when I say a D man is a #1 or #3 or #6 or a F is a top line vs third line, etc., I am referring to the caliber of player and the role they are capable of playing, not the role they currently play (which is self evident).

        So, in my book, Evgeni Malkin is a #1 center, even though he plays on the second line and fewer minutes.

        Jordan Staal is a #2 center, even though he plays on the Canes top line.

      • Hainsey played well given the role he was given. Unfortunately him playing decent doesn’t fit certain people’s preconceived narrative of how he should have played.

        And yes… hainsey as it stands today should be anchoring a bottom pair.

      • Hainsy was over his head the entire time. He should have been depth like a 6/7, just in case guy. They should never have plugged him in with their best defensive defender. It worked out in the end because the Penguins got great goaltending and timely goals. I’ll take JO is the same role any day. I rarely agree with Ryan Wilson and I’m not a fan of his snarky, condescending tone, but he breaks it down correctly right here. It’s the way I saw it when I was watching every minute of every game. https://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog/Ryan-Wilson/Time-to-change-the-defense-pairings/177/84564

      • I agree in over his head. But he pulled it off. He was rarely the d man that when watching had one shaking their head. Maatta probably fits that description (and ima fan of maatta). The pens didn’t win a cup despite him or because of him. He did his job as a top 4 d man most nights quite satisfactory.

    • bugbear, nothing in the rumours today about the habs…do you want to know why…they are irrelevant! If there is some substance ever…its about players wanting out or being traded. Signed…shticky

      • When’s the last time the leafs won a playoff series, let alone a cup and you’re talking about teams being irrelevant? Lol typical leaf fan

  4. 2 of 3 – Boston Toronto or Tampa Bay will be a first round match up.

    Everyone looks at a team in a vacuum. Injuries will happen and if it does to the Leafs back end for any period of time they are in trouble. Forward not so much of a concern with the depth.

    • One injury can do a team in, even if the remaining talent is high level. Tampa beats Pittsburgh without Crosby; Pittsburgh beats Tampa without Stamkos. (you can look it up) Teams compensate during the regular season, against other teams with deficiencies greater than the player lost. But if you are talking about late round playoffs, one key injury can be enough. If you have to play a weak link, the other team will find it

  5. Agree Leafs need to work on defense….cheap options maybe Gudbranson..Tanev a little more…one of the less important Canes D….I am camp that Nylander for quality young D is a good idea…

    As to being shredded in Boston series agree with comment above…no Kadri for 2 games…take them 3 rd period game 7 is not a shredding….they lost and the result was fair..but that was a competitive series

    • IMO … KD Should be at least calling/inquiring with Joe Sakic re WW and Barrie in a trade… changes to both rosters I believe would be a Win Win propsal

      Dumba/WW move also good but Dumba is 1-2 seasons away (in prominence/play) to what Barrie is now…

      Leafs need more on RHS than Left … I know Barrie is RD and I believe Dumba is as well

      … on Radio this S morn I heard Stevie Y back in talks with Dorion… who knows …. ups/downs BS again likely

      • Barrie is exceptional 1 dimensional. If you’re in the Gardner is a trainwreck camp then Barrie will make you feel incredibly sick as he can’t even find the train. Dumba’s defensive development has been significant for a 23 year old Dman with 310 games of NHL regular season experience. He may become 1 of the next elite 2 way Dman. He’s very close now.

        I could see Col moving Barrie at some point but not until Col has developed all the youth at D further. Next summer is very plausible if not sooner.

        Trading Dumb would shock me. I assume Min will be locking him up for 6 years min ideally 8 this summer. If I could get Dumba locked up for 8 years at anywhere under 7 mil per season I would get that done as soon as possible, this player is about to explode. His 14 goals & 50 points considering his start to the year were incredible.

        He will be better next season than last but in 2019-20 he could challenge for the NHL scoring lead by Dman & play a solid defensive game as well.

      • Hi Striker

        Ya I don’t see either GM trading them this year. Was just a pipe dream — much like my dream of my earlier Pens dreams of acquiring Colton Parayko

        I’m a little more positive on my viewpoint w.r.t. Barrie’s abilities than you. Agree he is skewed offensively but I like his play and see him as a big upgrade on D for Leafs

        They have to do something—- anything will do

    • I always thought Tanev would be a good player for the Leafs to target if they eschew the #1 D man formula for the 6 #3 D man formula.

      Edler, too, if he could stay healthy.

      • I agree. It buys time for Dermott & the prospect Dman coming. Tanev being a RD with 2 years better serves Tor’s needs than Edler. Tanev when healthy would give them an anchor for the 3rd pairing to play with Dermott.

        This trade has been rumoured in the past, the issue is at what cost to get Vancouver to part with him?

      • Pengy..pens just signed Derrick grant 28 off a career year in Anaheim 12 goals 13 assists solid 4th line guy also 6ft 3 215lbs we now have 5 centers…Barrie might be available I would prefer justin Faulk or Matt dumba…if not a top 4 guy sign Alexi emelin for depth.

  6. Help! I googled and I searched but can’t find the answer i’m looking for.
    I now know more about salary arbitration then ever before, who files, what can and can’t be presented, timing, how long, rebuttals, length of term and the Arbitrators 48hr window to make his/her decision.
    What I couldn’t find and my memory has failed me, as I use to know. Does the Arbitrator has to elect one of the two offers or can he/she pick any amount in between?

    • 99% sure* that the arbitrator must pick one of the two figures, but that they used to be able to pick a number in between (as they do in baseball).

      *And if I’m wrong, then reverse it. One of those two sports it can be any number in between and it’s one or the other in the other sport.

    • You can access the CBA on the NHLPA site. Article 12, Salary Arbitration doesn’t say?

    • Caper

      To the best of my (limited) knowledge— it is NOT an “either” amount… I wish I could remember a definitive case— but my buzzed and feable brain thinks that it can be an amount differing from the two sides.

  7. Jets offer Trouba $4m Trouba wants $7m split the difference and he’s right wear most people believe he should be $5.5

    • That’s exactly what he will get…5.5m

    • 5-5.5 is right, he only had 1 assist in 17 playoffs games along with 2 goals, he certainly is no Scoring d man. 7 million, he must be smoking somethjng

    • Hi Caper

      the $4 vs $7 is now before the actual hearing— this gap likely to close in next couple of days

      Re|: Your take on his value — sounds very close to me

  8. I got love all these “experts” especially those that say Leafs not better when losing komorov, bozak and JVR and only adding Tavares. How about Johnsson, who easily will outplay Komorov, Tavares who triples JVR and Bozak combined, and how about Kapanen who came in at end of season, plus a new season with a whole bunch of 20 yr olds with another year to grow, learn and prosper. Sit on your couch, zip it unless you have a clue. Go leafs go

    • I agree that the Leafs have a bunch of good young forwards…which is why they should trade Nylander (who can be replaced competently by Kapanen) to shore up that Achilles Heel defense.

      • Boston will be at the top of the eastern conf all season. The kids are progressing nicely. Tampa beating us last year was a fluke. Screw the Pens, screw the Caps, screw Tampa. I’d say screw the Canadians but, they have enough problems as it is. MB has screwed them good.

      • Another pure class Bruins fan…………..

    • Apparently you need to find one!

      JVR 36-18-54pts
      Bozak 11-32-43pts
      Total 47-50-97pts JT 37-47-84pts

      I see math wasn’t your strong suit in school

      • You gotta love these “agree with me, my team is the bestest ever… or don’t say anything “ posts

      • Lol the leafs need to trade for Defensemen there is no one left in FA that will fill that huge hole, Mirtle is dreaming if thinks Reilly is a number one dman you have to at least be somewhat reliable in your own end to be a number one

      • I think Tor more than has the ability with the players in the system to replace the losses of JvR, Bozak & Komorov. They are replaced by Tavares & Johnsson with Hyman, Brown & Kapanen assuming far greater responsibilities.

        Tor is a better team today than they were when the season ended. They will miss Komorov’s PK abilities but Kapanen will see most of those lost minutes & Hyman & Brown are exceptional penalty killers.

        Yes, the math is somewhat skewed as the 3 players lost aren’t being replaced by 3 specifically but his point is valid. I think Tor will score more goals this season than last & they were already exceptional offensively last season. I also think they will be better defensively as these weren’t strong suits for JvR & to a lesser extent Bozak.

      • JVR was a bust in playoffs, slower than a sloth. No loss there. Tavares will score in playoffs unlike Matthews and Nylander

      • Leafs have a great defensemen in AHL, Lijgren(can’t spell his name). I watched him live he will be better than half the slugs they have now for 3-6 spots

      • Tor’s top 4 of,

        Gardner, Zaitsev.
        Reilly, Hainsey.

        Is solid, not elite by any means but more than adequate. They need a solid RHD, a stay at home Dman to help shelter Dermott’s transition to the NHL. It doesn’t need to be a #1 or 2, those players are being developed on the roster now. It’s more D by committee.

        The UFA market is really devoid of any reasonable options at RHD. Bieksa may suffice if no other solution can be found in trade. His truculence, Has never heard of that word till Burke spit it out, may serve Tor well & he should be able to play in or around 15 mins a night helping to teach Dermott the NHL game.

        I would prefer Tor found a better option but trading for Dman is expensive.

        Gardner is now fully developed. What you see is what you get & even though he leads Tor in TOI/GP his defensive game precludes him from ever being a #1 but he is a solid offensive Dman that helps drive the transition game. Rielly just turned 24 & isn’t fully developed although he’s close, 1 maybe 2 more years.

        Zaitsev although older only has 2 years of NHL experience, his age isn’t relevant it doesn’t significantly alter the development timeline. 142 games of NHL regular season experience is nothing & nowhere near enough to learn to play at the highest level in the world. He has years of growth coming. His & Rielly’s roles were completely flip-flopped last season. If you feel he struggled then consider it was his sophomore season & that’s common but he also had to try & be the defensive conscience for Gardner & combined they logged significantly more TOI/GP than Rielly & Hainsey.

        Dermott is incredibly raw, 37 games of NHL regular season experience but he has top 4 potentials in a walk down the road & you know my timelines for such.

        Again Tor’s D isn’t as bad as people make it out to be, it is young, developing & getting better. I don’t condone trading Nylander to address it unless it is in a package to get a Dman very close to being a legitimate #2 2 way Dman but the problem is that cost is so much higher than Nylander it’s hard to make.

      • Striker

        Like your Bieksa suggestion as an option. Don’t know what he would cost but certainly a great dressing room guy to have— long in the tooth but is RHD with a good presence and if healthy can contribute in a very positive way.

        The only other one (RHD) out there of any worth— and it would have to be looked at as a “risk willing to be taken” one year option only — Sbisa

        If they get Sbisa for one year at reasonable amount— they have depth at worst and potentially someone who will play 75-80 strong RHD games—gamble with long odds — but Leafs have cash and space this year— why not— if he can play even 40 games— that would give Dermott a better sheltering of his development that will prove very valuable down the road.

        … no more than 1 year offers on either Bieksa or Sbisa— and IMO — gamble/risk worth it

      • lmao, he uses math vs hockey knowledge, well done hack. LMAO

      • Striker you’re a stats guy and like I’ve been saying what Lyle has also posted those stats don’t lie! Reilly has been in this league long enough and hasn’t improved his defensive game one iota

    • I agree with most of what you said. Tavares is a massive improvement on Bozak, who is not as good as Kadri. Johnsson should be at least as good as Komarov. However, JVR is a bigger loss than many think. Kapanen could end up being a better all around player in a few years, but it would be tough to be as good offensively. It would be impressive if he gets 40-45 points this year, which is great value on an ELC.

      I also don’t think Kapanen would adequately replace Nylander. 60+ point forwards, especially in their early 20’s, don’t grow on trees and Nylander should be better next year. He could easily get 70+ points.

      • Kapanen and Johnnson sure get a lot of credit for a combined 9 nhl goals . Can seamlessly step in for komarov , who was babcocks most trusted d forward most of last year , and you “don’t think” he could adequately fill in for nylander .. lol . But Johnson was the ahl mvp … so was Tyler berrtuzi the year before . Is he putting up big numbers this year ? The leaf nation valuations are as usual are over the moon .

      • Craig.

        Kapanen & Johnsson barely played both by games & minutes so referencing their offensive contributions are meaningless. They will both play this year but are years from being fully developed, they are just starting their NHL careers. They aren’t replacing those players specifically. It will be spread over a far greater body of players.

        Hyman is an exceptional defensive player & lead Tor in SH TOI/GP at forward nominally edging out Komorov, Brown was a notch below & Kapanen did see 2nd unit PK time in his brief NHL opportunity, those minutes will be going up. I assume Tor’s 2 PK units will be a combination of those 3 & Johnsson.

        Tor will be both better offensively next season & defensively. Matthew’s, Marner, Nylander are still all developing as well. We haven’t seen anywhere near their top ends yet offensively & they still have a ton to learn defensively. You can’t learn the defensive game needed at the NHL level in 2 years.

      • Striker

        I disagree , they will not be better defensively . They will be lucky to be as good as the group last year . Carrick will again be pushed aside by babs and insert borgman or the Russian Igor , no better at this stage than polak . Babs agreed last year .
        So komarov was 2 , and an established veteran in his role . I assume kap and Johnson will be part of the P.K. units as well , but are not proven by any means . Every Toronto forward aside from Marner last year allowed more shots against than they produced .. this isn’t going to change over the summer . Nor has the d behind .
        It will be spread out , agree there too except it will be spread to unproven , not fully developed prospects as opposed to jvr / bozak komarov . Tavares will replace kadri at 2 C who had 32 goals , will Tavares blow that out of the water ? Kadri will drop down to replace bozak without Marner at his side , less pp time as well . All these things will factor in and I think when you add it all up they are very similar to last years group . Great offence , a little top heavier this year and the same problems on d . Clear weakness then , clear weakness now . Freddy bailed them out last year until playoff time , don’t see much changing

      • Adding Tavares they are in win now mode . With a win later D . The guys you mention need years by your own account to be ready for the roles they need to play today . Zaitsev is and has been a disaster and that won’t change in any number of games . His body is fully debelopled which is part of the standard development for d men coming in . I don’t understand how you don’t acknowledge that fact . Clear difference

      • I am not a leafs fan but I am a Babcock fan.
        I seriously think Babcock Adds 10-15 points with his coaching skill.
        Reading different articles he is a very hard coach to play for but he has the ability to have his team play better than the sum of the parts.
        I also think where there is smoke there is fire and that could trouble for Toronto to sign Mathews long term

    • Tavares is going to score 138 goals?

      Thats only if he triples JVR

      Goodbye Gretzky, hello Tavares

  9. Yes to say they were shredded is in that series is off base. Granted the first 2 games they weren’t ready too play but it was a competitive series could have gone either way. The addition of Tarvaras will make up huge match up problems for these other teams no dought about it they have some young guys coming on D I for one am not panicking.

  10. All I have to say is a lot of teams made the headlines this year but the most improved dangerous team that improved and I have winning the cup is the St.Louis Blues … their offense and defence is top notch and Allen is only getting better in nets … that team is 9 deep on offence they are all 40 points or more players … and now they got a Faceoff expert this team is my fav to win the cup

    • I agree, I also have Cal right there with them as 1 of the most improved teams this offseason. I also think LA even though the oldest team in the NHL will surprise people. I’m not a Kovy fan but he should contribute 25 to 30 goals & a healthy Carter gives them 2 solid scoring lines & that coupled with their D & G is solid. SJ, Anh, Cal & LA are going to be in a dogfight for the Pacific Div & I haven’t even addressed Vegas!

    • Frank
      bang on w.r.t. most improved team so far.

      Yes lose Statsny — but they loaded up for bear.

      With (as has been pointed out by many today ; and several times before today) the crappy playoff set-up… dog fight come playoff time for Central

      The St L/ Winn / Nsh dog fight for playoff Div champ will be akin to the TB/Bos/Leafs scrap

      Bettman/Daley — if you are reading this post — or even listening to any fans— fix the dang playoff format!!!

      …my out on a limb SC winning prediction will come once the EK situation is settled (if it does get settled)

    • Allen is “only getting better” compared to what? He was close to a Jim Carey early retirement he was so bad just 6 months or so ago.

      I agree the Blues are much improved, but they aren’t winning anything unless Allen pulls a full Hellebuyck.

  11. Bruins look to be built for the regular season not the playoffs which is hard to the puck and play D…..Chara & Krug are a target,wearing one down and taking advantage of the other because of his size ..The O has one scoring line and that’s it, missing are the days they would roll out at least 2 lines and get results

    • Had Krug not been injured in game 4 who knows what may have been, his D partner Carlo being out was significant as well. There is the nature of playoff hockey. For me, it was Rask, McAvoy & injuries. You could possibly overcome 1 of those but all 3? Not a chance.

      The 2-month grind that is the NHL playoffs is the best format in sports. Bos has a solid roster but can they win a cup? Maybe, the talent is there but so many things have to go right you could easily argue that luck plays as big a factor as almost anything once you get to having to play the NHL’s elite teams for 2 months.

      Bos is a contender for me but I’m not betting them to win it, getting past B, Tor & possibly Flo to just get out of the 1st round is hard enough & a coin toss.

      • The East will be much tougher next year – I think that Florida, Philadelphia, and Carolina will be much improved, with Detroit, Montreal, and Ottawa bringing up the rear. Tampa still looks like the best team, followed by Washington and Pittsburgh. Toronto is still a half step behind until they upgrade their D. And I look for Boston to take a step back. It’s tough when your best D man is 41, and the goaltending won’t be as good either.

      • Ya, Bruins missed Carlo big time, that injury still scares me. Bad one for a hockey player. Supposedly surgery went well, but… Agree Ed, sooner or later Chara hits the age wall. A workout machine but he has to doesn’t he?
        If Carlo is healthy he should continue to improve, a step forward for McAvoy should be likely. Really like the addition of Moore.
        Rask is the wild card, but seems to play better with plenty of rest so Halak could really help. They should get a decent asset(s) back from which ever D man they trade (assuming health in training camp).
        They are in the toughest division in hockey and TB looks to be hungry and due.
        TB vs Pit in ECF, winner takes the cup as well.

  12. Caper

    Found out your answer w.r.t. Arbiter and awards— he/she is not restricted to the amounts offered by both sides.

    I phoned my friend who works for Leafs and just asked him if it was possible that a different amount could be awarded– he confirmed that it was the case.

    And after ribbing me for not remembering how Nsh got reamed in the Weber arb– where they low-low-low-balled and he got very close to his “high” ask… I now owe him a double shot of Glenlivet… 🙂

    His memory has Nsh offering something in the mid $4’s and the ask was mid $8’s and he got mid $7

    • Of course that is the case. If the arbitrator has to pick between the teams quote and the players quote the player would either be waaaayy overpaid or waaayy underpaid. They are supposed to give the player fair market value. Now a good question is, I thought I read somewhere that if the salary decision goes to the arbitrator they can only hand out a one year deal. Is that the case? That could put the team and the player back in the same situation the following summer and the animosity that could create would not help relations between the parties at all.

  13. I don’t get all this talk about the Leafs D. They finished just outside the top 10 in GA last season (11th).If Andersen can avoid the “October Blues”, they’ll be fine. Is D a strength? NO, but to act like if they don’t change the D, they’re going to sink to the bottom is ridiculous. Besides, they’ve already improved the D through the forwards.

    • I think the Leafs offence masks the issues on D.
      When the playoffs hit and the games get tighter it starts to show like last year.

  14. Would the Calgary Flames be a good fit for Karlsson ?
    Maybe they flip newly acquired Hanifin and other pieces to make the deal work.

    Thoughts ?

    • The Flames May want Karlson but Karlson doesn’t want the Flames. Last rumour I read said that Karlson will only sign an extension with Tampa. He wants to play with Hedman and a chance to win a cup.

  15. Props to Mirtle for using the made-up word “cromulent” in his assessment. Look it up for a laugh.
    As for Toronto’s defence, they have a lot of prospects who have shown that they are close.
    Holl did a bang-up job as a short-term injury replacement and the Black Hawks former round 2 pick has the size and maturity to fill in for Polak or take minutes from Hainsey if needed.
    Borgman last year got only half a season with the big team, but showed a heavy game and a heavy shot, if he has improved a few things with the Marlies, then he’s a potential top 4 guy.
    Calle Rosen spent the whole season down with the Marlies, but adapted well to the smaller ice surface. He’ll get a chance to bump somebody out of the line-up this Fall.
    Connor Carrick, has lots of offensive tools, but never gets to use them as he’s often struggling with his defensive role. I suspect that he is trade-bait this season and could thrive elsewhere if paired with a more defensive partner.
    All in all, I think Dubas wants to measure up these players on the fringe before chasing a big contract dman. Come the regular season, or training camp, he may even see the value on these players rise enough to make them a palatable exchange on a more experienced NHL defenceman.
    The Leafs right now have to move a goalie and likely a defenseman to square up with open roster spots for developing players. Unless there is a trade, they certainly stand to lose either Sparks or Pickard for nothing on waivers.

    • Dr. D

      I looked up cromulent — yes worth the laugh

      At first read, I just glossed over the word; confused and pleading my own ignorance… now I realise I was overestimating my intelligence by a wide margin

  16. Ny rangers are selling a Brendan Smith if you guys in toronto really need someone. Just saying. 🤣

    • He would probably be an upgrade! Lol

    • PIT found a taker for Hunwick…anything is possible I suppose.

      • Double Minor—- see my post below 🙂

    • IHC

      Be careful what you wish for— my wish came true (now in Buff in the Sheary trade)– but the new “kid” in town might be an issue — I’m hoping I’m wrong—- really hoping I’m very wrong

      • I think sheary will do well in buffalo..young player with experience. HE could play with eiechel or berglund…he will b ok….

  17. Hahahaha, love how just about all non-Leaf fans are so quick to undervalue and under appreciated the Leafs defence. Yes it’s non an elite core on the backend, but they’re very good. The big matter that they had last season, was the forwards as a whole wasn’t that defensive-minded (JVR and Komarov), mainly because their lack of speed to skate back to help the D. On top of Tavares’ offensive abilities, he is very dependable defensively as well. With him, Matthews and Kadri playing defensively, the others on the team will show and become better in those areas as well, which takes away a lot of weight off the Dmens shoulders…and Andersen/MacElhinney.

    • Hahahaha it’s hilarious hearing leaf fans over value and over appreciate the leafs defensive group. They’re terrible on the back end, they even let their best defensive forward in Komarov walk! This team is no better off than they were last yr and they couldn’t even win a playoff series last year

    • Every forward on the leafs roster gave up more shots than they generated last year except Marner , and they generated a lot . All of them . Komarov was near the top of babs list of defensive forwards until injury . Freddy should have won the vezina playing the way he did under heavy siege in front of that D . The vezina candidates played in front of Nashville Winnipeg and TB, all great defence groups . Of course Fred’s numbers don’t stand up , but he was the best goalie last year overall. The forwards didn’t help , nor will they over the course of 1 summer with no defensive first guys added . The d was the clear weak link . That hasn’t changed , be lucky to be as good (which was terrible) as last year

  18. I saw my first game, live, as my father’s birthday gift to me for my 8th birthday at the Oakland Coliseum-Arena. Yes, the Oakland Seals sucked. I’ve been a hockey fan ever since. I’m approaching my 59th birthday and you know what I’d like to see before I die? The Columbus Blue Jackets in the Stanley Cup Finals and Toronto ending decades of futility by winning the Cup. Unfortunately, until both teams make a couple of improvements – and some other teams start dropping off – I don’t see either happening in the near future.

  19. Well, Pengy…

    I didn’t quite understand your obsession with the Penguins signing Derek Grant but…

    I guess we’ll find out if you were right.

    Pens sign Derek Grant to a 1 year 650K deal.

    Between signing him and Cullen, I wonder if a Brassard trade is coming.

    • Really? Congrats pengy!

    • Mg..brassard is staying put..sheahan will be going to wing..us grant solid pr man to go with hamelin and sheahan… unless they use him in a trade for a top 4dman like faulk…dumba..Barrie I hope Rutherford doesn’t go after fotward skinner..

      • Pk..man I meant.sorry!

  20. I went to the zoo today. The bear exibit had a special show called “bears under a bridge… see the worlds only trolling bears!”
    They gave them bears tablets and everything. Fascinating.

  21. 100!🎉