Monday, June 7, 2010
Some Quick Thoughts
Back after a week off and I know exactly what you're thinking: No, I'm not Dustin Byfuglien.
The combination of the Kaberle situation being beaten to death and the general lack of compelling Leafs news has left me with writer's block. I've had a couple of interesting conversations and exchanges lately though so I think maybe I'll just put them down here and hopefully someone can leave a comment so insightful (hint) that it will snap me out of this funk.
1) Nikolai Kulemin - He wants upwards of $3 M per year. Yikes. Anyone who's ever had a hockey-related conversation with me knows that I like Kulemin a lot. That said, he's out of his mind. It was suggested to me that signing him to a deal anywhere near that, particularly when Grabovski inked a similar deal after a sub-50 point season would set a dangerous precedent and I agree. We don't want to be known as a team that pre-pays for potential. Kulemin is best suited to playing on a third line that can check well and is a threat to score. You don't pay those kinds of players that kind of money if you want to contend.
2) The Kaberle Situation - It's been suggested that Anaheim are interested in Kaberle but are looking for a 'bigger' deal. They also have interest in Schenn and Kadri and it would probably take one of those two being involved in the deal to make it happen. I say, let's do it. I know this wont be a popular stance among Leaf fans but if we can land Ryan and the Flyers first round pick (29th or 30th overall) for Schenn and Kaberle, then I'm pulling the trigger.
Schenn's performance cap is probably somewhere around 'good-season-Mike-Komisarek' and those guys come available every year or two in free agency. Don't get me wrong, I love Luke Schenn. The people that know how much I like Kulemin also know that during his draft night I had been begging for him to slip to the Leafs and when they traded up, I was ecstatic. Ryan is what we need though -- a winger that scores and plays big. Also, it will give an opportunity for Gunnarsson to play more minutes and for one of our defensive prospects to earn a roster spot. A first line of Ryan-Kadri-Kessel could be pretty impressive in a year's time.
3) Jason Spezza - No. Just no.
What are your feelings Leaf fans? I'm sure these are conversations you've had a hundred times with your friends but humour me and have them one more time.
Also, if you have a chance and aren't already doing it, check out maple stir-up's blog at http://maplestirup.com/ It's good stuff.
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Bobby Ryan! Yes please!!
Agree on all counts.
Kulemin is not worth 3 mil, but isn't terribly far off. Both sides have to posture in order to establish suitable negotiating positions, but ultimately, Burke holds the cards here because he holds Kulemin's rights. I still believe this deal gets done before next season.
I like Schenn too, but I think his value as a trade commodity is worth considering moving him for a more pressing need. Ryan fits the bill. I'd make the move too.
I've always liked Spezza, but his contract just isn't worth it.
Thanks for boosting maplestirup.com!
I really feel that this off-season is Burke's chance to really put his stamp on the team. Last season was about acquiring assets so that he could afford to make a move like the one proposed above -- now it's time to make the Leafs his team.
By my count, only Grabo, Kaberle, Kulemin, Finger and Schenn are on the team now who were also on the team when Burke came in. I'd say Burke's made his mark already, n'est pas?
Pas. While he's been able to move bodies out, he hasn't had much of an opportunity to replace them. Most players were moved out for futures (prospects or picks). Until those players develop or he fills the gaps with the free agents he wants rather than merely some stop-gaps then I wouldn't say his mark has been made.
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