Wednesday, February 29, 2012

35 interesting UFA's for July 1st, 2012

Just looking ahead to one of the best day's of the year for any hockey fan, here are 35 player's scheduled to UFA on July 1st (some of these guys will re-sign with their current club, some may retire)


1. Zach Parise, 27 - likely to re-sign, but there is a belief that he could hit the market
2. Alex Semin, 27 - I actually think he won't stay in Washington, they need some big changes
3. Shane Doan, 35 - Probably staying with the 'Yotes, but some uncertainty there
4. Teemu Selanne, 41 - Could retire or stay in Anaheim, but when it comes to Teemu, who knows?
5. Jaromir Jagr, 40 - The man can flat out still play. Could stay in Philly, retire, or test the market
6. P.A. Parenteau, 28 - 50+ pts last year, and close to pt per game this year, could cash in
7. Olli Jokinen, 33 - honestly, would be surprised to see the rejuvenated sniper leave Calgary
8. Jason Arnott, 37 - Veteran is more of a 2nd/3rd line C now, but 15 G so far this year, decent
9. Ray Whitney, 39 - Vet has not slowed down. A bit under a pt per game again, every year
10. Brad Boyes, 29 - his last 20+ G season was in '09 (33 goals). Could be a gamble signing
11. Petr Sykora, 35 - Comeback player of the year candidate likely sticking in NJ
12. Steve Sullivan, 37 - The man can still fly out there, would be a solid addition anywhere


1. Paul Gaustad, 30 - Big 6'5" frame, he's the ideal 4th line centre
2. Dustin Penner, 29 - Brutal year aside, he still has good hockey left in him
3. Jordin Tootoo, 29 - Having a career year, could be a cap/salary casualty in Nashville
4. Brandon Prust, 27 - Posts tons of PIMS, had a career high in pts with 29 in 2011
5. Jamie Langenbrunner, 36 - former playoff hero has slowed down, but still a great leader
6. Shaun Thornton, 34 - one of the toughest grinders in the league.
7. Jarret Stoll, 29 - Having an off year, typically good for 45 pts. Reliable 3rd line C, and tough
8. Taylor Pyatt, 30 - Big 6'4" 230 lbs, gritty, veteran winger
9. Darcy Hordichuk, 31 - Tons of energy. Great agitator as a 4th line centre
10. Travis Moen, 29 - Big grinder does a lot of the little things well
11. Dan Carcillo, 27 - Major league agitator, prone to bad penalties
12. Zenon Konopka, 31 - Big 4th line centre, drops the gloves, hits, limited minutes

DEFENSE (8) *could've done way more, lots of role players out there

1. Ryan Suter, 27 - Could test the market, would be a huge prize for any team
2. Brad Stuart, 32 - Excellent steady D-man, although the Wings have some cap room to re-sign
3. Matt Carle, 27 - Matt "Hot" Carle is a quality puck mover and will get attention
4. Dennis Wideman, 28 - Quality hockey player has bounced around. Likely seeking longer term
5. Hal Gill, 36 - PK specialist and 5 on 3 king pin. Solid veteran.
6. Pavel Kubina, 34 - Slow, but still has the big shot and plays with a physical edge
7. Scott Hannan, 33 - one of the many vets scheduled to be available
8. Colin White, 34 - see Hannan. And there are more like this so I'm stopping here


1. Evgeny Nabakov, 36 - Isles trying hard to sign him. His #'s have been good this season
2. Tomas Vokoun, 35 - Having a bad year, but wouldn't be too quick to call him washed up
3. Martin Biron, 34 - Best back up out there for my money. I think he could be a 1A in a lot of towns

And that wraps it up, 35 UFA's for July 1st. Although expect half these guys not to make it to free agency, as per recent NHL trends. Oh I left of Grabovski because this was originally a Leaf wish list, then it morphed into something else.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"Fire Wilson" Chants rain down at the ACC, #FIREWILSON is trending on Twitter

I have to agree with the thousands of angry fans who were at the ACC earlier tonight. Ron Wilson has to go.

This is not a good guy. He publicly blasts his players, and I think he's lost the room. He complains that he gets blamed for losses but doesn't get any credit for the wins. So what? Do you want it the other way around, Ronnie? Do you want credit for wins and no blame for losses? Well, maybe if you were in 1st place, or at least 6th, then ya we could give you credit for a winning record and go easy on you when the team is losing. But when you're in 10th place, slipping in the standings like this, and out of the playoffs for a what's looking like a 4th straight year - you get the blame.

I think this team on paper is good enough to make it ( and at one point the Budd's were playing well enough to make it, in fact, 3 weeks ago we were 4 or 5 points behind Pittsburgh, Philly, New Jersey, etc. on the cusp of fighting for home ice in the playoffs. I don't think I, and other Leaf fans like me are overreacting from one bad losing streak. I think this "Fire Wilson" mentality has existed for about as long as he's been the coach. Here is some evidence of that:
That link is for a "Fire Ron Wilson" petition that was set up in 2010, and has dated signatures from November 201o, and continued signatures leading up to tonight, where it appears a handful of angry Leaf fans, presumably googling "Fire Ron Wilson Petition" came across it and have voiced their opinions.

There is a lot more to this issue, i.e. the friendship of Burke and Wilson which I don't wish to comment on because, frankly, I find it boring. End rant.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Rick Nash/Jake Gardiner - one man's take

What up. Since Leaf Nation is torn on whether or not moving Gardiner in a deal for Nash makes sense, here's my 2 cents:

Flash back to 2001, the Leafs have a deal in place that would send Kaberle, Antropov, a 1st and prospect (wanna say it was Colaiacovo) to the Bolts for Vinny Lecavalier. Pat Quinn balked because he had to give up Kabby, wanted to move Markov but that was a no-go for Tampa Bay. And so the deal fell through.

Now of course Kaberle went on to have a great career with Toronto, currently sitting at 5th on the team's all time assist list. Nik Antropov also was a very good player for us for a long time and one of our top scorers, consistantly for a few seasons.

Vinny Lecavalier scored 50 goals, 40+ on multiple occasions, cracked 100+ points in a season, racked up crazy stats, won a cup, played for Canada in the Olympics and is still a great hockey player (19 pts in 18 games last year in the playoffs!)

Holding onto Jake Gardiner would not be a bad decision by any means, and if he becomes the next Kaberle, or even comes close to replicating Kabby's stats then that's awesome. But I would always trade a great young puck moving defenseman for a stud, big forward.

Best case scenario for Jake Gardiner: He becomes a Scott Niedermayer
Likely/Optimistic scenario for Gardiner: He becomes a Liles, Kaberle, etc.
Likely/Pessimistic scenario for Gardiner: He becomes Colaiacovo, Tverdovsky, etc.

Only scenario for Nash: He is Rick Nash. Enough said.

Next, for those of you whining about holding onto our 1st rounder and some prospects. I feel you, and I don't want to throw away our future either. However, please consider this -
I want to talk about JFJ's first year at as Leafs GM. This was in 2003/04
At the trade deadline that season there were a few big names bouncing around, including Alex Kovalev who was traded from NYR to Montreal (eventually becoming the face of the franchise) and another player traded from NYR, Brian Leetch who became a Maple Leaf for:

Maxim Kondratiev, Jarko Imminen, 1st round pick (and a later pick)

A lot of people were calling into the radio station that night with mixed feelings. "We gave up a 1st rounder and 2 of our best prospects for a 38 year old..." etc. But the fact is, none of those assets amounted to anything. Statistically speaking most draft picks and prospects don't. And historically speaking the team that trades the star for the package of prospects loses in the long run. This fact transcends hockey, Drabek for Halladay, those (Williams? Wilson?) brothers and Alonso Mourning for Vince Carter... (burnt Toronto Sports fan rant).

Of course this isn't 2004, we don't have Sundin, Roberts, Renberg, Mogilny, Nolan, Nieuwendyk, McCabe, Kaberle, Antropov, Reichel, Ron Francis... what a team! But Rick Nash is also not a 38 year old Brian Leetch. This is a move both for now and the future, and its one the Leafs should make.

Let's assume Gardiner is a MUST from Columbus's end, and especially to out bid the Rangers, and a 1st rounder is a given. The other pieces would include 2 of Frattin, Colbourne, Kadri, and the Jackets could possibly have interest in Keith Aulie, Nikolai Kulemin, or Korbinian Holzer as a little icing in the cake.

So I figure it would cost us:
1st rounder

Fat package. All 3 guys have some NHL experience, all are young, all have varying degrees of potential/upside. None are statistically or reasonably likely to ever be as good as Rick Nash will be for the next 5-10 years. This would be a good short/long term move.

Anyway's, 1 guys opinion.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Trade Deadline Top 25 Available Forwards

Less than 1 week before the NHL trade deadline. Check this out:

These are the top 15 most talked about names in rumours, including only players who are scheduled UFA's on July 1.

1. Teemu Selanne, ANA
2. Alex Semin, WAS
3. Shane Doan, PHX
4. Ales Hemsky, EDM
5. Ray Whitney, PHX
6. Mikhail Grabovski, TOR
7. PA Parenteau, NYI
8. Tuomo Ruutu, CAR * signed extension with Hurricanes
9. Mike Knuble, WAS
10. Brad Boyes, BUF
11. Paul Gaustad, BUF
12. Sami Pahlsson, CBJ
13. Andre Kostitsyn, MTL
14. Wojtek Wolski, NYR
15. Dustin Penner, LAK

Top 10 Available Forwards, non-UFA
This list includes players who are not UFA but rumoured to be available. They're either under contract for next year or are RFA's. A lot of these players are dealt at the draft and in the offseason but some get dealt at the deadline.

player, age. length of contract @ cap hit
1. Rick Nash, 27. 6 years @$7.8 mil
2. Jeff Carter, 27. 9 years @$5.3 mil *traded to LA
3. Paul Stastny, 26. 3 years @$6.6 mil
4. Bobby Ryan, 24. 3 years @$5.1 mil
5. Brendan Morrow, 32. 1 year @$4.1 mil
6. Vinny Lecavalier, 32. 7 years @$7.7 mil
7. Sam Gagner, 22. RFA
8. Derek Roy, 28. 1 year @$4 mil (*actual dollars $5.5 mil, could limit trade value)
9. Ryan Malone, 31. 3 years @$4.5 mil
10. Antoine Vermette, 28. 4 years @$3.75 mil *traded to Phoenix

- Dustin Brown may or may not be traded. But his name has come up with Carter in LA
- Steve Ott has been added to the rumour mill as well.