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Messages - slapshot

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Crap Devils score. Moment I jump on here. That being said, there are couple of things I'd like to give Jake Gardiner props for.

He takes a lot of crap for different things, but here a couple of things I'd really like to praise him for  - often overlooked and never really mentioned.

1. He keeps an incredible number of plays in at the offensive blueline with his speed, his ability to knock or gloves pucks down or simply corral bouncing pucks. I think he is far better at it than any other Leaf blueliner and better than most I've watched on other teams.

2. He rarely gets caught on a bad pinch (despite his risk-taking to keep pucks in, which makes it even more impressive). I mean when was the last time you saw a highlight with Gardiner getting caught up ice. Pretty impressive in my opinion. Just watch him, he's is really skilled at keeping pucks in without getting burned.

Just my two cents worth.

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Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Re: JVR
« on: March 20, 2018, 08:15:29 PM »
We'll see if he really loves Toronto and takes a hometown discount to be a part of history when it comes.

JVR's hometown is in New Jersey and his love for the city/his teammates isn't necessarily linked to his willingness to take a below market deal to stay here.

Seriously, hometown discount is just a turn of a phrase. Every Leaf fan know he's an American. Not saying it is linked, just saying some guys do to less to stay with team and place they like, especially if they have a shot a winning it all. Stamkos for one could have gotten more on the open market. We'll see what Tavares does.

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Main Leafs Hockey Talk / JVR
« on: March 19, 2018, 08:30:32 PM »
Nothing like 5 goals in a couple of games to ramp up the talk.

Here's my take on JVR.

If I were the Leafs, I'd offer $6 million for five years, take it or leave it.

Can they afford it? Yes.  For about $32 million, they can lock up all their key forwards including JVR and Nylander, by letting Bozak, Komarov go and trading Martin back to the Island. Throw in another $5 million for bonus for Matthews and Marner. Aaltonen will likely fill one of the left over forward spots in expensively. Matthews missing time helps us with the Nylander contract as it no doubt affects his points total. Highly doubtful Nylander's contract would eclipse Jets Ehlers, though he may match it at $6 million.

The would still leave quite a bit of cash left over, if you budgeted $40-45 million for forwards out of $80 million cap. Another $25-30 million will cover the d-men, and you could still have $10 million left over for goaltending and spare change.

Lupul, Gleason and Cowen all come off the books after this year, so that's about $7 million in savings.

The Leafs can let Hainsey walk after next year and buyout the final year of Marleau's contract if they need to. Resigning Matthews and Marner will got done, you can be sure of that.

It would be nice to keep JVR, but not over pay for him. He's kind of one dimensional - though you can't get much better a dimension that scoring.

If I were the Leafs I would also insist on a limited no trade clause, 10 team kind of thing, just to be on the safe side.

We'll see if he really loves Toronto and takes a hometown discount to be a part of history when it comes. Or if the Leafs mgmt love him enough to make him a decent enough but not outrageous offer to stay. I highly doubt they'd do that. I think $30 million over five years is fair for both sides.

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Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Re: Leafs acquire Plekanec
« on: February 25, 2018, 06:32:39 PM »
I think Plekanec is simply to strengthen the existing roster for the playoffs.
JVR, Bozak and Komarov will likely all be sticking around.
I think it's highly unlikely they deal for McDonagh unless it's using picks and prospects, the Rangers are thinking rebuilt not rentals like the Leafs pending UFAs - that would make no sense.
I could see the Leafs adding someone like Mike Green if the price wasn't too high.
The Leafs might be able to get a second rounder back for JVRs negotiating rights with some team, should they choose to let him walk.

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Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Re: Trade Deadline
« on: February 11, 2018, 11:53:39 AM »
With talk about the Leafs add center depth, here are few thoughts.

If this Leafs wanted to move Komarov to centre on 4th land, pick up Grabner for a second go around. Imagine him and Kapanen on either wing, blinding speed. Another good penalty killer if anyone got hurt, and some scoring touch. Babcock liked him if when they let him go.

Mikael Backlund, decent two way center with speed and some skill. If Calgary were to hit the skids of the next couple of weeks, they might part with him for a younger player, Leivo or Sosh and a pick.

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Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Re: Trade Deadline
« on: February 03, 2018, 08:11:05 AM »
I personally don't see the Leafs trading any of JVR, Bozak or Komorov at the trade deadline, unless it is such a great offer they can't refuse and upgrades the current team. They won't subject from the existing lineup to a sell off in personnel as that would be sending the wrong message to a team that wants to win.  Babcock made it pretty clear this week, he's all about add not subtract. I think they hang on to all of them for as long a playoff run as possible, and then the Leafs wait to see what's going to happen with Taveras. If they have a real shot at him (he decides he wants out of the Islanders), they would likely dump all 3 of the contracts to make room. I think the Leafs are more likely to let their young d-man develop and see what they have for another year and take a shot at Taveras. If they don't get him. I could see them maybe resigning some of their pending UFAs and trying to take shot at Doughty next year depending on the development of their young d-men and where the Nylander and Marner contracts close at (Nylander's probably sets the bar for Marner unless Marner has a crazy good or bad following season). I think it's pretty clear Matthews will be in the 10-12 K range. Anyway that's my take.
While everyone including myself was anxious to see the Leafs add a right-handed d-man to strengthen the back end, I think now Shanny and Lou have wisely been patient and let these young d-men develop to see what they have. The cupboard may not have been as bare as first thought.

7



It's almost like Babcock read the Athletic article by Mirtle and copied his line combinations just to troll the fans.  By game time tomorrow Martin will be back on the 4th line and Komarov with Kadri.

I would like to see these lines stick. Leo should be on the 4th line. I actually think he could play centre. Good on face-offs, defensively responsible. 4th line centre solved. More offence up the line-up.

Martin has yet to be scratched this year, yes?

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Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Trade Deadline
« on: January 03, 2018, 02:01:21 PM »
I think it's pretty obvious the Lou and Co. need to step up and make a deal or two to augment-support this team as currently structured.

Once Zaitsev gets back, it would be fantastic is they could somehow secure that elusive top 4 right-handed d-man, ideally to be matched with Rielly. Not complaints about Hainsey, but getting a stronger right handed shot with Rielly would not only strengthen the top pairing but also allow Hainsey to slide in the 3 pairing alongside Borgman. Polak tries hard but lacks mobility. Carrick has mobility but lack the physical strength. Hainsey at least has a bit of both, and is more experienced with the puck than either of them. I think his stability would be an aide to Borgman, less running around.

It will be interesting to see what happens with Bozak, Komo and JVR. If the Leafs want to make a splash on D, something has to give.

Like Freddy the Goat last night. He was solid. If he continues to improve, Moore will be on the outside looking in. I don't mind Moore, but he occasionally takes undisciplined penalties, not what you would expect from a 4th line defensive veteran player.   

I still like the idea of Marner eventually playing centre instead of Nylander (who I like on the wing with Matthews). He's fun to watch and a natural playmaker. With JVR on one wing and either Brown or Kapanen on the right side, I don't think that line would be hurting.

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Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Re: Mitch Marner
« on: December 21, 2017, 11:57:10 AM »
I would like to see the Leafs eventually try Marner at center. I think it would give him more open ice for his creativity. I think he's committed enough to become responsible defensively. He's 50% on a small sample size of face-off this year, and it's not like he doesn't have any experience playing center in junior (not same as NHL), but at least he's played there. If Bozak goes, that would allow either Brown or Kapanen to slide into the right side, and that line would probably be just as good, if not better. I like Willie with Matthews.

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Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Re: William Nylander
« on: December 15, 2017, 09:58:02 AM »
Damien Cox had an article today on Willie and Mitch's off years leaving money on the table, though Marner is still a year away from a new deal. I expect Nylander to come in at $6 million, comparable Nic Ehlers, drafted one spot below him but has played 50 more games. Marner will probably come in around the same. Matthews gets at least 10. The way he started the years, he could have been looking at McDavid type money. There is still a ways to go for him and he might get there yet. But around $22 million for the 3 of them would be decent, considering Kane-Toews, McDavid-Draisaitl, are a combined $20 each.

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Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Re: Mitch Marner
« on: October 26, 2017, 05:40:01 PM »
Martin is like an insurance policy, something you don't think you need until you actually do. Granted the league has changed, tough guys have to be able to actually play, and I think Martin is fine. He takes his man, he's not stupid with the puck (makes simple plays) and is not a liability defensively. When the going gets tough in playoff time, it will be very useful to have that insurance policy. Though it's no longer a fighting league, teams will still exploit talented players by hammering them if they think there is no one there to keep them in check, to be accountable to. With all the firepower the Leafs have, I think we can afford one spot for that kind of insurance. Plus when his sticks up for his teammates it has a positive reaction for the team up on the bench.

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Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Re: Your TML Rebuild Plan
« on: October 10, 2017, 08:51:08 PM »
I think we'll have a better read on Rielly after this season. Last couple of years Babcock seriously focused Rielly on his defensive game, either with a sub-par partner or with Zaitsev who had to spend the year adjust to new league and new environment. Last year Rielly was often the 3rd d-man choice for the power play, behind Gardiner and even Zaitsev. This year, Babs is throwing Rielly over the boards  as the first d-man option on the powerplay, even ahead of Gardiner. This is no accident, just more methodology by Babs in Rielly's development. I have to say Hainsey has been a pleasant surprise in terms of just being very solid. I am not sure why he should be a surprise that way or that he'll be in the top 4 for long, but I thnk pairing him with Rielly for now was a good idea.

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Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Re: The Lupul Situation
« on: October 04, 2017, 04:51:22 PM »
Glad this is cleared up but frankly I think all the talk about the Leafs being hamstrung by young guys growing salaries is over-blown.

I look at it this way...

1. With bonuses, Nylander was making 1.6 million. Lupul's 5.2 million coming off the books can cover that, putting him in Johnny Gaudreau salary range. I don't see him getting more than that unless he is the second coming of Connor McDavid this year, note that is hyperbole.

2. Ditto for Marner on money with bonuses currently and a pay hike of similar proportions. With Cowen and Gleason coming off the books, that a $2 mil savings. Assuming the cap grows as it has by about $2 million a year, that $4 million toward his raise, and replace Fehr with Altonen and save another million. That"s Marner done, next...

3. Auston Mathews currently comes in at about $3.8 million when you add in bonuses, so he needs about another $7 million to get him done. Take $2 million from the subsequent year cap hike and make the 3rd year of Marleau disappear and that's done. I suspect the Leafs have a way to do that in mind or they never would have signed him for the 3rd year, knowing Mathews would have to be re-upped then.

They could also let some of their UFAs walk, but maybe they can hang on to at least two of them. I think Bozak and Komarov have to resign for pretty much the same dollars if they want to remain in Leafland. They are essentially both 3rd liners though playing on different lines. Kadri is our second best centre. Bozak is just playing with two top 6 wingers. JVR is another story, if he puts up similar numbers, he'll be entitled to a decent raise, probably in the Marleau range. The Leafs could easily let Bozak walk to accommodate this or just trade him for picks. Then shift, I think (contrary to popular opinion) Marner to centre and insert another right winger, Kapanen, Bracco into the lineup, with Brownie probably moving up a notch.

Hainsey later comes off the books at $3 million just in time for a nice raise for Jake Gardiner, and a cheaper young alternative (Liljegren, Rosen, Dermott) slips in the line-up.

This scenario is built on a few assumptions: cap continues to rise at same rate as recent years, Leafs know they'll be able to ditch 3rd year of Marleau contract, and the don't go out and make a deal for a high costs player without shedding an equivalent amount of salary.

I do think it's all very realistic and the "cap crunch" is more of an over-hyped media thread, though I still agree the Leafs have to manage it carefully. But I don't see things as being as desperate as being portrayed out there.

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Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Re: Opening Roster
« on: September 30, 2017, 12:30:59 PM »
This is what I'd like to see, not what I expect to see:

Hyman, Matthews, Nylander
JVR, Bozak, Marner
Marleau Kadri Brown
Martin Komarov Kapanen
Moore, Leivo extras

Rielly Hainsey (for now)
Gardiner Zaitsev
Rosen Carrick
Marincin (if Polak is not ready, then eventually Polak 7th guy, Marincin gets waved).
Eventually Liljegren gets into the right side D and one of Borgman, Rosen, Dermott (or longer shot Nielson) becomes the 3rd pairing guy behind Gardiner and Rielly. I really like Borgman and would actually rate him slightly higher than Rosen based on training camp. I'd just like him to get 20+ minutes a game with the Marlies first. He won't get that playing third pairing with the Leafs now.

Anderson, McElhenny (for some reason I always associate his name with the song Macarena...so when he's playing well my Leaf buddies and I have taken to singing that song substituting his name in..."Do the McElhenny"...weird I know)

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Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Opening Roster
« on: September 28, 2017, 07:51:15 AM »
Babcock says it will probably take 10 games into the season to figure out the roster but they'll have to start with something.
I've been pleasantly surprised with the two Swedish defencemen, Rosen and Borgman. To me, they shown so far to be the best 6-7 defencemen, though I don't think it makes sense to have one of them in the press box. Going in the hype was around Dermott, but the Swedes have been impressive in their puck movement and hockey sense. If Rielly, Zaitsev and Carrick take a step forward the way Gardiner has, this d-group might be quite a bit better than people have been going on about. What's your take on an opening night roster?


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