Tag:Toronto Maple Leafs
Posted on: September 16, 2011 9:48 am
Edited on: September 16, 2011 11:53 am
 

Schenn, Leafs reach deal; Isles lock up Bailey

By Brian Stubits

Make that two restricted free agents down, two more to go.

Just in the nick of time, the Islanders re-signed Josh Bailey then the Leafs followed suit by extending Luke Schenn, each without new contracts the day before most teams reported to training camp. That means we reached camps with all the restricted free agents under contract except two: the Coyotes' Kyle Turris and the big name on the block, Drew Doughty with the Kings.

Schenn was a tough negotiation to figure out. Eventually he got a five-year contract for $3.6 million annually. The Maple Leafs were looking for a lower price for Schenn but the desire to tie him into a longer deal drove up what they were willing to pay. The money does seem high, but consider what the going rate is for defensemen these days...

The hard part of the Schenn talks is trying to figure out his value. He's still a young player and projects to be a star for the Leafs on the blueline for a long time to come, but he hasn't shown that form as of yet. Clearly GM Brian Burke thinks he will meet that potential soon enough.

Billed as a stay-at-home defenseman, Schenn had five goals and 17 assists with Toronto last season while recording a minus-7. Those numbers were certainly a contributing factor in getting a good contract.

First came Bailey. Word of his new contract came down in the late hours Thursday night and he made if official by signing his two-year, $2.1 million contract on Friday morning.

Bailey's contract comes on the heels of the team re-signing John Tavares, avoiding the restricted free-agency drama altogether. Reports all along were that the negotiations were close and going smoothly, a deal was expected to be reached. I wonder why it took so long, but as long as it was completed before camp, no harm no foul, just some uneasiness.

Bailey is another part of the young core the Islanders are building around. Last season playing 70 games he had a little stepback from his sophomore season, scoring 11 goals to go with 17 assists.

Photo: Getty Images

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Posted on: September 14, 2011 5:12 pm
Edited on: September 14, 2011 5:15 pm
 

Zach Bogosian signs with Jets

By: Adam Gretz

Earlier this week contract talks between the Winnipeg Jets and their restricted free agent defenseman Zach Bogosian were described as "status quo," meaning that nothing appeared to be imminent between the two sides.

Obviously these talks can progress rapidly, and on Thursday afternoon the team announced that they finally reached a deal, which is reported to be a two-year pact worth $5 million, which comes out to $2.5 million per year. The terms are identical to the deal Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand signed earlier in the day.

In 71 games last season Bogosian's offense slipped down to just five goals and 12 assists, the lowest totals of his brief NHL career which started during the 2008-09 season when he appeareed in 47 games with the Atlanta Thrashers after he was selected with third overall pick in the 2008 draft. Before agreeing to terms with the Jets, Bogosian was one of three defenseman selected within the first five picks of the 2008 draft that was still unsigned this offseason as a restricted free agent, joining Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty and Luke Schenn of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Bogosian's deal shouldn't have any impact on the talks between the Kings and Doughty, and it remains to be seen if it will mean anything to the eventual figure that Schenn and the Leafs come to. Even though they play the same position, they're two completely different players, with Bogosian having more of an offensive game while Schenn is a shutdown, defense-first type of player.

In the end, it's kind of a "show me" contract as Bogosian gets two years to prove he can be the top defenseman he was projected to be when he was selected and pick up a longer, more lucrative contract.

Photo: Getty Images

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Posted on: September 14, 2011 11:11 am
Edited on: September 14, 2011 4:47 pm
 

Sabres defenseman Myers close to extension

By Brian Stubits

According to reports, the Sabres are close to locking down their young star Tyler Myers with a long-term extension. He is set to become a restricted free agent after next season when his entry-level contracts expire.

TSN's Bob McKenzie says Myers' deal would likely be in the six-year range for roughly $5.5 million per season, about the same length and money the Islanders just gave to John Tavares. Although Myers could be looking at an additional year onto the six years thrown out by McKenzie, according to ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun.

Myers made an immediate impact in the NHL, earning the Calder Memorial Trophy for the league's top rookie. Standing 6-feet-8, he is a massive presence, who almost seems stronger than even he knows. His offensive numbers did dip a bit in his second season, recording 10 fewer assists and one less goal, but he's still seen as a huge part of the team's plan moving forward (literally and figuratively). Myers attributed his step back last season to trying to do too much.

If it goes through, it would be a pretty hefty price tag and the Sabres would clearly be banking on Myers showing his freshman year form again down the line.

A couple of other contract updates while we're at it here:

  The Maple Leafs appear to also be on the verge of a deal with their young star Luke Schenn (Toronto Sun)

  However the Coyotes and Kyle Turris don't appear to be any closer to an extension in their negotiations. (Andy Strickland)

Photo: Getty Images

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Posted on: September 11, 2011 10:39 am
Edited on: September 11, 2011 11:24 am
 

'Status quo' for Zach Bogosian talks

Zach1By: Adam Gretz

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty is still the biggest restricted free agent defenseman looking for a new deal, but the Winnipeg Jets have their own young player to work out a deal with in Zach Bogosian, the player taken one spot after Doughty in the 2008 draft.

According to general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, via Ed Tait and Tim Campbell of the Winnipeg Free Press, the two sides are no closer to a new agreement.

Said Cheveldayoff, "Things are pretty much status quo. There are conversations as we go. Time will play itself out."

Status quo, of course, also means that there is no deal for the 21-year-old defenseman.

Bogosian appeared in 71 games for the Thrashers last season and logged over 22 minutes of ice-time per game, third on the team trailing only fellow defensemen Dustin Byfuglien and Tobias Enstrom. Despite playing in over 70 games and playing more minutes (per game) than ever in his career, he posted the lowest offensive numbers of his brief career, recording just five goals and 12 assists. There was some talk earlier in the offseason that the emergence of Byfuglien and Enstrom as the clubs top options on the power play not only cut into his minutes on the man advantage, but also his power play production. He did end up playing more power play minutes in 2010-11 than in any of his previous seasons, but also managed to scored less on the power play than in his first two seasons.

There have been reports this week that Doughty, the Kings standout defenseman, has turned down multiple offers, including a potential nine-year, $61 million deal. Bogosian will not come anywhere close to that type of deal for obvious reasons (like, for example, he's not as good as Doughty). Actually, Bogosian's contract is a little harder to figure than his fellow restricted free agent defenseman (and draft class mates), Doughty and Luke Schenn, because so much of his value right is still based on potential.

In Los Angeles, Doughty is the Kings' top defenseman and one of the best in the NHL. In Toronto, Schenn is the Maple Leafs' top shutdown defenseman and penalty killer. Bogosian is neither the Jets top power play option (that would be Byfuglien and Enstrom), nor is he their top shutdown guy or penalty killer. Pretty much everything about his contract will be based on his potential and what he can do as opposed to what he has done.

It will be interesting to see what sort of deal he and the Jets eventually come to.

Photo: Getty Images

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Posted on: September 8, 2011 10:42 pm
 

Report: Kyle Wellwood signs with Jets

By: Adam Gretz

The Winnipeg Jets reportedly agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal with free agent center Kyle Wellwood on Thursday night, according to Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun. The Jets haven't officially announced the move, but Wellwood's name did appear on the team's roster on its official website, before quickly being removed.

The 28-year-old Wellwood spent last season with the San Jose Sharks and scored five goals in 35 regular season games, before recording seven points in 18 playoff games. For his career, which has also included time with the Toronto Maple Leafs (the team that drafted him) and Vancouver Canucks, he's scored 68 goals in 373 games.

For a team that doesn't have a ton of depth down the middle it could prove to be a solid depth move, as Wellwood can add some decent offense from a bottom-six role and is a strong presence in the face-off circle.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: September 6, 2011 4:52 pm
 

What to expect for Brad Marchand, remaining RFAs

By Brian Stubits

Remember back a few months, when they were actually playing hockey. The breakout star of the playoffs was Brad Marchand for the Bruins. He was second in goals scored for the entire playoffs despite playing in his first postseason, a run that included two goals in the Game 7 win in Vancouver.

But success isn't cheap. That's why Marchand still doesn't have a contract to talk about at this point. Clearly Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli and Marchand's camp can't agree on what kind of money he should receive. There is no doubt both sides want to stay together. The B's have a promising player coming out of his rookie season while Marchand found himself on a championship team and fitting in with Boston.

Therein lies the dilemma. Is Marchand worth big bucks after showing all that he's capable of in the playoffs? That's what his agent has to be saying. Or could it be that he played just a little over his head in the playoffs. He wouldn't be the first to have done that. That has to be the concern for Chiarelli.

Now you have to give the Bruins GM this: he's being very prudent. Boston has the room to sign Marchand to a relatively big contract. Per Cap Geek, the B's still have more than $7 million in cap space available. So you could understand if he conceded to get Marchand back in the fold ASAP. But the goal is to set up a longtime winner and that could be damaged by bad contracts. Not to say signing Marchand to a big deal would be a bad contract, but it could be.

In cases like this, you are always on the lookout for precedents. Thankfully, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren gave a pretty good one last week when he signed James van Riemsdyk to an extension. Philly gave him a six-year deal that carries a $4.25 million annual cap hit.

Comparing the two, JVR has two full NHL seasons under his belt as opposed to one-plus for Marchand. But last season, the players had strikingly similar numbers. In 75 games, Van Riemsdyk had 21 goals and 19 assists. In 77 games, Marchand had 21 goals and 20 assists. They both also stepped up their scoring pace in the playoffs as Van Riemsdyk had seven goals in 11 games while Marchand had 11 tallies and eight assists in 25 games.

So at this point, the two could pass for career twins. So if Chiarelli was looking to keep the figure low, this didn't help. When the sides finally get this worked out, I'd expect to see a deal very similar to Van Riemsdyk's, just for a shorter length.

In the meantime, Marchand can continue to work on the promising rapping career.

Now a look at the other high-profile restricted free agents still sans deals.

Drew Doughty, Kings: This one has been discussed at incredible length this offseason, but we can't ignore it here. The assumption was that the deal coming from Shea Weber's arbitration hearing would lead to a resolution in Los Angeles. Now it wasn't expected that Doughty would receive the same money that Weber would, but something close. It's hard to imagine this getting resolved without Doughty getting north of $5.5 million-plus, and that's on the conservative side.

Luke Schenn, Maple Leafs: The Leafs continue to try and bring Schenn into the fold long-term, hoping he can be a significant piece to their future. The good news for fans in Toronto is that GM Brian Burke remains confident Schenn will be signed before training camp begins, indicating that the sides might not be that far apart. Judging by the fact that Burke has been unwilling to trade Schenn and the Leafs seem to believe he will develop into an elite shutdown defenseman, you are left to assume Schenn will get a decent amount of scratch, probably somewhere around $3 million-$3.5 million annually, along the likes of the Rangers' Marc Staal. But with Burke it's almost impossible to accurately guess.

Zach Bogosian, Jets: Bogosian was billed as a very solid two-way defenseman coming out of the 2008 draft, but so far he hasn't matched that billing. Five goals and 12 assists like a season ago don't exactly scream two-way star. Realistically, he shouldn't expect to get a pay day similar to Schenn, perhaps a comparable player. The only problem in their numbers from last season being very similar, Schenn isn't expected to give a lot on the offensive side while Bogosian is. Of course there's still plenty of time from Bogosian to grow and perhaps become the player scouts envisioned once upon a time. But considering he's still a second-pairing defenseman for Winnipeg, the best guess would be a modest money amount over a shorter length to give more time to evaluate Bogosian's NHL value.

The rest of the RFAs:

Kyle Turris, Coyotes: The third overall draft pick in 2007, he doesn't appear to be near a deal with Phoenix at this point, asking for about $4 million annually over three years per ESPN.com. As you would guess, the Coyotes aren't willing to go near that mark. This one will take some serious concessions, likely on Turris' behalf.

Shawn Matthias, Panthers: The former prized prospect is going to have to swallow the fact the Panthers won't give him a guaranteed, one-way contract. That seems to the hold up in the negotiations here, but the Panthers feel there is too much competition for roster spots to guarantee a guy who hasn't proven he deserves a spot yet.

Josh Bailey, Islanders: He has shown some promise for becoming a decent scorer in the NHL, finding the net 16 times as a 20-year-old two seasons ago. Lighthouse Hockey did a good job of comparing Bailey to Phoenix's Mikkel Boedker and his recent $1.1 million annual contract a few weeks back, concluding Bailey has shown he deserves more than that.

Kyle Cumiskey, Avalanche: The Avs did give him a qualifying offer on the heels of an 18-game season, but that's as far as negotiations have gone. But Adrian Dater at the Denver Post expects the hurdles will be overcome in the next week and Cumiskey will be back for camp.

Photo: Getty Images

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Posted on: August 31, 2011 11:08 pm
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Posted on: August 31, 2011 6:10 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2011 11:35 pm
 

Wade Belak found dead

Belak

By: Adam Gretz

What has been an incredibly sad offseason in the NHL continued to get worse with the news that recently retired defenseman Wade Belak was found dead in a Toronto condo on Wednesday afternoon according to the Toronto Sun. He was 35 years old.

Belak, selected 12th overall in the 1994 Entry Draft by the Quebec Nordiques, spent 14 seasons in the NHL as a member of the Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers and, most recently, the Nashville Predators. In 549 career games he scored eight goals and tallied over 1,263 penalty minutes.

He announced his retirement back in March.

On Wednesday evening the Predators organization released the following statement:
“The entire Nashville Predators organization and family is shocked and saddened by the sudden and untimely passing of Wade Belak. Wade was a beloved member of the organization, a terrific teammate and wonderful father and husband. He will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Jennifer and children Andie and Alex. We offer our full support to them at this very difficult time.”
Belak's name was in the news earlier this month when it was announced that he was going to appear in CBC's Battle of the Blades, which is basically Canada's on ice version of Dancing With The Stars

His primary role in the NHL was as an enforcer and fighter, which will make it easy for everyone to immediately connect his death to the recent passings of Derek Boogaard and Rick Rypien, both of whom were also fighters. Whether there's any connection or not, it's been a very disturbing couple of months.

According to Hockeyfights.com Belak was involved in over 125 fights during his NHL career.

I never met Belak or had an opportunity to speak with him, but just about every person that did meet him and work with him throughout his 15-year NHL career has shared pretty much the same opinion on Wednesday night: He was an amazing person to be around and always -- always -- a fantastic player to interview.

You can find plenty of examples of his personality on YouTube, including just about every episode of the "Wade a Minute" segment that was filmed during his tenure with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Here are a couple of examples:



Photo: Getty Images

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com