Mashup: No moves, just JvR & guessing games


Photo: Peter J. Thompson/National Post

The new CBA negotiations have started and everything seems quiet on the trade front. Not much  of relevance currently going on in around the NHL.

Now, don’t get me wrong, labor negotiations are easily the most important thing happening this summer because, clearly, they will significantly impact the game in the foreseeable future which is why it’s prudent to always keep one eye on the process. But what we’ve heard so far is nothing to be alarmed about, at least not yet.

Recently, the NHL made an initial CBA offer to the NHLPA which included the following:

– a reduction of players’ hockey-related revenues from 57 percent to 46 percent.

– players would need to wait 10 seasons before becoming unrestricted free agents

– a maximum contract length of five years.

– an end to salary arbitration and that entry-level contracts would be five years instead of three as they are under the current CBA.

– an elimination of signing bonuses on future contracts and a mandate that all future deals have an equal value for every year of the contract.

As a player, I would find this offer completely unacceptable and insulting, but I think both sides understand how the game is played and fully realize these are just initial bids. More on this in an excellent piece by Jon Seitzer.

Shifting back to the Leafs specifically, I find myself thinking about the roster for next season and try to marry those thoughts with statements made by Brian Burke. One thought that is tough to rationalize is JvR’s test at C.

Sure, I fully applaud the kid’s willingness to try and get more ice time, play with better players and grab the opportunity that’s been given to him. He’s a slick passer, with wonderful vision, who would bring size to that position and has played center before (not in the NHL).

It can’t be Plan A, though. Burke has said he sees him on the wing but that the coaching is up to Carlyle, and Carlyle, operating in the context of who is currently on his roster, has said he will try him at center. As the days pass we are left wondering if there even is a Plan A in play and it’s all the more mysterious when you take into account the affect the CBA negotiations may have on player movement.

As far as the goaltending is concerned, there are rumors out there that the Leafs are looking to St. Louis and Jaroslav Halak. That would make quite a bit of sense as far as the Leafs are concerned and would further fortify Poulin’s quote about the magnitude of names being thrown in trade talks.

Halak has already proven he can handle a big market, he has already proven (if need be) that he can share ice time (which would help develop Reimer/Scrivens) and he is a legitimate No.1 goaltender in this league. My question is, does St. Louis really want to break up the dynamic duo of Elliott, Halak and if that’s the case, would they find it difficult to trust Elliott with the bulk of crease time? My answers are – no and yes. Just because we see a perfect fit, doesn’t mean the other side does. Of course, the deal can include one of Reimer, Scrivens going the other way, but does that appeal to the Blues?

Of course, this is all just speculation at this point. Maybe Burke is still simply planning, or is waiting to get an even better glance of the new CBA (as talks continue) to have a better picture of which deal is right for the future and the why behind it. In any case, all that’s left to do at this point is wonder.



Report: Leafs make pitch for Jonathan Bernier

Emerging late last night, Andi Petrillo (not to be confused with Anthony Petrielli, the guy who writes long posts at MLHS) reports the Leafs have an offer in on the Kings’ Jonathan Bernier.

I’m not buying this rumour just yet. It’s not consistent with what Burke has said re: not acquiring unproven goaltenders. He has the edge in pedigree over Reimer/Scrivens but Burke may as well go with what he’s got if we’re talking young goaltenders. Bernier’s numbers are no better than Reimer’s.

It makes absolutely not sense to me, at least.

Couple of oldies (as in last week) but goodies here:

Prospects Morgan Rielly and Matt Finn adjusting to the fishbowl

Henny has a one on one Q&A with JvR

From VLM: Do the Maple Leafs have an identity? What does it need to be?

New pics up at VintageLeafs, coach Carlyle included

Janssen apologizes for his interview, we had no doubt he would