Brian Boyle discusses his future and interest in a return to Toronto, Chris Johnston and Darren Dreger weigh up the price for the Maple Leafs to acquire a defenceman, Johnston reports that the Leafs are in talks with Vegas, and more in the links.

Leafs Links

McKenzie: McPhee revealing talks with Leafs could be gamesmanship (TSN1050)
TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie joined OverDrive to defend his scathing scouting report on Odog before he was drafted, why George McPhee may have revealed he was speaking with Lou Lamoriello and if the Leafs should bring back Brian Boyle.

Everyone is wondering what George was talking about when he mentioned Lou Lamoriello’s name. It was a weird one because George doesn’t usually say too much to begin with. He’s not a GM who likes to air his stuff in public. And then to mention one of the most secretive GMs in the league, that you’re talking to him? A lot of people were wondering if that’s a smokescreen. Is that designed to maybe think Ottawa think Toronto is interested in Marc Methot so Pierre Dorion better offer more to get Vegas to lay off Methot? Or is it a legit thing where Toronto and Vegas are actually talking and, as Frank Seravelli and a few others have reported, maybe Colin Miller in Boston is available. He’s a guy that Leafs brass would be well familiar with; he played for Kyle Dubas and Sheldon Keefe up in Sault Ste. Marie and is kind of an analytics darling in terms of the kind of defenceman that he is. Is that something that maybe the Leafs are working on? We don’t know the answers to those questions, but maybe that was a bit of a game playing there, or maybe it was an actual case of telling people, “Hey, Lou and I are talking.”

Examining Colin Miller as a potential trade target for the Maple Leafs (MLHS)
This is where Boston’s Colin Miller, who went unprotected yesterday and looks like the best asset available to Vegas from the Bruins’ list, could pique interest. The 24-year-old played a limited role in Boston this season – 15:48 per game, 13:55 at even strength – but he caught the eye whenever I watched the Bruins play as a highly mobile, right-handed defenceman with a heavy shot. In the AHL in 2014-15 (his sophomore season in the league), Miller put up 19 goals and 55 points to lead all AHL defencemen in goals and earned the call to the AHL All-Star Game. In the skills competition, he won the fastest skater award with a 13.8-second lap and the hardest shot title with a 105.5 mph reading.

Brian Boyle on interest in returning to Leafs, next contract (TSN1050)
Maple Leafs centre Brian Boyle joined Leafs Lunch to discuss his thoughts on Las Vegas and the expansion draft, plus how it affects his own plans for the offseason as an unrestricted free agent this summer.

On how he handicaps his odds of returning to Toronto:

There is just so much going on. There is definitely — like I said on cleanout day — interest from me. We enjoyed our time [in Toronto]. I’m a product of the Maple Leafs right now. You kind of have to wait and see. Every GM has a lot of decisions to make. Right now it’s kind of between Rick Curran, my agent, and Lou. They’re, I’m sure, having conversations or have had conversations. Those conversations, unfortunately, have to kind of have to stay between our camp and theirs. It’s more along the lines of — I really did enjoy my time there and it’s exciting. It’s a very exciting time to be a part of that team. I know the fans welcomed me phenomenally and they’ve got to be excited about what is to come with the Leafs. It’s obviously a great situation.

That said, people talk about a lot of different things; a number of different teams. When the season ended, I was trying to figure out what we were going to do and where we were going to go. Thankfully, I’ve had enough distractions. You’re not really going to find anything out in the near future. We just have to wait and see, unfortunately.

On what he’s looking for on his next contract:

You want to have some term. That’s obviously a big thing. It’s tougher when you’re 32 as opposed to when you’re 26 or 27 or 28. I love the game, so that’s obviously something you look at. My wife is very, very adaptable. She’s shown that certainly in the last five or six months and now juggling with two kids. As long as we can all be together — us four, and if we add more kids — it’s just kind of taking it on as it comes. You can’t really control everything. Trades happen and moves happen and things work out and sometimes they don’t. But I think, from my perspective, obviously we did like the warm weather in Tampa and we could get used to that. But, again, we’re adaptable. We want to be in a market that embraces the game and wants to cheer on their team. You want to have success in front of those fans.

Maple Leafs won’t lose sleep over expansion draft (Fan 590)
SN’s Sr. hockey writer Chris Johnston provides his thoughts on the players the Leafs exposed in the expansion draft, whether Lou Lamoriello may try to swing a deal with Vegas for a player exposed by other clubs, and the Golden Knight’s possibly hoarding entry draft picks.

The Leafs aren’t the only ones [in the market for a defenceman]. Teams like Edmonton and Tampa Bay are in the market for the same type of player. The one thing about that [defence] market is Vegas is asking for the stars and the moon in order to get those type of guys because they control, basically, the entire trade market around the league right now.

Maple Leafs could benefit from possible Vegas defence surplus (Sportsnet)
McPhee is holding a lot of cards and he revealed Tuesday that he’d extended his window to complete trades by a day for a handful of GMs, including Lamoriello. “I was talking to Lou Lamoriello last night, he had travel issues,” said McPhee. “So we talked last night at 11:30 and then we talked again this morning about 4:45 (a.m.).”

Dreger: This is the Leafs best opportunity to add a defenceman (TSN1050)
TSN Hockey insider Darren Dreger joined Naylor & Landsberg to discuss the NHL Expansion Draft, the Maple Leafs search for a defenceman, Shane Doan not being re-signed by the Coyotes and more.

The biggest thing, obviously, would be to land a defenceman. The problem is that there are a handful of guys that are available but there are so many teams that are still looking for that piece. If we’re looking to attach Toronto’s interest to the Anaheim Ducks and Vatanen — number one, we have to confirm that Anaheim and the Vegas Golden Knights actually made a deal to keep Vegas away from Sami Vatanen because he was on their available list, along with Josh Manson. I don’t for a second believe that either one of those players is going to the Golden Knights. I’m sure that Bob Murray of the Ducks has appropriately paid off the Golden Knights in whatever fashion.

That doesn’t mean that Vatanen isn’t going to be traded. They’re going to extend Fowler in Anaheim, I’d expect, July 1st or July 2nd. That will be a multi-year extension. There is going to be a willingness to part with assets. Where do the Maple Leafs fit in there? Is it Vatanen that they covet? Is it Brodin from the Minnesota Wild? Whether that happens this week or not, we can’t be certain. But I can be certain Toronto has a pretty significant interest.

I think it is the best opportunity [to acquire a defenceman]. I can’t recall the last time there were names like the names that are being thrown out there as being potentially available. You think of Tyson Barrie with the Avalanche. Vatanen, who we’ve talked about. Travis Hamonic with the Islanders. Is he going to be available? We believe that he is. These are good young players that fit into that age dynamic that the Maple Leafs are trying to build around. The surprise to me, I think, and perhaps Leafs Nation in general, is what the Leafs are going to have to pay to acquire one of these players. I don’t think that there is a willingness in Toronto to attack their young core with a Nylander or piece like that. So what’s it going to take? Does Toronto have the assets or the stomach to move out a good key draft pick or prospect to go along with that? That is going to be most interesting. What is Toronto going to pay to acquire on of those pieces?

Golden Knights, Leafs in trade talks as deadline nears (TSN)
The idea of simultaneously dinging a division rival in the process can’t be overlooked. The conspiracy theorist might wonder why McPhee would specifically confirm he’s in conversation with Lamoriello about a deal, since he’s been around long enough to know Lamoriello would despise that type of detail being shared publicly. Could it possibly be in an attempt to bluff Senators GM Pierre Dorion into ponying up to keep Methot? Multiple reports indicate the Senators are unlikely to strike a deal with Vegas to lay off him.

Vegas could take on Kulemin in deal with Islanders: report (Puck Daddy)
It will cost the Islanders at least a first-round pick to call their shot, according to Staples, and the deal will likely involve a third component. He suggests that injured forward Mikhail Grabovski could also be on the move, but that would mean Vegas would take on a second unwanted contract, and in turn free up more than $9 million for the Islanders. If that’s the case, you would have to expect the Golden Knights to command more than the 15th overall selection to house both deals.

9 defence targets: Maple Leafs could strike trade through Vegas (Sportsnet)
A No. 3 defenceman on one of the league’s best defensive teams, Dumba is a right shot who can log big minutes (20:19 per night in 2016-17). Dumba wields a strong point shot (he led all Wild D-men in goals with 11) and can improve a power-play unit. The best part? He’s only 22 and his cap hit ($2.55 million) is modest. Dumba — a subject of “quality trade offers” — could grow with the Leafs young D core. Our favourite pick of this bunch.

Maple Leafs goalie prospect Joseph Woll named to USA Hockey’s WJSS (PPP)
USA Hockey announced their roster for the World Junior Summer Showcase this August in Plymouth, Michigan. Joseph Woll, drafted 62nd overall in the 2016 draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs, is one of four goalies invited. Woll went on to play in last year’s WJC for the USA, starting two games and finishing the tournament with a .935 save percentage and a gold medal. He plays for Boston College and had a .913 save percentage there this season in 34 games.

Bob McKenzie’s Final Draft Rankings Show (TSN)
With the NHL Entry Draft less than a week away, Bob McKenzie releases his final rankings after surveying the scouts on who the best available players are this year.

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