Tyler Bozak; Phil Kesse

Offseason Report: Toronto Maple Leafs


From July 16-Aug 16, we’ll be profiling all 30 NHL teams by recapping what they did this offseason and previewing their upcoming campaigns.

Last season

35-37-10, 80 points. Fourth in the Northeast Division, 13th in the Eastern Conference.


James van Riemsdyk, Jay McClement, Keith Aucoin


Colby Armstrong, Luke Schenn, Jonas Gustavsson, Philippe Dupuis, Joey Crabb

2012 Draft

First round, 5th overall — Morgan Rielly, D (WHL Moose Jaw)

Looking back

Toronto’s offseason was defined by what GM Brian Burke didn’t do, rather than what he did.

As for what he did…

Burke scored the promising-yet-oft-injured van Riemsdyk for a defenseman, Schenn, that had fallen out of favor — most notably with the ACC faithful.

He inked McClement to help Toronto’s woeful penalty kill, ranked 28th last season, and bought out the final year of Colby Armstrong’s contract, making amends for one of his costliest deals as Leafs GM (Armstrong signed for $9 million over three years and in return, missed 85 games and scored just nine goals.)

The problem, of course, is that Burke didn’t address either of Toronto’s biggest needs — in goal, and at center.

Looking forward

The biggest unresolved issue continues to be in net, where the Leafs seem ready to enter the year with the one-two punch of James Reimer and Ben Scrivens. Burke gave the pair a vote of confidence and Remier says he’s determined to be a good No. 1, but the facts remain:

1) Poor goaltending played a key role in Toronto’s collapse last season.

2) No real changes have been made to address it.

At center, things remain equally unsolved — especially on the top line. There’s hope that plugging van Riemsdyk between Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel will do the trick but, if that doesn’t work, the Leafs are back to playing Mikhail Grabovski and/or Tyler Bozak in that role.

The wildcard in all of this is Toronto’s youth movement. The Leafs have three former first-rounders — Carter Ashton, Joe Colborne, Nazem Kadri — that should push for roster spots. But are they ready to make the leap? The answer could be a factor in whether Toronto’s playoff drought ends, or extends to an eighth season.

Have your say

Vote in our poll and let us know what you think of the Leafs’ 2012-13 outlook in the comments section.

Video: Pekka Rinne’s zero-margin-of-error stick save

Leave a comment

Sometimes, the Nashville Predators were unlucky in November. Sometimes they were just bad.

Either way, they’re likely glad to step into December, and they’ve already gotten a big bounce. Watch how close this near-goal was into crossing the red line before Pekka Rinne barely stopped it with a well-placed goalie stick.

You can also see it up close via this GIF:

Here’s the NHL Situation Room Blog explanation for it remaining a no-goal:

At 13:06 of the first period in the Coyotes/Predators game, the Situation Room initiated a video review to further examine a play from 11:57. Video review confirmed the call on the ice that the puck did not cross the Nashville goal line. No goal Coyotes.

Alexei Emelin was ejected for this hit on Matt Calvert

1 Comment

Alexei Emelin has been in and out of the Montreal Canadiens lineup, but this wasn’t the way they wanted him to keep his legs fresh.

The hard-hitting defenseman received a game misconduct and five-minute major penalty for a late hit on Columbus Blue Jackets forward Matt Calvert on Tuesday.

So far, it sounds like Calvert may be OK.

You can see video of that hit above, as well as a GIF of the infraction via My Regular Face.

Many believe that Emelin should not have been ejected.

Injuries continue to dog Lupul as Leafs place him on IR

Joffrey Lupul
Leave a comment

Injuries have been a regular problem for Joffrey Lupul for much of his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it doesn’t look like that’s changing in 2015-16.

The team placed him on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 28, calling up Rich Clune in the process.

This IR stint means that Lupul will miss at least three games for Toronto.

From the sound of things, it’s a nagging issue, as NHL.com notes.

“He’s been having the same problem here for a bit,” Mike Babcock told media members on Sunday. “He doesn’t seem to be getting the power back that they thought, so we’re just trying to monitor it the best we can.”

Leafs Nation points out that Lupul has missed about one-third of Toronto’s contests since suffering a separated shoulder in April 2012.

At 32, there’s still time for Lupul to fight through this, although injuries generally accumulate with age.

WATCH LIVE: Wild at Blackhawks; Penguins at Sharks

Scott Darling, Charlie Coyle
1 Comment

Will Ryan Suter say something foolish during tonight’s game? Is Brent Burns‘ beard so long that it’s finally starting to scrape the ice?

We’ll find out the answer to those questions and more during Tuesday’s NBCSN doubleheader.

Need to follow the two games online? Never fear.

Game 1: Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks


Game 2: Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks