Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis has been granted a five-year contract extension.
In what amounts to a strong vote of confidence from ownership, the extension comes less than a year after Nonis took over from Brian Burke, who was fired in January.
Under Nonis, the Leafs made the playoffs in the lockout-shortened 2013 season — their first postseason appearance since 2004 — but lost in the first round to the Boston Bruins (in heartbreaking fashion).
“Ownership and management felt it was critical to extend David now for a lengthy period of time and to reward him for the progression of the Leafs and Marlies,” said Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment chief Tim Leiweke in a statement.
“This extension will allow David the time to build his kind of team to produce steady results, year after year. Everyone is excited about his ability and grasp of the NHL landscape and today’s new contract agreement will offer the Leafs consistency and a long-term vision.”
Nonis has been very active this summer, buying out Mikhail Grabovski and Mike Komisarek, acquiring Jonathan Bernier and Dave Bolland in trades, re-signing Tyler Bozak, and adding David Clarkson in free agency.
How those moves turn out remains to be seen, but clearly ownership feels Nonis on the right track.
“I’m very grateful to Tim Leiweke and our ownership group for this contract extension,” said Nonis in a statement. “Together with our hockey operations staff, we’ll continue to patiently put the building blocks in place which will lead us to future success.”
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.