It hasn’t been pretty, but after dropping five straight games, the Toronto Maple Leafs have been able to stop the bleeding. They have a four-point lead on the second Wild Card spot after beating Dallas in overtime and Ottawa in a shootout.
All the same, the Maple Leafs, which are 6-7-3 since October, might make a trade in the not too distant future to address their problems up the middle.
The team has been trying to get by without Dave Bolland and now Tyler Bozak (oblique) is on the long-term injured reserve list just a couple weeks after returning from a hamstring injury.
It’s gotten to the point where Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis is “getting desperate” in his pursuit of a center, according to a general manager whotalked to the Sun Media’s Bruce Garrioch. That move would be in addition to his previous acquisition of 22-year-old center Peter Holland.
Of course, just because Nonis wants to get something done doesn’t mean anything will necessarily happen yet. Not many teams would consider themselves sellers with roughly two-thirds of the campaign left. Still, we’ve already seen some meaningful trades this season, so nothing can be ruled out.
For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”
On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.
With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.
“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”
As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.
It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.
Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?
We’ll know in a month.
Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:
The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.
The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.
If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.
Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”
And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.
While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.