With their heartbreaking finish to the 2013-14 campaign still fresh in their fans’ minds, the Toronto Maple Leafs might make a big move before the NHL Entry Draft.
They currently control the eighth overall pick, but took time during the NHL combine to interview a projected top-three pick in a move that was “more than due diligence,” according to a Toronto Sun source.
The same source believes that the Maple Leafs are interested in moving up in the draft and while that doesn’t necessarily mean anything will happen, it’s not a far-fetched notion.
Keep in mind that both New York Islanders GM Garth Snow and Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon have confirmed that they are willing to trade down from the fifth and first overall picks respectively.
“I definitely will [be shopping the pick], especially this year,” Tallon said in May. “We had a couple of nibbles the day after we won [the lottery]. There were a couple guys calling to bust my chops, asking ‘what are you going to do?’ And that’s fine. It’s a good thing.”
Online bookmaker Bovada also recently gave 2/1 odds that the Panthers would trade their pick. They also gave 3/1 odds that Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri would be dealt. Kadri is rumored to be a player that might head to the Panthers as part of a trade for the top selection.
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.