The Toronto Maple Leafs have one more piece of in-house business to take care of after getting James Reimer signed to a two-year deal and that’s with restricted free agent Jake Gardiner.
Gardiner, 24, is coming off his entry-level contract and likely headed towards a bridge deal with the Leafs. As Kevin McGran of The Toronto Star shared, Leafs GM Dave Nonis isn’t worried about getting the blue liner re-signed.
“Talks are on-going,” Nonis said. “Things are going fine. I don’t see any hiccups there.”
According to CapGeek.com, the Leafs have $4.3 million in cap space now that they’ve got Reimer’s deal done. With that kind of cushion, the Leafs have plenty of room to work out a short-term deal with the young defenseman.
Last season, Gardiner had 10 goals and 31 points in 80 games and averaged 21:05 of ice time per game. He’s valuable and is someone the team wants to see develop a stronger defensive game. For now, he and fellow youngster Morgan Rielly are their two best puck-carriers and players the organization wants to see step up next season.
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.