If you haven’t been keeping tabs on the Maple Leafs this summer, restricted free agent Nazem Kadri is still unsigned.
The Leafs are in a bind with the salary cap with both Kadri and Cody Franson left to get inked to new deals, and with less than $5 million in cap space to get it done, time ticks away.
After breaking out last season, Kadri is in position to cash in and he told Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun he’s trying to be cool about it.
See, he’s trying to be considerate of the cap but he’s also dealing out a ton of truth. It’s not his job to do that. It’s his job to score goals and get paid whatever he can to do it.
This is where Leafs GM Dave Nonis has put himself in a bit of a bind with the big deals he handed to David Clarkson and Tyler Bozak. Burning compliance buyouts on Mikhail Grabovski and Mike Komisarek drew plenty of criticism as it was while other players could’ve been chosen.
Now he’s got to find a way to appease both remaining RFAs and stay under the cap. Leafs faithful has to hope Nonis has a trade trick up his sleeve to solve this situation.
Being a head coach in the NHL is a perilous job. Turnover is high and guys are constantly shuffled in and out of jobs. Being the coach of a team with high-priced talent and big aspirations means having all the pressure in the world on your shoulders to win.
That’s the position Minnesota bench boss Mike Yeo finds himself in.
Entering his third season on the job, Yeo finds himself at the helm of a team that’s looking for more offense but made the playoffs last season even in spite of those troubles.
After getting bounced by Chicago in the first round of the playoffs, however, some fans in Minnesota were hopeful to see Yeo replaced, especially with the host of coaching talent available over the summer. Instead, GM Chuck Fletcher brought him back for another year.
With expectations perhaps being unreasonably high amongst Wild fans, especially considering many of their players are still very young and they just made the playoffs for the first time in five years, getting on Yeo’s case about coaching them the “right way” might not work out.
Think of the changes the team has seen over the past six years:
- Three different head coaches (Jacques Lemaire, Todd Richards, Yeo)
- Three different systems
- Very little development of their prospects (until recently)
- Little free agency success (again, until recently)
Stanley Cup championships just don’t happen overnight and Yeo did get the team going in the right direction last year…
That said, the team got out to a flying start two seasons ago under him only to crash and burn in December. Last season, they slowed down towards the end of the season going 6-8-1 before the playoffs. Those kinds of streaks stick out in people’s minds.
Getting out to a hot start only to hit a wall two months in will cause heartache with fans again, only this time they’ll be angry and looking for answers.
Former Canadiens player and head coach Mario Tremblay found himself on the wrong side of the law.
QMI Agency reports (link in French) the 56-year-old was arrested for drunk driving back in January, pleading “not guilty” to the charge on June 18.
From the story, translated:
According to the indictment filed against Tremblay, which QMI Agency obtained a copy, on January 25, “around 10:09 PM, [the accused] illegally operated a motor vehicle – a 2013 Toyota Venza […] while his ability to operate the vehicle was impaired by the effects of alcohol or a drug.”
He will head back to court on August 28 in Mascouche, a town north of Montreal, to set a date for his court hearing.
Tremblay coached the Habs from 1995-1997, leading them to the playoffs twice but losing in the first round each time. He’s also spent eight years as an assistant under Jacques Lemaire in both Minnesota and New Jersey. He also suited up for the Canadiens for 12 seasons as a player from 1974-1986.
(Translation courtesy: Chantal Ledoux)
Winnipeg prospect Mark Scheifele has been putting in his time in junior hockey preparing for his time to become the superstar the Jets front office hopes he’ll be.
As Tyler Harper of the Canadian Press reports, he’ll have his first real opportunity to prove he belongs and he’s going all out to do it.
“My goal is to earn a spot on the Jets, and that’s what I’m going to go to camp and do, and do whatever it takes to get that spot,” he said.
At 20-years-old, Scheifele’s options are to either make the Jets roster and show that the big numbers he put up with the OHL Barrie Colts weren’t an illusion or spend his first pro season in AHL St. John’s for more refinement. After putting up 39 goals and 79 points in 45 games with Barrie last season, the Jets sure hope his skill hasn’t topped out there.
For what it’s worth, in 11 career games with Winnipeg, Scheifele has just one goal and no assists while playing mostly limited minutes.
The Anaheim Ducks will be without hard-shooting defenseman Sheldon Souray for a while thanks to an off-ice injury.
The team announced Souray will miss the next 4-to-6 months after suffering a torn ligament in his right wrist while working out off the ice on July 17. He had it operated on back on July 25 and now they’ve got a big hole in their defensive corps. He could be back as early as late-November.
To that end, the team also announced the signing of physical defenseman Mark Fistric, formerly of the Oilers, to a one-year deal.
Souray’s absence on the blue line delivers a harsh blow to a team that was already thin at that position.
His play since arriving in Anaheim has been steady and his well-known slap shot has been productive for the Ducks scoring seven goals with 10 assists last season. He was an obvious top-four guy for them and now they’ll start the season looking a bit rough on the back end.
Fistric will give them a veteran body to help fill Souray’s absence, but he was unspectacular for the Oilers last season.
The Ducks will rely even more on Francois Bueachemin to carry them and hope guys like Cam Fowler, Bryan Allen, and Luca Sbisa can step up their game. Sami Vatanen and Ben Lovejoy will also need to bring their A-game so the Ducks don’t take a beating defensively.