Tag: James van Riemsdyk

Official Announcement Of Mike Babcock As Toronto Maple Leafs Head Coach

Kessel trade shows Leafs are trying to ‘build this thing the right way’


In the words of Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan, here’s why Phil Kessel was traded today:

“This is really about a recognition on our part that what we’ve been doing here, and the group that we’d assembled here, wasn’t getting the job done, and it wasn’t good enough.

“We are here to build a team that is capable of winning a Stanley Cup. There are no shortcuts to go around doing that. We didn’t see that this group was going to get a whole lot better, in getting us toward that goal.

“Going out and hiring a coach like Mike Babcock was a huge bonus for us, so this was really about us saying, once again, we’ve got to build this thing the right way, through the draft, with prospects. Sometimes that might take a little bit longer.”

So basically the same thing Shanahan said in April, and the same thing Babcock said in May.

While Shanahan conceded today that they “gave up a heck of a player…a very, very productive player,” Kessel is also 27 years old. Theoretically, by the time the Leafs hit their sweet spot in terms of competing for the Cup (assuming they ever do), Kessel will be past his prime, if he’s not already. 

Going forward, expect the Leafs to continue dismantling their flawed core. Dion Phaneuf, Tyler Bozak, Joffrey Lupul, and maybe even James van Riemsdyk; they could all be traded.

And any others that don’t fit into the club’s long-term plans, them too.

Related: Babcock lays down the law — ‘Anything that’s been going on is going to get cleaned up’

Get to know a draft pick — Mikko Rantanen

Team Sweden plays Finland in the quarter final round of the IIHF World Junior Hockey Tournament

Like we’ve done in the past, we’re profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Friday in the first round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. But this year, something new — we’re featuring special guest analysis from former Minnesota Wild scout Mark Seidel, who currently serves as the president of North American Central Scouting.

Mikko Rantanen (RW)

Height: 6’4 Weight: 211 Shoots: Left

Team: TPS Turku (SM-liiga)

Country: Finland

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 1 among International skaters

What kind of player is he?

Another large, physically imposing winger, Rantanen benefited from playing professionally last year in the Finnish league — he finished second on his team in scoring, with 29 points in 56 games, and served as an alternate captain despite only turning 18 in October.

His professional experience was on full display at the World Juniors. While Finland flopped to a seventh-place finish, Rantanen impressed scouts with his individual efforts, scoring four goals in five games while emerging as one of the most dynamic forwards in the tournament.

Rantanen is easily one of the most NHL-ready prospects in this year’s draft. He’s spent either part or all of the last three seasons playing against men in the SM-liiga, and his size should allow him to immediately hang with professionals in North America.

Seidel says:

“Rantanen utilizes a coveted combination of size, skill and offensive ability that teams cherish. He has a long, lean frame that he uses to shield the puck from defenders, but I’d like to see that size used more effectively as a consistent physical force. He doesn’t play scared, and could physically dominate opponents when he fills out his body — which would make him very tough to stop. His skating is good for a big kid and defensively, he’s aware of his responsibilities.”

NHL comparable: James van Riemsdyk/Kevin Hayes

For more 2015 NHL Draft profiles, click here.

Video: New Pred Moses opens U.S. scoring at Worlds with beauty goal


There was some Nashville-on-Nashville crime to open Team USA’s account at the 2015 World Hockey Championships, but Predators fans probably won’t mind.

That’s because their newest signee — KHL goalscoring phenom Steve Moses — opened the American account with a highlight-reel tally against Finland on Friday, scoring this pretty goal against his future teammate, Pekka Rinne:

Moses, 25, signed a one-year, $1M deal with the Preds in early April. The contract came after three years in the KHL with Jokerit, following a four-year career at New Hampshire (and a brief eight-game cameo with the Rangers’ AHL affiliate). Though undersized — 5-foot-9, 170 pounds — Moses is blessed with great skating ability and offensive instincts, which saw him score 70 times for Jokerit over the last three seasons.

“He skates like the wind,” Moses’ former UNH teammate, Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk, told Sportsnet. “He’s really well built. He won’t get thrown around over here.”