Toronto Maple Leafs

PHT Morning Skate: Columnist says Kings should part with Voynov

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times believes that the Kings should either trade Slava Voynov or terminate his contract, regardless of how everything ultimately shakes out with the league and law enforcement. (Los Angeles Times)

Speaking of departing Kings, The Royal Half bids Justin Williams a fond farewell. (The Royal Half)

Paul Martin’s heartfelt goodbye letter to the Pittsburgh Penguins (and fans) is a great read. It also might leave you yelling “Spumoni!” the next time you see Martin hemmed in his own zone. (Players’ Tribune)

How much better is Edmonton’s defense, really? (Oilers Nation)

Looking back at Martin St. Louis’ career. (Greatest Hockey Legends)

Steve Dangle views Phil Kessel’s time in Toronto as “an era wasted.” (Warning: you might want to turn your volume down before watching this.)

Speaking of Kessel, ouch:

Report: Leafs have granted the Ducks permission to hire Dave Nonis

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The Anaheim Ducks filled out their coaching staff on Tuesday with the hiring of Paul MacLean, now they’re looking to add to the their front office.

According to hockey insider Darren Dreger, the Toronto Maple Leafs have granted the Ducks permission to hire Dave Nonis as an advisor.

Nonis was fired by the Leafs along with interim head coach Peter Horachek on April 12.

The 49-year-old joined the organization as the club’s senior vice-president and director of hockey operations in December 2008. When Brian Burke was fired in January 2013, Nonis was promoted to the GM’s role.

Under Nonis’ leadership the Leafs qualified for the playoffs once in three seasons.

Nonis previously held the title of senior advisor of hockey operations with the Anaheim Ducks from June to December of 2008.

Current Ducks GM Bob Murray and Nonis have worked together previously with the Ducks and the Vancouver Canucks.

Nonis was first linked to Anaheim last month by the Vancouver Sun.

Kessel on moving on from Toronto: ‘It’s a different world there’

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After six seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Phil Kessel is looking forward to a fresh start. The 27-year-old was dealt to the Pittsburgh Penguins as part of a multi-player trade on Wednesday.

Kessel appeared in 446 regular season games with the Leafs scoring 181 goals and 394 points.

“It should be different. It’s a different world there,” Kessel told Dkonpittsburghsports.com. “Obviously, I’m looking forward to this and having a fresh start. I’m actually really excited about that part of it.

“Toronto was a place I loved, and it’s not easy leaving that, even with everything else. That’s the first thought. And then after that, I just see this as an opportunity, a great opportunity to be part of something special in Pittsburgh.”

Kessel is especially excited at the prospect of playing with the talented mix of forwards in Pittsburgh.

“For it to be Pittsburgh … with everything that franchise has meant and two of the best players in the world there … I never would have thought I’d have the chance to play with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, to play on a team like the Penguins,” he said. “It’s just amazing. I’m so pumped.”

During his time in Toronto Kessel played in just one playoff series scoring four goals in six points during the Leafs first round series with the Boston Bruins in 2013. A return to postseason hockey is something the Madison, WI native is looking forward to.

“That’s huge. Obviously, when you have a chance to play on a great team, you’re thrilled. Being in Toronto, I got to play in one playoffs in all my years there,” Kessel said. “But that’s the best time of the year, right? Playoff hockey. Hopefully, I’ll get to play in many in Pittsburgh.”

Kessel also believes his game is suited for Pens’ coach Mike Johnston’s system and that he’ll fit in well.

“I think it’ll mesh well. I like to score goals, but I also like to pass the puck,” he said. “In today’s game, you need to have options when you have the puck. And with defensemen like we have joining the rush in Mike’s system, and those guys are great players, yeah, that’ll work with my game. I take a lot of pride in my ability to work with the options I’ve got.”

For those wondering, the Pens and Leafs meet for the first time on Oct. 17 in Pittsburgh. Kessel will make his return to Toronto on Oct. 31.

Discuss: Where’s the best fit for Alex Semin?

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Alex Semin isn’t the only NHLer who’s been accused of wasting his God-given talent.

Two others — Phil Kessel and Zack Kassian — were traded yesterday. The latter vowed today to figure out in Montreal.

But Semin remains unsigned. Earlier this week, he was bought out by the Hurricanes, whose GM proceeded to say of the 31-year-old winger: “He did not have that high compete level, for whatever reason.”

He didn’t score many goals either. Just six of them in 57 games last season, while seeing his ice time fall to an average of 15:55, the lowest since his rookie campaign over a decade ago.

In 2009-10, Semin scored 40 goals for the Capitals. He has 238 tallies in 638 career NHL games.

Hence, his agent’s claim that there was immediate interest in his client.

For a cheap, short-term prove-it deal, signing Semin has the potential to pay off.

Maybe he joins a contending team, unlike Carolina, and rediscovers his enthusiasm.

Maybe he has a little more puck luck. His shooting percentage dipped to 6.5 percent last season, whereas his career rate is almost double that (12.8).

Maybe he’s a complete bust and at least he was cheap.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are still looking for a winger. Imagine Semin and Phil Kessel on the same team with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin?

The Florida Panthers could use a scoring winger, though there may be a concern about Semin’s attitude around all those talented young players.

The Devils need to score more.

Any other teams come to mind?

Shots fired! ‘Canes owner Karmanos rips into Jim Rutherford (Updated)

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Well, this is interesting.

Speaking with Raleigh-area media on Wednesday, Carolina owner and recent Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Peter Karmanos took several shots at Pittsburgh GM Jim Rutherford — the same Jim Rutherford that worked under Karmanos for 20 years as ‘Canes GM.

Per the Post-Gazette, the shots fired included:

• A stinging criticism of Rutherford’s cap and budget management, by way of heaping praise on Rutherford’s replacement, current Carolina GM Ron Francis.

“Ron is far more inclusive, so he’s asking a lot of questions and I give him my opinion. … He’s far more astute on the financial end of the game. Jim liked to talk about the fact that we’re a ‘budget team.’ I’m not sure what that ever meant. Every team has a budget. That means we had a budget until Jim needed a player, then I’d say, ‘OK,’ and we had a different budget.

“Ronnie is a no-nonsense guy when it comes to those kinds of contracts. He’s not worried that he might get criticized if his team doesn’t do as well as people think it should. So he doesn’t panic when it comes to signing players or worrying about that type of thing.”

More: Pens’ Rutherford to columnist: ‘You’re a (expletive) jerk’

• A reference to what shape Rutherford might have the Penguins in by the time their rumored sale is complete.

“Pittsburgh has no first-round picks anymore. They traded their first-round pick from the year before. They traded their first-round pick for this year, and now they’ve traded their first-round pick for next year.

“The guy’s trying to sell the team. … I think they’ll sell that team for between $700 and $800 million in Pittsburgh, and the cupboard will be pretty bare by that time.”

Karmanos, 72, also drew parallels between Rutherford’s ill-fated Alex Semin signing in Carolina — Francis bought out the remainder of Semin’s contract yesterday — and Wednesday’s big Phil Kessel trade, suggesting that Kessel may score as many goals (six) for the Pens as Semin did for the ‘Canes last season.

At this time, it’s probably worth noting that, in September of 2013, Karmanos fired his son, Jason, as Rutherford’s assistant GM in Carolina. Jason later landed as the VP of hockey operations in — you guessed it! — Pittsburgh, where he reconnected with Rutherford.

Updated: Rutherford and the Penguins organization have responded, sorta.

Related: Citing age, Karmanos sells OHL team — so when will he sell ‘Canes?