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Leafs Look To The Future With Nine Player Trade

From Official Toronto Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs sent shock waves through the NHL Tuesday when they announced a multi-player deal with the Senators that sent defenceman Dion Phaneuf, blueliner Cody Donaghey, and forwards Matt Frattin, Casey Bailey and Ryan Rupert to Ottawa in exchange for forwards Milan Michalek, Colin Greening and Tobias Lindberg, d-man Jared Cowen and a second-round draft pick in 2017. For Toronto, the deal gives the organization more salary cap flexibility with which to manoeuvre in the seasons to come, and for their now-former captain, the move represents a fresh start in a passionate hockey market.

“The length of Dion’s contract, and the amount of cap space that is there, where that would put us at a given time…this gives us the opportunity to do things,” said Lamoriello, referring to the five years and $35 million remaining on Phaneuf’s contract after this season. “But it also gives us the opportunity, when some of our younger players are coming at the end of their entry level contracts who we have expectations for, to sign them. So this was a transaction that certainly wasn’t for today. And Dion is going to leave a hole in our lineup, there’s no question.”

In some respects, it was difficult for the Leafs to part ways with Phaneuf, who was acquired from Calgary Jan. 31, 2010 and quickly became one of the team’s go-to leaders on the ice and in the dressing room. But the opportunity to continue Toronto’s rebuild meant saying goodbye to the 30-year-old, who handled the news with his trademark professionalism.

“I spoke to Dion as soon as the trade call was finished…and explained to him what transpired,” Lamoriello said. “He was as classy as anyone could possibly be. At a time like that, you put yourself in that person’s position and you know that they’re listening and you question what they’re hearing, but he responded in an extremely positive way. He understands what we’re doing here, he’s been a part of that throughout the year, and I just expressed to him how much I appreciate what he’s brought to the things we’ve tried to change and how supportive he’s been. I just can’t say enough about him.”

Phaneuf is the lone member of the current Leafs roster to move to the Sens in this transaction, but in return, the Buds receive two players (Michalek and Cowen) who can step into the lineup when healthy, and a prospect in the 20-year-old Lindberg whom Toronto targeted early in trade talks with Ottawa GM Bryan Murray. Combined with the second-round draft pick, the Leafs’ haul in the trade – and the fact the team isn’t assuming any portion of Phaneuf’s contract – is one that’s impressed fans, media and everyone with the organization.

Lindberg, drafted by Ottawa in the fourth round (102nd overall) in 2013, has five goals and 22 points in 34 American Hockey League games with Binghamton this year. And the 6-foot-3, 215-pounder – who will join the AHL’s Marlies and add to a group of prospects that is the envy of many NHL teams – was rated by Leafs director of player personnel Mark Hunter to be a prospect very much worth acquiring.

“We have an outstanding scouting staff with Mark Hunter and his group, and Mark had him very high on his list,” Lamoriello said. “We felt very comfortable that, when we had to select players (to) put this type of a transaction together, that he was the one individual prospect that we targeted. And he became part of the deal. He’s a size-and-strength forward, and he’ll be given every opportunity.”

In the 31-year-old Michalek and the 25-year-old Cowen, the Leafs now respectively have a top-six forward and a rugged blueliner who both are under contract through next season. And while the work now continues to retool the team under head coach Mike Babcock, Phaneuf’s level-headedness, work ethic and service to the city’s community and charities don’t go unappreciated by those who know him best.

“I’ve been extremely impressed with Dion from Day One,” Lamoriello said. “He’s been a great leader, he’s handled every situation that’s been asked of him, and he’s going to be missed.”

Source: Leafs Look To The Future With Nine Player Trade

Leafs pull off the impossible, send Dion Phaneuf and his contract to Senators

From The Globe and Mail – James Mirtle

When rumours swirled early Tuesday morning that the Toronto Maple Leafs were working to trade captain Dion Phaneuf, executives from other NHL teams were skeptical.

Phaneuf had been offered around the league going back nearly a year. Working against the Maple Leafs were his age (31 in April), his level of play and his contract, which has more than five years remaining at $7-million a season (all figures U.S.).

Dion Phaneuf traded to Sens: A look at his hockey career in numbers (CP Video)

He also has a no-trade clause, which stipulated only 12 teams to which he could be traded.

One of those was the Ottawa Senators.

Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello pulled off what many in hockey believed impossible later Tuesday morning. He traded Phaneuf to Ottawa without having to retain any of his salary, meaning Toronto will be free and clear of the burden of his deal in the near future.

Lamoriello also received something of value for Phaneuf: 20-year-old Swedish prospect Tobias Lindberg, along with a second-round draft pick in 2017.

It was, like all things with the rebuilding Maple Leafs, a deal made with an eye on success two or three years down the line.

“This was a transaction we had no choice with,” Lamoriello said, alluding to Phaneuf’s albatross-like contract, the sixth-highest for a defenceman in the NHL this season. “This was in the best interest of what we’re trying to do here.”

“The problem for us with Dion is Dion is ready now to win, and we’re not ready to win,” Leafs coach Mike Babcock added. “It’s a good decision for our club, following the plan that we’ve had in place since [the season] started.”

The Leafs’ plan is substantially different from the Senators’ plan, which was what facilitated the deal. Ottawa was only four points out of a playoff spot when the trade was made, and had a glaring need for an experienced defenceman.

Toronto, meanwhile, is in the NHL’s basement and has been working the past 12 months to clear out the many terrible contracts signed by the former management regime.

To date, the Leafs have shuffled out three key veterans – David Clarkson, Phil Kessel and Phaneuf – to create eventual salary-cap savings of more than $19-million a season.

The savings are “eventual” because of what Toronto took back from the Senators on Tuesday. In addition to Lindberg and the draft pick, the Leafs received Milan Michalek, Jared Cowen and Colin Greening, three struggling players who collectively earn $8.8-million a season.

Their deals, however, all expire after next season – four years before Phaneuf’s.

What that means is that for 2017-18, when the Maple Leafs ought to be a young team on the upswing, they have only $23-million in salaries committed, giving them significant freedom to add talent via free agency or trades.

Perhaps even enough to sign a player such as Steven Stamkos, the Tampa Bay captain who is headed for free agency in the summer if he’s unable to sign a new deal with the Lightning.

The Leafs, fittingly, have vacancy both at the No. 1 centre spot and, after Tuesday, the captain’s role.

“This gives us the opportunity to do things,” Lamoriello said, cryptic as ever. “But it also gives us an opportunity when some of our younger players [such as Morgan Rielly and William Nylander] are coming [up for their next contracts] to be able to sign them.”

The trade is a good example of the complex economic and strategic concerns that now go into every transaction in the NHL these days. Teams have realized that salary-cap flexibility is as big a weapon as any when in a negotiation, and with Clarkson, Kessel and Phaneuf on the books, the Leafs would have had almost none for the foreseeable future.

While the league was getting younger and faster, the Leafs were anchored to aging, declining players, which was the biggest challenge facing president Brendan Shanahan when he was hired nearly two years ago to clean up the Leafs’ mess.

Getting out of onerous commitments and focusing on the franchise’s pool of draft picks and prospects were the organization’s top priorities this season, and this deal managed to accomplish both. (Ottawa also acquired depth players Matt Frattin, Cody Donaghey, Casey Bailey and Ryan Rupert in the trade, but none are expected to contribute at the NHL level.)

In the near term, moving Phaneuf leaves a hole in the Leafs lineup and in the leadership department, and Lamoriello said the team will not name a new captain in the final two months of the season. Phaneuf was popular with teammates, coaches and managers in Toronto – several of them lamented his abrupt exit on Tuesday as he headed for the airport – but his mobility was diminishing and his contract didn’t fit with what is coming next.

The Leafs’ attention will now turn to the trade deadline on Feb. 29, and exchanging more veterans for picks and prospects is part of the rebuild. They still have several bad contracts (such as Joffrey Lupul’s $5.25-million a year through 2017-18) to unload; it will take considerable magic to convince another team to absorb that money.

But this trade was the big one, given the term and the role Phaneuf had. It’s not only turning the page – it’s giving Lamoriello and company a blank one to work with.

“Dion is our leader and a real, real good man,” Babcock said. “Someone has to step up now. Someone has to step up in the room and provide the leadership he provided.”

“It certainly wasn’t easy,” Lamoriello said. “Unfortunately, this is part of business.”

Follow us on Twitter: @eduhatschek, @mirtle

Source: Leafs pull off the impossible, send Dion Phaneuf and his contract to Senators

Maple Leafs prospects recap: Timashov, Johnson have big nights.

From Pension Puppets

covering the kids from Jan 25-31st.

Let’s dive right into things, then I’ll think of something to say afterwards.

Ontario Hockey League

Mitch Marner/JJ Piccinich (F) – London Knights
January 29: Erie 6 at London 2
Marner: 0G, 2A, -2 / Piccinich: 0G, 0A, -1

January 30: London 3 at Windsor 8
Marner: 1G, 0A, -1 / Piccinich: 0G, 0A, -2
Week Totals: Marner 1G, 2A, -3 / Piccinich: 0G, 0A, -3

Travis Dermott (D) – Erie Otters
January 29: Erie 6 at London 2 0G, 0A, +1
January 31: Mississauga 1 at Erie 5 0G, 2A
Week Totals: 0G, 2A, +1

Nikita Korotselev (F) – Sarnia Sting
January 29: Flint 3 at Sarnia 4 Did Not Play
January 30: Sarnia 5 at Flint 2 Did Not Play
January 31: Sarnia 5 at Windsor 0 Did Not Play
Korostelev is still working off an injury suffered a few weeks ago.

Stephen Desrocher (D) – Kingston Frontenacs
January 29: Owen Sound 5 at Kingston 2
1G, 0A, -4
January 31: Kingston 2 at Peterborough 3 SO 0G, 1A, +1
Week Totals: 1G, 1A, -3

Jeremy Bracco (F) – Kitchener Rangers
January 29: Windsor 0 at Kitchener 2 1G, 0A, +1
January 30: Kitchener 2 at Saginaw 1 0G, 1A
January 31: Kitchener 6 at Sault Ste. Marie 6 0G, 0A, -2
Week Totals: 1G, 1A, -1

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Dmytro Timashov (F) – Shawinigan Cataractes
January 29: Chicoutimi 6 at Shawinigan 2
0G, 1A
January 31: Drummondville 4 at Shawinigan 5 OT 1G, 3A, +4
Week Totals: 1G, 4A, +4

Martins Dzierkals (F) – Rouyn-Noranda Huskies
January 30: Baie-Comeau 0 at  Rouyn-Noranda 4
0G, 0A, +1
January 31: Baie-Comeau 0 at  Rouyn-Noranda 4 1G, 0A
Week Totals: 1G, 0A, +1

Cody Donaghey (D) – Moncton Wildcats
January 30: Halifax 4 at Moncton 1
0G, 0A, -1
January 31: Acadie-Bathurst 2 at Moncton 0 No Points
Week Totals: 0G, 0A, -1

Western Hockey League

Andrew Nielsen (D)  – Lethbridge Hurricanes
January 29: Lethbridge 1 at Victoria 3
0G, 1A, -2
January 30: Lethbridge at Vancouver Did Not Play
Week Totals: 0G, 1A, -2

NCAA

Dominic Toninato / Tony Cameranesi (F) – U. Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs
January 29: UMD 3 at Northern Michigan 4
Toninato: 1G, 0A, +1 / Cameranesi: 0G, 1A
January 30: UMD 3 at Northern Michigan 1
Toninato: 1G, 0A, +1 / Cameranesi: 1G, 0A, +1
Week Totals: Toninato: 2G, 0A, +2 / Cameranesi: 1G, 1A, +1

Dakota Joshua (F) – Ohio State Buckeyes
January 29: Michigan State 4 at Ohio State 2
0G, 0A, -2
January 30: Michigan State 1 at Ohio State 2 0G, 1A
Week Totals: 0G, 1A, -2

Nolan Vesey (F) – U. Maine Black Bears
January 29: Maine 5 at Massachusetts 2
0G, 0A, +2
January 30: Maine 5 at Massachusetts 4 1G, 0A, -2
Week Totals: 1G, 0A

Europe

Andreas Johnson (F) – Frolunda, SHL
January 26: Frolunda 0 – HV71 2
No Points
January 28: Växjö 1 – Frolunda 3 1G, 1A
January 30: Frolunda 3 – Djurgården 2 0G, 2A, +1
Week Totals: 1G, 3A, +1

Jesper Lindgren (D) – MODO, SHL
January 26: MODO 4 – Djurgården  1
Did Not Play
January 28: Rögle 2 – MODO 1 Did Not play
January 30: Färjestad 4 – MODO 1 Did Not Play

Pierre Engvall (D) – Mora IK, Allsvenskan
January 27: Mora 4 – IK Pantern 2
No Points
January 30: IK Oskarshamn 5 – Mora 2 No Points

Fabrice Herzog (F) – Zurich Lions, Swiss A
January 26: HC Fribourg-Gottéron 2 – Zurich 3
No Points
January 30: EHC Biel 6 – Zurich 5 OT No Points

Player League GP Points PPG NHLe Points
Mitch Marner (F) OHL 36 73 2.03 53.21
Andreas Johnson (F) SHL 39 35 0.90 44.15
Dmytro Timashov (F) QMJHL 38 69 1.82 38.71
Jeremy Bracco (F) OHL 36 48 1.33 34.99
Tony Cameranesi (F) NCAA-NCHC 23 24 1.04 35.08
JJ Piccinich (F) OHL 45 52 1.16 30.32
Martins Dzierkals (F) QMJHL 40 47 1.18 25.05
Travis Dermott (D) OHL 39 36 0.92 24.22
Andrew Nielsen (D) WHL 49 52 1.06 23.50
Fabrice Herzog (F) NLA 33 20 0.61 19.88
Nikita Korostelev (F) OHL 36 26 0.72 18.95
Dakota Joshua (F) NCAA-B10 18 10 0.56 15.94
Stephen Desrocher (D) OHL 50 29 0.58 15.22
Cody Donaghey (D) QMJHL 34 22 0.65 13.80
Dominic Toninato (F) NCAA-NCHC 25 11 0.44 14.79
Pierre Engvall (F) ALK 40 15 0.38 12.30
Jesper Lindgren (D) SHL 26 3 0.12 5.68
Nolan Vesey (F) NCAA-HE 25 4 0.16 4.85

Aside from Johnson’s night there wasn’t much coming out of Europe. Lindgren is off in the wind, Engvall and Herzog were shut out.  Everyone we have in the NCAA scored a goal, which I believe is the first time they all did in the same week.

Everyone else had some slower weeks, but still put up atleast a point. I haven’t found out why Nielsen didn’t play vs Vancouver, so that makes me think it’s a rest day.

We’re nearing the playoffs, and I’m excited to see what these kids can do. All CHL players are looking to make atleast the first round, so that will be a busy few weeks.

Source: Maple Leafs prospects recap: Timashov, Johnson have big nights.

Maple Leafs prospects recap: Piccinich puts up points, Dzierkals returns, Nielsen helps out

From Pension Puppets

Covering December 28th – January 3rd & the world juniors.

What a week we had. It’s too bad the world juniors are over, but hey, there’s always next year. The schools and junior leagues were back in action last week and many players came back well rested and hungry for points.

IIHF Men U20 World Championships
For all the WJC coverage you want, you can head to our story stream

Mitch Marner/Travis Dermott – Team Canada
December 28: Canada 6 vs Denmark 1
Marner: 1G, 1A, +2 / Dermott: 0G, 1A, +1
December 29: Canada 3 vs Switzerland 2 (SO)
Marner: No Points / Dermott: No Points
December 31: Canada 2 vs Sweden 5
Marner: 1G, 0A, -1 / Dermott: 0G, 0A, -2
January 2nd: Canada 5 vs Finland 6
Marner: 2G, 0A, -1 / Dermott: 0G, 0A, -1
Week Totals: Marner: 4G, 1A / Dermott: 0G, 1A, -2

Dymtro Timashov – Team Sweden
December 28: Sweden 1 vs USA 0 0G, 1A, +1
December 30: Sweden 5 vs Denmark 0 0G, 0A, +1
December 31: Canada 2 vs Sweden 5 0G, 1A
January 2nd: Sweden 6 vs Slovakia 0 0G, 1A, +1
January 4: Sweden 1 vs Finland 2 0G, 1A, +1
January 5: Sweden 3 vs USA 8 0G, 0A, -3
Week Totals: 0G, 4A, +1

Ontario Hockey League

JJ Piccinich (F) – London Knights
December 29: London 2 @ Kitchener 3
0G, 1A, -1
December 31: Sarnia 3 @ London 4 (OT) 1G, 2A, +3
January 2: London 5 @ Sarnia 4 (OT) 1G, 1A, -2
Week Totals: 2G, 4A

Nikita Korotselev (F) – Sarnia Sting
December 28: Sarnia 6 @ Windsor 3
1G, 1A, +2
December 31: Sarnia 3 @ London 4 (OT) 1G, 0A, -2
January 2: London 5 @ Sarnia 4 (OT) 1G, 0A, -1
Week Totals: 3G, 1A, -1

Stephen Desrocher (D) – Kingston Frontenacs?
December 29: Ottawa 5 @ Kingston 2
0G, 0A, -2
December 30: Kingston 4 @ Oshawa 1 0G, 1A, +2
January 1: Peterborough 3 @ Kingston 5 0G, 1A, +2
Week Totals: 0G, 2A, +2

Jeremy Bracco (F) – Kitchener Rangers
December 29: London 2 @ Kitchener 3 0G, 0A, +1
December 31: Kitchener 5 @ Niagara 2 1G, 0A, +2
January 1: Guelph 2 @ Kitchener 3 1G, 0A, +1
January 3: Kitchener 3 @ Guelph 7 0G, 2A, +1
Week Totals: 2G, 2A, +5

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Martins Dzierkals (F) – Rouyn-Noranda Huskies
December 28:
Rouyn-Noranda 1 @ Gatineau 4 No Points
December 30: Blainville-Boisbriand 0 @
Rouyn-Noranda 6 3G, 1A, +4
December 31:
Drummondville 1 @ Rouyn-Noranda 2 (OT) No Points
January 3:
Rouyn-Noranda 2 @ Val D’or 4 1G, 0A, +2
Week Totals: 4G, 1A, +6

Cody Donaghey (D) – Moncton Wildcats
December 28: Moncton 3 @ Halifax 2
No Points
December 31: Acadie-Bathurst 5 @ Moncton 4 (SO) 0G, 0A, +1
Week Totals: 0G, 0A, +1

Western Hockey League

Andrew Nielsen (D)  – Lethbridge Hurricanes
December 29: Medicine Hat 2 @ Lethbridge 5
0G, 1A, +1
December 30: Lethbridge 4 @ Calgary 6 0G, 1A
January 2: Calgary 3 @ Lethbridge 4 0G, 3A, +1
Week Totals: 0G, 5A, +2

NCAA

Dominic Toninato / Tony Cameranesi (F) – U. Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs
January 2nd: Exhibition Game: USNTDP-U18 3 @ Minn.-Duluth 4

Toninato: 3G, 1A, +1 / Cameranesi: 0G, 0A, -1

Dakota Joshua (F) – Ohio State Buckeyes
Florida College Classic Tournament

December 28: Boston College 2 vs Ohio State 3 0G, 1A
December 29: Ohio State 8 @ Cornell 0 0G, 1A
Tournament Totals: 0G, 2A

Nolan Vesey (F) – U. Maine Black Bears
December 29: New Hampshire 5 @ Maine 4
0G, 1A
December 30: Maine 0 @ New Hampshire 7 0G, 0A, -1
Week Totals: 0G, 1A, -1

Europe

Andreas Johnson (F) – Frölunda, SHL
December 29: Skellefteå 2 @ Frölunda 3
0G, 1A
December 30: Frölunda 3 @ Malmö 2 (SO) No Points
Week Totals: 0G, 1A

Jesper Lindgren (D) – MODO, SHL
December 28: Örebro 2 @ MODO 1 No Points
December 30: MODO 2 @ Luleå 3 Did Not Play
Week Totals: No Points

Pierre Engvall (D) – Mora IK, Allsvenskan
December 30: Asplöven 2 @ Mora 3 No Points

Fabrice Herzog (F) – Zurich Lions, Swiss A
January 2: Zurich 4 @ HC Davos 0
1G, 0A
January 3: HC Davos 2 @ Zurich 1 No Points
Week Totals: 1G, 0A

Player League GP Points PPG NHL eq.
Mitch Marner (F) OHL 25 58 2.32 18.56
Andreas Johnson (F) SHL 31 26 0.84 15.60
JJ Piccinich (F) OHL 34 45 1.32 14.40
Dymtro Timashov QMJHL 29 53 1.83 13.78
Andrew Nielsen (D) WHL 39 43 1.10 11.61
Jeremy Bracco (F) OHL 24 32 1.33 10.24
Martins Dzierkals (F) QMJHL 30 38 1.27 9.88
Travis Dermott (D) OHL 29 27 0.93 8.64
Nikita Korostelev (F) OHL 35 25 0.71 8.00
Stephen Desrochers (D) OHL 39 23 0.59 7.36
Tony Cameranesi (F) NCHC 15 17 1.13 6.97
Fabrice Herzog (F) NLA 25 15 0.60 6.00
Pierre Engvall (F) ALK 33 12 0.36 3.00
Dominic Toninato (F) NCHC 17 7 0.41 2.87
Cody Danaghey QMJHL 24 11 0.46 2.86
Dakota Joshua (F) Big10 12 6 0.50 2.16
Jesper Lindgren (D) SHL 23 3 0.13 1.80
Nolan Vesey (F) HE 18 3 0.17 1.11

Five prospects with 4+ point weeks is pretty good. Piccinich picked up the slack for some missing Knights who were at the WJC, but London had a hard time getting wins. Andrew Nielsen piled on the assists out west, and Martins Dzierkels made his return to the Q after helping Latvia win the Div1A World Juniors in style putting up 5 points.

Dakota Joshua and Ohio State won the Florida College Classic tournament over the holidays, beating Boston College and destroying Cornell in the final 8-0.

We could see some moves this week, it’s junior hockey trade deadline time. Timashov was rumoured to be out of Quebec City, so we’ll see if that goes down. I doubt anyone else in the OHL moves as they are all on good teams, but never say never. Desrocher did get a new teammate in Kingston last night, as fellow Memorial Cup winner Michael Dal Colle (NYI) was moved from Oshawa to Kingston.

Everyone is back in action next week so here’s hoping Timashov, Dermott, and Marner bring their anger at losing the WJC to the ice and show why they’re winners.

Update: 20 min after publishing Dymtro Timashov was traded to the Shawinigan Cataracts for 1st-round and 3rd-round picks in 2017 and a 3rd-round pick in 2018.

Source: Maple Leafs prospects recap: Piccinich puts up points, Dzierkals returns, Nielsen helps out