We’ll let some marketing genius or anthropological intellectual explain to us the phenomenon that is the Toronto Maple Leafs. But somehow, a business that has consistently produced an inferior product for the better part of four decades, continues to succeed wildly at the cash register and in popularity polls.
The Leafs are the No. 1 NHL outfit in terms of franchise value as calculated by Forbes, they have the NHL’s highest ticket prices (average of $373 at resale), and it was announced by Twitter on the opening day of the 2014-15 season they rank first in number of followers on the social media platform.
Over the weekend the New York Islanders helped the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks resolve their respective salary cap issues. The Isles shipped draft picks to the Bruins for veteran defenseman Johnny Boychuk, then sent three prospects to the Blackhawks for blueliner Nick Leddy.
These moves provide a significant boost of experience and skill to the Islanders blueline, while the fallout from the respective deals is still being discussed in Boston and Chicago. Read more
The New York Islanders are pushing more chips to the center of the table as they go hard at pulling in a playoff spot before the team moves to Brooklyn next season. Saturday, they acquired both Johnny Boychuk from the Bruins and Nick Leddy from the Blackhawks.
But rather than a change of address, the real motivation here, of course, is that the Islanders don’t hold their own first round pick this year. They’ve held a top-five selection in five of the past six drafts, but a similar finish in 2014-15 would only make the Thomas Vanek trade so much worse – and possibly land the Buffalo Sabres both Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel.
So the Islanders took advantage of two cap ceiling teams who were looking to shed a defenseman. Read more
On the day he was honored with his own stamp, the man many hockey fans feel was the greatest player of all-time gave his stamp of approval for that designation to Gordie Howe. Bobby Orr threw his support behind Mr. Hockey in the never-ending debate concerning the greatest player ever to play the greatest game. “Gordie is, in my mind, the greatest ever,” said Orr, who recently penned the foreword for Howe’s memoir, Mr. Hockey. “His numbers are outrageous and most of that was with the six teams, when it was a lot tougher. I don’t think there’s any question. Play any way you want to play…he was special.” Read more
No need to play the 2014-15 season, National Hockey League. Yes, that may cut into the $4 billion in revenues you’re expected to generate, but think of the cost savings for teams that lose money.
Really, why actually play a season when a simulated NHL season has already been played, the Stanley Cup has been awarded and all the awards winners have already been determined? That’s what EA Sports, creators of the NHL 15 video game, have done. And they’ve determined that the Los Angeles Kings will become the first back-to-back Stanley Cup champions since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and ’98. Read more
The contract stalemate between the Boston Bruins and restricted free agents Torey Krug and Reilly Smith ended Monday with the pair signing identical one-year, $1.4 million contracts.
Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald reports Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli had no intention of trading either player. The signings, however, leave the Bruins with about $425,000 in cap space (once Marc Savard is placed on long-term injured reserve), as well as a surplus of defensemen. Harris doesn’t believe the signings remove the possibility of a trade. Read more
2013-14 record: 54-19-9
Departures: Chad Johnson, Shawn Thornton, Andrej Meszaros, Jarome Iginla
Top five fantasy players: David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic, Reilly Smith
Boom, Bust and Bottom Line: The best, worst and most likely scenario
Boom: When you were the NHL’s best team last season and are bringing back every cornerstone of that team, you have every confidence you’re going to enjoy similar success when the next season begins. Read more
The next time you’re inclined to think about NHL players as pampered and overpaid millionaires with no sense of gratitude, shift your thoughts to Torey Krug of the Boston Bruins. The only box he checks off in that description is millionaire.
Krug led all rookie defensemen in goals, assists and points last season. No first-year player, forward or defenseman, had more points on the power play than Krug’s 19. He was named to the NHL’s all-rookie team and became just the fifth defenseman in Bruins history to record double digits in goals in his first NHL season. His 14 goals were one more than Bobby Orr had in his rookie season.
For all that, Krug was rewarded with an almost $400,000 pay cut. And in doing so, he provided a fascinating study of leverage when it comes to negotiating contracts. Read more