Rumor Roundup: How will the Toronto Maple Leafs change?

#34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs stands by the net during a break in action in a game against the Edmonton Oilers on October 29, 2013 at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Toronto Maple Leafs hiring Brendan Shanahan as their new president isn’t the only off-season change expected for the club in the coming weeks. Amid rumors coach Randy Carlyle could be fired, speculation persists over potential off-season roster moves.

James Mirtle of The Globe & Mail believes goaltender James Reimer along with defensemen Cody Franson and Tim Gleason could become trade candidates. Reimer and Franson are restricted free agents while Gleason has two years (at an annual cap hit of $4 million) left on his contract. Mirtle also thinks forwards Nazem Kadri and Joffrey Lupul could be dealt for the right price.

The Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons also believes Reimer and Franson could be moved, but feels their trade value is lower than it was a year ago. Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star adds his voice to the growing speculation over Reimer’s trade status, and thinks defenseman Jake Gardiner could be dealt for a top forward. Read more

Ryan Kennedy’s Lottery Mock Draft

Aaron-Ekblad

Florida won the draft lottery last night, meaning the Panthers get the first crack at an interesting field with a lot of variation in it. A lot goes into a draft list and the final results are always thrown into chaos by trades and reaches. As the draft gets closer and teams decide who they like the most, I’ll get a more accurate picture of how things might shake down. But for now, here’s a quick-and-dirty look at what could happen come draft day in Philadelphia, based on the teams’ current situation.

1. Florida – Aaron Ekblad, Barrie Colts, D

Yeah, yeah, defensemen never go first overall anymore (Erik Johnson was the last in 2006), but the Cats are loaded up front with Aleksander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad and Jonathan Huberdeau. Their best ‘D’ prospects are still in college, whereas Ekblad can step in right away and play a top-four role.

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Why injuries should factor far more in suspensions

Ronnie Shuker
(Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images Sport)

According to at least one report, Paul Byron may avoid suspension after ending the NHL regular season on an ugly note.

There have been worse hits, for sure, but that shouldn’t lessen any disciplinary action he receives for his hit on Daniel Sedin Sunday evening.

That’s because an injury caused by a penalty should be the primary factor when determining a suspension.

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Draft lottery odds: See the most likely outcome for your team

Nathan MacKinnon

Canadian teams will be well-represented in Tuesday’s NHL draft lottery.

Hey, we have to find something nice to say as the Montreal Canadiens are the only team north of the border to make the playoffs. The other six Canadian cities are among the top 10 teams vying to win the lottery and earn the right to select first overall.

Below you’ll see a listing for the 14 non-playoff teams and their chances to select first overall in the June 27-28 draft in Philadelphia. Most interesting is the likely outcome column which shows the varying percentage chances your favorite team will place.

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Sedin’s health, Tortorella’s future & suspension among questions following scary hit

Jason Kay
Calgary Flames v Vancouver Canucks

It didn’t take long for Stephane Quintal to be thrust into the spotlight.

On the same day Brendan Shanahan is officially introduced to the Toronto media, his successor as NHL chief disciplinarian – at least for the time being – will have to review and decide how much supplemental punishment is in order for Calgary’s Paul Byron following his dangerous hit on Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin.

Most importantly, however, let’s hope the Canucks star, who missed time earlier in the campaign with a concussion, didn’t suffer serious injury. He lay motionless on the ice briefly following the hit from behind and was taken off the ice on a stretcher. He appeared to move his fingers on the video replay and early reports were that he had movement in his extremities and his prognosis was good.
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Shanahan + Linden = zero experience

Ken Campbell
Shanny and Linden

For those of you keeping score, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks have just handed the keys to their kingdoms to two men who have – just a second while we add it up – um, zero experience at their new positions.

So in hiring Brendan Shanahan as their president and Trevor Linden as their president of hockey operations, the Leafs and Canucks have accomplished absolutely nothing to this point aside from winning the news conference. And if that was the intention here, to try to assuage the fan base by hiring a big-name personality, it runs the risk of providing them with nothing more than more of the same. Read more

Can Trevor Linden save the Vancouver Canucks?

Rory Boylen
Trevor Linden

First off, let’s cut through the crap: The Vancouver Canucks don’t need to go through a ground-up rebuild. They don’t need to trade the recently signed Sedin twins or tank the 2014-15 season to chase after Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel. New president of hockey operations Trevor Linden doesn’t need to tear down the walls. He just needs some new furniture and a little paint.

And work has already begun to refresh a Canucks franchise that has become stale and fallen behind the curve. With the right direction from the right GM at the helm, the Canucks should be able to make the moves necessary to resurrect them as a relevant playoff team again in the next two or three years.

At his introductory press conference Wednesday, Linden said the search for that GM has already commenced both in and outside of the organization, and that he has an idea of the type of manager he wants, though he didn’t elaborate on even what characteristics the ideal hire would have.

Names from Nashville’s Paul Fenton to Jay Feaster have been mentioned as potential replacements, and with David Poile and George McPhee on deathwatch, their names would also inevitably be tossed in if no GM were yet in place.

The GM hire is the most important decision Linden will make this summer (and perhaps of his entire tenure), as it will set in motion a new Canucks era and either get it off to a good start, or a shaky one that one that may not change the disgruntled mood of Canucks fans. And wherever Gillis’ replacement comes from, we can expect him to be named some time within the next two months.

“We would aim to have a manager in place by the draft, hopefully before that,” Linden said. Read more

Canucks name Trevor Linden president of hockey operations: what do you think of the hiring?

Rory Boylen
Trevor Linden

The deed is done: Trevor Linden has been hired as Vancouver’s new president of hockey operations. According to the press release issued by the team, Linden will be “responsible for all hockey operations, including the coaching and scouting staffs, player procurement and development, and minor league affiliations and operations.”

The team will hold a press conference at 1:30 Eastern Wednesday to talk about this hiring, the firing of GM Mike Gillis and presumably the search for his replacement.

So with the new voice the Aquilini family said they wanted in place, focus will now turn towards the hole in the GM role and the fate of the failed coaching style of John Tortorella. Read more