Each week Elliotte Friedman posts his excellent “30 Thoughts” piece regarding the goings on in the NHL. We’ll dig through all 30 of his tidbits and lay down all of the Maple Leafs related news for your perusal, along with our reactions, which next to Friedman’s commentary will look like a string of feeble mutterings. For this week’s full 30 Thoughts, go here.
1. Obviously, the biggest debate in Edmonton is what goalie the Oilers should chase. They are at 49 contracts, so signing a free agent or trading a draft pick for a player completely eliminates roster flexibility. Brian Elliott makes sense, but St. Louis may not be interested in taking salary in return. Is it worth giving up an asset to get someone (Elliott, Ryan Miller) who is unrestricted after the season without trying to sign them first? Ottawa probably wouldn’t trade him, but Robin Lehner would be a perfect target.
You know who isn’t mentioned above Leafs fans? James Reimer that’s who! Why isn’t Reimer mentioned as a possible target for the Oilers? Because it would be completely asinine for the Leafs to trade him this season!
The Maple Leafs traded for Jonathan Bernier for two reasons, first while they think James Reimer is a very good goalie, they believe Bernier is a star, secondly Randy Carlyle loves having two very capable goalies. Only once in his coaching career has one of his netminders started more than 60 games.
In order to be successful, that requires two good goalies, which the Leafs have, but would not have if they traded Reimer for a pittance, which his return most certainly would be. Reimer will be in Toronto, as he should, for at least the rest of this season, and hopefully many more.
12. Speaking of futures, as Glenn Healy reported on Hotstove, the Maple Leafs and Dion Phaneuf are ready to discuss the captain’s future. The free-agent market isn’t overflowing with defencemen, which increases his value. But the belief is Phaneuf wants to stay. If he bends a little on average annual value, the betting is Toronto goes big on term. We’ll see.
As per the new CBA, the Maple Leafs are the only team that are able to offer Phaneuf an 8th year on his next contract. While having Phaneuf through is age 36 season is not the most ideal situation, if it lowers the AAV to a more manageable number, it’s a win-win for both the Leafs and Phaneuf. The contract will likely look worse with the current salary cap situation than it will play out as with the cap expected to rise as high as $80-million in the coming years.