Maple Leafs News: Bernier Wins Again, Teams Continue to Scout Leafs

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In Maple Leafs news, goalie Jonathan Bernier posted his third consecutive shutout on Friday night, while according to reports, teams continue to scout the Maple Leafs, and can corporate sponsors really help lure Steven Stamkos to Toronto?

Jonathan Bernier is now a perfect three for three in the American Hockey League.

On Friday night, the 27-year-old goalie stopped all 27 shots he faced and helped the Toronto Marlies win a close 1-0 game over the Utica Comets. Through three games with the Marlies, Bernier is a perfect 3-0 and has saved all 70 shots he’s faced.

While some will chalk up Bernier’s three game shutout streak to inferior competition, which is more than applicable when you consider that the Marlies have outscored their opponents 14-0 during this three game stretch, it is nice to see him get a few wins and hopefully restore some of his confidence.

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Bernier is expected to make one more start, either against Syracuse or Utica, before being recalled to the big club. Can he stretch his shutout streak to four games?

Teams continue to scout the Leafs

In other Maple Leafs news, teams continue to scout the Leafs, including the St. Louis Blues and Montreal Canadiens. In this past week’s 30 thoughts post, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman had this to say about the Blues:

"11. St. Louis has had a pretty heavy scouting presence recently. In addition to Armstrong’s trip, Larry Pleau joined Rob DiMaio in Toronto to see the Maple Leafs against Edmonton. The Blues GM threw a bit of cold water on all that, saying, “I’d like to see our full team together before we rush into anything.”Patrick Berglund and Jaden Schwartz should both be back by the end of All-Star Weekend.“That gives us a month before the trade deadline.”"

Berglund and Schwartz are key cogs for St. Louis, so I don’t blame Armstrong for wanting to see what his team can do when healthy. But if the Blues feel like they need depth up front, perhaps the Leafs could flip them P.A. Parenteau?

As for the Montreal Canadiens, Friedman said GM Marc Bergevin was in Toronto the night before Mike Babcock was named coach for the World Cup of Hockey, and when asked if he was in town for the media conference, he smiled and said, “No, I’m just here to watch a game.”

Corporate sponsors won’t help Leafs with luring Stamkos to Toronto

Earlier this week on TSN690 MontrealTSN’s Bob McKenzie shot down the idea that a team like the Leafs could offer Steven Stamkos less than a max deal because corporate partners would help lure Stammer to Toronto with sponsorship money.

"“Probably not. I mean, Steven Stamkos right now is one of the most marketable hockey players in the world. He’s already got massive deals in Canada on every level. He’s already getting all of that from sponsors by not being a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.“So, I don’t think that’s going to be the defining thing that would say, ‘Oh, I can get 16 or $18 million and circumvent it.’“If he wants that money, it’s there to be had. He’s already taking advantage of that. I mean, you only have to watch a Sport Chek commercial, or some of the other things that Steven Stamkos is involved in. He’s front and center as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning.“I suppose you could always argue he could get more if he was a Toronto Maple Leaf, but if he wants more he can get it. He doesn’t have to come to Toronto necessarily to get that.”"

Hypothetically, this scenario would see the Leafs offer Stamkos something in the neighbourhood of $11 to $12 million, while corporate sponsors would chip in another $4 to $5 million. All together Stamkos would pull in around $15 to $17 million a year, which would set a new precedence in the NHL.

Oilers forward Connor McDavid has a deal with Rogers that makes him the highest paid rookie in the NHL. But what is being discussed in regards to Stamkos would dwarf McDavid’s sponsorship deal with Rogers.

In the NBA certain players see their sponsorship deals, say with Nike, increase when they play in a major market like New York, Chicago or Los Angeles. Perhaps Nike could put together a similar deal with Stamkos since Toronto is easily one of the biggest hockey markets in North America.

Next: Maple Leafs: Stamkos and Tweetgate

It’s all water cooler discussion at this point, but it’s interesting food for thought nonetheless.