Posts Tagged ‘Toronto Maple Leafs’

Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan understands the challenges that lie ahead for his team in the salary cap era.

The 50-year-old executive signed a six-year extension with the club Tuesday and was transparent about the Maple Leafs’ cap situation as they continue their effort to end a 52-year Stanley Cup drought.

“As long as we are hopefully a Stanley Cup contender we will have cap issues, so Toronto should get used to that,” Shanahan said, according to Sportsnet 590 The Fan’s Prime Time Sports.

“The better you become, the less peaceful it is, the more anxiety there is, because each decision means more and so you still have problems,” he added. “They’re just better problems.”

The Maple Leafs face a challenging summer, with young blue-chipper Mitch Marner lined up for his first big-money contract, and valuable core pieces Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson also becoming restricted free agents.

Defensemen Jake Gardiner, Ron Hainsey, Martin Marincin, and forward Tyler Ennis are all coming off the books this summer as well.

When it comes to Marner, the two sides are still early in the negotiation process, but Shanahan said he had a positive meeting with the 22-year-old’s agent Tuesday.

“I have a lot of respect for Darren Ferris,” Shanahan said. “Obviously, our admiration for Mitch and how he plays the game and how he evolved this year and how he developed, rounded out his game and added, not even just his offensive creativity and prowess but penalty killing and just his overall game has improved so much, so it was a positive meeting.”

With John Tavares’ $11-million contract and Auston Matthews $11.63-million on the books next season, the Leafs may end up rostering three players making $10-plus million. 

Shanahan understands that while staying beneath the cap and remaining competitive in the long run is difficult, it’s a privilege to be in a situation where you have a chance to lock up high-end talent.

“When we’re not dealing with cap issues, we’re probably rebuilding,” he said.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed president and alternate governor Brendan Shanahan to a six-year extension through the 2024-25 season, the team announcedTuesday.

“On behalf of the MLSE Board of Directors, and certainly our company and fans as well, we are very pleased to see Brendan continue in his role as president of the Toronto Maple Leafs,” said Larry Tanenbaum, chairman of Leafs ownership group MLSE. “Brendan’s positive impact on this team has not only been felt on the ice, where the team is on an impressive path, but throughout the league, with the Leafs’ alumni, and in the community.

“We look forward to continued success for the Maple Leafs under Brendan’s leadership over the next six years.”

The former head of the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, Shanahan joined the Maple Leafs in April 2014 and has overseen massive organizational changes since taking over.

Under Shanahan, the Leafs brought in Mike Babcock as head coach and Lou Lamoriello – since replaced by Kyle Dubas – as general manager. With Shanahan at the helm, the team also drafted several members of its young core including Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander, and made a franchise-altering free-agent splash with the signing of John Tavares last July.

Shanahan’s arrival has paid major dividends for Toronto, as the team has transformed from a perennial cellar dweller into a legitimate Stanley Cup threat. The Leafs have qualified for the playoffs in each of the last three campaigns and have now recorded back-to-back 100-point regular seasons for the first time in franchise history.

Kyle Dubas put any remaining speculation about Mike Babcock’s future to rest on Monday.

The Toronto Maple Leafs general manager told TSN’s Bob McKenzie that the head coach will be back with the team next season.

“We’re all in on Mike and Mike is all in on us,” Dubas said. “We’ve had productive management meetings as an organization and Mike and I have had some really good meetings as well since the season ended. It’s our very strong belief Mike is the one to lead us. That’s the reality of it.”

The GM also acknowledged the team still has areas of concern to address, but he made it clear Babcock will be included in that process.

“There are things we need to improve upon,” Dubas said. “There are things we need to do to adapt and evolve and continue to get better. As an organization, we believe we can do that together.”

The GM refrained from committing to Babcock or anyone else in the organization in his end-of-season comments last month.

In March, Babcock insisted there were no issues in his relationship with Dubas.

Hockey Hall of Famer Red Kelly died Thursday at the age of 91, his family announced.

Kelly spent the first 13 years of his career as a Detroit Red Wings defenseman, winning four Stanley Cups, three Lady Byng trophies, and one Norris Trophy, and collecting 472 points in 846 games along the way.

The Simcoe, Ontario native played the next eight years with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs moved him to center and he succeeded after the position change, tallying 351 points in 470 games while adding another Lady Byng and four more Stanley Cups to his resume.

Kelly won more Stanley Cups than any player in NHL history to not play for the Montreal Canadiens. 

He also enjoyed a 10-year coaching career. The legend even dipped his toes into politics before his playing days ended, as he was elected to the House of Commons in 1962.

Kelly was named to the “100 Greatest NHL Players” list in 2017. Both the Maple Leafs and Red Wings have retired his No. 4.

Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas said Thursday it’s “imperative” for the team to sign Mitch Marner before July 1, according to The Athletic’s Jonas Siegel.

If the Leafs don’t sign Marner before July 1 he’ll be left exposed to restricted free agency, and another team could ink him to an offer sheet. That would be problematic for the salary-cap crunched Maple Leafs, as they would be forced to match the offer to retain Marner.

Toronto projects to enter next season with roughly $13 million in cap space, and Marner could demand an annual figure north of $10 million. Key forwards Andreas Johnssonand Kasperi Kapanen are also set to become RFAs this summer.

Marner is coming off a breakout 94-point season, which led the Leafs and ranked 11th in the NHL.

Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas faced the music on Thursday after being eliminated from the playoffs by the Boston Bruins, and did not fully commit to Mike Babcock – or to anyone else – going forward.

“I wouldn’t give any guarantee to anybody in our whole organization, starting with me,” Dubas replied when asked about Babcock’s job security at his end-of-year press conference, via Sportsnet. “We’ll do what we think is best and we’ll let you know when we know.”

Dubas prefaced his non-guarantee of Babcock’s job security by saying team president Brendan Shanahan must first evaluate his work as the general manager.

“The way I look at that is (Shanahan) has to decide on me first, and do an evaluation on me,” Dubas said. “And once that’s done we evaluate everybody.”

Babcock, who has four seasons remaining on his eight-year, $50-million deal, insisted earlier that his relationship with Dubas is “really good,” according to TSN’s Kristen Shilton.

On Thursday, Dubas also took responsibility for the William Nylander contract saga during the season and for the Maple Leafs’ poor penalty kill in the playoffs.

“The blame for the (Nylander) situation going that far has to go to me,” Dubas said. “I don’t think it set William up to have a good season, and I accept that.”

The 33-year-old Dubas added that he’s hoping for better things next season after another first-round playoff exit.

“I know that I have to do a better job, continue to improve and help our players,” he said. “And hopefully we meet under a different set of circumstances in about 13 months from now, or more, we hope.”

The Toronto Maple Leafs‘ 2018-19 campaign culminated Tuesday night with a familiar bitter feeling when they suffered a Game 7 defeat at the hands of the Boston Bruins for the second year in a row.

However, Toronto’s regular-season leading scorer, Mitch Marner, believes all his club can do is use its latest defeat as motivation.

“It sucks,” Marner told reporters postgame. “We believe in this team, we have a lot of confidence in this team. Obviously, when a season ends, it sucks. It’s got to stay with us, we’ve got to be hungry for this next year and make sure we come back pissed off.”

After earning a franchise-record 105 points in 2017-18, the Leafs reinforced an already dangerous lineup by signing John Tavares in the offseason and acquiring Jake Muzzinbefore February’s trade deadline.

Toronto led the series on three occasions but failed to ever take complete control over a more experienced Bruins team. Still, Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock believes his club made progress this spring.

“I thought our series this year compared to last year, we were a way better hockey club,” Babcock said. “I think we’re really taking steps and going in the right direction, but we’ve got to push through and get through this. I mean, that’s just the bottom line.”

With Tuesday’s elimination, the Maple Leafs remain without a playoff series win since 2004.