Kerby Rychel isn't actually expansion exempt, but that's fine

Jeff Veillette
July 29 2016 11:08AM

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Photo Credit: Aaron Doster/USA TODAY SPORTS

Back on June 25th, the Toronto Maple Leafs traded for California-born but Ontario-raised Kerby Rychel, acquiring him from the Columbus Blue Jackets for Scott Harrington, a player who had been with the organization for less than a year, plays in a position of abundance, and hadn't played since January thanks to an upper body injury.

It was seen as a steal for the Leafs, not just because they were picking up a younger, more talented prospect who wanted a change of scenery. The silver bullet was that he also Waiver and Expansion Draft exempt thanks to his first AHL season being a "slide year" created by a long-term OHL career. As it turns out, though, speculation about his expansion status was mistaken.

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Navigating through Toronto's salary cap wilderness

Jeff Veillette
July 26 2016 11:36AM

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Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY SPORTS

The Toronto Maple Leafs are the richest team in hockey, and if the league still had no salary cap, I don't think a single fan or local media member would care how much they were spending on their players. But as long as a cap exists, available dollars are assets, and building a team is just as much about beating the market as it is about identifying talent.

Certainly, the Leafs are closer to realizing the efficiency dream than they've ever been, but there are still a couple of shorter-term trees to pass through before they get entirely out of the woods.

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The Leafs have a logjam of waiver-eligible roster players

Jeff Veillette
July 13 2016 08:49AM

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Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY SPORTS

Many suspect that barring several quantity-for-quality or pure dumping trades, the Toronto Maple Leafs' training camp is going to be an absolute dogfight for the various available positions. Simply put, while the Leafs might be presently lacking the top-end talent necessary to be a threat in the Eastern Conference, they have more B-Level depth than just about everyone else through a combination of taking on contracts and playing well on the draft podium.

But there's a problem here, and it's that the team might have no choice but to part ways with some players if a couple of the kids impress in September.

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Why a rebound of percentages could lead to a quick Leafs turnaround

Jeff Veillette
July 05 2016 11:47AM

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Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY SPORTS

Remember back in 2013, when we were all yelling about shooting percentages creating a mirage for the playoff-bound Leafs? A mirage which involved the Leafs scoring way beyond their means, James Reimer looking like a Vezina candidate, and everything going from zero to amazing until the last ten minutes of the season?

A mirage that led to acquisitions to make the team tougher, grittier, and more leader-y to make sure the Leafs wouldn't get burned in their next playoff run? Yeah, well, that wasn't great. Anyway, it's a different group now, and the circumstances are a lot different. This year's Leafs team was absolutely wrecked by bad puck luck and are in a position to get some revenge. The concepts are the same as they used to be, but lets see how the odds end up in their favour.

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Missing out on Stamkos closes a shortcut, but isn't a roadblock

Jeff Veillette
June 29 2016 05:41PM

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Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY SPORTS

Before we get into this topic, let's make a few things clear. Firstly, Steven Stamkos isn't a traitor for choosing to stay with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He was under no obligation to sign in Toronto; ultimately, the choice was his, and he went with what he thought was best for him. Secondarily, this isn't the time to go "oh, well, the Leafs were better off without him anyway". Because that probably isn't true either.

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