July 27 2016 11:52AM
It's no secret the Leafs have established a nice stable of prospects over the last couple years, and those key pieces like Matthews, Nylander, and Marner are at the front of all the hype around this rebuild, as they should be. But Toronto is also wading through the process of turning over the old names from the Burke & Nonis Show, and as such have now started to put together a new supporting cast to go along with these blue chippers.
There are still a few more names yet to be booted from roster, but in just the last four months Lou and company have turned over their NHL goaltender scene completely. Out are Reimer and Bernier, with Freddie Andersen now taking the reigns as the team's number one, along with strong speculation of Jhonas Enroth coming aboard. If this is the way things shake out - with Andersen and Enroth being the actual tandem - are the Leafs truly going to be better off in the crease? Or is this simply about getting some fresh names in there, an example of a front office bringing in "their guys" for the sake of it?
When we take a glance at the numbers, it appears the latter is true. Well, sort of.
July 27 2016 11:00AM
The Calgary Flames' cap structure has not yet been defined. Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau are set to be two of the team's highest-paid forwards for a while yet, and will likely dictate just what the team looks like going forward - and just what, exactly, the team will be able to spend.
We've already seen it set in motion with some of the bloodletting this off-season.
But in order to establish long-term success, a team needs to have responsible cap management. Dish out too much to too many, or to the wrong players, and a team can risk it all crumbling down. We may be seeing the Chicago Blackhawks in the midst of this, as they've lost players like Brandon Saad and Teuvo Teravainen due to cap concerns.
We don't know where the Flames will be - but let's take a look at how the most successful teams as of late structure their salaries.
July 26 2016 12:00PM
The Flames aren't done, but they are. Once Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau are signed, Brad Treliving will only have a few, minor bits of housekeeping left to do before the season starts. Sure, maybe he finds a way to trade Dennis Wideman, but in all actuality it will likely come down to re-inking guys like Freddie Hamilton and Tyler Wotherspoon.
So what you see is more or less what you get. Are you satisfied? For the heck of it, let's play armchair GM to see what different paths the Flames could have taken.
July 26 2016 11:36AM
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.
July 26 2016 10:59AM
Photo from Falkland Islands Facebook
They haven't played an official IIHF event yet. One of their top players is from California. They won their first ever game 8-2 despite never playing on ice beforehand.
Meet the Falkland Islands, the smallest hockey nation in the world.
For those not familiar with the Falkland Islands, they are one of the 14 British Overseas Territories. Another member of that group, the Cayman Islands, has played ice hockey previously, competing in the 2005 World Pond Hockey Championships in Canada.
So what business do the Falkland Islands have playing ice hockey? Well, they may seem like the ultimate underdog, but their success has been evident after just two years.