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Kessel to sign and Maple Leaf Hangout, Episode 4

One of the consistent themes here at VLM in recent weeks is that it was important to get Kessel signed before a new season begins.  While I have along acknowledged I hate long-term (more than four of five seasons, max) contracts, these absurdly long deals are the way of the world in the NHL these days. Oh well.

Late Monday evening word came down through the hockey grapevine that the Leafs, right on cue, were in fact about to sign Kessel for 8 years.  My 70-million dollar number mentioned in this space perviously may not in fact turn out to be far off.  We will await official confirmation.


With a new season set to kick off Tuesday night in Montreal, I think it's fair to say that most Leaf observers are feeling, if not heady, at least somewhat optimistic.  How long this hopeful feeling will last will depend almost entirely on early-season results.

Excitement is building for opening night, as is always the case, so we brought the MLHS panel together for another show Monday night.  Episode 4 of the Maple Leaf Hangout program covers a few topics of interest, including Liles, Morgan Rielly still being with the big club, Colborne, Kadri, Ashton and who should start in goal for the Leafs, at least for Game 1.

We hope you're enjoying the show.


  1. Michael,

    I for one, am enjoying the show. Listened to it live as it were, great effort all around. This team will be life and death to make the playoffs in my opinion. They have rid themselves of some guys and got some new ones in. The top six is better, except down the middle. Grabbo is a better option at centre than Bozak. The part of this team that bugs me is reliance on face punchers. None of the guys that play this role in Toronto will be on the ice in a game 7 protecting a three goal lead. For that reason, I see very little to be gained by having so many of them on the team. Chicago, Detroit and Boston seem to do ok without these extremely limited players. I would very much like Toronto to follow suit and do away with them as well.

    1. I guess the conundrum there, Jim, is that this is Carlyle's team, and he likes to have guys like Orr and McClaren around. So much so that Bodie is in because McClaren is out.
      If the team wins during the regular season, I'm guessing this approach will continue. Thanks Jim- and thanks for catching the show.

    2. I am mildly annoyed that it's Bodie over Devane.

      Bodie lost his fight and didn't finish on any goals. Devane had 2 goals and an assist. He knocked a guy out and didn't get hurt in a fight against a super heavy weight Matt Kassian who is 6'6".

      What more was he supposed to do?

      I thought Ashton McClement and Devane were a really decent 4th line. They could actually play hockey.

    3. I saw Bodie blocking some shots in pre-season but overall I'm not sure that he distanced himself from someone like Devane, as you mentioned, DP. The only thing I'll say is I tend to believe this will be a fluid situation- we could see some of the young guys (who are not on the opening night roster) up with the Leafs as the season moves along. Thanks DP.

  2. Great discussion again, Michael!
    I'm married to a Habs fan so I won't make predictions for the game tomorrow night. I'm just hoping we actually see some hockey.
    The Colborne trade bothers me and not just because he went so cheap. I don't know how much influence Burke has with Feester but this was certainly his idea. Will we be seeing more trades between these two teams? Considering the goalie situation in Calgary, this has me worried. If Bernier plays well could we lose James to the Flames? C.N.

    1. Reimer to Calgary has indeed been discussed here, C.N. (including by me) and that would be a fit, for sure. But the best fit, in my mind, is for Reimer to stay right here.

      If, however, Bernier is lights out, then I can't see Reimer happily watching from the bench for very long. He is a capable netminder. So Calgary may become a possibility at some point, whether this season or next.

      Life with a Hab fan? Now that has to be fun! Talk soon, C.N.

  3. Kessel - told ya! Signed. Awesome!
    Colborne trade - shame - I can't believe he was given away for nothing - looks like Nonis owed Burke a favour.
    Bodie - the only reason he is in the lineup over Leivo and Devane (Or even Colborne) is because he's the big boss's son-in-law and that's disgusting. Meritocracy my ass! This kind of stuff could cost us a cup.
    Reimer earned the starting job and watching Bernier letting in screened shots in the preseason makes me wonder if size of the goalie may end up being more important than we thought. I'm a little worried about that trade coming back to haunt us - Scrivens was a big guy who could get in the way of shots and Frattin showed flashes of brilliance. I'm thinking Tim Thomas would have been a better (and cheaper) option... I stand to be corrected. I really hope I'm wrong about this.

  4. Reilly - I think your concern about rushing him should be somewhat mitigated by the fact that, unlike Schenn a few years ago, Reilly will have solid defencemen around him to shelter him somewhat whereas Schenn was expected to carry the D on his shoulders. I'm thinking this may not be as bad of an idea as we originally thought.

    1. Hi Leafdreamer- yes, I think Leaf fans everywhere are relieved Kessel has signed. Many will no doubt find fault (I dislike long-term, big money deals, but that's the way sports business is conducted nowadays...and it's been this way for decades...) in the years to come, especially if Kessel slips in some way or fades as his contract reaches the later years. But in terms of short-term needs, this should help the club.

      As for Rielly, yes, there are somewhat better defenseman around to help Rielly than when Schenn arrived, but I still see no one with proven, winning playoff experience on the back end who can mentor him. (As I write this, wasn't Beauchemin, a veteran Cup-winning defenseman, here when Schenn was in his early Leaf days?) I still say don't rush Rielly, but no one is asking me! Thanks leafdreamer...