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Power-ranking Maple Leafs’ 10 best trades since 2010

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In sifting through the long list of Toronto Maple Leafs trades processed over the past 10 years, a few things stand out.

For one, as much as fans and critics fawn over these team-to-team transactions — some not-so-shocking news: nothing does page views on Sportsnet.ca like trade stories do — the vast majority of trades have little to no consequence on the success of either team. Salary dumps; low-risk, low-payoff rentals; and minor leaguers crowd trade histories.

(I recall Dion Phaneuf’s 2016 midseason trade from Toronto to Ottawa doing silly traffic on our site. Nine pieces were involved! Sports talk and blog fodder for days! Yet outside of Phaneuf’s contributions to the Sens’ remarkable 2017 playoff run, the total impact of all the players involved to their new teams was minimal.)

Secondly, we are reminded how rare it is to win a trade when dealing within your own conference. Seven of our top 10 Leafs deals of the 2010s were consummated with a Western Conference team.

Finally, as hard as it is to knock a one-for-one hockey trade out the park, those are the ones that can really soar — or sting. And it’s a pair of intra-conference, one-for-one trades that take silver and gold in these rankings.

(Note: While we support February’s trade for Jack Campbell and Kyle Clifford, L.A.’s full return is still unknown, so we withheld judgment.)

Here is a list of the best deals, from the Leafs’ point of view, Toronto has made since 2010.

Senior Writer Ryan Dixon and NHL Editor Rory Boylen always give it 110%, but never rely on clichés when it comes to podcasting. Instead, they use a mix of facts, fun and a varied group of hockey voices to cover Canada’s most beloved game.

10. Dubas stacks up by trading down

To Toronto: 2018 first-round pick (Rasmus Sandin), 2018 third-round pick (Semyon Der-Arguchintsev)

To St. Louis: 2018 first-round pick (25, Dominik Bokk)

June 22, 2018

Who knows? Maybe Bokk — a 20-year-old prospect since traded by the Blues to Carolina — will eventually move to North America and light it up, but right now the German is putting up modest numbers in the Swedish league.

The Leafs, on the other hand, have already begun reaping the rewards of trading down in the first round of the 2018 draft. Dubas exchanged the 25th-overall pick for the 29th and 76th. Sandin, 20, made the big club out of camp in ’19 and already looks destined for Toronto’s top four, while the diminutive Der-Arguchintsev put up a silly-good 75 points in 55 games with the Peterborough Petes this season and is begging for a greater challenge.

9. Somebody to hit somebody

To Toronto: Jake Muzzin

To Los Angeles: Carl Grundstrom, Sean Durzi’s rights, 2019 first-round pick (Tobias Bjornfot)

Jan. 28, 2019

While it’s impossible to fully evaluate this 2019 pre-deadline swap until the three Kings develop to their full potential, Muzzin is far and away the most valuable piece of the deal right now. The fact that string-puller Kyle Dubas re-signed Muzzin for four seasons beyond his year-and-half rental period has underscored how well the trade has paid off for the Leafs, who secured a pure shutdown defender with leadership, sandpaper and a booming shot.

Bjornfot, 18, was actually having a lovely AHL rookie campaign, putting up 19 points and a plus-13 rating in 44 games on the Ontario Reign’s back end and earning a brief NHL call-up. Power forward Grundstrom, 22, remains an excellent AHLer who has yet to carve an NHL niche. And Durzi, 21, signed with the Kings and jumped to the AHL after five OHL seasons.

8. Flipping a scratched forward into a stud prospect

To Toronto: 2019 fourth-round pick (Nick Abruzzese)

To St. Louis: Nikita Soshnikov

Feb. 16, 2018

Soshnikov, 26, was the type of energetic, feisty forward whose value likely got trumped up by plying his trade in hockey’s busiest media market. Toronto didn’t have enough ice time for all its depth wingers in 2018, so Lou Lamoriello traded the Russian for a fourth. Hampered by injuries, “Sosh” played all of 17 NHL games and scored just once over two seasons with the Blues before tearing up the KHL with Salavat Yulayev this season.

Toronto’s delayed fourth-rounder, however, was used by Dubas to secure what appears to be a steal. Abruzzese, a centreman, wowed in his rookie year with Harvard and is on our radar as one of the most talented prospects in the Leafs’ pipeline.

7. Burkie in a blowout

To Toronto: Cody Franson, Matthew Lombardi

To Nashville: Brett Lebda, Robert Slaney, 2013 fourth-round pick (Zachary Pochiro)

July 3, 2011

An edgy right-shot defender, Franson would devote the bulk of his four most productive NHL campaigns to the Maple Leafs, logging significant minutes and chipping in 21 to 33 assists in each of his seasons in Canada. The Leafs also got a year of service out of depth forward Lombardi.

David Poile, who was looking for futures from Brian Burke, watched Lebda, Slaney and Pochiro combine for a grand total of zero games played in Nashville.

Worse for the Preds? Poile rented Franson (plus Mike Santorelli) back from tank-job Toronto at the 2015 deadline in exchange for a first-round pick, Brenden Leipsic and Olli Jokinen. (Nashville’s playoff hopes were quickly extinguished in six games by the eventual champion Blackhawks.)

6. Two draft picks are greater than one

To Toronto: 2015 second-round pick (Travis Dermott), 2015 third-round pick (Martins Dzierkals)

To Columbus: 2015 first-round pick (Gabriel Carlsson)

June 26, 2015

Another great example of Toronto trading down in the draft and doubling its chances of uncovering a real player.

While 23-year-old Columbus defence prospect Carlsson has underwhelmed for a first-rounder — three NHL assists scattered over 23 games in four seasons — last time we saw the Leafs, second-rounder Dermott logged more ice time than anyone else in an important March 10 victory over Tampa Bay. Dzierkals, 22, didn’t stick on this side of the pond and is playing in the Finnish Elite League, but the slick-skating, puck-moving Dermott (a pending RFA) still has a chance to be a top-four fixture in Toronto for years to come.

5. The cross-country blockbuster

To Toronto: Dion Phaneuf, Keith Aulie, Fredrik Sjostrom

To Calgary: Matt Stajan, Ian White, Jamal Mayers, Niklas Hagman

Jan. 31, 2010

Should Phaneuf have been named captain so quick? Probably not. Did he end up getting overpaid at the end of his Toronto tenure? Sure. But that doesn’t subtract from the fact the Leafs got the best player in their 2010, nine-player blockbuster with Calgary. The hard-nosed defenceman played huge minutes for six seasons.

Toronto also sold high on Hagman. After two 20-goal showings with Toronto, he never scored more than 11 Calgary.

Of the trade’s other components, Stajan was easily the most enduring figure, lasting in Calgary through 2017-18 and becoming a regraded leader in the room.

4. Fred-die! Fred-die!

To Toronto: Frederik Andersen

To Anaheim: 2016 first-round pick (Sam Steel), 2017 conditional second-round pick (Maxime Comtois)

June 20, 2016

Easily the biggest win-win Maple Leafs deal of the decade.

Thanks to Lamoriello’s work here, the Maple Leafs secured their best goaltender in a decade (previously, Ed Belfour) and a much-needed security blanket for a young squad’s defensive woes. The workhorse Andersen set a new franchise record for regular-season wins (38) in 2017-18 and became the fastest European-born goalie to reach 200 wins earlier this season.

Meanwhile, in Disneyland, Andersen’s departure allowed John Gibson to thrive in a No. 1 role, and both Steel and Comtois have a fantastic shot at being core Ducks forwards for years to come.

3. Getting younger and faster

To Toronto: Joffrey Lupul, Jake Gardiner, 2013 fourth-round pick (Fredrik Bergvik)

To Anaheim: Francois Beauchemin

Feb. 9, 2011

The Ducks would get four-and-half more great years out of respected, stay-at-home, veteran d-man Beauchemin in his Anaheim return, including a stellar plus-62 run from 2012 to 2015 that included two deep post-season runs.

But in Lupul and Gardiner, Burke brought in two young, key pieces that would transcend to top-line essentials at their peak. (Prospect Bergvik never left the Swedish pro circuit.) Forever playing injury-shortened seasons, Lupul hit a career-high 67 points in 2011-12, earned a trip to the all-star game and thrived with Phil Kessel.

Before a bad back got the better of him, Gardiner skated eight seasons with the Leafs, reaching a high of 52 points and helping turn a turbulent roster into a playoff team.

2. He gets the puck

To Toronto: Zach Hyman

To Florida: Gregg McKegg

June 19, 2015

Absolutely, McKegg would use Florida has a destination to establish himself as an NHL-calibre depth centre, and the 27-year-old has now carved a nice veteran niche for himself down the Rangers’ lineup.

But the still-improving Hyman, also 27, has been a fixture in a Maple Leafs’ top six that was on the brink of driving his hometown organization to a fourth consecutive playoff appearance. Even though he’s paid to forecheck and kill penalties, Hyman has posted back-to-back 21-goal campaigns and draws the best out of elite centremen Auston Matthews and John Tavares.

At the time of the deal — which was sealed during Brendan Shanahan’s three-month transitional period between firing general manager Dave Nonis and hiring Lamoriello — Florida threw in a conditional 2017 seventh-round draft pick if Hyman refused to sign in Toronto.

Yeah, Hyman’s probably better than the pick.

1. Burke’s parting gift to Leafs Nation

To Toronto: James van Riemsdyk

To Philadelphia: Luke Schenn

June 23, 2012

The last NHL Draft Brian Burke worked as Toronto’s GM was one of his best. Not only did he surprise with the excellent selection of defenceman Morgan Rielly higher than anticipated (No. 5) but he and then-Flyers GM Paul Holmgren plotted a one-for-one deal to unite the Schenn brothers in Philadelphia.

While defenceman Luke did play three-and-a-half decent seasons in Philly, Toronto got James van Riemsdyk’s prime scoring years. The silky-handed left winger thrived alongside elite righties like Kessel and, later, Mitch Marner. JVR finished off power plays with ease, hitting the 30-goal and 60-point marks twice each before walking back to Philadelphia as a free agent in 2018.

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Toronto FC captain says Donald Trump doesn't have 'a moral bone in his body' – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press


Published Thursday, June 4, 2020 7:23PM EDT


Last Updated Thursday, June 4, 2020 11:08PM EDT

Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley pulled no punches Thursday, lamenting the “zero leadership” south of the border as the U.S. is ravaged by racial unrest.

The longtime U.S. skipper took square aim at president Donald Trump.

“We have a president who is completely empty. There isn’t a moral bone in his body,” Bradley told a media conference call.

“There’s no leadership. There’s no leadership from the president, there’s no leadership from the Republican senators who have sat back and been totally complicit in everything he’s done for the last 3 1/2 years.”

Bradley urged his fellow Americans to speak with their ballot in November, saying it was “impossible to overstate” the importance of the coming election.

“I just hope that people are able to go to the polls in November and think about more than just what is good for them, more than what is good for their own status, their own business, their own tax return. I hope that people can go to the polls and understand that in so many ways, the future of our country and the future of our democracy is at stake.

“We need as many people as possible to understand that at a real level, to think about what four more years with Trump as president, what that would mean, how terrible that would be for so many people.”

Referencing racial inequality and social injustice, Bradley added: “If we want any chance to start to fix those things, then Trump can’t be president, it’s as simple as that.”

The 32-year-old Bradley has run through the gamut of emotions while watching the violence and unrest unfold in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis while three police officers restrained him – one with his knee on Floyd’s neck.

“I’m angry, I’m horrified, I’m sad and I’m determined to do anything and everything I can to try to be a part of the fix,” he said. “Because it has to end. And we all have to be part of that fix.”

He acknowledged that while he has much to learn on the issues, politicians, policy-makers and businesses have to be held accountable.

“My man Mike is a as real as they come. Nothing but the truth here,” teammate Joze Altidore tweeted.

Bradley has criticized Trump before. In January 2017, he said he was “sad and embarrassed” by Trump’s travel ban aimed at citizens of predominantly Muslim countries.

The TFC captain, while happy to see the MLS labour impasse over, noted there had been “some real difficult moments along the way.” That included a threat of a lockout from the league.

Such tactics “did not sit well with the players,” he said.

He also said there had been a frustrating absence of dialogue right from the beginning of talks, which he acknowledged played out against an unprecedented global threat.

“This, at a certain point for me, was about what’s right and what’s wrong in the middle of the pandemic. And the way to treat people and the way that you look after people. I kept coming back to that idea. That we have all put so much into growing the game in North America, at all levels – ownership, league office, executives coaches, players, fans.

“Everybody is important to what we’re trying to do. To try to dismiss any of the entities that I just named would be short-sighted and disrespectful because the game is about everybody.”

He said he would have loved to have seen everyone get on the same page early on and find a way “to cut through the (bull).”

“To just say ‘This is where we are right now. Nobody has a playbook. Nobody has any answers but how are we going to come out better and stronger from all of this? … I think conversations would have carried so much more weight and I think we would have been able to avoid so much of the way certain things played out.”

Bradley underwent ankle surgery in January to repair an injury suffered in the MLS Cup final loss in Seattle on Nov 10. His rehab over, he was part of a small group training session Thursday.

“I’m doing well,” he said. “I’m continuing to make progress … At this point physically I feel really good. My ankle feels really good. And now it’s just about training. Getting back into real training in a way that now prepares me for games.”

Still, he said injuries are an issue in the league’s return to play given the time that has passed since the league suspended play March 12.

“That is a big concern,” he said. “And it’s not a big concern only amongst players. I know that has been a real topic amongst coaches and sports science staff and medical staff.”

While teams will do everything possible to get the players ready, a compressed schedule at the Florida tournament that awaits teams won’t help injury fears, he said.

“That certainly is a big question. Maybe the biggest question when you get past the initial health and safety stuff of COVID, among players and coaches and technical staff,” he said.

“How are we going to give ourselves the best chance to win, but also do it in a way where guys are at their highest level both technically and physically”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 4, 2020.

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NBA owners approve 22-team season restart plan – CityNews Toronto

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The NBA’s Board of Governors has approved a 22-team format for restarting the league season in late July at the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida, another major step toward getting teams back onto the court and playing games again.

The format calls for each team playing eight games to determine playoff seeding plus the possible utilization of a play-in tournament for the final spot in the Eastern Conference and Western Conference post-season fields. The National Basketball Players Association has a call on Friday to approve the plan as well.

Thursday’s vote was the most significant step yet in the process of trying to resume a season that was suspended nearly three months ago because of the coronavirus pandemic. There are numerous other details for the league to continue working through – including finalizing specifics of what the testing plan will be once teams arrive next month at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports complex and the calculating the financial ramifications of playing a shortened regular season.

“The Board’s approval of the restart format is a necessary step toward resuming the NBA season,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “While the COVID-19 pandemic presents formidable challenges, we are hopeful of finishing the season in a safe and responsible manner based on strict protocols now being finalized with public health officials and medical experts.”

Meanwhile, a person speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the details of the ongoing talks have not been publicly released, said the NBPA and the NBA are continuing to work on a “lengthy” medical protocols document. The details of that document will be shared with teams once those discussions are completed, said the person, who added that teams should receive them in plenty of time for them to prepare for their arrivals at the Disney-ESPN complex.

The NBA also said it is planning to have the draft lottery Aug. 25, the draft on Oct. 15 and start next season on Dec. 1.

If all 22 teams that are going to Disney next month play their allotted eight games before the post-season begins, the NBA would play 1,059 games in this regular season. That means 171 regular season games would be cancelled, which could cost players around $600 million in salary.

Those 22 clubs would play somewhere between 71 and 75 regular season games if the Disney portion of the schedule is completed, down from the customary 82-game slate. The teams who didn’t qualify for the restart will see their seasons end after having played somewhere between 64 and 67 games.

But one of the biggest hurdles is now cleared, and if things go according to plan an NBA champion for a season unlike any other will be crowned in October. The season could go into that month if the league goes ahead with its plan for the same playoff rules as usual, that being every round utilizing a best-of-seven format.

Teams will likely arrive at the Disney complex around July 7. Once there, camps will continue and teams will likely have the chance to have some scrimmages or “preseason” games against other clubs before the regular season resumes.

Thursday’s move by the board of governors – one that came, coincidentally, on the same day this season’s NBA Finals would have started if these were normal times – was largely a formality. The NBA considered countless restart options after suspending the season on March 11, whittled that list down to four possibilities last week and from there the 22-team plan quickly began gaining momentum.

The 22-team plan includes all teams that were holding playoff spots when the season was stopped, plus all other clubs within six games of a post-season berth.

Milwaukee, the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston and reigning NBA champion Toronto had already clinched playoff berths. Now with only eight games remaining for each team, it means that eight other clubs – Miami, Indiana, Philadelphia, the Los Angeles Clippers, Denver, Utah, Oklahoma City and Houston – have post-season spots secured, and Dallas virtually has one as well.

That leaves nine teams vying for three remaining playoff berths. In the East, Brooklyn, Orlando and Washington are in the race for two spots. In the West, Memphis, Portland, New Orleans, Sacramento, San Antonio and Phoenix will jostle for one spot.

If the gap between eighth place and ninth place in either conference is four games or less when the shortened regular season ends, those teams will go head-to-head for the No. 8 seed. The team in ninth place would have to go 2-0 in a two-game series to win the berth; otherwise, the No. 8 seed would advance to the post-season.

Thursday’s decision also means that the seasons for Atlanta, Cleveland, New York, Golden State, Minnesota, Detroit, Chicago and Charlotte are over. The Knicks will miss the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season, the third-longest current drought in the league behind Sacramento and Phoenix – who still have chances of getting into the playoffs this season.

And with the Hawks not moving on, it also means Vince Carter has almost certainly played the final game of his 22-year NBA career – the longest in league history.

Carter, the first player in NBA history to appear in four different decades, is retiring. He appeared in 1,541 NBA games, behind only Robert Parish (1,611) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,560) on the league’s all-time list.

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LeBron James explains why he can’t ‘stick to sports’ in Instagram video – Sportsnet.ca

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More than two years ago, Fox News television host Laura Ingraham asked LeBron James to “shut up and dribble” when the superstar was publicly critical of U.S. President Donald Trump.

On Thursday, in the wake of widespread protests about racial injustices following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, James posted a powerful video on Instagram to explain why he won’t fulfill Ingraham’s request.

The video is a series of sentences that cleverly transition in sync with the sound of a basketball’s bounce.

First, they are sports themed: “Shut up and dribble”; “Shut up and tackle.”

Then, they become more general: “Shut up and get paid”; “Shut up and just do your job.”

Next, they start telling the story of an encounter with police: “Shut up and do you live around here?”; “Shut up and you fit the description.”

That leads to sentences that loosely depict the injustice Floyd faced when Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin put all his weight on a prone Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes: “Shut up and get on the ground”; “Shut up and lay still.”

Finally, James closes with a statement and a question: “This is why we can’t just stick to sports. Do you understand now?”

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