Spezza to retire if claimed on waivers

After signing another cheap one year deal with the Leafs, it seemed pretty clear that Jason Spezza wants to finish his career as a Toronto Maple Leaf.
And that was basically confirmed today, as Chris Johnston reported that if Spezza gets claimed on waivers by another team, he will retire.

Jason Spezza’s agent says the veteran centre will retire if claimed off waivers by another NHL team: https://t.co/ytEdlf5yR8
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) January 17, 2021

Spezza was put on waivers today alongside goaltender Aaron Dell in an attempt to allow cap and waiver flexibility for the Leafs with the taxi squad, particularly in the wake of Nick Robertson’s injury last night.
This bodes somewhat well for the Leafs, as this will likely scare off other teams from claiming him, and allow him to stay a Toronto Maple Leaf. The only way I can see someone claiming him is to purely spite the Leafs and make them lose a depth piece for absolutely nothing. I doubt it happens because I feel like screwing over a veteran player probably isn’t in some people’s best interests, but we all know how petty some teams can be with the Leafs.


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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Throwback Thursday: This week in 1999, Toronto Maple Leafs trade Felix Potvin for Bryan Berard

Welcome back to another edition of Throwback Thursday! 

This week in 1999 (Jan. 9), the Toronto Maple Leafs traded long-time goaltender Felix Potvin to the New York Islanders for defenceman Bryan Berard.
It ended an eight-year run for Potvin with the franchisee who drafted him in the second round of the 1990 draft. Potvin broke onto the scene in 1992-93 with the Leafs playing in 48 games and posting a 25-15-7 record and a .910 save percentage. Named to the all-rookie team and placing fourth in Vezina voting, it was clear that the Leafs had their goalie of the future.
Over the next six seasons, Potvin would be just that. He played in 369 games for the Leafs posting a 160-149-49 record and a .908 save percentage.
But in 1998, the Leafs inked Curtis Joseph as a free agent and Potvin only played five games before going down with a knee injury. It made the latter expendable, and Toronto made the deal.
Potvin never was able to regain the success he had in the Six, and bounced between the Islanders, LA Kings, and Vancouver Canucks before retiring in 2004 with the Boston Bruins.
Berard, meanwhile, only played in parts of two seasons with the Leafs scoring 49 points …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

The Blue Jays are among the teams watching Corey Kluber’s throwing session today

Another day, another ‘The Blue Jays are linked to _______’ post.

This one is a bit different than the standard ‘the Blue Jays have been in talks with so and so’ though.
Corey Kluber, the two-time Cy Young Award winner, is doing a throwing session for teams down in Florida today, and the Blue Jays are one of the teams in the mix.

#BlueJays are one of the teams watching Corey Kluber throw in Florida today, per source.
Would make a lot of sense as a buy-low mid-rotation arm while you cross your fingers he can find his Cy form again.
— Scott Mitchell (@ScottyMitchTSN) January 13, 2021

Kluber is a name that Shapiro and Co. obviously know well. Originally drafted by the San Diego Padres back in 2007, Kluber was acquired by Cleveland in a three-team trade that involved Jake Westbrook and Ryan Ludwick. A few years later, Kluber emerged as one of the better starting pitchers in baseball.
He won the Cy Young in 2014, finished third in voting in 2016 while helping Cleveland reach the World Series, and won again in 2017. Between 2013 and 2018, Kluber posted a sparkling 2.85 ERA with great peripheral numbers, walking just 1.8 batters-per-nine while striking out 10.1 per-nine.
Early on in the 2019 season, …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Throwback Thursday: This week in 1992, Toronto Maple Leafs acquire Doug Gilmour in 10-player blockbuster

Welcome back to another edition of Throwback Thursday! 
This week in 1992, the Toronto Maple Leafs made a massive move acquiring Doug Gilmour in a 10-player trade from the Calgary Flames.
Gilmour, then 28, was a key cog in the Calgary Flames 1989 Stanley Cup win and in coming to Toronto the hope was that prowess would follow. While he was an offensive wizard posting the best offensive years of his career, the Leafs were unable to win a cup.
That, all the while, making a deep run into the conference finals in 1993 before falling in game seven to the LA Kings. He was electric in those playoffs scoring 11 goals and as many assists in 22 playoff games that season.
The trade was a massive deal at the time. Toronto also acquired other key pieces from that ’89 cup winning team in Jamie Macoun, Ric Nattress, Kent Manderville and Rick Wamsley, while giving up Gary Leeman, Alexander Godynyuk, Jeff Reese, Michel Petit and Craig Berube.
Gilmour left the Leafs in a 1997 trade when he was sent to the New Jersey Devils.
On Twitter: @zjlaing
 

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

Throwback Thursday: Today in 1990, Toronto Maple Leafs acquire Mike Foligno

Welcome back to another edition of Throwback Thursday!

Today in 1990, the Toronto Maple Leafs acquired Mike Foligno from the Buffalo Sabres.
Foligno, then 32, joined the Leafs after spending the last decade between the Detroit Sabres, who drafted him, and the aforementioned Sabres.
In Toronto, he went on to spend parts of four seasons scoring 27 goals and 47 points in 129 games. In his one playoff series in Toronto, he scored two goals and eight points in 18 games in the 1992-93 playoffs.
For Foligno, the Leafs gave up Brian Curran and Lou Franceschetti. He left the team in a Nov. 5, 1993 trade that saw Toronto ship him to the Florida Panthers for cash.
Foligno would retire at the end of the year having scored 727 points in 1018 NHL games.
On Twitter: @zjlaing
 

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

Apparently the Blue Jays “desperately want” DJ LeMahieu

Another day, another the Blue Jays are in on ______ rumour.

Over the past few weeks, the talk around the Blue Jays has generally been about George Springer, Francisco Lindor, and J.T. Realmuto as possibilities for the team’s much-anticipated big off-season splash. On Friday, DJ LeMahieu’s name was thrown back in the mix.
According to New York Yankees announcer Michael Kay (the guy who says ‘see ya!’ when the team hits a homer), the Blue Jays are very interested in the 2020 batting champ…

“I know for a fact from people I know in Toronto that the Blue Jays desperately want him,” Kay said Friday on his ESPN radio show. “And they’ve got a lot of infielders, too. They desperately want him. Would (LeMahieu) want to go to Toronto? That’s the question.”

This report out of New York comes at a time in which the Yankees and LeMahieu are engaged in a bit of a stalemate. Both sides apparently want to reach terms on a new deal but LeMahieu wants $100 million over five years while the team only wants to go as high as $75 million over four years.
Now, this might just be LeMahieu’s agent building …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Throwback Thursday: This week in 1980, the Toronto Maple Leafs acquire Jim Rutherford

Welcome back to another edition of Throwback Thursday!

This week in 1980 (Dec. 4), the Toronto Maple Leafs acquired goaltender Jim Rutherford from the Detroit Red Wings.
Rutherford, then 31, joined the Leafs after spending the bulk of his career with Detroit, but only played in 18 games. He posted a meagre 4-10-2 record and a .853 save percentage and before long, he found himself on the move again.
On March 10, 1981, the Leafs traded him to the LA Kings for a 5th round pick selecting Barry Brigley, who never played.
All in all Rutherford had a respectable NHL career as a player playing in 457 games despite posting a 151-227-59 record and a .879 save percentage.
Since then, he has built a Hall of Fame career as a general manager.
On Twitter: @zjlaing
 

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

Throwback Thursday: This week in 2003, Mats Sundin becomes Toronto Maple Leafs all-time leader in game-winning goals

Welcome back to another edition of Throwback Thursday! 

This week in 2003 (Dec. 2), Mats Sundin scored his 64th game-winning goal making him the leader in the category for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
His game-winner gave the Leafs a 5-4 victory over the New York Rangers. That 2003-04 season was a big one for Sundin as he scored a career-high ten game-winning goals that season.
All in all, the Leafs legend, who left the organization in 2008, finished his career in Toronto with 79 game-winners. It’s a solid lead over Dave Keon’s 63, and a far cry from any active player.
Auston Matthews is the closest active Leaf already having scored 23 game-winning goals through his fourth season. He might be the best shot at breaking the record held by Sundin.
On Twitter: @zjlaing
 

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

Throwback Thursday: This week in 1958, Toronto Maple Leafs hire Punch Imlach as general manager

Welcome back to another edition of Throwback Thursday!

This week in 1958 (Nov. 21), the Toronto Maple Leafs hired Punch Imlach as general manager. Only eight days later, he took over bench duties too as the clubs head coach.
He became only the third general manager in club history and then the 18th head coach.
Imlach would lead the Leafs to four Stanley Cups in the 1960s with championships in 1962, 1963, 1964 and lastly, 1967. The Leafs have yet to win a cup since then.
He was known as a hard-nosed coach with a penchant for his ageing veterans, many of whom felt Imlach was their last chance at a championship.
Overall, Imlach coached the Leafs to a 370-275-125 record over 770 before being fired by the club after the 1969 season. He helped usher in the Buffalo Sabres to the NHL coaching them in their first two seasons in the league.
He later coached 10 games in the 1979-80 season for the Leafs.
On Twitter: @zjlaing
 

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

Throwback Thursday: This week in 1967, Tim Horton plays his 1000th NHL game

Welcome back to another edition of Throwback Thursday! 

This week in 1967 (Nov. 18), Tim Horton played his 1000th NHL game. Horton, then 38 at the time, had joined the Toronto Maple Leafs two decades prior.
His first game for the club was in the 1949-50 season, but he didn’t break into the league on a full-time basis until 1952-53. Horton played defence for the Leafs and spent 20 years with the team before a few seasons splitting time between the New York Rangers, Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins.
All in all, Horton played in 1445 NHL games scoring 115 goals, 403 assists and 518 points.
On Twitter: @zjlaing
 

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation