TSN’s Frank Seravelli reports that Joffrey Lupul is rumored to have failed his pre-season physical and expects to start the NHL season on injured reserve. The oft-injured Maple Leafs forward only played in 46 games last year, scoring 11 goals and 3 assists.
Lupul has faced a variety of injuries in his career, but none more severe than his back issues which have sidelined him for significant periods of time. When healthy, Lupul is an excellent contributor, but his repeated injuries often derail successful campaigns.
Lupul began his Maple Leafs career with a bang, netting 45 goals and 105 points in his first 110 contests spread out over parts of three seasons in Toronto after a 2011 deadline trade with Anaheim. His strong play led to a massive five-year contract extension worth $26.25MM in total despite the fact the skilled forward had seen action in no more than 66 games in a single season since 2008-09. Unfortunately for both parties, Lupul has missed nearly a full season’s worth of games (76 in total) since inking that extension and has produced just 0.46 points-per-game during that time.
The Maple Leafs are currently over the cap by $827K, but moving Lupul to LTIR will free up $5.25MM in space. Assuming Stephane Robidas also starts the season on LTIR, the Leafs go from slightly over the cap to over $8MM under the cap. The Leafs will have the option of freeing up additional space by placing Nathan Horton on LTIR as well, which would further lower their overall cap commitment to around $60MM.
Lupul was originally the seventh overall pick in the 2002 NHL entry draft, chosen by the Anaheim Ducks. Ironically, he has twice been included in trades involving Chris Pronger, first going from Anaheim to the Oilers in exchange for the Hall of Fame defenseman, then returning to the Ducks as part of a package that saw Pronger head to Philadelphia. Toronto would acquire Lupul and Jake Gardiner from Anaheim as part of a trade for veteran blue liner Francois Beauchemin.
More from the Atlantic Division:
- Joe Haggerty joined local Boston sports talk show, Toucher and Rich, and discussed Brad Marchand’s pending free agency. Marchand, of course, ranked 6th in the NHL in goals scored in 2015-16, tallying a career high 37. He is currently playing on what many consider to be the best line in the World Cup, skating on the left of all-world pivot Sidney Crosby with Bruins teammate Patrice Bergeron on the right. Haggerty opines that the Bruins need to lock up the agitating winger before he hits the free agent market, suggesting it will take a seven-year contract with an AAV of $7MM per season. He also listed the Penguins as a potential suitor should Marchand make it to free agency. Haggerty cites the fact both Marchand and Crosby are originally from Nova Scotia and that the success the two players are experiencing at the World Cup might prompt an impassioned plead to Penguins management from their best player to go get Marchand. Of course while Marchand might be getting a glimpse of how fun it might be to play with Crosby every day, he’s also reminded of just how good playing with Bergeron is.
- It appears the Montreal Canadiens have anointed Alex Galchenyuk as the team’s #1 center, with head coach Michel Therrien saying he plans to start the talented American on the top line with Max Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher, as Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette reports. Galchenyuk, who has moved back-and-forth between wing and center since breaking into the league in 2012-13, may have finally earned the trust of the coaching staff on the heels of a strong 30-goal campaign, which included netting 18 over the team’s final 27 games. Veteran center Tomas Plekanec will then assume the role of #2 pivot and is expected to have new offseason additions Andrew Shaw and Alexander Radulov on his wings.
*Mike Furlano contributed to this post.