The Toronto Maple Leafs made their intentions clear this season as they added playoff-tested Brian Boyle to the mix for their playoff push. Not expected to compete for the Atlantic crown this year they find themselves just seven points back of Montreal with two games in hand. Kristen Shilton of TSN spoke to Mike Babcock about the addition, and he said the team deserves this. “We’re excited. Lou thought our group had earned the right for us to help them,” Babcock said, before indicating that Boyle will play tonight on the fourth line and help out both special teams.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie thinks that it’s not just Boyle that the Maple Leafs are after, and that they may use their LTIR space to facilitate other deals. The Leafs have a lot of cap space because of the dead contracts they’ve taken on over the past few years, and could use it to gather assets from teams looking to add at the deadline. They have to be careful though, as the bonuses that Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander (among others) are owed on their entry-level contracts cannot be covered by the LTIR space and would count as penalties next season should they put them over the cap.
- McKenzie also detailed the possibility of Vladimir Sobotka turning heads at some point tomorrow, as the Omsk Avangard winger is nearing the end of his KHL contract. It’s not clear if Sobotka would consider coming over after his season ends, but would be playoff eligible. Lou Korac of NHL.com asked Blues GM Doug Armstrong about the possibility, who responded: “Once he gets on our soil, then I’ll talk about him.” The 29-year old Sobotka has been a pain in Armstrong’s side for a long time.
- In a new column from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE, Ryan Spooner spoke out against his former coach Claude Julien and the tense relationship the two shared. Spooner claims that Julien “just didn’t really trust [him]”, and that the two never saw eye to eye on his play style. Spooner has 33 points in 61 games and is well on his way to another 40+ point season before he’s 26. If he’s not dealt in the next few months, he’ll be looking for a big upgrade in the summer on the $950K he’s currently earning.