Yesterday, Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Mark Giordano signed a two-year extension to remain in Toronto, an extension that was immediately characterized as being highly team-friendly in nature. It seems that the team-friendly nature of the extension was by design and by the request of Giordano himself. According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, the original deal between Giordano and Toronto was “around” $1MM AAV, but Giordano preferred to sign at around $200K lower than that offer in order to allow the Maple Leafs “go out and do something else to help [them] win.”
While $200,000 may seem like a relatively small amount within the grand scale of the NHL’s salary structure, one has to remember that it is a significant amount of money for any person. For Giordano to reportedly forgo that amount of money, a sum that he has rightfully earned with his play in Toronto, in order for his team to have a little extra wiggle room to add players is an incredibly generous gesture. Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas said as much, referencing a “tremendous sacrifice” in Giordano’s contract negotiation process. The Maple Leafs have serious designs on competing for a Stanley Cup in the near future, and it now is evident that at least one of their players has quite literally bought into that vision.
Now, for some other notes regarding the league’s Eastern Conference teams:
- The Penguins recently extended forward Bryan Rust on a six-year deal worth just over $5MM per year. Today, Penguins GM Ron Hextall had some other news regarding Rust, stating that the forward had undergone a “clean-up” surgery. Hextall downplayed the importance of the operation, stating that it was only a minor procedure and that Rust will be ready for the start of next season. Given the amount the team has now invested in Rust and his health, it’s important for Rust to be on the right health footing at the start of next season so the Penguins can hit the ground running on their next chance to win a Stanley Cup.
- With the pending unrestricted free agencies of Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin looming, some believe that next season could be a transitional one for the Penguins, where they perhaps take a small step back from true contention in order to re-tool and extend their overall competitive window. Today, Hextall spoke on that idea and clarified the direction of the Penguins franchise. He stated, as relayed by Mike DeFabo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that the team is going to “continue on trying to win the Stanley Cup,” and that their new owners, Fenway Sports Group, are “totally on board” with this all-in approach. Despite the contract uncertainty of Malkin and Letang, two players Hextall deemed “generational,” it looks as though the Penguins will not be embarking on the re-tool some fans believe they need and instead will be doubling down on their chance to win a Stanley Cup with their current core.
Pittspuke is stupid
Wow. Must have taken you hours to come up with that one
Don’t pick on him, it probably took days. He doesn’t seem like the sharpest tool in the shed and that’s ok. I’m sure someone, somewhere loves him.
Goku the All Knowing
must be a flyers fan
“…some believe that next season could be a transitional one for the Penguins, where they perhaps take a small step back from true contention in order to re-tool and extend their overall competitive window…..it looks as though the Penguins will not be embarking on the re-tool some fans believe they need and instead will be doubling down on their chance to win a Stanley Cup with their current core.”
Some are kinda clueless.
There is no brief step back where the Pens “retool” and suddenly emerge again as Cup contenders during the Crosby window.
That is pure fantasy.
What is this “retool”?
We accumulate 3 or 4 high draft picks in a one or two year span despite finishing in the playoffs and not having a bunch of picks? Obviously that is not going to happen.
We let two elite franchise players (one of whom just had his best year ever and the other is considered a shell of his former self for ONLY being a point a game player) walk and…what? Have the most amazingly perfect free agency signing period in NHL history? Signing who?
This “retool” requires magic thinking to make it make sense.
The move is the same as it has always obviously been…you do whatever you can to win the Cup with a core of Hall of Fame players, even as those odds decline, who have EARNED that right by winning you 3 already and a fan base that sold out the building for 15 straight years.
“But, won’t it be smoking pile of rubble after doing it this way?”
YES. Much easier to rebuild from scratch.
“But, won’t they be stuck with contracts that won’t age well?”
YES. Who cares? Rebuilding teams need bad contracts to reach the floor.
I’ll say it again, the people who care more about whether the 2027 Pens finish in 18th instead of 28th (WHEN FINISHING IN 28TH IS ACTUALLY BETTER ANY WAY) than maximizing the Crosby era…………
Trono keeps retooling! LOL
Well … not quite being accurate there. Geno isn’t a point-a-game-player. He’s a point-a-game-player *when he’s on the ice.* If I’m a GM, I’m not paying superstar money to a guy who can reliably be counted on to miss half the season. Letang? He’s obviously still elite, but he’s also 35 years old, and the odds that he sharply declines in the next two years are a good bit better than that he’ll still be a Norris candidate two years from now.
Maximizing the Crosby era? Dude, seriously. The team finished 11th in the league this year. It’s an ancient squad that has a lot higher chance of declining than improving. Do you really see the Penguins legitimately competing for a Cup next season?
The players on the team have earned the right to keep competing for Cups as long as they can.
Lay out the (REALISTIC) scenario where their odds of winning a Cup with Crosby increase by not keeping those two…
There is none that isn’t wishful thinking.
They’d have to sign 3 or 4 free agents who just happen to be PERFECT fits at team friendly prices or hit on a few Datsyuk and Zetterberg types out of nowhere.
PS- A point a game player is a point a game player, that’s how averages work and why I said a point a game player rather than an 82+ point scorer. And it’s why he will get and take a pay cut.
Yeah, let us know when he takes half the pay to perform in half the games. That’d be the pay cut necessary.
Goku the All Knowing
Rust signed pretty reasonably for what he could’ve gotten (6.5+ AAV)
Geno coming back is a must. can’t let legit top-6 centers walk.
Letang not worth it anymore. can sign 2 defensive-minded defenders for that price.
pens already have their top line defensive playmaker on the roster in Matheson.
Marino also capable of that role.
whether Letang is still elite or not, doesn’t matter… signing 2 defenders for 3.50+ each helps the team more than one guy.
gotta bring in a vet GK this off-season too..
wouldn’t be surprised if MAF finishes his career with the pens
Where is there a salary sacrifice with Matthews, Marner and Tavares??? they better buy Gio a gold Rolex!
Do the cap rules allow players to subcontract?
Matthews and Tavares could pay their own wingers out of their salaries and still be doing fine.
dave frost nhlpa
They can make legal donations to other players charities.
Leave It to Hextall to think that retooling will work. Lol.
I have to respect their loyalty but they haven’t won a playoff round in 5 years, it’s not like they’re almost there.
This was the year for them to do a rapid rebuild with all of the UFA assets they had but once they got in playoff position it wasn’t happening.
Now they just try to compete as best they can and wait for the bottom to fall out.
Once it falls out it’s going to be a long, long road.
The Leafs have been loyal, it’s true.
Nobody that’s led anybody, anywhere. Leaderless ship.