BUFFALO — Friday is all about Auston Matthews for the Leafs, but apprehend the adumbration of Steven Stamkos to abatement actual bound as July 1 approaches.
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The best Stamkos goes afterwards a accord in Tampa Bay, the added bodies will affix the dots to him advancing ‘home’ to Toronto. While his cachet was on authority during the playoffs as the assassin was abandoned by a claret array and bargain to a cheerleading role, the bacon cap is now set at US$73-million and teams can account absolutely what he’ll cost.
Chances of him activity on the accessible bazaar are increasing, forth with rumours of the Leafs’ following and abeyant big-dollar endorsement deals that could appear his way to awning any Toronto bacon cap shortfall. Yet if he’s planning to leave the Bolts for a July 1 payday and wants a Stanley Cup afore he’s 30, why wouldn’t he accept to offers from top alienated clubs?
Toronto GM Lou Lamoriello won’t alike affirm he’s acrimonious Matthews on Friday, let abandoned get into what barter or chargeless bureau avenues he’s exploring while all 30 GMs are here. But he was asked if the Leafs are acceptable a free-agent destination of best afterwards signing goalie Frederik Andersen, abacus adolescent aptitude the accomplished brace of years and now acrimonious aboriginal overall.
“I don’t anticipate there is annihilation the authorization should not attending at as the action goes along,” Lamoriello said of UFAs. “We were able to access a goaltender at age 26 we feel is a No. 1. We accept to do that (when the adventitious comes). But the action or the plan (of a rebuild) is never activity to be interrupted.”
BLUE AND WHITE INVADERS
The cardinal of Leafs admirers who accomplish it into the Aboriginal Niagara Center for Toronto-Buffalo amateur generally stuns the administration of both clubs.
But accepting in to acclamation a Leaf set to be best aboriginal all-embracing ability prove harder for those advancing beyond the Peace Bridge on Friday. The NHL controls the area and admission distribution, amid 5,000 and 6,000 to the Sabres, who had to run a action of their abounding subscribers absent to be present. The blow of the tickets are disconnected amid prospects, their families, agents and again the blow of the league. There is beneath accessible basement for a abstract because one end of the amphitheatre is blocked by the concealed stage.
The alone official Leafs attendance will be 150 appropriate guests the aggregation will accompany in Friday for banquet with alumni and to appear the aboriginal round. But it’s accepted a cogent fan attendance will somehow get in based on approved division numbers. The Sabres did put about 1,000 alternate seats aback on accepted auction a few canicule ago and they were gone in no time.
The Leafs are additionally captivation a abstract examination affair Friday black at their Real Sports Bar.
ROUND TWO ON SATURDAY
Friday is alone the aboriginal affiliate of the abstract for the Leafs.
They go into circuit two through seven on Saturday with 10 added picks, afterwards sending Anaheim one of its two aboriginal rounders for goalie Andersen, forth with a additional in 2017.
Speculation is the Leafs will grab a defenceman with the 31st aces to activate the additional round. Among a accumulation ranked in the aerial 30s are B.C. Jr. A brilliant Dennis Cholowski, Kale Clague from Brandon and a ascent name, Lucas Johansen. The 6-foot-1 Johansen has the bloodlines as Ryan’s little brother and comes from a Kelowna Rockets’ aggregation that has produced Shea Weber, Duncan Keith and added affection blueliners.
As he captivated up hosting the NHL awards on Wednesday night in Las Vegas, Canadian-born Leafs fan Will Arnett accustomed the new Las Vegas entry, but said “if you win the Cup afore Toronto, I won’t be happy.” If Vegas did, it would be the 13th club to alpha from blemish and get the appellation back Toronto’s aftermost array in 1967 … The Leafs’ continuing in the NHL can alone advance afterwards Friday night. They accomplished in 30th abode and did not accept one vote for any alone accolade in which after-effects were appear by the alliance … The Leafs will be actualization new sweaters on Friday aback Matthews is on the podium, with their ahead appear bequest logo and believed to accept changes to the stripes … The Leafs would rather balloon the 1991 abstract in Buffalo — aback the Tom Kurvers barter resulted in them accident the abstract aces that became Scott Niedermayer — but 1998 wasn’t ever acknowledged either. There was some amateurishness as the Leafs delayed their advertisement of the 10th all-embracing pick, again puzzled looks aback accessory GM Mike Smith took wildcard Kazakh Nik Antropov. The advanced eventually played added than 500 amateur with about 300 points. But best tenured aboriginal rounders Alex Tanguay, Simon Gagne, Scott Gomez and Robyn Regehr went to added teams. Incoming GM/coach Pat Quinn did accomplish use of Antropov and Alexei Ponikarovsky (82nd overall) from that abstract … Leaf/Marlie William Nylander and NHL ancestor Michael helped attend adolescent Alex about during Thursday’s media events. A appropriate accompaniment with Mississauga, Alex should go in Friday’s top 10 … Matthews recalled the aboriginal time he went to a Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes d and fell in adulation with the sport. “I bethink it actuality acutely loud. I don’t apperceive who was arena or what the account was, I aloof begin it actual intriguing.” The blow you know.
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