Wednesday, July 04, 2007

MLSE has signed Toskala to a new, two year, $8M contract good for an annual cap hit of $4M. (As per a previous entry, "extension" is really the wrong word for the media to be using here as Toskala's current contract will expire in July 2008. At that point a brand new contract, with a brand new cap hit, will kick in. For the current season, Toskala's cap hit remains $1.3M and then jumps to $4M for the 2008-09 season.)

MLSE was in a bit of a bind on this one - if they don't negotiate a new deal, Toskala becomes a UFA at the end of this season and could theoretically hit the open market. Having a player walk after 50+ games isn't a great return on three draft picks...

That said, maybe those big hockey brains down in the executive suites at the ACC could learn something from previous experience (Maybe? Just once? Please?).

Last year after dealing for Raycroft, the MLSE brass signed him to an extension before he played a single game for the blue and white.

That worked out craptacularly well for my beloved Leafs.

So well, in fact, that the club decided to deal away more of the future for another starting goalie.

And about 365 days after signing an untested Raycroft, the same big brains have decided to offer Toskala a two-year deal for $8M - all before Toskala stops a single puck for the big club.

What's the rush? Why not see how the new boy does and negotiate a deal as the season progresses...$4M is quite the payday for a guy who's barely played 100 games.


Add my voice to the chorus on the Blake deal - like the rate but not the term. I'm guessing JFJ won't be around when Blake turns 38 and has to be bought out.

The new PlanTM down at the ACC is clearly all about the short-term.


  1. I think Raycroft was a RFA when they traded for him since his contract kicked in right away.

    Still, this deal could have been done in the middle of the season when the Leafs had seen if he was going to succeed as the starter.

  2. Anonymous5:14 pm

    The Toskala contract is symptomatic of all that is wrong with the Leafs. While I like the trade to bring Toskala in, I think they should have seen if he can do the job before giving him such a huge raise. Biron, who was a starter, and a very good one, with Buffalo before Miller's emergence signed for $3.5 million a season. Why is Toskala worth an extra $500,000? Sure, his career stats are better, but he's untested as a true #1 tender.

    It used to be that you could count on the Leafs handing out big paydays for past performances. Now, you don't even have to perform to secure a lucrative contract. Don't we all wish we could get a sweetheart deal like that?

    Even if the thinking was to lock him up before the end of the season, and undoubtedly it makes sense to do that, at least wait until he has played one game in the uniform!!! If he gets shelled in the first game of the season, this deal will look even worse than either the Raycroft or McCabe deals.

    Short-term thinking is clearly the plan around the ACC now, but who can blame JFJ for that? Not only does he not have full control over the team, his boss publicly announces that they're looking for someone to supervise him because they don't totally trust him. I wouldn't blame him if he decided to simply walk away from that circus.

  3. PPP - Raycroft was indeed an RFA when the Leafs landed him, as the Leafs could have tendered a contract for $1.99M (one dollar less than JFJ ultimately signed him for)and only lost a second round draft pick...that said, as Raycroft was an RFA he was only entitled to a 5% pay increase so I don't really know why MLSE bent over for him and gave him a big raise before a single puck had beat him high to the glove side.

    Paul - Either JFJ is in charge and has made a series of really poor decision or MLSE is pulling the strings and JFJ doesn't have the stones to stand up to them.

    In all seriousness (honestly) I'd have infintely more respect for JFJ if he walked away from this gig citing MLSE interference. I think that would be the best thing for both John and the Leafs...I can always dream I suppose.

  4. Ehh, and things were going reasonably well for a while. This deal is definitely jumping the gun, unless they know something we don't, trade-wise or something. Maybe Toskala has recently discovered that he is a superhuman being, and is energised by Earth's yellow sun? All Leafs games will be held outdoors.

  5. Anonymous4:20 am

    JFJ will be fired. Mark my words: it's only a matter of time.

    All he has done since he came here is
    a) trade away picks for questionable players
    b) overpay for free agents
    c) hand out huge contracts to anyone and everyone

    on the surface all of his moves make sense. The team is bad defensively... sign some defensemen. Goaltending is shaky, trade for a goalie.

    But they are all very shortsighted moves, and full of idiosyncratic flaws.

    Why are we paying our #3 defenseman 5 mil? Name one team in the league (except maybe anaheim if niedermayer doesn't retire) who is doing this? No one does because in a salary cap world, it's overkill. It's like having 2 goalies being paid 5 million each.

    Why did he sign domi and belfour, two old, question mark players, to lucrative, 2 years deals right before a lock out????

    I have spent hours trying to figure out the moves JFJ has made, and I can only conclude one thing. He's not an idiot, but he definitely doesn't have a long term, intelligent vision for the leafs. He's falling into the trap that everyone in the leafs organization has fallen into for years. "We must win now now now" No patience, therefore no dynasty.

  6. Anonymous5:19 pm

    Matthew, you're right. JFJ will be fired sooner or later. The problem is, that will not cure the team's woes. So long as the Leafs remain owned by a pension fund that doesn't see any value in winning because it won't help their bottom line, nothing will change. JFJ will simply be replaced with a clone by a different name. No one with any talent will take the job because they won't be given the same level of control that they would have with another team.

  7. Anonymous5:04 pm

    I read this the other day. Coming out of the amateur draft, the Leafs were the only team without a single prospect in the top 60 as rated by International Scouting Services. The ONLY team. Even cup winner Anahiem and runner-up Ottawa got at least one prospect in the top 60.

    And this is a team that hasn't made the playoffs in two years and is supposedly building for the long term through the draft. If that doesn't speak of "draft schmaft" I dont know what does.

    Ridiculous, fire Peddie on down.

  8. Anonymous4:55 pm

    Anyone else love the comment Bryan Murray made today in the Sun?

    In case you missed it, in talking about the fact that the Sens will have to be successful against the Leafs and Habs to remain on top of the division, Murray said, "We've had a good run against them, but they have something to challenge us with this year. I look at their depth and the Leafs having a goalie now will make a huge difference."

    Someone should show that quote to Raycroft!