Thursday, September 03, 2009

Toronto Maple Leaf Roster: Waiver Status

I don’t think the much discussed (and increasingly tiresome) term “truculence” will be the big issue for the 2009-2010 Maple Leafs. I think the Penalty Kill (discussed earlier here) and waiver rules are likely to have a far bigger impact on this team than their new found ferocity.

Why waivers? Well, as much as I mocked the notion of significant competition in Leafs camp, the Leafs have enough 4th line talent that it's almost certain the club will expose several players to get down to a 23 man roster.

Burke may have "lost" talent to the waiver wire in the past, but it's one thing to find marginal players an NHL home (e.g. Mark Bell, Staffan Kronwall) and quite another when it's a Mitchell, Frogren or Tlusty that's lost for nothing - especially if that player is lost so an aging vet can get 4th line minutes. (Mayers, Primeau and Allison - I'm looking at you.)

Forwards: 13 Spots and 18 Players

With 13 spots up for grabs, who are the locks at forward to make the line-up?

1. Jason Blake
2. Niklas Hagman
3. Mikhail Grabovski
4. Lee Stempniak
5. Alexei Ponikarovsky
6. Matthew Stajan
7. Nikolai Kulemin
8. Colton Orr

If the Leafs are going to carry 13 forwards, four of the following nine won’t make the club:

9. Christian Hanson
10. Jiri Tlusty
11. Tyler Bozak
12. Wayne Primeau
13. Jamal Mayers
14. Viktor Stalberg
15. Rickard Wallin
16. John Mitchell
17. Jason Allison

Keep in mind that Hanson, Bozak and Stalberg can all be sent to the Marlies without having to clear waivers, giving Burke a bit of early season flexibility. Tlusty too, although he loses his waiver exemption status once he plays 8 more NHL games (good thing JFJ burned a year of his eligibility so he could play him nine minutes a night in 14 games).

I didn’t forget him, but Nazem Kadri isn’t making this club. Even a nine game look (10 pro games and he burns a year of his contract) means exposing another player on the team and I can’t see that happening so an 18 year old can have his cup of coffee.

Numbers Game on D

If the Leafs carry 13 forwards, they have room for eight d-men. Book Komisarek, Kaberle, Beauchemin, Finger and Schenn (in no particular order) as the top five.

Who’s kidding who, Gunnarsson and Oreskovic aren't making this team out of camp. That means one of Frogren, Exelby, White and Van Ryn will be traded or waived. My guess is Van Ryn will be traded (or injured), failing that, Frogren will hit the waiver wire/ be demoted to the Marlies.

Vesa and the Monster

If you think Burke spent the off-season travelling repeatedly to Sweden to woo a guy to play for the Marlies, raise your hand.

That’s what I figured.

Joey Mac will be seeing a lot of Ricoh Coliseum this season.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Waiver Status by Position



Waiver Exempt?

Jason Blake No
Niklas Hagman No
Mikhail Grabovski No
Lee Stempniak No
Alexei Ponikarovsky No
Matthew Stajan No
Nikolai Kulemin No
Wayne Primeau No
Jamal Mayers No
Colton Orr No
Rickard Wallin No
John Mitchell No
Jason Allison No
Tyler Bozak Yes
Christian Hanson Yes
Viktor Stalberg Yes
Nazem Kadri Yes
Jiri Tlusty Yes - 8 games remaining

Player Waiver Exempt?
Mike Komisarek No
Tomas Kaberle No
Francois Beauchemin No
Jeff Finger No
Mike Van Ryn No
Garnet Exelby No
Jonas Frogren No
Ian White No
Luke Schenn Yes
Carl Gunnarsson Yes
Phil Oreskovic Yes

Player Waiver Exempt?
Vesa Toskala No
Jonas Gustavsson Yes
Joey MacDonald No


  1. Anonymous10:01 am

    Nicely done... even if you are being a party pooper for saying the term truculence is getting tiresome :(

  2. Good to know that we're still being haunted by JFJ.

  3. Paul Steckley11:01 am

    Truculence, truculence, truculence! I'll never get tired of that word, especially if it accurately describes the Leaf's play this season.

    Stempniak should not make this team under any circumstances. Easily one of the worst trades Fletcher has ever made.

  4. Finally - someone supporting the Leafs is willing to admit that Truculence is a corporate buzzword! :P

    Seriously though, very good analysis. I shall be reading your blog more often :)

  5. Joey Mac isn't waiver exempt and only carries a $650,000.00 cap hit. He might get snatched.

  6. Scott - I'm not sure if Joey Mac is waiver exempt or not. His contract pays him $105,000 to play for the Marlies and that's a magical number in the CBA. Players earning $105K or less in the Minors appear to be waiver exempt.

    I say "appear" to be waiver exempt as it's a rather convoluted section of the CBA.