(Ed. Note: I'm in Santa Monica for the next few days to check in with Y! HQ, so the posting schedule will be lighter than usual on Tuesday and Wednesday. Quality over quantity, of course: There's a must-read piece on the perils and possibilities of players and agents using Twitter going up later today. For breaking news, check out Leahy on Twitter and the Y! Sports news page. Thanks again for reading.)
Remember how we compared the Toronto Maple Leafs' team-building to a sandwich with high-quality cold cuts but with no attention paid to the bread or the condiments? (If you don't, it was yesterday. Perhaps saying "no" to that seventh beer tonight would be advisable.)
Well, the Leafs have their hoagie roll: Sportsnet reported this morning that coveted 24-year-old Swedish goalie Jonas "The Monster" Gustavsson has signed a one-year deal with Toronto. TFP has the contract at $810,000 contract with the chance to make an additional $90,000 in bonuses.
As Pierre LeBrun wrote, the Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars and San Jose Sharks were also in pursuit of Gustavsson, but Toronto is clearly the best option for him to play right away, even if Sportsnet believes he'll start the season behind Vesa Toskola.
Look: There's no telling if The Monster is going to be a difference-maker or the latest 'unicorn at the circus' international free agent that tantalizes fan bases during the offseason. But his addition is another in an impressive string of defensive-oriented moves for Leafs overlord Brian Burke; like the acquisitions of Mike Komisarek, Garnet Exelby and Francois Beauchemin.
Van Ryn, the ghost of Carlo Colaiacovo, obviously has a much easier contract to move; he'll be an unrestricted free agent next summer. Why keep him over Kaberle, who has two years left on his deal? Clearly the market for Tomas isn't what Burke thinks it should be, or he'd have dealt him by now. At this point, with the defense Burke's put together, I don't believe a top-six forward is a priority. Remember, it's not about scoring goals; it's about lowering the 293 goals the Leafs allowed last season. And I have no doubt that number is going to plummet.
Toronto's defense with Kaberle is rather stunning. But its offense without what Kaberle can bring back via trade is putrid. They have to move him for help up front.
So, for the moment, the Leafs are having one hell of a summer. Well, provided that they didn't tamper with the Sedin Twins, as the NHL is now investigating:
Leafs general manager Brian Burke confirmed yesterday that the NHL has informed him that the league will examine potential tampering because of remarks made by the Leafs coach in an interview with a Toronto radio station last week.
"The league has indicated that they are looking into it, so we will have no public commentary at this time," Burke said yesterday when asked to respond to a column published by the Vancouver Province last weekend in which an unnamed NHL executive remarked that what Wilson said was a "clear-cut case of tampering."
Last Tuesday, less than 24 hours before the Sedin twins re-signed with the Vancouver Canucks, Wilson told the Fan 590 in Toronto, "You're hearing right now, and this sounds very contradictory but, there's a real possibility, I would think, that we would be going after the Sedins. Let's just speculate there."
For the record, Burke said he was in Sweden before the start of free agency to speak with Gustavsson, do a little shopping, see some sights. Oh, and to explore new goal celebrations for the Leafs fans.