Elliotte Friedman had a lot to say about the Leafs and Marlies in this week's 30 Thoughts piece. Here's the recap of the Leafs-centric thoughts...
According to the CBC insider, Toronto Marlies forward-enforcer Justin Johnson's contract is built in a unique way, with bonuses based on how his team performs. Basically, he's there to make sure everyone is happy and focused. With 16 Marlies forwards competing for jobs already this season, that might not be a bad thing.
"There’s a logjam there, so they wanted a veteran with good habits who won’t cause a problem," Johnson’s agent, Jeff Helperl, said last week. "Yes, he wants to play, but also do the things the Marlies are looking for. Justin’s biggest selling point is his character."
It’s also likely the Marlies wanted someone to protect their youth in case opponents started running at them. It’s tough to say for sure, because assistant GM Kyle Dubas, who negotiated with Helperl, is in media jail.
The interesting thing is how the team and the agent designed this contract. The structure is very different, with a couple of agents and executives saying they’d never seen anything like it before. Johnson’s salary and signing bonus are normal, in American funds.
What stands out are the bonuses.
*$5,000 (these are in Canadian dollars) for every Marlie who scores 20 goals
*$5,000 for every Marlie who reaches 50 points
*$2,500 based on the success of the power play and penalty kill
*$2,500 for everyone who plays 10 games with the Marlies and 15 with the Maple Leafs
"Initially, it was more elaborate than what it ended up being," Helperl said. "It took a month to finish."
He wouldn’t go into it, but a couple of sources indicated other bonuses were rejected.
Marlies captain Andrew Campbell also has a unique contract in that he makes $250,000 this season and $400,000 (a ton in the AHL) next season. Campbell accounts for one of the Marlies five permitted veteran contracts (players with more than 260 pro games) and is part of a trend that has seen the AHL's average salary creep up to $100,000.
With regards to potential compensation for now-fired head coach Randy Carlyle, it looks like compensation in the form of a draft pick will be off the table as of January 1, 2016, according to Friedman.
The Leafs are scared of Jack Eichel too, apparently.
One Maple Leaf on Jack Eichel: "The word is out…if you let him get going, he will embarrass you."
Morgan Rielly's lack of powerplay ice time is by design, according to Mike Babcock.
"Because I want him concentrating on other things."
Rielly filled in the blanks.
"When the puck is going up the ice, am I there supporting it? In our zone, am I boxing out the opposing forwards? Or, if someone is coming out of the corner with the puck and gives it to someone else, am I preventing him from getting to the net? That’s the kind of thing he wants me worrying about."
That's not the only ice time concern in the organization either. A goaltending controversy might be heating up in Toronto too.
After Babcock demanded better from Jonathan Bernier, the goalie was asked if he would change his preparation or routine leading into games. Bernier would not say. Then, he was very good in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Sabres last Wednesday. So I followed up. Bernier smiled and said, "No" in a way that made me unsure if he was serious or was politely saying, "none of your business."
Whatever the case, he couldn’t keep the momentum, with a 5-3 loss in Montreal. James Reimer was in net for Monday’s home defeat to the Coyotes. It’s still anyone’s net.
The Leafs are back in action against the New York Rangers on Friday. It is not yet clear who will start.