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From The Branches: Tara$enko time

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Eight years at 60 million for a young Blue raises the question, WWSG (What Will Stamkos Get)?

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

That's right, y'all are lucky enough to get four solid days of Achariya for your FTB! I adore you guys, so I hope you're not sick of me yet.

A Time of Change

Cassie McClellan quits Raw Charge | RC

Sarah Connor reduces her role at Stanley Cup of Chowder | SCOC

Ok call me a conspiracy nut, but Sarah leaving SCoC? and Andrew leaving HEotP? They both quit running their successful SB nation blogs on the exact same day??? This can only mean that the years of hate and spite has turned to hot passionate love for one another. It is obvious that they have strategically planned to run off together to get eloped and have their unholy Habs/Bruins love child without the ridicule of our respective fan bases. Rumour has it that the spawn of this dark union will be named Maurice Bobby…(Source)

Andrew Berkshire moves on from Habs Eyes on the Prize | HEOTP

Leafs Links

Why The Phil Kessel Trade Hurts | FiftyMissionCap @ PPP

There are many pieces providing rational analysis of the Phil Kessel trade. This is not one. This is a piece about fandom, and what the trade feels like from an emotional impact of being a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs for the last ten years.

The sneaky, rising Maple Leafs prospect | TSN

The draft was airing all in one day in Sweden and Andreas Johnson decided to take a nap after the first round. He awoke to a text message. Instead of opening it, Johnson pulled up the draft results and saw that his name had been called with the 202nd overall pick. He just made the cut.

Shawn Matthias buys Toronto Maple Leafs some time — and that’s just what they need | National Post

For the Toronto Maple Leafs, there are plenty of holes on a roster that managed just 30 wins last season. Even more so, now that Phil Kessel is gone. So it makes sense that the team has been busy in the off-season, signing five players in the last week. The latest was Shawn Matthias, who signed a one-year contract worth US$2.3-million.

In praise of Maple Leafs’ brilliant rebuild | Puck Daddy

This is now the second summer in a row in which the Leafs have mostly made smart, small moves that probably improve their team marginally in the short term, but will likely have benefits lasting far longer than the contracts will.

Maple Leafs dedicated to patience with young talent | NHL.com

Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan repeatedly has said he plans to take things slowly as he attempts to build a team that will be good for a long time. Also, new coach Mike Babcock sees value in young players getting a taste of professional hockey in the minors.

"Patience is the key," assistant general manager Kyle Dubas said.

Goaltender Rob Madore signs two-way deal with Marlies, Solar Bears | PPP

Analysis: Kessel fits better with Malkin than Crosby | NHL.com

Phil Kessel's trade to Penguins highlights first day of NHL's free agency | LA Times

Expansion

First step in NHL expansion process underway | TSN

NHL expansion process opens to sort out dreamers from serious applicants | Puck Daddy

NHL expansion process begins with Las Vegas, Quebec City as front-runners | Sporting News

Proposal to Bring NHL Team to the Northland | FOX 21 News

Tara$$$enko

Blues Sign Vladimir Tarasenko To 8 Year, $60 Million Contract | SLGT

Vladimir Tarasenko signs 8-year deal, Blues get a superstar steal | Puck Daddy

Blues sign forward Tarasenko to eight-year contract | NHL.com

Did KHL threat help Vladimir Tarasenko get big Blues contract? | Puck Daddy

And one more

Slava Voynov has KHL job waiting after jail, but Fetisov says he ‘got off light’ | Puck Daddy

[Slava Fetisov:] "[Voynov] laid hands on a woman and he has to answer for it. And it will be a lesson for everyone. I could never let myself hit a woman in my life and I never will."

As for his future prospects, Fetisov said it is unclear how this incident will affect Voynov’s career but suggested other players should learn from his mistakes. "It is difficult to tell if [the incident] influences his further career or not," he said. "I can only assume Voynov will continue playing in the United States, but I don’t know his plans. He must draw the right conclusions and go through this serious test [first]."