Pierre Engvall has been recalled to the Leafs’ taxi squad

With Nick Robertson potentially out of commission for a while, the Leafs have made quite a bit of moves on Sunday. The latest one is involving their taxi squad and the promotion of a notable forward.

Toronto Maple #Leafs have recalled forward Pierre Engvall from the minors and placed him on their Taxi Squad.https://t.co/frEil2vl04 https://t.co/HnxyeYOxkS
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) January 17, 2021

Jason Spezza and Aaron Dell being on waivers means Alexander Barabanov will likely be brought back onto the Leafs roster along with Mikko Lehtonen. A spot on the taxi squad has opened up as a result so the Leafs went with the best player currently in the minors.
Unless there are more injuries or the Leafs want to shake up the lines, Pierre Engvall will likely be on the taxi squad for a while. It doesn’t help that his cap hit sits at $1.25 million on a team that only has roughly $600k in cap space available.
In 48 games last season, Engvall recorded eight goals, seven assists, and 15 points. He also made four appearances during the play-in round where he went scoreless.
All stats unless otherwise noted are from Hockey-Reference.com.
All salary information …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Spezza to retire if claimed on waivers

After signing another cheap one year deal with the Leafs, it seemed pretty clear that Jason Spezza wants to finish his career as a Toronto Maple Leaf.
And that was basically confirmed today, as Chris Johnston reported that if Spezza gets claimed on waivers by another team, he will retire.

Jason Spezza’s agent says the veteran centre will retire if claimed off waivers by another NHL team: https://t.co/ytEdlf5yR8
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) January 17, 2021

Spezza was put on waivers today alongside goaltender Aaron Dell in an attempt to allow cap and waiver flexibility for the Leafs with the taxi squad, particularly in the wake of Nick Robertson’s injury last night.
This bodes somewhat well for the Leafs, as this will likely scare off other teams from claiming him, and allow him to stay a Toronto Maple Leaf. The only way I can see someone claiming him is to purely spite the Leafs and make them lose a depth piece for absolutely nothing. I doubt it happens because I feel like screwing over a veteran player probably isn’t in some people’s best interests, but we all know how petty some teams can be with the Leafs.

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Leafs place Aaron Dell and Jason Spezza on waivers

It raised eyebrows around the league when the Leafs decided to keep Aaron Dell on their opening night roster as their third goaltender, mostly because the Leafs were only able to carry one extra player on their active roster due to salary cap limitations. Keeping a third goaltender left the Leafs with next to no roster flexibility, as Alexander Barabanov (aside from Ilya Mikheyev) was the only player that could be sent to the taxi squad without having to clear waivers.
The Leafs made that move prior to their game against Ottawa on Saturday night, recalling rookie forward Nick Robertson for his NHL regular season debut. Unfortunately for Robertson and the Leafs, he suffered a knee injury in the first period and is expected to miss some time pending the results of an MRI scheduled for Sunday.
In order to receive an emergency recall exemption for a player with a cap hit of $1 million or less, the Leafs would have first had to play a game with just 17 skaters. As a result, the Leafs were forced to create the flexibility to recall reinforcements from the taxi squad by placing Aaron Dell and Jason Spezza on Sunday’s waiver wire.

Aaron …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Who is going to give the Leafs the toughest time this season?

The short answer is probably the Leafs. No one undoes the expectations of the Leafs quite like the Leafs, but we’ll try and answer this question a bit more seriously. After the first three games of the season it’s clear that there’s no such thing as a cake walk for Toronto, and if since they insist on doing things the hard way, it’s worth looking at who will be the toughest opponent for Toronto. Here’s what the TLN crew had to say about who will be the toughest of the Scotia North Division opponents.
Michael Mazzei
While this may be an overreaction to the first game, the Montreal Canadiens proved they will be a very tough opponent for the Leafs all season long. Never mind the fact that these two teams will face off nine more times, the Habs are a well built team that gave Toronto fits all game long. There’s no doubt the other teams will each present their own challenges, beating Montreal will be an accomplishment because they are not going to be an easy outing. Turns out the preseason hype surrounding that team was right all along.
Mark Norman
I …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

3 Maple Leafs score their first goal of the season – Rate that Leafs game

So, the Toronto Maple Leafs close out a two-game series with the Ottawa Senators going 1-1. This game was a lot better for a team who came into the nation’s capital last night and played horrible.
Tonight, players were flying and it was a much better performance. The only bad news is that Nick Robertson will likely miss “some time” due to a knee injury, which Sheldon Keefe said after the game.
Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and Joe Thornton all scored their first goals of the season. Jack Campbell had an incredible performance and even thought he could do better, like he usually says. Overall though, this looked like a complete game with the Maple Leafs not allowing the Senators back into it late.
I’ll say that it was a little rough around the edges, but overall, a much better game than the first one against Ottawa.

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Jumbo Joe gets his first as a Leaf in 3-2 win

After a disappointing first game in Ottawa, the Leafs looked to bounce back and get a win on the first Hockey Night in Canada of the season. Jack Campbell and Nick Robertson replaced Frederik Andersen and Alexander Barabonov, so maybe a bit of deck chair shuffling will change the momentum.
The Leafs came out in the first period with a very similar performance to last night’s first, as they did a good job maintaining possession and creating scoring chances. Unfortunately, hockey is a cruel mistress sometimes, as midway through the first period, a Nikita Zaitsev shot went straight at teammate Nick Paul, who then gets the loose puck past Jack Campbell to give the Sens a one goal lead.

Paul opens the scoring off the rebound pic.twitter.com/cUzlibyyZ6
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 17, 2021

It seemed like we were in for another rough night against the Sens, but thankfully a one goal lead is very easy to give up. Four minutes later, Mitch Marner makes a great play to corral a TJ Brodie stretch pass, skates the puck into the offensive zone and drops it for Joe Thornton, who walks in and fires it past Matt Murray to tie the …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Alright, let’s try this Battle of Ontario thing again

The Leafs look to rebound from a disappointing loss to the Ottawa Senators last night, with a win from this home-and-home series. Ottawa surprised Toronto and took control of the game from the Leafs in the second period, and got themselves a win out of it. Tonight, the Leafs will want to prove why a majority of people have them winning the North division this year, especially against a Sens team that many had finishing last.
It was a tale of two teams last night, as the Leafs were playing like an elite team playing a lottery team for the first half of the game, as they had 71.58% of the expected goals in the first, and at one point had 85% in the second. However, in the second half, they just gave up, as they finished the second with 46.98% of the expected goals, and had only 8.4% of them in the third. That’s right, 8.4%, a grand total of 0.08 expect goals. They played really bad.
They also didn’t get much help from Frederik Andersen in net. He let in a couple of stinkers again, and looked like he was swimming in his crease for quite a bit of the game. He …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

A game the Maple Leafs should look back on – Rate that Leafs game

Alright, the Toronto Maple Leafs had a bad game, but it has to get better from here, right?
Giving up four goals in two-straight games is no excuse and it’s also one you don’t blame on solely a single player. There was a lot of people who went for Frederik Andersen’s head, but that’s not fair.
The Maple Leafs are an entire team — you win as a team, lose as a team. It might sound cliché, but it’s true. The defence in front of Andersen has to be better and until it is, he’s not going to be able to give the Leafs a chance to win. Sure, I get it — he has to make saves, but it’s the players’ jobs to help him make those saves instead of leaving him out to dry.
In this video, I talk about what they can do now because that’s the most important thing at this moment. They have a chance to show how good they are tonight and I believe they’ll do just that.

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Revitalizing the Leafs-Sens Ontarian rivalry, one upset at a time

In the first Toronto versus Ottawa matchup of this rivalry hotbed, all Canadian division matchup season, we saw a frustrating battle against a pesky Senators team that is aiming to prove everyone they’re not going to lie down easily this season.
After the Leafs got out to a good start, pressuring the Senators well, they were able to capitalize on this incredible skill play from Zach Hyman to get on the board first:

Zach Hyman goes baseball mode! pic.twitter.com/nDSllmsFTi
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 16, 2021

The Senators were quick to respond, though, as Toronto went down two players short in a long 5-on-3 opportunity for Ottawa that they didn’t need long to make the most of:

Thomas Chabot ties it on the 5-on-3 pic.twitter.com/JrWIsTUI9f
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 16, 2021

Appearing to not be willing to let the Senators embarass them, Kerfoot takes this 200-IQ shot to put the Leafs back on top in this contest:

Kerfoot delivers a dart #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/xG4Zt5jeO3
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) January 16, 2021

The lead didn’t last long for Toronto though as the third-best NHL Tkachuk is able to tip a Nikita Zaitsev shot past Andersen to …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

The Battle of Ontario resumes tonight as the Maple Leafs take on the Senators

The Toronto Maple Leafs are back in action tonight as they take on the Ottawa Senators in their home opener of the 2021 season. Last game, the Maple Leafs defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-4 in Overtime thanks to Morgan Rielly’s OT winner.
Youth Movement
Tonight is the highly anticipated NHL debut for 2020 second overall pick Tim Stutzle. Along with Stutzle, the Senators will also have Josh Norris and Drake Batherson in the lineup tonight, two players who lit the AHL on fire with Belleville last season. Brady Tkachuk and Thomas Chabot are also a year older, giving Ottawa a nice core of young players (unfortunately).
A year removed from finishing second last in the NHL, this season looks like a transition year for the Sens, as they try to build a contending team. The Sens added vets such as Derek Stepan, Evgenii Dadonov, Erik Gudbranson and Matt Murray to help ease the burden on the youngsters on the team.
The Senators are still a work in progress, but I wouldn’t be proclaiming a season sweep by the Leafs this season. I would expect the Leafs to have to really earn every two points against the Sens this season. DJ …

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Author: Brendan Mori / The Leafs Nation