Morgan Rielly and Toronto’s complicated relationship with offensive defensemen

It seems with Tyson Barrie gone there is another offensive defenseman drawing heat from Leafs fans in the early days of the season, and it’s Morgan Rielly. We’ll start with an acknowledgement that Morgan Rielly’s stats have been pretty crappy this year. Rielly has the lowest xG% of any Leafs defender, and for a player who is more offensively driven, the fact that he only has one primary point to his name is a bit bothersome as well. In contrast to those numbers it should be acknowledged that once again the Leafs are asking Rielly to start the year with a new defensive partner, and one that plays a significantly different style than his previous one. Is that enough of an excuse, for some of you yes, for others no, and that’s why it’s always complicated when it comes to Toronto and offensive defensemen.
Larry Murphy is definitely the name that sticks out the most when discussing defensemen with high offensive acumen, but liabilities in their own zone. Murphy didn’t have the benefit of playing in an era where underlying shot statistics existed and as such was much more of a hard case than …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Joe Thornton to miss “some time” after collision – Rate that Leafs game

You know, Tyson Barrie returning to Toronto — I thought it would be a good night.
It wasn’t.
The biggest story in this game for the Maple Leafs was the referees. Two botched calls — one of them leading to Leon Draisaitl scoring the game-winning goal. It may have also been the Leafs lack of offense, which was mostly invisible in this game.
Or maybe it was the now 19 penalties they’ve gotten in the last five games, which is actually second in the league. To cap the night off, Joe Thornton was injured on a hit from Josh Archibald and after the game, Sheldon Keefe said he’d be out for “some time.”
Do you want to see yelling? Well, I do that to the referee’s in this video. And no, I don’t get fined. I hope you enjoy!

Read More

Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

To sign or not sign: Tyson Barrie

Tyson Barrie has been a polarizing player since he became a Leaf on July 1st last year. Many fans were upset because longtime Leaf Nazem Kadri went the other way. He had a poor start, although a certain coach could be to blame for that. Once Sheldon Keefe took over, he gave Barrie a chance to shine, and he briefly excelled before he got even more criticism. He shot too often for some people’s liking, he was a wreck defensively, stuff like that. It even reached the point where most fans were begging for him to be traded at the deadline for some kind of return at the cost of competing for a Cup.
Of course, that all ended up being for nothing, unless some form of a season can be salvaged, and as a result, the trade for him may have been a waste, although that is at the fault of nobody.
Unless, there is a chance he can be re-signed, and he can continue to be a Leaf. Let’s take a look at how Barrie did and what kind of contract he can demand in order to see if the Leafs should bring him …

Read More

Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Maple Leafs D Tyson Barrie leaves game after being hit into boards

Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Tyson Barrie left the game against the Carolina Hurricanes Saturday night after crashing into the boards after being hit by Andrei Svechnikov.
The hit came in the first period and saw Barrie get clipped awkwardly by Svechnikov before going into the boards shoulder first.

#LetsGoCanes Andrei Svechnikov hit on #LeafsForever Tyson Barrie. Barrie has left the ice. pic.twitter.com/gkgsoeDLV2
— Here’s Your Replay (@HeresYourReplay) February 23, 2020

Barrie immediately left the game and did not return. His name has been linked in trade talks leading into Monday’s trade deadline, and Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston said Barrie’s status could “have a big impact on their trade deadline plans.”
In his first season the Leafs, Barrie has remained an offensive threat scoring five goals and another 28 assists in 62 games this year.
On Twitter: @zjlaing

Read More

Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

TRADE!!! Ben Harpur shipped off to the Preds

Having just watched an injured Tyson Barrie head to the dressing room already felt like too much to handle on trade deadline weekend, but now we also have the trading of favourite Marlies whipping boy Ben Harpur to deal with…

Trade: #Preds acquire defenseman Ben Harpur in exchange for winger Miikka Salomaki. @mkeadmirals | #CBJvsNSH https://t.co/Xc0h5iM4Ky
— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) February 23, 2020
So let’s start with what the Leafs gave up. A player they didn’t want to give icetime to in the AHL, a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who was going to be allowed to walk, and frankly, amazingly enough the worst defenseman in a trade involving Nikita Zaitsev and Cody Ceci. The Leafs lost nothing.
As for what the Leafs added, well…Miikka Salomaki has as many I’s in his name than he does games in the NHL over the past two years, so this is definitely an AHL deal. He a 26 year old winger from Finland, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. His 15 AHL points don’t inspire a lot of confidence that he’ll be back next year …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Whether you like him or not, Tyson Barrie should probably be traded

It seems that Tyson Barrie has become the Jake Gardiner replacement in more ways than one. He’s been a bit of the defensive whipping boy all season, but with Marincin scratched and Ceci injured, it seems like we are going to need to gear up for a ton of Tyson Barrie takes, and I’m going to get mine out of the way now.

Tyson man. Why? pic.twitter.com/RvdJjzONTs
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 9, 2020
We’ll start with that because it’s clearly the Barrie situation that is freshest and one that has fueled the amount of “Trade Barrie” takes that exist at the present moment in Leafs land.
Given that it’s 3 on 3 overtime and he has Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews with him, it’s bizarre that Barrie felt the need to drive the offense on that play. There’s also the issue that it clearly wasn’t the odd man rush, so by committing to go deep into the Habs zone it was fairly obvious that he would potentially be creating an odd man rush situation. Barrie also shot low, which was bound to keep …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Rachel Doerrie’s 5 Thoughts vs Arizona: A New Lease on Life

I mean, Tyson Barrie said it best.
The guys skating around in Leafs sweaters on Thursday night sure looked different than the guys skating around on Saturday. It was a totally different team, from the tactics, to the body language on the bench, to the post-game scrums.
The Maple Leafs won a game. And they didn’t just win, they DOMINATED. In Sheldon Keefe’s first game behind an NHL bench, Maple Leafs fans got a glimpse of what this team could be under a new coach and, ugh….wow.
1) Obvious Adjustments
Okay, so when you only have a morning skate to impart how you want to play on your team, that’s not a ton of time. I say it is probably 3 weeks before the team gets playing how Keefe wants. However, the adjustments right off the hop were obvious.
The deployment of players was evident, using Barrie and Rielly together in offensive situations and putting Dermott and Barrie out there in others. The Leafs were aggressive at both lines, stepping up to keep plays alive in the OZ with tons of rotation and killing plays at the defensive blue line.
There was a relentless pursuit of the puck …

Read More

Author: Rachel Doerrie / The Leafs Nation