Good Idea/Bad Idea: Shopping potential buyouts

Good Idea/Bad Idea: Shopping potential buyouts

Let’s get the general bad idea response out of the way early. I get it. The players being suggested were flawed enough to be bought out in the first place. You are very smart to know that these players are likely not bound for an all-star selection any time soon. Congrats.
Getting that out of the way, we can now take a more honest look at the practice of exploring the buyout market. These were players that were believed in recently, and either by their own slipping play or the being placed in a role they couldn’t live up to, they need to be removed from their contract. For a couple of reasons it’s safe to assume they’ll be playing for less. First they failed to live up to the expectations of their last contract, and in a flat cap situation they certainly won’t see the same cap hit again this year. And secondly, they are still being paid some money from their previous club. In theory that opens them up to accepting less.
With that in mind it’s time for a good idea/bad idea look at 8 of the names on Frank Seravalli’ …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

TLN Three Stars: Leafs clinch division title in comeback win over Habs

Early on, it seemed like a game that the Leafs would sleep through with pretty much everything locked up, even though they hadn’t clinched the division. The Habs were dominating play, got a goal in the first and an early goal in the second, and the Leafs found themselves down 2-0.
That all changed with a Pierre Engvall wrist shot from beyond the faceoff circles that found it’s way past Jake Allen. The Leafs were back within the game, and from that point on, it was theirs. They were playing better, and a game tying goal from William Nylander, and the game winner from Mitch Marner later in the second secured that victory. Against a team that they’re likely going to face in the playoffs, it’s a big win, and an important one for a team that wants to show some perseverance in the playoffs and win their first playoff series in 17 years.
Three Stars
3rd Star: Mitch Marner
Mitch gets the third star for that shot to score the go-ahead goal alone (seriously, where has that been his whole career), but he did much more than that in this game. Him and Matthews were dominant …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

We Need To Talk About Justin Holl

I remember at the end of January, during the early stretch of the Maple Leafs regular season, seeing a meme about Justin Holl in a reply to the Edmonton Oilers team Twitter account. The Maple Leafs had just beaten the Oilers 4-3 and were off to a blazing 7-2-0 start. The meme made me chuckle, as it read “Thank you for your contribution to Justin Holl’s 2021 Norris Trophy”. Justin Holl had just emerged from the ashes as a top 4 right-handed defenseman for the Maple Leafs, not only providing steady reliability on the back end, but outright winning matchups against the league’s premier players, notably Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl that very evening.
The story of Justin Holl’s ascent has been echoed ad nauseama amongst Maple Leafs fans, oftentimes as a jab at Mike Babcock, who famously scratched the Minnesota native for 71 games during the 18-19 campaign. Holl hung around nonetheless the year after, outlasting even Babcock, and eventually finding his way into the Leafs lineup as a regular beside Jake Muzzin for the Maple Leafs in their top four. The 19-20 season was a breakout campaign for Holl in many respects, as he ranked amongst the …

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Author: Jori Negin-Shecter / The Leafs Nation

NHL Playoff Projections! — Staturday Weekly Column #16

Today’s staturday post will be a quick and early look at how different models are rating teams’ playoff chances around the NHL, with a necessary focus on the Canadian North division where our beloved Toronto Maple Leafs play.
HockeyViz
The first model I’ll show you is Micah Blake McCurdy’s “Magnus 4” model, which is available on his website, hockeyviz.com (which is for subscribers only, which I highly recommend), or through periodic updates on his Twitter page. I’ll use the most recent Twitter updates so that everyone is on the same level here.
The first way to look at playoff projections is to look at points projections. The Magnus 4 model calculates a team’s projected points in the standings regularly, so this chart shows the changes in those projections over the last 2 weeks.

We can see that Toronto has been on a downward trend recently, both in results and in Magnus 4’s estimation of how those results might continue. The tail end of the trend does buck up significantly though, so Thursday’s win over the Jets apparently showed Magnus 4 something it liked.
The chart above also shows the expected points cutoff for each division as to …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

A new home on the horizon for the Blue Jays?

Christmas has come early for Toronto Blue Jays fans.
Most awoke this morning to the startling news of Andrew Willis of The Globe and Mail reporting the Blue Jays are planning to scrap the Rogers Centre and build a brand new ballpark for the team.
This is something many, many people have dreamed about for years, but considering the ideal location of the current stadium and the hundreds of million of dollars sunk into the Rogers Centre already, starting from scratch didn’t seem feasible.
Now it is, apparently! If this plan does in fact come to fruition, there are tonnes of working parts to figure out, but in the short term, this is incredibly promising for the Blue Jays. Many have been pining for a new ballpark for a long time, and now their prayers have been answered.
Keep in mind that Rogers Centre is the seventh-oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball and one of the last stadiums built in the multi-use era. During its unveiling in 1989, the SkyDome aimed to be everything to everyone; from baseball fans, to football fans, to concerts and yes, even Star Trek screenings.
Now that the Argos have moved out and the Blue …

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Author: Ian Hunter / Blue Jays Nation

What will the Leafs reverse retro jersey look like?

There are few times the NHL gets something right. The early days of the Winter Classic, the bubble approach to the Return to Play this summer, and now we might be able to add fun jerseys to that list. The teases and leaks we’ve seen from other teams so far have been encouraging, but that leaves us with an important question, what will be done for the Leafs?
Based on the image above, we can assume two things.

It will be based on the 1970 jersey design.
It will be blue, with either white or grey accents.

The first is appealing because the Leafs haven’t done much with the Ballard era jersey design, likely because of its connection to the Ballard era. The second, at least for me is decidedly less appealing since it’s the same colour scheme we’ve had since the beginning of time. It might not exactly lend itself to a fun design.

Rather than focus too much on what it will probably look like, we’ve asked the writers of The Leafs Nation to tell us what they want the Leafs reverse retro jersey to look like. Remember to tell us who got it …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Prospect Roundup: Lehtonen strikes, Scott ready and waiting, Barabanov lands

With the initial fury of the offseason’s early days behind us, the Leafs’ organizational depth chart is beginning to take shape. Many of Toronto’s most prized prospects are still a year or more away from playing professional hockey in North America, but there are also a number of them that will be fighting for playing time with some of the team’s more recent acquisitions in the NHL and AHL when training camps get underway. There are lots of bodies, both up front and on the blueline, so any extra bit of preparation could be the difference in a camp that promises to feature some serious battles for roster spots.
Mikko Lehtonen – LHD – Jokerit (KHL)
Lehtonen recorded two goals and an assist over his three games this past week, bringing his totals to eight goals and eight assists over 14 games. He is currently the second leading scorer on his team and he is averaging 22:47 of ice time per game – about three minutes more per game than anyone else on Jokerit’s roster. Lehtonen’s abilities on the power play have been well documented but five of his eight goals on the season have come at even strength, helping …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

In the 6th and 7th rounds the Leafs proudly select a lot of players

If the Leafs draft strategy wasn’t clear in the early rounds, Kyle Dubas made sure everyone understood what he was up to in the final rounds of the draft. He was out to draft high skill players that have a league to play in this year. Not a bad strategy, but for a team that is based in Ontario and used to relying heavily on the Ontario Hockey League for its prospects, it was certainly a change. The fact that in the middle of the draft word came down that it is going to be difficult to have hockey in Ontario this season should serve as some validation for Dubas’ strategy.
Loading up on players this year is also smart. Next year who knows how much many of the prospects will have played. Those who are playing might have been further down the depth chart than they’d usually be in, and getting around to see players play will be a challenge for scouts. Using 12 picks and using them on active players makes sense.
As for who those players are from the 6th and 7th rounds, here they are:
Veeti Miettinen
Miettinen is a 5’9 right winger from Finland, and …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

News and Notes: Leafs complete wild comeback

Leafs fans were treated to Christmas early on Monday night in Toronto as the team pulled off a wild comeback against the visiting Carolina Hurricanes. The win gave the Leafs a five-game winning streak and put the team in second place heading into the NHL’s holiday break. Here’s some news and notes heading into the break.

In case you somehow missed it, here’s the Leafs scoring three goals in under a minute, turning a two-goal deficit into a one-goal lead in the third period:

59 seconds 3 gorgeous goals Enjoy #LeafsForever #NextGenGame pic.twitter.com/2AUth7A53S
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) December 24, 2019

A key cog in last night’s comeback was the Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews, and Zach Hyman line. Marner scored the first of three goals in the minute span off of a great pass from Matthews, Hyman fed Tyson Barrie for the second, and Marner then scored the third off of the face-off. All told, those three combined to put up 10 points last night. Since becoming a line during the game against the Red Wings a couple of days ago, they have 18 points over two games.
Auston Matthews spoke after the …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

Leafs trying to win isn’t making us happy. Maybe they should become trade deadline sellers instead

Is it too early to give up the season? Statistically no, but of course in the world where we have a defending Stanley Cup Champion that was the worst team in the league last January, well, it’s a bit of a hard sell.
I love Freddie Andersen, but I am not expecting a Jordan Binnington-esque run. I’m excited for what Sheldon Keefe will do, but it seems like he might be working through some team issues that Craig Berube didn’t have to. Also, he doesn’t have Jordan Binnington. The reality is the Leafs are in an uphill battle that never really looks as bad as it seems because of the fact that the Leafs have a number of games at hand on their conference rivals which inflates their standings.
Wildcard Race by Points
GP
Pts
Atlantic Division

Boston
28
45
Florida
27
31
Buffalo
28
31
Metro Division

Washington
30
47
New York Islanders
26
38
Philadelphia
28
37
Wildcard

Pittsburgh
28
34
Carolina
28
33
Montreal
28
30
Toronto
30
30
Look at that. Only one point behind second in the division? How can you give up now?
Wildcard Race by Pts%
GP
Pts
Atlantic Division

Boston
28
80.4%
Tampa Bay
25
58.9%
Florida
27
57.4%
Metro Division

Washington
30
78.3%
New York Islanders
26
73.1%
Philadelphia
28
66.1%
Wildcard

Pittsburgh
28
60.7%
Carolina
28
58.9%
New York Rangers
26
55.8%
Buffalo Sabres
28
55.4%


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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation