Leafs by the numbers: Auston Matthews

Every year, I try and look back on certain players’ past seasons and try to prepare myself for what’s next with that player. Today, I try and predict how Auston Matthews plays in this upcoming season.
If you’ve forgotten, the 23-year-old was one goal off of a tie for the Rocket Richard trophy. Both David Pastrnak and Alex Ovechkin had 48 goals, while Matthews had 47. More importantly though, he had 35 even-strength goals which was a tie for the lead league, with again, Ovechkin.
Matthews has been one of the most dominant players since entering the NHL back in 2016 — growing into the two-way centre that we all imagined him to be. He has 158 goals and 127 assists in 282 games, which puts him 19th in the NHL for points since his draft day.
I know we can all agree that he’s a great player. Scoring goals, getting back in the play when it’s in the Maple Leafs’ zone, and even picking the pockets of other players (which he’s incredible at) are all massive attributes to his game. However, there’s one attribute that he’s brought with him to the NHL that’s made him such an incredible player …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

NHL 21 predicts the rest of William Nylander’s career

It seems that every other day on social media, part of the fan base shares a post about how they really want the Leafs to trade away William Nylander. Each time that happens, his name pops up on the trending tab and the other half of the fans that recognize his value moans and groans about it happening yet again. I lean towards keeping the eighth pick in the 2014 NHL draft on the team and believe his presence helps the Leafs out a ton, even though it looks like he’s “not trying.”
So instead of complaining for the millionth time that not everyone in the fanbase agrees on Nylander’s importance to the team, I decided to turn this into an opportunity to look into the glass ball and see how his career will turn out according to EA Sports. That’s right, we’re doing another career simulation!
I last did this two months ago by simming Mitch Marner’s career with NHL 20 (spoiler alert, he turned out alright). Since that article has come out, a new game was released and I knew it would soon be time to do another one of these articles.
For those who …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Scott’s Thoughts: Lessons the Leafs Can Learn From the Tampa Bay Lightning

Every year, a team wins the Stanley Cup, and every other team decides to get in line to mold their team just like that team, because if it worked for the Cup winners, it’ll work for them, right? Meanwhile, there are always a few teams creating their own style, and those are usually the ones poised for success in the next few years.
However, I think there is a fine line between learning a few things to adapt your own strategies and vision, and outright copying the reigning Cup champs. This is especially the case for the Leafs with the Tampa Bay Lightning, as the Lightning have often been a comparable team due to the skill both teams possess, so it might not be a bad idea to pull a few pages from their notebook.
So, here are few things that I think the Leafs could learn from the Lightning this season, that I think can be applied to the Leafs without drastically shifting from their own vision.
Don’t overreact to a disappointing playoff loss to Columbus
In 2018-19, the Tampa Bay Lightning shocked the hockey world by tying the NHL record for most points in the regular …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

With the 15th overall pick the Leafs are proud to select… Jake Sanderson?

In every NHL draft, there is always one player that is ranked fairly high but ends up getting picked much later on due either teams going in other directions or scouts getting scared heading into the first round. When the team that finally snags him up in the first round, a lot of analysts clamours that this team got a steal. Some players in this category that come to mind are Seth Jones, Jakob Chychrun, and Joseph Veleno. While the odds of this happening aren’t too high, perhaps this years’ version of that phenomenon could be Jake Sanderson who the Leafs need to jump on if he remains available at #15.
Why did I say the odds of it happening are low? There’s a bit of recent bias is having him slotted to be taken in the top five of the draft due to the strong play of players like Victor Hedman and Miro Heiskanen. There’s a good chance he could be taken very early, but let’s assume he miraculously falls all the way down to the Leafs pick.
He is currently ranked high by scouts and rightfully so. As I mentioned in my contribution to TLN’ …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

It’s time to get hyped for the playoffs

Every moment. Every heartbreak. Every blown lead. Every unclosed series. Every overtime loss. Every Game 7. Every loss in Boston. Every time a head coach didn’t play their star players a lot in a crucial game. Everything, leads to this moment.
Because with every mistake, every heartbreak, all the pain we’ve dealt with, has led to this moment. It’s what makes us grow. It’s what makes us stronger. It’s what makes us become who we are today.
And it makes it so much more worth it when we finally win the damn thing.
Let’s get hyped.

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Who would the Leafs play if the NHL goes right into the playoffs?

Obviously we have to preface every one of these pieces by saying no one really has any idea if the NHL can, and eventually will, come back to try and finish the 2019-20 campaign in some fashion. All we can do is talk in hypothetical and speculate on what things might look like based on what plans are being hashed out behind the scenes.
With that said, information does continue to spill out, so let’s take a look at the latest potential return scenario and how it would affect the Leafs.
There’s been a lot of speculation about whether the league should even try to finish its regular season. Is there really any point to assemble teams who have nothing left to play for? Apparently the league is starting to lean towards not bringing them back. According to Larry Brooks of the NYPost, who surely has friends at the league office, it’s most likely the league instead goes right into a 24-team tournament with sort of a pre-playoffs and then the more typical structure.
The dynamic changes by the day, if not by the hour, but sources on both sides of the …

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Author: Ryan Fancey / The Leafs Nation

2020-21 NHL season may start in November

As the NHL and NHLPA continue to work through every angle for a possible conclusion to the 2019-20 NHL season, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun suggested on Twitter that an option on the table involves pushing back the start of next season into November.

Yesterday on Twitter, LeBrun reported that the National Hockey League is looking at potentially pushing back the start of the 2020-21 season by a month or more as a means of reaching a conclusion for the current season that was interrupted by COVID-19.

A reminder that the NHL is willing to delay the start of next season until November in order to finish off this season if possible with summer hockey. NHL believes they can play a full season next year starting in November, cancel ASG/bye week, play playoffs into late June ’21
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) April 13, 2020

While there are obviously plenty of hurdles that would need to be cleared if this plan is going to have any chance of working out, we know that the league wants to reach some sort of a conclusion for the 2019-20 season without having to cut the number of games in 2020-21. if the league and players …

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Author: Nation World HQ / The Leafs Nation

The Leafs Rainy Day Fund

At the start of every National Hockey League season, the announcement of development camp rosters begins a season-long scramble for information on players. NCAA free agents, CHL tryouts, European prospects, and other undrafted players get an opportunity to make a name for themselves at these development camps, and NHL teams get another chance to lay claim to them.
Since Kyle Dubas took over as General Manager, the Leafs have invited more players to development camps than any team I can think of. While they have not used the loophole that allows teams to sign draft eligible players like Philippe Myers or Michael McNiven through development camp, the Leafs have still been able to utilize the camp to find players for AHL depth or assess their most recent draft prospects.
I decided to pick one player from the AHL, ECHL, OHL, WHL, QMJHL, and NCAA who have shown great development as their respective regular seasons come to a close. They were all expected to participate in the Leafs 2019 development camp if not for injury, and all of them have yet to start an Entry Level Contract.
These players are what I consider part of the Leafs “rainy day fund”, …

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Author: Earl Schwartz / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs Pregame #53: 5 Things to watch for against the Panthers

Okay, every game matters from here on out, but with the Leafs just passing the Panthers over the weekend to grab the third divisional playoff spot (Panthers with two games at hand) this is a golden opportunity for the Leafs to put a little distance between themselves and Florida.
You probably blocked it from your memory, but the last time these two teams met it didn’t go so well for the Leafs, and losing 8-4 again wouldn’t exactly inspire a lot of confidence in the Leafs.
Alas, the Leafs are on a three game winning streak, and hopefully they are looking to ride this hot streak all the way to a clinched playoff spot and the glory beyond.

Rating: 74.5#37 LW

Rating: 82.7#4 C

Rating: 78.1#7 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 78.43#5 FL1

Rating: 71.9#85 LW

Rating: 78.3#13 C

Rating: 77.0#12 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 75.76#7 FL2

Rating: 72.3#74 LW

Rating: 73.0#73 C

Rating: 70.1#110 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 71.80#15 FL3

Rating: 71.7#89 LW

Rating: 69.7#158 C

Rating:& …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: The case for a ‘quiet’ trade deadline

The Toronto Raptors have every intention of winning a second championship in 2019-20, but how they’ll go about doing so, mere days away from the trade deadline, is unclear. Not long ago, Toronto Raptors president, Masai Ujiri, was asked a straightforward question – “Can [Toronto] win again this year?” – “We’re gonna die trying, that’s […]
Toronto Raptors: The case for a ‘quiet’ trade deadline – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jordan Skuse / Raptors HQ