The NHL and NHLPA agree on Olympic participation. Which Leafs will be going?

Oh boy, the Olympics. Growing up these seemed like an exciting time when we as a nation would come together and drive to Petro Canada to pick up commemorative glassware. Now the Olympics seem more like an acknowledgement that athletes really like the games and we should politely encourage them while accepting a healthy dose of IOC corruption in the process.
I mean, “GO CANADA!”

NHL and NHLPA announce agreement with IIHF on player participation at the 2022 Winter Olympics: https://t.co/Yv5SkZIq0l pic.twitter.com/2GRSRTKwfE
— NHLPA (@NHLPA) September 3, 2021

My jaded views aside, the announcement today that the NHL will be sending athletes to the Winter Games is an exciting one. A best on best hockey tournament featuring All-Star teams from Canada, the United States, Russian (or whatever we’re calling their team now), Sweden, and Finland is exciting. As are the potential upsets from expansion team caliber rosters from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Germany. And we’ll also get to see the Latvian, Chinese, Swiss, and Danish team enjoy some free ice-time.
Shutting down the NHL for a few weeks just as the season enters its final stretch might not be for everyone, but it …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Around the NHL: Winners and losers from the start of free agency

The start of free agency is easily one of the most exciting times on the hockey calendar, as teams take this opportunity to bring in some players to help improve their roster, giving up no assets except cap space. However, in a flat cap era, cap space is an extremely important asset, and wasting it can ruin your team for years, even worse than a bad trade or drafting a bust with a high pick.
With that, there are always winners and losers in free agency. Some teams make out really well bringing in good players on low or market value deals, and others get greedy, sign a ton of okay players to contracts that won’t age well, and then pay for it down the road (just look at all the assets teams have had to give up to get rid of bad contracts this offseason).
So, let’s take a look at some of the biggest winners (and losers) from the first couple of days of free agency.
Loser: Edmonton Oilers
Let’s start with maybe the most tragic one (only because I feel terrible for Connor McDavid), but after already weakening the roster by bringing in Duncan …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Six select, in the second round, Annie MacDonald and Rachel Marmen

After an exciting first round for the Toronto Six, where they selected 2 forwards and a defender, they embark on the second round of the draft where they have two more selections to make.
Annie MacDonald
The first of their round two picks, their fourth total pick so far, and the 9th overall pick in the draft, was made by NWHL’s Advisor on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and the Head Coach of the Arcadia University women’s hockey program, Kelsey Koelzer.
MacDonald is a forward who played for Princeton (which happens to be Koelzer’s alma mater), but hails from Nova Scotia.
She had 13 points in this 2020-21 season, where she played 28 games. She also helped to lead the Tigers to the NCAA Championships in the 2019-20 season, which was unfortunately canceled due to COVID.
Rachel Marmen
This pick, the 10th overall in the draft and Toronto’s 5th, was announced by the New Jersey Devils’ PK Subban.
Marmen was a defender for Mercyhurst University, where she played all four of her college seasons. Another offensive defender, Marmen put up 11 points in the 18 games of her Senior year in the 2020-21 season.
She led the Lakers with a +11 rating this …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Marlies report cards: Defence

It’s time to grade the defencemen.
One of the most exciting parts of this past season was the Marlies’ defence core. There were so many players coming in and out of the lineup with a lot having some real potential.
Similar to the forwards, there were a lot of rookie defencemen in this group — seven of the Marlies’ 15 defencemen were playing in their first year of professional hockey. Some provided a glimmer of hope to this back-end which did see a few injuries and some call-ups this season.
Like I said in the forwards article, these players will be graded mainly on NHL readiness. The closer they are to the A-grade, the more likely I think they are to play in the NHL next season.
Just to name some honourable mentions before I get started; Brennan Kapcheck, Riley McCourt, Sergei Sapego and William Villeneuve each got into a few games this season but still are a year or so away from being solidified AHL players. But for Kapcheck, he’s signed for two years with the Marlies so he’ll likely get some playing time next season.
The grades
Timothy Liljegren – 2G, 9A, 11P – A+
The 22-year-old has been …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

George Springer homers twice, Blue Jays pull off comeback, but Alejandro Kirk and Tommy Milone wind up on the Injured List

That was definitely the most exciting game of the Blue Jays’ season this far. It looks like this team is finally rolling.

The Braves went up 4-0 early on the power of a grand slam off of Tommy Milone but the Blue Jays kept battling back. George Springer homered twice, the team put together a sixth-inning rally, and then Randel Grichuk hit a walk-off single in the 10th inning to complete the comeback. What a blast that was to watch.
Things worth mentioning…

Saturday night felt like the true arrival of George Springer. He had a goose egg in his first game, got on base a few times in his second, but exploded in his third. Springer grounded out in the first inning and appeared to re-aggravate his injury as he hobbled to first base. Despite that, Springer stayed in the game and was key to the comeback effort. He hit a two-run dinger to cut Atlanta’s early lead to 4-2 and then hit the game-tying homer in the seventh inning. Springer is now 3-for-12 with a couple of dingers and three walks as a Blue Jay. Let’s just hope he can stay on the field.

George Springer …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Identifying good, affordable players to buy at the deadline market

Arguably the most exciting time of the season, the NHL trade deadline is just around the corner. After Monday April 12th at 3:00 pm in Toronto (it’s set on Toronto time because the NHL knows that’s where its money comes from), teams will no longer be able to trade players and have them play in the NHL playoffs for their team this season.
Because the Maple Leafs are the most talked-about buyer on the market, they will be linked to every single player who is available. This post will aim to identify just which targets Toronto should be trying to go after.
There are five factors that will determine whether a player is a good buy for Toronto. Two of these are very simple and obvious, one is based on NHL CBA wizardry, and the last two rely on advanced stats.
At a high level, these five factors are:

Player is an Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA) at the end of the 2020-21 NHL season
Player plays for a team that is a seller, or could be convinced to be a seller for the right price
Player has a cap hit that Toronto can afford
Player has is expected to …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

TLN Three Stars: The power play? Yes, the power play!

Coming off an exciting win, the Toronto Maple Leafs were looking to take it back to back against the Calgary Flames and make a clean sweep on their road trip. With tonight’s 5-3 win, the Leafs remain first in the Scotia North Division with a four point lead in the standings. Tonight’s game started off pretty slow and quiet, and it looked like it was going to be one of those boring, ‘why did I stay up for this’ type of games, but that quickly changed as the puck dropped for the second period. From a 2-0 lead, to a 3-3 tie in the third, and then a power play goal (Yes, the power play drought is over!), the Leafs managed to hold on and take the W against the Flames.
Three Stars
3rd Star: Travis Dermott
Okay, Travis Dermott’s save on what would have been the first goal of the night, was quite the play. Just as the puck was about to make its way into the net, Dermott scooped it out, keeping the game at 0-0, and watching it in slow motion and in replay, I know we all took a sigh of relief. Dermott …

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Author: Roxanne Khasow / The Leafs Nation

TLN Three Stars: McDavid gets his fifth ever win against the Leafs

After many exciting games between the two (with most of them falling in the Leafs favour thankfully), the Leafs and Oilers concluded their nine game season series tonight. It lived up to the expectations of McDavid vs. Matthews, as there were chances galore at both ends of the ice. The Oilers opened the scoring with a Josh Archibald goal, but the Leafs followed with goals from Marner and Matthews in quick succession to make it 2-1 in the first. It would be scoreless for the second before Kyle Turris would score early in the third as the puck deflected off his knee and in the net to tie it. The game would once again find it’s way to overtime, but unfortunately the Leafs weren’t on the right side of it tonight, as Darnell Nurse would score the overtime winner and give the Oilers the win.
It sucked to see it end that way, but the Leafs played well and still got a point.
Three Stars
3rd Star: Auston Matthews
If there’s one positive we can take away from this game, it’s that Auston Matthews is officially back, or his wrist is. While it wasn’t his …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

WoHo: This week in the women’s hockey world

Welcome back to an exciting and relevant WoHo column – on the heels of International Women’s Day, smack dab in the middle of Women’s History Month – there is loads of good women’s hockey stuff to recap! Let’s take a look at what’s going on with the PWHPA, the NWHL, and women’s hockey in general, shall we?
Let’s start with Women’s Worlds. An announcement was made this week about the 2021 IIHF Women’s World Championship tournament:

The @IIHFHockey announced this afternoon that the 2021 Women’s World Championship has been moved to May 6–16, while remaining in Halifax and Truro. https://t.co/994auf5FBt
— The Ice Garden (@TheIceGarden) March 4, 2021

The tournament has been pushed back to account for COVID concerns, and allow for proper preparations of medical personnel and COVID safety protocols. The IIHF is hopeful that despite the delay the tournament will proceed in May, in Canada. It’s always exciting to watch the best in the world compete, so this is definitely something to look forward to.
Over in Seattle, the Kraken are putting their stamp on women’s hockey by partnering with Black Girls Hockey Club on their scholarship program:

As the …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs adjust their taxi squad in advance of the Marlies season

It might not be the most exciting of season milestones, but it’s a necessary one, and that is the opening of the Canadian AHL division for play on Monday. And given that for the first little while games won’t be played in Ontario, it’s time for the players destined for the AHL to ship out and join the Marlies. That’s why today’s announcement wasn’t really a surprise…

Defenceman Martin Marincin and forward Scott Sabourin have been reassigned to the Maple Leafs taxi squad.
Forward Adam Brooks, forward Nick Robertson and defenceman Rasmus Sandin have been loaned to the @TorontoMarlies.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) February 13, 2021

Let’s start with who is sent down, rather than focus on who is coming up.
Rasmus Sandin needs a change to play. He should be trying to play 20+ minutes a night rather than waiting 12 games for an opportunity for 10 minutes of ice time. That’s not ideal for a top prospect, and while there previously weren’t any alternatives to that, there is one now and sending Sandin to the Marlies is 100% the right move. It’s also likely that if the Leafs need someone to play significant ice time …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation