Why the Leafs should sign development camp invites way more often

Why the Leafs should sign development camp invites way more often

Every year, a large group of undrafted free agents attend development camps and rookie tournaments around the league. Teams bring these players that they have varying degrees of interest in to get a closer look at them, before sending them back to their junior leagues in the hopes of being drafted the next time around.
And with that, every year we see “overage” prospects drafted relatively high. No matter the draft class, you can find numerous prospects that had been passed over in previous drafts selected as high as the top 100. Most just accept this as a reality of the draft, that once the draft is over you have to wait another year to have a crack at bringing these prospects into your organization. This isn’t exactly the case, however.
For NCAA bound prospects and those based in Europe, there isn’t much an NHL franchise can do. NCAA players cannot be signed to NHL contracts, so any NCAA prospect would have to forgo their collegiate career in order to turn pro. It is highly unlikely that an invite would forgo their collegiate career in order to join an organization, especially when these invites are often entering their first …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Predicting where the remaining Toronto Maple Leafs UFA’s will end up

Predicting where the remaining Toronto Maple Leafs UFA’s will end up

We’re well into the NHL free agency period this off-season and there is still a handful of decent names out there that is still un-signed at this very moment. Some players that are currently a UFA were on the Toronto Maple Leafs last season and I honestly wonder where they could all end up. Whether that’s re-signing with the Maple Leafs, signing with a new team, or simply, retiring, if you know who I am talking about.
The Maple Leafs had numerous players that were up for contract this off-season, and as we know, a good chunk of them left Toronto and signed with brand new teams and some that were set to become UFA’s re-signed well before the free agency period (Jason Spezza and Wayne Simmonds.) With that being said, let’s go over the remaining UFA’s from the Maple Leafs and see if we could predict a landing spot for them ahead of next season.
 
Signed UFA’s
Before we start, let’s quickly go over all the notable UFA’s that were in the Maple Leafs system last season that signed with a new team…

Zach Hyman to Edmonton – 7-years x $5.5M
Frederik …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Can Anas Mahmoud carve out a role in the NBA?

Toronto Raptors: Can Anas Mahmoud carve out a role in the NBA?

The free agency period is approximately a week old, and the Toronto Raptors have made several transformative roster moves, led by Kyle Lowry’s departure. With that dust starting to settle, fans have turned their eyes to the Summer League, which includes prospects like Scottie Barnes, Dalano Banton, and Anas Mahmoud. The deal with Miami failed to […]
Toronto Raptors: Can Anas Mahmoud carve out a role in the NBA? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

Pooper Scooping what’s left of Free Agency

The Leafs are pretty light on cap space, and free agency is light on options, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Leafs are done.
Looking at PuckPedia, the Leafs could send Pierre Engvall, Adam Brooks, and Kurtis Gabriel to the Marlies and the Leafs could have $1.2M to spend on an additional forward. Send those three same players down as well as Rasmus Sandin (just to start the year, relax) and Toronto has nearly $2.1M to spend on free agents. All of this is before even entertaining the idea of discussing the usual trade bait of Engvall, Kerfoot, Mikheyev, and Dermott.
There’s also the fact that the Leafs can exceed the salary cap by 10% until the regular season starts, so there is still some flexibility in considering free agent options. It’s just a matter of quality when it comes to who is still available, and arguably yesterday with the signing of Tomas Tatar, the last best free agent is off the board, and it’s time to just scoop up whatever crap is left. Crap being somewhat relative, as a couple of these players aren’t bad, but could come in at significantly reduced rates.
Here …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Raptors free agency: 3 available free agents Toronto should pursue

Raptors free agency: 3 available free agents Toronto should pursue

This Toronto Raptors free agency period hasn’t been as positive as some fans would have liked. Not only did Kyle Lowry confirm that he will move on in favor of a gig down in South Beach, but come lingering uncertainty over their cap space as a result of their sign-and-trade agreement has the Raptors frozen […]
Raptors free agency: 3 available free agents Toronto should pursue – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors: Can Sam Dekker jump-start his career in Canada?

Toronto Raptors: Can Sam Dekker jump-start his career in Canada?

Few expected the Toronto Raptors to go into free agency with names like Sam Dekker on their mind. After all, considering that Kyle Lowry’s departure seemed imminent and Gary Trent Jr. was also on the market, they needed to make sure their big names were taken care of. With Lowry ready to join the Heat […]
Toronto Raptors: Can Sam Dekker jump-start his career in Canada? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Petr Mrazek’s upside makes signing him an undeniable win for the Maple Leafs

With the dust of a frenetic free agent frenzy having largely settled, the Maple Leafs came away with a number of intriguing names in their back pocket. Up front, the Maple Leafs added some size and skill to the mix with Michael Bunting, Ondrej Kase, and Nick Ritchie. On the back-end, the club opted to keep their excellent defensive core together and add around the edges, making one small move for Brennan Menell from the Minnesota Wild. 
The biggest move of the Maple Leafs free-agent shopping spree, however, ultimately came in the form of the 29-year-old Czech Republic native Petr Mrazek. The Maple Leafs added the former Carolina Hurricane to a deal worth $11.4m over the next three seasons for an AAV of $3.8m per season. Reactions were somewhat mixed, though largely positive regarding the transaction, as Mrazek comes with plenty of promise based on his last season. Whether he can maintain that over a larger sample will largely determine how this contract is viewed into the future. 

Petr Mrazek, signed 3x$3.8M by TOR, didn’t play enough for a card this year, but he has a solid track record. He also saved 9.2 goals above expected in 12 games this season, …

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Author: Jori Negin-Shecter / The Leafs Nation

Summing up the Leafs’ roster additions and subtractions

The Free Agent Frenzy of 2021 has brought some new names and faces to the Leafs’ roster, with some notable departures as well. Zach Hyman and Frederik Andersen are relatively long-serving Leafs that have moved on to other teams. To compensate, Kyle Dubas and company have brought in a few low-cost names to try to fill the gap Hyman left, and replaced Andersen with Petr Mrazek.
All signs point to the Leafs still working to add to this roster, and we could still see some players from last year moved out to make room, such as Pierre Engvall, Ilya Mikheyev or Travis Dermott. However, it still interests me to know how the additions and subtractions made so far have affected the team.
Before we start, I want to point you to the second part of my advanced stats primer, which gives what I think is a good description of where the “Wins Above Replacement” or “WAR” numbers we’re using below come from. In short, a couple folks much smarter than I have developed a model that boils down a lot of the things we know about advanced hockey stats into a few numbers that essentially show how much better or …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / 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

Meet Brennan Menell, Toronto’s newest RD

Thirty minutes before the opening of free agency, the Maple Leafs announced a trade:

TRADE: We’ve acquired the rights to defenceman Brennan Menell from Minnesota in exchange for a conditional seventh-round selection in 2022. #LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) July 28, 2021

The 7th rounder is conditional on Menell playing 30 games for the Leafs this season. The 5’11” RD played last season in the KHL, and will compete with Timothy Liljegren for the bottom pair RD role.
Undrafted
Menell’s first season in the WHL was also his NHL draft year, making him a bit of a late bloomer. In his age 18 and 19 OHL seasons, he then put up 53 and 71 points, respectively. It’s extremely rare for undrafted D to put up over a point per game in the WHL, and Menell was quickly snapped up by hometown Minnesota on a 3 year ELC.
In his first two AHL seasons Menell recorded 69 points in 142 games, establishing himself as an up and coming offensive defenseman. Unfortunately for him, Minnesota was stacked on D at the time. When a spot finally opened up in 19-20, it was Carson Soucy who got the opportunity to step up to the NHL, and Menell needed to find another route.


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Author: Earl Schwartz / The Leafs Nation