Burning Questions: If the Leafs play a more physical game, will they go further come playoff time?

Burning Questions: If the Leafs play a more physical game, will they go further come playoff time?

Heading into the regular season we are regularly going to be running some of the burning questions asked by our TLN contributors. The biggest burning question of course is whether or not this is the year the Leafs finally play a game in the second round of the playoffs. We’ll tackle our takes on that a little later. So far we’ve had Ryan Hobart exploring whether Jack Campbell is for real in net. Today is our second kick at this series with my burning question, if the Leafs play more physically, will they have better playoff results?
I feel like the physicality question is a divisive one in Leafs land and it absolutely doesn’t have to be. There is certainly a corner of Leafs internet that wants physicality above all else, and anecdotally the success the Leafs had with a Wendel Clark and Doug Gilmour led team, than the success the Leafs had with a Gary Roberts and Darcy Tucker led team would certainly support the notion that physical players have help provide the Leafs with their best playoff runs in the past 50 years. The problem with that argument has always been that all the players I …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Seravalli: Darcy Kuemper a trade target for the Leafs

It’s no secret the Leafs need to add a goaltender heading into next season, and there is a certain preference towards that goaltender being able to either share the workload, or push Jack Campbell. Today Frank Seravalli is suggesting that fellow late bloomer, and product of Dusty Imoo/Bill Ranford could be their target.
Arizona Coyotes goaltender @Darcy Kuemper has emerged as a primary target for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Colorado Avalanche. Both teams remain in contact and conversation with their pending free agents in @Frederik Andersen and @Philipp Grubauer, respectively, but trade talks have been ongoing with Arizona as the Avs and Leafs consider the goaltending market at-large. The Seattle Kraken are also believed to have interest in Kuemper.
So this comes as a bit of a surprise as the Leafs were initially not interested in Kuemper due to only having one year remaining on his contract, and the wish to avoid rental situations as well as having all three goaltender contracts (Kuemper, Campbell, Hutchinson) coming up at the same time.
Some of the logic around Kuemper’s availability is connected to the fact that his salary is $5.5M this season on a cap hit of $4.5M, …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Rumours: The last week of Kerfoot as a Leaf?

Heading into this offseason and perhaps even before the idea of accumulating boxes for moving should have been in the back of Alexander Kerfoot’s head. Now in the next week and a half things are about to get very real for him.
The expansion draft coming next Wednesday always presented itself as a likely exit for Kerfoot, but there’s the small matter of Kerfoot having some value and the Leafs desire to not let him walk without at least a bit of a return.
Here’s what Frank Seravalli had to say about him in his recent Trade Targets article:
Scoop: The belief is the Seattle Kraken have interest in selecting Kerfoot. The question for the Leafs is: Does it make sense to trade Kerfoot elsewhere before the Expansion Draft? The trick is any return short of future assets would also require protection from Seattle. That may ultimately result in losing Kerfoot from the roster, plus whomever the Kraken decide to then take – which could be defenseman Travis Dermott. Like many teams, the Leafs are weighing that out at the moment.
So that’s an interesting situation. The Leafs could potentially go into the expansion draft and lose …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Tavares and Muzzin injury updates

Here we are heading into Game Seven of the first round, and the Leafs will appear to be doing so without their captain, and one of their top defensemen. Welcome to Leafs Nation. Here are the updates on where they are at…
Tavares skating…

John Tavares participated in the @MapleLeafs optional morning skate ahead of Game 7 tonight. #NHLonSN pic.twitter.com/JLJqoHZhpj
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 31, 2021

Yep, that’s John Tavares skating (although not looking completely comfortable) in advance of tonight’s Game Seven. The Leafs were quick to rule out Tavares for tonight, and that shouldn’t really be a surprise as this is the first full skate he’s participated in. Having the captain back to work with the players today was hopefully a positive for the team, and maybe, just maybe the Leafs want to play well enough to give Tavares a chance to come back during the playoffs.

“It’s progress that he’s on the ice with other players … He’s had no setbacks” … Sheldon Keefe on John Tavares #Leafs “His recovery has been quite remarkable.”
— Kevin McGran (@kevin_mcgran) May 31, 2021

Playing guess the return for Tavares is irresponsible, so we won’t, but we will say that it …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Playoff Preview: After a season of turmoil, it’s Jack’s net

Goaltending heading into the playoffs hasn’t been much of a cause for conversation in Toronto over the last few seasons. For the entirety of the Matthews Era, the Toronto Maple Leafs have had their game one starter etched in stone since day one of training camp, with Frederik Andersen having been pegged as The Guy essentially from the moment then general manager Lou Lamoriello traded a first and second round pick to Anaheim for the Danish net-minder. And despite a shaky October in his first season with the Leafs (a trend that would plague Andersen for the entirety of his tenure in Toronto,) Andersen settled in and became a stabilizing force for a young Leafs team who were still finding their legs defensively. For as much star power as the Leafs had acquired over the previous few years, it’s hard to argue that they would not have reached the heights that they did as quickly as they did were it not for the stellar play of Frederik Andersen.
But things can change in quickly in the NHL, and over the last couple of seasons, while Toronto’s defense has been bolstered and rounded into for as one fitting …

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Author: Brian Reid / The Leafs Nation

The Trade Deadline, the Expansion Draft, and the Leafs

The Trade Deadline, the Expansion Draft, and the Leafs

One of the overblown narratives heading into the trade deadline is the impact of the expansion draft. There seems to be a belief that teams like the Leafs will only look at rental players because of the burden of having to protect that new asset or to pay a ransom to Seattle in order to keep them from selecting players they’d prefer to keep. Frankly, that’s Future Dubas’ problem, and I trust him to handle it quite well. And additionally, is it the concern that we think it is?
Who’s going to be protected?
Well, I’m willing to be that the Leafs will protect Marner, Nylander, and Matthews. Probably Muzzin, and Brodie as well, and Jack Campbell hasn’t done anything that would discourage the Leafs from protecting him either. John Tavares has a no movement clause, so as much as there might be some temptation to see if the Kraken would select him, that’s not a possibility. There’s also Morgan Rielly, who absolutely won’t be traded at the deadline, but could possibly be a player the Leafs entertain trading prior to the expansion draft. If they don’t, you better believe he’ …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs looking to win three-game series over Sens in deciding rubber match

The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Ottawa Senators are heading to a deciding game-three to determine the winner of this mid-season trilogy.
After a historic game-one collapse that saw the Leafs lose a game where they had an over 99.9% chance of winning, followed by a tight 2-1 victory where Joe Thornton had two goals waived off, it’s anyone’s guess what could happen in the final matchup of this three-game series.
With the Leafs sitting at first place in the NHL, and the Senators holding things down in the league’s basement at the bottom of the standings, matchups between the two franchises this season have been shockingly close for anyone who isn’t familiar with the work of the Toronto Maple Leafs. With another matchup against the Montreal Canadiens – who have had a full week’s rest since the last time Toronto played them – on the horizon for this weekend, the Leafs will be looking to put away the lowly Senators quickly and efficiently.
A win for Toronto would put them eight points ahead of Montreal and Edmonton in the standings, though Montreal would still have three games in hand, meaning the lead may not be quite as …

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Author: Filipe Dimas / The Leafs Nation

Don’t start calling the Toronto Raptors the Tampa Bay Raptors

Don’t start calling the Toronto Raptors the Tampa Bay Raptors

Like many Canadians, the Toronto Raptors are heading south for the winter. The pandemic has put a damper on many things in our life and not being able to watch the Toronto Raptors at home is one of them. Based on restrictions and being the only NBA team in Canada, it made sense that the […]
Don’t start calling the Toronto Raptors the Tampa Bay Raptors – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Stephen Nixon / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors: 2020 Postseason Preview

With the NBA officially heading off to Disney World in late July, here’s a recap of what the Toronto Raptors achieved in the regular season, and a preview of what to expect in the postseason later next month. After over more than two months of uncertainty, and most recently, chaos in and around the continental […]
Toronto Raptors: 2020 Postseason Preview – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mauricio Scott / Raptors HQ

Offseason Trade Targets: Undervalued Right-Defensemen the Leafs Could Pursue

The Leafs will be heading into an important offseason and with the 2019-2020 season in question, it might not be too early to look ahead. Dubas and co. will have a number of decisions to make especially on the defensive side of the coin. With Muzzin and Holl signed long term it seems like the Leafs have finally found the shutdown pairing they have longed for but they still are looking for a partner for Morgan Rielly.
During the 2019-2020 season, Rielly spent most of his time at even strength playing with either Cody Ceci or Tyson Barrie. Both players will be unrestricted free agents at the end of the year and have a low chance of resigning. Rielly also spent a small amount of time with the upcoming RFA Travis Dermott. While Dermott seems to have all the tools to be a good top-four defenceman, there hasn’t been a long enough sample of his play on the right side to be convinced he could fill the position next to Rielly in the immediate future. Rasmus Sandin is another player who I believe can play on his off-side but is probably more suited to play on the third …

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Author: Nick DeSouza / The Leafs Nation