How Nick Robertson refined his confidence with the Marlies this season

It feels like Nick Robertson is outgrowing the AHL, yet he’s only played 48 games in the past year.
When the 2021-22 season began, the 20-year-old was focused on getting a full-time role in the NHL. But after two games with the Marlies, his season was put to a halt.
A broken leg put him out for almost four months and once he returned, there wasn’t a way to tell where his game would end up.
“I’m just more of an optimistic person,” said Robertson back in January when he was returning from his broken leg. “The whole year of 2021 was pretty much downward then upward and now that the new year, 2022, is here, I’m trying to make this my year.”
Once the 20-year-old returned to the Marlies lineup, he started to show glimpses of the player he was in the OHL. After nine games of being back in Toronto’s lineup, Robertson had 11 points, five being goals.
His confidence was growing, but there was still a ways to go. For most of his season, the 20-year-old played in the Marlies top-six, but was never on Toronto’s top power play unit.
Wit …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

WATCH: Auston Matthews scores 59th and 60th goal of the season

Auston Matthews has finally done it — he’s scores 60 goals for the first time in his career.
The 24-year-old scored his 59th goal of the season in the second period vs. Detroit.

TONE TUCKS IT HOME!! pic.twitter.com/IWXGD79MUC
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) April 27, 2022

And then, shortly after on a Maple Leafs power play, Matthews made history scoring 60.

The Office └ Season 5└ Episode 14 – 1:33 pic.twitter.com/mRFALkqz19
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) April 27, 2022

The 24-year-old is the first player in the NHL to score 60 goals in a season since Steven Stamkos back in 2011-12.

Maple Leafs say Michael Bunting ‘feeling better’, will know more about his injury when they return home by David Alter

How Toronto’s trade deadline acquisitions will help in the playoffs by Dylan Murphy

Maple Leafs sign Hobey Baker winning goaltender Dryden McKay to a two year AHL deal by Nick Barden
POINTSBET IS LIVE IN ONTARIOPointsBet Canada has officially launched in Ontario! Get a $25 free bet just for signing up right here!

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Rating the Maple Leafs moves on Trade Deadline Eve

Kyle Dubas was a busy man. He’s earned himself a nice dinner. Whether he made all the moves he should, and if he made the right moves, we’ll explore that later, but a busy day deserves a treat. And tomorrow, while it seems should be a bit slower, probably shouldn’t be completely quiet either.
So let’s look at Dubas’ moves throughout the day.
Nick Robertson demoted to the Marlies:
The small salary cap assistance, along with the empty roster space was essential to making the rest of the day work. With the Leafs bringing in two players on NHL contracts, and only sending one out, something had to give, and that means Robertson is a Marlie again for the time being. If Muzzin is going to remain on the LTIR for a while, it’s very possible we see him again soon. There’s no reason to rate this move, so we’ll start off pass/fail, and give it a pass.
Harri Säteri signed to a 1 year, $750k deal:
The Leafs need a goaltender, and going with an NHL goaltender means trading assets and trying to make something work around the league. That can be tricky, especially with the Leafs’ salary cap situation, so buying a goaltender that has excelled in the KHL for the past three seasons, and led the Finnish …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Pierre Engvall’s dominant season with the Leafs, and how he’s doing it

Pierre Engvall is having a season like he’s never had before in the NHL.
Splitting time between the Maple Leafs third and fourth line, the 25-year-old is finding his way to being a regular NHLer under Sheldon Keefe.
In 35 games this season, Engvall has 14 points — one shy of his career high — yet he’s (almost) done it in 13 less games. What’s most interesting is that he’s shooting at 6.8%, down from his past two seasons at just over 11%.
There could be more goals coming for the 25-year-old, especially if he continues to play with Wayne Simmonds.
Simmonds is currently among the league leaders at five-on-five for expected goals per 60 minutes with 1.23. He also has a low shooting percentage of 7.4% at five-on-five.
                   Five-on-five xG/60 leaders

With Ondrej Kase likely returning to the Maple Leafs’ lineup next game, Engvall will return to the fourth line with Simmonds and Jason Spezza. The low shooting percentage might help the line, who only has three goals for, score more.
Engvall, though, notices he’s having success, and attributes it to being more comfortable.
“I think I’m forechecking harder this year,” Engvall said before the Maple Leafs’ game vs. St. Louis. “I feel more comfortable in that area. And I mean, I’ve been switching up and down in the lineup, but I’ve been feeling comfortable with that.”
Engvall being comfortable is a good sign for Toronto. It seems as though he’s finding his role, which didn’t look like it was happening prior to this season.
Keefe has always been tough on the 25-year-old, and it seemed as though it was a good kind of tough. Tough love I’ll call it.
And since giving him that tough love, it’s allowed Engvall to have success in each role he’s been given.
“Really liked his game lately,” said Keefe af …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Robbie Ray wins Cy Young with 29 out of 30 first-place votes

Robbie Ray has won the American League Cy Young Award. He’s the fourth Blue Jay to do so, joining Pat Hentgen, Roger Clemens, and Roy Halladay.

This comes as little surprise, as Ray led the American League with a 2.84 ERA, 193 1/3 innings pitched, and 248 strikeouts.
It also wasn’t at all a close race, as Ray got 29 out of 30 first-place votes. Gerrit Cole of the New York Yankees came in second, receiving the one first-place vote that Ray didn’t get. Also, Jose Berrios got five votes.
Here’s how it broke down…

Full voting results for AL Cy Young Award … pic.twitter.com/1vgJSPXZlf
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) November 17, 2021

This is an incredible turnaround for Ray, who was traded from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Blue Jays mid-way through the 2020 season in exchange for Travis Bergen. At that time, Ray had walked 31 batters in 31 innings and had an ERA of 7.84.
Get paid, Robbie.

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays are one of the teams attending Justin Verlander’s throwing showcase

Though he’s made just one start over the past two seasons, Justin Verlander is one of the most interesting pitchers on this winter’s free-agent market.

Verlander allowed two earned runs on three hits and one walk while striking out seven on opening day for the Houston Astros in 2020. After the game, he was diagnosed with a forearm strain.
That forearm strain would keep Verlander out for the rest of the 2020 season and ultimately resulted in him getting Tommy John surgery, which kept him out for all of 2021, as well.
The Astros gave Verlander a qualifying offer, so he can return to the team on a one-year deal worth $18,400,000, but he isn’t ruling out exploring the open market. Verlander is hosting a throwing showcase on Monday, and the Blue Jays are one of the teams in attendance…

Hearing #BlueJays will be one of many teams watching the Justin Verlander showcase.I’d say it’s more that due diligence based on the fit.
— Scott Mitchell (@ScottyMitchTSN) November 8, 2021

It’s difficult to say how Verlander, who turns 39 years old in February, will look after having Tommy John, especially given he’s hardly pitched over the last couple of seasons.


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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Kristiāns Rubīns excited for Olympics, but wants to focus on Marlies right now

Kristiāns Rubīns was a Marlies player yesterday, but he’s now going to be a Team Latvia player at the 2022 Olympics.
Before the Marlies season ended, the 23-year-old travelled back home to play in the World Championships. Rubīns had a goal and an assist, along with being an integral piece of their defence core. He was also among the players who participated in the Olympic qualifying games for Latvia.
Five months later, he was one of three players selected to play for Team Latvia in Beijing.
“I got a call I think like a couple days ago that I’m going to be one of the three guys getting picked.” Rubīns said on Friday after it was announced. “I didn’t really thought about it that much until it actually got official. So, obviously, just kind of living the emotions right now, and obviously it’s a privelidge and honour to be in those players, so honestly it’s huge, but for now, I’m in a camp here so that’s kind of the main focus for me.“
It’s been a massive year for him. Playing in the AHL and for his country is …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

The 2021 Top 20 Leafs Prospects: #13 Mac Hollowell

Mac Hollowell has all the makings of a fan favourite. He’s a local boy, puts up a ton of points, isn’t afraid to drop the gloves once in a while, and plays the coveted RD position. His 5’10 frame may have been mocked when the Leafs selected him in the 4th round of the 2018 draft, but with another right handed defenceman under 6’ tall having just won the Norris, more and more people are beginning to warm themselves up to this flashy blueliner.
Despite his smaller size, he knows how to throw around the body, positions well on defence, and has some of the best offensive instincts from any blueliner in the Leafs organization. Defensive prospects can be hard to project, which is why Hollowell remains in the #13 spot just like he was last year, but with some ranking him as high as 6th best prospect in the organization, it seems like it’s only a matter of time until more people realize what an excellent two-way threat he is.
Position: RD
Age: 18
Height: 5’10
Weight: 170 lbs
Drafted: 2018 4th round, 118th overall
2020-2021 Team: TUTO Hockey (Mestis) & Toronto Marlies (AHL)
2020 Prospect Ranking: 13th
Don’t let his height starting with …

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Author: Filipe Dimas / The Leafs Nation

When will Teemu Kivihalme be in the Maple Leafs lineup?

The 26-year-old named Teemu Kivihalme — do you know him? He’s a defenceman on the Toronto Marlies, who has one more year remaining on his deal. The potential is there, but could his time be running out with the Maple Leafs organization?
Here’s everything you need to know about Kivihalme; how he plays, and where he could end up after what could be the biggest season of his life. Enjoy the video!

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Leafs have recalled Denis Malgin, let’s see what he’s been up to

He’s back, baby!

Forward Denis Malgin has been reassigned to the @MapleLeafs taxi squad.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) May 10, 2021

Okay, some of you might have completely forgotten about Denis Malgin, but he is still around. He’s just spent a little time back in Switzerland, playing hockey and (I assume) eating cheese. Now he’s back, been quarantined, and was assigned to Marlies, but never got around to playing. He’s skipped that step and has joined the taxi squad, and I wouldn’t doubt that the Leafs are looking to get him into at least one of the two remaining games to see how he looks against NHL competition.
While Malgin was overseas he managed to put up a pretty special season in the Swiss National League. He had 19 goals, 42 points in 45 games. He also picked up 3 points in the four playoff games he was in. This was the best scoring pace of Malgin’s young career, and at 24 this is certainly an encouraging thing to see and he definitely still needs to be viewed as an asset for the Leafs, significantly moreso than Mason Marchment was going to be.
When we last saw Malgin on the Leafs, he …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation