Josh Ho-Sang officially named to Team Canada’s Men’s Olympic team

It’s officially official, Josh Ho-Sang is going to the Olympics with Team Canada.

Meet Team Canada!
25 men have been selected to represent at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
ROSTER https://t.co/d8OVCa3Ceh@TeamCanada | #Beijing2022 pic.twitter.com/pcIv42Qkf6
— Hockey Canada (@HockeyCanada) January 25, 2022

It was pretty official after Monday’s accidental rollout of Canada’s roster by the IIHF. But now, it’s there for everyone’s eyes to see.
Ho-Sang has had a stellar season with the Toronto Marlies so far, tallying 20 points in 27 games this season. For most of the season so far, the 26-year-old has been a part of the Marlies top-six.
As of right now, the 26-year-old is currently dealing with a concussion that hopefully subsides before he leaves for Beijing.
Ho-Sang’s ability to drive play up the ice while also being a threat in the offensive zone is one of the reasons why he was selected. He’s incredibly skilled and loves to play on the big stage, which he’ll get the chance to do at the Olympics with Team Canada.
“I definitely think the fans motivate me,” said Ho-Sang earlier this season. “I’m a big believer in ‘the bigger the crowd, the better I play.’”
Last week, the IOC announced that ” tickets should not be sold anymore but be part of an adapted programme that will invite groups of spectators to be present on site during the Games.” It’s not known whether this means other Canadian Olympians will be able to attend, but you can still expect some fans in the arena.
The reason I bring this to attention is because Ho-Sang loves playing in front of a crowd. He believes his play is much better in front of fans. Although there’s not going to be many fans, Ho-Sang is playing for Team Canada at the Olympics, and that alone will drive him to be the best player possible.
The 26-year-old has only represented his country once in his career at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. And while he’s had a fascinating relationship with Hockey Canada in the past, this moment will be great for both sides.
This will be an exciting opportunity for him.
Although it’s not a best-on-best, Ho-Sang will be able to highlight his skills on the world stage. Which, in turn, could help him get an NHL contract with the Maple Le …

Read More

Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Know your enemy: Isles goaltending could be a wrench in an otherwise lopsided matchup for the Leafs

It’s been a weird season for the New York Islanders, who found themselves as bottom feeders in the East for most of the season, but have had a bit of a recent resurgence winning six of their last seven games, and put themselves above .500 for the first time since their 11 game losing streak. It makes sense that they would have struggled early on, with a lengthy road trip to start the year while their home arena got finished, a COVID outbreak before the rest of the league all got it and had to pause the season briefly, and plenty of injuries on top of that, including losing their top defenseman Ryan Pulock for a lot of the season.
Now, they still have a long way to go, as they find themselves 14 points back of the second wild card spot with only four games in hand, or 19 back of the first spot with eight in hand. Also, their numbers haven’t exactly been elite like they have been in previous years, and has relied heavily on goaltending, so that’s a concern as to whether their run is sustainable or not. That said, they’re always a tough matchup for the Leafs in the Jo …

Read More

Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

The Maple Leafs rolling seven game record throughout the season has been encouraging

It’s an absolute stretch to say that how a team performs over a seven game stretch is going to equate to playoff success. At no point are teams facing the same team for extended period, teams aren’t putting in the video research that they do for a playoff series, and it’s rare that teams are making roster decisions based on their opponent. Still, if you are looking for some encouraging numbers, here’s the Leafs rolling seven game record throughout the season so far…

If it wasn’t clear, the seven game sample is chosen because of best of seven series, and the hope is that over any seven game stretch your team is able to take at minimum 4 out of 7 games. The Leafs have been doing that aside from their miserable start. The fact that the Leafs overachieved for much of the season and are now just starting to near that warning sign area of losing more than they’ve won.
In contrast, here are both their 10 game rolling goal differentials and shot differentials.

Both also support the Leafs dominance throughout most of the season, with a recent decline, but the goal differential shows the Leafs tendency to trip over themselves a bit more and face the unfortunate wrath of the hockey gods.
Of course when it comes to playoff success it will also matter a little about who they face, and again, the Leafs generally have reasons for optimism about their opponents, although not much can really be taken away from opponents faced once, or really any of this really.
Opponent
Games Played
Win/Loss Dif
Anaheim Ducks
1
1
Arizona Coyotes
1
-1
Boston Bruins
1
1
Buffalo Sabres
1
1
Calgary Flames
1
1
Carolina Hurricanes
1
-1
Chicago Blackhawks
2
2
Colorado Avalanche
2
0
Columbus Blue Jackets
1
1
Detroit Red Wings
1
1
Edmonton Oilers
2
2
Los Angeles Kings
2
0
Minnesota Wild
1
-1
Montreal Canadiens
1
1
Nashville Predators
1
1
New York Islanders
1
1
New York Rangers
3
-1
Ottawa Senators
3
1
Philadelphia Flyers
1
1
Pittsburgh Penguins
2
-2
San Jose Sharks
2
0
St. Louis Blues
1
1
Tampa Bay Lightning
2
0
Vegas Golden Knights
2
2
Winnipeg Jets
1
-1
Still, the Leafs having their struggles against the Rangers and Hurricanes are notable, as is their split with Tampa Bay. The complete lack of Florida games will make for an interesting second half of the season where we’ll get a lot better understanding there.
Of course, it’s important to note the Leafs did pretty darn well against the Canadiens last year, and that didn’t go well. Toronto was 7-2-1 against the Habs, and that didn’t carry much weight once Leafs injuries hit, and the Habs could tailor their game to the Leafs.
The previous year the Leafs were 1-0-1 against the Blue Jackets, which probably tells you about as much as you’d expect it would.
The year before Toronto had a 1-3-0 record against the Bruins, and well…yeah, that did play out as expected, though you could make a case that Toronto stayed in it before than the regular season would have shown they …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Gabe Moreno, Jordan Groshans, Orelvis Martinez, and Nate Pearson make Baseball Prospectus’ Top 101 Prospectus list

While the stupid lockout is still ongoing, it’s that time of year when prospect lovers like myself get to be angry about sites underrating our prospects. Let’s talk about Baseball Prospectus’ list and how they underrated Gabriel Moreno massively.

Here are the four Blue Jays prospects that rank in the Top 101…
Gabriel Moreno #22
Jordan Groshans #60
Orelvis Martinez #62
Nate Pearson #73
My immediate reaction is, “why the heck is Gabriel Moreno so low?”. Regardless of where the soon-to-be 22-year-old catcher played in the 2021 season, he had success. Before a hand injury, Moreno hit .280/.337/1.092 with 8 home runs in Double-A. Furthermore, the converted shortstop threw out 43.75% of runners in 32 stolen base attempts. He profiles as a good hitter with power with an excellent arm. 
He didn’t play much to end the minor league season, but he was key to Mesa winning the Arizona Fall League. In 100 plate appearances, Moreno slashed .329/.410/.904, had 11 doubles and 18 RBIs, and added a homer for good measure. Furthermore, Moreno had as many walks as strikeouts, as he had thirteen each. No one even attempted to run on him. 
His success continued in the Venezuelan Winter League as he slashed .297/.397/.758. While his slash line decreased, it is important to remember that he was -7.3 years younger than the average catcher. Even with the injury, he had an incredibly successful 2021 and he should be much higher than 22nd.
Mar 13, 2021; Dunedin, Florida, USA; Toronto …

Read More

Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Gabe Moreno, Jordan Groshans, Orelvis Martinez, and Nate Pearson make Baseball Prospects’ Top 101 Prospects list

While the stupid lockout is still ongoing, it’s that time of year when prospect lovers like myself get to be angry about sites underrating our prospects. Let’s talk about Baseball Prospectus’ list and how they underrated Gabriel Moreno massively.

Here are the four Blue Jays prospects that rank in the Top 101…
Gabriel Moreno #22
Jordan Groshans #60
Orelvis Martinez #62
Nate Pearson #73
My immediate reaction is, “why the heck is Gabriel Moreno so low?”. Regardless of where the soon-to-be 22-year-old catcher played in the 2021 season, he had success. Before a hand injury, Moreno hit .280/.337/1.092 with 8 home runs in Double-A. Furthermore, the converted shortstop threw out 43.75% of runners in 32 stolen base attempts. He profiles as a good hitter with power with an excellent arm. 
He didn’t play much to end the minor league season, but he was key to Mesa winning the Arizona Fall League. In 100 plate appearances, Moreno slashed .329/.410/.904, had 11 doubles and 18 RBIs, and added a homer for good measure. Furthermore, Moreno had as many walks as strikeouts, as he had thirteen each. No one even attempted to run on him. 
His success continued in the Venezuelan Winter League as he slashed .297/.397/.758. While his slash line decreased, it is important to remember that he was -7.3 years younger than the average catcher. Even with the injury, he had an incredibly successful 2021 and he should be much higher than 22nd.
Mar 13, 2021; Dunedin, Florida, USA; Toronto …

Read More

Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Friedman: Maple Leafs looking to shed salary before the trade deadline

It’s probably a statement that many are greeting with a “duh” response, but there are a couple of ways to take the following statement from Elliotte Friedman’s 32 Thoughts article:
11. Toronto isn’t against clearing space to prepare for a deadline add.
The first way of taking it is that Elliotte was sitting on 31 Thoughts, and needed to add another and thought that the Leafs are good for business, so he added a low risk statement that would wet some appetites for Leafs content. If that’s the case, kudos, the bait has been taken because here I am doing a deep dive on something that is an absolute requirement for the Leafs if they are looking to add a significant piece at the trade deadline.
The second way to take it is much more earnestly, and that is that Elliotte is reporting on the Leafs more actively engaging in conversations around the league to clear out some salary, but likely in the early stages of it where they are trying to get close to reasonable value for who they are putting out there, instead of having decent players being treated as salary cap grenades.
Of course that leads to the question of who are the salaries that the Leafs could be looking to move in order to free up space for a decadent deadline. It’s probably better to start with who is immune to this process, and that’s going to be the usual crew of Matthew …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Acquiring William Lagesson for free would be wonderful, but the Leafs aren’t the only team that should be interested

It seems like it’s been forever since there was someone worthwhile on waivers. The reality of COVID and the value of depth, mixed with taxi squads has made it so players you wouldn’t normally touch with a ten foot pole are getting claimed, and worthwhile depth players are finally being treated as a commodity. That is except for the Oilers, who remain one of the great mysteries of hockey, and despite having chronic blueline issues decided they should waive one of their statistically best defensemen yesterday.

Edmonton Oilers place defenceman William Lagesson on waivers https://t.co/Zm87oTgy6o
— Oilersnation.com, Oily Since ‘07 (@OilersNation) January 18, 2022

Presumably today the Oilers and their fans will be too focused on the pissy-ness status of Leon Draisaitl to care that one of their best defenders is going to play somewhere else as of 2pm, but they should probably care a little based on some of the information below…

EDM waived Lagesson…but he has great underlyings, albeit in a small sample. Any reason for this Oiler fans? pic.twitter.com/Xqn0Pfg8bx
— Kent Wilson (@Kent_Wilson) January 18, 2022

With an acknowledgement that Lagesson’s minutes are pillow soft compared to Darnell Nurse, it’s interesting to see that Lagesson is at the top of the Oilers defensemen in both xGF%, and CF%. He’s only played 10 games, and hasn’t played a lot in the games he’s been in, but he’s certainly been a bright spot compared the murderer’s row of dead cap space in Keith, Ceci, and Barrie.
Now, I really like Lagesson. Just this weekend I was trying to make a case for trading for him…
The Maple Leafs don’t need a top four defenseman, they need a top four defenseman who can defend

Lagesson is a cheap ($725k) option that is either going to be a RFA this summer, …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Nick Abruzzese and Matthew Knies officially named to Team USA’s Olympic roster

It’s officially official. Maple Leafs’ prospects Matthew Knies and Nick Abruzzese are headed to Beijing for the 2022 Olympics with Team USA.

Introducing the 25 men headed to Beijing! #WinterOlympics | @TeamUSA
— USA Hockey (@usahockey) January 13, 2022

The two Toronto prospects join 13 other NCAA players on the United States Olympic team. Knies, who’s playing in his first year at the University of Minnesota is averaging a point per game this season (20P in 20GP). The 19-year-old was picked in the second round, 57th overall, in the 2021 NHL Draft by the Maple Leafs.
Abruzzese missed all of last season rehabbing from hip surgery. This season, he’s returned with a bang, scoring 21 points in 13 games (5G, 16A). The 22-year-old was drafted by the Maple Leafs at 124th overall in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.

Read More

Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs shooting by the numbers

It’s 34 games into the Leafs season. Well actually it’s 35 games in, because the Leafs played the Coyotes after I wrote this, and but for the purpose of what you are about to read, 34 games have been played. With that comes some pretty established trends in regards to how things are going for the Leafs this season.
When it comes to how the Leafs have been shooting this year, they’ve been sitting at 10%, combined with their team save percentage, they have a PDO of 102.2. When it comes to how they’ve been scoring, they’ve been scoring slightly above expected. The Leafs has a G/60 of 3.35, and a xG/60 of 3.27, so they are outscoring what was expected.
Here’s the breakdown of how the individual Leaf shooters have been performing by scoring and shot metrics.
Player
Position
GP
TOI/GP
Goals/60
ixG/60
Goals vs. Expected/60
Ilya Mikheyev
R
5
15.91
3.02
1.20
1.82
Auston Matthews
C
31
20.68
2.15
1.47
0.68
Jason Spezza
C
30
11.76
1.19
0.71
0.48
William Nylander
R
34
18.86
1.50
1.16
0.34
TJ Brodie
D
34
20.55
0.26
0.09
0.17
Justin Holl
D
28
20.57
0.10
0.07
0.03
Morgan Rielly
D
34
23.98
0.29
0.28
0.01
Alexander Kerfoot
C
34
15.56
0.68
0.68
0.00
Ondrej Kase
R
29
14.31
1.16
1.17
-0.01
Travis Dermott
D
23
14.53
0.18
0.19
-0.01
David Kampf
C
34
14.73
0.48
0.52
-0.04
Jake Muzzin
D
33
21.43
0.08
0.13
-0.05
John Tavares
C
33
18.52
1.37
1.45
-0.08
Mitchell Marner
R
26
20.78
0.67
0.80
-0.13
Kyle Clifford
L
8
8.31
0.00
0.18
-0.18
Timothy Liljegren
D
19
15.99
0.00
0.19
-0.19
Rasmus Sandin
D
29
16.27
0.00
0.20
-0.20
Pierre Engvall
L
32
13.01
0.58
0.79
-0.21
Michael Bunting
L
34
15.05
0.82
1.06
-0.24
Wayne Simmonds
R
33
9.97
0.73
1.04
-0.31
Nick Ritchie
L
32
12.08
0.31
0.88
-0.57
When it comes to outscoring what is expected of them, it’s probably no surprise that Ilya “4 goals in 5 games” Mikheyev is leading the pack. It’s also not much of a surprise that players like Matthews and Nylander are also outperforming their expected numbers, and Brodie, well, the bar was set pretty low for him and his recent goal scoring hot streak would absolutely throw his numbers into a flux.
On the other side of things, Tavares has had some modest struggles, but that’s nothing compared to the incredibly rough year that Nick Ritchie has been facing, although when you look at Bunting, Simmonds, and Ritchie all being at the bottom of the list, it’s important to note that net front opportunities are going to have a significantly higher expected goal total.
When it comes to shooting frequency, one of the biggest surprises again has to be Ilya Mikheyev. Mikheyev seems determined to establish that he has an offensive side to his game, and he’s clearly been shooting a lot more.
Before looking at the table, here’s the breakdown of what the average shots/60 are for the Leafs and by position on the Leafs:
Average Shots per 60: 6.99
Forwards Average Shots per 60: 8.80
Defense Average Shots per 60: 3.36
Player
Position
GP
TOI/GP
Shots/60
iCF/60
Shots on net %
Ilya Mikheyev
R
5
15.91
14.33
16.59
86.38
Auston Matthews
C
31
20.68
12.91
22.74
56.77
Ondrej Kase
R
29
14.31
11.57
18.51
62.51
William Nylander
R
34
18.86
11.04
18.72
58.97
John Tavares
C
33
18.52
10.11
16.79
60.21
Pierre Engvall
L
32
13.01
9.23
15.86
58.20
Wayne Simmonds
R
33
9.97
9.12
13.31
68.52
Michael Bunting
L
34
15.05
7.97
14.19
56.17
Jason Spezza
C
30
11.76
7.83
15.82
49.49
Nick Ritchie
L
32
12.08
7.45
12.58
59.22
Mitchell Marner
R
26
20.78
6.99
15.21
45.96
Morgan Rielly
D
34
23.98
6.55
11.11
58.96
Alexander Kerfoot
C
34
15.56
5.90
9.53
61.91
David Kampf
C
34
14.73
4.91
8.27
59.37
Timothy Liljegren
D
19
15.99
4.74
10.27
46.15
Jake Muzzin
D
33
21.43
3.48
8.83
39.41
Travis Dermott
D
23
14.53
3.23
7.00
46.14
Rasmus Sandin
D
29
16.27
3.05
9.41
32.41
Kyle Clifford
L
8
8.31
2.71
7.22
37.53
Justin Holl
D
28
20.57
1.88
4.06
46.31
TJ Brodie
D
34
20.55
1.72
5.15
33.40
So Mitch Marner is the Leafs average, but he’s been shooting less than other Leafs forwards. N …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs Prospect Roundup: Matthew Knies is back, Marlies trio stepping up, Denis Malgin update

It’s time for another Toronto Maple Leafs prospect roundup! With essentially every league back and underway after various winter breaks, it’s a busy roundup once again after a couple of minimal updates. Matthew Knies is back at the University of Minnesota and did not miss a beat, a trio of prospects with the Marlies had a big week, we’ll catch up with Denis Malgin over in Switzerland, plus lots more news and notes to finish things off.
Matthew Knies | LW | Minnesota (Big 10)
Matthew Knies returned to the Golden Gophers lineup over the weekend following his abbreviated spell with Team USA at the World Juniors. Suiting up for the first time for Minnesota since December 5, Knies picked up right where he left off.
On Friday, Knies recorded two assists, including this primary assist on Minnesota’s third goal of the game.

#LeafsForever prospect Matthew Knies makes a nice move down low and finds Ben Meyers in the slot with a backhand pass for his second of the game: pic.twitter.com/6Fej9TrrwI
— Nick Richard (@_NickRichard) January 8, 2022

He was good in his return, but it was the follow-up performance on Saturday that really draws the attention. Knies once again scored two assists, but also added seven shots on goal, mixing in a lacrosse goal attempt while he was at it. Saturday’s game from Knies is the exact performance to point to when discussing how exciting of a prospect he’s blossomed into this season.

Matthew Knies steals the puck along the boards and cuts to the high slot before firing a shot that is tipped home by Ben Meyers. Knies’ second assist of the night and his fourth in the last two games.#LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/syIG9Z95QG
— Nick Ric …

Read More

Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation