Relaunching the Maple Leafs Stat Pack for 2021-22

Did you know Alexander Kerfoot leads the Leafs in even-strength points?
Were you aware only three Leaf players are doling our more hits than they’re receiving?
Have you seen Kyle Clifford’s ridiculous-looking PDO?
Want to dive deeper into Jack Campbell’s recent performance?
Have you heard the Leafs have a top-three special teams group?
All these fun little tidbits were brought to your awareness by the Maple Leafs Stat Pack (MLSP), now live for the 2021-22 season.

This expansive Tableau dashboard, first introduced last season, is designed to be a one-stop-shop for deeper insights into our boys in Blue & White. The MLSP summarizes and visualizes Skater, Goaltender, and Team stats to help tell fans a better story about the performance of the Maple Leafs.
The dashboard, built using publicly-available data from Evolving-Hockey and NHL.com, is an ever-growing resource that will have new items added over time, so check back for new features or feel free to make suggested changes to Mark Norman via his Twitter.
Enjoy getting to know your team a little better, Maple Leafs fans!
Note: The MLSP is not optimized for mobile viewing, and show only be viewed on desktop devices. Plans for a mobile-friendly version are underway. …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Seravalli and Peters reporting that Leafs prospect Matthew Knies is Olympic bound

You know what’s better than the Olympics becoming the Spengler Cup? The Olympics becoming the World Juniors. While what we appear to be getting is a mashup of the two, and not the ideal NHL representation, it’s exciting news today for Leafs fans as Matthew Knies appears to have been selected by Team USA:

NEWS: Reporting with @chrismpeters, team and league sources tell @DailyFaceoff these 15 players have been invited to play for Team USA at #Beijing2022 Olympics.
List is still fluid, not all have confirmed participation, and @USAHockey is actively adding others. pic.twitter.com/jAdBFDawZO
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) January 6, 2022

(Yes, those are former Leafs/Marlies Kenny Agostino, and David Warsofsky there as well)
The selection of Knies definitely speaks to USA Hockey embracing the opportunity to go youthful at this Olympics. Knies, along with Beniers, Faber, Helleson, Sanderson, and others speaks to a youth movement that particularly tapped into the University of Minnesota, with three players representing them.
Knies, a 6’3 19 year old forward, has had 16 points in 18 games as a Freshman at the University of Minnesota, scoring 7 goals.
In his winter prospect rankings article Kyle Cushman had this to say about Knies:
Knies has seven goals and 16 points this season, breaking through as a top-six player for Minnesota immediately. He ranks second on the team in goals and third in points, but it’s been the other aspects of his game that have really stood out to me. Knies’ physicality on the forecheck, ability to create space for himself and teammates with his skating and deking, and underrated shot have all been elements that have impressed me this year.
He jumps up above the three prospects to follow in part to his production, but also due to his NHL projectability. Listed at 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, it’s easy to see a scenario where Knies plays regular minutes in the NHL in a variety of roles. While he could be an excellent complementary top-six winger with his strong forechecking and shot, he could also be an effective bottom-six piece who plays an energy role and chips in some offence if he doesn’t reach his ceiling.
Knies is an exciting addition, but in the spirit of exploring that list you can see …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Kyle Clifford excited to be back home, and ready for new opportunity with Leafs

Kyle Clifford excited to be back home, and ready for new opportunity with Leafs

“I didn’t want to leave, and I know they didn’t want me to leave either.”
Kyle Clifford left the Leafs in 2020 during Free Agency to sign with the St. Louis Blues. Toronto was his home, and after a tough bout against the Columbus Blue Jackets, he left home.
During his tenure in St. Louis, Clifford had his ups and downs. The 30-year-old played 50 of 56 games last season, scoring four goals and adding three assists. He was even in the Blues’ lineup during the playoffs last year.
The start of this season, though, was a bit bumpier.
Clifford played two games, and then on November 2nd, was placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols list. Little did he know that those two games would be his last in St. Louis.
“I’m just getting back into it. It’s been a while since I skated, so I’m just looking forward to getting out there.” Clifford said to the media on Friday. “The last three weeks, I probably skated, like, twice, three times.“
Being from Ayr, Ontario, Clifford calls Toronto home. But for him, what is it like to be back?
“It’s an unbelieveable city.” Clifford said. “It’ …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: The 3 non-guaranteed players who should make the roster

Raptors: The 3 non-guaranteed players who should make the roster

The Toronto Raptors know that stocking the rosters with intriguing depth pieces is integral to building a winner, and they were able to win a game or two more than they should have last year when they let players like Yuta Watanabe and DeAndre’ Bembry prove that they should be on the floor more. While […]
Raptors: The 3 non-guaranteed players who should make the roster – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Considering a few other Pro Tryout candidates for the Leafs

It’s almost training camp. Before we know it we’ll get the privilege of hearing about how everyone is in the best shape of their life, and how this year the Leafs have something to prove. While the Leafs attempt to wrap us up in warm cliches they won’t have to answer for until the spring, there is a far less pressing issue to consider, but one that really only remains relevant for the next few days, and that’s whether or not the Leafs should invite anyone else to their training camp on a pro tryout offer.
The Leafs have already extended an invite to Josh Ho-Sang, who as of Monday was scrimmaging on a line with Michael Bunting and John Tavares. He certainly has the potential to fall into the category of being a steal or a worthwhile turnaround project.
When it comes to who is still available to come in on a PTO, the options are pretty limited, and don’t match the excitement of Ho-Sang. The two best options might be the former Leaf options, as Alex Galchenyuk and Ben Hutton might be the most capable players available. Hutton in particular would seemingly address …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The 2021 Top 20 Leafs Prospects: #19 Joseph Woll

When you think of Joseph Woll, what do you know of him?
Some look at his 2017 World Junior Championship with USA, where he had two wins, a .934 save percentage and a gold medal. Others may dive deeper into his three seasons with Boston College, and the way he played there. But if you go back more recently, there’s his two seasons with the Toronto Marlies where Woll struggled to get his save percentage above .900.
However, this past season for him looked a little bit different, and I believe the numbers are telling a totally different story.
Position: G
Age: 23
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 203lbs
Drafted: #62 Overall in the 2016 NHL Draft by Toronto Maple Leafs
2020-21 Team: Toronto Marlies, AHL
2020 Prospect Ranking: #11
The 23-year-old spent last season moving up and down between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Marlies. It wasn’t because he was ready to be in the NHL, but mainly protection in case of any injuries (and the Leafs needed three goalies).
Woll eventually went back down to the Marlies, where again, he struggled to find a lot of playing time. As a whole, the Marlies iced eight goaltenders last season — some being prospects, one being Frederik Andersen, …

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Author: Nick Barden / 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

Santiago Espinal is an everyday player

If you follow me on Twitter or know me in person, you know that writing about specific players is my favourite type of article. While all the crazy happenings of trade deadline day unfolded upon us, I released an article on Sem Robberse.

Now, I usually wait a week or two before releasing another article on a particular player, but I feel as if this one cannot wait. The player in question is not a prospect, he’s here and he’s beautiful.
His name is Santiago Espinal and he is the Toronto Blue Jays starting third baseman.
The beginning:
Before deep-diving into why Espinal is the perfect utility player, it has to be noted how the Blue Jays acquired him. Often there are winners and losers in a trade, this one was different though. On June 28th, 2018, the mediocre Blue Jays sent Steve Pearce to the Boston Red Sox for Santiago Espinal.
To his credit, Pearce was a pretty decent player while playing for the Jays. He was versatile and was an above-average hitter in a Blue Jays uniform. Boston would later go on to win the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Who was the WS MVP? …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Bob McKenzie has the Leafs as a front runner for Michael Bunting

You know it’s free agency season when you have Bob McKenzie stepping away from the lake to chase down rumours about a player with 26 NHL games to his name.
Nevertheless, Michael Bunting has been a favourite free agency target of the writers on this site, and Leafs nation at large so news like this is encouraging…

Michael Bunting — 10 G in 21 GP with ARI this season — is the rare Group VI free agent. All the logical speculation is on him being reunited with his Soo Greyhound GM (Kyle Dubas) and head coach (Sheldon Keefe) in TOR but multiple teams interested. @TSNHockey
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 27, 2021

The fact that there is competition for Bunting is the first thing to take away from this. And there’s likely a lesson being learned from what Florida was able to accomplish by taking a chance on players like Duclair and Verhaeghe last season.
A lot of Bunting’s appeal, besides the fact that he isn’t going to cost a ton comes from the fact that he’s been considered a bit of a Brad Marchand lite. A skillset that hasn’t really been present on the Leafs since Nazem Kadri departed. There’s …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Nate Pearson has been dealing with a sports hernia and is going to pitch out of the bullpen

We finally know what’s been up with Big Nate.

The Blue Jays’ No. 1 prospect has been on the shelf since mid-June with what was described at the time as another groin injury. Today, general manager Ross Atkins said that Pearson has been dealing with a sports hernia and the plan is for him to start throwing from the mound next week.
Given where we’re at in the season, there isn’t much time to get Pearson built up, so the team is going to use him as a reliever the rest of the way. I imagine this also partially has to do with the fact the team still desperately needs bullpen help and it’s much, much, muuuuuuuch more likely Pearson can help them there than as a starter.
We saw Pearson pitch out of the ‘pen a couple of times last season. He did so once in late September against Baltimore, in which he tossed one-and-two-thirds innings while picking up two strikeouts, and we saw him again in Game 2 of the wild-card series with Tampa, where he threw a dominant pair of innings with five strikeouts.
Pearson could be a game-changer for Toronto’s bullpen. If you …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation