Leafs Practice Notes: Hyman out a minimum of two weeks, Mikheyev questionable, Sandin & Andersen return to practice

The Leafs returned to practice on Monday following a disappointing overtime loss to the embattled Vancouver Canucks who were playing their first game since March 24th due to a COVID outbreak. Losing out on the extra point in overtime seemed rather insignificant, however, as Zach Hyman was also lost to injury after taking a brutal knee on knee hit from Alexander Edler who earned a two game suspension for his troubles.
Sheldon Keefe revealed after practice that Hyman has suffered a sprained MCL that will keep him on the shelf for at least two weeks. Given the fact that he has already had this knee surgically repaired once, and how the hit looked, it could have been a lot worse.

TOR head coach Sheldon Keefe says Zach Hyman has a sprained MCL. Out at least two weeks. Probably as good news as they could get.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) April 19, 2021

Some alarm bells went off when William Nylander stepped onto the ice for practice in a grey sweater typically reserved for extras or members of the taxi squad, with Pierre Engvall and Adam Brooks shedding grey for regular white practice sweaters. Nylander ended up skating in his usual spot alongside John …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Why this Leafs loss wasn’t close to the David Ayres game

Should the Toronto Maple Leafs have won that game? Sure, but they didn’t. A lot can be said about how the Leafs should’ve thrashed the Vancouver Canucks since they’re coming off their bout with COVID-19. Really though, the Canucks played a hell of a game.
Braden Holtby stood on his head (playing like a Vezina-winning goaltender), Bo Horvat scored two key goals for the team, and the Leafs just were unlucky. I’m okay with this loss because Toronto played good. They were not bad at all. Sometimes losses like this just happen.
Here are more of my thoughts — in video form. I hope you enjoy the video!

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Practice Shenanigans: Robertson promoted to the second line, Matthews and Nylander return, Sandin participates

Despite the Leafs not playing a game on Saturday night, they still made things interesting with what happened on the ice.

#Leafs lines at practiceGalchenyuk-Matthews-MarnerRobertson-Tavares-NylanderMikheyev-Kerfoot-HymanThornton-Spezza-Simmondsextra: Engvall, Brooks
DefenceRielly-BrodieMuzzin-HollDermott-BogosianExtra: Marincin, Liljegren Sandin
GoaliesCampbellRittich
— David Alter (@dalter) April 17, 2021

The key thing to notice here is that Nick Robertson will be getting a shot on the second line with John Tavares and William Nylander, which is a well-deserved honour. Robertson has been very noticeable in his three games since getting brought up and is playing with intensity on each passing shift. Similar to how managed to make the roster during the 2020 bubble, he has willed his way into a bigger role and has forced Sheldon Keefe into making a tough decision on who to take out so Robertson can play.
Judging by the pairings, it appears that Pierre Engvall is going to be a healthy scratch as a result of this move and I imagine this is Keefe’s way of sending the Swedish centre a message. Engvall has had a rough stretch of games predating Robertson’s promotion, resulting in instances where the former has been benched by his coach for long stretches. Hopefully, this motivates him to get his season back …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

William Nylander removed from NHL’s COVID list

Maple Leafs forward William Nylander has been removed from the NHL’s COVID list and is now eligible to rejoin his teammates. Nylander has been out of the Leafs’ lineup since April 6th after coming in contact with a potential positive case but it was reported by Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston earlier this week that, to his knowledge, Nylander had not returned a positive test result of his own.

William Nylander is officially out of COVID Protocol. He’ll dictate his own return to the #leafs lineup based on fitness, according to Sheldon Keefe, and the team has just gained an extra practice day before playing Vancouver.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) April 16, 2021

Head coach Sheldon Keefe stated on Friday that it will now be up to Nylander to determine when he is ready to return to game action following his absence. The Leafs were originally scheduled to face off against the Canucks on Saturday but that game has been moved to Sunday, giving Nylander another day to get back on the ice with his teammates before taking part in an actual game.
Read more about the changes to the Leafs schedule here:
Changes to the Leafs schedule announced

The Leafs have gone …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

TLN Three Stars: Onto the next one

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost 5-2 to the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night.
Alex Galchenyuk opened the scoring tonight for the Leafs, after some nifty passing from Mitch Marner and John Tavares. The goal was originally waved off, as the puck went in and out super fast. However, the NHL corrected and Galchenyuk got his second of the season.

W W#LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/Mfu0B9db1E
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) April 15, 2021

After the Jets scored three unanswered goals, chasing Jack Campbell from the net, Tavares responded for the Leafs, bringing the score to 3-2 after two periods.

Heeere’s Johnny #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/Z9NruTc6bU
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) April 16, 2021

The Leafs pushed hard in the final frame, but could not mount a comeback, falling 5-2 at the final horn.
Three Stars
The F Star: The Powerplay
At this point, I hope Manny Malholtra lurks theleafsnation.com the powerplay needs some serious help and we talked about what we would do to fix it earlier today. This powerplay is on life support.
Third Star: David Rittich
Rittich came into the game, relieving Jack Campbell. Rittich stopped 16/17 shots he faced and tried his best to keep …

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Author: Brendan Mori / The Leafs Nation

Fixing the Leafs powerplay

In the past 16 games the Leafs have scored on the powerplay exactly one time. They’ve had 38 opportunities in that time. They’ve been outscored on the powerplay having given up two shorthanded goals during that time. I’m pretty sure we can make the argument that if the Leafs did nothing, the powerplay would eventually improve beyond 2.6% effectiveness (coincidentally Taylor Hall’s success rate this season as well), but our crew here at TheLeafsNation.com has some ideas that might fix it quicker, and beyond simply bringing it above rock bottom.
Here they are:
Ryan Hobart:
I’ve always been an advocate of having inverted wingers on the power play. I think you need a presence behind the net as well, so your net front role and your “bumper” role shift down to be a behind the net and front of the net combo. The behind the net player sets up the one timers for the inverted wingers or dishes to the point if they’re covered. The net front and behind the net players are both down low to clean up pucks and maintain possession. It’s a bold strategy as you’re very deep in the zone, …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The Maple Leafs Draft Pick Cupboard is Bare and That’s Okay: A Letter from a Draft Guy

 
Hey Leafs Nation,
It’s me, you’re favourite bald draft analyst. It’s been a busy week. The Leafs made a few trades to bolster their lineup. The additions of Riley Nash, David Rittich, Ben Hutton, and the key piece of the deadline, Nick Foligno will all go a long way to ensuring the Buds are good to go should injuries strike. The team added depth, a key piece, and an NHL calibre goalie who helps make sure things don’t go awry in the crease. Overall, I’d say it was a pretty good deadline for Kyle Dubas and the Toronto Maple Leafs. One thing that seems to be bugging everyone is the lack of draft picks going forward with just six picks in the next two drafts combined. As a draft guy, I have one thing to say about that. Who cares?
Hear me out. Of those six picks, they have their 2021 second-round pick as well as their 2022 first and second-rounders. That means most of their truly premium assets are still in the fold to add good talent or use them next year to bolster the roster again. As I explained before, this year’s first-round is …

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Author: Tony Ferrari / The Leafs Nation

How did rival teams do at the deadline?

There’s been a lot of talk about the moves the Leafs made at the deadline, and all the new players they will be bringing in, and why not? They’re players we haven’t seen on the Leafs before, and it’ll be fun to see what kind of impact they make.
But, the Leafs rival teams also made some additions as well, some bigger than others, but if the Leafs want to go on a deep run, it’s good to know how their biggest competitions improved. There was a bit of a trend within the division as it seemed like the Canadian teams didn’t really want to go all in when they didn’t feel like they could beat the Leafs, and outside the division the bigger teams only made a couple big acquisitions.
Montreal Canadiens
The Habs made their biggest deal a few weeks before the deadline by bringing in Eric Staal for a 3rd and a 5th, but they also made a couple smaller moves this week by bringing in Jon Merrill and Erik Gustafsson to beef up their blue line a little bit. Staal bring a bit of extra scoring touch to the …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

TLN Three Stars: Leafs get caught in a trap game and lose in OT

TLN Three Stars: Leafs get caught in a trap game and lose in OT

The Leafs entered this game coming off one of their sloppiest performances of the season where they were unprepared to face a struggling Canadiens team. Twenty-four hours later, they had a new goalie make his first start with the team and it just so happened to be against his old club. David Rittich played well enough to keep Toronto in a game that proved to be a defensive slugfest where neither team was getting many quality chances. Aside from the Leafs botching yet another power-play and allowing the first goal of the contest, they played much better than the previous night.

#Leafs Power Play: Last 16 Games
Goals: 1Opportunities: 38Ice Time: 67:44Shots on Goal: 51Shot Attempts: 104
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) April 14, 2021

The game went into overtime where it took the Flames just 36 seconds to end it off a tally from Johnny Gaudreau. That equates to just one point out of a possible four during the back-to-back games.
Three Stars
3rd Star: Scott Sabourin
Sabourin has been with the Leafs’ taxi squad for the last few weeks getting in practices with the team and his hard work was finally rewarded as he made his season debut. Boy did he leave a good first …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Leafs launch stinker into the sky after trade deadline

Leafs launch stinker into the sky after trade deadline

The Leafs lose to the Montreal Canadiens 4-2. Although Auston Matthews and John Tavares scored, the only good thing that came out of today was the trade deadline.
Acquiring guys like Nick Foligno will hopefully help Toronto never have a game like this ever again. Sheldon Keefe blamed it on himself, Jack Campbell did the same. But in reality, bad games come, bad games go. This one came and hopefully it goes just as fast.
I hope you enjoy tonight’s video!

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation