Using NHL 21 to see if Alexis Lafreniere would perform better on the Leafs than on the Rangers

Unless you have been living under a rock the last few weeks, the Leafs have gotten off to a hot start for the 2021 campaign after surpassing the 10 win mark this week. Despite numerous key players going down with long-term injuries, they have had solid production from most of their forwards and are one of the highest-scoring teams in the NHL.
And it could have been even higher had Toronto had a bit more luck during the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery, where you may recall the ping pong ball did not bounce favourably.

John Tavares Leafs’ lottery ball Hitting the post on an open net pic.twitter.com/TvyTTXidW6
— Corwin (@corwinmc) August 10, 2020

Because of the New York Rangers’ incredible luck, they won the first overall pick which they made the tough choice to select Alexis Lafreniere. He was expected to join a Rangers team that was on the rise and provide them with the offensive jolt needed to carry them into contention. So how has he done in Manhattan so far? To say he has been struggling to produce would putting it mildly as he only has one goal (an overtime winner) in his first 11 games and has had trouble generating many …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Should the Leafs bring back Patrick Marleau at some point?

Should the Leafs bring back Patrick Marleau at some point?

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past month, you’d know that the Leafs shocked the hockey world by signing Joe Thornton to a one-year contract. He is now the second long-time Shark to don the Blue and White, with Patrick Marleau being the first back in 2017.
It’s interesting that the Leafs ended up with both on their roster at some point given the rumours three years prior that they were interested in signing them together at the start of the free-agent frenzy. While that ended up not happening, the idea of the top two picks of the 1997 NHL Draft playing together in Toronto remains an intriguing probability so long as both remain in the league.
Now that the Leafs have signed Thornton, should they bring back Marleau at some point next season?
The case for
The one thing the Leafs seem to value in players is familiarity with the organization (see the return of Michael Hutchinson). Members of the team, with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner being the most vocal, appear to have good things to say about the Swift Current native. So if Toronto decided to bring him back in a trade, they …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Diversity and Representation in Maple Leafs Organization: A Halfhearted Reality

We are living through a strange and unique time, not only because of the global pandemic but also because of all that is going on in the world when it comes to racism and police brutality, particularly in the US and Canada. As hockey fans, It’s hard not to think about how this intersects with the world of sports. On July 13th, day one of Phase Three of the Return to Play plan, the entirety of the Maple Leafs roster came to practice in Black Lives Matter t-shirts. When asked about it captain John Tavares said, “On a day when everyone wants to talk about hockey and was excited to get back to playing, it’s important to have the Black Lives Matter movement be prevalent, and we want to make sure that’s not lost in all of this.”

“On a day when everyone wants to talk about hockey and was excited to get back to playing, it’s important to have that #BlackLivesMatter movement be prevalent, and we want to make sure that’s not lost in all of this.” pic.twitter.com/y9w1yxjzV2
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) July 14, 2020

In my …

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Author: Marsha Joseph / The Leafs Nation

What to expect from Justin Holl this summer

Justin Holl has basically made a living off of proving people wrong so far in his NHL career. After being drafted by the Blackhawks in 2010, he never received a contract and suddenly his NHL dreams were all but done. But, he ended up signing an AHL deal with the Toronto Marlies, and we all know the rest of the story from there.
But, Holl still had one more obstacle in his way to make the NHL: Mike Babcock. After Holl cracked the roster in 2018-19, he played all of 11 games for the Leafs that year, basically getting no shot from the Leafs head coach. 2019-20 saw him get a bit more game time, mostly due to injuries, but it was still in a limited role with minimal ice time. It wasn’t until Babcock was fired and his former coach with the Marlies Sheldon Keefe took over that Holl really got a chance to show everyone what he was capable of.
And boy did he ever. Not only did Holl prove himself to be an everyday NHL defenseman, he showed that he can handle tough minutes in a shutdown role with Jake Muzzin, and turned into that shutdown right …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Please NHL, put us out of our misery and announce the Hub Cities already

Living in Edmonton I feel like I’m in the one city that remotely cares about this Hub City saga. The Premier has hilariously shared videos of the province where all the footage is four hours away from the flat prairie city in which the players would be locked down. The media provides daily updates on the status of the Hub City bid, and there seems to be a resentment towards the league if they choose to go with any location that has been strong in its containment of COVID-19. Perhaps that last point is a valid one, but if you’re putting a bubble around the hockey community, it probably doesn’t matter as much about what city they use along as they are effective in maintaining the bubble.
Long story short, I suspect that everyone outside of Edmonton doesn’t care where they play, and either falls into the camps of
A) Just name the cities and get on with it already.
B) For the love of God, just cancel it and let’s try for a 2020-21 season when we’re all feeling better about this.
Admittedly, I’ve shifted …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

John Gibbons is interviewing for the Astros’ managerial gig

In case you’ve been living under a rock, the Houston Astros don’t have a manager right now. A.J. Hinch was fired after being suspended by Major League Baseball for one year due to his role in the Astros cheating their way to a World Series title in 2017.

Among those being interviewed for Houston’s open managerial gig are none other than our old friend John Gibbons.

According to MLB sources former Toronto manager John Gibbons will interview with the #Astros tomorrow in Houston as part of the club’s search for a replacement for AJ Hinch.
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) January 16, 2020

Other names who have been linked to the job are Astros bench coach Joe Espada (who wasn’t around in 2017), former Rangers manager and back-to-back ALDS runner-up Jeff Banister, long-time veteran managers Dusty Baker, Buck Showalter, and Bruce Bochy, and former players Will Venable (Cubs third-base coach), and Raúl Ibañez (Dodgers special advisor).
Gibby has been hanging around and enjoying life since being let go by the Blue Jays after the 2018 season. He was paid by the Blue Jays last year as his contract ran through 2019, but now he& …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation