Leafs sign William Villeneuve to a three-year entry level contract

The Toronto Maple Leafs have finally signed a player from their 2021 development camp.

We’ve signed defenceman William Villeneuve to a three-year entry level contract. #LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) September 25, 2021

The Leafs drafted Villeneuve in the fourth round, 122nd overall in the 2020 NHL Draft.
Villeneuve spent some time with the Toronto Marlies last season, only playing in two games. Prior to that, he played in the QMJHL with the Saint John Sea Dogs and had 20 points in 33 games.
“Villeneuve is a high risk, high reward defenceman,” said TLN contributor, Kyle Cushman in a recent article, “but we didn’t see enough of those game-breaking plays from him that made him the worthwhile swing in the 2020 draft.“
While at the rookie tournament, he tallied two assists over four games with the Leafs. However, he also did this while defending a two-on-one against the Dallas Stars’ prospects:

Robertson turnover goes the other way, Scott stops the first shot but can’t get the second. 3-3 pic.twitter.com/6O7pER91WI
— Kyle Cushman (@Kyle_Cush) September 19, 2021

For the season ahead, Villeneuve is headed back to Saint John, where he will play his last season in the QMJHL. After that, he could join …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

David Kampf is eager to show Leafs what he can do

David Kampf is eager to show Leafs what he can do

David Kampf’s addition to the Toronto Maple Leafs was interesting. Already having an abundance of potential centres, the 26-year-old comes to this Leafs team with a lot in mind.
“My goal is to shut down the best players in the NHL.” Said Kampf on Friday.
Playing in Chicago for four seasons, he was an integral part of their team. Whether it was playing on the fourth line or helping with the penalty-kill, Kampf made the best of his opportunities.
It’s part of the reason why Kyle Dubas and the Leafs brought him to Toronto.
He’ll be able to provide a lot at centre, including winning faceoffs. Last season, Kampf was 52.8% in the faceoff circle, which is a better total than all three of Alexander Kerfoot, Pierre Engvall, and Auston Matthews. Another part is his defensive game, which is incredibly strong.
Kampf is a type of player who enjoys starting the plays in the defensive zone. Last season at five-on-five, he had 66.8% defensive zone starts. To put that into perspective, that’s better than Matthews (41.1%), Kerfoot (47.1%), Jason Spezza (41.8%), and John Tavares (45.4%).
The 26-year-old is very good at getting the play started in his own end.
“He knows exactly …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Leafs entering camp with something to prove

Toronto Maple Leafs hockey is back.
Kyle Dubas, Sheldon Keefe, and select players from the team spoke with the media today. Among the things said, players gave their thoughts on the season ahead and the belief they have in each other as a group. Players also said they’re taking this season one day at a time instead of gazing too far into the future.
The first person to address the media was Dubas. Most of what he discussed was the disappointment from last season. The Leafs GM said that while players should look back on the loss, it may also be an opportunity to move forward.

Kyle Dubas says adversity is what brings out of the best in Sheldon Keefe. Leafs gonna need that trait to be transferable.
— Justin Cuthbert (@jccuthbert) September 22, 2021

We all remember last season. This Leafs team was one that we thought could have a lot of success. Although in the end, it didn’t happen, these moments are some that define the future. Teams need adversity to be better, and with the results in the past, this should help them grow to become stronger.
Dubas even addressed his future with the organization and whether he …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

It’s time to try Ilya Mikheyev with Matthews and Marner

It’s time to try Ilya Mikheyev with Matthews and Marner

Only one more day until the Toronto Maple Leafs announce their training camp roster. It’s come very quickly, I know.
With it approaching so fast, I thought this would be my last chance to give my thoughts on what could be an intriguing idea. I’ll be honest — it’s different.
When you look back at last season, one of the big storylines was Ilya Mikheyev and his production. Starting his NHL career, he was a 0.58 points-per-game player. That was enough for Kyle Dubas to give him a contract at $1.645 million for two years. And since signing that contract, it’s safe to say that Mikheyev hasn’t lived up to it.
After sustaining a wrist laceration in December of 2019, it was clear to provide him with a free pass for the near future. A lot of fans appeared to do that.
Coming into the 2020-21 season, though, it was time for a change. And looking back at it now, people didn’t get one.
Mikheyev struggled to score last season, only beating a goaltender seven times in 54 games. The 26-year-old was coming from the KHL, where he scored 23 goals in his final 62 games.
He finished off the 2021 season …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

TLN Top 20 Leafs: #15 Ondrej Kase

Few Toronto Maple Leafs have left me as intrigued with possibility as the signing of Ondrej Kase has. Once a promising, budding star with the Anaheim Ducks, Kase’s extended list of injuries has prevented him from realizing that 25+ goal potential he showed in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons. After a disappointing stint with the Boston Bruins, the Leafs are taking a low risk, high reward flier on the 25-year-old Czech winger.
The range of outcomes in Kase’s time with the Leafs is incredibly wide. If the injuries continue and he can’t consistently play in the lineup, Kase may be an afterthought and a $1M LTIR castaway. On the flip side, a healthy Kase could finally provide Toronto with the bottom six play driver they’ve desperately been seeking following the departure of Nazem Kadri. That array of possibilities with Kase is what makes him such a fascinating addition to myself and many others, one that I will be keeping a keen eye on in training camp, assuming he is healthy and ready to play.
Five Important Stats

2021 Games Played
2019/20 5v5 Points
2019/20 5v5 CF%
2019/20 5v5 Shots/60
2019/20 SH%
3
20
54.02%
9.96
4.17%
The only stat that really matters when it comes to Ondrej Kase is …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

10 notable games to watch during the Toronto Maple Leafs 2021-22 season

The 2021-22 NHL season is fast approaching for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and there are a handful of notable games on their schedule that all fans should be looking forward to this season. Whether the most exciting game to you is the Maple Leafs season opener or home opener, the game where they play a big rival, a game where they play the team that knocked them out of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs the year prior… we won’t go there.
Anyways, this season is going to be a great one, not only because we fans get hockey back again, but it’s also an 82-game season and the normal divisions are back for the first time since the 2019-20 season. All in all, this season is filled with games that are must-watch if you are a Toronto Maple Leafs fan and I’m going to get into them right now.
 
Game 1: October 13, 2021 – Montreal Canadiens @ Toronto Maple Leafs – @ 7:00 PM ET
The first notable game on the Toronto Maple Leafs 2021-22 schedule is none other than their first game of the season which they play on home ice. What better way than playing your first game of …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

Leafs sign Nikita Gusev to a PTO

With the Toronto Maple Leafs tight up against the cap, and having lost Zach Hyman to free agency, the Leafs were going to need to get creative to bring in offense to replace him.
While Gusev is an admittedly low bar, he still provides some intrigue, especially at the low risk bet of a PTO contract.

Professional TryoutNikita Gusev (RW, LW) | TOR#LeafsForeverhttps://t.co/cqiON02mJ1
— CapFriendly Transactions (@CF_Transactions) September 17, 2021

Gusev is coming off a bit of a down year, as he scored just four goals and six assists in 33 games for the New Jersey Devils and Florida Panthers, but his first NHL season saw him get 13 goals and 44 points in 66 games. So, it’s easy to see why there’s some potential playing in the Leafs top six.

Now, some of that can be attributed to some bad luck, as he shot just 5.56% but his shot rates were down slightly as well, so it could be a skill issue.
It wasn’t too long ago that Gusev was highly sought after, as several teams were trying to acquire his rights from the Vegas Golden Knights. He was an excellent player in the KHL, so maybe the Leafs …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

A very early prediction of what the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup could look like on opening night

The 2021 NHL off-season was a pretty big one for the Toronto Maple Leafs, given that they parted ways with a couple of Leafs that were a part of the organization for half a decade. They departed with a handful of players and they brought in a handful of new players as well, and with that being said, next season is going to be a very interesting one to watch, to say the least.
From bringing in new forwards to new depth defensemen to even a brand new goalie to partner up with Jack Campbell, next season’s opening night lineup is still very much in the air right now, but this is how I could see them line up come opening night on October 13th against the Montreal Canadiens.
Now, before I jump into my lineup prediction come game one of the regular season, I strongly believe Nick Robertson will become a full-time player with the team next season, I just don’t know if it’ll be right out of the gate because I honestly don’t know who he would take out of the lineup. You obviously have guys like Ilya Mikheyev that could come out of the …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

Breaking down the Maple Leafs rookie tournament roster

With development camp all wrapped up, the Toronto Maple Leafs officially announced their roster for the upcoming Traverse City rookie tournament, which begins Thursday.
The 39 man development camp roster was cut down to 28 players, with just one player not at development camp being added to the rookie tournament roster in Marlies signing Matt Hellickson.

Our 2021 Prospect Tournament roster has been announced.
Details » https://t.co/LValXl4oAD#LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/MMmQgxvIRi
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) September 14, 2021

Let’s begin with the players that attended development camp that won’t be going to Traverse City with the Leafs.

Player
League
Landon Cato
OHL
Ryan Del Monte
OHL
Christian Fitzgerald
USHL
Taylor Gauthier
WHL
Jacob Guevin
USHL
Lukas Gustafsson
USHL
Braden Holt
WHL
Filip Kral
AHL
Francesco Lapenna
QMJHL
Joe Miller
USHL
Ethan Peters
WHL
Theo Rochette
QMJHL
Sam Sedley
OHL
Lawson Sherk
OHL
Of this group, just two were not invites and are prospects affiliated with the Leafs. Filip Kral suffered a rib injury at development camp, while Joe Miller is returning to Chicago ahead of the USHL season which begins next week.
Given the USHL were sent back to their club teams due to the start of the season …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews is on schedule to return for opening night

About a month ago, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews underwent successful wrist surgery after dealing with a nagging injury throughout the season. It’s honestly crazy that Matthews was playing with basically one wrist at points of last season and still ended up leading the NHL in goals with 41 and ultimately winning his first Rocket Richard. In all seriousness, we’re all glad he got the surgery to help his wrist because clearly, it was bothering him at points last season when he sat out multiple games at once and it also affected his playoff performance as well.
It’s being reported by Luke Fox of Sportsnet that the Maple Leafs forward sat down for a recording with Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek for their newest 31 Thoughts podcast episode that is releasing in the near future and he explained that he is well on track to return by opening night to face the Montreal Canadiens.
 

Auston Matthews’ left wrist is on track to be operational for Opening Night with the Toronto Maple Leafs’ star saying he’s “definitely not worried about it” during a recording of the 31 Thoughts podcast. (By @lukefoxjukebox) https://t.co/XUzT2bQ2tZ
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) September 13, 2021



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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation