Morgan Rielly’s shortcomings are significant, but his contributions far outweigh them

Morgan Rielly’s shortcomings are significant, but his contributions far outweigh them

As the final seconds ticked off the clock against the Montreal Canadiens in game seven, some bigger repercussions beyond the disappointment of the game began to swirl in the cesspool that was this season’s conclusion. The Maple Leafs have several significant decisions that are going to demand their attention over not only the short-term period of the draft and free agency but also over the next 12 months. Of course, the most important of those long-term decisions is likely going to be the contract of #1 defenceman Morgan Rielly, now just one year away from Unrestricted Free Agency after finishing his 9th year in the Maple Leafs organization. 
Way back in 2016, under the leadership of Lou Lamoriello, Morgan Rielly was signed to a 6 year/30-million dollar extension with a $5m AAV. While considered somewhat risky at the time, Rielly quickly blossomed in the years to come. Not only did #44 evolve into an offensive dynamo, peaking with 20 goals and 72 points during the Maple Leafs record-breaking 2018-19 campaign, but his leadership role on the team expanded dramatically. The team would add an A to his chest in 16-17, then three seasons later in 19-20 would be hotly debated amongst fans as the 25th …

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Author: Jori Negin-Shecter / The Leafs Nation

The Leafs lose in game 7, again

The Leafs have been eliminated by the Montreal Canadiens, that’s it. Do I have any words? Not really. Every year, it feels like we have the same conversation and nothing changes. Absolutely nothing.
Thanks for following along with this season, and I hope you enjoy the final video of the year on the Leafs.

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Day After Thoughts: Soupy shutouts and the Alex Galchenyuk Revenge Tour

Josh Anderson said of the Montreal Canadiens coming into Game 4 against the Toronto Maple Leafs “you’ll see a hungrier team tonight,” and in hindsight, the Habs should not have skipped their pregame meal.
An air of uncertainty hung over the Leafs in the leadup to Game 4. Sheldon Keefe didn’t appear in front of the media to provide any lineup updates until about two hours before puck drop, so all day, the waves of speculation raged: would Campbell be trusted to start on back-to-back nights or would the ice-cold Frederik Andersen be called upon? Would Nick Foligno return? Would any of the veterans take the night off in favour of getting some young blood in?
And once the updates did arrive, one particular lineup change sparked some confusion: Rasmus Sandin would be sitting and Travis Dermott would draw in. In less controversial moves, Riley Nash drew out in favour of Adam Brooks.
The young Brooks’ chemistry with the grizzled vets on the fourth line bubbled back to the surface early in the game as he set Jason Spezza on a clean breakaway with a brilliant pass. This play unfortunately didn’t result in the opening goal, but it’s …

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Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

Jack Campbell, and the Leafs are very good at hockey

The Leafs defeat the Montreal Canadiens, again. William Nylander and Morgan Rielly with the goals that put Toronto over the top. You cannot forget about Jack Campbell who has a .951 save percentage after the first three games. That’s craziness.
Two more wins until they can eliminate the Habs. Can they do it? It’s very possible. I hope you enjoy today’s video!

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

BREAKING: Montreal confirms their prospects are all busts

In a shocking turn of events the Montreal Canadiens have boldly declared that three of their most touted youngsters aren’t good enough to take NHL jobs away from the likes of Paul Byron, Ben Chiarot, and the trash filled husk of Corey Perry.

Montreal Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme confirmed Tuesday that Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Cole Caufield and Alexander Romanov won’t be in the lineup for Game 1 in Toronto: https://t.co/oJAofvLtBQ#TSNHockey | #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/qgp06cmhgg
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) May 18, 2021

While the decision could very well be based on lack of talent, there is also the possibility that the Canadiens deem the youngsters too inexperienced to accept the merciless beating that they will receive over the next four games.
The move to sit the three young players comes as no surprise as the Canadiens have had more playoff riots than successfully developed prospects in this century. It seems like their development has slipped through the cracks, which would actually be something quite easy for Cole Caufield to do, as he is roughly the size of a Pomeranian.
The decision comes less than two weeks after the Leafs prematurely ended the career of another Habs “can’ …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / 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

A night of redemption and lots of goals as the Leafs take the win in Montreal

The rivalry between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens is as exciting as ever and the Leafs were looking to remind the Canadiens why they’re currently first place in their division and the league.
As the puck dropped for the first period at the Bell Centre, both teams were ready to go. The Toronto Maple Leafs were feeling good after back-to-back wins against the Ottawa Senators, and the Montreal Canadiens had a week off after a 2-1 win against the Leafs last Saturday. The Leafs had a few good shots from William Nylander and Ilya Mikheyev, but Carey Price was strong in net and nothing was getting past him. On the other side of the ice, the Canadiens went almost half a period without a shot on goal, and once they got the shots going, Frederik Andersen was holding it down for the Leafs. With less than a minute left in the first period, Victor Mete and Ben Chiarot were called for Hooking and Delay of Game, and the Leafs would go on a 5-on-3, which would continue into the second period. The Leafs ended the first period outshooting the Canadiens 13-10 looking to convert on their …

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Author: Roxanne Khasow / The Leafs Nation

Thornton returns as Leafs look to regroup against struggling Senators

Coming off a 2-1 loss to Montreal, which ended a 10 game point streak for the Toronto Maple Leafs, they look to regroup and start another streak tonight against the Ottawa Senators. Ottawa handed the Leafs their first loss of the season back in January, when they went down 5-3 with a shaky Frederik Andersen in net. However, their next matchup the following night ended with a Leafs win in front of a strong Jack Campbell. With Campbell still out injured and not likely to return in this Toronto – Ottawa series, Andersen will have to stand stronger in net than his first meeting with the Sens.

Jack Campbell is still more than a week from returning to the #leafs lineup, per Sheldon Keefe.
They’ve got a back-to-back Wednesday/Thursday vs. Ottawa.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) February 15, 2021

Toronto also made some transactional moves ahead of tonight’s game, sending Alexander Barabanov, Nic Petan, and Travis Boyd to the taxi squad, while adding Scott Sabourin to the roster. This is likely due to the one and only Jumbo Joe Thornton coming off injured reserve and back into the lineup tonight:

Sheldon Keefe said Joe Thornton will play tonight, knocking Nic Petan from the lineup.


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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

Depth scoring shines as Leafs defeat Canadiens 4-1

The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 tonight, extending their winning streak to four games in the process. Travis Dermott, Justin Holl, Ilya Mikheyev and Zach Hyman scored for Toronto. Mikheyev’s goal was his first of the year, ending a season-long slump and a drought that lasted over 400 days. Auston Matthews extended his point scoring streak to 11 games, but saw his goal-scoring streak end at eight games. Mitch Marner also saw his points streak end at 8 games.
Just 1:16 into the first period, Josh Anderson ripped home his ninth goal of the season. It was the Habs first shot on goal and one that Frederik Andersen definitely wants back.

JOSH ANDERSON1-0 #GoHabsGo @Sportsnet pic.twitter.com/uzSQwYCgIx
— Here’s Your Replay (@HeresYourReplay) February 11, 2021

The Leafs struggled to mount a response for the remainder of the first period and for the better part of the second period, looking much like they did last game against the Canucks. Not sure if it’s the schedule, but the team’s overall intensity has dropped a bit recently.
15:38 into the second period, the Leafs and Habs are playing some good ol’ four-on-four hockey. Travis Dermott gets the puck and does his best …

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Author: Brendan Mori / The Leafs Nation

Mikhail Grabovski: A New Page in Belarusian Hockey

When the Montreal Canadiens selected Mikhail Grabovski 150th overall in 2004, he was just the 16th Belarusian to be drafted into the NHL. In either draft surrounding the 2004 Entry draft, the Canadiens selected a Kostitsyn brother, also from Belarus. These three players had careers that intertwined on multiple occasions, writing the biggest hockey story for their country at the time.
Grabovski and Andrei Kostitsyn were teammates in both Montreal and Hamilton (AHL) for the first two years of their career, and Sergei Kostitsyn joined them in the 2nd. Following that, Grabovski was traded to Toronto for Greg Pateryn and a 2nd round pick. ‘Grabo’ flourished in his first season as a Leaf, with 20 goals and 48 points.
It was also in his first season as a Leaf that Grabo would become re-acquainted with the Kostitsyn brothers. On one occasion he was toppled by a linesman while attempting to get to Sergei, and on another Sergei took a 10 minute misconduct for charging Grabovski. The incident with the linesmen landed Grabovski a 3 game suspension, further stoking the flames between countrymen.
Eventually they would all have to play nice for the sake of their national team, but it was not the last time …

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Author: Earl Schwartz / The Leafs Nation