Leaflets: Hooray for Kadri, what’s going on in Winnipeg and the market for Muzzin

We’re officially in the NHL offseason and it feels good to say that. It’s been a long season. It’s July 1st on Friday, we need some time off from games and we need to get our rosterbation on. First, I feel like we need to start with celebrating one of my favourite former Leafs, Nazem Kadri.

“For everyone that thought I was a liability in the playoffs you can kiss my ass.”
Nazem Kadri says it all after hoisting the #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/8FAIFhT9Bq
— Tim and Friends (@timandfriends) June 27, 2022

Kadri was the scapegoat for first round playoff losses back when the Leafs scapegoated instead of just saying they believe in everyone. He has always been a favourite target of the Department of Player Safety, and for whatever reason, the Leafs decided they didn’t need a star player on a $4.25M contract, away he went. (Reminder: you can still like Kyle Dubas and acknowledge this was a bad trade.)
Fast forward to last night and a player who was a fan favourite for many of us got his moment, got his celebration, and also got his chance to throw all the playoff liability talk back in the faces of so many people who doubted him. He deserved that moment and I’m glad he got it. Hopefully, now that he came back to finish out the Cup Finals with a broken thumb Kadri won’t have to suffer through people questioning his work ethic or whether he cares about his team.
Now that Kadri has his win and he’s off to free agency, is it too much to hope the Leafs bring him back? Well, the quote above probably makes that a hard thing to do, but I want to remain optimistic. I won’t look at the salary cap situation that will 100% remind me of how difficult that would be to happen, but so much of what has been missing from the Leafs in the past few seasons is exactly what Kadri brings and there’s a reason why h …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors dream offseason: A 4-step plan for success

Toronto Raptors dream offseason: A 4-step plan for success

The Toronto Raptors need to start kicking the offseason into high gear now that the champions have been crowned, as Masai Ujiri needs to figure out how to get this Raptors team back into the championship picture. Nailing it in the early stages of the draft and free agency will set this team up for […]
Toronto Raptors dream offseason: A 4-step plan for success – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

3 Raptors trade targets on rebuilding Eastern Conference teams

3 Raptors trade targets on rebuilding Eastern Conference teams

The Toronto Raptors could go the entire offseason without completely flipping the roster upside down in a crazy trade, but that doesn’t mean that Masai Ujiri will sit on his hands and stare at a wall in June and July. Plundering the rest of the Eastern Conference could be a solid way to help build […]
3 Raptors trade targets on rebuilding Eastern Conference teams – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Keeping an eye on the situation between the Maple Leafs and Ondrej Kase

One of the Maple Leafs’ many challenges this off-season will be getting Ondrej Kase back under contract for next year.
The 26-year-old had a successful season to say the least, scoring 27 points in 50 games played while bouncing between the Maple Leafs’ second and third lines. The unfortunate part was that Kase had yet another concussion in March and didn’t play until after the post-season began.
Toronto signed Kase after the Boston Bruins didn’t qualify him last summer and it looks like he could be in the same situation again.
Kase’s qualifying offer this year will be $1.25 million — the same amount he made this year. I, with a lot of others would agree in saying the 26-year-old will not take that number heading into next season.
In Elliotte Friedman’s latest 32 Thoughts (written version), he discusses the Kase situation and a (possibly) cryptic post from the 26-year-old himself.
From 32 Thoughts:
There are a lot of eyes on qualifying offers. Cap space is tight, and the arbitration walk-away number this summer is $4,538,958. (Teams can’t “walk-away” from any award below that number.) If they’re not convinced a player’s production matches, teams may choose to let them go free in July rather than risk an arbitration award they can’t escape. Toronto followers were confused by an Ondrej Kase Instagram post where he thanked Maple Leafs fans, taking it as an indication that he might be leaving. That’s premature, I think th …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Goaltending is emerging as the offseason priority for the Maple Leafs

It seems like every offseason has a theme. Last year so much of the focus was on the expansion draft and a prolonged debate amongst Leafs fans about how much Kyle Dubas truly was going to keep the band together. This year we still have the “run it back” debate, although not fueled by a Dubas promise, and in lieu of an expansion draft, we’ll have to make do with goaltending grabbing the headlines. There seems to be pretty close to a consensus that Petr Mrazek won’t be back, and that makes the bigger question, what’s happening with Jack Campbell. Or as we phrased it for our roundtable question, Who is your realistic top choice for Leafs starting goaltender next season?
Michael Mazzei
The market for goalies this summer is pretty bare at the moment, and the only potential avenue that the Leafs could find something of value is through a trade. It’s for this reason why I believe John Gibson should be the top target. His numbers over the past three years have taken a step back and it can be a bit concerning, but then again the Ducks are in the midst of a rebuild and some regression was to be expected. The fact he was able to keep his SV% above .900 and his GAA fairly consistent speaks wonders to his talent level, and his numbers might improve on a more competitive team like the Leafs. Of course, the big question is whether he would accept a move to Toronto as it’s unclear whether he has listed the team on his NTC. But if they could find a way to make him waive it, Gibson is the clear cut target for the Leafs in net
Ryan Hobart
I’m torn between Jack Campbell, and a mystery box that could be anything; it could even be Jack Campbell!
Mark Norman
I love Jack. We all love Jack. I just don’t think he has proven he’s capable of managing a full season’s workload, and his multiple injuries last season make me feel we need a better insurance option. Ideally …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Rumours: Sandin’s situation is “something you have to keep an eye on”, Campbell’s next contract, and looking for size in the top six

It’s still relatively early into the offseason but we’ve seen the Leafs begin taking care of some of their business. Giordano is signed at a convenient little number, and Jason Spezza has hung up his skates for the excitement of office work. There is still plenty of other work to do and plenty of other decisions to be made and the Leafs goaltending situation and what to do with Toronto’s RFA defenders are taking center stage this week.
Sandin Watch
On Monday’s 32 Thoughts podcast (at around the 50:30 mark) Elliotte Friedman gently dropped the hint that league sources are telling him that Rasmus Sandin is someone to “just keep an eye on.” This was then immediately qualified with the fact that this could mean a lot of things, it could have to do with his contract, his place on the Leafs, or maybe there is trade interest, and that was qualified with the fact that he believes the Leafs like Sandin as a player, Sandin enjoys being a Leaf, and there certainly hasn’t been a trade requested. So very simply, keep an eye on Sandin and it’s not something that needs to be blown out of proportion.
So now let’s blow it out of proportion.
Sandin is another left-handed defenseman, and the Leafs have Rielly, Muzzin, Giordano on the left side, and Brod …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Rumours: Campbell out? Gibson In? Floating the idea of bold moves

It’s the offseason, and with that comes the return of speculation, rumblings, chatter, whispers, and all your other favourites. We can confirm this. Given the fact that for a lucky few the playoffs are still going on it’s still relatively silent, but Elliotte Friedman dropped a few interesting tidbits about the Leafs in the video below (Leafs content is from the 5:30-9:30 mark) and we’ll dive into some of that here.

The Leafs aren’t necessarily going to “run it back”
This isn’t much of a surprise to anyone who has taken a good look at the Leafs cap situation, and even with the bargain that is the Mark Giordano contract, there is a need to do something to spice up the Leafs lineup and try to put themselves over the top. It can’t just entirely be a waiting game for teams like Tampa and Colorado to take a step back, there needs to be a constant exploration of how the team can improve and Elliotte Friedman alludes to the Leafs considering a couple of significant moves in the coming months. When it comes to a target, Elliotte primarily speaks about goaltending, and we’ll get into that much more below. When it comes to who the Leafs could be entertaining moving on from, the two names that seem to stand out as potential trade bait, we can speculate that William Nylander and Jake Muzzin are those players. Nylander appears to be viewed as the most movable of the big four forwards, and Muzzin, because the Leafs have a …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Six captain Shiann Darkangelo, goalie Elaine Chuli returning for PHF Season 8

The Toronto Six have had a great start to the offseason, so far. They started off with a tidy piece of business, signing their leader, captain and All-Star Shiann Darkangelo on a 1-year contract. Darkangelo had a stellar point-per-game season in Season 7, with 8 goals and 12 assists in 20 games. She’s by all accounts an incredible leader and person, someone who is inspiring woman to play with. She’s also an incredibly strong and talented hockey player, to boot!

CAP IS BACK!
The Toronto Six are proud to announce the re-signing of #T6 Captain Shiann Darkangelo for Season 8!
https://t.co/jof8jTXgoR pic.twitter.com/JfQU8W1mmG
— Toronto Six (@TheTorontoSix) May 4, 2022

Goalie Elaine Chuli is also back for Season 8, Toronto’s main starting goaltender last season. She played 17 games and had a 93.1% save percentage in that span. She’s also been nominated for goaltender of the year along with Boston’s Katie Burt and Buffalo’s Carly Jackson.

Join us in wishing #T6 Goaltender Elaine Chuli a very Happy Birthday! pic.twitter.com/F2ORqcSqZD
— Toronto Six (@TheTorontoSix) May 16, 2022

Defender Taylor Davison is also returning to the Toronto Six next year. She had her first pro season last year with Toronto after 5 years at York University. The team is excited to bring back a top-tier young defender, surely. Davison had 4 points in 20 games and made the All-Star team in her first season.

Someone just loves to play at Canlan Sports – York
The Toronto Six are proud to announce the re-signing of Defender Taylor Davison for Season 8!
https://t.co/XGgUvyH1GP pic.twitter.com/mdqdpOJvKh
— Toronto Six (@TheTorontoSix) May 18, 2022

Final Thoughts
These three re-signings for Toronto come with a couple of noted departures. Firstly, what probably should have been the top piece of business for the Six, re-signing their top scorer Mikyla Grant-Mentis, didn’t get done. Grant-Mentis signed a landmark $80,000 deal with the same Buffalo Beauts she began her pro career with 3 years ago.
Grant-Mentis was the league MVP in Season 6, and just missed out on the league’s scoring title last year to Kennedy Marchment.
The Six will also be without Tori Charron, who has moved to the offices as the Metropolitan Riveters’ General Manager.
In other news, Lindsay Eastwood has been nominated as defender of the year, and the aforementioned Ch …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Raptors rumors: Toronto has “degree of interest” in Rudy Gobert

Raptors rumors: Toronto has “degree of interest” in Rudy Gobert

The Toronto Raptors have their set on some big offseason moves over the next few months, as such seismic shifts in the way they operate are required if they want to somehow climb into that contending tier. Taking Rudy Gobert away from the Utah Jazz could be one way to satiate the fanbase. Gobert is […]
Raptors rumors: Toronto has “degree of interest” in Rudy Gobert – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Maple Leafs new assistant coaches already making impact in the playoffs

When talking about the “move of the offseason”, the discussion almost exclusively goes to the player transactions that occurred. Whether it be a big trade or signing, or a depth move that ended up exceeding expectations, the most impactful move of a team’s season is usually one that affects the actual lineup.
For the 2021/22 Toronto Maple Leafs, this probably still remains true. The addition of Michael Bunting fits into both of the aforementioned categories, while other moves such as the signing of David Kampf or the deadline acquisition of Mark Giordano also have had significant impacts on the Maple Leafs squad.
But two moves that have gone largely unrecognized over the course of this season made their impact felt in an enormous way in Game 1 of Toronto’s first-round series against Tampa Bay: the hiring of Dean Chynoweth and Spencer Carbery.

We’ve hired Dean Chynoweth as an assistant coach. #LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) July 12, 2021

Spencer Carbery is joining the team as an assistant coach. #LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) July 17, 2021

Going back to the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Leafs were a strong even strength team who had dominated the North Division in the regular season. Their biggest weakness? Abysmal special teams.
Toronto entered the postseason as one of the lowest ranking powerplays and penalty kills to make the playoffs. Sure enough, it was exposed in their series against Montreal, going 3/23 on the powerplay for a net 8.7 per cent powerplay when factoring in the Canadiens’ shorthanded marker. On the penalty kill, they were better, only allowing three powerplay goals on 19 opportunities. Yet that gave Montreal the overall advantage in special teams goals in the series and was a key factor in the Leafs’ ultimate loss.
In the offseason, penalty kill coach Dave Hakstol left for Seattle and powerplay coach Manny Malhotra was moved to a less specific role on the staff. Their replacements came in the form of Dean Chynoweth of the Carolina Hurricanes and Spencer Ca …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation