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

Looking away from the chaos and at the big picture

The Toronto Maple Leafs have found a new rock bottom.

After putting forward an excellent effort against the Pittsburgh Penguins that resulted in a commanding 4-0 victory, it seemed the team had turned a corner from the ugly, listless loss they suffered a couple of days earlier against those same Penguins. That wasn’t the case.
The Leafs hosted the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night. The stage was set. Two teams both fighting for the playoff lives. But only one team had the effort and desire that matched that of a team with any sort of desperation. You obviously know the story by now. It’s one that’s going to be talked about for a really long time.
The Hurricanes had both of their goaltenders get hurt and they had to turn to the Marlies’ Zamboni driver to play the second half of the game. The Hurricanes completely locked down, putting forward an incredible showing that made them look like a legitimate contender. The Leafs only managed two goals on the 42-year-old practice goalie.
Move over, 1967 and no Stanely Cups since expansion and no playoff series wins since the salary cap. Say hello …

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Author: Cam Lewis / 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