Maple Leafs take 7 of 8 points in Alberta – Rate That Leafs Game

It’s safe to say that Connor McDavid stole the show against his hometown team once again. The Toronto Maple Leafs playing in their fourth game in Alberta couldn’t find a way to defeat the Edmonton Oilers in overtime. The good news — they took 7 of 8 points on the road, which is brilliant.
Auston Matthews scored once again, adding to his now five-game goal streak. William Nylander scored for the second-straight game. Mikko Lehtonen also got his first NHL point on a power play goal from Zach Hyman.
But the Maple Leafs lost. And the only reason they did is because of the reverse retro jerseys, which they wore in this game. No other reasons at all.
A great road trip with a sign of growth from the Toronto Maple Leafs. And more importantly, another fun video by me. Enjoy!

Read More

Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Marcus Stroman tees off on the Blue Jays’ front office for missing out on Lindor

I think it’s safe to say Marcus Stroman still has beef with the Blue Jays’ front office.

Shortly after word broke that Francisco Lindor, a top off-season target of the Blue Jays, had been acquired by the New York Mets, Stroman took to Twitter to let everybody know that his former employer was getting outdone by his current team. The post has since been deleted, so props to the guys over at JaysJournal for catching it…
That front office will never build the team they should around their unbelievable core of young players…it’s a travesty!
This angst Stroman has towards the Blue Jays’ front office is nothing new. Back in 2019 after he was traded to the Mets, Rob Longley reported that there was a “loud commotion” inside the team’s room and that Stroman’s reaction to learning the news “wasn’t pretty.”
Shortly after, Stroman criticized Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins, suggesting that they got rid of everyone from the 2015 and 2016 teams to start their own regime while also complaining that he had never been offered a contract extension despite his accomplishments.
“Nobody’s left,” Stroman said. “It seems like [management] wanted to get rid of …

Read More

Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Leafs By the Numbers: William Nylander

It’s safe to say that William Nylander had a big year in 2019-20. Going into the season, he was facing a lot of scrutiny for his 2018-19 season, which saw him sit out for the first third of it in a contract negotiation, struggle to get back up to speed in the second third, and then finally regain form in the final third, but was never really given a shot to prove it. He responded with a career year, blowing his career high in goals out of the water with a 31 goal season, and falling just two points short of matching his career high in points (although his pace through a full 82 games would’ve been 71 points).
The biggest difference for him was having a coach who actually trusted him, and gave him significantly better minutes than his 2018-19 season, especially with his power play usage. His 2:53 PP TOI/game was the highest of his career, significantly more than his previous high of 2:21, and would’ve resulted in an almost 50 minute increase in his totals had he played a full 82 games. Another reason for his career year was how he changed his game, and went to the net a …

Read More

Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

What’s next for Nate Pearson?

It’s safe to say that the start to Nate Pearson’s big-league career hasn’t gone as planned.

After a great debut in Washington in which he tossed five shutout frames against the defending World Series champions, Pearson has struggled in three consecutive starts. Most notably, his command has been all over the grid, as he’s walked 12 batters across 16 1/3 innings.

Pearson is obviously aware of what the issue is here. Rather than attacking hitters with his elite stuff, he’s trying too hard to paint the zone and aim his pitches for strikes. In his effort to ensure he’s not all over the place, Pearson ends up grooving pitches into the middle of the zone that big-league hitters can feast on.
“I’ve been forcing myself to make these pinpoint pitches from the first pitch and then I get behind in the count,” Pearson said before his start in Baltimore. “It’s all about getting ahead for me right now and filling up the zone.”
On Wednesday, the Blue Jays placed Pearson on the 10-day Injured List with elbow tightness. Though Ross Atkins had a …

Read More

Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Top Leafs Outside the NHL: #3 Nic Petan

It’s safe to say that Nic Petan is another player who benefited in his rankings from the NHL readiness criteria, over potential upside. He’s certainly shown that he’s too good for the AHL, but interestingly enough when he’s played in the NHL, the results have consistently been underwhelming. Petan seems to be the ultimate tweener, and heir apparent to the Seth Griffith legacy of being just good enough that you’d hate to see him lost on waivers for nothing, but not good enough that you want to see him in the lineup every night.
Last season Nic Petan had 16 games in the NHL and put up 3 points. This is noteworthy since his time in the AHL says he’ll be an offensive contributor and with 31 points in 25 games with the Marlies last season, he had the highest points per game pace. He was given a chance to play an offensive role in a number of situations, Spezza, and Kapanen were two of his most frequent linemates, but Gauthier was his also in that mix. He had the opportunity to play with Tavares, and Matthews as well, in hopes that …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs Madness: Final Four

It’s safe to say the voyage to the Final Four to determine the greatest fan favourite Leaf has gone exactly as expected. Sundin, Matthews, Bower, and Clark are all names you’d expect to see here. Beating out Gilmour, Sittler, and Keon to do so wasn’t a particularly easy thing to do, but here we are.
We have one multi Stanley Cup winner, but he’s the only cup winner on the list. In fact, Bower is the hardware King of the group, as he also has a pair of Vezinas to his name.
Mats Sundin leads the way with the most All-Star appearances, and has a Mark Messier Leadership award to his name. Both he and Bower are also in the Hall of Fame, so there’s that too.
Wendel Clark is a two time All-Star and one of three first overall draft picks on the list, one of two with the selections being made by the Leafs. Like Matthews, he had a great pace for hitting 50 goals, but never got there, making Sundin officially the only 50 goal guy left in the bracket.
As for Matthews. Well, the story isn’t …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs beat Tampa. Here’s to feeling good all the time

It’s safe to say the Leafs needed this one. It’s also safe to say the Leafs need to be consistently playing like they can beat their likely first round playoff opponent, but consistency is a problem for another day, and for now we can enjoy the Leafs outlasting the Lightning in a 2-1 victory.
It was a victory achieved through star power, as Matthews and Nylander continued to build on their impressive goal totals, both Tavares and Marner chipped in with 2 assists, Freddie Andersen, and even Rielly managed 21 minutes of ice time in a game we didn’t know he’d be in until this morning.

Vasilevskiy went one way, and Nylander capitalized pic.twitter.com/xpdsO9AVCf
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) March 10, 2020

The Road to 50 continues!
Auston Matthews puts the Leafs up 2-1 pic.twitter.com/Quz2Rgy7ZL
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) March 11, 2020
Period
CF
CA
CF%
HDCF
HDCA
HDCF%
xGF
xGA
xGF%

1

23
14
62.16%
5
0
100%
1.45
0.27
84.09%
2
10
9
52.63%
2
5
28.57%
0.21
0.7
23.05%
3
17
21
44.74%
2
5
28.57%
0.52
0.66
43.91%
Final
50
44
53.19%
9
10
47.37%
2.18
1.64
57.09%
via naturalstattrick.com
If we’re going to pump the breaks on the good times, the Leafs had a very strong start that tapered off as the game went on. Also, while acknowledging that goals are goals, the Leafs …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Muzzin is out and the Leafs want to know if you can play defense

It’s safe to say that the Leafs injury situation has been a tad ridiculous this year. It’s probably safe to say that they would not be the bubble team they are if they hadn’t had significant injuries to:
-Dermott
-Hyman
-Tavares
-Marner
-Muzzin
-Andersen
-Kerfoot
-Johnsson
-Mikheyev
-Rielly
– and now Muzzin again

Defenceman Jake Muzzin is expected to be out of the lineup for approximately four weeks after suffering a broken hand last night.
Defenceman Calle Rosen has been recalled from the @TorontoMarlies (AHL). pic.twitter.com/ViVIkseAK3
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) February 26, 2020
That will put a real damper on the playoff party I was planning. Muzzin being out for four weeks and Rielly and Ceci still not having a set return date leaves the Leafs blueline in the hands of Tyson Barrie, Justin Holl, and a heck of a lot of kids.
Before this news broke, I was perfectly prepared to write about how Rasmus Sandin has struggled of late, but now I think we’re looking at an entirely new situation where the Leafs are going to be leaning on Sandin even more than before.
And for all the …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs Pregame #27: 5 Things to watch for against Buffalo

It’s safe to say it’s already been a successful road trip. They stranded Mike Babcock at the side of the Grand Canyon, and the Leafs managed to double their road win total for the season. Now they are in Buffalo, which doesn’t sound like fun, but given that the Sabres are struggling it’s a chance for the good times to continue.
Lineups

LW
C
RW
Forwards
ANDREAS JOHNSSON
Rating: 73.0#64 LW

AUSTON MATTHEWS
Rating: 81.3#5 C

WILLIAM NYLANDER
Rating: 74.7#30 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 76.34#11 FL1

ILYA MIKHEYEV
Rating: 74.5#39 LW

JOHN TAVARES
Rating: 78.2#16 C

ZACH HYMAN
Rating: 73.6#63 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 75.42#7 FL2

NIC PETAN
Rating: 71.9#110 LW

JASON SPEZZA
Rating: 71.8#114 C

KASPERI KAPANEN
Rating: 73.1#62 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 72.24#12 FL3

PIERRE ENGVALL
Rating: 73.9#45 LW

FREDERIK GAUTHIER
Rating: 68.7#181 C

DMYTRO TIMASHOV
Rating: 72.5#74 RW

FL4 Rating
Rating: 71.71#12 FL4

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Defense
MORGAN RIELLY
Rating: 75.8#13 LD

CODY CECI
Rating: 71.6#83 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 73.71#24 DL1

JAKE MUZZIN
Rating: 75.5#18 LD

JUSTIN HOLL
Rating: 73.9#35 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 74.69#10 DL2

TRAVIS DERMOTT
Rating: 72.9#66 LD

TYSON BARRIE
Rating: 76.6#12 RD

DL3 Rating
Rating: 74.74#1 DL3

LW
C
RW
Forwards
VICTOR OLOFSSON
Rating: 74.2#42 LW

JACK EICHEL
Rating: 80.6#8 C

SAM REINHART
Rating: 75.0#24 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 76.58#8 FL1

JIMMY VESEY
Rating: 71.6#98 LW

CASEY MITTELSTADT
Rating: 70.6#152 …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

A new KHLer to start caring about

It is safe to say that the Ilya Mikheyev experiment has been well received so far. Much more debatable is that the Leafs had some modest success with Nikita Zaitsev initially, Soshnikov showed some promise, and that Igor Ozhiganov, was well, Igor Ozhiganov was an admirable attempt.
What is safer to say is that the Leafs have had success with appealing to Russian players that coming over to play for the Leafs is in their interest. That will probably be made easier by the fact that Mikheyev will likely become a fixture on the Leafs for the future and that Egor Korshkov has some potential to join the club as well in the near future.
With all that in mind, it’s time to shift our eyes to a new Russian, Alexander Barabanov.
From Elliotte Friedman’s 31 Thoughts:
“A name to learn: Alexander Barabanov. The Russian left-shot winger will be 26 in June, and word is a few NHL executives will be going to see him in person. His 46 points in 58 games for St. Petersburg were 18th in the KHL last season. He’s at three points in the first 12 games this year, but his ice time is down from 15:26 to 13:19. …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation