Ondřej was the Kaše that they gave us: Leafs sign him to 1 year deal

It seems that this summer Kyle Dubas has decided that if he’s gonna be damned, he’s gonna be damned for doing things the way he wants to do things. He’s gone with Greyhounds. He’s gone with underappreciated or miscast players, and now he’s moved onto statistical darlings…

Ondrej Kase signs a one-year contract with #leafs worth $1.25M.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 31, 2021

Ondrej Kase, long adored for excelling at driving the play forward, Kaše has had his injury troubles throughout his career, and was limited to just three games last season, and hasn’t really played anywhere near a full season in his career. The right wing from the Czech Republic is 6’0 tall, and 190 lbs, and could line up with countryman David Kampf on the Leafs 3rd line this season, when healthy. When Kaše isn’t healthy, he creates an opportunity for players like Brooks, Robertson, and Anderson to dip their toes into the lineup as well, so he’s a reasonable risk to take, especially since he’s only 25.

As you can see from the chart above, Kase is pretty darn good in all situations, and if William Nylander is going to be …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The Leafs weren’t fixed in a day

The Leafs weren’t fixed in a day

Since May 31st it seems like there has the has a constant effort to keep the disappointment fresh for Leafs fans. The Habs playoff run took care of a lot of it. The constant reassurance from Kyle Dubas that he loves this roster when the rest of don’t has picked up the slack where the Habs failed. There has been the excitement of having Jared McCann as a Leaf and the having him taken away days later, after being lied to be a fish. There’s been a draft that saw the Leafs only pick three times, and only once in the first four rounds, and all the while the convenient lie I’ve been telling myself is it will all be cleared up on free agency day.
The thing is I know that wasn’t a realistic expectation. And I know that Kyle Dubas is an infinitely more patient man than I am, but at the same time I find myself begging for a sense of urgency and begging for a move that is going to tell me that everything is going to be alright. That didn’t really come in the first day of free agency, and …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

A farewell to Freddie? It certainly seems that way

As we go through the list of Leafs free agents it seems that Frederik Andersen is the one that is almost universally accepted as the non-rental player most likely to be swiftly shown the door this summer. It’s a shame that Andersen, the goaltender who provided the Leafs with the most consistent stretch of goaltending during this century isn’t getting a chance to head out on a high note. Instead the Leafs kept him one season to long, and he was forced to become the villain.
Let’s focus on the villainous season of Freddie Andersen, which was essentially a story in four parts…

Month
Narrative
GP
W
SV%
GAA

January
The Slow Start
8
5
0.892
3.01

February
Redemption ending in injury
8
6
0.918
2.38

March
Playing through the pain for the team
7
2
0.876
3.42

May
The tragic end
1
0
0.857
4.04

While it could be a simple as Andersen rushing back for a second time in the season, or having his confidence shaken by the unfortunate twists of this season, the performance was enough that we didn’t see Andersen in the playoffs this year, and the net was given to Campbell, despite his own injury challenges.
Of course, there’s also this…

Pierre LeBrun on Insider Trading …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Name your price for Zach Hyman

It seems that Zach Hyman is as good as gone. That’s a bitter pill to swallow as he’s been a very unique player for the Leafs and the absence of his physical, but smart style of play in the top six will definitely be missed. Still, with there being a very good likelihood of Hyman receiving a contract north of $6M, there is a very good chance that none of us will like $6M/yr Zach Hyman as much as we love $2.25M/yr Zach Hyman, and giving term to a 29 year old with an injury history that raises an eyebrow, probably doesn’t sit right especially when the Leafs are already limited as far as cap resources go.
Still, around these parts we can all see the value Hyman brings, so here are our last best offers to keep Hyman.
Mark Norman:
The absolute highest I would go for Hyman is 8 years X $4.5M. Basically the Killorn contract + 1 year to bring the AAV down. I’m not sure other suitors will go past 5 years for Hyman so perhaps the long-term security would be persuasive.
Ryan Hobart:
Term is certainly something to consider, as he will certainly be …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Thoughts on the Leafs forwards heading into the playoffs

It seems like stretches without hockey are a rarity. In a lot of ways, with the weather improving, it’s quite welcome. In other ways I just want the season to hurry up and end so we can get on with the playoffs already. This seems to be heightened by the fact that the Leafs can clinch their playoff spot as soon as tomorrow night, as Toronto requires just one more win and one more Vancouver loss to make it happen. If the Leafs top Montreal and Ottawa does a favour for Toronto, we get the “x” next to the Leafs name. If not, Thursday night offers a pretty good opportunity given that the Leafs play against the Canucks. You’d also hope that Leafs come out playing like they have something to prove against Vancouver after their unfortunate showing against the Canucks as they returned from their COVID outbreak.
Here are a few other thoughts that are still rattling around in my head.
Simmonds and Thornton are showing their value
Much has been made of the tougher Leafs over the past two games. Maybe they just really like beating up on the Jets or maybe they are preparing themselves …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Thornton fined for his interference hit on Perreault

Lately it seems like Joe Thornton has been adjusting his style of play to fit with his likely bottom six deployment for the reminder of the season and into the playoffs. With that he’s add a bit of chippiness to his game, that is generally welcome, but crossed a line Thursday night in Winnipeg and received a fine of $3,017.24 for it.

Toronto’s Joe Thornton has been fined $3,017.24, the maximum allowable under the CBA, for Interference on Winnipeg’s Mathieu Perreault.
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) April 23, 2021

Thornton likely to be hearing from @NHLPlayerSafety for this late, high hit on Perreault which sends him to the locker room. Given two minutes for interference. pic.twitter.com/TkQz5Kl4Cd
— NHL Safety Watch (@NHLSafetyWatch) April 23, 2021

The fact that Perreault had no reason to expect a hit coming and of course Perreault’s history of head injuries make the hit concerning, but the good news was that Perreault was able to return to game.
Both teams played hard, physical games and it should make for an interesting Saturday night matchup tomorrow. And while our official statement is we don’t condone reckless hits, the fact that Galchenyuk, Foligno, Thornton, and Simmonds were …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Finding a spot in the lineup for Nick Foligno

The question of where Nick Foligno plays seems like it would have been a lot harder to answer before Alex Edler went knee hunting on Zach Hyman, so the easy answer seems to be, he’ll go where Hyman was, and that’s that.
Well, if you are happy with that answer, thanks for reading, please click on a few ads on your way out.
If you are looking for a more detailed exploration that probably leads you around to a similar conclusion, strap in. We’re going for it.
First, it’s important to note that today is the last day of Foligno’s quarantine from the Leafs. He will not be in the lineup against the Canucks, but he is a virtual lock to be in against the Jets on Thursday. That first game might even be a bit of a tease as the Leafs could be easing him back in to playing after his quarantine and his injury that kept him out of his final games for Columbus. In short, don’t count on him riding shotgun with Matthews and Marner…yet.
Heading into Sunday’s game against the Canucks, the Leafs were rolling
Galchenyuk-Matthews-Marner
Robertson-Tavares-Nylander
Mikheyev-Kerfoot-Hyman


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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs look to snap their losing streak with another game against the Canucks

It seems like every time I tell someone (or write in a pre-game) that I’m not too bothered by a couple Leafs losses, the team decides to pull a “hold my beer” and double down. So yeah, the Leafs are in a bit of a slump – to put it mildly. But the bright side, I guess, is that they’ve managed to steal a few points out of these losses.
It was only a matter of time before Jack Campbell regressed a bit. His start this season was ridiculously impressive, and completely unsustainable. He’s also been bearing a heavy burden, suddenly a starter after coming off injury. Now, Sunday’s game was weird. There was that late Leafs goal that was definitely a goal but wasn’t counted as a goal, so the game went to OT where the Leafs lost. While the team could have played better, Campbell included, it wasn’t exactly some blowout loss, either.
Putting that aside, Sunday’s game also saw this hit on Zach Hyman:

Breaking News: #Canucks Alex Edler has been suspended 2 games for kneeing #LeafsForever Zach Hyman. pic.twitter.com/vwvHlI92wh
— Hockey Hound (@HockeyHoundShow) April 19, 2021

Alex Edler was ejected …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

The Curious case of Benjamin Hutton and what he brings to the Leafs

It seems like Ben Hutton becoming a Leaf has been a long time in the making. Hutton has always been one of those defensive defensemen that avoids scrutiny from the numbers crunchers by being a solid shot suppressor, and one that actually plays minutes. In fact, over his six year NHL career, Hutton averages just under 20 minutes a night at 19:48, and he’s been playing 18:31 on average this season as well.

Looking at Ben Hutton, in all situations over the past couple of years, he’s excelled. Last season he was in the 55th percentile of all skaters, and this year numbers have slid marginally, but still show him to be a capable third pairing defender. While Hutton isn’t an overly physical player, he’s not lacking in that ability, and given his defensive, and penalty killing usage, he’ll certainly be a shot blocker on the point.
One of the things that certainly stands out from the numbers on Hutton is that he is certainly underpaid in comparison to what he does, and that’s a big reason why he was targeted for the Leafs. Toronto’s blueline has enjoyed an incredible run of health this year (*knocks …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Grading the Leafs trade deadline

Grading the Leafs trade deadline

It’s seems like only yesterday it was the trade deadline. And now that we’ve had a mountain of time to reflect back on it, and consider the performances of the players who have shuffled around the league, it’s time to grade the Leafs on the same scale that restaurants select their meat on. Fun. The question was simple, how would you grade the Leafs trade deadline?
Filipe Dimas:
B+
The team absolutely improved, there’s no question about that. Did they improve enough to vault themselves from contenders to cup favourites? Probably not, but it doesn’t seem like the opportunity to do so was there.
When the most desired trade piece was a controversial player who has scored only two goals this season, you can’t fault Dubas and the management team for not making a true blockbuster trade.
The Leafs are grittier, more experienced, and better at keeping the puck out of the net than they were two days ago, which is as much as anyone could have asked for.
While some people may be disappointed that Dubas didn’t pull a magic trick to add Taylor Hall, Jack Eichel and Mecha-Hasek from the Sabres …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation