Civil Discourse: What should the Maple Leafs do with their first-rounder this season?

Welcome to Civil Discourse, an article series where two TLN writers discuss a topic of interest rationally without resorting to personal insults. So basically the anti-Twitter.
Mark Norman
The Leafs have not drafted in the first round with their own pick since 2018 when they selected Rasmus Sandin at #29 (and even then, they traded down from #25 to make the pick). In 2019 they moved their first-rounder in the Jake Muzzin deal, in 2020 they moved it to Carolina to get out from under Patrick Marleau’s albatross contract, and in 2021 they traded it for Nick Foligno which… did not go as planned.
The Leafs, therefore, have not gotten much benefit from trading first-rounders over the last two seasons. This understandably has some fans shy about the Leafs continuing to spend high-end draft capital to improve their roster. For other fans, the time is now: Auston Matthews is only signed for two more seasons after this year and they feel pressure to go all-in every year while he’s in his prime. Where do you land on this, Jon?
Jon Steitzer
If the Leafs are going to truly upgrade at the trade deadline this season and not just simply shuffle deckchairs, it seems reasonable to discuss Toronto’s first, and admittedly I lack a straightforward answer on this.
Primarily I look at the fact that the Leafs are in tough no matter what. Their path out of the Atlantic involves Florida and Tampa and while that isn’t going to change next year, it does make me risk-averse about spending important assets like a first-round pick for what on its own is valued around 10 games of Nick Foligno.
(On a side no …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Know Your Enemy: Maple Leafs face off against a depleted Senators team

So, this is a new series that I’ve decided as a way to both be able to do some of my favourite things in writing (which is well-researched statistical deep dives into all the teams in the league, and break them down), as well as give Leafs fans a way to know what they should expect against an opponent going into a game. It’s easy to latch on to narratives thrown around in the hockey world and assume that that’s the case without any evidence, but it’s also a lot of work to keep up with all 32 NHL teams. So, I’ve decided to do the work for you. This will either be done for every game, or just for the bigger matchups, depending on how much work this is for me, and how exhausted I get from it.
The Leafs may have a depleted lineup, but if there’s any team that’s a great matchup to get their skating legs warmed up against, it’s the Ottawa Senators. The Senators are a team that many expected to take the next step after a strong second half last season, and they’ve done anything but …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

New Year’s resolutions for the Toronto Maple Leafs

Here we are. We’ve reached the end of the TLN roundtable series that has run throughout the past couple of weeks. And while there are still a few days left in 2021, we thought we’d close out the series with another 2022 question, and one specifically focused on the New Year. Of course that means it’s resolution time, and the question is:
What should the Leafs New Year’s resolution be? (besides win the cup or win a round, please.)
Nick Barden
Staying consistent. I think when you look at this team and what they need to do to win, it’s consistency. Obviously they have to play well, but we’ve seen that they have already throughout the season so far. If there’s anything they can do to help themselves get out of the first round, it’s that.
Joseph Zita
Play better defence and stick to their structure. December hasn’t been ideal for them (as of Dec. 12) and they are clearly not playing the same way they did in November and that is due to poor defensive structure and poor decision making.
Michael Mazzei
Fix Justin Holl or trade him
Roxanne Khasow
Reduce injuries.
Dylan …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Other than losing to Montreal, what do-overs should the Leafs want?

Regrets, the Leafs have had a few. Of course the Montreal series is the big one, but no one here wants to talk about that yet. So if we skip the specifics of the playoff series, here are some of the things we’d change about the Leafs in 2021.
Nick Barden
I don’t really have anything that I think they need to change. They’re following the course and they seem like a different team than past years. More tough, bigger, more difficult to play against — each of these aspects will help them throughout the playoffs. I think they’ve done everything the right way up to this point.
Joseph Zita
I honestly can’t think of anything besides the playoff series because that season went pretty well for Toronto, it just fell apart in the playoffs.
Michael Mazzei
Giving Joe Thornton first line minutes was a mistake.
Dylan Murphy
Not kicking Manny Malhotra off the powerplay coaching duties earlier. That’s it, that’s all I’ve got, I don’t think that statement needs much justification.
Nick Richard
Hindsight is always 20-20, especially when you’re talking about contending teams cashing in future assets to make …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

TLN Trivia: The William Nylander Quiz

 
It’s time for another edition of TLN Trivia, the series that tests your knowledge of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
In the first TLN Trivia, we looked at the departed 2020/21 Leafs players and where they are playing this season. There were some gimmes, such as Zach Hyman who came in at a 99.1% success rate. But there were some tricky ones as well, such as Ben Hutton who just 25.6% of you got correct.
Today, we’re back on the current Maple Leafs roster, keying in none other than William Nylander.
Nylander’s time has been tumultuous in Toronto, to say the least, but his play in the 2021 playoffs and into the beginning of this 2021/22 season has begun to turn even some of the biggest Nylander haters into fans. So today, we’ve got 15 questions ranging from his junior days through his Leafs career to determine just how much you really know about Willy Styles.
As always, be sure to share your results with us on Twitter, Facebook, or in the comments below. Please note you may have to scroll back up to see your results. All answers are accurate as of November 26, 2021.
Good luck!

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

All or Nothing executive producer discusses his year with the Leafs

The ‘All or Nothing’ series offers a glimpse into the Toronto Maple Leafs’ lives. You get to see the good, the bad, and at some points, the ugly. But what was it like being around them at every breathing moment?
Rob Worsoff, the showrunner and executive producer for the ‘All or Nothing’ series, had the privilege of being around the Leafs daily. He followed the team wherever they travelled. Worsoff was on the plane, the bus, the trainer’s office — he was everywhere.
“I was there every single day, in the bubble with the Leafs.” Worsoff said. “Dream of a lifetime.“
He and the rest of the crew were able to get access to almost everything. During every game, they had Sheldon Keefe, a player, and one referee wearing microphones. Everything — Worsoff heard. He was even in the dressing room before and after the games, as well as the intermissions.
The most significant thing, though, was there was only one camera.
“A lot of the ‘All or Nothing’ franchises are done with, like, 35 cameras.” Said Worsoff. “In COVID, we really only had one camera and one audio inside the bubble, obviously because of the restrictions. Our coverage was way limited.“


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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Expect a battle for final roster spots tonight as the Leafs face the Sens

After splitting the “series” with the Canadiens to start the preseason, the Maple Leafs head to Ottawa tonight for their 3rd preseason game. Yesterday, Sheldon Keefe mentioned that Toronto wouldn’t be bringing any of its top players to Ottawa for tonight’s game, so tonight will primarily be focused on those battles for the last few roster spots.

Sheldon Keefe said #Leafs won’t be taking many NHLers to Ottawa for tomorrow’s game. Wants to give players looking to crack the roster more of an opportunity to showcase themselves.
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) September 28, 2021

Lines
As promised, the roster for tonight’s game features no Mitch Marner or other top-6 forwards. Nor does it have Morgan Rielly or the other top-4 defenders. Instead, we’ll be looking at most of the players considered in the bottom-6 forwards and bottom-pair defense, to see who is fitting in well and who should make the team. Here’s how the lines will look:

#Leafs lines at morning skate
Robertson-Kerfoot-SimmondsGusev-Kampf-KaseBunting-Semyonov-Ho-SangBrooks-Amadio-Gabriel,extra: Abramov, Engvall
Sandin-BiegaDahlstrom-DermottKral-LiljegrenDuszak-Villeneuve
MrazekHutchinson
— David Alter (@dalter) September 29, 2021

We will probably see a lot of action from PTOs Nikita Gusev and Joshua Ho-Sang, as Leafs management makes the decision on whether …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 47: Hyun Jin Ryu’s struggles, Gerrit Cole’s spaz, Josh Donaldson’s ovation, and more!

Another series, another couple of wins for the Blue Jays! That’s the way it’s been for the past month-and-a-bit and the hope is that it continues as the Blue Jays head to The House of Horrors.

The Blue Jays got the job done this weekend, taking two of three from the lowly Minnesota Twins. Things started off ugly as Hyun Jin Ryu got knocked around on Friday but Steven Matz and Jose Berrios led the team to back-to-back wins on Saturday and Sunday, so all ended well.
We talked about Ryu’s struggles, the “injury” that landed him on the 10-day Injured List, and what to expect from him moving forward. We also talked about Matz’s excellent run and what it means for him in the off-season. Finally, we talked about the Blue Jays lineup and why it needs to involve Alejandro Kirk more often than not.
We then took a look at the out-of-town scoreboard and gave a hat tip to Cleveland, who did us a solid by beating the Yankees on Saturday and Sunday. We finished off by talking about the series ahead against the Rays at The Trop, a place that’s never fun …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 42: Just scraping by the Trash Birds

We are back after a short hiatus!

The series against the Baltimore “Trash Bird” Orioles was one we’ve all had marked on our calendars for quite some time as three automatic wins. That didn’t happen.
Robbie Ray put up an amazing start and Vladdy hit two homers in the opener, but a sixth-inning meltdown from Hyun Jin Ryu and some limp bats resulted in a loss in the second game. Finally, in the third game, Toronto narrowly squeezed out a victory on what was probably the most 2021 Blue Jays play possible, a go-ahead fly-ball double play. Sexy stuff!
We talked about the limp bats at the bottom of the order, what Nate Pearson can bring to the team, and we also looked ahead to the upcoming series against Oakland, which can ultimately sink or swim the season.
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Civil Discourse: What has your patience running thin about the Maple Leafs?

Civil Discourse: What has your patience running thin about the Maple Leafs?

Welcome to Civil Discourse, a new article series where two TLN writers discuss a topic of interest rationally without resorting to personal insults. So basically the anti-Twitter.
Mark Norman
We’ll get into discussing our own anxieties about this franchise in short order, but Dylan you saw the All or Nothing trailer, which depicted a clearly-upset Kyle Dubas uttering that now famous phrase “I don’t know what the **** is going to happen, my patience is running thin.” What was the first thing that popped into your head when he said that, and with more reflection upon it have you changed your answer?
Dylan Murphy
My initial reaction to hearing that line was “OK, this is actually going to be worth watching” and while typing up the news hit about the trailer and series release date, I thought about what Dubas could have been talking about. My hope is that that clip is from the final episode during exit meetings, but after some reflection, I think that expectations of the scene’s significance should be lowered because I’m thinking it’s more likely to be something related to the trade deadline, such as delays in getting the Nick Foligno …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation