A new theory has emerged about why the Leafs released Michal Neuvirth from his PTO

A new theory has emerged about why the Leafs released Michal Neuvirth from his PTO

Remember when the Leafs signed Michal Neuvirth to a PTO last year? It’s understandable if you forgot because his stint with the Leafs was brief and unmemorable. While the reason he was brought on was clear (to back up Frederik Andersen), why he was released was not made apparent at the time.
Over a calendar year later, we now have a better idea of what might have been the reason behind it. On the latest episode of The Leafs Report, James Mirtle of The Athletic said that Neuvirth wanted more money and decided to return to his native Czechia.

Mirtle says he thinks the Leafs expected Neuvirth to be their backup last year and Neuvirth just decided he didn’t want to play for a low salary and went home. I don’t think I’ve heard that before.
— draglikepull (@draglikepull) November 5, 2020

As alluded to earlier, the Leafs during the 2019 offseason had Michael Hutchinson as their best option to be the backup goalie which made the move for additional help become mandatory. Neuvirth was seen as a potential option to solidify the depth and potentially give Toronto a netminder that could lighten Andersen’s workload.
In his brief tenure with the Leafs, …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Leafs target Joe Thornton signs with HC Davos

After weeks of anticipation, Joe Thornton has signed with a pro hockey team! It’s just not with the Leafs or the Sharks.

HC Davos confirms that Joe Thornton has rejoined the team. He’ll use the time in the Swiss league to prepare for his 23rd NHL season.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) October 15, 2020

Throughout the offseason, Thornton has been training in Switzerland where he lives during the offseason. Given that it has been over seven months since he last played an NHL game and he has intentions of returning for another year, it makes sense why he’s chosen to play in the National League.
It’s not Thornton’s first time suiting up for HC Davos as he’s played for the team during both the 2004 and 2012 lockouts. He’s recorded a combined 22 goals, 68 assists, and 90 points in 73 games.
In 70 games last season with the Sharks, he recorded seven goals, 24 assists, and 31 points.
Toronto is tight on cap space at the time of writing this post, so signing Thornton likely means someone else will be on the move in the coming days/weeks.
Related:

Good Idea/Bad Idea: Joe Thornton to the Leafs?

All stats unless otherwise noted are from …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Marlies sign Rourke Chartier to one-year AHL contract

The Marlies announced Wednesday that the team has signed center Rourke Chartier to a one-year AHL contract. The 24 year old former 5th round pick sat out the entirety of the 2019-2020 season due to lingering post-concussion symptoms.

News: We’ve signed forward Rourke Chartier to a one-year AHL contract. #ForeverStartsHere
Details >> https://t.co/VuMKG3TFvK pic.twitter.com/q8k1tfCqHV
— Toronto Marlies (@TorontoMarlies) October 14, 2020

Chartier suited up for 13 NHL games with San Jose in the 2018-2019 season but will serve purely as depth for the Marlies if and when the next AHL season gets underway. In 121 career AHL games, Chartier has tallied 30 goals and 44 assists for 74 points.

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Maple Leafs sign Wayne Simmonds to one-year contract

The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed Wayne Simmonds to a one-year contract worth $1.5 million, according to Sportsnet’s Anthony Stewart.

Simmonds signs with #LeafsForever 1-year $1.5 million. Full no movement clause. Left more $ on table for desire to win and play for hometown. @Sportsnet #NHLFreeAgency
— Anthony Stewart (@StuMunrue) October 9, 2020

Simmonds, a native of Scarborough, ON., will be coming home to don the blue and white. He split his time last season playing with the New Jersey Devils and the Buffalo Sabres. With New Jersey, he put up 8 goals and 24 points in 61 games.
Simmonds had his best years with the Philadelphia Flyers from the 2011-12 season up to the 2018-19 season. He put up a career-high in goals and points in 2015-16 with 32 goals and 60 points respectively.
According to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, the desire to come home to Toronto was a big deciding factor for the 32-year-old.

The Habs did indeed make an offer to Simmonds and I believe it was for a bit more than what the Leafs gave him, but the hometown allure was strong for Simmonds. Understandable.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) October 9, 2020

GM Kyle Dubas made it clear on Monday that getting tougher was important for the Leafs moving …

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Author: Matthew Rodrigopulle / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Maple Leafs Auston Matthews signs deal with CCM Hockey

Auston Matthews has signed a new partnership deal inking a multi-year agreement with CCM Hockey.

No details are available on the deal, or what it will entail, but it safes to say that we’ll be seeing Matthews donning some CCM gear on the ice.
“We are stoked to enter into this collaborative partnership with one of the best, boldest and most unique players in the game and have him join the CCM family of the most elite NHL players in the world,” said Rick Blackshaw, CEO of CCM Hockey. “The timing couldn’t be better as the greatest sport on Earth finally resumes. Auston is about performance, commitment and style; and together we will be fearless game changers.”
Matthews said CCM has always been a company he admired.
“I am excited to partner with them,” said Matthews. “Their dedication to innovation and their forward-thinking approach with their products is something that really resonates with me. I am looking forward to what they will come up with next.”
On Twitter: @zjlaing

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

What to expect from Kenny Agostino this summer

When Kenny Agostino was signed to a two-year contract back on Canada Day 2019, it was believed that he would provide some offensive help for the Marlies. He ended up doing exactly that, leading the team in goals and points.
He does have 85 NHL games to his name, but not a single one of them occurred with the Leafs during the past regular season. It wasn’t due to a lack of effort on Agostino’s part, but more so with the log jam of forwards in front of him on the depth chart.
By The Numbers
As mentioned, Agostino had a strong season offensively for the Marlies as he registered 27 goals, 22 assists, and 49 points in just 53 games. Considering an AHL season is 76 games long, he was on pace to record roughly 38 goals, 32 assists, and 70 points. His play was one of the reasons why the team finished fourth in the AHL in goals-for prior to the pause per AHL.com.
© Micah Blake McCurdy 2020
The last time Agostino played in the NHL was the 2018-19 campaign and he did fairly well during a season split between the Montreal Canadiens and the New Jersey Devils. At even strength, he collectively …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Blue Jays Draft Update: Zach Britton signs under-slot deal while C.J. Van Eyk and Trent Palmer sign over-slot deals

The Blue Jays have now signed three of their five draft picks as pitchers C.J. Van Eyk and Trent Palmer along with outfielder Zach Britton have agreed to deals. First-round pick Austin Martin and fourth-round pick Nick Frasso have yet to sign.

Second-round pick Van Eyk’s signing bonus is $1.8 million, slightly over the recommended slot value of $1,771,100.
Third-round pick Plamer’s signing bonus is $850,000, again slightly above the recommended slot value of $805,600.
Fifth-round pick Britton’s signing bonus is $97,500, well below the recommended slot value of $410,100.
Total: $2,747,500 in bonuses have been allocated to three picks with a combined recommended slot value of $2,986,800. The Blue Jays so far are $239,300 under slot. 

The Blue Jays have a bonus pool of $9,716,500. If a team goes over that pool by 5 to 10 percent, they must pay a 100 percent tax on the excess and will lose their next first-round pick. That means that the Jays can exceed the $9,716,500 figure by about $485,000 without losing a draft pick.
The recommended value for Martin, who was drafted with the fifth-overall pick, is $6,180,700, but Martin was expecting to go higher in the draft, so he’ll more than likely command a signing bonus …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

NHL History: Toronto Maple Leafs sign Howie Meeker today in 1946

It was 74 years ago today the Toronto Maple Leafs signed Howie Meeker to an NHL contract.

Meeker, 23, had played the prior season with the Stratford Indians of the OHA-Sr league scoring eight goals and 13 points in only seven games. It was his first foray into hockey in three years, as Meeker served in the Canadian Army wherein he was badly injured.
But through his recovery, he was able to get back to hockey and earned himself a spot on the Leafs.
His first pro season was undeniably his best as he scored 27 goals and 45 points in 55 games. The 23-year-old was named the Calder trophy winner as the league’s top rookie and helped the Leafs win three cups in his eight-year career, all of which were with Toronto.
One of his most infamous moments came when he set up Bill Barilko’s cup-winning goal in 1951.
Meeker retired from the NHL in after playing five games in 1953-54 at 30 years old, but his hockey career was far from over as he played for various men’s teams over the next 15 years.
More infamously, he was known as an analyst on Hockey Night in Canada in the 1970s and 80 …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

The Everything Leafs Podcast: Mikko Lehtonen Szn

The Leafs have officially signed Finnish defenceman Mikko Lehtonen. This week we talk about the new addition and how this affects the Leafs in the 2020-2021 season. We also talk about some trade targets and what the league is doing with the upcoming NHL draft.
Here is the full itinerary for the episode:
1:20 The Mikko Lehtonen Signing
10:30 Can Dermott co-exist on the Leafs with all the left defencemen
14:25 Undervalued RHDs the Leafs could target
41:30 Chances the Leafs acquire a forward this offseason
48:48 Other RHD options the Leafs could look at
54:30 When should the NHL draft be?
57:20 Thoughts on the Draft Lottery structure
1:01:01 Some mandatory Ben Harpur
 
Where Can You Listen:
Soundcloud

Spotify

Itunes:
https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/episode-eighteen-mikko-lehtonen-szn/id1484994398?i=1000474024422
 
You can find us on twitter at:
Nick DeSouza: @NickDeSouza_
Kevin Papetti: @KPapetti

Stay safe and thanks for listening!

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Author: Nick DeSouza / The Leafs Nation

Kristians Rubins: Latvian Lightning

When the Leafs signed Filip Kral and Kristians Rubins earlier this week, they made a withdrawal from the Rainy Day Fund.
The two left handed defencemen both showed much improvement this season, earning Entry Level Contracts when most 5th round picks and undrafted players do not.
Kral is no longer eligible for the Canadian Hockey League, and will be transitioning to pro whether it is at the AHL or ECHL level. Judging by the paths of Joseph Duszak and Mac Hollowell, Kral will likely start next season with the Newfoundland Growlers. The Leafs organization has committed over the past few years to using the ECHL as the third tier in their development system, and Kral would benefit from playing top minutes in a pro setting.
Rubins on the other hand was already playing for the Marlies, and will look to take on a top 4 role for them next season. Here’s what I wrote about him in the aforementioned article;
This year Rubins has spent the full season with the Marlies, with 14 points in 45 games to date. His combination of size and puck moving ability are difficult to find in the AHL, so I wouldn’t be surprised …

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Author: Earl Schwartz / The Leafs Nation