Report From The Rock: ladies and gentlemen, we’re back

After weeks and months of speculation, worry and anxiety, the Newfoundland Growlers and the city of St. John’s announced this morning a short-term lease agreement for the use of Mile One Centre in downtown St. John’s. Hockey is officially back on The Rock.

eh b’y
It’s the “lease” we could do.
Want tickets?
Join the waitlist at https://t.co/9akvp20BlN pic.twitter.com/7veNxTIlyS
— Newfoundland Growlers (@NLGrowlers) August 25, 2021

Per a press release from the Growlers, the new lease agreement will run for three seasons and goes on to say that in the coming weeks “we will provide a media availability to demonstrate our long-term commitment and further investment in professional sports teams and facilities in the region.”
This is just speculation on my part but the statement seems to suggest that the Growlers ownership group is moving on from their bid to acquire Mile One from the grips of City Council and will instead turn their focus to building their own arena elsewhere in the metro region. When that media availability takes place, as well as player signing announcements (which the team says will be coming soon), we’ll have all the details here, so stay …

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Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

The Leafs have hired Dean Chynoweth as an assistant coach

After weeks of speculation, the Leafs have finally announced who will be replacing Dave Hakstol on the bench for 2021-22. It turned out to be someone no one expected would be in the running for the job.

We’ve hired Dean Chynoweth as an assistant coach. #LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) July 12, 2021

Dean Chynoweth had spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach of the Carolina Hurricanes, who have proven to be one of the best defensive teams in the league. During that three-year span, the Hurricanes had allowed a combined 2.64 GA/G (In that same stretch, the Leafs have allowed 2.95 GA/G). They also boasted one of the best penalty-killing units in the NHL, finishing eight, fourth, and third in each of the past three seasons.
Kyle Dubas and Sheldon Keefe surely think that Chynoweth can carry over those results to Toronto and make the Leafs an even better defensive team than they did last season where they averaged 2.64 GA/G. It may not be an assistant coach that can bring some much-needed creativity to the struggling power-play (i.e. Bruce Boudreau), but it does signal that the Leafs want to double down on being better in their own …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

4 Players Leafs Fans Want That Would Probably Be a Bad Idea

The offseason always brings a ton of crazy speculation, especially the first week or so after the Stanley Cup is awarded, as teams try to figure out their game plan going into the draft and free agency. And of course, fans will eat up every bit of speculation in anticipation of what their team should do. Lots of brainstorming happens, and with every great idea comes a few bad ones.
So, let’s look at some of the bad ideas that I’ve seen about who the Leafs should bring in, ideas that probably hurt the Leafs more than help them in the long run.
Radko Gudas
Gudas might be the one consistent I’ve seen on everybody’s wish list. And why wouldn’t he be? He’s been a consistent analytics darling throughout his career, is physical, is a defenseman, and shoots right. He sounds like someone who could help round out the top four for the Leafs.
Except for one problem:

While it’s just one season, he is also 30 years old and plays a style of play that doesn’t age well. It could be an anomaly, or it could be the start of his decline. …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs select Rodion Amirov 15th overall

After weeks of speculation regarding whether the Leafs would keep their newly acquired first round pick or trade it for immediate help, Mitch Marner stepped in front of the camera and announced that the Leafs had selected winger Rodion Amirov. Through 10 KHL games with Ufa in the KHL this season, the 19 year old Russian forward has scored three goals and 2 assists.
From Eliteprospects:
“He strikes with strong habits, deploying crossovers through arced attacks on the rush, made all the more potent with a nice variety of rush patterns through the neutral zone preceding these forays. His anticipation, the ability to see plays before they develop, is one of his high-level tools”
In TLN’s recent mock draft, Nick DeSouza selected Amirov on behalf of the Maple Leafs at 15th overall so the pick isn’t what you would call “off the board.”

Leafs take Rodion Amirov!
In @TLNdc’s mock draft, we had the Leafs taking Amirov. Here’s what I had to say about him. A skilled player who can do a little bit of everything well. pic.twitter.com/rwS6h5y4Gz
— Nick DeSouza (@NickDeSouza_) October 7, 2020

In the lead up to the draft, I previewed Amirov as a potential …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Two Leafs make their way onto the TSN Trade Bait Board

Welcome to Speculatember. All speculation, all the time. Okay, that will be a little much and get old quick, but in reality there is going to be a lot of noise around the Leafs over the next month, given that the Kapanen trade has already happened.
To kick things off, TSN has unveiled their Trade Bait Board, and of the 20 names on it, two are Leafs.
17. Andreas Johnsson
This really does come as much of a surprise, as the Leafs have capable wingers willing to work for cheap in the form of Robertson, Barabanov, and Korshkov. Replacing Johnsson and Kapanen with cheap entry level deal players that at the very least will be able to cover off the underwhelming 2019-20 seasons of Kapanen and Johnsson and at best match their 2018-19 career best years, seems like a no brainer.
Johnsson probably isn’t going to land the Leafs a mid-1st round pick, but there’s a good chance that he could be part of a worthwhile package for an area of need for the Leafs.
19. Frederik Andersen
I really feels like we’re past the point of no return with Andersen returning to the Leafs. There …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas says they’re open to trading newly acquired first-round pick

Enter speculation season as the Toronto Maple Leafs appear to be far from done.

In a Tuesday afternoon, Leafs GM Kyle Dubas said the team isn’t sold on holding onto the newly acquired first-round pick.

Dubas on using #Leafs first-rounder: “I would say that we’re open to keeping the pick, but I think with the spot that we’re at with our team, we’re probably also open to moving it if the right deal came along for someone who could help us now.”
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) August 25, 2020

The pick, 15th overall, is apparently up for grabs if the right deal comes along. The first round is arguably one of the deepest the NHL has seen in a long time with some high-end options around pick 15 that may have gone in the top 10 in other years.
On the other hand, with the first-round pick being so valuable this year Toronto could swing a sweet deal in getting a player or asset that could help them sooner than who they could draft in the first round.
The Leafs are entering a definite re-tool phase here and the Kapanen deal is the metaphorical bat signal that its open season on …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

Speculation Spectacular: Changes in Buffalo

For the second week of Speculation Spectacular we’ll be focusing in on Buffalo, and I apologize for that. No one should have that much Buffalo in their lives.
With the Sabres removal of Jason Botterill and replacing him with former Leaf, Kevyn Adams, it seems entirely possible that the Sabres will be making significant roster changes once something resembling an offseason occurs, and it’s also entirely possible that the new direction might mean usable players might be made available.
What usable players?
Well, that would be a very valid question when it comes to Buffalo. They have very good players like Eichel, Reinhart, Dahlin, Olofsson, and Cozens that they are certainly not moving.
They have players like Okposo, Skinner, and Ristolainen that possess contracts that no team in their right mind should want. There’s also a lot of other crap, but nestled away in that mess are Colin Miller and Brandon Montour, two right side defenseman that could be interesting buy low options for the Leafs, and add a bit of depth to the right side.
What about my trading for Reinhart pipe dream?
Let’s quickly dismiss that by saying that you …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Speculation Spectacular: 2020 shouldn’t be made worse by trading for Rasmus Ristolainen

Speculation Spectacular is a new weekly look at rumours and speculation around the Leafs. It will appear here on Wednesdays.
Hitting pause on the season and starting up hockey again in July has had an unexpected negative consequence for Leafs fans, and that is that Cody Ceci is remaining a Leaf far longer than anyone expected. The reasoning why he’s a Leaf is one that we can accept, but as soon as he will be departing replacing him with an equally bad, if not worse defenseman seems pretty damned unappealing. That brings us to this Sportsnet article titled: Should Toronto trade for Rasmus Ristolainen?
The weekly mailbag post questions if the Leafs should pursue David Savard or Rasmus Ristolainen. We’ll get to why David Savard is a maybe in a bit, but let’s start with the very obvious bad idea, and that is trading for Ristolainen.
Luke Fox answers:
“In my mind, both right-shot defencemen fit the type of player Kyle Dubas should prioritize in acquiring. Bonus: Both Savard and Ristolainen play for teams that rate among the bottom third in offence, and any significant deal will require the Leafs to trade from …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Could the Toronto Maple Leafs land Joe Thornton?

Speculation out of San Jose suggests that the Toronto Maple Leafs could be interested in Sharks veteran Joe Thornton.
The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz listed him as a potential trade option for Toronto.

After Auston Matthews and John Tavares, Toronto’s third- and fourth-line centers lately have been Pierre Engvall and Frederik Gauthier. Engvall, a rookie, has managed 14 points (7g, 7a) in 30 games, so his career is off to a nice start, while the former first-round pick Gauthier has 10 points (6g, 4a) in 47 games as he’s bounced between the NHL and the AHL the past few seasons.
Thornton, of course, nearly ended up in Toronto when Marleau signed his contract there in the 2017 offseason. Perhaps he’d welcome the idea of putting on a Leafs sweater for a playoff run after growing up in nearby St. Thomas, Ontario. What might hurt the Leafs’ chances if they’re interested, though, is that they aren’t quite a lock to make the playoffs, in third place in the competitive Atlantic Division, six points behind second-place Tampa and now tied in points with the improving Florida Panthers. They’d also have to move …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

Blue Jays trade Eric Sogard to the Rays

After the constant speculation, the first trade of many in the next 72 hours has happened. Infielder Eric Sogard is now a member of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Infielder Eric Sogard has been traded to the Tampa Bay Rays, league sources tell ESPN. Multiple teams were on him but Toronto ultimately settled on a deal with Tampa Bay.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 28, 2019

Unsurprising that the Rays of all teams want to acquire a player that’s over-performing and is extremely cheap in exchange of nothing earth-shattering to the top prospect system in baseball.
Signed to a minor-league contract during spring training this year, Sogard was called-up early this season and has been one of the Jays’ most consistent bats this season. Mostly lodged towards the top of the lineup, he is sporting a .300 batting average and a .840 OPS.
One of the good stories from this season is now heading to Tampa as they try to compete for a wild card spot.
The return for the Jays have not been announced yet.

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Author: Thomas Williams / Blue Jays Nation