Maple Leafs new assistant coaches already making impact in the playoffs

When talking about the “move of the offseason”, the discussion almost exclusively goes to the player transactions that occurred. Whether it be a big trade or signing, or a depth move that ended up exceeding expectations, the most impactful move of a team’s season is usually one that affects the actual lineup.
For the 2021/22 Toronto Maple Leafs, this probably still remains true. The addition of Michael Bunting fits into both of the aforementioned categories, while other moves such as the signing of David Kampf or the deadline acquisition of Mark Giordano also have had significant impacts on the Maple Leafs squad.
But two moves that have gone largely unrecognized over the course of this season made their impact felt in an enormous way in Game 1 of Toronto’s first-round series against Tampa Bay: the hiring of Dean Chynoweth and Spencer Carbery.

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

Spencer Carbery is joining the team as an assistant coach. #LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) July 17, 2021

Going back to the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Leafs were a strong even strength team who had dominated the North Division in the regular season. Their biggest weakness? Abysmal special teams.
Toronto entered the postseason as one of the lowest ranking powerplays and penalty kills to make the playoffs. Sure enough, it was exposed in their series against Montreal, going 3/23 on the powerplay for a net 8.7 per cent powerplay when factoring in the Canadiens’ shorthanded marker. On the penalty kill, they were better, only allowing three powerplay goals on 19 opportunities. Yet that gave Montreal the overall advantage in special teams goals in the series and was a key factor in the Leafs’ ultimate loss.
In the offseason, penalty kill coach Dave Hakstol left for Seattle and powerplay coach Manny Malhotra was moved to a less specific role on the staff. Their replacements came in the form of Dean Chynoweth of the Carolina Hurricanes and Spencer Ca …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Ben Chiarot is who you trade for if you didn’t learn a thing from the Foligno situation

Sheldon Keefe and Kyle Dubas do a lot of talking about how the Leafs keep on learning, and if there is anything to the rumours that the Leafs are interested in Ben Chiarot, the Leafs’ front office is in desperate need of some remedial classes.
Last year the Leafs decided to throw away a first-round pick and a couple of fourth-round picks on Nick Foligno, a player who by most measures wasn’t particularly good. In fact, in addition to that, he was injured at the time. He cost a lot more than the cap space the Leafs had and were so stuck on bringing in this third-line winger, they brokered salary retention through an additional team. They did all of this while Taylor Hall was available. (I don’t know if Taylor Hall was the answer, but he would have certainly made the absence of John Tavares more manageable and wouldn’t have spent half the series hurt because he was rushed back from an injury so he could be traded.
Yes, there are a lot of reasons to still be bitter about the Nick Foligno trade, but last season there was still some benefit of the doubt being given to the Leafs front office that they had a …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Michael Bunting would be a dollar and a pound bargain for the Leafs

F#ck it, I guess we’re talking about free agents now. We could be talking about the Leafs match up against the Lightning, but nah, talking about free agents that can fit into the narrow bit of workable cap space for the Leafs is cool too. Though today we’ll hopefully get to have our post up for more than 20 minutes before the player we’re talking about announces they have no intention of playing for any team other than the one they are currently with.
So in the spirit of finding someone who is both affordable and would want to play in Toronto, we’ll dial things back from aging superstars, and refocus on a player that might have had his NHL breakout season last year. That player is Michael Bunting.
Michael Bunting checks a lot of boxes for things that the Leafs could use:

First of all, he’s 25, so he’s about as young as you can find when you’re talking unrestricted free agents. He hasn’t played in the NHL enough for the Coyotes to retain him as an unrestricted free agent, so their loss could very easily be the Leafs gain. Younger is …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Jack Campbell is 6-0-0 this season, and the Leafs are good – Rate That Leafs Game

So, here we are, talking about another Maple Leafs win against the Edmonton Oilers. Although both Tyson Barrie and Leon Draisaitl scored, Toronto found a way to get the win, and more importantly — still keep Jack Campbell perfect on the season.
It started with the Maple Leafs being down 3-1, but they clawed back with goals from John Tavares, William Nylander and Auston Matthews. Oh, and a few assists from Alex Galchenyuk (he had a game.)
Overall, Toronto is now back atop the North Division and life is good. But it’ll be better if you watch my video.

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Is a Mikael Granlund trade imminent for the Leafs?

We’ve spilled a lot of digital ink talking rumours over the past month, and with three weeks to go, it’s unlikely that we’ll be letting up at all. It’s in that spirit we are circling back around to one of the most frequently talked about rumoured players, Mikael Granlund.
If you feel like reading (or re-reading) almost 2000 words on Granlund, what he is and isn’t and how he’d fit in with the Leafs, we’ve got you covered here:
Where there’s smoke there’s probably Granlund

We aren’t going to explore the nuances of Granlund’s game again today, but rather try to answer a few of the questions that are popping up. Why are we talking about him again? When will Nashville trade him? What will he cost? Is he a good idea for the Leafs?
Why are we talking about Granlund again?
We have last night’s Insider Trading segment on TSN and Frank Seravalli to thank for that one:
After scouring the league, I believe the Leafs’ primary target at this point is Nashville Predators forward Mikael Granlund.
Okay, that will do it. That’s pretty direct for an …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Auston Matthews has 300th career point in Maple Leafs win – Rate That Leafs Game

So, we’re back talking about the Toronto Maple Leafs beating the Vancouver Canucks, are we? Thankfully, yes.
Morgan Rielly opened the scoring with his second of the season and Auston Matthews scored the game-winning goal in a 3-1 win over the struggling Canucks. You also cannot forget Alexander Kerfoot scoring 11 seconds after Matthews’ goal, which had an assist by Ilya Mikheyev.
Finally though, you cannot forget about Frederik Andersen who allowed one goal on 32 shots. He was incredible in this game and it’s nice to finally say that it looks like he’s back to his normal ‘Frezina’ self.
The Toronto Maple Leafs win once again and actually haven’t lost a game in regulation since January 20th against the Edmonton Oilers. Life is good.
Enjoy the video!

 

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Rasmus Sandin is the Leafs 2nd ranked prospect

At this point in the prospect rankings, we are now talking about players who are on the fringes of a full-time role in the NHL after making headways in their early days in the best hockey league on the planet. Rasmus Sandin one such player, who was forced into playing meaningful minutes for a Leafs team riddled with injuries from January until the season was put on pause and showed promise in his 22 games during the second half.
Despite not suiting up during the Leafs series against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the future remains bright for Sandin and he now has a legitimate shot at cracking the Leafs lineup to begin the 2020-21 campaign. Judging by how quickly he’s flown through the farm system, it’s impressive that he has put himself in this position at such a young age.

Rank
Grade
NHL Readiness

2nd
A
0-1 Years

Position: Defence
Age: 20
Height: 5’11
Weight: 183 lbs
Drafted: 2018 1st round, 29th overall
What kind of player is he?
Sandin is a defenseman that likes to get involved in the offensive drive but also makes smart decisions in the defensive end. This has been the case throughout his development and he is modelling …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

With a playoff spot within reach, the Blue Jays should look to add ahead of the trade deadline

If everything was normal, we wouldn’t be talking about the playoffs right now.

If everything was normal, the Blue Jays would have rolled into the 2020 season with the objective of simply taking a step in the right direction. We’d be hoping for some nice performances from the young core and, ultimately, a record that pushed .500.
But everything isn’t normal. In the world of a 60-game season with a 16-team playoff field, anything is possible. Yes, even the playoffs.
Despite some incredibly frustrating late-game losses and some lulls in which the team looks like they belong in the minor-leagues, some very, very good pitching and a power surge at the plate has the Blue Jays sitting with a 12-11 record and sole possession of the final playoff spot in the American League. It hasn’t been pretty, but, here we are.
Elsewhere, a very clear picture of the playoff race in the American League is forming around them. While the National League is a total crapshoot in which anybody (save for the 4-17 Pirates) can realistically make it to the dance, the AL features a top group and a bottom group.

It’s …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Daily Duce: Thinking about the next Collective Bargaining Agreement, pre-arbitration extensions, and more!

Daily?!?

I’ve been talking about the game and player-related stuff separately in the Grapefruit Notes posts during spring training, so I’ll keep these posts for more big-picture topics for now.
Earlier this week, we saw two young relief pitchers get locked up to long-term deals, furthering the trend of getting players signed to contracts before their arbitration years begin. Freddy Peralta, a swingman in Milwaukee who wasn’t arb-eligible until after the 2021 season, got a five-year deal worth $15.5 million, while Aaron Bummer, who had a breakout season for the White Sox in 2019, got a five-year deal worth $16 million with two club option years beyond that.
Peralta and Bummer join a growing trend of young players getting locked up to cost-controlled deals in which teams guarantee money upfront in order to save money on free agency years. The two big-name pre-arb signings from earlier this off-season were Luis Robert of the White Sox and Evan White of the Mariners, who received multi-year deals despite still not having played their first game in the Major Leagues yet.

The long-term deals Freddy Peralta and Aaron Bummer signed this week are no anomalies. Teams across baseball are trying to …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Point Man #20: Conley hears out Taurasi’s pitch

With Taurasi talking to Conley, and Kidd talk to Taurasi, the web continues to get tangled for the crooked characters of the story. Who can they really trust? Taurasi isn’t done making her case, it’s just not the one anyone expects. After fending off Kidd on the phone, the pitch is made: she wants to go in on the Silverstern plan with Conley, the real brains behind the operation.
Catch up on Page 19 of POINT MAN here.
Words: Daniel Reynolds
Art: Michael Kennedy (on Instagram and Twitter)

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Author: Daniel Reynolds / Raptors HQ