A Matthews-less lineup for the Leafs as they try to turn things around against the Jets

Well, it’s a probably a good thing it’s not a regular year because right now would be playoff time and something like this would sting a lot more…

Auston Matthews is OUT tonight against the Jets, head coach Sheldon Keefe confirms
Day-to-day issue, not something that is expected to keep him out long
Missing his fourth game of the season … Leafs won previous three, all against the Oilers @TSN_Edge
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) April 15, 2021

No Matthews isn’t a good thing, even if the results so far have been encouraging, but it should be noted that there is a very big difference between Connor Hellebucyk, and the Oilers nonsensical tandem of Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen. The Leafs could probably use the best goal scorer of this generation against the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, but all the wishing in the world doesn’t change the fact that we’re getting Adam Brooks instead.
In addition to the absence of Matthews, we are still waiting on the return of William Nylander, and the arrival of Nick Foligno. The update on Nylander would put him on track for this weekend, but that doesn’t really help the Leafs situation tonight.



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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Jack Campbell wins 10th-straight and sets Leafs franchise record

Holy cow. Jack Campbell did the thing. 10 wins in a row to start a season. The first Leafs player to ever do it.
I don’t have many words other than “wow.” Campbell deserves everything that is coming his way after hearing about his journey to the NHL and all the battles he had to face. He’s an incredible person, the team rallies around him and again, he’s such an important person to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
After the game, I thought about how I was going to open up my video, and well, I think I did a pretty good job. I hope you enjoy the video!

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

The Arizona Coyotes seem like ideal sellers for the buyer Leafs

If there seems to be one consistent thing about the Arizona Coyotes, they always seem to have an interesting collection of pieces, but none of them ever seem to fit together. Or they are broken. No one does injuries quite like the Coyotes do, and that’s probably their greatest undoing, besides ownership, management, coaching, etc, but health definitely seems like it’s in the top four. While this continues to be bad for Arizona hockey fans (is it plural? I never know), it has the potential to be good for the Leafs, who should be interested in a few of the players on the Coyotes.
Here are five options worth considering from the Coyotes:
1. Conor Garland
The fact that Garland is available, or at least teams are asking about him is interesting. He’s certainly priced right for Arizona at the moment, but all that changes in a few months when he’s an arbitration eligible restricted free agent. He’s certainly been performing for Arizona, his 25 points in 30 games is good enough to lead the team, and his 9 goals put him behind only Clayton Keller’s 10 for the team lead there too.
So that’s why this tidbit …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: All-time Starting 5

Toronto Raptors: All-time Starting 5

It is always a good thing when making a list of the best players in franchise history is this difficult to formulate. For the Toronto Raptors, it is becoming an increasingly onerous task. The past few decades especially has given us some amazing talent and great moments. For the purposes of this list we will […]
Toronto Raptors: All-time Starting 5 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jack Long / Raptors HQ

Total Player Score and Contract Valuation

Here’s the thing. There’s a ton of great analytics resources out there. Evolving Hockey, Hockey Viz, and others are producing amazing insight into the NHL that has given us new ways of looking at the players around the league and predicting the success of teams. Their knowledge of hockey, analytics, and programming is beyond what I could ever hope to put together.
The problem for someone like me is that I like to know how the sausage is made, and trying to figure out how they’ve made their sausage hurts my head at time, so I’ve decided to make my own. For better or worse, I decided to embark on the idea of pulling together my own measure that combines the individual contributions of a player with the outcomes of when they are on the ice. I then wanted to take that combined score, and compare it to their contract. A lot of my approach has been drawn from what Dom Luszczyszyn has done with Game Score, which you can read about here. The differences in my version of score, is the separation of on ice play calculations from individual result calculations, and the omission of …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Who will be Canada’s best NHL team next season?

The All-Canadian division looks to be a sure thing and with that comes predicting the best and worst teams.
Every NHL club has made significant moves that have altered their team in some way, shape or form. The question is, whether it changes their team for the good, or the bad. We will have to wait and see what happens for that but we can still try and predict who Canada’s top team is.
Here are my predictions and who I think will be the best and worst teams in the inevitable All-Canadian division. I hope you enjoy the video!

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs have a strong case against Ilya Mikheyev in arbitration

One thing that may have been lost in the shuffle a busy Day 2 of free agency for the Leafs is that winger Ilya Mikheyev filed for salary arbitration after being unable to come to terms with the Leafs on a new contract prior to the arbitration filing deadline.
The Leafs had qualified Mikheyev earlier in the week so as to retain his negotiating rights. What is interesting is that the NHL’s qualifying offer rules dictate that the Leafs had to give Mikheyev a two-way offer with a 5% raise on his base salary of $832,500 from last season, meaning that if Mikheyev were to accept the QO his cap hit for next season would have been a few dollars short of $875,000.
That’s not going to happen, though. Considering his immediate contributions to the Maple Leafs this season it is understandable that Mikheyev and his camp may be expecting more than a 5% bump in base salary, especially when taking into account Mikheyev’s total compensation including his signing bonus was $925,000 last season. However, there are a few things that may be working against Ilya and his agent when it comes to his arbitration case, which may make settling beforehand the smartest …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Day Two of Free Agency hit a bit different for the Leafs

So here’s the thing. The Simmonds and Brodie signings were what we were promised. We need a right side defenseman was coming, we knew that Kyle Clifford was going to be replaced. We might have been left expecting more, and Day two might not have been about necessarily giving us what we want or what we were promised, but it was about Kyle Dubas doing what he had to do for the salary cap, for Sheldon Keefe, and for establishing that the 2021 Leafs won’t be what we’ve been used to.
Now more than ever it seems that the core of the Leafs will be the core of the Leafs. Beyond Tavares, Matthews, Marner, and Nylander, it seems that Rielly and Muzzin as part of that vision as well. Add in the commitments to Simmonds, Brodie, and even Spezza, about half the lineup card was looking established before anything began to happen on Day Two. Of course it wasn’t quiet.
Rather than going chronologically, we’ll go with the biggest event first, and that was the decision to trade Andreas Johnsson to the New Jersey Devils straight up for Joey Anderson. On the surface this might have …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs trade up and select Dmitri Ovchinnikov at 137th overall

Here’s the thing about the Leafs and Russians, they’ve got a pretty solid track record over the past few years. The fact that the KHL and MHL are in full swing should put a bit more of a priority on drafting players in professional overseas leagues.
What happened here is the Leafs had a player, Dmitri Ovchinnikov that they wanted and they went for him.

We’ve acquired the 137th overall pick from Florida in exchange for the 153rd and 212th selections in this year’s #NHLDraft.#LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) October 7, 2020

Now as far as the player, Ovchinnikov is a 5’10 forward, that was a point per game player in the MHL last year, and has 7 points in his first 6 games this year.
From Elite Prospects:
He plays with pace, attacks the inside, cuts through traffic, makes flashy net drives, and creates passing lane. He identifies the trailer and teammates through layers. Defensively, Ovchinnikov brings refined decision-making and discipline. He supports the play, keeps an active stick to deter passes, and brings a consistent effort.
Ovchinnikov didn’t find his way into a ton of rankings, but these seems like the Leafs going off the board a …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Worst Leafs Trades Since 1967 Countdown – No. 4: Russ Courtnall for John Kordic

Adding truculence to the lineup was a thing that enamoured executives of the Toronto Maple Leafs long before Brian Burke infamously popularized the term in Toronto. The worst example of swapping skill for muscle in franchise history came back in the late-1980s.

As the Leafs slipped into the Harold Ballard-led purgatory days in the early 80s, they were frequently landing picks towards the top of the NHL entry draft each summer. One of those picks was used on a speedy winger from British Columbia named Russ Courtnall, who the Leafs grabbed with the seventh-overall pick in 1983.
After using three-consecutive top picks on defencemen (Gary Nyland in 1983, Jim Benning in 1982, and Craig Muni in 1981), the Leafs needed an influx of high-end talent up front, so they went with Courtnall. He was coming off of a season in which he posted 97 points in 60 games for the Victoria Cougars of the WHL and appeared to be close to NHL ready.
The following season, Courtnall posted 66 points in 32 games for the Cougars, 13 points in seven games for Canada at the World Juniors, and 12 points in 14 games for the Leafs. Courtnall quickly established himself as a quality offensive talent, breaking the 20-goal …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation