It’s only been six games… of the same old habits.

I think there’s merit to both sides of the arguments being presented by a fractured and discordant Leafs fan base right now. On one hand, yes, this team is due for a reversal of fortune. On the other hand, these 2021-22 Leafs have not given us much indication that they have learned from past mistakes. In fact, both sides could be right.
The fact of the matter is that the Leafs will score again, likely in bunches, and with that will come winning. They won’t continue to shoot a second-worst 5.7% in all situations. Their chance-generation volume is simply too high to remain uncapitalized upon. Their powerplay should inch back up towards a top-10 proficiency rate (~22%). Mitch Marner will snap out of his funk, John Tavares will break the apparent hex that has been placed upon him, Auston Matthews will probably still score 50 goals, and Jake Muzzin and TJ Brodie will find their legs after slow starts. Everything won’t continue to go wrong at the same time.
When the inevitable bounce-back happens, one cohort of the fanbase will gleefully say “I told you so”, feeling vindicated they have played the percentages correctly.
But will those goals and regular …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

This year the Toronto Maple Leafs are playing an 82 game long preseason

Take a moment to think about what a successful season for the Toronto Maple Leafs looks like this year. If the team dominates the regular season, winning the Presidents Trophy and setting all sorts of records but then once again fall in the first round of the playoffs, would anyone consider that a successful year? Even if the team went 82-0 during the season but once again got eliminated in game seven of the first round, would that be considered an achievement or would it only add to the team’s legacy of choking when it matters most?
Similarly, imagine if those same Toronto Maple Leafs struggled throughout the season, finished fourth in their division and barely made the playoffs only to finally slay the dragon and not just advance past the first round but perhaps go on the deepest playoff run this team has seen since The Scorpion King was in theatres. There’s little doubt that it would be seen as by far the most successful Leafs season in the salary cap era, and everyone would soon forget about the struggles of the regular season.
It’s become painfully clear that what happens this regular season doesn’t …

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Author: Filipe Dimas / The Leafs Nation

Burning Question: Can a Campbell-Mrazek tandem really work?

Think back to last season. The Leafs had a few problems to work through, just a few that come to mind were their penalty kill, being aggressive on the ice, winning a Game 7, and of course, goaltending. The question that often popped up when it came to their goalie situation was, will Frederik Andersen play his heart out and leave it all on the ice, or will he completely blow it up and not hold it down between the pipes. When it came to Jack Campbell, we wondered, was he ready, is he experienced enough? (Spoiler: He was!)
Now let’s look ahead to the upcoming season. Andersen has been traded to the Carolina Hurricanes, and the Leafs signed Petr Mrzaek to join Toronto’s new favourite, Jack Campbell. Mrazek spent most of the 2020-2021 season injured, but for the games he did play, he posted a 6-2-3 record including three shutouts. Based on those numbers, it seems hopeful, but can a Campbell-Mrazek goalie tandem really work?
It’s difficult to directly compare each goalie’s performance last season due to the shortened season, realignment of divisions, and a variety of injuries, but let’s look at some of …

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Author: Roxanne Khasow / The Leafs Nation

TLN Top 20 Leafs: #1 Auston Matthews

Come on, did you think it would be anyone else?
Since the day he was selected first overall in the 2016 NHL draft, Auston Matthews has been the face of the Leafs through every triumph and heartbreak. He set the tone for a new era in his first game by scoring four goals in an overtime loss and then proceeded to smash franchise records and add to his trophy cabinet. Toronto’s hockey team has been a competitive bunch for the last half-decade thanks in no small part to the play of the guy who was recently named to represent his country in the 2022 Olympics.
Of course, there is the caveat that all five years have ended in the same outcome and no clear signs that things are going to change for the better. Matthews has certainly proven his ability to turn up his game in the playoffs more often than not, but he is fresh off his worst showing yet and, alongside Mitch Marner, was the face of the team’s most recent collapse. So for better or for worse, the Leafs will only go as far as Matthews can take them, and that remains the case this time around …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

The 2021 Top 20 Leafs Prospects: #19 Joseph Woll

When you think of Joseph Woll, what do you know of him?
Some look at his 2017 World Junior Championship with USA, where he had two wins, a .934 save percentage and a gold medal. Others may dive deeper into his three seasons with Boston College, and the way he played there. But if you go back more recently, there’s his two seasons with the Toronto Marlies where Woll struggled to get his save percentage above .900.
However, this past season for him looked a little bit different, and I believe the numbers are telling a totally different story.
Position: G
Age: 23
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 203lbs
Drafted: #62 Overall in the 2016 NHL Draft by Toronto Maple Leafs
2020-21 Team: Toronto Marlies, AHL
2020 Prospect Ranking: #11
The 23-year-old spent last season moving up and down between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Marlies. It wasn’t because he was ready to be in the NHL, but mainly protection in case of any injuries (and the Leafs needed three goalies).
Woll eventually went back down to the Marlies, where again, he struggled to find a lot of playing time. As a whole, the Marlies iced eight goaltenders last season — some being prospects, one being Frederik Andersen, …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Nick Nurse sued by former agent over breach of contract

Toronto Raptors: Nick Nurse sued by former agent over breach of contract

Just when you think that the tsunami of bad luck that completely swallowed up the Toronto Raptors during their sabbatical in Tampa was on the verge of finally ending, head coach Nick Nurse, one of the bastions of stability on this team, was hit with a lawsuit. Warren LeGarie, a prominent agent with a client […]
Toronto Raptors: Nick Nurse sued by former agent over breach of contract – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

The Leafs should re-sign Zach Hyman the player, but the contract is probably where we see him part ways

I think a season or two ago, if you looked at the Leafs current pending free agents, you probably would have expected Frederik Andersen to be the big fish that the Leafs need to find that cap space to bring back. But, after another rough season from Freddie, and Zach Hyman emerging as a top six forward these past two seasons, it’s Hyman that many are scrambling to find a way to bring back next season.
The conversation about bringing back Hyman is probably the most unique one on the team, because there’s two completely different factors that can change anyone’s answer, and it makes it make sense to both keep him and let him go. He’s a great player, but once we start talking the kind of money and term it would take to bring him back, it makes it much harder to do so.
Player Breakdown
Of course, we can’t decide whether we want to bring him back if we don’t know what kind of player we’re bringing back. Of course, there’s one thing most Leafs know about with Zach Hyman: he’s a very good player, and was valuable …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

The Leafs Nation Playoff Prediction Poll

It’s a beautiful thing to think that by next week we’ll be watching playoff hockey. We just need to get through the last two nothing games without injury. There’s no 40 goal target on the line anymore, there’s no first in the division that needs to be clinched anymore, hopefully we just see the Leafs players get a bit of rest, and even if they aren’t sitting there is the benefit of only having two games this week, so that’s something.
Heading into the playoffs I thought I’d put out a survey to the TLN team get their predictions for how the playoffs will go. You’ll find the link the same poll at the bottom as it would be great to get some reader responses heading into the playoffs as well. For now, here are the questions and the responses.

It should be noted that the writers did have the option to select first or second round exits, but there was enough optimism in our group that sees the Leafs walk through the North Division. While I can’t count myself amongst the true optimists that see this as a cup winning year, …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leaflets: Some Leafs thoughts as we run out the final days of the regular season

I think the only hockey I dislike more than preseason hockey is the hockey played between the time that the Leafs clinch a playoff spot and the actual start of the playoffs. Other than Matthews hitting the 40 goal mark, there isn’t a storyline left, and we’re left collectively holding our breath whenever we see something like the Nick Foligno injury last night. At least with the preseason we’ve been deprived of hockey so long that we’ll take what we can get, but here we are 52 games down, and nothing left to do but clinch first in the North, which should happen soon. Anyways, here are some stray thoughts in the dog days of May.
Nick Foligno needs to sit
I don’t know the extent of his injury, whether he was held out precautionary, or whatever, but the time is now to get Foligno as close to 100% as possible before the playoffs. Shutting him down now would give him close to weeks to rest up for the playoffs, and even if he requires a game or two to start the playoffs off, I think you give it to him. There are plenty of players like Engvall …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

ALL ABOARD THE KIRK TRAIN (Alejandro Kirk as made the Blue Jays roster, along with Tim Mayza and Trent Thornton)

I don’t think this is that much of a surprise but it’s great to see the news — Alejandro Kirk, everyone’s favourite Large Adult Son, has cracked the Blue Jays opening day roster.

#BlueJays have told Alejandro Kirk, Trent Thornton, Tim Mayza and Rowdy Tellez that they’ve made the team.
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) March 28, 2021

We learned earlier this week that Jonathan Davis and Joe Panik will be on the team’s 26-man roster so, with the announcement that Kirk, Trent Thornton, and Tim Mayza breaking camp, we’re starting to get a pretty clear picture of the group the Blue Jays will carry into the season. Also, I have no idea why Rowdy Tellez, who has been a given all spring, was added to that tweet, but, anyways…
It’s pretty clear that Kirk is big-league-ready. The only question surrounding whether or not he would make the team was the fact that Reese McGuire is out of options and would be subject to waivers if he was sent to Triple-A. We know that the Blue Jays’ front office is conservative when it comes to asset management and they don’t want to lose a decent back-up like McGuire …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation