MAIL CALL: McDavid vs. Matthews, Nylander feelings, goaltenders of the future, and taking a mulligan

It’s time to answer some more questions, from you, our valued readers. I have to say I’m extra appreciate this week as we’ve received four great questions that allow us to take a deep dive into our Leafs feelings. So let’s get at it.

Why is Matthews better than McDavid and Draisaitl?
— Bandwagon Leafs Fan (@hockeyphreak) February 21, 2021

Michael Mazzei: He is not better than McDavid, actually no player is better than McDavid. When it comes to Draisaitl, then I think you have a legitimate argument to make because the two players are pretty comparable. I will say that it’s been a lot of fun watching the Canadian Divisions top dogs put on a show.
Mark Norman: Matthews is for sure a more complete player than either of McDavid or Draisaitl, but he hasn’t touched McDavid or Draisaitl’s career highs in points yet. Let’s see what he can do this year, although it looks like McDavid has an entirely new gear this season. If Matthews were as prolific as McDavid or Draisaitl on the powerplay, this would be a tougher discussion. McDavid > Matthews > Draisaitl.
Scott Maxwell: Going into this season, I …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

An Ode to Auston Matthews

By the time the final seconds ticked off the clock in the Maple Leafs Saturday night victory over the Montreal Canadiens, Auston Matthews had accomplished something that no other Maple Leafs player had done in nearly a century.

Auston Matthews is the first player with 18 goals in the #Leafs first 19 team games of a season since Babe Dye in 1924-25
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) February 21, 2021

What Auston Matthews is doing right now, sitting comfortably as the NHL’s sole leader in goals and ranked amongst the league’s leaders in points, is flat out ridiculous. It has been nothing short of a privilege to watch Matthews dominate night in and night out, and with eight points in his last two games, it truly feels like everything the 23-year-old touches turns to gold. The Maple Leafs have had a lot of really special players in their history. My dad cheered for the likes of Darryl Sittler and Lanny McDonald during the 70s, the 90s were defined by the heart of Dougie Gilmour and the tenacity of Wendel Clark, and more recently the likes of Mats Sundin and Phil Kessel have stood out as the faces of their respective Maple Leaf clubs. Toronto …

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Author: Jori Negin-Shecter / The Leafs Nation

Leafs look to increase division lead in first visit to Montreal

For the first time since opening night, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens go head-to-head in a battle of the top two teams in the North Division. After closing out their three-game set against the Vancouver Canucks with a 3-1 win on Monday, the Leafs are on an eight-game point streak, going 7-0-1 in that stretch, positioning themselves in the top spot in the North heading into Wednesday night’s game. Unfortunately for the Leafs, the Canadiens have been nearly as hot, having gone 7-2-1 in their last ten and sitting a mere three points back of Toronto in second place.
The Leafs look to rebound from a game against Vancouver which was arguably their worst of the season to date. While the Leafs managed to return to form late, putting the game away with a strong third period, they entered the final frame on the wrong end of a twenty shot differential, being outshot by the lowly Canucks 27-7. While many may view Montreal’s hot start as a product of unsustainable shooting percentages, both at 5v5 and shorthanded, there is little doubt that if any team is going to threaten Toronto for the division …

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Author: Brian Reid / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: The long road to the 2020-21 playoffs

Toronto Raptors: The long road to the 2020-21 playoffs

It’s been a long time since the Toronto Raptors have been at risk of missing the playoffs. Typically at this point in the season, the Raps have solidified themselves as one of the best teams in the conference and are beginning to joust for home-court, but that has not been the case in 2021. For […]
Toronto Raptors: The long road to the 2020-21 playoffs – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Kyle Oliveira / Raptors HQ

Are we finally changing the way we feel about the Leafs defense?

For as long as I can remember there hasn’t been a time Leafs fans have felt comfortable with their defense. Well that’s not true, I do have a hazy recollection of the early 2000s and feeling somewhat confident in the performances of Dmitri Yushkevich, and Danil Markov. Or maybe I just miss defensemen who hit everything. Either way, it’s safe to say there was over a decade worth of Leafs hockey were the blueline made us feel bad. Even the first few games of this season had left us with some question marks, but here we after two decisive wins against the Canucks, and maybe minds have been changed and we like what we see. It’s in this spirit that I’ve asked the TLN writers for their takes on the Leafs blueline, the hotter their takes the better.
Michael Mazzei:
Get used to Zach Bogosian because there’s a good chance he’ll be sticking around past the 2021 season. Why I say that is because while his offensive upside is limited, his value in the defensive end and physical play style is a much needed addition to the blueline. Sure he had a rough going …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: Chris Boucher’s stellar performance not enough as Toronto loses to the Hawks

Raptors: Chris Boucher’s stellar performance not enough as Toronto loses to the Hawks

The Toronto Raptors had no time to rest after a controversial win against the Brooklyn Nets. On the second night of a back-to-back, Toronto was unable to come away with the victory against the Atlanta Hawks, snapping their 3 game win streak. Nick Nurse’s squad just seemed a step slow but was able to remain competitive […]
Raptors: Chris Boucher’s stellar performance not enough as Toronto loses to the Hawks – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Nickeem Khan / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors: Top 5 best individual seasons of all-time

Toronto Raptors: Top 5 best individual seasons of all-time

The Toronto Raptors are embarking on a period and time where they seem to be in rebuild mode starting this season. The Raptors have made up some ground, but their 2-8 start has Pascal Siakam’s team on the outside looking in with regards to the playoff picture. Kawhi Leonard isn’t walking through that door anytime […]
Toronto Raptors: Top 5 best individual seasons of all-time – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

Mail Call! Leafs defenseman as a forward? Who to watch on the Toronto Six and more…

It’s mail time again. That magical time of the week when we rely on our readers to help us come up with ideas for our content. We had quite a few interesting questions today, so let’s get right at them…

What do you think of playing Morgan Rielly as a forward rather than trading for one?
— David Mac Isaac (@tie_domi10) January 25, 2021

Jon: I think back to my early days of being a Jets 1.0 fan, and how they lacked forward depth, so they’d use Phil Housley as a forward on the power play. Given that Rielly is in many ways similar to Housley, in that he’s a speedy puck carrier/distributor lacking a heavy shot, and has questionable defensive abilities, I’m not opposed to the idea, in theory, but in practice I think he’s better off on the blueline.
The Leafs aren’t so deep defensive, that Rielly wouldn’t still be considered one of the top six options covering his own zone. He’s also one of the best at moving the puck out of his zone once the Leafs have possession. I get that Rielly is frustrating at times, but really, where …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs Prospect Roundup: Niemela out of action, Miettinen taking over, Rindell running hot

It’s been a long time coming but NHL hockey is finally back. There has been plenty of focus on the new additions to the team and how the Leafs will construct their lineup within the limitations of the salary cap with the team only able to carry a 21 man roster. Their decision to keep Aaron Dell on the roster as the third goaltender to start the season has relegated offseason acquisition Mikko Lehtonen to the taxi squad along with top prospect Nicholas Robertson. While Leafs fans await the season debuts of two of the most enticing new faces on the team, there is plenty to talk about for some players lower on the organizational depth chart.
Rodion Amirov – LW/RW – Salavat Yulaev Ufa (KHL)
Amirov has returned to his KHL team after a strong showing at the World Juniors for Russia. He has played three games since rejoining Ufa and has been deployed as the right winger on their third line alongside veterans Vladislav Kartayev and Dmitri Kugryshev. He has been held off the scoreboard thus far but has fired 10 shots on goal while playing close to 15 minutes per game. His role will be something worth monitoring as there …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Leafs make their roster cuts

It’s that magical time during training camp, it’s cut day. The Leafs have slashed away at their roster and we now have a bit of an idea of who will be the roster and the taxi squad based on these moves.

Maple Leafs trim training camp roster. #LeafsForever
Details >> https://t.co/Lqu1dWz7wh pic.twitter.com/HfMEj5vVYm
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) January 11, 2021

So the Leafs are still sitting at 15 forwards, 8 defensemen, and 3 goaltenders. From that we can based on the allowed roster size and the Leafs cap situation the Leafs have their taxi squad and roster embedded in this group.
Presumably 21 of these players will be main roster, and either 4 or 5 of them will be on the taxi squad, depending on whether or not Alexander Kerfoot is on the injured reserve.
The surprises here might be that Adam Brooks is part of this group instead of Pierre Engvall, a player that Sheldon Keefe essentially called out following the Leafs Blue and White game on the weekend. Brooks certainly stood out, picking up a goal (as did Engvall), but there’s also this…

Keefe also noted of Engvall’s goal: “I think it might be …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation