It’s just been one game but…

No one wants to deal with overreactions to one game, especially a game that going in we knew was going to be sloppy. Players were rushed into the season, without a single preseason game and it wasn’t surprising that last night looked like a highly skilled version of a peewee house league game.
Still, overreacting is what we do as Leafs fans and there were certainly a few things to react to.

Freddie Andersen doesn’t have our confidence. With the reminder that the whole thing here is acknowledging that it was just one game, Andersen had a shaky end to last regular season, and didn’t inspire a lot of confidence in the Leafs brief return to play in the summer. Giving up four goals in his first game back, include a few that were stoppable, but either trickled through him or resulting from poor positioning, no one should be shocked that people want to see more of Jack Campbell, and see more of him soon.The good news is that with a back to back this weekend we’ll get our wish and Campbell will make his 2021 debut. It also wouldn’t be surprising to have Aaron …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

It’s probably time to send Rasmus Sandin down

I’m assuming this is something that no one wants to hear. I’m also assuming that sending Sandin down when Martin Marincin is sitting right there isn’t something that agrees with you, but hear me out. There’s some reasoning behind this, and it’s not the usual, “if you are only going to play him 10 minutes a night” nonsense either. Playing 10 minutes a night in the NHL is probably a lot better for Sandin than playing 20 minutes a night in the AHL. The bigger issue is those 10 minutes a night haven’t gone particularly well.
I went into this year wanting to view how Sandin does, game by game, and the results are below…
data from NaturalStattrick.com, game 54 xGF% should read 48.12
A few takeaways from this is the number of different partners Sandin has had over the season. He’s played a lot with Ceci, Barrie, and Liljegren under Sheldon Keefe, and primarily Marincin and Holl under Babcock. At no point was he given the chance to play with Dermott, Rielly, or Muzzin in a significant way, but that’s not really surprising given that …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Nobody wants to pitch to Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

No pitcher wants to become a footnote in the story of Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s career. Nobody wants to have their name as the answer to this eventual Jeopardy question: “Which Major League pitcher gave up Vladdy’s first big league home run?”
After one week in the big leagues, five games, Vladdy’s received only a handful of pitches to hit. Through 18 at-bats, he’s been fed nothing but a steady diet of breaking balls. It shouldn’t come as much surprise that opponents are cautiously pitching to Guerrero, but the sheer lack of hittable pitches is noteworthy.
While he’s given a ride to a few pitches thus far, Guerrero has yet to really get ahold of a ball. During his very first game in Toronto, he mis-hit a ball to the warning track. The hardest hit ball of his career remains that 106.8 MPH ground out to first base in his MLB debut.
Everyone’s patiently waiting for Vladdy to display his light-tower power from double-A and triple-A, but the kid needs a pitch to hit, first. Pitchers around the league don’t want their namesake associated with allowing the first home run of Guerrero’s career.
He’ …

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Author: Ian Hunter / Blue Jays Nation

Kadri will either head into the 2019-20 season with a new home or a redemption story arc

I’m not sure if Nazem Kadri wants a mulligan on all of the 2018-19 season, but I’m sure he’d appreciate the do-over on his short lived playoff appearance.
Kadri didn’t have a great season, and that was to be somewhat expected simply based on his reduced role. The arrival of John Tavares meant that Kadri was going to be bumped to a third line role, and get the accompanying linemates that go along with that. Throw in the fact that William Nylander wasn’t available until December, Patrick Marleau’s performance fell off a cliff, and any expectation of maintaining a 30 goal a season pace of the past two seasons wasn’t likely.
That’s not to say that Kadri had a bad season (just a miserable playoffs), and the fact that he was a 44 point forward on the third line probably points to a lot of good hockey still being left in Nazem. The biggest question might be where Kadri will be playing that hockey.
Season recap:
Okay, so really there is only one thing we’re going to remember from this year and that is for the second straight season Kadri was suspended for …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation