Throwback Thursday: This week in 2002, Ed Belfour makes Maple Leafs debut recording a shutout

Welcome back to another edition of Throwback Thursday! 

This week in 2002 (Oct. 10), Ed Belfour made his debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs recording a shutout.
He had signed with the Leafs the July prior and was looking to rebound after a brutal season with the Dallas Stars — and that’s exactly what he did. He got off to a hot start in that first game as he stopped 33 shots en route to shutting out the Pittsburgh Penguins.
While he had a “rough” October recording a .909 save percentage, he blew the doors off the rest of the year. Playing in 62 games, he posted a 37-20-5 record with a .922 save percentage.
Over those three years in Toronto, he put up the best numbers of his career. He posted a 93-61-15 record and a .912 save percentage.
Belfour spent two more years in Toronto, before playing one season in Flordia prior to retiring.
On Twitter: @zjlaing
 

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

Throwback Thursday: This week in 2018, John Tavares scores first hat trick with Toronto Maple Leafs

Welcome back to another edition of Throwback Thursday!

This week in 2018 (Oct. 7), John Tavares scored his first hat trick as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Leafs squared up with Chicago that night in what ended up being a 7-6 barn burner.
Four goals were scored in the first frame that night with Jonathan Toews and Alex DeBrincat scoring the first two goals of the game. Toronto bounced back as Kasperi Kapanen and Auston Matthews scored before the frame ended.
In the second, it was the Tavares show. At the 3:56 mark he scored an even-strength goal before potting a powerplay tally five minutes later at the 7:37 mark.
His third goal of the game came in the third period scoring at the 9:29 mark. His third tally, seen in a Mike Commito gif below, was a snipe from the left faceoff circle.
On Twitter: @zjlaing

On this day in 2018, John Tavares recorded his first hat trick as a member of the Maple Leafs #Hockey365 #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/GeZ6t8mBiU
— Mike Commito (@mikecommito) October 7, 2020

 

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

Page 6ix Wednesday, October 7th: Free Agent Frenzy And More

Hello, gossip/drama lovers. Welcome to yet another busy week in the world of hockey soap operas. As the draft approached and free agency drew nearer, there seemed to be a ton of drama dust kicked up. Let’s take a look, shall we?
Leafs Land
This week was a relatively quiet one in the world of the Leafs, save for the draft. As you likely know, with their first round pick (acquired in the Kasperi Kapanen trade), the Leafs drafted 19 year old Russian winger, Rodion Amirov. (I was pulling for the first round goalie, but this adorable kitten-saving Russian will do.) This choice predictably divided Leafs nation, but the details of that division are best saved for another post.
However, there was some fun to be had, as beloved Maple Leafs Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly were on hand to announce the pick, and Mo was rocking quite the magical mustache.

pic.twitter.com/IbB3QyDCbh
— Jacqueline Taylor (@jxcquelineoh) October 7, 2020

Could the inclusion of these two players signal a deeper message, perhaps about the loyalty the front office feels to them, with constant chatter about who might be traded? And where was captain John Tavares?
Free Agency Fun
Elsewhere, …

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Author: MerOutLoud / The Leafs Nation

Prospect Roundup: Lehtonen on fire, Leafs earn letters

Welcome to the first installment of TLN’s newest feature, Prospect Roundup, where we will be keeping tabs on Leafs prospects throughout the year. With the NHL draft just around the corner, the Leafs are set to add a fresh new crop of prospects to their system but there are already a handful of potential future Leafs playing meaningful hockey games as several European leagues have gotten their seasons underway. So, without further ado…
 
Egor Korshkov – RW – Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (KHL)
With uncertainty surrounding the status of the next NHL season, never mind the next AHL season, the Leafs loaned Korshkov back to his former KHL squad to get him into some games as he prepares for his next NHL training camp. The former second round pick is off to a hot start with his old team, racking up three goals and three assists through eight contests thus far.

My goodness… YEGOR KORSHKOV! pic.twitter.com/y9NAR2EnLP
— KHL (@khl_eng) September 29, 2020

After a bit of an up and down first season in North America, it can only be good for Korshkov’s confidence that he’s producing at the KHL level. He provides a different element than most of …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Throwback Thursday: This week in 1997, Toronto Maple Leafs make Mats Sundin first European captain in franchise history

Welcome back to another edition of Throwback Thursday!

This week in 1997 (Sept. 30), the Toronto Maple Leafs made Mats Sundin their first European captain and the 16th in franchise history.
Sundin, who becomes captain of a franchise whose previous owner, Harold Ballard, tried to prevent the Soviets from playing at Maple Leaf Gardens, was asked yesterday whether the appointment will bring added pressure.
“They keep saying that,” Sundin said with a laugh. “Obviously, there’s going to be a lot of things asked from me, not only on the ice but off the ice as well.
“But I like it. I think I perform better under pressure.” – the Ottawa Citizen, Oct. 1, 1997
Sundin, who joined the organization two years prior in the historic Wendel Clark deal with the Quebec Nordiques, held onto the captaincy until he left the Leafs in 2008.
In his first year with the ‘C’ on his chest, he scored 33 goals and 74 points in 82 games for the Leafs. Over the course of his 13 year Leafs career, Sundin scored 420 goals and 987 points in 981 games. In the playoffs, Sundin scored 32 goals and 70 points in 77 games for the Leafs.
On Twitter: @zjlaing
 

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

With the 15th overall pick the Leafs are proud to select… Braden Schneider?

Welcome to the first of what will be a month long look at potential first round candidates for the Leafs, assuming they hold onto their pick. The TLN writing crew will dissect the first couple of rounds and see who we can land on to help improve the Leafs prospect depth that has dwindled from the glory days of Marner, Nylander, Kapanen, and Matthews, but still isn’t too shabby with players like Robertson, Liljegren, Sandin, and Korshkov all close to being able to make an impact in the NHL. Our first player in the series is one that checks some boxes for Leafs fans, as he’s a right shooting, physical defenseman who already has NHL size.
Today we’ll look at Braden Schneider, a right handed defenseman from the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Schneider’s vitals are part of his selling point for many, as he’s 6’2, 210 lbs, and shoots rights. That checks a lot of boxes for Leafs fans who have worried about the undersized blueline, and the Leafs inability to find anyone who can slot in on the right side. Schneider being one of the older first year eligible players in …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Throwback Thursday: This week in 2003, Toronto Maple Leafs name John Ferguson Jr. general manager

Welcome back to another edition of Throwback Thursday! 

This week in 2003 (Aug. 29), the Toronto Maple Leafs hired John Ferguson Jr. as the 12th general manager in franchise history.
He inherited a good team from Pat Quinn, but the Leafs took backwards steps every year Ferguson Jr. was managing the team. Despite a first season that saw the Leafs put up 103 points placing second in the Northeast division, the Leafs struggled in the playoffs.
While they beat the Ottawa Senators in seven games in the first round, the Leafs bowed out to the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round in six games.
They narrowly missed the playoffs with a 90 point season in 2005-06 and Ferguson relieved Quinn of his duties behind the bench in favour of Paul Maurice. Ferguson’s third season, 2006-07, saw the Leafs come out with another 91 point season and were a far shot from a highly competitive playoff season.
In his fourth and final year, the Leafs struggled mightily winning 36 of 82 games with an 83 point season. It spelt the end of not only Ferguson in the GM role but Maurice behind the bench too.
Ferguson didn’t make many trades in his time manning …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

Two Leafs make their way onto the TSN Trade Bait Board

Welcome to Speculatember. All speculation, all the time. Okay, that will be a little much and get old quick, but in reality there is going to be a lot of noise around the Leafs over the next month, given that the Kapanen trade has already happened.
To kick things off, TSN has unveiled their Trade Bait Board, and of the 20 names on it, two are Leafs.
17. Andreas Johnsson
This really does come as much of a surprise, as the Leafs have capable wingers willing to work for cheap in the form of Robertson, Barabanov, and Korshkov. Replacing Johnsson and Kapanen with cheap entry level deal players that at the very least will be able to cover off the underwhelming 2019-20 seasons of Kapanen and Johnsson and at best match their 2018-19 career best years, seems like a no brainer.
Johnsson probably isn’t going to land the Leafs a mid-1st round pick, but there’s a good chance that he could be part of a worthwhile package for an area of need for the Leafs.
19. Frederik Andersen
I really feels like we’re past the point of no return with Andersen returning to the Leafs. There …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Throwback Thursday: Today in 1973, Toronto Maple Leafs hire Red Kelly as head coach

Welcome back to another edition of Throwback Thursday! 
Today in 1973, the Toronto Maple Leafs hired Red Kelly as the clubs head coach.
Kelly, 46, joined the Leafs six years after he retired from the club as a player. It was a long career as a player for Kelly, who spent 20 years with Detroit and the Leafs.
In Toronto, he scored 119 goals and 351 points in 470 games, a big feat considering he transitioned from a defenceman in Detroit to a center with the Leafs.
The eight-time cup winner had his most successful time as a coach with the Leafs following the previous stint with Pittsburgh and Los Angeles.
Over four seasons, the posted a 133-123-62 record as the Leafs bench boss taking the club into the playoffs each year. Their longest playoff run came in 1976 when they topped the Penguins in the first round before losing to the Flyers in game seven in the second round.
Kelly was fired after the 1977 season-ending a 30-year tenure at ice level in the NHL.
On Twitter: @zjlaing

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

Throwback Thursday: This week in 1985, Toronto Maple Leafs sign Marian Stastny

Welcome back to another edition of Throwback Thursday! 

This week in 1985 (Aug. 12), the Toronto Maple Leafs signed Marian Stastny.
Marian spent only one-year playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs scoring 23 goals and 53 points in 70 games. He joined his younger brother, Peter Stastny, in Quebec starting in 1981-82 and spent four years there before moving to Toronto.
All in all, Marian saw good success during his five-year career. Over 322 games, he scored 121 goals and 294 total points.
His year with the Leafs saw a great rebound year after a tough 85-86 season with Quebec, but Toronto was unable to get out of the first round and Marian was held off the scoresheet.
His brother, Peter, had a much longer career having left the Czech league for the NHL in 1980. Peter was a superstar for the Nordiques with multiple 100-point seasons. Peter played 15 years in his hall of fame career scoring 450 goals and 1239 points in 977 games. His sons, Yan and Paul, both had long NHL careers too.
On Twitter: @zjlaing

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation