John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs News & Notes: April 30, 2014

Toronto Maple Leafs centre Tyler Bozak had a breakout year offensively. Is his success likely to continue next season? Cam Charron of The LeafsNation shares why he thinks it won’t, and therefore, now is the time to sell high on Bozak.

James Onusko of Bleacher Report shares his list of unrestricted free agent defensemen the Leafs should consider signing this offseason. I would add Anton Stralman and Mark Fayne to this list. There will be plenty of opportunities for the Leafs to upgrade their ailing defense if they choose to pursue them, something they didn’t do last offseason and ended up paying dearly for.

Prospects Frederik Gauthier, Carter Verhaeghe, Fabrice Herzog, Viktor Loov and Connor Brown all joined the Toronto Marlies for their playoff run to get a taste of professional hockey. It’s unlikely any of them will see any game action, but most of them will be with the Marlies next season, so hopefully this crash course will do them some good. The story is from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star.

Mike Augello of HockeyBuzz continues his postseason grades series with his evaluation of general manager Dave Nonis. While Nonis made some smart moves last offseason (trading for Jonathan Bernier and Dave Bolland, signing Mason Raymond and Paul Ranger to cheap contracts), the bad moves (letting Clarke MacArthur walk, buying out Mikhail Grabovski, signing David Clarkson to that gargantuan contract, trading for Tim Gleason) outweighed the good.

Goaltending prospect Antoine Bibeau had a huge Game 7 for the Val-d’Or Foreurs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last night, making 39 saves as his team upset the defending Memorial Cup-champion Halifax Mooseheads 3-2. The Leafs’ sixth-round pick in last year’s draft will lead his team in the QMJHL Final against the Baie-Comeau Drakkar to battle for the right to represent the league in the Memorial Cup. Neate Sager of Yahoo! Buzzing The Net has the details.

The Florida Panthers made their second coaching change in less than a year, firing interim head coach Peter Horachek yesterday. General manager Dale Tallon said he hopes to sign a head coach with plenty of experience at the NHL level. If the Leafs fire Randy Carlyle (which seems less and less likely every day, unfortunately), he would likely be a top candidate for the Panthers job. The report is from Sun Wire Services.

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Tags: Antoine Bibeau Dave Nonis Toronto Maple Leafs Toronto Marlies Tyler Bozak

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