John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs News & Notes: May 29, 2014

The Toronto Marlies’ poor shot differential has finally caught up to them (stop me if you’ve heard this one before) as they’ve lost their last two games in the Calder Cup Western Conference Final to the Texas Stars. The Stars won 3-2 last night and now have a 2-1 series lead. The Marlies will look to rebound at home tonight for Game 4, which gets underway at 7 p.m. local time. Jeff Veillette of The LeafsNation has last night’s recap.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a few high-end offensive forwards (Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk, Joffrey Lupul, Nazem Kadri) but not very many are defensively responsible. J.P. Nikota of Pension Plan Puppets displays an example from last season of Kadri being “soft on the boards” in the defensive zone (something that happens all too often with the forwards on this team), and how the Leafs need to improve in this regard to become a more balanced squad.

Free agency is still a little over a month away, but it’s never too early to try and target some players the Leafs could sign to shore up their depth and fill some holes in the lineup. James Onusko of Bleacher Report shares the four areas he thinks the Leafs need to improve in 2014-15, and who they might be able to add in free agency to do it.

Toronto Maple Leafs assistant general manager Dave Poulin’s name always seems to pop up whenever NHL GM jobs are available. Would it be a smart move for another team to snatch him from the Leafs’ front office? Jonathan Willis of the Edmonton Journal doesn’t think so.

The 2014 NHL Draft Combine is going on this week in Toronto. Nick Ritchie, a big left-winger from the Peterborough Petes and Orangeville, Ontario, is a player projected to go in the top 10 of the draft. Could he be a fit for the Leafs at eighth overall? Michael Traikos of the National Post profiles Ritchie and has more on the type of testing these prospects are participating in this week.

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Tags: Dave Poulin Nazem Kadri Nick Ritchie Toronto Maple Leafs

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