Toronto Maple Leafs: EIL Content Roundup September 17th

LUCAN, ON - SEPTEMBER 15: An interior view of the Lucan Community Memorial Centre Arena is seen in preparation for the NHL Kraft Hockeyville Canada Preseason Game between the Ottawa Senators and the Toronto Maple Leafs on September 15, 2018 in Lucan, Canada. (Photo by Nicole Osborne/NHLI via Getty Images)
LUCAN, ON - SEPTEMBER 15: An interior view of the Lucan Community Memorial Centre Arena is seen in preparation for the NHL Kraft Hockeyville Canada Preseason Game between the Ottawa Senators and the Toronto Maple Leafs on September 15, 2018 in Lucan, Canada. (Photo by Nicole Osborne/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs are back, baby!

With training camp in full swing, the Editor in Leaf staff has been working around the clock to bring you, our loyal readers, right into the middle of the action. Every angle has been covered, and every stone has been overturned.

As so many stories begin hitting the wall all at once, it’s easy to lose a few in the shuffle. So, please enjoy this roundup of a few of this week’s notable pieces.

Nikita Zaitsev Can Be An X-Factor

It’s probably safe to assume that Nikita Zaitsev isn’t too popular among Leaf fans right now, especially coming off his horrific showing over the bulk of last season. Then again, that may not be a fair assessment.

As Michael details in his piece, Zaitsev was significantly hampered by injury and illness in 2017-18 and may be poised to rebound in a big way.

Give it a read.

“After signing with the Leafs with a one-year contract during the summer of 2016, according to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, Zaitsev went on to have a solid rookie season all across the board.

He recorded 36 points, 11 assists on the power playa 49.38% Corsi-for (5v5) and averaged the most ice-time of any rookie player according to Following his impressive rookie season, the Leafs rewarded him with a 7-year, $4.5 million dollar contract as per Cap Friendly.

In his second season as a Leaf, Zaitsev vastly underperformed and the stats clearly show this.  He only registered 13 points, a 47.44% CF, and only appeared in 60 games due to injury (broken foot). His slump is further highlighted by this Player Traits chart and this GAR chart comparing the two seasons.”

Professor Pastrnak’s Salary Lesson

William Nylander still doesn’t have a contract, and until he does, fans will not stop speculating on what exactly it’s going to look like. It’s been a long summer, folks.

By far Nylander’s biggest and most frequent comparable comes in the form of Bruins winger, David Pastrnak, who shares both a draft year and similar playing style to the young Swede.

Here, Josh breaks down the ways Pastrnak could impact Nylander’s bottom line.

“Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander remains unsigned. Pastrnak was in a similar situation to Nylander not that long ago. After his 2016-17 regular season campaign, he was an RFA. Not only was he an RFA, but he had a tremendous year. In 75 games, he managed to score 34 goals and grab 36 assists.  He Nylander are very comparable players.

In addition, Pastrnak put up the second most points for the Bruins. His linemate, Brad Marchand tallied a few more points to lead the team. While he couldn’t get past Marchand’s point totals, it was truly an outstanding campaign for the Czech native. If you compare his production from 2016-17 to 2015-16, you’ll see a huge improvement.

Unfortunately for Bruins fans, they had to wait till September 14, 2017, for Pastrnak to finally sign a new contract. It was expected that Pastrnak would play hardball. After a 70 point season, he was able to ask for a tremendous amount of money.”

How the Karlsson Trade Affects the Leafs

The Ottawa Senators are a clown show on skates, a total embarrassment to the very sport of hockey and perhaps the most poorly run organization in professional sports.

Thankfully, they are also one of the Leafs’ direct rivals.

Because everything can eventually be drawn back to Toronto, Hunter examines just how exactly the Erik Karlsson trade impacts the blue and white. Check it out.

“Erik Karlsson has played in 627 games, all for the Sens. He has 518 points, the fourth most in franchise history for a defenseman, with 195 being scored on the power play. He has a 4.8% career relative Corsi, averages over 25 minutes on the ice each night, has blocked 887 shots, is a four-time All-Star and had 35 points in 36 games against the Maple Leafs.

So the Toronto Maple Leafs should count it as a blessing that they only have to play Karlsson twice a year now instead of 4 times.

The Leafs now play a rebuilding Sens squad that lacks elite talent and have far too many question marks on defence. With the offence the Leafs have, that should be four easy wins on the schedule while they make a run for the Stanley Cup.”

The Leafs Need a Better Babcock

Look, I love Mike Babcock, you love Mike Babcock, everyone (except Mike Commodore) loves Mike Babcock. But you can’t deny that the coach has made some puzzling decisions during his time behind the Leafs’ bench.

As it stands now, the Leafs have all the talent in the world to succeed and break into the NHL’s upper echelon. What they need now is a coach who can allow them to make it happen.

James breaks down the ways Babcock will need to improve to get the most out of his team.

“In my opinion, he gives veterans too much rope and is too hard on young players.  Take Hainsey and Marleau.  Both should be down further in the lineup based on any kind of statistical analysis.  And why even rock the boat with Matthews?  Why limit his ice-time?

Last year, his team was terrible at defence and he always sat his best defensive player – Connor Carrick – in favour of his absolute worst – Roman Polak.

He limited Matthews’ and Nylander’s PP time.  He overplayed Hainsey at 5v5 and on the PK.

He stuck with Martin and Komarov long after it was clear Kapanen and Johnsson where better options.

I could go on.”

Next. All Time Best Draft Picks. dark

Thanks for reading!

Be sure to keep your eyes peeled to Editor in Leaf as we head into the preseason.