The Toronto Maple Leafs are almost back, baby!
With the preseason winding down, 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.
With so many stories hitting the wall all at once, it’s easy to lose a few in the shuffle. So, please enjoy this roundup of this week’s notable pieces.
Meet Gritty, The NHL’s Scariest Mascot
Who doesn’t love Gritty? The orange fuzzed animal from Philadelphia has weaved its way into the hearts of fans everywhere, thanks to some googly eyes and a vaguely inebriated demeanour.
For those who haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting Gritty, Hunter introduces you all to the NHL’s most lovable and terrifying mascot.
“Physically, Gritty has many noticeable features that will be making their way into your nightmares tonight. There’s the smile, which may not sound unusual for a mascot but the wide open hole on the mascot’s face could be used to swallow children whole and suck out souls like a Dementor in ‘Harry Potter’. It doesn’t say “Look how happy I am!”, it screams “Look how tasty you are!”.
The eyes are what stick out to me. Not the bulging of the eyes necessarily, although the eyes stick out so far that you can see them when he looks up, but the movement of them. They move and loop around every time he takes a step. They honestly look like the eyes of Judge Doom in the finale of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”. The way they move is just an unsettling sight, like how people are afraid that jello can wiggle on its own.”
How the Toronto Maple Leafs Should Handle the 2019 Offseason
It’s never too early to look ahead, even when we technically haven’t yet exited the 2018 offseason. Boy, the preseason is way too long.
Michael plans for the future, outlining exactly what the game plan should be twelve months from today.
“At the time of writing, the Leafs have roughly $13 million in cap space, which is bound to change once William Nylander signs his extension. Assuming he is given a $6.5 million contract, which I think is a fair value, this leaves the team with just under $7 million in cap room.
In theory, the salary cap doesn’t seem like much of an issue since having that room allows flexibility to make a move at the trade deadline for any upgrades. Here’s the thing though, the Leafs will likely see their cap space number dwindle because of two looming contract extensions needed.”
Are the Toronto Maple Leafs Stanley Cup Contenders?
Dare we say it? The Leafs have looked mighty darn good through the early stages of the preseason, and fan expectations are sky high.
Matt asks the question on everyone’s mind; can the Leafs contend for the Cup?
“Just three short years ago, one of the league’s most historic franchises, the Toronto Maple Leafs, hit an all-time low. The Leafs won a league-low 29 games, finishing last, earning the right to draft Auston Matthews with the first overall pick. Since that fateful day, the Leafs have continued to improve, making the playoffs in two straight seasons.
Now, heading into the 2018-2019 NHL season, there is no doubt that expectations are high in Toronto. The club’s core of young offensively gifted forwards have another year of experience under their belts, Frederik Anderson has proved he is one of the best netminders in the league, and the club signed John Tavares to a massive contract.
With that being said, should Leafs Nation start planning the parade route, or will Torontonians have to wait yet another year to celebrate?”
Mitch Marner, Meet Art Ross
Forget future cap hits for a moment. Can we all just enjoy how good Mitch Marner is? He’s decimated the preseason, forming a formidable duo with John Tavares that appears destined to terrorize the NHL for years to come.
James sets the bar even higher, wondering if Marner could reach the upper echelon of the league and capture some hardware. What do you think? Give it a read.
“Mitch Marner is not a defenseman. He is a right-winger. But I think he has a pretty good chance of winning this year’s Art Ross Trophy.
A) He plays with John Tavares, B) he is himself insanely talented and C) he will be the third and sometimes fourth player on the Leafs other teams are concerned with.
This should allow him to put up massive amounts of points.
Last year Marner scored 3.08 points per 60 minutes (all situations). That was 27th best in the NHL and, coincidentally, the same rate Tavares put up. This year they should improve each other’s numbers and face easier competition, so the sky is the limit.
For context, Marner’s 3.08 is just behind Sidney Crosby’s 3.15 and Alex Ovechkin’s 3.16. If you hit 3.5, you crack the top ten.”
Thanks for reading! The regular season is days away, so keep your eyes peeled to EIL for more tantalizing content.