The Toronto Maple Leafs are back, baby!
The regular season is finally upon us, and the Editor in Leaf staff have 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, enjoy this roundup of this week’s notable pieces.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Frederik Gauthier Needs to Go
Frederik Gauthier is in the midst of his fourth true audition to prove himself capable of playing in the NHL. Since being selected in the first round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Gauthier has gone on to play 7 games in 2015-16, a whopping 21 in 2016-17, another 9 in 2017-18, and, of course, 7 this year.
At a certain point, the writing is bound to end up on the wall.
Gauthier had actually looked far better so far than most fans had predicted in his most recent sting, anchoring a scantily used Leafs fourth line to relatively mixed results. Is he an NHLer? Maybe. Should he be one for this team? Probably not.
Give the piece below a read to see why.
“Gauthier has played seven games. Three of those he subbed in for Tyler Ennis, and four of those times he subbed in for Andreas Johnsson. (Hard to believe, but Babcock really made this decision more than once).
Andreas Johnsson was a late-season call-up away from winning the AHL scoring title and his misuse has been Babcock’s biggest failure this season. Sure, maybe he didn’t have his best stuff, but given his talent and import to the team, playing him with players that might actually bring out his skill should be the goal here, not just punishing him in the hope that he “learns.”
To sit Andreas Johnsson (or Ennis for that matter) for Gauthier is bizarre. Par Lindholm is OK, but he’s done nothing to elevate himself to the third line other than exist (Babcock is just obviously trying to get Kadri some puck-luck).”
Toronto Maple Leafs: The Marlies Need Rasmus Sandin
I normally don’t ever promote my own stuff in our content roundups, but I feel like the news this week warrants an exception.
Sheldon Keefe dropped a bomb in his postgame news conference on Tuesday, confirming that 2018 first round pick, Rasmus Sandin, will be staying with the Marlies this season, at least for the time being. The next few games will surely determine whether he sticks around full-time or heads back to Sweden, although, barring a putrid performance from the young Swede, the former is likely how this all ends.
So, do the Marlies actually need Sandin? Why yes, they do. And pretty badly, no less. Take a gander at my piece to see why.
“Sandin’s hockey IQ, if appropriately translated to the AHL level, can additionally allow Liljegren to jump into, or even initiate, the rush far more often than he’s been capable of to date, while Liljegren’s playmaking ability could conversely open up offensive zone shooting lanes for Sandin to exploit with his phenomenal positional spacing.
Not to mention, the arrival of Frank Corrado is something to keep in mind as well.
Having Sandin shore up the left side allows the Marlies to give Corrado ample enough time to work back into game shape following the absence of a training camp and, upon return, lessen some of the responsibilities which have thus far been placed on the shoulders of a Jordan Subban or Vincent LoVerde.”
Toronto Maple Leafs: Ron Hainsey Injured
Ah, Ron Hainsey. 2018-19’s Roman Polak. Fans do not like Hainsey, and it’s pretty clear to see why. He’s slow, incapable of making a breakout pass, and yet somehow continues to log top pairing minutes alongside a true #1 defenceman in Morgan Rielly.
All that aside, Hainsey is, by all accounts, a wonderful lockerroom presence and leadership pillar of this young Leafs team. Sure, his on-ice results have lagged considerably this season, but Hainsey does carry value in areas we may not see, whether that happens to be something you choose to account for or not.
No one should ever cheer for any player to suffer an injury. And, unfortunately, that seems to be what has befallen Hainsey.
Let Denver tell you all about it in the piece below.
“On the negative side of the coin, Ron Hainsey left the game with an undisclosed injury and it is unknown if he will play against the Jets again on Saturday.
Some may see this as a positive, as Hainsey hasn’t been the strongest presence on the blue line this season, but anytime a member of the defensive sore goes down it should be a cause for concern. If he can’t play on Saturday, and Travis Dermott remains out with an illness, Mike Babcock will have to come up with an interesting set up for his defensive pairings that could include Justin Holl.
While no one wants to cheer for someone being hurt, Hainsey was the worst player on the ice last night and is the worst player on the Leafs. With Andreas Borgman in the minors, a Hainsey injury could be a blessing in disguise.”
What the Toronto Maple Leafs Need to Win The Cup
Classic James, tempting fate.
We generally enforce a strict “no mentioning the Cup” rule here at Editor in Leaf, mainly to fend off any sniff of a jinx. But ol’ Tanner doesn’t appear to abide by that. And, maybe, that’s for the best, as his piece from this week does a pretty good job of outlining exactly what the Leafs need to capture hockey’s ultimate prize.
Give ‘er a look.
“This is pretty obvious, but given how harsh (and ridiculous) some fans have been with him for holding out, I have to say it. William Nylander will give the Leafs two lines, each of which could be considered among the best in the league. They will be fully able to take advantage of Kadri at 3C. Auston Matthews will be better and they will be the most dangerous offensive team in hockey.
Nylander is not soft. He is not greedy. His holdout won’t affect dressing room chemistry and he certainly will not be traded. He will sign, and he will elevate the Leafs instantly.”
Thanks for reading! Keep your eyes peeled to Editor in Leaf for more content as the season moves along.