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 May Be “Open” To Complete Disaster
I’ve had it with this Nylander stuff. No more. He’s not going to be traded, he’s not going to sit out the whole year. This thing WILL indeed end, it’s just a matter of when.
In James’s piece from this week, he reacts to the “news” that the Leafs may be open to moving Nylander if the right offer comes around. Have we learned nothing from Edmonton? He’s right. It would be a complete disaster.
Take a look to see what else James has to say.
“Despite the ridiculous takes by people who criticize things they don’t understand, or those who get angry when they don’t get what they want, William Nylander is a core player, he’s a franchise level player and he is one of the best wingers in the NHL.
You don’t trade that.
Statistically, Nylander is very similar to Taylor Hall, who became the NHL’s MVP after being traded for a decent top four defenseman. It was one of the single worst trades in NHL history.
The Hurricanes are a rumoured destination, with people thinking Nylander for Brett Pesce is a reasonable idea.
Just one question: Are you out of your mind?”
Auston Matthews Injury Not End of the World
I think I speak for everyone when I say I just want to watch Auston Matthews play hockey. That’s it. Simple as that. He’s a phenomenal, game-breaking player, and being without his services for the better part of the next month is not only a gut punch to the Leafs, but to the entire NHL.
That being said, is it crippling? Most teams, upon losing their franchise player, can barely tread water in his absence. Well, the Leafs aren’t most teams. And, as Hunter points out in his latest piece, they may be set up for life without Matthews better than initially thought.
Check it out.
“The obvious choice is to move Tavares to the top line and Kadri to the second, but that does leave some questions as to the #3 and #4 centres and what wingers will join each line.
DailyFaceoff.com has Tavares with Hyman on his left and Kasperi Kapanen on his right while Kadri has Patrick Marleau on his left and Mitch Marner on his right. Personally, I would like to see the Tavares-Marner connection continue on the top line, but having Marner on the second line with Kadri and Marleau seems like a good way to get both men’s momentum going. On the third and fourth lines, Daily Faceoff has a third line of Andreas Johnsson-Par Lindholm-Connor Brown and a fourth line of Josh Leivo-Frederik Gauthier-Tyler Ennis.
Looking over all of the lines, it goes to show you just how deep the Maple Leafs are offensively, Matthews’ injury does cause a bit of a shakeup but none of these lines seems out-of-place and could easily be the normal Maple Leafs lineup in a world where they didn’t draft Matthew’s in the first place.”
Nazem Kadri Finding His Groove at the Right Time
With Matthews on the shelf, a number of the Leafs’ supporting cast will need to step up in his absence. Perhaps the name most on the forefront here is Nazem Kadri, who stumbled out the gate in his new role as third-line centre, with only 2 goals through the first 12 games.
Well, it goes to show how misleading a slow start can be. Kadri has since looked like a player reborn, impacting the play at all ends of the ice and looking much like his former 30-goal-scorer self.
To get an idea of just how good Kadri has looked lately, Josh has you covered.
“While Kadri isn’t as dominant as Matthews, he’s still capable of scoring 30 goals and with the right line-mates can be a force to be reckoned with. Mike Babcock will most likely move Kadri up to the second line and he’ll likely work alongside Patrick Marleau and Kasperi Kapanen. Kapanen has been on fire and hopefully, he can continue his spectacular play with Kadri by his side.
Kadri has also been outstanding defensively and currently owns a 53.6 Corsi-for percentage (CF%). In addition, Babcock has featured Kadri in the defensive zone quite a bit. To date, he owns a 56.4 defensive zone start percentage (dZS%). While his dZS% is still a tad lower than last season, he has the third highest dZS% for Toronto Maple Leafs centremen. Par Lindholm and Frederik Gauthier both have a higher dZS%, but Lindholm hasn’t been used as a centre as of late and Gauthier has played in 8 games while Kadri has appeared in 11.”
Thanks for reading!