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 October Prospect Update
We tend to focus the bulk of our attention on what the Leafs have going on at the NHL level.
It’s what fans of good teams do. Why look to the future when the present kicks so much ass? And that’s a great sentiment, not to mention a luxury, but it’s nonetheless important to keep updated on the next wave of potential stars the Leafs have coming through the system.
In his piece this week, Alex does exactly that. Enjoy a concise roundup of what the pipeline has to offer.
Semyon Der-Arguchintsev (C, 3rd Round, 76th Overall in 2018)
“SDA is easily one of the Leafs’ most intriguing prospects. Born on the cutoff date of September 15th, he’s the youngest player in the draft and yet he’s putting up some pretty impressive totals. So far in 2018, he’s put up 11 points in 18 games for the Peterborough Petes, a team that’s had lots of issues scoring goals.
When asked who he tries to model his game after, SDA replied with current Leaf star Mitch Marner. Though he lacks size, he oozes skill and could be a valuable asset if he’s even half as good as Marner is.”
The Myth of Roster Balance & Package Deals
Guess what, folks? Trading a superstar NEVER works out. Like, ever.
I dare you to show me even one example of a time when a team dealt away one of their star players, either for a package or one-for-one, and ended up winning the trade. You can’t. There aren’t any.
Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson? Yeah, that worked out great for Edmonton. That’s why Hall led the Devils back to the playoffs last season and won the Hart Trophy while Edmonton ended up in the draft lottery, right?
What about Tyler Seguin for Loui Eriksson and a bunch of other dudes who have since left the organization? I’m sure Boston couldn’t use a perennial point-per-game centre in the midst of his prime who, up until this summer, was signed to one of the most team-friendly deals in the entire league.
Case in point; if the Leafs indeed opt to trade William Nylander for a defenceman, they will absolutely end up regretting it. Those who fail to learn from history will forever doom themselves to repeat it.
That’s what James dive into in his latest piece.
“While there is no doubt that both Pesce or Montour would push a current Leafs defenseman out of the lineup, the upgrade wouldn’t be as much as you might think.
The difference between NHL players is microscopic. Even the ones we make fun of, Roman Polak for instance, would blow our minds if they came to our men’s league game. If you played pick-up with Roman Polak, I would guess that you would say he is the best hockey player you’ve ever seen up close. You might consider him better at what he does than anyone you’ve ever met is at the thing that they do.
We forget just how good NHL players are. The elite ones are insane. But the gap between elite players and very good players is bigger than the gap between very good players and replacement players.”
Morgan Rielly Solidifying Norris Candidacy
Morgan Rielly may be the most valuable member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Yes. I’m quite aware that Auston Matthews exists. And he’s fantastic. Although, in the next calendar year, Matthews will almost certainly command a salary in excess of $11 million. Now, he’s absolutely worthy of that cap hit, don’t get me wrong, but I’m talking about value here.
Rielly is a top-pairing defenceman – one currently leading the NHL in goals scored by a defenceman while being well on his way to finish with over 80 points. No, he won’t actually maintain his point-per-game pace throughout a full season, that would be absurd. Nevertheless, Rielly happens to be doing all this while only making a smidge above $5 million per season.
Now THAT’S value.
In his latest piece, Wilbert dives deeper into Rielly’s torrid start and examines just how likely a Norris nomination could be.
“Get out your ballots folks, it’s time to add a name almost no one thought of at the beginning of the season: the Toronto Maple Leafs own Morgan Rielly. Playing another strong game against the New Jersey Devils, whilst picking up another two points (yes the second one was an early Christmas present from Keith Kinkaid).
Don’t get misled by this positive takeaway and the score-sheet, aside from Rielly’s two-point night and Frederik Andersen performance, the Toronto Maple Leafs played an unworthy game that only masks the absence of much needed Auston Matthews.”
Thanks for reading!