Toronto Maple Leafs: EIL Content Roundup – June 3rd

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 12: Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates through a projected Maple Leafs logo on the ice at the end of warm ups before playing the Boston Bruins at the Scotiabank Arena on January 12, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 12: Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates through a projected Maple Leafs logo on the ice at the end of warm ups before playing the Boston Bruins at the Scotiabank Arena on January 12, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The season is officially over for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

But that doesn’t mean the content must stop. Yes, although the Maple Leafs may not be playing actual hockey games anymore, the Editor in Leaf staff have been working around the clock to ensure that every angle from every offseason topic has been covered.

With so many pieces hitting the wall all at once, it’s natural that a few may have fallen through the cracks. So, let’s take a look at some of the past week’s most intriguing pieces.

Toronto Maple Leafs: 2018-19 Management Grades

Following up our comprehensive 2018-19 Maple Leafs Player Grades (which you should definitely check out here) the focus has now been shifted off of the ice and into the executive suite. Yes, the players may very well be responsible for a team’s success during the season, but management also plays a vital role in this, as well.

Naturally, their performance deserves to be placed under the spotlight just as much as the players’.

This is exactly what Zoe did this week. In evaluating how each member of the Maple Leafs’ management and coaching staff did this season, she was able to determine which names were at the heart of the team’s failure, and which got off scot-free.

Take a look to find out.

“In his first year as Toronto Maple Leafs GM, Kyle Dubas was hailed as the poster child of a new era of hockey executives – but he had to prove he was everything that was promised. And prove it he did.

Beginning with the 2018 entry draft, where he selected defender Rasmus Sandin from the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Dubas drafted a player who has since become one of the Leafs most promising prospects, and at only 18 years old, helped to carry the Marlies to the Eastern Conference Final to finish off the 2018-19 season.

However, Dubas really began making waves when he signed John Tavares – arguably the biggest free agent signing of all time, and certainly the most significant in the history of the franchise.”

Should the Toronto Maple Leafs Trade for Travis Hamonic?

The Maple Leafs desperately need to upgrade the right side of their blueline. Anyone with a Twitter account not only knows this to be glaringly true, but has been well aware of it for quite some time. And yet, as is the case with most things in life, securing that lauded RHD without significantly depleting Toronto’s roster in the process has been easier said than done.

Enter; Travis Hamonic.

Hamonic’s name is not a foreign one to Leafs fans. In fact, Toronto even looked into the possibility of acquiring the 28-year-old at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, even offering the New York Islanders (whom Hamonic played for at that point) a package centring around James van Riemsdyk. Ultimately, Hamonic would be dealt to Calgary for a seemingly more lucrative haul that included two first-round picks.

Fast forward two years, and Hamonic is reportedly back on the trade market. Should the Maple Leafs take a stab at him once again?

James tries to find an answer in his latest piece.

“Hamonic is a good player. He’s not great, but he’s a pretty reliable top-four, second pairing guy who can score a bit, put up good possession numbers, and kill penalties (Calgary’s most used per game penalty killing d-man last year).

Here is a chart comparing him to Ron Hainsey, and it’s not even close.

Now, Calgary probably doesn’t want to trade Hamonic for nothing, but keep in mind that last year Erik Karlsson was traded at a pretty big discount as he entered his final year before unrestricted free agency.  Karlson is about 100 times better than Hamonic, so I can’t see the cost to acquire him being all that high.”

The Toronto Maple Leafs Won’t Sign Two Mark Hunter Picks

I rarely ever bump my own stuff in these content roundups, but given just how busy this past week was when it came to Leafs news, I felt this one was warranted.

Boy, Mark Hunter sure wasn’t the “master scout” his reputation foretold him to be, eh? With news filtering out last week that the Maple Leafs would not be signing either Fedor Gordeev, Ryan McGregor, or Dakota Joshua, it has re-opened the book on Hunter’s draft record in Toronto.

Spoiler alert: it wasn’t good.

The general consensus is that the 2016 and 2017 drafts are the ones Hunter ran with full autonomy. Yes, he was also involved in 2015 as well, but that was said to be a collaborative effort between him and a recently-hired Kyle Dubas while the Maple Leafs searched for their next General Manager, who ended up being Lou Lamoriello.

So, 2016 and 2017 were the Hunter Drafts™. He chose 18 players over those two years combined. And of those 18 players, only six are signed to ELCs at the moment, while another six are out of the organization entirely and the remaining six are yet to be signed to ELCs of their own.

That’s, uh, not great.

Prospects obviously take time to develop, and those drafts are relatively recent, but only player from those 18 has seen even a single NHL game for the Leafs. That would be Auston Matthews, the first overall pick from 2016 who, if he hadn’t played by this point, would be one of the bigger busts in NHL history.

So, Hunter wasn’t very good. And in this piece, I detailed what happened to each of Gordeev, McGregor and Joshua which led to their exits.

“Both Gordeev and McGregor were late-round picks (Gordeev in the 5th and McGregor in the 6th) of a 2017 Toronto draft class that steadily dwindles in hindsight by the day. That draft happened to fall under the vision of then-Maple Leafs assistant GM, Mark Hunter, who has since left the team upon Kyle Dubas‘s promotion to the GM post last May. Of the seven selections Hunter made in that draft, only two are currently signed under ELCs – first rounder Timothy Liljegren, who was a no-brainer, and fourth-rounder Ian Scott – while the other five are either yet to be signed by the Maple Leafs or had their rights forfeited by the organization.

Nearly every pick from that draft, outside of Liljegren and Scott, has yet to show any signs of NHL potential. Even after Eemeli Rasanen, Toronto’s 2017 second-round pick, joined the Toronto Marlies on a PTO in mid-March of this year, he was then summarily released from his tryout, after putting forth one point in five regular season games, in order to re-sign with Jokerit of the KHL, where he played a scant 12 games this season.”

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Thanks for reading!