Toronto Maple Leafs Training Camp Opinion Bonanza

Nicholas Robertson #89 of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)
Nicholas Robertson #89 of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs began training camp this week, and there are no shortage of interesting stories and notes to have an opinion about.

Let’s face it: if someone on or associated with the Toronto Maple Leafs has a thought, it is news. But news is boring, and you’ve probably already heard most of it. So instead of just passing on the news, I’ll comment on it, and you’ll comment on my comments, then I’ll comment on your comments about my comments, and if we are lucky the spinning top will fall over proving that we are not in a dream.

Speaking of oblique references to the movie Inception, have you seen Tenet?  I have seen it twice and I don’t even care if it makes sense, I just like seeing a movie that isn’t  sequel or part of a franchise get that big of a budget.  Hell, I even thought of inverting this column just for fun and having all the comment section insults at the beginning!

Just kidding, and on to the Leafs:

Toronto Maple Leafs News Comments and Opinions

The Leafs might play Zach Hyman on the third line. This is probably smart as Zach Hyman isn’t a first line player (last year excepted, and probably just due to a high shooting percentage).  As for Joe Thornton on the first line, I am not against it, but overplaying LEGENDS just because they are LEGENDS is the only downside I saw when the Leafs inked Thornton to a cheap barely-any-risk deal.

The Leafs had this problem with Marleau, but Marleau wasn’t anything more than a replacement player when the Leafs acquired him. If Thornton can earn his keep, I am happy to see him up top, as long as he’s replaced when necessary.

What I do like is taking full advantage of the elite defensive powers of Alex Kerfoot by giving him two fast, defensively responsible players who may be able to play a shut-down role if necessary.

As of right now,  Robertson doesn’t appear to have a lineup spot, but the salary cap demands that Robertson, Barabanov and Engvall take turns on the taxi squad until someone who would otherwise have to clear waivers proves they can’t play (Vesey, Simmonds).  I predict Robertson will easily supplant Vesey on the second line because honestly, there is barely any difference between non-elite players to start with, and I want the guy with the shot.  Just using Robertson on PP2 is going to win the Leafs an extra game or two over the course of the season.

Speaking of Simmonds, hilarious to see the most predictable among us complain about his starting on the fourth line.  In realty, Simmonds hasn’t even been a fourth line player for a couple seasons and players his age rarely get better.  The Leafs brought him in to replace Clifford and will be perfectly happy if he’s as good a fourth liner as their first choice (bringing back Clifford) was.

According to the coach, Travis Dermott and Rasmus Sandin are the Leafs fourth pairing.  This makes sense because given what Mikko Lehtonen has done in Russia, leaving him out of the lineup would be insane.  Bogosian, I suspect, will be in and out of the lineup, because, frankly, he just isn’t a very good player, and even if the Leafs pay lip service to adding a different style of player, it’s going to become clear over time that he doesn’t help all that much.  This means that Sandin and Dermott will fight for a lineup spot constantly. (Unless or until one of them explodes, an injury happens, or Holl/Bogosian don’t work out).

Power Ranking the Cup Contenders. dark. Next

There is really nothing wrong with this because it’s a great problem to have.  I don’t think there’s another team in the NHL with two such strong players competing for a job.  The Leafs depth is insane as it is invisible (seriously, given their reputation, try telling someone they have a deep blueline).