Toronto Maple Leafs: Matthews Named to Team USA + Nylander PK?

Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins vs William Nylander of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins vs William Nylander of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Maple Leafs Auston Matthews has been named to the team USA Olympic Team.

The Toronto Maple Leafs will ultimately have several players go to the Olympics (Matthews, Marner, Tavaers, Rielly maybe, Nylander, and several others) but Matthews was named early due to the rule that requires three players to be named early.

Matthews – the best American player in the NHL, and likely the best American player of all-time when all is said and done – was named alongside Patrick Kane and Seth Jones.

Crosby, McDavid and Pietrangelo were named for Team Canada earlier.

The Olympics will be held in February in Beijing, in the middle of the NHL season with games played in the middle of the night.

Other Toronto Maple Leafs News

An interesting development in Leafs Camp this year was the use of William Nylander on the PK.

Since the team has long used Mitch Marner on the PK, this is a sensible move, since they are similar players. The ability to skate the puck out of trouble and add in a threat of a short-handed goal will no doubt make the Leafs PK more dynamic, but the move is not without its doubters.

For instance, it’s worth asking if the benefits from playing stars on the PK would outweigh resting them and giving them more 5v5 minutes.

For instance, instead playing Marner or Nylander for three minutes on the PK, where the goalie makes 99% of the difference anyways,  why not double shift them at the bottom of the lineup where they could crush inferior competition?

It would take more research than I am able to do to figure it out, but I think it’s an interesting question.  It might be worthwhile to just put your worst players on the ice every time there is a penalty, and then use your better players to feast on the opposition when the penalty is over and all their best players are tired.

You’d really have to trust your goalie to employ a strategy like this, but a power-play is such an advantage I don’t really think who is on the PK matters quite as much as we think.  The opportunity cost may be too high to use star players in this role – but I don’t know.

Next. Expectations for This Player Are Just Too High. dark

As it stands, the  Leafs will use Nylander and Marner on the PK, and whether or not that is the best use of their minutes, it will certainly make the games more fun to watch.