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This page last updated: 17:45:07

26 Sep 2021 00:35:27
So second period is over. Leafs up 3-0. Only exhibition but I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Bunting, HoSang, Gabriel and Liligren.
So far Sandin again looks slow.

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26 Sep 2021 08:07:22
All 4 are looking for jobs. I expected them to come out banging. Bunting less than the other two but still isn't guaranteed much.

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26 Sep 2021 12:42:10
Yes the 4 mentioned were expected to come out strong and all met this test and easily pass their first test.

The bigger issue is Sandin.

IMO he is NOT a star-in-the-making. He might be a marginal NHL player. The Leafs should package him NOW (while there are still those who believe he has star quality) with Kerfoot and get some cap space and good value back.

I thought Liligren performed much better and worthy of the 6th defender position. Bigger, faster, stronger, much more reliable defensively with some offence upside!

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26 Sep 2021 12:48:06
I thought liljgren didn’t look that great he got worked off the puck a few times but sandin I wasn’t to thrilled with he looked like Reilly last year making poor pinches and being caught out of position on the only habs goal the two who stood out were bunting and Ho sang.

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27 Sep 2021 16:03:12
@Rsears. I don't think Sandin will be a star, but I do believe he has top 4 potential. He reminds me of Stralman in many ways. It took Stralman a while to carve out his game at the NHL level. Sandin could be the same.

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25 Sep 2021 17:25:38
So as camp has started I have shifted my outlook on what the lines should be.

My top 9 would be a lock to start the year with bunting having the shortest leash

Ritchie matthews marner
Bunting (kase) Tavares nylander
Micheyev kampf kerfoot
Kase(?) spezza simmonds

If bunting should waiver I'd put kase on that line, the ? Becomes any of engvall, brooks, gusev, ho sang, Robertson, or bunting

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24 Sep 2021 14:48:22
So does either of Ho Sang or Gusev make the team for opening night?

Both have loads of talent but can they make a difference?

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25 Sep 2021 14:35:20
After Matthews marner Tavares nylander no one really makes a differance.

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25 Sep 2021 16:25:36
Come playoffs nobody beyond …. ( fill at a later date) makes a difference.

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25 Sep 2021 16:53:01
No to Ho Sang. He may get a contract, but I think he will have to earn his way onto the team more than by just trying out.
Gusev being another soft, small, right shot, skilled player is not what we need any more of, so yea, he probably makes the team.

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25 Sep 2021 17:09:24
My thoughts ho sang plays with the Marlies and gets a couple looks when there are injuries, gusev is offered the same thing but goes to play in the kohl instead.

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25 Sep 2021 21:44:52
I prefer Ho Sang to Gusev due to his speed, size and also it’s very likely his last chance.

That will hopefully be the motivator for him to finally grow up and grasp the things that have kept him buried in the AHL.

His skill is not questioned; only his cocky attitude, play without the puck and belief in the team concept.

If he can be responsible defensively I say he will be a solid contributor. Yes it’s a big if but my fingers are crossed. The Leafs need to get strong results from 2 or 3 of the new faces.

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24 Sep 2021 13:21:11
What's everyone's thoughts on the leafs making the playoffs this year.

Do we make it or do we miss?

I'll predict we make it, but just barley, due to mediocre goaltending.

Others?

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24 Sep 2021 13:35:08
Goaltending is not a real concern for me but looking at the teams in the division I think the leafs have a good shot at marking it I think Boston is going to see a bigger decline then most people think tampa lost some big pieces Montreal got better but not much better will come down to if price can play like always and the other team to keep an eye on is Florida who had quite a bit of turn over which doesn’t always work in your favour it’s going to be fun to watch tho.

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24 Sep 2021 14:56:18
I think they will make the playoffs and will win the first playoff round!

Why?

Because they are still an offensive force and I truly believe they will learn, adapt and profit from last year’s loss.

I believe there is additional offensive upside with the new faces and believe 1 or 2 of them will be great adds.

I still hope and believe Engvall and Mikheyev can take a significant step forward.

Let Robertson gain more experience and confidence in the AHL.

My glass is half-full!

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24 Sep 2021 17:42:30
Loving the September optimism boys!

We have enough offence that we should make it but the tending makes some nervous just because Campbell hasn’t played over 40 games and well. Mrazak can be really sporadic.

Should be a interesting year tho!

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24 Sep 2021 19:06:59
I think they are in tough to make, but I do think they will get in. The 3 young big guns should even be better as RSears said. Goaltending should be solid enough and split fairly evenly keeping them fresh. Although I will say that Campbell got about every positive bounce a goalie could get last season. I hope it was just really good positioning that caused so many pucks to trickle through but go just wide. D should still be solid. It is really about the bottom 6 and complimentary pieces.

Can Ritchie provide 20/ 20 in the top 6?
Can Mikheyev, Bunting, Kerfoot, Kase, whoever, be productive in a top 6 role?
Can the bottom 6 keep the puck out of our net and chip in offensively?
Can the penalty kill be as effective without Hyman and Bogo?
Can the PP be more consistent and a difference maker with the game on the line?

There are a lot of question marks with this team that no one knows until they actually start playing. If all or many of the above don't pan out, they could be in big trouble and not able to outscore their problems.

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24 Sep 2021 23:18:25
So as the self proclaimed goalie expert the eye test on Campbell worries me, he doesn’t have that calm presence you look for in a goalie, I haven’t had confidence in a leaf goalie since belfour, mind you Reimer almost got it.

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24 Sep 2021 00:50:07
If you could choose one ex leaf player that is currently playing in the nhl who would it be?

Mine would be JVR guy has elite level net front finish and is a left wing

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24 Sep 2021 06:19:04
Gilmour or Clarke.

Need that grit in the top 6 with leadership.

If your looking for players that are currently still around though, then I'd like Hyman back lol.

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24 Sep 2021 12:54:16
Cap hits aside obviously. If I take age into account, it would probably be McCann. Otherwise, I can't think of anyone above Hyman. Second tier would be Kappy and Verhaeghe (happened a bit later, but has developed nicely) and even Matt Martin as a 4th liner.

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24 Sep 2021 14:19:28
Well if we are talking guys from the past tucker or roberts would be my choice.

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24 Sep 2021 14:45:51
I too would select McCann if we agree he really is an ex-Leaf! Technically he is.
No for me on JVR, he was too soft and too expensive.
Also given the need for a 2-way Center I’d consider Kadri if he could remain suspension free!

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24 Sep 2021 17:19:48
@Rsears. We traded to get McCann, so yea, I consider him an ex-Leaf. He should be on the squad.

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25 Sep 2021 17:16:11
I mean not sure if he still has it but a year or 2 ago my choice would be Rask.

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22 Sep 2021 06:32:27
Since nothing else is going on, how did everyone feel about the prospect game?

I know the highlight was Robertson getting suspended (which I enjoyed seeing ) but he looked great.

Abramov looked good but I have always liked him. On the wings he definitely gets a look.

Ian Scott didn't impress me but he's young.

SDA I out as slightly overrated but I have never liked his game. Reminds me a bit of Bracco.

I'm sure you all have some insights though.

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24 Sep 2021 14:23:09
Robertson is really the only nhl ready prospect but judging by the leafs moves idk if they are going to give him a legit shot at a full time role doesn’t seem like they want to rush him in anyway but the leafs quietly have a solid farm system they have a lot of college and European prospects that are good that were not invited.

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21 Sep 2021 15:26:19
Opening night roster

Micheyev matthews marner
Gusev Tavares nylander
Ritchie kampf kase
Bunting spezza simmonds
Engvall brooks ho sang

Ritchie bunting and micheyev may move around. I would love for ho sang to come in and win a spot but I think gusev is much more likely to take it.

So the reason I put micheyev on the top line is if he shines, he's replaceable. Trade him to recoup assets and move people up the lineup. Engvall and brooks are solid 4th liners

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21 Sep 2021 16:08:39
Micheyev Matthews Marner
Bunting Tavares Nylander
Gusev Kerfoot Kase/ Ho-sang
Ritchie Spezza Simmonds

If gusev doesn't perform, put in engvall on the 4th line and try Ritchie at 3rd. I have high Hopes for ho-sang but history says he doesn't have what it takes. Hopefully kase can stay healthy.

I hope dubs trades rielly before the deadline, recoup draft picks or find another Lhd for 5mil or less that can play 1st line minutes.

I was hoping that the leafs were able to pick up brayden Schneider as a replacement. Cupboard is getting thin as far as prospects go.

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21 Sep 2021 22:26:19
Ritchie plays top 6 easily. He's supposed to be replacement for Hyman.

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21 Sep 2021 22:49:36
That third line is supposed to play defense neither ho sang or gusev does that.

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22 Sep 2021 06:33:38
@Randy Kase neither. If you want a shutdown third line it's;

Mikheyev-Kerfoot-Simmonds.


Has the banger in Simmonds and the defence of the other two.

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19 Sep 2021 05:59:47
Nikita Gusev

Solid PTO

Is it to keep Mikheyev quiet or to puss him off more. Either way gusev is a big talent when put in right situation

Solid invite I asked for in July

Thanks Dubas you're finding competition for very few spots

Excellent

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19 Sep 2021 18:34:29
I really have to think Dubas learned from the MNM+JT contracts. He's been far more frugal as of late. He's been signing some real value deals, finding some diamonds in the rough, and walking away before he overlays by a massive amount.

Dubas is a young cat and I think we're watching him mature in a lot of ways before our eyes. Problem is, some of the damage may already be done. Second or third team he ends up GM of may actually be a Stanley Cup winner.

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20 Sep 2021 14:10:38
I am not sure Dubas learned anything. What he is doing is out of necessity. He couldn't afford Hyman even at $5M. He couldn't afford the extra $600,000 + Andersen got over Mrazek. Mrazek was also a analytics dream. Very Dubas type of signing. He has done this all along out of necessity.
Vesey, Simmonds, Spezza, Ennis, Lindholm, Ozhiganov, Mikheyev, Thornton, Suomela all cheap signings.
He let Hainsey, Ennis, Galchenyuk, Clifford, Ceci, Barrie, Gardiner, Foligno all walk to name a few.
I don't see anything new with what he has done this year. Just more of those cheap contracts to fight for spots than in the past.

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21 Sep 2021 13:08:41
@LL. Just my thought on Dubas, but this is what I believe. I believe he still is committed to his "studs and duds" plan. He saw how this worked in Junior. The gap between a top end player and a bottom player in Junior is huge. He saw how great teams with some top end players look. Then he sees the same type of thing in the AHL. The gap from top to bottom isn't as big, but big enough that guys like Andreas Johnsson can be point a game players and look dominate. He thinks, "why can't this work in the NHL if I have some elite players. Just add solid goaltending and hoist a Cup"

I don't think his mindset or plan has changed. I believe he still thinks this will work. For his philosophy to be proven correct, he has to stay the course, which he has.
If Dubas moves either Nylander or Marner for lesser cost players to open up cap and balance the line-up (or moves Mo now similarly), that is when I will believe he feels his philosophy is flawed and he needs to change his mindset on how to build a team.

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22 Sep 2021 06:35:30
@RLF I'm not doubting that. I'm sure he still does believe in it to an extent.

Long term I think he will realize this didn't work. I don't think he was ready for this job in the slightest. That's more my criticism of Shanny though. Lou should have stayed GM.

Next job he gets when he realizes this doesn't work, will look muchz much different.

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22 Sep 2021 11:42:35
@LL. Agreed. Should he lose his job here, I think he will get another shot somewhere else. I think he is a bright guy, but as you said, probably wasn't ready to handle this on his own.

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23 Sep 2021 21:06:14
If lou stuck around Matthews heads to KHL and a new trend forms and the NHL as we know it starts to dwindle in talent.

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23 Sep 2021 23:12:15
@JDB of all the players I can see leaving it would have been for Nylander.

I can't see Mathews going to the KHL myself.

Based on trends right now though, some RFA's are getting paid Leafs money. Kaprizov deal specifically I think is worse than anyone on the Leafs.

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24 Sep 2021 11:41:08
No one was going to the KHL. As far as trends of RFA's getting paid big, I wonder who started that trend. Thanks Dubas.

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