Jesse Puljujarvi is available and the Leafs need to be all over it

After yet another first-round existence, the Leafs are sure to make plenty of changes to the makeup of their roster in an attempt to improve their chances of a better fortune in 2022-23.
The need for more scoring throughout their lineup beyond the big four has continued to remain apparent as the Leafs have only scored one goal or less in the past four series-deciding games. Having more reliable offensive threats further down the lineup has proven time and time again as a necessity for teams to go on deep runs in the playoffs, and the Leafs should be exploring every possible option.
Whether it be through free agency (Rickard Rakell), an internal option (Nick Robertson), or a trade, finding some additional scoring options is the second most important thing for the Leafs to do this offseason, with goaltending being atop the to-do list. So if there is an intriguing option that has some upside and can be obtained for a reasonable price when compared to the market, it’s something Kyle Dubas and company need to be all over.
This is why this recent report from Kevin Weekes should have team management salivating:

I’m told the @EdmontonOilers are actively shopping F Jesse Puljujarvi, and there’s some interest from clubs in market for his services. Curious to see if there’s a match for potential deal between now and next week’s Entry Dra …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Nick Richard’s 2022 NHL Draft Rankings: Final Edition

We have reached the conclusion of another scouting cycle and the draft is now within sight. With that comes my final ranking for the 2022 NHL Draft, including notes on my top-100 ranked prospects.
In terms of what I value most when ranking prospects, pace and hockey sense are paramount. Skill is obviously important but processing the game and executing at the speed required from NHL players is a lot different than doing it in junior. While I place significant importance on upside, I sometimes lean more in the direction of projectability or NHL certainty than some other scouts I’ve interacted with.
With most leagues around the world returning to regular schedules and prospects having full seasons to showcase themselves, my board has undergone significant changes since the fall. This list is the culmination of over a year’s worth of film study and discussion on these players with fellow scouts whose opinions I trust and respect.
Sparing further preamble, here are my top-100 prospects for the 2022 NHL Draft:
1 | Logan Cooley
C | NTDP U18 (USNTDP) | 5’10” | 181 lbs | Shoots: L
The number one spot on my board has been a source of internal debate for practically the entire season. In the end, I had to go with my gut and my gut says that Logan Cooley …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

The lessons to learn from watching the Stanley Cup Finals

As we sit here watching another Stanley Cup final wondering why not the Leafs, or how the Leafs could be faring against the Avalanche, it feels necessary to splash a little cold water on the situation and explore the idea that there might be something that the Leafs can learn from the Lightning and Avalanche (beyond be located in a warm, low income tax state where the players don’t function in a pressure cooker and are allowed to have lives away from the rink. Also lock in Nathan MacKinnon cheap is a good lesson too.)
The exact question was: “What lesson do you want the Leafs to learn from the Lightning and Avs?”
Nick Barden:
Depth scoring matters. Yes, it’s important that Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares, and William Nylander are scoring, but other players need to chip in too. When I look at Tampa right now, Nick Paul is doing wonders and I believe Toronto is one piece like that away from being a tough team to beat.
You put that together with strong goaltending and great defence like they had and it’s a recipe for a long run in the playoffs.
Dylan Murphy:
Just to be snarky, I want to say that the lesson to learn from the Lightning is that if you complain loud enough, you can get a pe …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs’ Justin Holl lands on Daily Faceoff’s off-season trade board

The Toronto Maple Leafs are approaching yet another pivotal summer with plenty of tough decisions to make. One of those revolves around defenceman Justin Holl, who could potentially be on the move this off-season.
Holl, 30, will be entering the final season of his three-year, $6-million contract next season. His deal also includes a modified no-trade clause, where he can submit a list of 10 franchises to which he can’t be sent. But as Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli writes, the 6’4″ blueliner could be available via trade.
In his latest article, Seravalli lists 25 skaters that could potentially be dealt this off-season, which includes Holl at No. 22. He also notes that due to the emergence of Timothy Liljegren, it’s no longer necessary for Toronto to hold onto Holl. Though, they might encounter fewer interested suitors than during previous times as his value has since declined.
Nevertheless, his $2 million cap hit for 2022-23 is a very reasonable price to pay for a third-pairing defenceman. In a salary-cap-crunch world, there’d likely be many front offices lining up to acquire his services. Of course, that is if the Maple Leafs decide to trade him.
You can never possess enough defencemen at the NHL level, especially ones who’re effective penalty killers.
After all, he did register career-highs in goals (three), points (23), hits (12 …

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Author: Thomas Hall / The Leafs Nation

Rumours: Dumping Mrazek, Mikheyev’s next contract, a new old guy, and why the Leafs next goaltender should come via trade

It’s another week of Leafs rumours, and things are starting to ramp up, at least when it comes to interesting speculation. The Leafs organization has notoriously been silent about what they are trying to do, but that isn’t going to stop us or others from talking about the team, and as such, we’ll deal with what has been put out there.
Mrazek to Chicago?
Jonas Siegel and Scott Powers of The Athletic undertook an exercise of exploring whether or not a Mrazek to Chicago deal makes sense for both teams. The approach was based on the Leafs not retaining salary, and the Blackhawks getting back a second round pick (which the Leafs don’t have until 2024) and a B-level prospect (Nick Abruzzese was mentioned). There was also talk of a roster player potentially being part of it, with Justin Holl being the example. There was also some discussion of whether it would take the Leafs first in order to get this done.
All of this seems ridiculous for a few reasons. First of all the Leafs buyout isn’t so terrible that they couldn’t just suck up that unfortunate situation and hold onto draft picks that will eventually turn into players that will alleviate the cap struggles they constantly put themselves in.
There is also the fact with some salary retention the Leafs could move Mrazek with relative ease and not take on the additional burden of two years …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leaflets: Trading up/down at the draft, assistant coach shuffle, worse cap situations than the Leafs

It’s another week of Leaflets and we’ll see if my takes evolve/devolve this week as we get further away from actual Leafs hockey and still have plenty of time to kill before free agency, the draft, and all the adjoining shenanigans make the Leafs relevant again.
Trading up vs. Trading down at the draft
The draft combine is wrapping up and with it the reactions to questions meant to disarm/throw players off guard, and other foolishness like judging players based on their wingspan. (I can already sense someone getting angered by me not carrying about wingspan and crafting an important comment on why it matters, but the rest of us can all agree that person needs to calm down.)
Anyway, the combine usually marks the point in the calendar when it’s socially acceptable to start caring about the draft, so with that, I’m going to take on one of my favourite topics and that is trading up or trading down at the draft.
The Leafs have a lot of trading down on record under Kyle Dubas. In his early days with the Leafs he made his fondness for Bellichicking the draft quite clear, and while it’s probably still more on Hunter than Dubas for winding up with Dermott over Konecny in one of those sc …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 78: The 2016 team comparison, Joey Votto’s successful finale in Toronto, and more!

It was another series win that left a sour aftertaste.

As they did with Seattle, the Blue Jays took the first two games against a weak opponent and then came up short with a chance to pull off a sweep.
In the post-Reds series episode of BJN Radio, we gave praise to Hyun Hin Ryu for another good start, questioned whether it was right for Charlie Montoyo to not give Alek Manoah the ninth inning, and looked at Bo Bichette’s low-key hot streak in the month of May. We also talked about the handful of guys who aren’t hitting and wondered how long such cold streaks can possibly continue.
We also talked about Joey Votto playing likely his last game in Toronto, barring a trade, and talked about whether we root for Canadian players when they go up against the Blue Jays.
You can listen to the episode here…

POINTSBET IS LIVE IN ONTARIO

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

ESPN lists the Blue Jays as one of the teams who would make sense for a Juan Soto trade

The Washington Nationals might soon have another superstar heading out the door in free agency.

Back in 2019, Bryce Harper inked a 13-year, $330 million deal to join the Philadelphia Phillies. The Nationals wound up winning the World Series the following season while Harper has won an MVP award in Philadelphia.
Next up, Juan Soto is eligible to become a free agent following the 2024 season. The Nationals, who are 12-26 so far this season, tried to ink Soto to a 13-year, $350 million deal, but he declined it and reportedly didn’t find the offer all too impressive.
Over at ESPN, Buster Onley speculated that the Nationals could start to think about the idea of trading Soto this summer. He’s still two full seasons away from hitting free agency but will be due for a big raise this winter as he’s eligible for arbitration for the second time…
At 23 years old, Soto is already a superstar, and there aren’t any comparable examples of hitters of his stature being dealt at such a young age. But rival execs say the Nationals might well be compelled — and motivated — to move Soto this summer.
“If they’re not going to sign him [to a long-term deal], then they’ll need to trade him,” one evaluator said. “The question is: When?”
Olney also noted that the front-office types, which is obviously an incredible vague label, believe that two teams could make sense for an early Soto trade, one of which is the Blue Jays…
Front-office types point to two teams that might be really motivated to move on Soto: The hyper aggressive San Diego Padres, who could dangle infielder C.J. Abrams and pitcher  …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Maple Leafs and Kyle Dubas ‘need’ Marlies prospects to compete for NHL roster spots next season

The Maple Leafs had yet another disappointing end to their season, but their future is all the more interesting.
When GM Kyle Dubas addressed the media in his end-of-season availability, he discussed a number of topics. One was finding the next Michael Bunting’s and Ondrej Kase’s for the team, another was regarding a few of the Maple Leafs’ prospects transitioning to the NHL from the Toronto Marlies.
Dubas was asked if he thought he needed more from his Marlies players next season. The Maple Leafs’ GM responded swiftly and said: “Yes, I do. And I expect that we will.”
There were a number of players who stood out with the Marlies over the course of this season — some on AHL deals and others on NHL deals. A few players on AHL contracts even got NHL deals towards the end of the regular season.
“I think not only just the players that are the obvious ones that are higher picks, but also as you look at the bottom of our forward lineup, in particular, guys that may not have as high a profile but can play specific roles and provide specific elements whether it’s speed, physicality, power and presence. So whether that’s a Bobby McMann, Curtis Douglas, Joey Anderso …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

How the Maple Leafs can move on from another first round exit

Well, they did it again. Another first round exit.
Often when the Maple Leafs get eliminated from the playoffs in the first round, there’s plenty of people who like to put on their General Manager hat. They’ll start by saying “Trade this player!” And usually end with “Someone needs to be fired for this mess!”
Every year. After every lost series.
Usually, I would accept this form of reaction. People are upset, and honestly, they have every right to be after yet another first round departure. But this time around for Toronto was different. Very different.
The Maple Leafs went toe-to-toe with the back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions. It went to a Game 7 and you could’ve argued that it should be tied after the third period. Fans from each team deserved another stressful overtime, like in Game 6.
As hard as Toronto fought for every inch of that ice, the Lightning fought just as hard, even after losing a key player like Brayden Point.
This isn’t a matter of sitting back and thinking about what’s wrong with this team — nothing is wrong — the Maple Leafs are an incredible team. If they ended up beating the Lightning, I wouldn’t be surp …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation