5 ideal candidates for the Leafs general manager job

It’s been 12 days since Kyle Dubas was fired. As the dust continues to settle, the Leafs are edging closer to finding their next General Manager. As the search continues, I examined all of the names that have been rumoured to be in the running, and come up with my personal top five.
Some names on this list might not be currently attainable, but these are the five that I believe are best suited to be successful (and are somewhat realistic). One name in particular looks poised to take the reins, and is the current betting favourite.
#5. Eric Tulsky
Tulsky’s days as an Assistant General Manager appear to be limited. It’s been widely reported that he has interviewed for other vacant General Manager roles, and I believe he will be appointed somewhere sooner rather than later. Tulsky’s background is certainly unique. He has been with the Carolina Hurricanes for nine years, but prior to that, he was an inorganic chemistry wiz. He holds an undergraduate degree in Chemistry and Physics from Harvard, and a PhD in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. Tulsky was an elite individual contributor but also managed teams that enabled unique nanotechnologies to solve complex problems in multiple fields. Yeah…
Since …

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Author: Bennett Jull / The Leafs Nation

Young players offer up exciting future following a grim few weeks inside Maple Leafs organization

Young players offer up exciting future following a grim few weeks inside Maple Leafs organization

It’s been a wild last few weeks within the Maple Leafs organization, though as we move forward, the future looks as enticing as ever.

This might not have been the way fans — and now former GM Kyle Dubas — wanted the season finale to play out. However, one aspect remains certain: Whoever Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan hires will have a nice crop of players to sort through.
There’s obviously the big four, and according to reports, their future looks to be locked in with Toronto. There’s the soon-to-be UFAs, like Noel Acciari, Michael Bunting, David Kampf, Alex Kerfoot, Ryan O’Reilly, Erik Gustafsson, and Luke Schenn.
Also in the fold, though, are some of the younger players who haven’t quite gotten a chance to find their footing at the NHL level. And to me, those are the players I’m most keen on seeing once the next season gets underway.
The future isn’t all that grim after all.
Bobby McMann’s strength is his strength
The 26-year-old was an exciting addition when he joined the Maple Leafs this past season. We all remember the call-up he received, and the whirlwind that it was for McMann as he got to bring his father on Toronto’s ‘Dad’s trip’ after making his NHL debut.
“That’ll be a nice surprise for him off the plane,” McMann said back in January, while grinning ear to ear.
His debut was everything you’d expect fr …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Exploring potential buyouts from a Toronto Maple Leafs point of view

Exploring potential buyouts from a Toronto Maple Leafs point of view

It’s summer and the overwhelming majority of the league is presently disappointed in their season and likely disappointed in their roster. There is also very little relief coming from a cap increase this season as it is likely only inflating to $83.5M. Given that, there were 22 teams within $1M of the cap or exceeding the cap via LTIR this past year, it seems likely that teams will remain woefully close to that number again and need to begin paying to undo some of their past mistakes.
To begin populating a list of what I mean by mistakes you can google “former Leafs goaltender” and you are well on your way to a potential buyout list. That’s a pretty boring list though. The players that intrigue me are the ones that might just be a little overpaid and could have the potential to get back on track in a new setting. Toronto might not be in their usual tight cap situation this year, but some frugality when approaching the offseason is still advisable. Here are a few buyouts that could benefit the Leafs.
Matt Murray- Toronto
Let’s start with what’s in their own house and that’s an expensive goaltender who will spend more time injured than in net. Murra …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Report: Maple Leafs assistant coach Spencer Carbery on Anaheim Ducks list of potential head coaches

After every season in the NHL, it’s normal to see some teams fire and then hire either new head coaches, assistant coaches or people in management, and of course, this season is no different. There are a handful of teams around the league looking for new head coaches or people in management right now and the Maple Leafs have someone on their bench who has been on the radar for a couple of teams now.
According to Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravelli, Toronto Maple Leafs assistant coach Spencer Carbery is one name he can confirm is on a long list of names that Anaheim Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek has interviewed for the team’s new head coach.

#NHLDucks coaching search has mostly flown under radar, amazing because I believe GM Pat Verbeek has spoken to roughly 468 potential candidates.
But I can confirm 3 names on the list: Andrew Brunette (#njdevils), Spencer Carbery (#Leafs) & Mike Vellucci (#pens).@DailyFaceoff
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) May 18, 2023

Seravelli mentions Carbery is one name along with two others – Andrew Brunette of the Devils and Mike Vellucci of the Penguins –  that he can confirm the Ducks organization has spoken with for their search for a new head coach.
It’s not the first time Toronto has had Spencer Carbery interview for another team. Last off-season the San Jose Sharks interviewed the 41-year-old, per Sheng Peng of San Jose Hockey Now, but ultimately, they went a different direction and hired somebody different.
The Boston Bruins also had an interest in Carbery and was reported that he, along with a handful of other candidates was set to be interviewed for the Bruins’ head coaching spot. However, as we know, the Bruins ended up choosing Jim Montgomery.
Whether Carbery impresses the Ducks and …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

Leafs win to see another day as Woll impresses in first playoff start: Game Highlights

It’s not how we drew it up but the Leafs are still alive. Rookie goaltender Joseph Woll led Toronto to a 2-1 win stopping 24 of 25 shots. Below are the highlights from the game.
Woll was dialed in early during his first career playoff start. He made this shoulder save to keep the game scoreless.

first stop for Woll pic.twitter.com/53aMUoIdNL
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) May 10, 2023

It was a defensive first period. Not many chances from either side. This drive to the net from Auston Matthews was one of Toronto’s best…

Matthews runs into Mahura as he tries to take the puck to the net pic.twitter.com/QyjPLTaJqq
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) May 10, 2023

The Leafs opened the scoring early in the second. On a powerplay, a lucky bounce off the referee led to William Nylander finding the back of the net…

WILLY STYLES!! 😎 pic.twitter.com/YMKJ2Ieufj
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) May 11, 2023

Later in the middle period David Kampf had a pair of opportunities to double the lead. Like he’s done all series, Sergei Bobrovsky shut the door…

Kämpf gets back-to-back chances on Bobrovsky pic.twitter.com/6hojLFuvYe
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) May 11, 2023

Near the end of the second Radko Gudas absolutely demolished Kampf in the corner. The whistle sounded right before the hit…

David Kampf heads to the locker room after this hit from Radko Gudas. pic.twitter.com/xE2by0ShDv
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 11, 2023

Mitch Marner came up with a much needed insurance marker in the third. After some consistent pressure his point shot found it’s way through a crowd of bodies and past Bobrovsky to make it 2-0…

MITCHY!!!! pic.twitter.com/iOdFKbQ5To
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) May 11, 2023

Florida got back into the game late. With 7:46 left Sam Reinhart finished off a pretty passing play to get the Cats within one. Woll stopped the original shot but Reinhart followed up on his rebound…

Sam Reinhart finds the loose puck and we have a one-goal game. 👀 pic.twitter.com/wuUdvN3ZaJ
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 11, 2023

Time was dwindling down and the Panthers kept pressing. As the Leafs did all night, they defended we …

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Author: Scott Ony / The Leafs Nation

Blue Jays waste excellent start from Alek Manoah as Yankees complete 3-2 walk-off win

Getting walked off is never a good feeling, but it’s even worse when it’s a game that the Blue Jays would admit they should have won.

Toronto struggled to get runs across all day, and, despite a clutch Danny Jansen home run in the 9th inning, they were walked off in the bottom of the frame by DJ LeMahieu as the Yankees defeated the Blue Jays 3-2.
LeMahieu was given a very good opportunity to end the game, as there were no outs and the bases were loaded. Anthony Rizzo led off the inning with a double, and from there, Jordan Romano was unable to reach stability on the base paths.
Blue Jays Nation’s Player of the Game: Alek Manoah
Almost a week after Alek Manoah failed to live up to his end of a pitcher’s duel against Shane McClanahan and Tampa Bay, he got a second chance against one of the game’s elite this afternoon against Gerrit Cole. This time, Manoah looked the expectations in the face and exceeded them, as he dominated the Yankees’ lineup this afternoon.

Alek Manoah, 94mph Two Seamer and 83mph Slider, Overlay pic.twitter.com/qUsR2H5skd
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 22, 2023

With the kind of introduction I gave, it’d almost be criminal not to hand this title to The Big Man. For the day, he threw seven innings while only giving up two hits, no runs, one walk, and five strikeouts. While the numbers are great, Manoah looked like the pitcher we knew in 2021 and 2022: nothing short of dominant.
With only two hits given up, Manoah had a pair of long streaks of retired batters. He …

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Author: Evan Stack / Blue Jays Nation

Realistic expectations for Knies, fixing the Leafs’ top six, and playing Gustafsson: Leaflets

It’s Leaflet time and I feel like I’d be doing a disservice to myself if I didn’t immediately start off by complaining about the lack of NHL hockey last night. The NHL not only had an empty evening but chose to miss the opportunity for some daytime hockey as well, which certainly would have been welcomed by most hockey fans. Thankfully the Women’s World Hockey Championship filled the primetime void and the debut of Dennis Hildeby for the Marlies gave us some Leafs content, but with less than a week to go and teams with five games left on their schedule, it was a wild decision.
Now Leaflets…
Going on record one last time about Matthew Knies
Today’s National Championship game is likely the last game Matthew Knies will play in the NCAA. That’s nothing new and honestly, Knies getting a chance to play out his goal of reaching the National Championship rather than getting him earlier in the spring is going to be better for both Knies and the Leafs long term.
It has been interesting to see how the Frozen Four tournament has played out for Knies and it certainly bares a resemblance to how he’s performed on the biggest stages previously, both at the Olympics and the World Jun …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

A couple of CHL free agents for the Leafs to consider

It’s that fun time of the year when we got a number of NCAA free agent signings, a few European free agent signings, and a handful of Canadian junior signings mixed in as well. For the most part, the Leafs have focused their efforts on the European signings and those often come later in the spring, there have been a handful of NCAA free agent signings like Alex Steeves, Max Ellis, and well… I guess that’s it save for a lot of AHL signings. That tends to be Leafs preferred strategy of late anyway, but we’ll look at a couple of potential options that might be worth the Leafs busting out the NHL standard player contracts, after all, if they can take a gamble on Max Ellis, they can gamble on these guys too.
The Leafs also have only 31 committed to contracts for next season out of 50, so they can start having some fun on swing for the fences overagers. They only have three picks in the June draft, so restocking the prospect pool wouldn’t be a bad thing,
So let’s get to the prospects. Both were highlighted on 32 Thoughts this Saturday by Jeff Marek, and while there were a couple of defensemen mentioned as well, I’ve opted to zero in on the two centers that were discussed.
Ivan Ivan
Ivan Ivan …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Some Spring Training Stats That Matter and Also Some That Don’t

With Spring Training coming to a close it’s time to take a look at what happened in these games and if there is anything meaningful that comes from them and what they might mean for the upcoming season.

A good rule of thumb is Spring stats don’t matter. It’s a month of games and players can get hot, especially when the competition isn’t always Major League calibre. What you want to see are a player’s skills and if those skills have changed. If a player comes into camp throwing harder as we saw with Jordan Romano in 2021, or hitting the ball harder as we saw with Santiago Espinal last year it could be the precursor to a big season.
Note Spring Stats as of March 26th and courtesy of Baseball Savant, unless otherwise specified. 
With that in mind, there is nothing to be taken from Bichette’s .314/.352/.529 Spring line. Baseball-Reference has an Opponent Quality metric to determine as the name says, the quality of the opposing batter or pitcher faced by a player. Bichette is at 7.3 meaning he has faced pitchers on a talent level roughly somewhere between AA and AAA. Bichette should be crushing this type of pitcher.
What is interesting about Bichette is he is hitting the ball hard as he normally does (92.7mph exit velocity), but he is hitting it almost exclusively on the ground. Last season Bichette had a launch angle of 8.5°, while in Spring Tra …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

Jose Berrios tosses five innings in return from WBC, Daulton Varsho hits his first homer of spring, and more as the Blue Jays beat the O’s 2-1

I’m not going to lie, it’s incredibly difficult to go from last night’s World Baseball Classic finale back to following along with Grapefruit League games. Just one more week to go!

The Blue Jays sent what might be their Opening Day lineup to the field in Dunedin on Wednesday and beat the Orioles by a score of 2-1. Let’s go through the noteworthy things from the game…
Things worth mentioning…

Jose Berrios returned to the mound for his first start since the disastrous inning he tossed for Peurto Rico in the World Baseball Classic. Berrios getting lit up by Venezuela generated some panic among those who follow the Blue Jays but Pete Walker wasn’t overly concerned about it, saying on Blair and Barker “I didn’t get to watch it live, so at first I was a bit concerned, but after I replayed the entire game I wasn’t concerned. The pitch selection and sequencing was nothing like what we’ve been working on all winter.”
Berrios went five innings against the Orioles and allowed one earned run on six hits and one walk while striking out five. It’s also worth pointing out that this was much like how a lot of his “good” starts went last season, as Berrios would look dominant at times but also had a lot of loud contact resulting in outs because of the play of the defence behind him.

José Berríos got up to 77 pi …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation