Rumours: A short introduction to the rental market

Nothing gets you thinking about bringing in players quite like having Jake Muzzin, Zach Hyman, Joe Thornton, Jack Campbell, Freddie Andersen, and Wayne Simmonds out of the lineup. Last time I checked missing four key players and your top two goaltenders is a bad thing, and while it’s exciting to get a look at Mikko Lehtonen and Alexander Barabanov, it’s not as much fun as winning, and the Leafs might face some real challenges to win with this lineup, despite the four incredibly good players at the top of the roster.
So with that in mind, it’s time to consider some rental players. And given how early it is in the season, and the unfortunate nature of league parity, it’s pretty slim pickings at this point for who is selling and who might be available. Luke Fox of Sportsnet has compiled the list:
Buffalo: Taylor Hall, Eric Staal, Brandon Montour, Jake McCabe, Matt Irwin, Tobias Reider, Riley Sheahan, Carter Hutton, Linus Ullmark
Detroit: Darren Helm, Valtteri Filppula, Luke Glendening, Bobby Ryan, Sam Gagner, Marc Staal, Patrik Nemeth, Jon Merrill, Jonathan Bernier
Nashville: Mikael Granlund, Erik Haula, Pekka Rinne, Brad Richardson, Luca Sbisa
Ottawa: Derek Stepan, Ryan …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Rumours: Galchenyuk a Leaf, Granlund a target, and a possible goaltending upgrade

Nothing kills a weekly rumours column like having a trade the night before. Not a whole lot to speculate on when the Leafs have actually done some adding. The Leafs were in the market for a top six winger, and depending on how loose your definition is of top six winger, that’s what they acquired in Alex Galchenyuk. Though that’s leaning heavily into the pre 2019-20 part of Alex’s resume. In a much more accurate sense the Leafs acquired someone who if he finds his game, he could be a top six winger, maybe even a center, although that has never gone well for Galchenyuk. In reality the Leafs acquired the modern day Richard Panik, which isn’t a bad thing, but it likely wasn’t the move the Leafs are truly exploring.
Mikael Granlund and others
Via Spectors Hockey:
Friedman didn’t elaborate but the consensus around the league suggests Nashville Predators winger Mikael Granlund fits the description. He could become available if the Predators continue to struggle. The winger signed a one-year, $3.75 million contract with the Predators. Mirtle indicated the Leafs had an interest in him during the offseason but lacked the cap space to …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

MLB.com has the Blue Jays ranked No. 9 on their first Power Rankings of the year

Virtually nothing has happened this winter (outside of San Diego) and we have no idea what a lot of teams are going to look like this season, but that doesn’t stop the Content Wheel from spinning.

Over at MLB dot com, the first Power Rankings of the year got released, and they seem to be buying into the Blue Jays’ breakout season.
The L.A. Dodgers, the reigning World Series champions, are unsurprisingly ranked No. 1 with the Padres, fresh off of acquiring Yu Darvish and Blake Snell, right behind them at No. 2. The Yankees are at No. 3 despite not knowing whether or not DJ LeMahieu will be back with the team this season.
After the Braves, Twins, White Sox, and Athletics, we have the two wild cards, the Mets and the Blue Jays, who have been named as possibilities for every single free agent this winter. Either of these teams could end up higher on the list depending on where the likes of George Springer and J.T. Realmuto ultimately end up.
Finally, MLB has the Tampa Bay Rays, who finished first in the American League last season, as the No. 10 team in baseball after they traded away their …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

MAIL CALL: Let’s assign some blame and start fixing things

Welcome to the off-season. Nothing says “Welcome to the Offseason” quite like a blog mailbag, so here we are, doing just that.
We’ve decided to change up our mailbag format a little. Instead of getting answers from just one writer, you will now here from a few different TLN contributors in each mailbag. Now when you see my name at the top, you don’t have to worry you’re just suffering through my opinions, we have a whole crew dropping hot takes on you.
Here we go…

This was going to be a question regardless of how the Leafs did, but now that the cap is going to stay flat for at least the next 2-3 years, do the Leafs seriously explore trading one of their big 4? If so, who will it be and what do you expect a potential return to be?
— Adam Karoly (@adamkaroly) August 10, 2020

Earl Schwartz: If they’re going to do it, now is the time. I don’t think they do it, but moving one of the big 4 when the cap starts going up again and their efficiency starts to peak is a …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Goal Analysis – Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets Play-In Game #4

This team man.
For 55 minutes, the Leafs had nothing going for them. Then they decided to turn it on in the final five minutes of the game.
That’s what is most frustrating with this team. Far too often this season the Leafs loved to pick and choose when they wanted to show up and play hard.
Post-game highlights can be found here.
Blue Jackets 1st Goal – Cam Atkinson (Assist Dubois, Merzlikins)

Dubois shoots for the rebound pic.twitter.com/Nqqf9iTlnZ
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) August 8, 2020

John Tavares skates into the Blue Jackets zone and fires a low shot on net. Merzlikins kicks the puck out to Robertson on the right side of the ice. As Robertson goes to corral the loose puck, he blows a tire. Dubois grabs the loose puck instead and is off to the races. He blows by Holl before finding Atkinson in-front of the net for the easy goal.
Tough break for Robertson on this goal as he falls moments before grabbing the rebound. Not really sure what Justin Holl was doing on this goal. He gets caught flat-footed as Dubois picks up the puck.
Dubois and Atkinson come down two-on-one on Marincin …

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Author: Brendan Mori / The Leafs Nation

The Leafs stood still at the trade deadline. What did the rest of the division do?

Nothing really changed for the Leafs at the trade deadline as Kyle Dubas stood still save for some minor deals. Did anything else change around them? Honestly, not really. Boston and Tampa got better and Florida doesn’t seem to be trying to make the playoffs. It looks like falling into third place in the Atlantic Division is destiny.

Boston Bruins
What they did: The Bruins’ big splash came a few days before deadline day itself. The Anaheim Ducks did them a massive favour for whatever reason, handing over the underrated and underachieving Ondrej Kase while also taking on David Backes’ albatross contract just as a kind gesture. Boston gave up a middling prospect and what’ll ultimately be a late first-round pick in the deal, which is pretty much what you’d expect the cost to be to take on Backes’ deal alone. Boston also made another smaller move with Anaheim, sending Danton Heinen out west in exchange for Nick Ritchie, giving the team a coke machine to skate around and throw hits.
Kase is injured right now, but, when he returns, he’ll fill the hole on the team’s …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

Leafs recall Sandin, we rejoice

Nothing like letting in eight goals in a game to remind you that your defense could use a little upgrade. Thankfully the Leafs have a couple of pretty good internal upgrade options kicking around the AHL and one of them was recalled today…

The @MapleLeafs have recalled defenceman Rasmus Sandin from the @TorontoMarlies (AHL). #LeafsForever
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) January 13, 2020
Thank goodness.
Now there are plenty of good reasons to recall Rasmus Sandin, most of them being based on the fact that he’s very good, but it seems that being the top defenseman at the World Juniors tournament was a nice exclamation point on the need to see him with the Leafs again.
It should be worth noting that the Leafs still have three games of Sandin remaining before the first year of his entry level deal would kick in, so this is a bit of a try before you buy situation, and it’s also the first look at Sandin on the Sheldon Keefe Leafs.
Here’s how the first six games under Babcock went…
Game #
Home/Away?
Result
GF
GA
CF
CA
CF%
CF Rel
xGF
xGA
xGF%
xGF Rel
TOI
Partner
1


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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Good insider, Chris Johnston is reporting that Marner contract is a little closer

With the usual caveat that nothing is done until it’s done, it sounds like there’s been some progress in contract talks between the #leafs and RFA Mitch Marner.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) September 13, 2019
Folks, we’ll take what we can get around these parts and any progress is a good sign.

We are now sitting at a guarded risk of a Marner contract, and that’s worth celebrating depending on if you love 90 point wingers or if you love cap flexibility.
The fact that this movement is coming on the heels of various public negotiating tactics on both sides is probably no surprise. They’ve trying their cases for free in the court of public opinion and the verdict seems to be that an inflated year three in a Marner contract is insane. It’s insane that Marner continues to compare himself to Auston Matthews, and the only people who seem to still not be convinced on that are Paul Marner and those who believe holding an Ontario birth certificate is vital to future success.
On the Leafs side there seems to be pressure to avoid what was regarded as a failed negotiation with William Nylander, and to demonstrate …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

We’re a week away from one of the least important days on the hockey calendar

If that title doesn’t pull you in, nothing will.
So let’s say you actually clicked on this, well you will be excited to learn that we are one week away from teams having their negotiating rights expire with NCAA players who have left or graduated from their schools. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
It’s this excitement that led to the exciting Dakota Joshua to St. Louis for Future Considerations deal a while back, and now here we are with the chance to pooper scoop the rest of the list.
By it’s nature this list is bound to be pretty underwhelming, but if you have a strong passion about potential stars on the Newfoundland Growlers next season, this could be the list for you. Here’s the breakdown of who is presently available (some of these players may be on AHL deals with their current organization and require an ELC to move on).
Player
NHL Team
NCAA Team
Position
Draft Year
Draft Round
GP
G
Pts
Brent Gates
ANA
Minnesota
C
2015
3
38
13
31
Steven Ruggiero
ANA
Lake Superior State
RD
2015
6
37
6
11
Christopher Brown
BUF
Boston College
C
2014
6
39
7
16
Ivan Chukarov
BUF
U.Mass Amherst
LD
2015
7
25
1
3
Max Willman
BUF
Boston University
F
2014
5
36
1
6
Fredrik Olofsson
CHI
Nebraska-Omaha


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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Series Preview: A key series for the Tank Effort

Currently, nothing feels worse right now for the city of Toronto. As they just missed out on their opportunity to win a championship in sport that has never been won north of the border before. But, the news gets even worse for the Toronto sports world.
The Blue Jays have been the worst-team in the entire league since May 27. Since that date, this team has been swept in three of their last four series. The Blue Jays have also lost ten of their last twelve games, and currently sit just three wins above the Orioles, or as we call them here,”The Trash Birds”.
Now it’s also not like the Orioles are coming into this three-game series doing much better than the Blue Jays. They have lost eight of their last eleven games, and this team has been held to two runs or fewer in seven of their last eleven games as well. While their isn’t much to get excited about for this series, at least these two teams will be able to battle it out for the worse record in the entire league.
Tuesday at 7:05 ET
This will be Trent Thornton’s first-opportunity to face the Trash …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation