Around the Atlantic: Lightning make moves, more new coaches and Sandin still not signed

Over the course of the last week, teams have been preparing for the most important month of the NHL off-season. With the draft just four days away and free agency set to begin on July 13th, teams are looking to come to terms with their expiring contracts and shopping players they don’t expect to have on the roster for the upcoming season.
A couple key players have re-signed with their respective Atlantic division clubs, a huge name has been shipped off to the Western Conference and two teams have new head coaches. The Leafs’ main concern remains fixing the goaltender position and figuring out what to do with RFA Rasmus Sandin. There have been plenty of rumours surrounding potential trades and free agent fits, but most of this news will be delayed until draft night and free agency.
Paul and Anderson staying put
Fresh off their third consecutive Stanley Cup final appearance, the Tampa Bay Lightning have reached an agreement with former Ottawa Senators winger Nick Paul. It’s a seven-year contract for Paul at a total of 22 million dollars. It’s not often teams commit to depth players for deals of this length but Paul proved to be a valuable depth scorer for the Lightning after being acquired mid-season for forward …

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Author: Scott Ony / The Leafs Nation

5 potential third-round targets for the Toronto Maple Leafs

With the 2022 NHL Entry Draft just over a week away, it’s time to start looking at prospects that could be targeted for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Most of the attention has gone to their 25th overall pick, as it is the first time the Leafs have held a first-round pick since 2020 when they drafted Rodion Amirov, but it is important for Toronto to hit on their later picks as well. Currently holding the 79th overall pick and potentially adding more mid-round picks depending on what the week ahead has in store, today we’ll be looking at prospects expected to be available in the Leafs range during the third round.
Excerpts on each prospect have been taken from Nick Richard’s final top 100 rankings for the 2022 draft, be sure to check out the list in full for lots of great information on prospects throughout the draft board.
Nick Moldenhauer, RW, USHL
Consolidated #76
Not dissimilar from Matt Knies’ draft season a year ago, Nick Moldenhauer is an intriguing prospect thanks to his excellent play late in the USHL season.
To begin the year, Moldenhauer was sidelined with an illness that kept him out through Chicago’s training camp and the first month of the season. Upon finally getting back to health and making his season debut, Moldenhauer was cut on …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Looking back at the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 2018 draft

Over the course of this week, I’ve been looking back at each of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ four draft classes under the tenure of GM Kyle Dubas, reviewing how the selections were viewed at the time, how they have panned out to date, and noting what talent they missed out on (if any) in the immediate picks following.
Today, we finish off the series by reviewing the 2018 draft class for the Toronto Maple Leafs, the first draft overseen by Kyle Dubas as general manager. With a fairly shallow prospect pool having seen major pieces graduate to the NHL roster in the two years prior to this draft, Dubas and the rest of the Leafs staff needed to hit on at least some of the picks to begin to restock the cupboards.
1st Round, 29th Overall – Rasmus Sandin, LD, OHL
At the time
Firstly, Kyle Dubas traded down from the 25th overall slot, adding a third-round pick by moving down four positions in the draft order.
Then, upon selecting Rasmus Sandin, many were thinking “here we go again” as Dubas’ first draft pick came from non-other than Sault Ste. Marie, the very OHL team Dubas had been the general manager of prior to his time with the Maple Leafs.
It was a bold move for Dubas to put aside the optics o …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Looking back at the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 2019 draft

Over the course of this week, I’ll be looking back at each of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ four draft classes under the tenure of GM Kyle Dubas, reviewing how the selections were viewed at the time, how they have panned out to date, and noting what talent they missed out on (if any) in the immediate picks following.
Today, we continue on by reviewing the 2019 draft class for the Toronto Maple Leafs. This was the first time in nine years that the Leafs did not have a first-round pick, so the pressure was on Toronto’s staff to find some gems with the later picks they did still hold.
Toronto had six picks during the 2019 draft, and while none have become full-time NHLers just yet, we will be getting to the first two prospects that have actually made their NHL debut in today’s article.
2nd Round, 53rd Overall – Nick Robertson, LW, OHL
At the time
Heading into the 2019 draft, Nicholas Robertson was an interesting prospect to keep an eye on. While he was consistently ranked inside the first round by public rankings, including those released by the likes of Craig Button, Sam Cosentino, Chris Peters, Corey Pronman, Cam Robinson, and Scott Wheeler, Robertson’s lack of size meant he was a prime target to fall down draft boards.
T …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Looking back at the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 2020 draft, Part 2

Over the course of this week, I’ll be looking back at each of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ four draft classes under the tenure of GM Kyle Dubas, reviewing how the selections were viewed at the time, how they have panned out to date, and noting what talent they missed out on (if any) in the immediate picks following.
Today, we continue by taking a look at the rest of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft after reviewing the first six selections Toronto made in yesterday’s look back.
As mentioned in the first part of the 2020 draft look back, the Maple Leafs were active on the trade front during this draft. As such, they held three picks in both the sixth round and eventually the seventh round, which we will take a look at in today’s article.
6th Round, 168th Overall – Veeti Miettinen, RW, Finland U20
At the time
A record scorer at the Finnish U20 level, Veeti Miettinen’s path to eventually play in the NCAA meant he could not play professional games prior to coming over to North America to join St. Cloud State. This meant that despite Miettinen’s dominant performances at the U20 level in Finland leading up to his draft year, he would have to remain at that level if he was to maintain NCAA eligibility.
He aga …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Looking back at the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 2020 draft, Part 1

Over the course of this week, I’ll be looking back at each of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ four draft classes under the tenure of GM Kyle Dubas, reviewing how the selections were viewed at the time, how they have panned out to date, and noting what talent they missed out on (if any) in the immediate picks following.
Today, we continue by taking a look back at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. As the Maple Leafs made a whopping 12 (!) selections in that draft, I’ll be splitting this one into two articles, beginning with the first six picks today.
Toronto was active during the 2020 draft, making three trades during Day 2 of the draft to trade up and down the board. Unlike yesterday’s look back at the 2021 draft, we do begin on Day 1 with the first round.
1st Round, 15th Overall – Rodion Amirov, RW, KHL
At the time
While the Leafs did trade their first-round pick to the Carolina Hurricanes in order to shed Patrick Marleau’s cap hit the previous summer, Toronto was able to recoup a first-round pick when they traded Kasperi Kapanen back to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The highest pick the Leafs had held since drafting Auston Matthews first overall in 2016, there was a lot of pressure on Toronto’s staff to hit on the 15th overa …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Looking back at the Toronto Maple Leafs 2021 draft

Over the course of this week, I’ll be looking back at each of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ four draft classes under the tenure of GM Kyle Dubas, reviewing how the selections were viewed at the time, how they have panned out to date, and noting what talent they missed out on (if any) in the immediate picks following.
Today, we begin with the Maple Leafs’ most recent class, taking a look back at the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. Toronto entered the 2021 draft with only three picks, in the second, fifth, and sixth rounds. Numerous picks had been traded at the deadline and with a lack of draft capital, many expected the Leafs to trade down once or even twice to recoup assets.
Instead, as the picks slowly ticked off the board on Day 2 of the draft leading up to the Maple Leafs’ first selection at 57th overall, they did not trade down. Rather, with a player their scouts were very high on still available, they made the pick.
2nd Round, 57th Overall – Matt Knies, LW, USHL
At the time
When the pick was made, many were surprised first that the Leafs did not trade down, but also that Matt Knies was the selection.
On paper, Knies didn’t fit the characteristics of a typical Toronto dr …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Jason Spezza should have no regrets about not getting 1000 points

It was just over two weeks ago that Jason Spezza announced his retirement and accepted a job in the Maple Leafs’ front office.
The 19-season veteran called it a career after amassing a total of 995 points in 1248 career regular season games and an additional 76 points across 97 career playoff games. However, the ink had not yet dried on Spezza’s new contract as special assistant to Kyle Dubas when speculation began in some corners of the Leafs’ fanbase that he could come out of retirement and rejoin the team.

Jason Spezza announced today his retirement from the NHL after 19 seasons. He will be joining the Maple Leafs’ front office effective immediately. #LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) May 29, 2022

The hypothesis presented is that Spezza would not formally sign his papers to retire from the NHL Player’s Association, keep in shape by working on the ice alone after hours, and then sign just before the trade deadline next year. The purpose of this being that he would be a basically free depth add and it would allow him to not only pursue the Stanley Cup one more time as a player, but it would also give him a chance to pick up five more points so he could hit 1000.
This (probably) isn’t going to happen.
We are gonna have to live in a reality where Jason Spezza’s playing career ended on a night when Nick Paul, a player who was part of the trade that saw him go from Ottawa to Dallas, scored the two goals that eliminated the Toronto Maple Leafs, as tragically coincidental as that is.
As great as it would be to see Spezza back in the b …

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Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

Round two recap: Who scored the goal of the year for Toronto?

Round two is officially over and the third-round matchups are now set to begin today. We started with 16 of the best goals from this past Maple Leafs season (eight matchups) and have narrowed it down to the final four goals. With the help of all of you over at our Twitter (@TLNdc) you will get a chance to vote on what goal you think deserves to move on to the finals.
We have two matchups in round three, and they’re all pretty nice goals so it’ll be challenging to decide, but before we get into that, let’s go over the second-round matchups to see who advanced, who got eliminated, and what the total votes were in each matchup.
 
Matchup one:
Winner: Mitch Marner vs VGK (Nov. 2, 2021) – 62% of votes
Loser: Auston Matthews vs COL (Dec. 1, 2021) – 38% of votes
 
Matchup two:
Winner: Morgan Rielly vs PIT (Feb. 17, 2022) – 71% of votes
Loser: Pierre Engvall vs NYI (Jan. 22, 2022) – 29% of votes
 
Matchup three:
Winner: Auston Matthews vs SEA (Mar. 8, 2022) – 68% of votes
Loser: Mitch Marner vs NYI (Nov. 21, 2021) – 32% of votes
 
Matchup four:
Winner: Auston Matthews vs DAL (Apr. 7, 2022) – 57% of votes
Loser: Mitch Marner vs FLA (Apr. 5, …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

Round one recap: Who scored the goal of the year for Toronto?

I made a bracket a little over a week ago, including 16 of the best goals scored from this past Toronto Maple Leafs season, and in the bracket, there were eight matchups in the first round. On our Twitter page (@TLNdc) we posted a poll every afternoon with one matchup from round one where you had the chance to vote on the goal you thought was the best.
Now that round one is officially done, we have our results from that round, including who advanced, who got eliminated, what the total votes were, and of course, what the matchups are in round two. As seen below, you will see all eight first-round matchups and what the total votes were after the voting closed.
 
Matchup one:
Winner: Mitch Marner vs VGK (Nov. 2, 2021) – 96% of votes
Loser: Ondrej Kase vs SJ (Oct. 22, 2021) – 4% of votes
 
Matchup two:
Winner: Auston Matthews vs COL (Dec. 1, 2021) – 76% of votes
Loser: William Nylander vs SJ (Nov. 26, 2021) – 24% of votes
 
Matchup three:
Winner: Morgan Rielly vs PIT (Feb. 17, 2022) – 86% of votes
Loser: Alex Kerfoot vs BOS (Mar. 29, 2022) – 14% of votes
 
Matchup four:
Winner: Pierre Engvall vs NYI (Jan. 22, 2022) – 65% of votes
Loser: Morgan Rielly vs BUF (Nov. 13, 2021) – 35% of votes
 
Matchup five:
Winner: Auston Matthews vs SEA (Mar. 8, 2022) – 61% of votes
Loser: Wil …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation