TheLeafsNation Top 25 of 2020: #1 — RUMOURS: A landing spot for Andersen and the asking price for Nylander

Welcome to the yearly wrap up of the top read articles over the last year!
We did it! We finally made it to number one.
The most-read article this year was penned by TLN editor Jon Steitzer who on Aug. 30 wrote about some of the latest rumours surrounding the Leafs.
Elliotte Freidman had wrote a 31 thoughts piece looking at some rumours surrounding Andersen and Nylander.
RUMOURS: A landing spot for Andersen and the asking price for Nylander

Here’s some of what Steitzer wrote:
Speaking of moving on from Andersen, here’s a potential landing spot. Now obviously the Leafs would love to get back their 13th overall pick, and would probably need to take one of the Canes goaltenders for doing so (preferably Mrazek because he’s better), but there are a lot of interesting roster players on the Canes that Leafs should be interested in as well, but I’d assume Pesce and Hamilton are off limits, obviously.
Nylander being worth a legitimate top four right handed defenseman has shades of Hall for Larsson all over it, and in that situation it’s pretty easy to pass on the idea of trading Nylander, even if you aren’t …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

TheLeafsNation Top 25 of 2020: #2 — Elliotte Friedman on future Leaf Joe Thornton and more

Welcome to the yearly wrap up of the top read articles over the last year!
It was back in February when there was lots of smoke around Joe Thornton and the Toronto Maple Leafs. And a few days after the trade deadline, Elliotte Friedman had some thoughts on Jumbo and the Leafs.
TLN editor Jon Steitzer wrote about it in a piece that was the 2nd more read article this year.
Elliotte Friedman on future Leaf Joe Thornton and more

Here’s some of what Steitzer wrote:
So let’s start there with Elliotte Friedman’s thought(s) on Joe Thornton coming to Toronto…
If Thornton is not sold on the Sharks, and he’s willing to seek out new life (boldly go where no one has gone before), my prediction is Toronto will be a factor. I can’t confirm this, but I believe the Maple Leafs considered adding him now.
Elliotte goes on to discuss how optically it didn’t make sense for Dubas at the deadline, but next season could make more sense…
Thornton’s made it clear he will make his salary fit. He’s a left-hand shot who could feed Auston Matthews/John Tavares from …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

TheLeafsNation Top 25 of 2020: #3 — Friedman: Bracco, Timashov and Harpur Have Asked Leafs Management to “See What’s Out There”

Welcome to the yearly wrap up of the top read articles over the last year!
We’re back after a small Christmas break and today we’re looking at some “trade requests.”
Last December, Elliotte Freidman reported Jeremy Bracco, Dmytro Timashov and Ben Harpur asked for the Leafs to gauge interest on them on the trade market.
TLN writer Mike Stephens broke it down, and it was the third most-read article this year.
Friedman: Bracco, Timashov and Harpur Have Asked Leafs Management to “See What’s Out There”

Here’s some of what Stephens wrote:
For Bracco and Harpur, this is relatively understandable.
Bracco finished second in the entire AHL last season in points and has established himself as arguably the most gifted passer in the Leafs organization. He had one of the most prolific offensive seasons for a 22-year-old in AHL history in 2018-19 and became a dominant force on a terrific power play. And yet, as the Maple Leafs have continued to experience horrific injury luck this season, Bracco’s name has been passed over for a promotion time and time again — save for a brief emergency recall that ultimately only netted him a day or so of …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

TheLeafsNation Top 25 of 2020: #4 — My (horrible?) idea for a P.K. Subban to the Leafs trade proposal

TheLeafsNation Top 25 of 2020: #4 — My (horrible?) idea for a P.K. Subban to the Leafs trade proposal

Welcome to the yearly wrap up of the top read articles over the last year!
There were tons of rumours that the Leafs have been linked to over the years, but somehow PK Subban has always been in that conversation.
And on Sept. 4, TLN Editor Jon Steitzer took a look at one proposal that could make sense.
It was the fourth most-read article this year.
My (horrible?) idea for a P.K. Subban to the Leafs trade proposal

The proposed deal was this: PK Subban and the Canucks 2020 first for Frederik Andersen, Andreas Johnsson and Travis Dermott. Here’s some of what Steitzer wrote:
So as much as this deal is about acquiring Subban, it’s equally about the Leafs picking up another 1st round pick, giving them even more flexibility at the draft, or enabling them to restock for the future.
From the Devils perspective they get a decent defenseman, a decent forward, both of who can play significant minutes for them, and a goaltender that they can test out for the year and potentially flip at the trade deadline if their season goes as expected and they don’t want Andersen back for another year. This might be …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

TheLeafsNation Top 25 of 2020: #5 — Five Potential Trade Partners for Frederik Andersen

Welcome to the yearly wrap up of the top read articles over the last year!
It didn’t take long after the Leafs were eliminated in the return to play for the focus to shift onto the offseason.
And with that, talk of Freddie Andersen being traded resurfaced.
On August 13th, TLN writer Brian Reid took a look at five potential trade targets for Andersen. It was the fifth most-read article this year.
Five Potential Trade Partners for Frederik Andersen

As no-brainers for potential trade destinations, Reid listed Chicago and the Minnesota Wild. Two possibilities were the Carolina Hurricanes and the Calgary Flames, while a galaxy brain option was the San Jose Sharks.
Here’s some of what he wrote:
With the Leafs also potentially moving on from one (or both) of Andreas Johnsson and Kasperi Kapanen this offseason, Kevin Lebanc is an intriguing option to fill a top nine wing role. Lebanc signed a cheap, one year, $1 million extension last summer to help the Sharks and it ended up costing him as the Sharks didn’t really put the savings to good use and Lebanc’s production dropped from 56 points in 2018/2019 to 33 points this past season. The Sharks would …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

TheLeafsNation Top 25 of 2020: #6 — Two Leafs make their way onto the TSN Trade Bait Board

Welcome to the yearly wrap up of the top read articles over the last year!
When TSN reveals a new Trade Bait Board, all eyes are on it.
And on Sept. 1, TSN’s dropped their first of the offseason and two Leafs made the list — Andreas Johnsson and Frederik Andersen.
TLN editor Jon Steitzer wrote about it and it was the sixth most-read article of the year.
Two Leafs make their way onto the TSN Trade Bait Board

Here’s what Steitzer wrote:

17. Andreas Johnsson
This really does come as much of a surprise, as the Leafs have capable wingers willing to work for cheap in the form of Robertson, Barabanov, and Korshkov. Replacing Johnsson and Kapanen with cheap entry level deal players that at the very least will be able to cover off the underwhelming 2019-20 seasons of Kapanen and Johnsson and at best match their 2018-19 career best years, seems like a no brainer.
Johnsson probably isn’t going to land the Leafs a mid-1st round pick, but there’s a good chance that he could be part of a worthwhile package for an area of need for the Leafs.
19. Frederik Andersen
I really feels like we’ …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

TheLeafsNation Top 25 of 2020: #7 — Leafs rumoured to have interest in Darnell Nurse, is he worth considering?

Welcome to the yearly wrap up of the top read articles over the last year!
There’s one player from the Edmonton Oilers that’s been seemingly connected to Toronto for a long time — Darnell Nurse. He has connections to both Sheldon Keefe and Kyle Dubas from the days of the Soo Greyhounds, so his name will surely come up.
And on August 30th, Jon Steitzer wrote a piece that the Leafs had reported interest in the defenceman.
That piece was the seventh most-read article this year.
Leafs rumoured to have interest in Darnell Nurse, is he worth considering?

Here’s some of what Steitzer wrote:
Well, earlier in the discussion betweeen Lowetide and Mirtle, the names of interest that came up for the Oilers are Frederik Andersen and Andreas Johnsson. Either one could be a worthwhile option for the Oilers, and fits in with the fact that they can sacrifice some of their defensive depth to upgrade at other positions, and both Andersen or Johnsson would work for the Oilers from a salary cap perspective as well. Although for the Oilers, if they are looking to shed defensemen, the side they would be more likely to be trading from …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

TheLeafsNation Top 25 of 2020: #8 — How NHL superstar Sidney Crosby almost ended up in Toronto

Welcome to the yearly wrap up of the top read articles over the last year!
While it wasn’t Sidney Crosby almost landing with the Toronto Maple Leafs, he nearly was playing out of Toronto in the mid-2000’s.
I wrote about it in an April 26th piece — one that became the eighth most-read article this year.
How NHL superstar Sidney Crosby almost ended up in Toronto

It all started in 2003 when Allan Howell and Dr. Nick Vaccaro tried to revive the World Hockey Association. The full-of-holes plan circled around a number of teams and two drafts.
Here’s some of what I wrote:
 in 2004, the league held two drafts: first, their amateur draft and second, their free-agent draft.
The first amateur selection went to the Toronto Maple Leafs, who took none other than the best major junior hockey player available — Sidney Crosby.
After the July 2004 draft, Crosby was offered a three-year, $7.5-million contract from Mario Frankovich, the owner of Hamilton’s franchise. Some confusion was abounded to say the least, given that Crosby was drafted by Toronto but yet Hamilton offered him a contract. Maybe this is why the WHA never took off…
Nonetheless, with a massive contract that …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

TheLeafsNation Top 25 of 2020: #9 — Projecting the Leafs Opening Night Lineup for the 2020-21 Season

TheLeafsNation Top 25 of 2020: #9 — Projecting the Leafs Opening Night Lineup for the 2020-21 Season

Welcome to the yearly wrap up of the top read articles over the last year!
With free agency and the draft wrapping up in early October, the focus shifted to the start of the 2020-21 season.
And on Oct. 18, TLN writer Michael Mazzei broke down what the Leafs lineup could look like.
It was the ninth most-read article this year.
Projecting the Leafs Opening Night Lineup for the 2020-21 Season

Here’s the lineup that Mazzei projects and how he summarized it:
Hyman-Matthews-Marner
Mikheyev-Tavares-Nylander
Robertson-Thornton-Kerfoot
Vesey-Spezza-Simmonds
EXTRA: Anderson-Engvall-Barbanov
Rielly-Brodie
Muzzin-Holl
Dermott-Lehtonen
Extra: Sandin-Bogosian, Marincin
Andersen
Campbell
Dell
The most significant changes to the lineup will be in the bottom half for both forwards and defencemen. While top-six should likely be untouched, the amount of quality forwards at Keefe’s disposal should present him with challenges in how to properly adjust the lines and get the most out of his depth.
Barrie and Cody Ceci’s departure opens the door for three new arrivals to help buff up the blue line that was in desperate need of improvements. Goaltending remains virtually unchanged apart from the addition of a third-string netminder. Special teams also see minimal adjustments with the exception of the …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

TheLeafsNation Top 25 of 2020: #10 — Found money makes the Leafs an incredibly boring trade deadline team

Welcome to the yearly wrap up of the top read articles over the last year!
In Ryan Fancey’s eyes, some found money was to mean the Leafs were going to be an incredibly boring trade deadline team.
In a January 10th article, he made the argument and it was the 10th most read article this year.
Found money makes the Leafs an incredibly boring trade deadline team

Here’s some of what Fancey wrote:
The bottom line is, with the way Toronto has unearthed meaningful depth in their lineup through some found money and an enhanced trust in the Marlies, there’s just nothing they can really do. Get another depth forward? Johnsson is returning from injury, and Mikheyev will too eventually. Then there’s players like Engvall, Timashov, and Marchment who were all added to the mix since the team was initially picked out of camp. Is there really a clear upgrade on those options out there, especially with the way Toronto’s new deployment scheme vacuums up some of the fourth line’s minutes and leans more heavily on the stars at the top of the roster? I don’t really see it.
I would think this …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation