Practice Shenanigans: Robertson promoted to the second line, Matthews and Nylander return, Sandin participates

Despite the Leafs not playing a game on Saturday night, they still made things interesting with what happened on the ice.

#Leafs lines at practiceGalchenyuk-Matthews-MarnerRobertson-Tavares-NylanderMikheyev-Kerfoot-HymanThornton-Spezza-Simmondsextra: Engvall, Brooks
DefenceRielly-BrodieMuzzin-HollDermott-BogosianExtra: Marincin, Liljegren Sandin
GoaliesCampbellRittich
— David Alter (@dalter) April 17, 2021

The key thing to notice here is that Nick Robertson will be getting a shot on the second line with John Tavares and William Nylander, which is a well-deserved honour. Robertson has been very noticeable in his three games since getting brought up and is playing with intensity on each passing shift. Similar to how managed to make the roster during the 2020 bubble, he has willed his way into a bigger role and has forced Sheldon Keefe into making a tough decision on who to take out so Robertson can play.
Judging by the pairings, it appears that Pierre Engvall is going to be a healthy scratch as a result of this move and I imagine this is Keefe’s way of sending the Swedish centre a message. Engvall has had a rough stretch of games predating Robertson’s promotion, resulting in instances where the former has been benched by his coach for long stretches. Hopefully, this motivates him to get his season back …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Leafs face Oilers for final time in the regular season

Coming off a 4-3 OT win on Saturday, the Leafs take on the Oilers for one final time this (regular) season tonight, and they’ll be doing so with Michael Hutchinson in net. In the two teams’ games this season, the Leafs are 6-1-1, and all 3 of their goalies have played (and won) against the Oilers.
Saturday was arguably Jack Campbell’s shakiest game so far this season, and the team in front of him struggled to hit the net, as well; though they finally overcame a 2-goal deficit to tie the game at 3 apiece late in the third period. And Auston Matthews finally got over his snake bite, scoring the OT winner. While the Leafs are now on a 3-game winning streak, two of those three have been in overtime, which is not necessarily ideal when the divisional race is tight.
As the Leafs look to extend their winning streak, and hopefully pull it off in regulation, the Oilers are smarting from yet another loss to a team they want to get the best of. They’ll be hungry for the win, and with Hutchinson in net for the Leafs you can bet that Edmonton will try to …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

The Leafs place Travis Boyd on waivers

After coming off a big win on Saturday night, the Leafs decided to place on of better players in their bottom-six on waivers this afternoon.

Travis Boyd (TOR) has been placed on waivers.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) March 21, 2021

Part of why Travis Boys was put on waivers is to give the Leafs roster flexibility and easily move him between the main roster and taxi squad, similar to how Jason Spezza has been utilized throughout this season.  But with Boyd playing better than expected, Toronto runs the risk of him getting claimed by another team that would be in need of offensive depth.
If that were to be the case, that would make him the second Leaf this week to be snagged up by another team after Jimmy Vesey got claimed by the Vancouver Canucks.
Boyd has recorded three goals, five assists, and eight points in 20 games played. All we can do now is hope for the best that he doesn’t have to pack his bags and head elsewhere in 24 hours time.
All stats unless otherwise noted are from Hockey-Reference.com

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Leafs look to maintain momentum against Oilers amidst goalie concerns

Coming off an impressive full-team performance Saturday night, led by a newly-returned Jack Campbell who posted a shutout against Connor McDavid and crew, the Leafs are hoping to keep the pressure on and come out with a similar result in Edmonton tonight. However, it seems they’ll be doing so without either Campbell or Frederik Andersen in net, as reports are out that Michael Hutchinson gets the start. Campbell is apparently out with an undisclosed injury, no timeline for return given, and Freddie is not yet ready to step back into net.

Hutchinson in the starter’s net for Toronto.
— Mark Spector (@SportsnetSpec) March 1, 2021

Even without Auston Matthews, the Leafs played as complete a game as we have seen from them this season on Saturday, delivering both offensively and defensively. They also succeeded in keeping their foot on the gas even with a solid lead in the third period, something they have struggled with in the past. Campbell’s performance in his return was nothing less than stellar, and the mood of the entire team following the win was noticeably jubilant.
Meanwhile, despite their loss in that game, the Oilers have been dominant over the last couple weeks. Prior to Saturday’ …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

Scott’s Thoughts: What lines should the Leafs roll with all these injuries?

With Wayne Simmond’s injury on Saturday, the Leafs find themselves losing more and more depth by the day. Simmond’s joins Nick Robertson, Joe Thornton, Jack Campbell, and Travis Dermott as the Leafs players dealing with injuries, and while the Leafs have been lucky enough so far to not have any of their big names hurt (aside from Matthews missing a game), the Leafs depth continues to be tested.
So, what should the Leafs look at as their lineup while all of these players are out of the lineup? Here are my thoughts.
Forwards
Zach Hyman – Auston Matthews – Mitch Marner
This one’s kind of a no-brainer. They’ve played well since Thornton’s injury, so why break up a good thing.
Jimmy Vesey – John Tavares – William Nylander
This is probably going to be a hot take, but I’d rather Keefe not put Ilya Mikheyev back on the Tavares line. When that line is together so far this season, they have 37.8% of the shot attempts and 30.57% of the expected goals. With their depth already depleted, I’d rather one of the two lines that should be dominating for us not be getting caved in.
Vesey has seen the …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Oilers snap Leafs winning streak in thrilling OT contest

The Leafs and Oilers put on a show on Saturday night in a fast paced, tightly contested game that featured highlight reel moments from some of the game’s biggest stars. The Leafs battled back from a two goal deficit but came up short in a 4-3 overtime loss, bringing their record to 5-0-1 in one goal games so far this season.
Both teams had their legs from the get go and played at a furious pace to begin the opening period. The Oilers got the first good chance of the contest when a puck trickled behind Frederik Andersen and Mikko Lehtonen dove behind him to pull the puck off the goal line with his hand, leading to a penalty shot for former Leaf Tyler Ennis. Andersen stayed with him the whole way, forcing a shot wide to keep the game scoreless and went on to make a handful of big saves to weather the early storm before Dominik Kahun opened the scoring on an odd man rush.
The Oilers’ forecheck caused problems for the Leafs early and they struggled to move the puck out of their zone with possession but Toronto broke through late in the period with …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Leafs look to make it a five game winning streak tonight against Oilers

It’s another Saturday night Leafs game, as the Leafs look to continue their winning ways and build on their league leading 7-2 record, as well as continue their current four game winning streak and sweep this two game series against the Oilers.
The Leafs and Oilers come into tonight’s game after a heated first game that saw the Leafs take a 2-0 lead before “penalty trouble” saw them blow that lead, but an Auston Matthews goal gave the Leafs a 4-3 lead, which would hold for the final score.
The other big story going into tonight’s game is that the Leafs will be debuting their Reverse Retro jerseys, which haven’t gotten the best reaction from fans. But, it will be interesting to see how they look on the ice tonight.
Lineups

LW
C
RW
Forwards
ZACH HYMAN
Rating: 74.6#33 LW

AUSTON MATTHEWS
Rating: 82.3#6 C

MITCH MARNER
Rating: 76.6#18 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 77.83#5 FL1

WILLIAM NYLANDER
Rating: 76.1#23 LW

JOHN TAVARES
Rating: 77.6#15 C

ILYA MIKHEYEV
Rating: 74.0#42 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 75.90#5 FL2

JIMMY VESEY
Rating: 70.6#107 LW

ALEXANDER KERFOOT
Rating: 70.8#113 C

WAYNE SIMMONDS
Rating: 70.2#112 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 70.57#24 FL3

ALEXANDER BARABANOV
PIERRE ENGVALL
Rating: 71.0#98 C

JASON SPEZZA
Rating: 69.4#126 RW

FL4 Rating
Rating: 70.22#23 …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Waiver Wildness: A Tyler Ennis reunion coming?

Waiver Wildness: A Tyler Ennis reunion coming?

During the recent Saturday Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada, Elliotte Friedman mentioned that the Leafs were in the market for an additional forward. Which makes sense given that both Joe Thornton and Nick Robertson are out for a month and some of the healthy forwards are still getting adjusted to Toronto’s system.
Which is why the news of who was placed on waivers this afternoon could not have been better for the Leafs:

Waivers today:
Tyler Ennis (#LetsGoOilers) & Greg Pateryn (#GoAvs).https://t.co/gjOvqcSdnQ
— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) January 25, 2021

You may recall that Tyler Ennis played with the Leafs during the 2018-19 campaign and did well by scoring 12 goals, eight assists, and 18 points in 51 games. By many accounts, the players and organization loved him and his hard work earned him a Bill Masterton Trophy nomination. He split time between the Ottawa Senators and the Edmonton Oilers last year and had his best statistical performance since the 2014-15 season as he recorded 37 points in 70 games.
In terms of why the Oilers would want to put Ennis on waivers in the first place, my guess is so that he can shuffle back and forth between the main roster and …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Auston Matthews could win the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy on Friday, as NHL will reveal award winners this week

On Saturday, the NHL announced that they will be revealing the winners of the 2020 NHL Awards once a day, starting on Sunday, Sept. 6, through the Conference Finals.
Winners will be announced on NBC Sports, Sportsnet and TVA Sports during their pregame windows through the Conference Finals. Eight awards will be given out once a day for eight days throughout the Conference Finals.
Of the award finalists, Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews is particularly a name to note. He is currently one of the finalists for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, which is the annual award given “to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” The winner of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy will be revealed on Friday, Sept. 11.
After the initial eight awards are handed out, the remaining five awards (the Calder Memorial Trophy, Hart Memorial Trophy, James Norris Memorial Trophy, Ted Lindsay Award and Vezina Trophy), will be revealed at some point in a 30-minute program during the Stanley Cup Finals.
 
Below is the complete schedule for all the awards, along with their finalists.
Sunday, Sept. 6
King Clancy Memorial Trophy ( …

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Author: Matthew Rodrigopulle / The Leafs Nation

This is not the end.

Saturday August 29th at 12:30pm. 
 
The day and time the NHL is officially back in action. Let me tell you why we shouldn’t be rushing to forget the events of the past three days. 
 
Before I get into that, I ask that you folks take some time to read this piece by Omar from Pension Plan Puppets, as well as this open letter to the NHL by Matthew Henriques, if you haven’t already. 
 
These past couple days have been a lot in the hockey world.
 
From a lack of action from the league and players the day sports took a pause. Excuses of napping or not enough time to plan for a stop, even though there were hours from when the Bucks didn’t take the court to the Tampa/Boston game. Some folks are in a bubble both literally and figuratively. Re: Alain Vigneault
It caused an uproar which then phased into a moment of reflection. 
 

In the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting, the NHL will hold a moment of reflection before tonight’s Tampa/Boston game in Toronto and tonight’s Colorado/Dallas game in …

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Author: Marsha Joseph / The Leafs Nation