The TLN Three Stars: Maple Leafs finally start on time in 3-1 over Ottawa

After two shaky games where the Toronto Maple Leafs continued their habit of getting completely outplayed by their opponents during the first ten minutes, the script was reversed with two early L
eafs goals being all that was needed in a 3-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators. It was without a doubt the best team performance from the boys in blue and white thus far into the young season, and despite Ottawa nearly tying the game late in the second period before an offside review overturned what would have been the game tying goal, Toronto controlled play and dominated their provincial rivals through most of the contest.
3rd Star: Jack Campbell
With an emergency backup goalie riding the bench after an injury to Petr Mrázek earlier in the week, Jack Campbell continued to show that last year was no fluke. Appearing in all three Leafs games so far this season, Campbell has posted a 0.968 save percentage and looked downright dominant while doing so. While Frederik Andersen had his moments of brilliance while with the team, Jack Campbell is showing the kind of consistency the Maple Leafs haven’t had since the days of Ed Belfour. Campbell has shown that he’ …

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Author: Filipe Dimas / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Maple Leafs hope to keep momentum going into season’s first battle of Ontario

After a rough start to the season opener where Jack Campbell was forced to bail out his teammates early and often during the first half of the opening frame, the team was able to settle down and control play for the remaining 50 minutes en route to a 2-1 win over their rival Montreal Canadiens. Winning a season opener against a rival is about as must-win as any game this early in the calendar can get for a team so the Toronto Maple Leafs will now look to ride that high of coming out on top of what was surely the most important Leafs vs Habs game of the past year into a game two matchup against the Ottawa Senators.
With this being the second game in two nights for the Leafs, the brand new goaltending tandem will be tested early as Petr Mrázek makes his Maple Leafs debut, hoping to match the stellar performance Jack Campbell put on the night before. Mrázek won’t be the only one getting tested however, as the Maple Leafs will be looking to show that they can have the killer instinct necessary to not only win games, but dominate games they should be winning. …

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Author: Filipe Dimas / The Leafs Nation

TLN Top 20 Leafs: #16 Michael Bunting

The Michael Bunting show has arrived in Toronto, but where he will play is yet to be seen. On his 26th birthday, though, we’re taking a look at what he might do with the Leafs this season.
The Scarborough, Ontario native started last season in the AHL with the Tucson Roadrunners, scoring 19 points in 16 games. That total earned him a call up to the Arizona Coyotes, where he scored ten goals in 21 games played. After seeing that production, the Leafs and Kyle Dubas decided to take a chance on him.
5 important stats
2021 5v5 goals
2021 S%
2021 xGF/60
2021 5v5 TOI/GP
2021 Goals/60
7G in 21GP
26.32
2.89
14:05
1.71
There are a lot of elements that stand out regarding Bunting. The first is that he loves to score. Most of the goals that he put into the net last season were either tips, rebounds or clean shots. Whether it’s a jam-in goal or a deflection, Bunting is always happy to score.
In that sense, he’s sort of similar to Zach Hyman. I vividly remember when Hyman would put a puck into the net, he was always celebrating. Maybe it was because of how hard the two work to score goals, but the relation …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Trading prospects over draft picks is the right move for Maple Leafs

Trading prospects over draft picks is the right move for Maple Leafs

There comes a time where winning is everything, especially for the Toronto Maple Leafs. And that time is right now.
Kyle Dubas sought to take a massive step at the trade deadline last season by giving up a first-round pick for Nick Foligno. It was okay to take that risk last year with such a thin draft class. This year, though, is a completely different draft. The first-overall pick for is likely going to be Kingston Frontenacs centre, Shane Wright. You don’t get a player of his calibre after that, but it’s still a deeper draft than in 2021.
Toronto had three picks in this year’s draft and could have the same next year. With that being the case, the Maple Leafs might want to think twice about trading their first-round draft pick. Even the second-round pick wouldn’t be worth risking at this point. The Maple Leafs don’t have the deepest of prospect pools and would miss out on a good player if a pick is traded.
Could it make sense to trade a younger player instead? Perhaps so.
Looking at Toronto’s prospects, only three are off-limits: Nick Robertson, Rodion Amirov and Timothy Liljegren. Obviously, …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

The 2021 Top 20 Leafs Prospects: #9 Mikhail Abramov

After a couple of seasons where the Toronto Maple Leafs have struggled to graduate prospects on entry-level contracts to the NHL lineup, their 2019 draft class will be looking to change that narrative. Four of Toronto’s selections in that draft feature inside our top 10 and fourth-round pick Mikhail Abramov is a big part of that group.
Abramov falling three positions, from 6th in 2020 to 9th, is extremely harsh. A breakout campaign in 2019/20 saw him shoot up the rankings, but similar results in 2020/21 from the year prior were not enough to maintain his rank with some of the Leafs 2020 draft class seeing breakout seasons of their own.
Still, after captaining the Victoriaville Tigres to a QMJHL championship, a three-position fall is not an indication of the year Abramov had. Making the transition to the professional game in 2021 with the Marlies, Abramov will be high on the list of Leafs prospects to keep an eye on this upcoming season.
Position: Centre
Age: 20
Height: 6’0
Weight: 185 lbs
Drafted: 115th Overall, 2019 NHL Draft by Toronto
2020-21 Team: Victoriaville, QMJHL
2020 Prospect Ranking: #6
Mikhail Abramov took a massive step forwards in 2019/20, and while he didn’t take another big leap forwards in 2020/21, he maintained a lot of …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

When could Bobby McMann be in an NHL lineup?

Bobby McMann and where he could be playing this year is very interesting. With all the players that the Toronto Marlies have, he could be sent to the Newfoundland Growlers. However, he could stick with the Marlies if he has a good training camp.
In this video, I discuss when, and if, McMann could make it to the NHL. And why I might need a little more time to figure out that answer.
Enjoy the video!

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes in the Leafs roster, by counting stats

Welcome to Staturday, the column where we talk about stats on Saturday. Today, we’ll get into an overall look at last year’s team totals vs. what the 2021-22 roster did in 2020-21. Basically, we’re going to see if the Leafs should expect to have more or less of all of the basic counting stats. By doing so, we’ll see in what areas the 2021-22 roster should be better or worse than the 2020-21 roster.
I approached this same concept via the Goals Above Replacement model by Evolving Hockey in a previous Staturday column, so check that out here.
All of the stats below will be from Evolving Hockey, and will be at Even Strength, with no adjustments.
Last Year’s Leafs
Player
Season
Team
Position
GP
TOI
G
Points
iSF
iFF
iCF
ixG
Sh%
iBLK
GIVE
TAKE
iHF
iHA
iPEN±
FO±
Morgan Rielly
20-21
TOR
D
55
1078.95
4
21
74
109
160
3.61
5.41
54
64
18
60
132
-5
0
Tj Brodie
20-21
TOR
D
56
1053.38
1
11
40
62
96
1.58
2.5
75
45
19
28
99
0
0
Justin Holl
20-21
TOR
D
55
984.1
2
17
52
75
109
2.2
3.85
60
33
14
72
126
-1
0
Jake Muzzin
20-21
TOR
D
53
950.8
2
22
86
115
169
2.85
2.33
68
49
19
91
138
-5
0
Mitch Marner
20-21
TOR
C
55
904.07
17
47
108
143
195
11.6
15.74
34
53
42
19
45
-1
-1
Auston Matthews
20-21
TOR
C
52
889
30
49
167
225
260
18.11
17.96
40
42
40
56
57
7
34
John Tavares
20-21
TOR
C
56
831.3
12
33
119
155
196
12.8
10.08
27
49
30
44
75
9
62
William Nylander
20-21
TOR
C
51
697.93
11
27
100
137
167
11.37
11
15
33
29
12
61
1
2
Alex Kerfoot
20-21
TOR
C
56
674.1
6
18
59
77
100
6.41
10.17
28
25
14
38
115
3
-43
Ilya Mikheyev
20 …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Civil Discourse: What has your patience running thin about the Maple Leafs?

Civil Discourse: What has your patience running thin about the Maple Leafs?

Welcome to Civil Discourse, a new article series where two TLN writers discuss a topic of interest rationally without resorting to personal insults. So basically the anti-Twitter.
Mark Norman
We’ll get into discussing our own anxieties about this franchise in short order, but Dylan you saw the All or Nothing trailer, which depicted a clearly-upset Kyle Dubas uttering that now famous phrase “I don’t know what the **** is going to happen, my patience is running thin.” What was the first thing that popped into your head when he said that, and with more reflection upon it have you changed your answer?
Dylan Murphy
My initial reaction to hearing that line was “OK, this is actually going to be worth watching” and while typing up the news hit about the trailer and series release date, I thought about what Dubas could have been talking about. My hope is that that clip is from the final episode during exit meetings, but after some reflection, I think that expectations of the scene’s significance should be lowered because I’m thinking it’s more likely to be something related to the trade deadline, such as delays in getting the Nick Foligno …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Civil Discourse: The Maple Leafs’ new goaltending tandem

(Welcome to Civil Discourse, a new article series where two TLN writers discuss a topic of interest rationally without resorting to personal insults. So basically the anti-Twitter.)
Mark Norman
I know we’re here to talk about the Leafs goaltending going into this season, but I just wanted to briefly look back on Jack Campbell’s play last season. What stood out to you about Jack’s 2020-21 season?
Jori Negin-Shecter
I’m no technical goalie expert but Campbell’s emergence last year was really remarkable to watch from afar. His demeanour in the net was just so different from what Frederik Andersen had brought since he started struggling part way through the 19-20 season. Just the utmost composure even in the highest intensity spots. A fantastic playoff run. Campbell really looked the part of a starter in the National Hockey League. The only thing is that by going out and signing Petr Mrazek, Kyle Dubas clearly doesn’t seem to believe that statement.
Mark
I don’t seem to remember much in the way of bad goals being scored against Campbell last season. Every goalie obviously has goals they’d like back, such as Gallagher’s far-out wrister in …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Leaflets: Thoughts heading into Draft Day

Leaflets: Thoughts heading into Draft Day

It’s Draft Day!!! Woooooooooo. A magical night where anything seems possible, except for the Leafs doing anything. With Kyle Dubas’ repeated vocal support for the top of his roster, there is absolutely no chance that the Leafs find their way stumbling into the first round. At best they might do something that sets them up a bit differently for Saturday, but watching the draft tonight is just hoping for as many teams as possible to reach with their picks and provide the Leafs with the best possible talent pool to work with tomorrow.
Change needs to be made beyond the free agents
The Leafs have no shortage of vacancies created due to departing free agents, but that doesn’t seem like it should be the extent of the changes being made, and there is a need for additional funds to improve the Maple Leafs. As things sit right now, sticking only with the returning Leafs on the roster, the Leafs have just over $10M to address 4 roster spots (3F and 1G) and up to three reserve spots. At best they can comfortably chase a $7M if they plan on cheaping out the rest of the way. The fact that …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation