Auston Matthews and Jack Campbell are the Leafs All-Stars

If I were to ask you which two Leafs would you most like to see get some rest over the All-Star weekend, you’d probably answer Jack Campbell and Auston Matthews. And to that the NHL will say you’re shit out of luck because…

𝐘𝐎𝐔𝐑 𝐀𝐓𝐋𝐀𝐍𝐓𝐈𝐂 𝐃𝐈𝐕𝐈𝐒𝐈𝐎𝐍 𝐀𝐋𝐋-𝐒𝐓𝐀𝐑 𝐂𝐀𝐏𝐓𝐀𝐈𝐍 #NHLAllStar | #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/PCUWnGEzF2
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) January 13, 2022

Our Souper star! #NHLAllStar | #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/Cgz9b1sSCV
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) January 13, 2022

Well here we are. And while it’s undoubtedly a feather in Auston’s cap that he won the fan vote in such a deep division to be the team All-Star, and that Jack Campbell now has yet another accomplishment to use against the Leafs as he negotiates his contract this summer, the cynic in me still wishes that more Habs fans showed up for Nick Suzuki and Jake Allen and we could rest the stars instead of sending them off to Vegas for a weekend, especially with Auston still not having tested positive for COVID.
Considering that the Olympics aren’t happening and we don’t need to worry about that ruining the Leafs stars from that, maybe I should take the shut the hell up approach, and shift back to the positives here.
We are celebrating seasons that have Matthews and Campbell in contention for some major awards as well, and have kept the Leafs at the top of the league. They are certainly players deserving of being celebrated and today we’re doing that.
As for the rest of the Atlantic Division lineup, here it is (courtesy of NHL.com)

Atlantic Division (All-Star appearances)
F Drake Batherson, OTT (1st)
F Patrice Bergeron, BOS (3rd)
F Jonathan Huberdeau, FLA (2nd)
F Dylan Larkin, DET (2nd)
F Auston Matthews, TOR (4th)*
F Nick Suzuki, MTL (1st)
D Rasmus Dahlin, BUF (1st)
D Victor Hedman, TBL (3rd)
G Jack Campbell, TOR (1st)
G Andrei Vasilevskiy, TBL (4th)
Presumably players like William Nylander and Morgan Rielly could receive some consideration in the last man in voting, and with just two defensemen on the Atlantic roster it seems like we are a collision course with Rielly being the selection, although I don’t doubt Detroit will show up for Seider as well, and again (somewhat cynically) we are going to see players opt out or have convenient injuries before the game is played.
It does seem silly that we are looking at a lineup that includes Nick Suzuki, Dylan Larkin, and Drake Batherson, but not Steven Stamkos, Brad Marchand, or David Pastrnak, so the Atlantic has plenty of places to go.
The All-Star game will be played on February 5th. …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

WATCH: Bunting goes between his legs to set up Auston Matthews

There was a worry of who would set up Auston Matthews with Mitch Marner out of the lineup. Well, the call was coming from inside the house and Michael Bunting has demonstrated he’s got the hands to set up Auston…

Casual between the legs from Bunts! #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/rzExQGUKLN
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) December 8, 2021

So the Arizona connection is effect, as the former Coyote sets up Arizona’s favourite hockey son. The fact that Bunting pulled this off shortly after taking a slashing penalty also has to feel pretty darn good.
The question remains about who will be on the right wing on that line, but there shouldn’t be any worry about Bunting and Matthews slowing down anytime soon.

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Seravalli’s trade target list has a few big ticket options for the Leafs to consider

Seravalli’s trade target list has a few big ticket options for the Leafs to consider

The Leafs are winning, why would they make a trade?
Well…you could argue that they don’t need to. You could argue that it will be hard for them to afford to. And you could argue they don’t have the moveable assets to pull it off, but frankly you’re just being a downer. The reality is that good teams add and don’t accept being good, they try to be better. The reality is the Leafs have found a way to make difficult salary cap moves before and it’s likely to happen again. And of course, when you look at the moveable assets piece, as long as some salary is heading out there’s no shortage of prospects, and draft picks (if you include the 2023 draft) to make something work. So yeah, we’re going to talk upgrades from time to time, and this week Frank Seravalli provided us with a list of names to consider.
You can check out Nick Barden’s look at Justin Holl’s availability. We’ve talked about a number of the players on the list already (Dylan Strome, Jake DeBrusk, Vitali Kravtsov, and JT Miller.)
That gives us four new( …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

TLN Top 20 Leafs: #1 Auston Matthews

Come on, did you think it would be anyone else?
Since the day he was selected first overall in the 2016 NHL draft, Auston Matthews has been the face of the Leafs through every triumph and heartbreak. He set the tone for a new era in his first game by scoring four goals in an overtime loss and then proceeded to smash franchise records and add to his trophy cabinet. Toronto’s hockey team has been a competitive bunch for the last half-decade thanks in no small part to the play of the guy who was recently named to represent his country in the 2022 Olympics.
Of course, there is the caveat that all five years have ended in the same outcome and no clear signs that things are going to change for the better. Matthews has certainly proven his ability to turn up his game in the playoffs more often than not, but he is fresh off his worst showing yet and, alongside Mitch Marner, was the face of the team’s most recent collapse. So for better or for worse, the Leafs will only go as far as Matthews can take them, and that remains the case this time around …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Hyun Jin Ryu is headed to the 10-day Injured List

I guess this would explain what’s been going on with Hyun Jin Ryu lately?

After getting lit up in back-to-back starts, first by the Orioles and then by the Twins, the Blue Jays have placed Ryu on the 10-day Injured List with neck tightness.

ROSTER MOVES:
LHP Hyun Jin Ryu (neck tightness) placed on 10-day IL
LHP Tayler Saucedo recalled from Triple-A and will be active today pic.twitter.com/5obkH105uJ
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) September 19, 2021

I wrote yesterday about Ryu’s struggles and what the Blue Jays should do next. Ryu said after Friday’s outing that he didn’t feel he was dealing with an injury, which was sort of the assumption after word came out that he was dealing with forearm tightness after his start in New York a couple of weeks ago.
Regardless, Ryu will miss his next start, which was supposed to be on Wednesday in Tampa Bay against the Rays.
Jose Berrios goes Sunday, Robbie Ray kicks off the Tampa series on Monday, and then Alek Manoah, who was pushed back, starts Tuesday. The hole on Wednesday could be filled by Ross Stripling or possibly Thomas Hatch, who’s currently with the …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Leafs trade Greenway to the Bruins for Future Considerations

Not the blockbuster you would have hoped for, but it’s something resembling Leafs news today…

TRADE
To Toronto Maple Leafs #LeafsForever Future Considerations
To Boston Bruins #NHLBruins D James Greenway (Signing Rights)https://t.co/6YFJlipItk
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) July 26, 2021

James Greenway is an unsigned NCAA free agent who’s rights are about to expire on August 15th. He’s a big 6’5 defenseman, and the brother of Jordan Greenway of the Minnesota Wild. He’s been in the Leafs organization for a while, and had a setback where he left the University of Wisconsin for the USHL, and then joined the University of Maine. There isn’t a whole lot in his history that says he was going to be an AHL contributor let alone a NHL player for the Leafs, so letting him walk isn’t the end of the world.
On the other hand the Leafs just let a giant defenseman walk to the Bruins for nothing so you know how it’s going to play out. At least they got Future Considerations.

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs expansion draft protection list raises a lot of questions

A few days ago it seemed incredibly likely the Leafs would go with a 4F-4D-1G approach to their protection list in the expansion draft. We were all prepared for that. Then Jared McCann was acquired, and 7F-3D-1G seemed incredibly likely. Now here we are…

So we can project that the #Leafs went 4-4-1 on their protected list:
– Matthews– Marner– Tavares (NMC)– Nylander
– Rielly– Brodie– Muzzin– Holl
– Campbell
That would leave Kerfoot and McCann unprotected up front, Dermott unprotected on the backend https://t.co/2Q9d89UWba
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) July 18, 2021

Yep, that’s basically the predicted list for earlier this week, last month, whenever.
There were plenty of people making reasonable arguments that protecting the cheaper and younger Travis Dermott over Justin Holl made sense, but it’s now becoming apparent the organization either has tremendous faith in Holl’s abilities or they think they can get something more substantial for him in the trade market and he’s worth protecting.
The Jared McCann situation is an absolute mystery. The Leafs seemingly went out of their way yesterday to acquire a good player, a player who would be an upgrade for the Leafs …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Meet the Sellers: Chicago Cubs

When news broke saying the Cubs would become sellers this morning, I had to pause my AL “Meet the Sellers” writing and go back to the NL. This comes on the heels of a 1-9 record over their last 10 games.

The Cubs have slowly slid into a tie for third place in the NL Central with the St. Louis Cardinals. They hold a record of 43-45 after starting the season hot. They are 9.5 games back of the division-leading Brewers, who appear to have run away with the division.
The Cubs have a former NL MVP on the team, a stud closer, and a lefty reliever available, and I think the Blue Jays should have interest in all of them.  Honestly, I did not expect to have to write about the 2016 World Series Champions, as I thought they would win the NL Central coming into the season. Now that the Brew Crew are comfortably in first place, it does not make sense for the Cubs to hold onto expiring contracts, no matter the talent.
Here are some players that would fill the Blue Jays’ needs…
Kris Bryant
Let’s start off with a bang. Kris Bryant, the former NL MVP (2016) should …

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Author: Eric Lightfoot / Blue Jays Nation

Reflecting on the first Leafs and Habs playoff series in 42 years

As a kid born in Winnipeg I would have been perfectly happy to be treated to a first round between the Jets and Leafs. I would have had the opportunity to trash talk my relatives, I could gingerly walk the line between 80s Jets nostalgia, and my love of the Leafs. It could have been fun. That said, the matchup we are receiving is a whole lot better.
In my lifetime (I’m not young, and by internet standards I’m a damned dinosaur) there has never been a Leafs vs. Habs playoff series. Of course we should have had one in 1993, but Kerry Fraser is incapable of seeing a blatant high stick directly in front of him, and the world had to suffer through a Kings vs. Canadiens Stanley Cup Final instead of the Leafs-Habs series the world demanded (or probably just Canada, I’ll assume the rest of the hockey world was perfectly content to get more Gretzky). Anyway, that’s the closest we’ve come in 42 years. Despite the Leafs being in the same division as Montreal, the stars just haven’t aligned and either the two teams were incapable of being good at the same time …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs and the joys of (lite) load management

Leafs and the joys of (lite) load management

If it was really load management it would have been happening all along and not just emerging in the final two weeks while the Leafs close out their season. From early on in the season it seemed painfully clear that the Leafs are a notch above their North Division rivals, and frequently had to beat themselves (hehe) in order for the other team to pick up a win. Mildly banged up players or some of the more senior players could have been resting throughout this season and we could have been treated to things like Rasmus Sandin (pre and post injury) more frequently, or Timothy Liljegren, or have seen what a serviceable NHLer Adam Brooks could be all along. The price would have been John Tavares taking a rest in the press box, or Jake Muzzin getting to step out of the lineup whenever he wasn’t feeling 100%, and all that stuff. This is all my wonderful hindsight vision, but it of course doesn’t account for the razor thin cap space margins the Leafs have been dealing with all season, so maybe we consider NBA style load management another year and instead look at what we’ll get out …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation