Tag: Toronto Maple Leafs news

Jake Muzzin Is A Piece Of The Puzzle In Toronto But Not The Whole Puzzle

The trade we have all been waiting for occurred Monday night around 6:00 PM (EST). Jake Muzzin was sent to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 2019 1st round pick, Sean Durzi and Carl Gundstrom. The Leafs have been fishing for another top four defenseman for nearly two years. With this addition of Muzzin it allows the Leafs to play Morgan Reilly-Jake Muzzin, Jake Gardiner-Nikita Zaitsev with a third pair of Travis Dermott-Ron Hainsey. Which makes this Leafs team a deeper team on the back end.

More so looking at the trade, the headline makes it seem like Muzzin is not a good addition, by no means should it come off like that. Anytime you add a Stanley Cup winner, a veteran defenseman and someone to pair with Reilly on a consistent basis is always a plus.

Muzzin is a piece to the puzzle not the whole puzzle, hear me out…

What I mean by Muzzin is not the answer. The Leafs are shaping up to play the Canadiens or Bruins. Now if the Bruins end up being the #3 seed and the Leafs stay at #2 it will be the Leafs worst nightmare, in the past decade it seems the Bruins have had the Leafs number, therefore reason one Muzzin is not the answer is because, well will he propel the Leafs over the Bruins? Probably not, so he does not make a huge difference in that regard.

Reason number two Muzzin may not be the complete answer. My concerns about Frederick Anderson still loom, and I am talking playoff Anderson. In years past and hinting on last year Anderson posted a 3.76 goals against (GAA) in 7 games, .896 save percentage and allowed 23 goals on 198 shots. The previous year Anderson posted a 2.68 goals against in six games, the second year he was in Anaheim he posted a 2.34 GAA in 16 games started after a 3.10 GAA in 7 games started the year before. My point is what Anderson will show up in the playoffs this time around? Yes, getting Muzzin does help on the back end but the goalie still needs to stop the puck.

Concern number three with the Leafs is their very young roster of players coming to play in the playoffs, they have Nazem Kadri, John Tavares, Patrick Marleau and Ron Hainsey with playoff experience but Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, Kasperi Kapanen and William Nylander have little playoff experience and I know some people say that means nothing but playoffs is a different game. Getting a team like the Bruins, a team that is young but has so many very well seasoned players and a different team when it comes to the playoffs is no easy feat for the Leafs. If the Leafs get the Canadiens than I would feel more confident in their chances of winning.

Can Muzzin be what Shattenkirk was to Washington two years ago?

I believe Jake Muzzin adds a great dimension to the Leafs defense, it allows Morgan Reilly to play more of an offensive game, it allows Jake Gardiner to play more of an offensive game. Therefore it gives these two offensive minded d-men to go out and play their game. It gives Travis Dermott the experience of playing with a veteran like Ron Hainsey. But the Leafs offense still needs to produce. If the Leafs cannot find a way for William Nylander, Kasperi Kapanen, Nazem Kadri to be CONSISTENT than adding Muzzin does not make them automatic cup contenders. The Leafs need to find a way for these young forwards to get into a groove from now throughout the playoffs. If the Leafs cannot get their top-six to be a consistent top-six then they will not be automatic cup winners. Therefore that is why I don’t think Muzzin solves the problem, he is a piece of the puzzle. Look at what happened in Washington two years ago when they added Kevin Shattenkirk to the mix the Capitals needed a offensive-defenseman and they added that but still got bounced early in the playoffs, one player does not make or break a team, they help but the other 17 guys in the line up need to show up too.

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Toronto Maple Leafs Recent Struggles Credited To Lack Of Scoring From Nylander, Matthews, Kapanen

The Toronto Maple Leafs are in a little rut, every team hits their rough patches in the season and right now it is the Leafs and many others who have hit there’s. The Leafs lack of wins in their last ten games comes from a glaring issue, they are having trouble scoring. Which we would think would be the last case with this team.

The Leafs are 3-7-0 in their last ten and in those games they have scored just 24 goals, a 2.40 goals per game ratio at the moment and that is definitely a shock to many fans as the Leafs are known for their 3.10+ goals per game. In their last ten games scoring 24 goals there have been ten Maple Leafs forwards who have scored, Marner (6), Nylander (1), Tavares (4), Moore (1), Matthews (1), Johnsson(2), Brown (1), Kapanen (1), Kadri (1), Hyman (1).

Just before this 10-game drought the Leafs were 7-2-2 and scored 42 goals for, a 4.20 goals per game ratio! What has been the issue, well as stated above, Mitch Marner and John Tavares are doing a lot of heavy lifting. Auston Matthews has scored no goals in the last two weeks, has one goal in the last month but has shot the puck 38 times in the last month. William Nylander has no goals in the last two weeks with just 1 goal and 2 assists on the season, Kasperi Kapanen has 1 goal in the last two weeks and without his two-goal game vs Detroit he would have one goal in the last month as well. Nazem Kadri has one goal in the last two weeks and one goal in the last month. Connor Brown has one goal in the last month and only four goals on the year, Zach Hyman has one goal in the last month and just eight on the year. Andreas Johnsson has one goal in two weeks and three in the last month. Last but not least as I almost forgot about him Patrick Marleau has one goal in two weeks and two in the last month. Therefore out of 8 forwards that I have mentioned, combining their goal totals in the last two weeks, it is six goals between 8 players, in the last month these eight forwards have combined for 13 goals. That is just 1.65 goals per player in the last month.

This Leafs struggles extend way beyond just Auston Matthews, Kasperi Kapanen and William Nylander the Leafs other top six forwards aside from Marner and Tavares are not getting the job done. Nylander has been in a dry spell all year, Hyman and Brown have not been consistent at all, Johnsson has been on/off this year and Marleau has been in a slump as of late too. On top of the Leafs offensive issues, Frederick Anderson is just coming back from an injury, therefore forcing the Leafs to play with Michael Hutchinson did not make matters better. Since Anderson’s return he has played in three games, winning one of them and losing two. He has allowed 9 goals against on 106 shots against. He’s allowed 3+ goals in two of those starts.

The Leafs struggles will go away, the All-Star Break is coming up and this is a much need time for the Leafs to re-coop, relax and get back to the drawing board. The Leafs just need Auston Matthews to get going, Nylander to get hot for like 20 games going into the playoffs and their other top six forwards to show up and be a little more consistent on a day to day basis. The Leafs have made one move for Wednesday’s game vs Washington. Which is Marner and Matthews paired together to hopefully spark something as Mike Babcock said.

 

 

Bruins show there has enough fight in them with a win over Toronto

The Bruins ended a five-game skid it was one of the most important games of the season. The Maple Leafs came into TD Garden buzzing and dazzling, but the Bruins silenced them and to everyones surprise, they showed there is enough of pretty much everything inside them.

They scored six goals in that one game, when they combined for total number of seven goals in their previous five games. Boston showed offensive potential, as many struggling guys got off the schneid and there was enough responsiveness too.

Before the game against Toronto, head coach Bruce Cassidy was directly asked, whether he doesnt find his Bruins squad with lack of fight or toughness. The Bruins don’t need an enforcer, responded Cassidy. Later that day, the Bruins perfectly showed why they don’t need one.

The Bruins are just fine with their toughness

It is always great to have guys around your team, who can offer a response anytime. It happened up to three times that last game against the Leafs. In the first period, it was Brandon Carlo, young defenceman, who was ready to answer the bell and fight Nazem Kadri. Then it was Matt Grzelcyk who was ready to offer himself, when Zach Hyman fired a cheap shot against Charlie McAvoy.

And after all, Chris Wagner was ready to show his “skills” to Ron Hainsey, who was not really interested to dance. But it doesn’t matter, the Bruins showed, that there is still a lot of fighting ability within their locker room. It has even been about the guys like Brandon Carlo or Matt Grzelcyk ready to go. Last week on Saturday night, when the Bruins faced the Red Wings, a scrum that involved Red Wings Tyler Bertuzzi and Bruins Brad Marchand causing a line brawl, goaltender Tuukka Rask was even willing to go against Jimmy Howard.

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Toronto is a team, which builds up its´ play on great passing and ability to offensively destroy opponents. They want to be creative, not rough. But Zach Hyman fired a dirty cheap shot against Charlie McAvoy and it was some Tom Wilson esq dirty. If we talk about lack of toughness within the Bruins, they don’t need such a level of toughness. Rather keep it clean than be dirty.

Yeah, there is a guy called Brad Marchand, but last time he did something, he licked his opponent. It is disgusting, but it will not concuss you! With talented guys like Donato, Heinen or Forsbacka-Karlsson getting a goal after long time respectively, it shows you how much the Bruins rally on offense and creativity rather than missing roughness.

It is worth zero points, when you do such a thing like Zach Hyman did yesterday, when his team was 2-6 down on the scoreboard. But it is worth so much, when you offer your response and toughness whenever the bell rings. The Bruins did not answer the hit on Bergeron, but they will not repeat the same mistake again. And that´s how you learn to cover your missing fighting ability, not by acquiring anybody like Milan Lucic (how could even anyone come up with this idea??).

William Nylander to make season debut vs Detroit Red Wings

What’s the prediction for William Nylander tonight? A goal? Two assists? Two goals? Well after two months of sitting out and waiting until 4:30 PM to call General Manager Kyle Dubas to work out a deal. Nylander is going to be drawn into the line up tonight vs the Detroit Red Wings. Nylander seems to be slotted with Auston Matthews and Patrick Marleau on the first line as well as the second power play unit.

Final days until William Nylander is ineligible for 2018-19 season. All eyes on GM Kyle Dubas..

Another day, another week and another second William Nylander is not signed. Nylander has reportedly been skating with the Stockholm AIK Under-20 team and was wearing a Leafs helmet. Nylander has been in deep contract negotiations with the Leafs General Manager Kyle Dubas for many weeks now. It was reported Nylander is looking for anywhere from 7.5+ million a year and wants a longer term contract. The Leafs and Nylander’s party have been way off on an agreement. Dubas seems to not be budging on the longer term more money deal right now. 

This contract has raised many questions for NHL fans and players. Is Nylander right in what he is doing. David Pastrnak one of the games best young players in the league is on 5-year worth 6.66 million dollars a year deal. And he came out and said 

“If you (told) me when I was 15, I’d be playing for $6m a year (at) 22, I’d be like, ‘I don’t think you’re saying the truth.’ Just a dream come true. I’m happy for what I’m getting. I could be playing in Czech for a couple hundred a month.”

Should Nylander swallow his pride, suck it up and get back to the game he loves or wait it out until he gets paid. If the deal is not done within the next two days Nylander will be deemed ineligible to play this season.  Patrice Bergeron is making just 6.8 mil a year, same with Johnny Gaudreau, Aleksander Barkov makes 5.9 mil a year, Jonathan Marchessault makes 5 mil a year, Tyler Johnson makes 5 mil a year. There are a lot of players who are making and would be making way less than Nylander’s asking of 7.5+ mil a year and produce the same amount of points.

Is Nylander wrong for asking this much? Let’s see what Twitter thinks.