Tag: Toronto Maple Leafs

Five Teams That Could Use Jake Muzzin

Aside from the fact that most if not all teams in the NHL (besides Nashville) would benefit from a Jake Muzzin type of player. Muzzin will more than likely end up on a contending team, a team in the market for a top-three defenseman, therefore the list is not too big but looking at what Muzzin brings to the table. These five teams could use him.

Pittsburgh Penguins: This team cannot make a playoff run again with their number one defenseman being Brain Dumoulin, therefore Kris Letang needs to stay healthy and the Penguins need to add a d-man. In comes Muzzin, a defenseman who can play the penalty kill, power play, move the puck, contribute in the offensive end and play sound defense. Muzzin has 20 points in 46 games played this year, that is not chump numbers. In his career he has 493 games played with 212 points (.43 points per game). He has been a 40+ point defenseman in three seasons of his five and a half years in the NHL so far. The Penguins are always on the hunt for back end talent and Muzzin could be there guy.

Toronto Maple Leafs: The Leafs have been longing for another defenseman for two years now, with the Norris like play of Morgan Reilly their blue has been a little better this year but the Leafs still have some holes back there. With Jake Gardiner being a little more offensive minded, Ron Hainsey aging and having younger talent picking up the slack. Jake Muzzin and his playoff/Stanley Cup experience plus his defensive mind would be perfect for Toronto. The Leafs also said their first round pick was up for grabs therefore that is available and they have the best prospect pool out there. It would be foolish not to try for Muzzin.

Philadelphia Flyers: The Flyers need a d-man, they are not contenders but they have been asking for a defenseman for nearly a decade it seems like. Plus they have more than a first round pick to give up. The Flyers could easily throw Wayne Simmonds name in the conversation, a name the Los Angeles Kings are familiar with. I’m sure the Kings would not be opposed to seeing Simmonds back in Kings colors. Muzzin is a good fit for the Flyers too, tough, defensive-minded, posses some offense to his game and he comes with no learning curve and can be throw right into the fire. Again it would be asinine for the Flyers not to kick the can around with L.A.

Vegas Golden Knights: The Knights are again contenders this year and their General Manager has come forward and said he is not going to sit tight and be content with his current roster he is always planning and always looking to the future. Muzzin would definitely help that Vegas back end, one of the more so unexperienced blue lines in the NHL right now. Vegas has some decent forward but more importantly a ton of draft picks. Muzzin would definitely be a top-four defenseman on this team and I’m sure Vegas would feel a little more comfortable with Muzzin back there rather than Jon Merrill. It would be a smart move for this possible Cup contending team to make a move for a veteran defenseman like Muzzin.

Colorado Avalanche: With two defenseman ready to hit free-agency the Avalanche could easily fix that issue with Jake Muzzin. The Avalanche have one very important guy to worry about in the off-season which is Mikko Rantanen but they have also 13 million in cap space plus with the cap raise the Av’s should be fine. The Avalanche are a contending team right now that could use some help on the back end, on both the defensive side and offensive side. The Av’s also have two first round picks this year and some decent prospects to throw in the pool. I would not be surprised to see this team take a stab at Muzzin.

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My Top Buyers and Sellers For The NHL Trade Deadline

The NHL Trade Deadline is about seven weeks away, therefore usually around this time, 40+ games, teams making pushes for the playoffs and other teams doing the opposite. A lot of trade talk is about to approach so let’s get you ready for what can be a pretty exciting 2019 NHL trade deadline.

Top Buyers: 

Pittsburgh Penguins: It is no surprise here that the Penguins are again buyers. They continue to be a top-10 team in the NHL that have the tools to be a Stanley Cup team therefore around this time they usually always are involved in trade talks. There most recent trade talk has been with the Carolina Hurricanes for either Michael Ferland or defenseman Justin Faulk or Dougie Hamilton, not all three or two probably just one of the three. Either the Penguins could use another top-six winger but more importantly can certainly use a top-four or even number five defenseman. The Penguins by no surprise can score goals but they struggle to defend consistently, with a defense of Kris Letang (injury issues) Jack Johnson, Brian Dumoulin and Olli Maata they need to add another tool back there.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Much like the Penguins the Leafs are going to be buyers come the deadline, they really do not need any more forward depth due to the fact William Nylander is a third liner almost. The Leafs would have no reason for a forward. The thing the Leafs could use is a top-four defenseman, Ron Hainsey may not cut it much longer for Toronto, Morgan Reilly is proving number one capability and Jake Gardiner is a solid number four but they still another d-man, someone who is a good two-way defenseman. A Dougie Hamilton or Justin Faulk would be perfect but as of now there has not been much from Toronto. The Leafs could also use a potential back-up/fringe starter to help Frederick Anderson before the playoffs come around. Someone who can play at least half the games remaining in the year to get Anderson 100% healthy for the playoffs.

Edmonton Oilers: The Oilers need to make a move for a forward if they want to be a playoff team their current offensive roster is not going to cut it for the playoffs or a playoff run. They need one top-six forward and a borderline top-six/bottom-nine forward soon. The Oilers have tried line scheme after line scheme this season and not much is working consistently. They will probably look to the Rangers for Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello, Vladislav Namestikov or the Senators for a few of their bottom-six forwards, the Blues have a slew of forwards, the Hurricanes Michael Ferland. Either way they need to be inquiring about someone.

Colorado Avalanche: With their 11 million in projected cap space the Avalanche should be shopping for a top-six, bottom six forward. They have the two best players in the NHL right now but someone else needs to supplement those two when the playoff run comes around and playoff time comes. The Avalanche have a lot of young potential but they will need some more proven success. Out there is as mentioned above, the Avalanche will be doing some necessary shopping over the next two weeks or so.

Top Sellers:

New York Rangers: Not a shock to many, the Rangers are definitely over performing considering the roster they have but they are still not a great team. Plus it does them no good to win games right now or not consider being big sellers. They have a few players to shed as well but with Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello current UFA’s in 2019-2020 they will more than likely be trading those two. They have 2 million in cap space and with those two gone it will free up about 9.6 million making them a true contender for Artem Panarin this offseason.

Los Angeles Kings: They have no reason to buy and they do have a few names that can be useful elsewhere. I.e. Tyler Toffoli, Jeff Carter, Dustin Brown, and some bottom six forwards. Not a great year for L.A. but they have around $89,000 in cap space right now with three free agents in 2019 summer and Brown/Carter on unfavorable contracts.

Carolina Hurricanes: I did not expect the Hurricanes to be sellers but it seems their GM is in favor to shed Faulk, Hamilton and Ferland. Therefore making sellers for sure, they have 16 million in cap space and getting rid of two of those three would leave them with a nice dollar amount to sit on in the offseason. Plus they need to free up cap for Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen, Jordin Martinook, and possibly Justin Williams. The Hurricanes have a ton of UFA/RFA to consider in the offseason and they cannot afford Faulk, Hamilton and Aho therefore we can see these guys selling heavy come the deadline.

St. Louis Blues: I almost want to say why not sell for this team. You have Brayden Schenn, Jaden Schwartz, David Perron, Patrick Maroon, Vladimir Tarasenko, Tyler Bozak, etc. At least two of these guys or even one can go and will provide a decent return. The Blues have rumored to be in talks to shed Vladimir Tarasenko, which I mean sounds ridiculous but realistically this team is not going to win anytime soon, get a good return on the guy sooner than later.

 

NHL Rankings; Lightning top the league, Columbus climbing, Nashville downfall

The 1st ranking period of the year! This is pretty simple, the best teams up to this point. But remember when doing these rankings, last weeks games and the last ten are factored into where each team stands. The record next to the teams names are their record in their last ten games. Next ranking period will be done January 20th. 

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning (9-0-1) 

  2. Toronto Maple Leafs (6-2-2)

  3. Winnipeg Jets (8-2-0)

  4. Calgary Flames (6-3-1) 

  5. Washington Capitals (7-3-0) 

  6. Columbus Blue Jackets (6-3-1) 

  7. Nashville Predators (4-5-1) 

  8. San Jose Sharks (6-2-2) 

  9. Buffalo Sabres (4-4-2) 

  10. Boston Bruins (6-4-0) 

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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Bruins – Leafs classic showed what the Bruins really need (and have)

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 and Toronto Maple Leafs facing final hour(s) until deadline

We addressed this ludicrous situation about three days ago. I say ludicrous for the fact that it has continued on this long and is nearing the final minutes until the deadline. The Leafs and Nylander have been reported to be close in a deal. If you monitor Twitter like I do, you’ll find Bob McKenzie throwing his expert opinion on the matter. 

You are going to want to read the thread to this post. Holy moly McKenzie’s insight is awesome. Clear reason why he is the best in the game.

Here’s my thoughts

Clear indication, if you read the thread that Nylander and the Leafs are still a little ways from agreeing on something. My thoughts on this situation and how it will shape up and why it happened like this is this. Listen now, William Nylander and his team are not stupid, they know Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner are due for CONTRACTS (emphasis on contracts because they will get PAID).

Both Marner and Matthews are RFA’s come July 2019. Marner is at the end of his rookie contract making $894,000, not to mention Marner has tallied 36 points in 26 games (3rd in the NHL) coming off a 69 point year in 2017-18. Matthews is earning $925,000 a two time 30+ goal scorer in his 2.5 years in the NHL and a high of 69 points his rookie year. Matthews now has 19 points in 12 games this season. Therefore it is obvious Nylander knows he is going to get less if he ended up signing right away, he knows that Matthews and Marner are going to eat up a decent amount of the Leafs cap space and he may not earn what he wants. Nylander also knows he is going to be competing with the other 11 contracts in Toronto. The Leafs have to sign five RFA forwards, two UFA forwards, three UFA defenseman and one RFA defenseman come July 2019.  He wants a longer term deal for more security which is totally fine but the Leafs want more of a bridge deal because although Nylander is a top-six winger on the Leafs the team is doing just fine with out him therefore showing that a bridge deal for 2-3 years may leave Nylander in the same spot come 2022. 

Now, Nylander has every right to squeeze as much as he can out of the Leafs he deserves the money and he deserves to have some security, is he worth 7+ million a year probably not, but he has every right to hold out until they at least give him a respectable deal plus some security to come back. Just as the Leafs have every right to hold out and not budge, but this seems to be more of a misguided Nylander. You do have to think the Leafs are winning without me, they won without Matthews, they have one of the best teams in the NHL, a cup contender, I’ll make 5-5.5 million a year and be in of the greatest cities in the world for hockey and play alongside great line mates for the next 4-5 years. At some point I am thinking that Nylander is being misguided and not doing much talking and speaking up when it comes to this contract situation. 

What I see happens…

I honestly don’t think Nylander signs, he ends up getting moved to a contending team, becomes the “guy” wherever he goes, the Leafs get a defenseman in return and both parties are happy. But my gut also tells me that Nylander says eff it, let’s do this I’ll sign the contract. Which if he does end up doing that all this waiting it out and conflict will make Nylander look kind of stupid and in which he wasted 26 games already. 

Here’s a great guide if you are confused if Nylander does end up not signing.

Superb week for Marleau. He is not the G.O.A.T. but his legacy should be remembered

What a week it has been so far for Toronto’s forward and NHL legend Patrick Marleau. On Monday night against the Boston Bruins he skated in his 1600th NHL game and yesterday against San Jose Sharks Marleau scored a goal, which was very special. It is always special for Patrick Marleau to play against his former team, but scoring a goal meant a lot.

He may felt a bit sorry scoring against the Sharks and helping his current team beat his former one in the process. Marleau played 19 season for San Jose before he left to sign as a free agent with the Maple Leafs in 2017. The NHL legend is on his second year of three-year contract he was signed to.

The fact he is already 39 years old does not matter much, so far this year he recorded six goals and nine assists for 15 points in 26 games. That’s not bad considering his age. Marleau skated in 1601 NHL regular season games, had another 184 games in the play-offs and posted more than 1200 points combined.

Marleau enjoying his time and role with the Leafs

The goal he scored against the Sharks was his first game winning goal vs. that team, so now he scored at least one game winning goal against all 31 teams in the NHL, becoming just 25th player in Leagues history to do so. He carries a very important role with young Leafs team, besides providing important points (scored two goals in Game 7 last spring in Boston for example) he leads the team off the ice.

thumbmaker

Mitch Marner earlier this season stated, that in his opinion Patty Marleau is the GOAT. No, Patrick Marleau is not the greatest ever, but his legacy should be remembered. We do not have to pick one player, who is the best one, in history of any sport. This is something very unnecessary. But cherishing and honoring wonderful players like Patrick Marleau is beyond important.

Players like him are great examples for young players to come and skate and play hockey. Their dreams could be fulfilled, it will take a lot of sacrifice and sweating, but everything is possible. Hockey legend can show the way and believe me, they really do, they really inspire.

Is his last goal going to be scored at last?

What is intriguing with Marleau, he has a lot of young kids around him. Matthews, Marner, Nylander (maybe) and others. They regard him as their father. That guy comes to the NHL, plays nearly 2000 games, scores more than 1000 points, scored against every team… And it is not an easy job to do. But it is not impossible and that´s why we should remember players like Marleau.

One thing is missing for Patty Marleau and that´s the Stanley Cup. Winning the Cup is the best thing which can ever happen to any NHL player. But not winning one does not mean you cannot become a legend. This is the case of Patrick Marleau and some others as well. Now he has the chance to fulfil his only and last big dream, he has a great team around him for his dream to be accomplished.

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.