Tag: Toronto Maple Leafs

John Tavares and Jeff Carter Reach 700 Point Milestone This Weekend

Not many players can say they reached 700 points in their NHL career, let alone played enough games to reach this milestone. Still, these two Jeff Carter and John Tavares reached the 700-point marker in their NHL careers just a day apart.

Jeff Carter reached career point number 700 with an assist in Saturday’s game vs the Panthers. Carter has played in 969 NHL games, collecting 362 goals and 300 assists at the age of 34-years-old. Drafted 1st round 11th overall in 2003 by the Philadelphia Flyers, Carter spent six seasons with Philadelphia until he was shipped to Columbus in 2011 off-season. Where he played just 39 games for the Blue Jackets until he was sent to Los Angeles mid-way through the season to help the Kings win the Stanley Cup in 2011-12 and again in 2013-14. Carter has now been with L.A. for 7.5 seasons. And unless something changes he will earn his 1000th NHL game with the Kings and finish his time out in L.A. as he is signed until 2022. By 2022 he will be 37-years-old.

John Tavares also earned his 700th NHL point with a goal and an assist in Toronto’s loss to Ottawa Saturday night. Tavares notched also his 40th goal of the season the first time in his career he has tallied 40 in a season. Along with point number 79 in just 72 games this season. Tavares has played in 741 NHL games collecting 700 NHL points, a 0.94 point per game over his career. Tavares has 312 goals and 388 assists in his career. Drafted first overall in 2009 by the New York Islanders and recently leaving the Island this off-season to move back home. As much criticism as Tavares has faced this season he is en route to a hall-of-fame career. At 28-years of age with already 700 points and 741 games it is only likely to assume that Tavares will reach 1000 games and 1000 points in his career.

Rob Schremp Shares Bold Take About Ex-Teammate John Tavares

It is pretty obvious that the Islanders have been quite the surprise this year, losing a generational talent and leader like John Tavares and then coming out to be the first team in the Metropolitan division. Is not something ANYONE predicted. Former Islander and ex-teammate of John Tavares, Rob Schremp came out to share a rather bold remark about Tavares after a graphic appeared online showing the Islanders record with and without Tavares.

Schremp went onto say that Tavares is “I did my job superstar” someone who “collects his points and awards and moves on”. This remark much like the Islanders 2018-19 campaign caught a lot of us off-guard.

Schremp’s full comment was as follows: 

“The ultimate I did my job superstar. He wins when he goes to play for his country as they are loaded with players mostly equal or better. Other than that he just collects his points and awards.”

I am so confused as to why Schremp said this? Did Tavares do something to him personally? Are Islanders fans still hung up on the Tavares situation it’s been half a year and they are still upset? I also can guarantee if the Islanders traded Tavares and they received a first round pick and more for Tavares no one would be saying this nor would many of them have the same animosity built up from this situation.

Either way, Schremp was definitely out of line for this comment. Tavares stuck out so many hard years with the Islanders did everything he could to make them a good franchise, won one of their only playoff series in nearly 20 years. He put in his time and years and did not feel like the management was giving back to him, so why not at 28-years-old you know your window is closing and you hold the same goal as any hockey player. To win a Stanley Cup. So, why not go somewhere to try and do it?

Plus if Tavares does not leave the Islanders probably cannot sign Leo Komarov, Robin Lehner this year. They probably cannot afford to sign back Brock Nelson, Jordan Eberle, Anders Lee and Mat Barzal back in the following years. Hockey is a business and Tavares knew his best opportunity to get paid and win was somewhere else. It seems as if Schremp was not fully thinking about the situation and type of player Tavares is. By no means does he come off as a selfish player. To me it is even less selfish to go to Toronto to be in the shadows of Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews and all this young talent in Toronto then stay in New York and be the star.

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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.

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.

 

 

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.

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)