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IPv6Freely

2018-19 Toronto Maple Leafs

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I know this is a bit early, but with the obviously huge news this week there are plenty of discussions to be had. 

With the Tavares signing, I have to wonder: is Matthews still a lock to be the captain? As much as I'm not a fan of the idea of signing a guy and immediately slapping the C on him, Tavares clearly has the leadership capabilities, and I'm also not a huge fan of just slapping the C on your best player, either. Also, who will the alternates be? Obviously one will be Matthews or Tavares, who ever isn't picked for captain. Marleau? Kadri? Nylander?

The lineup is definitely a step up from where it was to start last year, though for the second year in a row they're looking for a 4th line centre. Maybe let the Marlies players play for it in camp, since Aaltonen is joining the KHL who would have likely been a good choice otherwise. 

I also wonder what they'll do at LW. Johnsson has played himself onto the team in my opinion, and from there the question is who gets in between Martin, Leivo, or somebody else? Martin isn't completely useless, but I like Leivo every time he plays (and I really wish they'd trade him if they aren't going to play him). 

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Hyman Matthews Nylander
Marleau Tavares Marner
Johnsson Kadri Kapanen
Martin/Leivo ??? Brown

Defence is the same story as last season. At least Dermott has shown he's clearly ready for the NHL. The 3rd pairing RD is probably a Marlies play-in scenario for camp between Holl, Rosen, and Borgman. If only they could land a right-handed top 2 d-man that could push Hainsey down to the third pairing, but I don't see it happening. 

Left Defence Right Defence
Reilly Hainsey
Gardiner Zaitsev
Dermott ???

I'm really looking forward to this season, especially with the JT signing. Bozak out, Tavares in? Sounds like a hell of a trade-off. JVR's goal production loss stings a bit, but the big salary is just not worth it for a guy who would be a 3rd line winger on this team, especially being awful 5-on-5. Hell of a PP guy, though. I'm also not sure he's going to be able to repeat this year's success for another 1-2 years, let alone 7.

Komarov had declined so much, but I'll still miss him. Really liked his level of effort and style of play.

I just hope Andersen can start on time this season. He was brutal for the first month the last two seasons. We're good in the backup situation as well, as McElhinney has been great since they got him despite having a bit of a dumpster fire career otherwise. 

 

 

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Early? I think it is about a day late with the Leafs winning the Tavares sweepstakes. I'm not thrilled having him in the division.

Agreed that the Leafs won't really miss JvR. His production would be nice but the Flyers overpaid, especially when a comparable guy like Neal only got $5.75 AAV for the same term.

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The Tavares signing obviously improves the team. Hainsey as a top pairing D-man at this point is problematic and Gardiner creates chances at both ends. So the offence looks fantastic, but the D leaves something to be desired. Reilly is the only true top D man on the team. With that said, they're definitely a very strong team on paper and look to be contenders going into the season. At some point they should try to bolster the defense if they really want to go deep, but it's hard to do that without giving up some of the great offensive assets. 

Edited by althoma1

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14 minutes ago, althoma1 said:

they're definitely the strongest team on paper by far out of the Canadian teams

My first thought reading this was "stronger than Winnipeg?" but you did qualify it by saying on paper so I suppose you're probably right there. They're not helped by the departure of Stastny, too. 

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You're right. When I said that I was thinking about Vancouver, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary and Montreal. For some reason I overlooked Winnipeg. The Leafs are clearly better on paper than all the Canadian teams except Winnipeg. The Jets have a very strong team as well. They should both be considered contenders at this point. 

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D's cost them the playoffs, it didn't help that Gardiner had a shocker in that last game. But he is young and hopefully will have learnt from the pressure and come back stronger this year. If they can tighten up in this area they will be real contenders, not just playoff hopefuls.

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They just need one top pairing guy, even if not a number one, to push Hainsey down and use him more in a PK kind of role, they'd be a lot better off. Put another way, it doesn't have to be a Hedman, Doughty or Karlsson kind of player. It just needs to be more like a Klingberg, Josi or Carlson kind of player. 

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17 hours ago, IPv6Freely said:

They just need one top pairing guy, even if not a number one, to push Hainsey down and use him more in a PK kind of role, they'd be a lot better off. Put another way, it doesn't have to be a Hedman, Doughty or Karlsson kind of player. It just needs to be more like a Klingberg, Josi or Carlson kind of player. 

That is a tall order to find someone like that who is available and if so, it will cost a bit in current and/or future assets. A team either needs to draft well or pluck an untested prospect from someone to get even a Josi or Carlson. Good luck.

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27 minutes ago, chippa13 said:

That is a tall order to find someone like that who is available and if so, it will cost a bit in current and/or future assets. A team either needs to draft well or pluck an untested prospect from someone to get even a Josi or Carlson. Good luck.

Yeah I don't expect it to happen, it's just what they definitely need.

Just have to get lucky and hope a draft pick exceeds expectations. Even Lidstrom was a second rounder. You never know. Or, trade a forward and picks, or something. 

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Or Babcock sees something more over time with the assets he currently has. One of the main reasons I am interested in the leafs as a team, he is one of the smartest coaches around and has a great eye for the big picture, long term gain.

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When did Babcock become Toronto's director of player development? A good coach but a coach coaches the team he's given by the organization. A coach's view is short-term.

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7 hours ago, chippa13 said:

When did Babcock become Toronto's director of player development? A good coach but a coach coaches the team he's given by the organization. A coach's view is short-term.

Thats just pure bs. He was brought in to a team that Shanahan publicly stated was rebuilding over the long term and he was signed for 8 years, yeh, that's real short term. Sounds like you have never been under a good coach, but what the heck do I know. I'll just let these words speak for themselves:

"We have to understand the importance and the imperative of what a coach brings to the table. Is he worth what the best player on your team makes? Obviously, in this case, the Toronto Maple Leafs feel that they need to get a coach of that calibre that is worth as much as probably their highest paid players make," said Gretzky

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So Gretzky also believes Babcock is a good coach. The 8 year deal is Shanahan telling Babcock that he is rebuilding and it will take a few years before he can give him a team to truly be a contender, but in the meantime bring Matthews, Marner and the rest along well until that happens.

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I think backup job is Sparks to lose after his ridiculous AHL season.

Grundstrom could be a 4th liner but I don't think he will make it this year. Johnson was a beast during AHL playoffs. Trevor Moore was also a valuable asset, he could be a Babcock guy for the 4th line. I think they will give Holl a chance for the bottom 3 pairing with Marincin. They were really good together.

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Always interesting to hear the AHL take on teams. Ever since Lowell lost their franchise I've lost touch on what is happening at that level.

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I'm not sure about Sparks as the backup, unless Mac struggles. I'd rather have him playing a full season in the AHL than playing 15 games and sitting on the bench the rest of the time.

That said, I'm not sure Sparks has the talent/ability to be an NHL starter, so maybe that actually IS what's best for him. 

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I'm not even sure this was a bad defensive game so much as just Sparks being brutal. But... you put two goals by Matthews together with a hat trick from Tavares and you're going to score your way out of trouble on occasion. The last two minutes (including OT) has to be some of the most crazy action I've ever seen in a hockey game.

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