Opening Day of the 2013 Rookie Tournament

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Hockey is officially back!

Well, sort of.

Today kicks off the Leafs annual rookie tournament, which is really a great opportunity for the kids in the organization to make an impression.

It was only two years ago that Jake Gardiner and Matt Frattin both carried the momentum of strong rookie tournaments through training camp and preseason as both at least somewhat unexpectedly made the team to start the season. This September, players such as Petter Granberg, Andrew MacWilliam and even Morgan Rielly will be trying to do the same.

On the whole, the Leafs are dressing a rather experienced team so to speak. There are 11 players that have played at least one game with the Marlies on the team (Morgan Rielly, Stuart Percy, Greg McKegg, Brad Ross, Josh Leivo, Andrew Crescenzi, Broll, Tyler Biggs, Jamie Devane, Sam Carrick and Garret Sparks) plus another two who can be considered older and ‘experienced’ at this point (Granberg and MacWilliam).

This is also an opportunity for the 2013 draft class to show us their stuff, particularly Frederik Gauthier, and send a message to Leafs management that they are hungry to move up in the organization.

When it comes to these tournaments, the truth is that these players have never played together and are playing in their first real hockey games in months. It gets sloppy. While it’s always nice to see the team win, and hopefully they do, what you really want to do is gauge individual performances more than anything.

How, for example, does Morgan Rielly look quarterbacking the power play? How is Granberg holding up defensively? Is MacWilliam a physical force? And so on. Watching this tournament involves walking a fine line between taking everything with a grain of salt while also looking for kids to show you something.

What I try to do is compare Leaf prospects to players of their own age group. For example, the Leafs play Chicago today and they have two kids drafted in the first round from 2011 (Mark McNeill and Phillip Danault). I’ll be looking to see how the Leafs’ two first rounders from the same draft compare (Stuart Percy and Tyler Biggs; I’d also include Leivo in this conversation). Generally speaking I expect the older players to be the best guys out there, and if they aren’t that’s a bit of a concern. What it comes down to is judging players against others their own age group. A guy like Gauthier shouldn’t have the same expectations as a guy like Granberg.

Expect some mistakes, but also look for the older and higher pedigree players to make some statements. If they are going to push to make the Leafs this season, this is when they have to start doing it.

More than anything, though, I’m just glad hockey’s back.

Stay tuned to MLHS throughout the weekend for rookie tourney coverage.

Thanks to Aaron Chan (@MLHS_Aaron) for putting together the links this morning.

Brian Burke discussing deal to join Flames front office (“overseer of hockey operations”) – That Burkie sure relishes a challenge. No hockey fan should dislike Burke being back in the mix.

Toronto Sun: Phaneuf not worried about contract talks – “I want to be a part of the Leafs for a long time and I love playing in the city, but the business side will take care of itself.” From the sounds of it, Dion is open to negotiating with management during the season. Kessel seems to be taking the opposite approach (wants to eliminate in-season distractions and simply focus on ‘hackey).

Toronto Star: Five stories to watch heading into camp – Mark Zwolinski highlights the five most intriguing story-lines heading into training camp.

Editor in Leaf: Are Leafs in contract years likely to have career years? – A neat article on young players entering contract years and how they’ve performed. The author admits that the resulting sample from his search is not large enough to make any sort of conclusion but the Leafs have several young players who will fall under this observation.

VLM: Where do you lean on Kadri meter? – Michael Langlois from VLM asks where you stand on the Kadri negotiations.

Nazem Kadri’s contract negotiation is tearing apart the universe – Definitely seems to be a team source leaking this stuff on Kadri. See Nonis’ “ask them” remark when discussing contracts the other day on TSN Radio. It’s clear the Leafs are really strongarming these guys. Not uncommon in RFA negotiations.

Top 25 under 25: #5 – Jonathan Bernier – clrkaitken rails against the Bernier deal.

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Anthony Petrielli has been at MLHS since 2011. He is known for his weekly "Leafs Notebook" feature, and also writes specific analysis pieces. You can contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @APetrielli.
  • Mind Bomb

    Good morning Folks, Hockey is Backkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk

  • mcloki

    Morning All. I love the smell of hockey in the morning.

  • Burtonboy

    Morning Folks

  • Burtonboy

    Dave Nonis w/ on Kessel contract”If he wants to play here we’ll find a way to get it done” listen live

  • LeafsForLife

    Great job as always Anthony!
    Can someone tell me who does the coaching for the rookies camp please?

  • Spayde_D

    Burtonboy Kessel suggesting that he doesn’t want to negotiate a contract throughout the season is tantamount to saying, “I dont want to talk to the media about the ongoing negotiations between my agent and the TML throughout the season.” A deal will be done.

  • Burtonboy

    Nonis w/ on Kadri “He’s gonna be a wealthy man, but his body of work’s been very small” listen live

  • Burtonboy

    Spayde_D Burtonboy Nonis aid 2 things . # 1 there is lots of time to get it done before the season. # 2 If Phil tells them he wants to stay they can always wait till after the season . My guess is Nonis gets it done before the season.

  • MaxwellHowe

    TheCanucksnaphook I don’t get it either.  if he sucks, then all those naysayers will have their time to rant.  If he plays well, they can shut up and pretend they never questioned the deal at all.

  • MaxwellHowe

    Burtonboy Spayde_D best to do it now – avoid distraction and real possibility Kessel will drive up his own value.

  • Burtonboy

    MaxwellHowe Burtonboy Spayde_D I would say so . Nonis was  highly complimentary of Kess and said with a player like him it won’t take very long to get a deal done .

  • Spayde_D

    Burtonboy MaxwellHowe Spayde_D “How many cookies you want Phil? 9 cookies? You’re being ridiculous right now, you can have 7-8 cookies. Now get out of my face”
    – Nonis

  • KurtWhite

    Maybe its the mood im in but what i wanna see most is devane dummy someone

  • Mind Bomb

    Murph2417  Morning Murph

  • mcloki

    -Keon- mcloki Smells like victory

  • Mind Bomb

    -Keon- hoolihan  Should of Bob Izumi’d it into the boat lol

  • Mind Bomb

    mcloki  Morning MC

  • Mind Bomb

    Burtonboy  Morning BB

  • Mind Bomb

    Burtonboy  IF he wants to play here  ? Nonis should already know the answer to that question. I would say an extension before the season begins

  • mcloki

    TheCanucksnaphook Burtonboy Is Burke taking over there. Poor bastard, screwed over Calgary with the Phaneuf deal and then has to go and clean up the mess.

  • Spayde_D

    MaxwellHowe TheCanucksnaphook This is bang on. But if they both play well certain people will complain about the surplus of good young goalies we have. “We are stunting their development!”  You can’t win really. Go Leafs Go

  • mcloki

    Mind Bomb mcloki Mornign MB. It’s a gorgeous Leaf rookie blue sky this morning in TO.

  • Dan39

    KurtWhite Uhhmm Broll > Devane.

  • MaxwellHowe

    TheCanucksnaphook Spayde_D MaxwellHowe Not even given a chance, thats the problem.  if Clarkson is a bust and Bernier avergae or hopeless, fine.  But how can the deals that brought them here be questioned before then?  Anyway, someone will soon show up to tell me why.

  • mcloki

    TheCanucksnaphook KurtWhite 25 men enter, one man leaves. I suspect only 4 guys get a traingin camp invite and one may make the team.

  • Cameron19

    Burtonboy I wish he’d just been taking this approach the whole time instead of leaking obviously false and absurd contract demands to the media.

  • Mind Bomb

    mcloki Mind Bomb  Amen I am so stoked for Saturday. Cant wait to see them live

  • mcloki

    Mind Bomb mcloki Live. That should be great. Enjoy

  • Dan39

    TheCanucksnaphook Dan39 KurtWhite Love the team toughness that has been built up. Devane needs to up his game big time though. His FM totals were way too lower compared to the top enforcers in the AHL – check out the stats for Bobby Robbins, for example. Biggs and MacWilliams are yet to do anything, but I’m very much looking forward to seeing what they bring!

  • Spayde_D

    MaxwellHowe TheCanucksnaphook Spayde_D 
    The stuff that’s the most amazing so far this offseason is how Bernier, Clarkson, and Bolland are being criticized because Naz and Franson are engaged in contract negotiations with the Leafs. Normal contract negotiations that happen every year and will be resolved shortly are making people jump on players who haven’t had a practice with the Maple Leafs yet. Like I said earlier, after 1 win the tune will change. Actually after Naz and Cody sign on the dotted line things will be more positive. Just sad that people can’t see that.

  • Mind Bomb

    mcloki Mind Bomb Section 111 bro, I will be able to Feel the Hits Bigs, Devanne and Broll are thowing lol

  • LightmyLeaf

    mcloki TheCanucksnaphook KurtWhite Good morning MC and all – so if one makes it…Granberg?….or Reilly?

  • colino17

    Spayde_D MaxwellHowe TheCanucksnaphook Schenn held out fairly late too the year he resigned. And no one seems to realize that a lot of teams are feeling the same crunch as the Leafs. It is the result of a falling cap after a decade of rising salaries, not the result of bad management.

  • peterbleafs

    There is hockey in the air… a cool morning, a cold night …

  • mcloki

    TheCanucksnaphook LightmyLeaf mcloki KurtWhite my bet is on Reilly as well.

  • Mind Bomb

    peterbleafs  Sounds like a day in a Married life Peter :)

  • LightmyLeaf

    TheCanucksnaphook KurtWhite how about a small bench clearing, just to set the Leaf tone for this year!  let the vets hear the foot steps…..:)

  • colino17

    Goddamn I hope someone streams these games

  • peterbleafs

    Mind Bomb peterbleafs Intuitive bugger!  Well got my tickets for tonights game son and I are going to enjoy!  10 rows from ice level so if any of you want to go, many tickets available.

  • Dan39

    -Keon- Dan39 KurtWhite No, I meant in that department. Did you see Broll one-punch Soll last year? That raised the roof off of Ricoh. Devane, on the other hand, didn’t have any standout performances and that’s not good when he was going up against mediocre competition and not challenging the top guys, like Bordeleau, Pellech, Angelidas, etc. I feel like he was a bit too tentative which translated to low FM numbers (5 / 22 GP = 18 / 82 pace vs Robbins 38 / 82 pace), possibly because he knew his place in the lineup was precarious. I think now though with Spott adopting the Carlyle-style he will have a chance to redeem himself. I’m hoping for the best.

  • LightmyLeaf

    -Keon- so is that on the Leaf channel?….I saw one time at 3PM, then LEaf channel says 7pm….?

  • Cameron19

    -Keon- Cameron19 Burtonboy Maybe because I have a brain and can easily see that Kadri wouldn’t say the reported terms are false multiple times if he was in fact trying to bargain for them….?  Common sense.

  • peterbleafs

    TheCanucksnaphook peterbleafs Am looking forward to evaluating Gauthier, Finn, Rielly, Granberg and some of the forward corps.

  • colino17

    mcloki TheCanucksnaphook KurtWhite Maybe a couple if Franny and Naz hold out at the start

  • Burtonboy

    Cameron19 Burtonboy The only people doing the talking have been Kadri and the fuckin media . Kadri’s done nothing only answer questions he’s been asked and try to defend himself from whats amounts to a massive attack on him in the media.Don’t blame him one bit. As for the media these are the same reporters who said Luongo was definetly coming to Toronto ,Bozak was going to get over 5 million and Clarkson was going to cost over 6. Totally fabricated bullshit to create controversy and we all know controversy sells. Like I’ve said a million times lets at the very least give Nonis the chance to prove the moves he’s making will work. If they don’t then its time to call him out

  • Mind Bomb

    peterbleafs Mind Bomb  Nice Peter, To bad I am going Saturday, if you decide you want to go Saturday, let me know, you can come out for a Beer

  • Dan39

    TheCanucksnaphook Dan39 Good point, but I feel like Broll has the belt right now. Do we have a recent number on Biggs weight? Just visually I would give Broll 20lbs.

  • Marlies Man

    Yes … today is the day I consider the start of the hockey season! Finally here!

  • peterbleafs

    If Kadri and Franson remain unsigned…
    JVR  Bozak  Kessel
    Lupul Bolland   Clarkson
    Kulemin  Colborne D’Amigo
    Orr    McClement  ???

    Still not bad.

  • B_Leaf

    Burtonboy 
    I think this rhetoric pushes Kadri’s buttons. Clearly Kadri wants to be rewarded for listening to the team and working on the finer elements of his game. Anyone who watched Kadri last year has to be impressed at just how well he played in his own end. He even killed the odd penalty. Another aspect of his game that has improved is his physical game. Really outside of faceoffs there was very little to complain about. Despite what some have said he was arguably the most consistent player on this team from start to finish.
    Kadri played as well last year as any of his contemporaries. They all have big long term contracts. They were given deals over a year ago in most cases. Many of these players were given NHL jobs, good linemates, ice time, and there teams enjoyed the production, while they tolerated the mistakes. Kadri played well enough as an 18 year old to make this team but he was sent back again and again to improve all aspects of his game. These were the right moves for management, and now we have a truly good player. I think Kadri understands this as well. But now Kadri is saying OK, I did all this stuff while taking a huge financial cut playing on the farm, but now I’ve arrived possibly a better overall player than some of my contemporaries who are in the second year of big contracts so time to pay up. That is why he uses expressions like being “fair”, or “I did all they asked”.
    Until last year Kadri wasn’t really supplied with good line mates. He was publicly derided by his coaches. Last year he scored more points per 60 minutes TOI than anyone else who played significant games (tied with Crosby). Kadri did it being a PLUS player and for the most part playing with “depth” wingers. 
    The way I see it Kadri holds all the cards. Nonis will wait until the day before camp starts. Nonis knows the Leafs have a shot this year but they need Kadri. If Kadri holds out, Nonis will look bad. He could have opened up more cap space, but chose not to. Nonis may want a bridge deal, but if that is the case, expect Kadri to get paid a lot more than Subban.