The Leafs’ rookies took the tournament opener as a result of their energy, skill, and goaltending. They outpaced a Chicago group that was forced to rely more on physicality to gain ground. They caught the Leafs temporarily, but in the end Toronto came away with a win they probably deserved as Morgan Rielly and Tyler Biggs converted in the shootout to secure a 3-2 Leaf victory.
A few meaningful observations may be gleaned from the three-game sample after the weekend, but keep in mind that one sloppy game featuring thrown-together lineups is, well, just one sloppy game featuring thrown-together lineups. Let’s summarize the period recaps by Matt Mistele from last night’s live blog, for what it’s worth:
– With all the focus on the Bernier/Reimer debate heading into next season, not much has been made recently of the Leafs’ net depth behind the top two. Garret Sparks has turned in an impressive night, stopping several shots through traffic and snagging at least one high, hard snapper with the glove hand impressively enough to make Francois Allaire wonder, “You can do that?” Spott mentioned in the post game that he would’ve probably liked the first goal back, but the showing was solid.
– We’re all aware of Biggs’ purported skating limitations, but on first glance, he’s added speed since my last viewing. In close, the mobility still seems like an issue – but that’s one of the hardest elements of proper skating technique to develop. Nevertheless, he brings a 100% effort level on every shift and gets his job done by making the right play. Hard played north-south shifts throughout the game.
– Morgan Rielly took over the game on a few of his shifts and at points was dominant with the puck on his sick. The passing and skating skills on Morgan are sublime… this we all knew. He did get beat once to the outside. Obviously, if there’s a hole in his game, his play without the puck would be his development focus.
– Rielly and Finn formed the PP point tandem of Matt’s dreams.
– Josh Leivo sat out the third with an injury, but needed only two periods to make a pretty significant impact. From creating offense out of situations you wouldn’t normally consider opportunities to using his teammates well, he impressed from the get go and was rewarded with a power play goal. Leivo doesn’t immediately strike you the way his 6’2 frame would suggest, but he uses the size well. It’s probably no coincidence the team sagged without Leivo at Spott’s disposal.
– The “more physical Gunnarsson” description matched with Granberg, but signs of adjustment wrinkles were evident in some misplays on the puck.
– Youngest player on the ice, Carter Verhaeghe showed glimpses of impressive skills, but was understandably tentative at times. A player Hughes described as having a 48-month development schedule, he’ll be given ample time to figure out if he can piece together the raw skills at his disposal.
Notable highlights from Steve Spott’s postgame scrum, courtesy of Matt:
– On the mobility and skill of his young defensive corps: “Wow.”
– Spott was impressed by the team’s ability to come together quickly.
– He was also enthusiastic about Sparks’ performance, only calling out the first goal as one Garrett might potentially want another shot at.
– Spott confirmed Leivo missed the third period due to a chest contusion suffered when he took a hit earlier in the game.
Game in 6:
The most crushing playoff defeat in my lifetime. Michael is much older than I (it’s Alec putting together these links), but you don’t have to go too far back in time to find mine.
Why did Darren Dreger say mean things about Kadri on the radio – You can just picture Nonis mouthing Dreger’s words like Richard Peddie at the Cliff Fletcher press conference.
In the first 6 months of the year 35% of your tweets sucked. In the last 6 months 70% of your tweets sucked.
Will the real Jonas Siegal please stand up.
jonasTSN1050: Also of note, Kadri had 17 goals/39 points in first 36 games, but only 2 goals, 9 points over final 19 games. Which production is closer to real thing?
Some numbers to go with the post by B_Leaf below.
Pts/82GP pace each of the past 4 seasons...
Kadri (7th overall in 2009, Turns 23 on Oct. 6th): N/A, 34, 27, 75
Tavares (1st overall in 2009, Turns 23 on Sept. 20th): 54, 70, 81, 80
Duchene (3rd overall in 2009, Turns 23 on Jan. 16th): 56, 69, 40, 75
O'Reilly (33rd overall in 2009, Turns 23 on Feb. 7th): 26, 29, 56, 57
Seguin (2nd overall in 2010, Turns 22 on Jan. 21st): N/A, 24, 68, 55
Skinner (7th overall in 2010, Turns 22 on May 16th): N/A, 63, 56, 47
Schenn (5th overall in 2009, Turns 23 on August 22nd): N/A, N/A, 23, 45
I didn't have to post these numbers for it to be obvious that Tavares is the best of the bunch. He's a true franchise superstar. Duchene has been pretty much on ar with him, statistically, excluding his injury-plagued 11/12 season. Skinner is interesting, because his numbers have been dropping. He's a year and a half younger than Kadri and Tavares, though. Seguin rivals Duchene for having the 2nd-most upside, imo. He's got some maturity issues, though. O'Reilly may not have the high-end offensive upside Kadri has, but is already a complete 2-way stud. B. Schenn isn't even worth discussing.
So, who would I trade Kadri for, straight-up?
Tavares: Yes, obviously.
B. Schenn: No, obviously.
O'Reilly, Seguin, Skinner: Too tough to call without thinking on it for a while.
If Kadri signed for 2.75 mil, we would have about 2.6 to give Franson. Why was Dreger reporting that he was thinking about taking a 2 mil deal?
Matt Duchene took a two-year bridge contract after three seasons of 220 NHL games. He's glad he did. From Sportsnet:
DUCHENE believes the two-year contract that he signed in 2012 was directly responsible for the $30-million, five-year deal that followed it.
“It motivated me to really push to get that next thing,” Duchene said.
He has no regrets about doing it early in his NHL career.
“At the end of the day, maybe I lost a few bucks at the end of my career in those two years that I could have potentially made if my third year had gone differently,” Duchene said.
“But that’s not what I’m about, that’s not what it’s about for me. We’re all making great livings here and it’s not going to make a difference in the way I live my life and my well-being.
“I’m not too worried about it – the motivation was more beneficial than those extra dollars would have been.”
LOL should read "Of course not. No matter how bad their offer is, I will cave and show up for the opening of training camp".
@Xxxxxnew Both ... he was the same in the AHL. He could have cold spells but when he's hot, lookout. He puts up points in bunches.
I pick the average of the two. The .92 ppg average is just fine with me.
@Bon Scott was a Leaf fan 7 p.m.
@Doorman LOL....Kadri Kadri Kadri.........be happy when he signs...which he will.....so we can finally stop having the same conversation over and over and over and over...... :)
Good points all around...Just as a side note kadri's points came in significantly less TOI and less PP TOI. I know there are other factors too, but he also played a lot with depth wingers, and he was very strong defensively resulting in a +15. I know plus minus is a garbage stat in many respects but not entirely.
@DWCMLHS Seguin and Skinner were plopped into very comfortable positions upon entering the NHL. And of Kadri, O'Reilly, Schenn, Skinner and Seguin....Kadri is now the last one standing playing center.
@4evrblue yes and the "Kadri is better" flys were going beast
@4evrblue thats really the biggest pool of top players this late I can remember. Pietrangelo is just crazy to not sign an offer sheet. Does anyone know the news on him I never looked it up?
@4evrblue All the best....
@Xxxxxnew fucking right. This is what ticks me the fuck off thinking about it. We finally after 6 years or more have a lineup setup to be a contender for the next 3-4 years and we are arguing dollars with the last guy. No way we should break this lineup up
Bear in mind he got paid NHL money for the first 3 years of his first contract and already had quite a few bucks banked. Kadri did not.
slow and slower?
I thought Wilson made him a winger.
If he signs an offer sheet he just screws the team he's going to stay with and play for for the next 6-8 seasons. Every team has matched except one over the past 17 years.
In each of Duchene's first three years he played for $900,000 in NHL salary, $90,000 signing bonus and another $2 million in bonuses tied to his personal and team results. Not sure how he made out in the bonuses department since the team sucked and he didn't win any trophies.
Which is still a pretty good year.
I should ask Bobsyouruncle when was the last time Bozak had a 60 point season.
@Knights2Leafs @DWCMLHS Lupul rode some high percentages last season too. And it only makes sense that Mac, Kuli and Frattin would put up more points in an offensive role than in a shut-down role or buried on the 4th line. Kadri had a very good year, but was in a position to succeed, and had luck on his side. I think he'll be somewhere around the 60-point mark this season, if he stays healthy.
Let's not forget that just about everyone who played with Kadri played better. Frattin, MacArthur and Kulemin to name a few. And Lupul didn't come screeching to halt playing with the nifty mittens either.
No guarantees obviously, but he should have better wingers with a full year of Lupul on one side and Clarkson on the other. Plus more PP time. He may score more points.
I still have a lot of faith in Colborne. That little stint in the playoffs showed me he's ready to play with the big boys and IMHO he will be better than Bozak.
@Knights2Leafs @DWCMLHS O'Reilly could easily become a 60+ point player, given his production so far. Combined with his 2-way play, that's Bergeron-esque 1C play. I do see Kadri having more high-end offensive upside, though.
Either way, we'd still only have one real top-6 center on the team. Bozak and Bolland are 3rd-line caliber centers. We need to look at adding another top-6 center before swapping the one we currently have for another.
Fair enough but to me there's little to think about. O'Reilly could never be the 1C we desperately need. Kadri has a real good shot.
Plus Kadri will cost less than half of what O'Reilly will next year.
So O'Reilly can't even make center on his own team, but you'd trade Kadri for him even though Kadri is our best center?
Do we need a complete 2 way stud more than we need a true 1C?
@DWCMLHS @Cameron19 He was but still not nearly as comfortable as the others. Here Seguin, have a Cup team to play with, and don't worry about anything but scoring because Bergeron's got your back. Also, you can play without fear because Lucic and Chara will murder anyone that looks at you. Oh and Skinner, think you can handle playing with the Staal brothers?
Kadri got sheltered minutes, but he still had to make the most of it with guys like MacArthur, Frattin and Kulemin for the most part. Occasionally even Orr.