Leafs and the World Juniors: First Thoughts

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Team Canada has effectively named their roster for the World Junior Championships to take place in Malmo Sweden starting on Boxing Day.  Having had a little bit of time to digest their decisions from a Leafs perspective, here are some of my thoughts.

No Matt Finn

The biggest surprise on Team Canada’s roster from a Leafs perspective is Matt Finn’s omission.  Finn is an all-situations defenseman whose biggest weakness in his game is probably his physicality — an element which is considerably less important on International ice.  I’m surprised he didn’t make the team (almost as surprised as I was when I heard Nurse was left at home) but the truth of the matter is, Canada has a deep team and Finn, even in my mind, was probably only 60-40 to make the team.

Gauthier Yes, Brown No

If you look purely at the statistical side of our prospects, the idea of bringing Gauthier over Connor Brown is a little confounding.  Again, I feel that the International ice was at play here.  Brown may have the better hands of the two but Gauthier is a stronger skater and is also better equipped to play a defensive role with the team.  Team Canada rarely takes an All-Star team to these events and instead opts to take players to fill very specific roles.  I’m sure filling the checking role with a youngster with a mature defensive game was a motive here.

Rielly?

Apparently the Leafs have informed Team Canada that Morgan Rielly will be released to play with the National Squad if he isn’t playing regularly with the Leafs at the time of the tournament (December 19 cut off). Trying to predict how Randy Carlyle will deploy his players is a fool’s errand as far as I’m concerned so I won’t even hazard a guess, but it wouldn’t hurt my feelings at all to see Rielly playing 20 minutes a game in this tourney; helping lead the Canadian team while gaining confidence and feeling good about himself after going in and out of the press box with the Leafs wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen.  Rielly’s skating on the big rink would be a thing to behold, and there’s little doubt that he would be one of the primary options on the blueline for the team in the event that he’s released.

2014 Team Canada Roster

NameS/CHt.Wt.BornHometownClub TeamPro Status

Goaltenders

Zachary FucaleL/G6'1"1765/28/1995Rosemre, Que./QcHalifax (QMJHL)MTL '13 (2, 36)
Jake PatersonL/G6'0"1855/3/1994Mississauga, Ont.Saginaw (OHL)DET '12 (3, 80)

Defence

Chris BigrasL/G6'0.5"1892/22/1995Woodland Beach, Ont.Owen Sound (OHL)COL '13 (2, 32)
Mathew DumbaR/D6'0"1837/25/1994Calgary, Alta./Alb.Minnesota (NHL)MIN '12 (1, 7)
Aaron EkbladR/D6'3.5"2162/7/1996Belle River, Ont.Barrie (OHL)2014 Dft/Rep.
Josh MorrisseyL/G6'0"1843/28/1995Calgary, Alta./Alb.Prince Albert (WHL)WPG '13 (1, 13)
Adam PelechÊL/G6'2"2158/16/1994Toronto, Ont.Erie (OHL)NYI '12 (3, 65)
Derrick PouliotL/G6'0"2031/16/1994Weyburn, Sask.Portland (WHL)PIT '12 (1, 8)
Griffin ReinhartL/G6'3.5"2121/24/1994West Vancouver, B.C./C.-B.Edmonton (WHL)NYI '12 (1, 4)
Damon SeversonR/D6'2"1988/7/1994Melville, Sask.Kelowna (WHL)NJ '12 (2, 60)

Forwards

Josh AndersonR/D6'2"1995/7/1994Burlington, Ont.London (OHL)CBJ '12 (4, 95)
Jonathan DrouinL/G5'11"1853/28/1995Huberdeau, Que./QcHalifax (QMJHL)TB '13 (1, 3)
FrŽdŽrik GauthierL/G6'4"2154/26/1995Mascouche, Que./QcRimouski (QMJHL)TOR '13 (1, 21)
FŽlix GirardR/D5'11"1905/9/1994LŽvis, Que./QcBaie-Comeau (QMJHL)NSH '13 (4, 95)
Bo HorvatL/G6'0"2034/5/1995Rodney, Ont.London (OHL)VAN '13 (1, 9)
Charles HudonL/G5'10,5"1756/23/1994Boisbriand, Que./QcChicoutimi (QMJHL)MTL '12 (5, 122)
Scott LaughtonL/G6'1"1905/30/1994Oakville, Ont.Oshawa (OHL)PHI '12 (1, 20)
Curtis LazarR/D6'0"1982/2/1995Vernon, B.C./C.-B.Edmonton (WHL)OTT '13 (1, 17)
Taylor LeierL/G5'11"1772/15/1994Saskatoon, Sask.Portland (WHL)PHI '12 (4, 117)
Anthony ManthaL/G6'5"2049/16/1994Longueuil, Que./QcVal-d'Or (QMJHL)DET '13 (1, 20)
Connor McDavidL/G6'0"1821/13/1997Newmarket, Ont.Erie (OHL)2015 Dft/Rep
Nic PetanL/G5'9"1663/22/1995Delta, B.C./C.-B.Portland (WHL)WPG '13 (2, 43)
Sam ReinhartR/D6'1"18311/6/1995West Vancouver, B.C./C.-B.Kootenay (WHL)2014 Dft/Rep.
Kerby RychelL/G6'1"20510/7/1994Tecumseh, Ont.Windsor (OHL)CBJ '13 (1, 19)
Hunter ShinkarukL/G5'10.5"18110/13/1994Calgary, Alta./Alb.Medicine Hat (WHL)VAN '13 (1, 24)

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  • LeafFan15

    Cant believe they didnt take Finn.

  • Optimustic

    I’d like to see Rielly play in the tourney.  The Leafs have enough D=men and the experience would be very good for the kid.   It would also give us an idea of how good he is compared to his own age group.

  • peterbleafs

    Id also like to see Reilly go, there just seems to be too much confusion at the NHL level with Carlyle, so just get him out of there.

  • Great Dane

    canuckukintoronto 
    39.6 shot against average is not acceptable. 
    What is most concerning is that Carlyle seems totally bewildered and there is no action taken.
    There is something horribly wrong with the team and we are winning because of the magic from Reimer and Bernier

  • Burtonboy

    Leafs have placed Bozak on LTIR

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/24-7/leafs-kadri-has-optimistic-road-ahead/

  • Great Dane

    My fear is that Carlyle will run Phaneuf, JVR and Kessel into the ground before using other players. Same for Bernier and Reimer; eventually they cannot withhold the pressure of 50 shots per game.

    What I really don’t get is that Nonis trade Holland, recall D’Amigo, Ashton and Leivo; but Carlyle refuse to give them ice time. 
    WHY??????????

  • MaxwellHowe

    CanuckUKinToronto Absolutely right – RC obviously decided to go all in for the win last nite, and maybe that was the right call, since the Leafs need to break out of their funk before the important interdivisional games this weekend.  But I don’t think playing 3 lines is necessarily the way to win a game, much less build a winning season.  The Leafs looked gassed late in that game.  RC didn’t even play D’Amigo on the PK.  Now with two games on the weekend, RC is going to have to spread out the ice time or the Bruins will destroy them on Sunday.
    Here’s an idea.  If RC is uncomfortable with the third line players – maybe Nonis should call up Liles – who not only would be available to play D – but could be a left winger in the third line.  Just a wild thought.  He seems to be playing the left wing on the Marlie pp.  he could be an offensive threat.

  • Burtonboy

    CanuckUKinToronto The issue I see with Holland was his line mates last night are not exactly offensive dynamos. Given the way Trevor Smith is playing would you have given Holland more ice time ?
    Now that Bozak is on LTIR its we might see another call up. I would like to see this kind of lineup when Lupul is back and really roll 4 lines 

    JVR – Naz – Kessel

    Lupul  – Smith  – Clarkson 

    Raymond – Holland – Leivo

    Ashton/ D’Amigo – McClement – Kulemin 

    On defense its imperative that he gets Fraser at the very least out of the line up for a while . I saw 2 defensemen last night able to move the puck out of the zone effectively . Gardiner and Dion. Dion was more active moving the puck last night then he has been in a while.

    Gunnarson  – Phaneuf

    Gardiner  – Franson 

    Ranger – Rielly

  • MaxwellHowe

    Send Rielly and call up Liles.  Give the kid a chance to learn what it takes to win a championship.   May come in handy in a couple of years.

  • MaxwellHowe

    Burtonboy CanuckUKinToronto Gardiner was borderline dynamic last nite. I know I pump his tires here with some frequency, but as his confidence grows, he will be a large part of lowering the shot diffreentials.  He slowed the game down at will last nite.  Evaded forechaeckers, skated miles, got shots thru on Lehtonen.
    I like your lineup, but I still maintain Lupul should be on the right wing.  The second could be Kulimen – Smith – Lupul.  Then Raymond – Holland  – Clarkson.  Ashton/D’Amigo – McClement -Leivo

  • Burtonboy

    MaxwellHowe Burtonboy CanuckUKinToronto Glad I have some company when its comes to Gardiner. Seemed like when everyone wanted him traded I was alone telling everyone not to be so freakin crazy.

  • Burtonboy

    MaxwellHowe Burtonboy CanuckUKinToronto Also I do like the way Lupul and Clarkson played the short time they were together

  • Burtonboy

    MaxwellHowe Not in favor of that at all. We are constantly hemmed in our own zone and its only when Jake and Dion last night decide to move the puck do we have much success getting out . Rielly is able to do that . We need is skating and passing more then ever imo.

  • Knights2Leafs

    Sorry to go off topic, but just wanted to comment on last night.  I’m down in Clearwater and saw the Turds scuffling with the Stamkoless Lightning.  Not the most exciting game but with a pretty decimated team ( Hedman was out of the game early) Tampa used the Toronto quality shot program to beat them.  I was enjoying the Turds take it up the ass but I nearly went into full depression mode when I saw Toronto up 2 -1 and then get scored on with less than 5 minutes in the 3rd period.  Glad we finally won a game but can these guys ever close out a game.

    And to T_Ry’s comments last night I invite you to look at TOI.  In the Turds/Tampa game the only player with under 10 minutes was Hedman who must have gone out with an injury.  In the Leafs/Stars games, there were 4 players with under 10 minutes of TOI. Needless to say they were all Leafs. 

    Those that see problems with the Leafs are not being negative but are deeply concerned.  Every team has injuries but even when we were healthy there were very few games where there was a complete 60 minute effort.

    And with that, off to golf I go.  Enjoy and Go Leafs Go!!!!

  • Wilbur

    Burtonboy MaxwellHowe I agree with you but my guess is Rielly sits against OTT because RC will go with the line-up that won last night and if they win against OTT he’ll sit against BOS.

  • Mind Bomb

    A Victorious good morning to all !

  • Wilbur

    Mind Bomb And to you good sir!

  • Burtonboy

    Wilbur Burtonboy MaxwellHowe Likely he will but until he gets over this love affair with Fraser and Ranger expect to see more of the same

  • MaxwellHowe

    Mind Bomb Morning MB.  Some may scoff at the win, but it was gutsy and against an up and coming team that beat the Hawks earlier in the week.  Seguin and Benn were as advertised – and that kid Nishkuskin is unbelievable.

  • MaxwellHowe

    Burtonboy My opinion about Lupul is really about players being on their off wings. It hurts their ability to move the puck from the dzone because they when they go into the boards, they are forced to clear on their backhand. The Leafs have enough problems clearing the puck as it is.
    Gardiner should only be moved for a young highly rated centre or very highly rated prospect. Even then I shudder about how the defence would get by without him.

  • Mind Bomb

    MaxwellHowe Mind Bomb  Aye the Russian Kid look scary good. Dallas is a good team. Love Benn, Seguin blows chunks :)

  • Mind Bomb

    Yaknowwhat  Morning I will Take a Large Double Double, and a Cheese Croisant with butter !

  • MaxwellHowe

    Mind Bomb MaxwellHowe And nice to see one of the goalies get back into form.  I say play him in Ottawa, give Reimer the Bruins again.

  • Burtonboy

    MaxwellHowe Burtonboy You need to get over this obssession of putting Lupul on right wing lol. It simply isn’t going to happen

  • Mind Bomb

    MaxwellHowe Mind Bomb Tough Call really, and the good news, it does not matter who really, we have a chance to win with either. Having said that it appears Reims is getting the tougher starts, so I can see that happening

  • MaxwellHowe

    -Keon- Hard for a kid to get comfortable and relax with that kind of playing time

  • Mind Bomb

    Yaknowwhat Hmm No shite I liked that,

  • Burtonboy

    MaxwellHowe Mind Bomb I wouldn’t . We are going to have to spit the goalies this weekend and Reimer owns Ottawa

  • MaxwellHowe

    Burtonboy MaxwellHowe Mind Bomb The Sens lit him up earlier in the season – and Jb proceeded to shut them down

  • MaxwellHowe

    Burtonboy MaxwellHowe No I won’t!  Yes it will!

  • Burtonboy

    MaxwellHowe Burtonboy Mind Bomb One game . Historically he’s played them very well.

  • Burtonboy

    MaxwellHowe Burtonboy Dream on lol

  • MaxwellHowe

    Burtonboy MaxwellHowe Mind Bomb Still its hard to sit Bernier after the game he just had

  • Burtonboy

    MaxwellHowe Burtonboy Mind Bomb Yep but do you go back to back with Bernie ? I would rather Reimer plays in Ottawa

  • Burtonboy

    -Keon- Victim of being on a line with Fraser McLaren

  • MaxwellHowe

    Burtonboy -Keon- What is it with Fraser MacLaren?  There are a half dozen kids with the Marlies who could do better.

  • maple1967leafs

    Burtonboy MaxwellHowe Mind Bomb I think we have reached the point of you win your in with the goalies,Go with Bernier till he drops one or we have a short rest period

  • MaxwellHowe

    maple1967leafs The thing is, I doubt RC wants to play either in back to back games, so really the argument is about which one starts which game – who plays the Sens Saturday, who plays the Bruins Sunday.  And we know which team will be the tougher opponent.

  • Burtonboy

    maple1967leafs Burtonboy MaxwellHowe Mind Bomb If we were giving up 25-30 shots I would agree. Giving up 40 on a consistent basis like we are if we ran with one goalie he would be burned out in and matter of a week or so.

  • Burtonboy

    MaxwellHowe Burtonboy -Keon- Wish I could read Carlyle’s mind .

  • MaxwellHowe

    Burtonboy MaxwellHowe -Keon-
    Its akin to a coloring book I think.

  • maple1967leafs

    Burtonboy maple1967leafs MaxwellHowe Mind Bomb they have both played pretty well imo so as long as they both stay healthy we’ll be ok

  • Burtonboy

    maple1967leafs Burtonboy MaxwellHowe Mind Bomb Good thing we have 2 . One guy in net would be dead on his feet by now

  • mcloki

    Morning all. We beat a really good team last night yet people are whining about shots and ice time. Pathetic.

  • wendelsway1

    Burtonboy MaxwellHowe CanuckUKinToronto   You’re not alone, Bboy……but I know the feeling……don’t know how many times I’ve posted we are not trading him when the same posters insist on bringing it up daily.  Well, I’ll say it again…..we are not trading Gardiner!

  • MaxwellHowe

    Burtonboy maybe Nonis could see the shot diffrential would be a problem this year.  Of course, if he had he should have addressed it by finding another D man

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    Yaknowwhat Some dude posted his family photo album and used up all the bandwidth :)

  • Mind Bomb

    mcloki  Morning MC, you could tell the effort was there last night, An entertaining game. I will take that eveytime win or lose, just show me the effort and I will never Bitch lol

  • Burtonboy

    wendelsway1 Burtonboy MaxwellHowe CanuckUKinToronto I know . WW . Just felt like it sometimes

  • Burtonboy

    Curious how many shots Dallas had on the PP last night . More specifically how many when Fraser and Ranger were on the ice