Friday, May 22, 2015
Authors Posts by Garrett Bauman

Garrett Bauman

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    Though the news in Leaf Nation has been relatively quiet of late, there have been a few intriguing storylines making the rounds. Joel Champagne will re-enter the draft, Nik Kulemin and the Maple Leafs have hit a contract impasse, Tomas Kaberle is reportedly gathering interest from a number of teams, and a member of the Toronto media raised a few eyebrows with a blog post regarding the relationship between Dion Phaneuf and Ron Wilson.

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    In the second installment of the Prospect Season In Review, we will take a look at a couple of Maple Leafs prospects who have proven a positive product of the John Ferguson Jr / Cliff Fletcher draft era.

    Profiles in this segment include German DEL winger Jerome Flaake and defender Korbinian Holzer, as well as a prospect closer to home: Windsor Spitfires winger Dale Mitchell.

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    National Hockey League

    NHL ShieldThings may be relatively quiet in Leafs Nation these days, but that doesn’t mean there has been a lack of excitement elsewhere in the NHL.

    As such, here are a few quick takes on some of the headlines dominating the NHL landscape these days (including the Phoenix Coyotes situation, the Patrice Cormier charges, and Willie Mitchell’s controversial comments),  as well as a quick glance at the nearly-completed 2nd round of the NHL playoffs.

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    Administrative note: Can’t believe we missed this, but I never activated the registration component of the new MLHS. My sincere apologies to anyone who has attempted to register since the relaunch. You can now do so here. This is also a call out to all of you lurkers to register and get in on the discussion… now that you are physically able to.

    For those who are interested, the good folks at capgeek.com have listed contract details for newest Leafs Ben Scrivens and Jussi Rynnas. Details are posted after the jump.

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    Something I noticed in the HF Prospect Rankings which were released the other day, was a note about Phillipe Paradis being ineligible to play for the AHL Marlies next season.

    Judging by the inbox, a few others noticed it too, so I did some digging to find out exactly what the AHL player eligibility requirements are for NHL prospects.

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    Now that the Leafs’ most important pending free agent — goaltender Jonas Gustavsson — has been signed to a two-year contract extension, it is time to take a look at their remaining free agent players.

    Notably, the list of expiring contracts includes pending RFAs Nikolai Kulemin, Christian Hanson and John Mitchell. Pending UFAs on the Leafs’ roster include Wayne Primeau, Rickard Wallin, Jamie Lundmark, Garnet Exelby and Mike Van Ryn.

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    Per TSN, the Toronto Maple Leafs have agreed in principle to a 2 year contract with pending-RFA goaltender Jonas Gustavsson. The contract is said to be worth $2.7 million in total (avg $1.35 million per season).

    Gustavsson, originally signed to a 1 year contract, struggled somewhat during the first half of a season marred by heart surgery and the inevitable adjustment period required with not only a new league, but a new culture as well.  As the season progressed, so too did Gustavsson’s consistency and poise. As his comfort level grew, fans began to witness what all the hype had been about,  his performance culminating with a 7-game winning stretch during the month of March (7-0-0, 2.00 GAA, .929 SV %).

    For the season, Gustavsson finished with a winning record of 16-15-9, posting a 2.87 GAA and .902 SV %.

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    As you are no doubt well aware, the NHL draft lottery will be held tonight in New York to determine the order of the 14 non-playoff teams heading into the June 25-26 draft in Los Angeles. You can catch coverage of the lottery at 8pm on TSN.

    Update
    And the winner is … Edmonton.  Leafs fans, prepare yourselves to endure “Kessel Trade” debates for the better part of the next decade.

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    Kenny Ryan

    Kenny RyanLast night, the London Knights – and Leafs prospect Nazem Kadri – were eliminated from the OHL playoffs in a Game 7 blowout at the hands of the Kitchener Rangers.

    For his part, Kadri makes his playoff exit as the OHL’s post-season scoring leader with a remarkable 9 goals and 18 assists in 12 games.

    The Kitchener Rangers will now move on to face the defending-champ Windsor Spitfires, whose own lineup features a couple of Leafs’ prospects: forwards Dale Mitchell and Kenny Ryan (pictured).

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      The NHL has released the playoff schedule for the first round, along with the list of networks airing each series.

      Here are the start dates for Game 1 of each series, and the network airing each opening match.

      Full schedules for each series, including networks airing each game, are posted at NHL.com.

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      With the final bell about to ring season most fans would be happy to forget – although the impending draft all but dictates they most assuredly will not – the Maple Leafs will officially enter the offseason five campaigns removed from the playoffs at the conclusion of Saturday night’s game in Montreal.

      Unlike previous years, however, this season has revealed to fans — amidst the rubble of far too many losses — a silver lining of sorts: the promise of youth.

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      Note: If you crave insightful, indepth Leafs’ analysis, I highly encourage you to read RSW’s excellent article on Victor Stalberg.

      This past Saturday, Brian Burke was a guest on “Leafs Lunch” (am 640) and spoke at length about the status of injured defenseman Mike Van Ryn.

      Van Ryn, as you know, underwent career-threatening surgery as a result of a structural anomaly in his left knee.  The surgery, an osteotomy (known throughout hockey circles as “Steve Yzerman surgery”), is a complex procedure in which the knee is realigned via the removal of part of the bone.  Van Ryn has since resumed skating, but whether or not he will be able to resume his NHL career remains, at this point, unknown.

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        The Maple Leafs have signed prospect Philippe Paradis, a 2009 1st round pick (27th) who as you may recall was acquired earlier this season from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for 2006 1st round pick Jiri Tlusty (13th).

        Paradis’ Junior team, the Shawinigan Cataractes, were recently eliminated from the QMJHL playoffs. The Leafs elected to get Paradis signed immediately following his team’s elimination so he can be sent to the AHL Toronto Marlies to gain some professional-level experience.

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          Lost amidst all the drama of today’s Tomas Kaberle situation is the game between the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs tonight at the ACC (7pm, TSN).

          Coming off a 3-2 loss to the Atlanta Thrashers, the Leafs will look to reverse their fortunes with a better defensive performance against their rivals, who lead the Northeast division.

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            * aka “Operation: Basement Breakout”

            With last night’s loss, the Maple Leafs were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention for the 5th straight year. This was not really news – even the most optimistic of Leafs’ fans pretty much knew this to be the case since early into the New Year, if not sooner.

            However, a more prevalent question regarding the season standings remains: is getting out of last place in the Eastern Conference still possible?

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              Jimmy HayesRemember Jimmy Hayes?  He was the Leafs 2nd round pick in 2008, a burgeoning power forward who struggled last season in his freshman campaign with the Boston College Eagles as he adjusted to the NCAA game.

              Consider those struggles a thing of the past.

              Hayes was fantastic in the Hockey East Championship this past week as his team captured their ninth tournament victory, an NCAA record.  Oh, and you may be interested to know that his 2 goals and 5 assists (in 4 games) led all tournament point-getters.

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              About a month ago, we took a look at Phil Kessel’s production, including the on-pace numbers for this season and (theoretically) projected 82-game statistics.

              With 10 games left to go in the season, perhaps it’s time we re-visit and update those predictions — this time in the context of other “name” or “impact” players to see just where exactly Phil Kessel ranks, production-wise, among the league’s elite.

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                For the sixth and final time this season, the Toronto Maple Leafs will face their rivals, the Ottawa Senators, this time in enemy territory at Scotiabank Place.

                Tonight’s game will close out the season series between the two teams. The series currently stands at 3-2 in favor of the Leafs, who have won their past three against the Senators.

                The Leafs are coming off Sunday’s loss to the New York Islanders in which the players appeared completely spent (5 games in 8 days, culminating in back to back games, will have a negative effect on any club).  However, prior to that debacle, Toronto had won three in a row on merits of effort-laden, energetic play.  With a much-needed day off under their belts, the players will look to return to their winning ways with a strong effort against their bitter provincial rivals.