Saturday, May 23, 2015
Authors Posts by Michael Stephens

Michael Stephens

Michael Stephens has been writing for Maple Leafs Hotstove since 2010, and has featured in the 2010 and 2012 Maple Leaf Annuals. Former Editiorial Intern at The Hockey News. Undergraduate degree from the University of Windsor. Chat me up about all things hockey on twitter @MLHS_Mike

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The Leafs will be back in the Hanger tonight to take on the (formerly mighty) Anaheim Ducks.  JS Giguere will get the start for the Leafs after last night’s debacle in the big apple.  The Leafs, who have lost their past three games will be hoping that a return home will see a return to the win column.  Jonas Hiller will get the start for the Ducks, who are resting shoot out specialist Julie Gaffney from Bangor, Maine (yeah, that’s a D2 reference).


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    Jonathan Tavares powerplay goal with a 1:34 left in overtime lifted the competitive New York Islanders over the Toronto Maple Leafs 2 – 1. 11 months ago.  Islanders goalie Dwayne Roloson only had to make half as many saves as the November 23rd 2009 thievery, but the result was still the same as an outworked, out-chanced and outplayed New York Islanders club still managed to steal a win

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    The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Tampa Bay Lightning have made some minor league moves this afternoon, with the Leafs sending Marlies’ forwards Alex Berry and Stefano Giliati in exchange for minor league defenseman Matt Lashoff.

    In Lashoff, the Leafs are getting a young, depth guy who will likely play out the year for the Marlies.  A former 1st round Bruins draft pick, Lashoff has some size and offensive skill, but couldn’t translate his ability beyond the AHL level for any extended period of time.  In 63 NHL games between Boston and Tampa, he’s tallied 1 goal and 14 assists and is a career -15.  Still young at 23, he’ll have stiff competition for a spot on the Marlies blue line and a chance at a fresh start after showing promise in both Norfolk and Providence.

    The Leafs lose two foot soldiers on the forward ranks in Berry and Giliati.  Meat and potatoes type of players with little NHL upside, they will be missed for the leadership and experience.  However, the move offers more opportunities for up and coming forward prospects such as Jerry D’Amigo, Marcel Mueller and Brayden Irwin.

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    So it ends, so it continues.  Tomas Kaberle’s tenure with the Toronto Maple Leafs did not indeed come to an end this summer.  In an earlier post, I had established a mostly forgotten pool asking the faithful readers to put on their brian burke mask and pretend to be a GM.  Yup, I sure am a trailblazer…suggesting people use the comments section of this site to postulate trade proposals.  Where do I come up with such creative ideas?

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    The two greatest military tacticians of the past 5000 years – Sun Tzu and Sgt. Slaughter – both spoke on the value of knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your enemies in the field.  To effectively assess the situational realities of the Toronto Maple Leafs it pays to look at the status of their direct competition within the Northeast division.  Playing 24 games against teams from their own division, pride, points and position are all on the line.  While by no means comprehensive (as yet), take a gander at the past 3 weeks of moves.

    The Canadians, Senators, Bruins and Sabres all earned playoff positions last season.  A successful, playoff calibre Leafs squad must commit themselves to dominating these frequent opponents as more than a quarter of the season will be played against them.

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    (Author’s note: credit goes out to MLHS reader the stache, whose comment, “Is it possible to start up a poll/page on the Kaberle deal with every member giving their ONE Kaberle deal and whoever has the closest after the fact idk gets mad props” is the basis for this article.  Good on ya, buddy)

    Salutations, true beleafers! We stand but a month away from the 2010 NHL draft in Los Angeles, where Burke and the boys from Scouting and Development will be showing up like beggars at the ball.  The consensus amongst Leaf fans and hockey analysts is that our faithful #15, Tomas Kaberle, shall be brought to market in LA and sold to the highest bidder.

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    For as long as I have been reading the comments section of this site, I’ve been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of posts that discuss the Leafs need to obtain a 2nd round pick through a trade.  While the tenability of some trades, “Bobby Ryan, Jesus Christ (who historically has done his best work on the boards) and a 2nd pick for Tomas Kaberle, Howard Berger, and a 7th” may be questioned, there is certain validity behind the desire.  Indeed, the Leafs have had some success in the second round (Stajan and Kulemin have both become solid players, and the Leafs have three 2nd round picks in the past two drafts as promising prospects).

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    (Author’s note: the intent of this analysis is not to ignore the great work of Nik Kulemin, I just couldn’t really find any particularly compelling or solvent data to include in this article. Also, I just graduated university, so for the 0 fans of my work who were wondering where I was…uhhh… drinking, mostly)

    The 2009 – 2010 season for the Toronto Maple Leafs was one of transition, the decrepit monolith created by John Ferguson Junior being thoroughly and carefully dismantled by Brian Burke in an attempt to bring back league-wide respect and playoff aspirations to the storied franchise we know and (as of late) begrudgingly love.