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Analysis

Analysis

In-depth analysis of the Toronto Maple Leafs from the Leading Leafs-centric website.

1632

When the media asked who has final say on roster decisions at today's introductory press conference for Brendan Shanahan, there was a pause followed by some laughter shared on the podium between Tim Leiweke, Shanahan, and Dave Nonis. "I have a boss. It's Brendan. Your boss has the final say -- that's just common sense," Nonis finally said. And, with that, a changing of the guard has officially begun in Leafs Nation. Nonis is still the GM in title, but it is clear that this is the Shanahan show now. It remains to be seen if Nonis’ staff will stay in place,...

229

Who would’ve thought we would be saying those words in reference to the Maple Leafs just a week ago? There was a palpable air of awkwardness present as Tim Leiweke called this ‘Shanny’s team and culture” while Dave Nonis sat listening at the other end of the table. Shanahan is his Leafs’ Masai Ujiri, and Leiweke made no bones about referencing that directly. Dave Nonis is saying all the right things as of now -- about knowing this role was in the offing for some time, looking at it as an opportunity to collaborate with another good hockey mind, Shanny...

1149

Head coach Peter DeBoer’s three-year contract with the New Jersey Devils is set to expire at season’s end. (Warning: What follows is a long-winded analysis of a potential head coaching candidate for the Maple Leafs, who haven't yet fired their own coach, when said future candidate is still currently under contract with another team). While Lou Lamiorello recently endorsed the work of DeBoer and his staff despite a second-consecutive season out of the playoffs, there appears to be an opportunity here if the Maple Leafs are interested -- which, it just so happens, jives with the latest dispatch from the rumour...

Dion Phaneuf / Phil Kessel

1008

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. “Personally, I think by a country mile he’s the best defenceman in the league. It’s not even close right now,” Ron Wilson said following a 4-3 win over the Penguins. “I think he’s comfortable in his own skin. He’s comfortable being the Captain, he’s healthy and I think without taking away from his play, the way Carl Gunnarsson’s played has made Dion’s job a lot easier. It’s just freed up Dion to play as best as I’ve ever seen him.”- Ron Wilson, Oct. 30st, 2011 It wasn't too long ago that Dion Phaneuf was a...

47

This quote triggered the thought process behind this post. This is kind of a good analogy. You could go into a zone and take three shots from five feet off the goal line and five feet from the boards that hit the goalie. There is no shot taken within the dots – the proverbial home plate – not one shot was taken from there. It wasn’t a real fluid possession. The team that shot the puck three times in 30 seconds, lost possession of the puck on the third shot, and now we are attacking their end – we were...

159

Don Cherry said something nonsensical with no basis in fact, guys. Let's talk about this. 1) Leafs love those College guys. Signed Eric Knodel from University of New Hampshire. Going to get a tryout with the Marlies. That means — Don Cherry (@CoachsCornerCBC) March 26, 2014   2) he takes a spot from some guy slugging it out on the buses. If you want to make the Leafs or get a tryout just go to a US College. — Don Cherry (@CoachsCornerCBC) March 26, 2014   We’ve heard Don Cherry rail about this type of thing before. It is one of my favourite misinformed Cherry rants...

Jonathan Bernier

1697

“We didn’t seem to be able to break the cycle, and they were using the points. We play with a lot of people down low in our zone so the points are going to be open. And yet they seemed to be getting the point shots through and a lot of tips and rebounds. Obviously something.. something was wrong there.” - Joffrey Lupul after the 5-3 loss to St. Louis. After the loss last night, Randy Carlyle and Joffrey Lupul both came to the conclusion that this Leafs team is tense -- on account of all the recent losing -- and...

957

For the first time since 2006, the Maple Leafs stood pat on trade deadline day. It was the right move. On a day where pretty well every team around the Leafs got better, there wasn't a whole lot out there that made sense for this team to do, in part because of cap constraints. The Leafs already don't have a second round pick for the upcoming draft, so moving multiple picks -- which is what netted Goc, Hemsky and MacDonald -- would have gutted their draft pick stocks. Going into the draft with, say, only a 1st and 4th just so that...

1038

Gold is Canada's and the players are on flights back home.  The NHL season starts up again on Tuesday with just nine days remaining until the March 5 NHL Trade Deadline.  As the Toronto Maple Leafs push towards its second consecutive playoff berth, could Mason Raymond’s 16 goals and 19 assists in 60 games this season make him one of the hottest buys on deadline day? Signed to a cheap $1-Million, one-year deal during training camp, Raymond is on an expiring deal and could be the Leafs best trade chip come deadline day.  With so many teams tight under the...

494

There has been plenty of debate already regarding Dave Bolland and whether or not he should be re-signed, a subject that will only continue to gain steam once Bolland returns after the Olympic Break and plays out the stretch on an expiring contract (as it stands). The first part to the question revolves around something nobody can possibly know the answer to at the moment: is he healthy and will he be able to return to be the same player he was to start the year? Obviously, all bets are off if he can't. Now, if he is able to recover...

594

Before the NHL broke for the Olympics, the Toronto Maple Leafs appeared to be playing some of their best hockey of the year at the right time of the season. We'll have to see what happens if and when the top line cools off from the blazing pace it was enjoying when it left off, but the goal production has turned around in a big way in the past 13 games. Leaf sticks have been even hotter in the last 13 games than they were in the opening 14 games back in October. While every 82-game season features ebbs and flows,...

993

Having gone through a long and painful rebuild, the Toronto Maple Leafs now find themselves right smack in the middle of a critical time in their development as an organization.  With legitimate core pieces finally in place, it's up to management now to make the proper decisions to take this team from a middling group capable of making the playoffs annually to a powerhouse perennial contender. With that in mind, is locking up Dave Bolland the right move for this organization? Long Term Contracts and Contention Consider this: The Leafs have five forwards already signed to big money deals until at least 2017-2018....

791

What a much more enjoyable month of hockey that was from the Maple Leafs, the latter half in particular. Toronto has seven regulation wins in their last 10 games, and are 9-1-1 in their last 11, after just seven regulation wins total between October 29 and January 14. The Leafs seem to be playing closer to the potential their talent level would suggest after a couple of bleak months culminating in a brief stint spent on the outside looking in at a playoff spot. Saturday's win was the first game of the season in which the Leafs out shot an...

449

The Maple Leafs have cleared some cap space with a number of players set to return from IR shortly (Smith, Clarkson, Bolland). Oilers acquire Mark Fraser from Leafs for Cam Abner and Hartikainen. — Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 31, 2014   always impressed with Hartikainen .. projects to a good lower roster player if he can be brought back to N America. — Gus Katsaros (@KatsHockey) January 31, 2014   Overall a very good little move by Leafs, especially if Hartikainen ever returns to North America. Fraser would have cost cap space in AHL. — James Mirtle (@mirtle) January 31, 2014   Most importantly, the Leafs have added wiggle...

221

This is amazing: With another multipoint game last night versus the Florida Panthers, marking his 18th and 19th points in his past 11 games, Phil Kessel now sits fourth in points over the past three seasons. He's only four points back of first-placed Evgeni Malkin, meaning Kessel becoming the scoringest player in the National Hockey League in the past three seasons (start of 2011-12 to current) is an actual possibility, should he finish the season strong (-er than the other guys). Un-frickin’-real, and it speaks to the evolution of this complete, elite offensive threat, as he’s also in the top-15...

854

According to @themayor, the Maple Leafs have acquired Manchester Monarchs right-winger Brandon Kozun from the Los Angeles Kings. The 23-year-old Los Angeles native was drafted in the sixth round of the 2009 draft. #LAKings have traded Brandon Kozun to Toronto Maple Leafs. #TML — The Mayor John Hoven (@mayorNHL) January 22, 2014 The 5'8, 180-pound Kozun has been a regular AHL points contributor but has yet to play an NHL game. He has amassed 179 points in 264 AHL games. Some offensive firepower for the Marlies here, from the looks of things, as Kozun is from all reports a skilled little winger...

593

Everything is coming up aces for the Toronto Maple Leafs in January.  The club has won six straight games to not just climb back into the playoff race but establish a secure foothold.  And if the riches weren’t embarrassing enough, the Leafs also have junior hockey’s hottest scorer, Connor Brown. Brown, the 156th selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft currently leads the Ontario Hockey League in scoring with 31 goals, 61 assists for 92 points in 45 games this season.  He holds a 10-point lead over his closest competitor (teammate Dane Fox) and is on pace to challenge the...

Jim Hughes

1071

MLHS' Alec Brownscombe recently caught up with Director of Player Development Jim Hughes to check in on the progress of the younger Maple Leafs. Hughes and Claude Loiselle had recently traveled to the World Juniors together to take in Frederik Gauthier and Andreas Johnson's performances for Team Canada and Team Sweden respectively, as well as one viewing of Fabrice Herzog for Team Switzerland. On Connor Brown's eye-popping production: JH: In Connor’s case, the goals and assists are in a lot of ways just the result of his whole makeup. He loves the game, he works extremely hard day in day out, he’s...

334

As reported by TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Dion Phaneuf have come to terms on a 7-year contract extension valued at $49-million ($7-million AAV).  This keeps the 28 year old Phaneuf in the fold until the end of the 2020-21 season.  Bob McKenzie is reporting that there is some form of NMC/NTC, which is a typical addendum to UFA-year contracts.  The deal is the second-most expensive contract ever signed by the Maple Leafs (Kessel’s 8-year, $64-million dollar deal signed earlier this season is #1). The Only Man for the Job The money should come as no surprise.  Back...

Dion Phaneuf / Phil Kessel

435

Darren Dreger is reporting that a contract extension for Dion Phaneuf is near completion, as in it could be signed and sealed before the New Year. The long rumoured figures have The Captain's new deal in the neighbourhood of 7x7. Phaneuf would join David Clarkson, Joffrey Lupul, Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak as 'core' members of the team locked up through to the end of the 2018 season (or beyond).  Here's an important point of consideration when analyzing the upcoming extension for Phaneuf - Relative Compensation under a rising cap.   C. The Rising Cap and Leafs Contracts Leaving aside...