In the links: Preseason updates on a few Leafs prospects, Elliotte Friedman reports no progress on Steven Stamkos contract talks (as well as murmurs of trade inquiries back at the draft), Babcock discusses the challenge of replacing Kessel’s offence, while the senior Nylander joins the Steelheads.

Martins Dzierkals and JJ Piccinich with a couple of big preseason showings in their respective new Leagues:

Marner begins his transition to center in Knights practice:

Tuesday Links:

  • Elliotte Friedman: Lightning preparing for all Stamkos possibilities (Sportsnet)
    Stamkos prefers to play centre, which creates a top-six logjam with Valtteri Filppula and triplet Tyler Johnson. It sounds like the Lightning would prefer Stamkos to play on the wing to ease that issue. From what I’ve been told, the discussions were professional, but both organization and player remain searching for common ground.
  • MLHS: Mike Babcock: “I added up [our] goals the other day… I didn’t like the outcome” (Transcript+Audio)
    We did an exercise each year in Detroit. Ken Holland and myself, we add up the goals we’re going to score. We’d know before the year what we thought we were going to score. When I added up the goals the other day, they didn’t add up right. I tried to do it again and again, and I didn’t like the outcome. The reality is we’re going to have to find some people to score more goals than I put down on the sheet. We know that. Let’s get to work and figure out how we’re going to do that.
  • Mike Zeisberger: Babcock on coaching Leafs: ‘It scares the crap out of you’ (Toronto Sun)
    “We are going to do is make sure Dion gets at least one day a week off from the media. You know, Nick Lidstrom, Steve Yzerman, Kris Draper … they had those guys out lots in front of the press too. It’s not supposed to be a grindfest.”
  • Mike Zeisberger: Leafs’ Babcock: It would have been easy to stay in Detroit (Toronto Sun)
    “We’d like to build this franchise so that we know that, when the season starts, we’re going to be in the playoffs. Not hope to get in the playoffs but know we’re going to be in the playoffs. That’s what the Red Wings do. That’s what we hope to do.”
  • Mike Zeisberger: Mike Babcock Unplugged Part 3: The willingness to be patient (Toronto Sun)
    “Believe me, I’m about winning. But I’m a process oriented guy and when you focus on that the wins take care of themselves. And if there aren’t as many wins as you’d like, we’re going to continue on and find a different way.
  • Mike Johnston: NHL Team Preview 2015-16 – Toronto Maple Leafs (Sportsnet)
    The Maple Leafs will have a successful season if… having a successful season means showing clear signs of improvement under Mike Babcock without expecting to make the playoffs. For the franchise’s long-term overhaul to work, management has to be patient. This means not rushing their top prospects and continuing to collect assets by selling off pending UFAs at the trade deadline.
  • CP: Former NHLer Michael Nylander joins OHL’s Steelheads as assistant coach (Yahoo Sports)
    The hiring comes a day after Mississauga received a commitment from Nylander’s son Alexander to join the team. Alexander was the team’s first round pick at the 2015 CHL import draft.

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