William Nylander scores his sixth goal of the tournament versus Switzerland (and it’s a beauty), Mitch Marner picks up an assist versus Germany, the Marlies’ turnaround season comes to an end, and more in the links.
Is Josh Manson the missing piece in the Leafs’ top four? (MLHS)
Whoever ends up with Josh Manson on their blueline next year — whether it’s Anaheim, Las Vegas, Toronto, or another team — will be lucky to have him. He’s a truly capable defensive player and his combination of mobility, strength and smarts would entice any NHL team looking to improve its blue line.
Changing coverage helps Ducks avoid collapse in OT win over Predators (ESPN)
The Ducks’ more efficient offense early in the game was facilitated in part by Kesler no longer being required to shadow Nashville’s leading playoff scorer, Ryan Johansen. With Nashville enjoying the advantage of last change, the Predators’ top line was matched up primarily against a Ducks first line centered by captain Ryan Getzlaf. Getting a break from harassing Johansen, Kesler was able to take on a more offensive role, leading all players with five shots through two periods. During that span, Johansen’s entire line, which included Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson, combined for only four shots.
Nylander gem sparks win (IIHF.com)
Nylander started the play the led to the opening goal. His quick pass to Oscar Lindberg gave Lindberg a good chance in the slot. His shot was kicked out by Leonardo Genoni but it landed on the stick of Nicklas Backstrom, and he had no trouble finding the back of the net at 4:15. Nylander’s goal came at 13:15. Ekman-Larsson got the puck deep in his own end and fired a spectacular pass up the middle to Nylander breaking through centre ice between two Swiss defenders.
Defending champ rolls on (IIHF.com)
With the Canadian power play boiling over at 48%, Germany could ill afford to take penalties. When the whistle blew on Patrick Reimer’s trip, the offer was too good for Canada to turn down. Its first PP of the game delivered the opening goal in the 18th minute. Mitch Marner played the puck to O’Reilly on the red line. O’Reilly mis-controlled the pass, but recovered to set up Mark Scheifele for a close-range finish inside Grubauer’s near post.
Road woes sink Toronto Marlies again in Game 7 loss to Syracuse Crunch (MLHS)
A 6-3 victory didn’t flatter a Syracuse team that was full value for the victory over the duration of the best-of-seven. For Toronto, the only regret will be not playing to their full potential during this series, but it was a heck of a turnaround season from a young team that was sitting at the bottom of the standings in January.
Marlies’ season ends with painful Game 7 loss to Crunch (Toronto Sun)
The development of all young blue-liners Dermott, Andrew Nielsen and Rinat Valiev will rank among the pluses for Toronto this year, while the Leafs don’t yet know what they have in players such as Brendan Leipsic, Kerby Rychel, Kasimir Kaskisuo, Andreas Johnsson and the most intriguing late addition, winger Carl Grundstrom. As always, getting to the playoffs is a bonus, this being Toronto’s 15th series in six years.
[Paywall] Why the Leafs are loading up on Swedish prospects (The Athletic)
The Maple Leafs have been a-raiding foreign leagues again. And this time the targets were in Sweden. You look at who they now have under the 50-player limit (and a couple amateur tryout deals), after signing left shot defencemen Calle Rosen and Andreas Borgman this week, and there are a lot of Swedes. William Nylander is obviously up with the big club, but then there’s 19-year-old newcomer Carl Grundstrom (who was terrific in the AHL playoffs), Andreas Johnsson (ditto), Tobias Lindberg, Dmytro Timashov, Jesper Lindgren and Pierre Engvall.
Swedish winger Sandberg heading to NHL (TSN)
Swedish winger Filip Sandberg is headed to the NHL, according to his 2015-16 club, HV71. HV71 made an announcement similar to their release on Tuesday which said defenceman Andreas Borgman had signed in the NHL but didn’t announce where. Borgman was later revealed to have joined the Toronto Maple Leafs on a two-year contract. Sandberg scored eight goals and added 17 assists in 52 games during the regular season. He added six goals and eight assists in 16 playoff games as HV71 won the league’s championship.
Meet the man who threw a skinned duck onto the ice during the Predators’ Game 3 win (Tennessean)
When Doug Harris III showed up with a skinned duck on Tuesday, instead, his uncle Don Harris — a retired Nashville schools teacher — accepted the challenge. “I was sure I was going to get thrown out,” Harris said. “We were sitting on row six and I got down really low to the ice. I waited until the security guard turned his head and heaved it over. He looked at me and didn’t say a word.”
PK Subban gamble paying off for Predators on and off the ice (National Post)
Poile admits trading Weber for Subban last summer was a huge gamble. “P.K. is different,” he says. “My favourite expression is (Subban) gets a lot of touches every day. Everything that happens is a story about P.K. He just can’t help himself. So was I nervous? I’m nervous about every trade I make. But this one was huge.”