Bob McKenzie on Kyle Dubas and William Nylander, Sheldon Keefe on the Marlies, and more in the links.

Bob McKenzie on Naylor & Landsberg

McKenzie on the report that Kyle Dubas has been granted permission to speak with the Colorado Avalanche:

In Colorado, they obviously want to make some changes. They fired a bunch of assistant coaches – not head coach Jared Bednar, but the rest of the coaching staff. I think Joe Sakic realizes that he needs a better support system in place for himself. He’s kind of the de facto General Manager; well, he is the General Manager, I guess. He initially was the President. They’ve had General Managers before, but when Patrick Roy was there, he was kind of a guy that made the final decisions on hockey personnel. He resigned in part because I don’t think he was happy with the decisions that were being made and that he maybe wasn’t exerting enough influence.

I think Joe is in the mode now where he wants to build a better support system around him, which is probably overdue – especially because there was a void created in terms of hockey expertise when Patrick Roy left. Kyle, I guess, is one of a number of guys that Joe will be looking at.

It will be interesting to see how Kyle views this. He keeps his cards pretty close the vest. He’s done a good job with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but in this business, you get other opportunities. Do you jump at the first chance with an organization outside of the one that hired you, or do you feel like those are lateral moves and you wait until you’re in a position where you’re a General Manager yourself? Lots to consider there for everybody, both the Avalanche and Kyle Dubas.

On the William Nylander trade rumours throughout the season:

As best I can tell, any William Nylander trade talk or trade rumours were entirely media driven. I don’t believe there has ever been any point where the Toronto Maple Leafs had it in their mind that they were going to have to trade William Nylander. I think the Toronto Maple Leafs look at Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander as the three pillars on which the offence will be built. There needs to be, obviously, more pillars and more support coming from the defence, but that doesn’t necessarily involve having to trade one of those foundational players to get it.

My best answer I can give you is I don’t believe for a second that William Nylander has been a consideration for the Toronto Maple Leafs to trade. It’s simply been fodder for guys like us and everybody else on talk radio.

Full segment here.

Sheldon Keefe on Leafs Lunch

On Grundstrom:

The big thing that really stood out is how competitive he was and just how strong his instincts were, especially offensively. That allowed him to have success offensively, make plays, be able to play with good players, help on the power play. You don’t want to make too many judgements on a player who has come in and had very little time to adjust to the structure and the system. When you get to that point of the schedule, you’re not practicing very much, so he’s not getting practice reps. But his offensive instincts and his competitivenss and fearlessness to go to the hard areas and be around the net and push back when defencemen are being hard on him… those kind of things were pretty impressive for a young player. He played with a lot of confidence with the puck. All of those things show that there is a lot to get excited about there, for a guy to come over and make that adjustment so quickly.

To see him stand up to some guys that are real competitive on the Syracuse side of things, and push back, and have the confidence to bring the puck to the net and get to the net when the puck is about to arrive, and be competitive in tight spaces… Those kinds of things happen a lot more frequently on the smaller ice and it was not an issue for him. I think he actually likes it and invites it and enjoys that side of the game. That was fun to see.

Like I say, it really helped his adjustment period. When you have that level of competitiveness and confidence, you really just go out and play. You don’t think too much. He’s just one of those guys who can go out and play and isn’t too concerned about what his surroundings are.

On Johnsson and Grundstrom adjusting quickly to the AHL:

Both [Grundstrom and Johnsson] looked prepared and not fazed by the level of competition. That much was clear. What I talked about with Grundstrom is similar with Andreas. When he came over, he was playing with confidence as well. Andreas has got a level of competitiveness of his own that he brings.

It shows that they are coached really well over there and the competition is very high. I don’t think they come over in any sort intimidation or fear or anything like that. They develop a lot of confidence at a high level and in international competition as well. Those things just help them get prepared for whatever the situation might be. For both of those players you mentioned, the next step is to have a good camp with the Maple Leafs and I feel like they’ll be prepared to do so.

On Kasperi Kapanen:

Kappy, when we had him this year, was a dominant player throughout the season for us. We added defensive responsibilities and he really embraced those things through the penalty kill. We felt and the Maple Leafs staff felt was important for him to add that penalty killing element to his game. To see him step into the NHL and do it there and do it in the playoffs at the most important time of the year, and to see him be able to do it effectively, was good.

Full segment here.

Leafs Links

Nicolas Hague – 2017 NHL Draft Profile (MLHS)
Two things leap off the page with the Kitchener native: His size and his offensive production from the blue line. He tallied 46 points in 65 regular season games — 15th among OHL defencemen in points scoring, and second among the 17 and 18-year-old defencemen eligible for the draft – before adding 12 points in 18 playoff games. His 18 goals and 204 shots on goal ranked him third among OHL defencemen in goal scoring (first among draft eligibles) and fourth in shots on goal (first among draft eligibles).

Report: Kyle Dubas given permission to speak with the Avalanche (MLHS)
Elliotte Friedman broke the news on the HNIC broadcast on Tuesday night that Assistant General Manager Kyle Dubas has been given permission by the Maple Leafs to speak with the Colorado Avalanche. “The Avalanche let go of three assistant coaches and they’re looking for replacements, but they also appear to be looking for some help in the front office. They asked and received permission from the Leafs to talk to Dubas. I don’t know where it stands, but they did get permission to talk with the Avalanche.”

Ferraro: Leafs in great spot with skill up front (TSN1050)
TSN Hockey analyst Ray Ferraro joined OverDrive to discuss William Nylander’s future with the leafs, the improvement of the Leafs young players, the growth of hockey players in other countries and more.

Dreger: Leafs have appetite to use cap space, within reason (TSN1050)
TSN Hockey insider Darren Dreger joined Leafs Lunch to discuss William Nylander’s play at the World Hockey Championship and if he’s reached ‘untouchable’ status, plus Darren weighs in on whether or not the Leafs will take advantage of cap space over the summer.

Poulin: Nylander only scratching surface of his potential (TSN1050)
TSN Hockey analyst Dave Poulin joined Naylor & Landsberg to discuss the Senators win in Game 6 against the Penguins, the empty seats in Ottawa, what it would take for the Maple Leafs to trade William Nylander and more.

[Paywall] Which Marlies can graduate and help Leafs next season? (The Athletic)
Who really put themselves on the Maple Leafs’ radar? Both Marlies GM Kyle Dubas and head coach Sheldon Keefe singled out defenceman Travis Dermott and left winger Andreas Johnsson when asked for a couple of “most improved” candidates.

Babcock wants young Leafs to savour spring hockey (Toronto Sun)
“It’s important for our young guys and all our guys to understand you have to be playing at this time of year anyway,” the Maple Leafs coach told the Sun on Tuesday night at the Memorial Cup. “The Stanley Cup final hasn’t even started yet. It just goes to show you how long it takes to win the big silver thing and that’s what our guys want to get used to.”