Nazem Kadri, Connor Brown and Josh Leivo check in from Nazem Kadri Foundation Charity Golf Tournament in today’s links.
Kadri happy to give back, looking forward to season (TSN)
The fifth annual Nazem Kadri Foundation Charity Golf Tournament was held on Thursday. This is the first year proceeds will go toward mental health causes. The Leafs centre explained why that issue is important to him. Plus, Kadri talked about what he focused on in the off-season and where he believes the Leafs will improve.
On the focus of his off-season training:
Just explosiveness and power, and really trying to expand on my first couple of steps and just try to become more powerful. As my body starts to mature a little more and as I start to know more and more about what I’m doing, it becomes a little easier.
I’m very happy. The great thing is I’ve still got a few weeks left here before I head back to Toronto and start to get on the ice. I’ve been skating here. We’ve got great pro skates. We’ve got a good group. I can’t wait just to get the season started.
On the team’s off-season moves:
I think they’re good moves. We’ve got a lot of kids in our dressing room, and those kids need some guidance and need true professionals to pave the way and show how the league works. They’re going to be instrumental in our dressing room and hopefully take us to that next step.
On the Marleau signing specifically:
I was excited. He’s a prolific scorer and has been like that for a long, long time. I’m sure no matter who he plays with he’s going to have some success. It’s tough not to with some of the core pieces, especially up front, on our team.
On heightened expectations going into 2017-18:
High expectations. We want to be one of the best. We’ve earned some respect from last year and we know teams understand that the Toronto Maple Leafs are for real. That being said, we’re staying humble and we’re staying grounded. We understand that we’ve got a long way to go.
On advice for Connor Brown as he goes through contract negotiations:
My first piece of advice would be telling [the media] to lay off of him. I know that can be difficult sometimes. Brownie is a great player. He’s going to help our team tremendously. Hopefully, I see a deal being reached with him. Like I said, I’ve been in Toronto and I’ve seen him in the gym. He’s an animal in there right now. We need nothing less from him.
Leafs’ Brown: Contract situation not as stressful as media thinks (TSN)
With one month to go before training camps open, restricted free agent Connor Brown is still looking for a new contract. The Leafs forward took part in the Nazem Kadri Charity Golf event on Thursday and said he remains “very confident” a deal will get done before the season.
On his off-season training:
I’m working hard. I feel really good. You get to around August and you get that itch. You want to get the season going. We’re all excited about it.
On ongoing contract negotiations:
You’ve got to control what you can control and go about your business every day. I’m enjoying my summer and working hard and getting better on the ice. I’m just leaving that to my agent and the team.
It’s my first time going through something like this. I don’t think it’s as stressful as the media would make it out to be. I’m very confident things will get sorted out by season time. We’ll get it figured out.
On the off-season additions:
It’s been exciting. We feel good about our team in the room. We had a good finish to last year, including the playoffs. We’re excited and we’re confident. We all have that itch to get going.
Leafs’ Leivo looks to impress Babcock with improved skating (TSN)
During his exit meeting with head coach Mike Babcock, Josh Leivo was told he needed to improve his skating to take the next step his development. The 24-year-old took the message to heart and believes he’s made great strides this summer.
On his offseason training:
It’s just the all-around game, getting a little stronger and working on my skating a bit. Babs mentioned that at the end of the year in the exit meeting. That’s all I’ve been doing. I’m focused and ready for the season to come.
This summer I’ve been working on my treatment and hopefully I’ll be ready to go. I’m just excited and getting ready to go.
On the competition in camp and in the prospects coming up in the organization:
It’s my fifth year now, so I’m used to seeing the prospects and everything. There’s always a challenge each year. I’m just going to do what I do and show off what I got. Hopefully, I can crack the squad.
Leafs’ Brown not stressing over contract: ‘We’ll get it figured out’ (Toronto Sun)
“You gotta control the controllables, and I’m going to do my part, which is go to the gym every day and it’ll all take care of itself,” he said. Brown, a 23-year-old Toronto native, is the Leafs’ final RFA. Fellow winger Zach Hyman, the club’s last RFA to ink a new deal, re-upped on July 5 for four years.
Top 25 Under 25: Andreas Borgman is 16th (PPP)
The question asked by both fans and experts is always posed pairing Borgman and Rosén. Are they any good? We ranked them in the middle, just below the “sure things” and the players who already have NHL experience. And that is largely based on their pro experience. I ranked them one slot lower than where they ended up, and there is a lot of agreement about this middling ranking with elseldo very cool on the unknown defender and Scott Wheeler very high on him.
Slow and steady should win the race for Leafs (The Athletic)
Matthews and Nylander enter the zone well but the best part is that they are under control with teammates in their vicinity. When Matthews carries the puck into the zone and kicks the puck to a winger, he’s able to drive to the net to receive a dangerous feed in the crease.
Why Calgary Flames window could slam shut (Puck Daddy)
That’s what gets into the concerns about the Flames’ depth and lack of developed young players. After the five forwards listed above, and maybe you lump in Kris Versteeg and even Micheal Ferland if you want to be charitable, the Flames have a lot of problems up front this season. They might try to make Troy Brouwer “a thing” on the top line again, but that was a disaster last time out. Matt Stajan is their No. 3 center. Sam Bennett hasn’t come along much at all. They’ll be counting on a rookie or two to chip in offensively.