Lou Lamoriello discusses training camp and expectations for the season, UFA Roman Polak returns to on-ice workouts, and more in the links.

Leafs Links

Report: Leafs show interest in Russian defenceman Igor Ozhiganov (Sportsnet)
Under contract with CSKA for one more season, Ozhiganov wouldn’t be able to join an NHL team until the 2018-19 season. It’s worth noting that this would be a similar situation to when the Leafs brought Nikita Zaitsev over from Russia for his age 25 season. Reports of the team’s interest in him started to come out while Zaitsev was still under contract in Russia.

Peter Mansbridge on The Jeff Blair Show (Fan 590)
The legendary former host of CBC’s The National, Peter Mansbridge, joined The Jeff Blair Show to talk about being a sports and Leafs fan, as well as the events he covered over his career both in Canada and around the world.

Especially now, I am just so fixated on the Leafs. I loved last season. It was so enjoyable. Everybody assumes things will only be better this year, and I’m one of those, certainly, who hopes that. But this is not going to happen overnight. It’s going to take a little while, but it’s going to be fun getting there.

Mirtle: Leafs should be back in the playoffs this season (TSN1050)
Editor-in-chief of The Athletic T.O. James Mirtle joined Gareth Wheeler to discuss if the Leafs can make a move ahead of the season and whether the 2017-2018 edition of the Leafs can make the playoffs.

I think this team is a little bit better than where they finished last year at 95 points. That would make them a playoff team. Nothing is guaranteed, obviously, and there are going to be some teams in the East that get better. Florida is not going to be as decimated by injuries. Tampa isn’t going to be as decimated by injuries. There are two examples of teams in their division that are probably going to be better than last year, but then I look around and see teams that are probably going to take a step back. I could see Montreal taking a step back, and Ottawa.

The top of the Eastern Conference is going to be a dogpile again without a lot of separation between what’s a wildcard team and what’s a team that misses the playoffs and what’s a team that is at the top of the Atlantic Division. Every segment of games is going to be really important and they’re going to need to get good goaltending. I think, at the end of the day, the Leafs are going to be in the playoffs again.

The kids are (still) all right, says Leafs GM Lamoriello (Toronto Star)
“We feel good, as a group, because of what we did see last year and the progress of our young players, and also the years our veterans have,” said Lamoriello. “We have made some quality additions as far as veteran individuals who have had success, know what it takes to win, and will be excellent mentors and role models. More importantly they can play. We feel we’re better. But every other team is better, too.”

Josh Leivo – Toronto Maple Leafs 2017-18 Player Preview (MLHS)
Leivo’s recent interview with the Toronto Sun’s Lance Hornby suggested that the organization was never in doubt about protecting him in the expansion draft and that Leafs brass indicated to him in their April exit meeting that he would be back for 2017 training camp (he was also given the offseason assignment of improving his skating). Unfortunately for Leivo, the Leafs’ depth chart situation up front has only gotten more complicated and crowded with the Leafs’ addition of veteran scorer Patrick Marleau while returning all of their top nine forwards from last year as of this writing.

Meet the three Toronto Marlies knocking on the Maple Leafs’ door (The Athletic)
What’s most impressive, though, is how elusive Travis Dermott is when carrying the puck in the defensive zone. Whether it’s retrieving a dump in or taking a pass from his defensive partner, when he gets solid possession he’s almost impossible to hit. I often compare him to “Michael Vick in the pocket” because he makes people miss him. He cuts the net well and gives himself the space needed to survey the ice and make a good pass.

Roman Polak doing skating drills, rehab from broken fibula on track (@walsha)
According to agent Allan Walsh, UFA defenceman Roman Polak has been working through some skating drills in the last week and his rehab from a broken fibula in last Spring’s playoffs is right on track.

McDavid: ‘Everyone knows who the best player in the NHL is & it’s not me’ (TSN)
Connor McDavid doesn’t agree with his number one ranking in The Hockey News’ Top 50 players list and says it’s clear who the best player in the league is. He also discusses what he’s been working on during the summer and some of the moves the Oilers have made in the offseason.

Is 8th too high for Matthews on Hockey News’ Top 50 players? (TSN1050)
The Hockey News ranked Auston Matthews as the eighth best player in the NHL. Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star and Mark Roe of SportsCentre join the Breakfast Club to discuss that and if the Maple Leafs other young stars should have been on the list.

Wendel Clark: Only injuries can slow Maple Leafs’ trajectory (Sportsnet)
“This year may not happen that way,” Clark, the former Leafs captain and current community representative, said Wednesday morning on the Jeff Blair Show with Joey Vendetta. “We have to see how we play through those situations. If we play through those situations with flying colours, this team is well on its way to doing great things.”

Kapanen set to challenge for full-time duty with Maple Leafs (Toronto Sun)
“Last year was last year,” said the Kuopio, Finland, native. “This is a new year and I just start from the same spot as everyone else. It’s going to be a tough camp, but I’ll be ready for it. Anything can happen, but I just want to stay healthy this year and be a better player.”

Leafs ‘can’t be content’ with last year’s success: van Riemsdyk (Toronto Sun)
“We had guys who played great last year,” the 28-year-old left winger conceded Tuesday as he joined the team’s summer workouts, “but when you lose in the playoffs, you have to improve. You can’t be content because things are always changing. If you get content, then you’re not looking far enough ahead about what we can do as a whole and you don’t keep taking those steps forward.”

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