Connor Brown discusses his new three-year contract and expectations for the 2017-18 season, Timothy Liljegren will be in action at the Ricoh for the 2017 rookie tournament, and more in the links.

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A new contract won’t have Connor Brown reinventing the wheel (Sportsnet)
The Leafs forward shares his thoughts on the negotiations regarding his new three-year contract, expectations for himself & the club, entering the 2017-18 with the vast majority of last year’s squad, and possible linemates.

On the negotiation process and the importance of getting a deal done before camp:

When you are in a position, like me, coming off of my entry-level, you don’t want to be going through contract talks when everyone is coming into town. You don’t want to make it a side story like that. It was important for me and my family and my agent to get this done before then.

There is a lot that goes into it. We studied it over and we feel really happy about everything that went into this and me being a Leaf for the next three years.

On the expectations that accompany a new contract:

I think you can’t let the speculation or opinions get in the way. I’m not going to try to reinvent the wheel. I remember when I first was drafted here, Brian Brian Burke used to always say, “dance with the girl you brought.” That’s what I’m going to continue to do.

I know what I bring to the table. I’m not trying to play outside myself. I think I feel confident. I feel good. I’ve had a really good summer with some other guys training. We’re excited to get the season going.

On the playoff appearance last Spring whetting the team’s appetite:

The team is going to grow closer, especially with everything we went through last year and that really incredible series with Washington with six one-goal games and five overtimes. It was fun to be a part of and we know how fun it was. Like you said, the vast majority of the players that are going to be in the locker room are going to be there next year. We want to get back there and do some damage.

On his potential linemates in a crowded and talented forward group:

Whoever Mike decides to put together, I’m sure there will be four good lines. We can’t get too caught up in that. The good thing about our team moving forward is that there are a ton of guys that will be good to play with. I don’t think there will be a bad line on the team.

Maple Leafs Announce 2017 Rookie Tournament Roster (
Attending this year’s tournament will be five draft picks from the 2017 NHL Draft (Timothy Liljegren, Eemeli Rasanen, Ian Scott, Fedor Gordeev and Ryan McGregor), five draft picks from the 2016 NHL Draft (Carl Grundstrom, Adam Brooks, Keaton Middleton, Vladimir Bobylev and Nicolas Mattinen), six draft picks from the 2015 NHL Draft (Travis Dermott, Jeremy Bracco, Andrew Nielsen, Martins Dzierkals, Dmytro Timashov and Nikita Korostelev) and one draft pick from the 2014 NHL Draft (J.J. Piccinich). In addition, development camp invitees Kristian Pospisil, Cole Coskey, Marc-Olivier Duquette and Jonathan Smart will be attending.

Leafs scout charged with taking stolen golf cart on drunk joyride (Buffalo News)
A scout with the Toronto Maple Leafs was arrested over the weekend after deputies say he got drunk, stole a golf cart at Darien Lake, hit another vehicle and left the scene of the accident, according to the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office. The chain of events took place at 9993 Alleghany Road in Darien Center. Deputies say Lindsay I. Hofford, 53, of Nobleton, Ont., took the cart at about 11:40 p.m. Saturday.

Leafs scout steals, drives, crashes golf cart on drunken joyride (Toronto Sun)
On Monday, a spokesman for the Leafs would only say the team is aware of the allegations. “The Toronto Maple Leafs are aware of the charges against Lindsay Hofford. The club will have no further comment at this time,” the spokesman said. Hofford, a former director of scouting with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, joined the Leafs in 2015 and serves as the team’s director of Eastern Area Scouting. He is also the founder and CEO of the Pro Hockey Development Group.

The work is just beginning for Leafs coach Mike Babcock (Toronto Star)
This fall is already significantly different than last fall. As the Leafs headed to training camp last September, the Blue Jays were making a hard push for their second consecutive playoff berth, drawing 45,000-plus a night to the Rogers Centre and attracting massive television audiences. The World Cup of Hockey, the first since 2006, was being held in Toronto. All that activity provided superb cover for a Leafs team that had finished 30th the previous season. Even the attention that was paid to them had to do with peripheral matters like the team’s 100th-anniversary celebrations and a new logo.

Connor Brown signed to three-year contract (MLHS)
While handling all of the responsibilities of a three-situation player, Brown finished the season with 20 goals and 36 points in his first NHL season. Those totals include six power play points, one shorthanded goal and three empty-net goals, as Babcock trusted him in late-game situations while protecting a lead. His 17 even strength goals were tied for 59th overall in the NHL and tied for third among rookies (behind Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine and Ryan Hartman).

Why Connor Brown’s brain is his most valuable asset (The Athletic)
In all likelihood, Brown won’t be used in a role that’ll allow him to put up gaudy numbers. The only way I see that happening is if Mike Babcock sees a spot where his smart defensive play could free up one or two of his offensively dynamic young players, so he gives Brown more minutes with those talented teammates. But he doesn’t need huge numbers to have huge value for the Leafs. If he improves from last season, he could threaten 50 points and provide quality special teams minutes for the Leafs right away.

Shilton: Brown is a great guy in the dressing room (TSN1050)
TSN 1150 Leafs Insider Kristen Shilton joined Louie B and Sean Woodley on the Morning Scrum to discuss Toronto resigning Connor Brown and his role on the team for this upcoming season.

Top 25 Under 25: Kasperi Kapanen is knocking on the NHL’s door at #5 (PPP)
Even the most skeptical view of his results so far should say that Kapanen is ready for the NHL. The virtual tie with Brown in our ranking is warranted by their performance on the ice. There is no way that I think Josh Leivo, Eric Fehr or Nikita Soshnikov should be on the Leafs roster ahead of Kapanen. The real question should be: Brown or Kapanen in the top nine?

Bracco learning patience as he waits for his shot with Maple Leafs (Sportsnet)
Remember that he might have made the jump to the pro ranks a year ago had the Leafs decided to sign him to an entry-level contract last summer. Instead, he returned to the Ontario Hockey League – racking up 83 points in 57 games and winning the Memorial Cup with Windsor, not to mention a gold medal at the world junior tournament with Team USA. His first NHL contract (complete with a $92,500 signing bonus) arrived towards the end of that charmed season – “I always knew that if I worked hard enough it would come,” said Bracco. “Whenever it did, it didn’t really matter to me” – and now he’ll begin playing for a paycheque full-time this fall.