Digesting the rookie tournament performances, Lou Lamoriello’s half-four sitdown with Bob McKenzie, Drew Doughty discusses his contract situation, and more in the links.

Leafs Links

Shilton: Carl Grundstrom could turn heads at Leafs training camp (TSN1050)
TSN Maple Leafs reporter Kristen Shilton joined Mark Roe, Gord Miller and Greg Gilbert on Leafs Lunch to break down the Leafs Rookie Tournament, the prospects that stood out and what the Leafs top-line could look like.

Liljegren is one of those players that just seems to have a really good sense of maturity when it comes to putting mistakes behind him. He doesn’t dwell on things. He doesn’t seem to get caught up in the mistakes he’s made. I saw that from him in the development camp; when there was a day where he didn’t perform at his best, he was just really able to put it behind him and come back and have a much stronger day the next day. That’s what I saw from him in this tournament, which bodes well for a defenceman like that in a market like this where he’ll be under the microscope more and more.

Why Nylander could get Draisaitl numbers & Draisaitl money (Sportsnet)
Tim and Sid talk about William Nylander’s next contract, and why maybe holding off to see what kind of year he can have could work in his favour, especially after the contract Leon Draisaitl signed.

As much as the Draisaitl deal was applauded and people liked it, he’s had a really good three months. Let’s not sell this like it’s anything different.

You might have Marleau [on Nylander’s line] now. We’ll see how camp plays out. With all due respect to Zach Hyman, but if you put a guy who is 20 years into his career and kind of motivated in a completely different environment and life change for him, you never know what kind of numbers he could put up.

Hey, Willy – don’t sign it. You’re going to have 80 points this year. Don’t sign now. Sign later.

Transcript: Lou Lamoriello’s in-depth interview with Bob McKenzie (MLHS)
“First of all, the [Hainsey] signing is very similar — just in a different position area — to the Patrick Marleau signing, where he brings tremendous experience coming off of a Stanley Cup. He knows how to play the game. The system that he really played for a couple of years in Carolina was Mike’s system. The adjustment process for him is going to be very short-term. What he can bring, with the way he plays, with the type of defencemen we have here, he is certainly going to be a support mechanism to him. We have some outstanding skaters back there. He can kill penalties. He’s a stay-at-home defenceman who has a great stick. There is no question he is an asset. He is going to be just great for our defence.”

Keefe on Dermott: “He has a lot of great abilities and assets that allow him to play the way the Maple Leafs want to play and the way the NHL is going” (MLHS)
“What I can say is Travis had an excellent season for us. He really came on strong after returning from a lengthy injury and played a lot of important minutes for us. He has a lot of great abilities and assets that allow him to play the way the Maple Leafs want to play and the way the NHL is going in terms of his ability to skate. That helps him offensively and defensively.”

Wealth of young talent will make Marlies fun to watch (Fan 590)
Leafs TV’s Bob McGill shares his thoughts regarding how the Marlies are shaping out for the 2017-18 campaign, Timothy Liljegren’s less than ideal debut on North American ice, the possibility of Travis Dermott starting with the Leafs, and what to expect from Calle Rosen & Andreas Borgman.

Late-blooming Brooks eager to prove Maple Leafs right (
“He’s a real smart player; I think he does a lot of things really well,” said Sheldon Keefe, who coaches AHL Toronto and served as coach for the Maple Leafs rookie team. “The numbers that he was able to produce in junior bring a lot of attention to him. But he’s a smart player who has a lot of areas of the game that he can contribute in. I’m excited to see how all of that fits in with our [AHL] group.”

Maple Leafs’ Ron Hainsey breaks down new NHL rules (Sportsnet)
“Goaltender interference is just tougher. It’s such a judgment call. If you have it, it’s never going to be perfect: Hey, looks like the goalie faked it! Did he or did he not? Is this a bump or is that a bump? It’s a hard one. If you have a penalty for goalie interference, there are going to be calls you don’t agree on. It’s like balls and strikes—a judgment call.”

Dermott’s stock rising ahead of Leafs training camp (
A standout at last season’s rookie tournament, Dzierkals picked up where he left off with another strong showing. He was the Leafs’ leading scorer, with two goals in two games, and along with Grundstrom was their most consistent offensive threat. Dzierkals is relentless when it comes to sniffing out pucks and doesn’t quit on a play, attributes that made him more than a point-per-game player in junior. Now 20 and having exhausted his eligibility in the CHL, Dzierkals will have to prove his size (5-foot-10, 172 pounds) won’t hold him back as a next season – he signed a one-year AHL contract in August.

Maple Leafs’ D hopeful Travis Dermott digs deep (Toronto Sun)
“I just wanted to get the first game out of the way,” said Dermott, a second-rounder in 2015. “I knew I was going to make some mistakes and I did (caught by a hit behind the play leading to Ottawa’s second goal). But I thought I made some good plays too. I thought I had some decent passes. Stepping up, interrupting their rush a couple times, that was good for me.

[Paywall] Timashov needs big sophomore season with Marlies (The Athletic)
“For offensive people like (him), maybe he didn’t get as much opportunity to play offensive minutes as (he) would have liked to last season and he’d look at an opportunity like today to showcase (himself) a little bit,” Keefe said. “But I also though he worked and gave us a little bit of extra skill.”

With contract situation looming, winning Cups is ‘bottom line’ for Doughty (NBC)
“My first love will always be L.A.,” Doughty told The Hockey News. “It’s one of the best organizations in all of sports, not just hockey. It’s unbelievable. They treat us first-class, and it’s a good place to play. Living in Los Angeles, you can’t beat it. I’d love to re-sign in L.A. But if our team isn’t going in the right direction…I want to win Cups. I don’t give a s— where I play. I just want to win Cups, and that’s the bottom line.”

Interviews from the Maple Leafs and Legends Charity Golf Classic

Marleau: Leafs presented an opportunity to win a Cup (TSN1050)
Maple Leafs forward Patrick Marleau joined OverDrive to chat about what led to his decision to come to Toronto, the Leafs’ youngsters, and where he sees himself playing in the lineup.

On the decision to sign in Toronto:

It just came to that point where I was looking around the league and looking at the way the game is going, and talking to the coaching staff and the management and seeing the players that are on this team. I just thought it would be a really good fit for myself to come here and try to win a Cup.

On the young talent on the Leafs:

Playing on the west coast, you get to see all the east coast games and you see the high skill level they have. Everybody is talking about that — how skilled they are — but I think I’m starting to see how they compete and I think that’s what you need to become elite players.

On the media attention in Toronto:

I definitely thought about it. You basically know what you’re getting into. You’re going to have a lot of interviews and a lot of people talking about you, but I think — for me, having played as long as I have — it’s going to come down to what I can control and what I do on the ice. I can’t control anything else. That’s the way I look at it and how I’m going to approach it.

Kadri: There’s an exciting vibe in the locker room this year (TSN1050)
Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri joined Hayes and O’Dog to chat about expectations for this upcoming season, how he’s changed his style of play, and being one of the veterans on this Leafs team.

On attending his ninth training camp:

Because of the kids we have in the room, I feel a little bit older. There is no getting around it. I’m trying to, but there just isn’t. I’m happy about it, though. It’s a good situation to be in.

On whether the league has changed how they view him due to his agitating presence:

I’ve just tried to evolve as much as possible the past few years. I feel like I’ve done that. I don’t think they like me too, too much in Western Canada, but that’s kind of my job, to get under players’ skin. A lot of times they’re good players and they’re going to get the best of you, but you just try to get in their kitchen as much as possible.

I had that physical aspect even in junior. I enjoy it because sometimes the puck isn’t always bouncing your way. My old man was the first guy to tell me that. He was like, “If you’re not getting the puck and you’re not getting the bounces, go lay somebody out and get yourself in the game.” That’s what I’ve always done since day one, and obviously, my role — just trying to be the best two-way player I can be — has evolved a little bit. I never thought I’d be in this role at the start of my professional career, but here I am.

On whether the coaching staff challenged him to take on more of that role:

In the beginning, they used to. I’m not sure if they knew I could do it or not. I think they were just trying to test me a little bit. I kind of embraced that challenge and embraced the pressure. I think I’ve gotten the hang of it.

Rielly: This year is a big one for me (TSN1050)
Maple Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly joined the boys of OverDrive to chat about his expectations for the upcoming season.

On wanting to take a step forward this season:

I think this year is a big year for me. I’m 23 now going into my fifth year. I’m not young anymore. I have more responsibility to be a big part of the team and a big part of the backend. I worked hard this summer; I was focused. I feel like I put myself in a spot where I am able to take that next step. If we all feel that way, we’re going to have a good year. We’re looking forward to getting going here. There is a lot of confidence in the group.

On the heightened expectations:

It is definitely a lot different. There is a whole different feeling going on with the guys. I don’t even think it’s confidence; I think it’s just being a lot more comfortable. This time last year, there were some pretty big pieces of our team that were not sure how the league worked when you think about Matthews and Marner and Nylander not having played in the league before. I think that they’re just that much more comfortable. Brownie is in that group as well, and Zaitsev. We are more comfortable for sure, but I think we know what to expect. We have very high expectations ourselves. We know what to expect out of Babs. I think that, moving forward, we’re in a really good spot right now. We’ve got to try to live up to the expectation.

On whether Babcock will change his approach with the expectations now higher:

He’s changed from year to year. I’ve only had him for two years, but there was a big change last year from the year before. That’ll continue. As the team gets better, you have higher expectations as a group. Your coach has to pass that on. Babs is probably the best coach in the game right now. He prepares harder than pretty much anyone that I’ve been around. That’s never been an issue. I just think the way you approach the year and those tough games will be different. It’s really up to the players to be ready to go and buy into what he’s preaching.

On potentially playing with Ron Hainsey:

Big guy. Moves well out there. Played in the league a long time and knows the ins and outs of the game. Obviously, the Cup run last year was very important. We’ve had a chance to talk and really get to know each other. We were on the ice all last week and we’ll be on the ice tomorrow and Wednesday. He’s played the game for a long time and he knows how it works. I’m just looking forward to kind of picking his brain a little bit and getting comfortable playing with one another. I think it’s going to work well. We’ve already been playing just in those captain skates, so it’s been fun that way.