Updates on the Leafs’ General Manager situation and the timetable for a new GM announcement, a report of a meeting between Mike Babcock and Auston Matthews in Arizona this weekend, a look at Par Lindholm, and more in the links.
Saturday Headlines: Babcock and Matthews meet in Arizona; Shanahan meets with Mark Hunter (Sportsnet)
Elliotte Friedman and Nick Kypreos discussed the situation between Babcock and Matthews and which direction the Leafs might go with the GM vacancy on their Saturday night headlines segment.
Friedman on the meeting between Babcock and Matthews in Arizona:
The two of them are going to talk, or have talked this weekend, as they try to air things out and fix things between them.
Kypreos on the meeting:
It is common for star players sometimes to battle with their coaches over things like ice time, but what isn’t that common is when it’s a week after exit meetings. It’s clear this is a priority for Babcock, hoping to smooth things out so that, come training camp, everyone is on the same page.
Kypreos on whether Shanahan is leaning Dubas or Hunter for the GM’s chair:
The executives that I have spoken to really believe that, when it comes to the next GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, it’s certainly goes in favour of Mark Hunter, for no other reason than his resume. Many executives still believe that Kyle Dubas’ pales in comparison to the years of experience and multiple Memorial Cups. The issue for Brendan Shanahan moving forward is that, if he does decide to move forward with Dubas, many believe he runs the risk of losing Mark Hunter, who would have a tough time answering to Kyle Dubas.
Friedman’s update on the GM situation:
It’s believed Hunter and Shanahan met yesterday to discuss the situation and see where it was going to go. We’ll see what the announcement eventually is, whether it is Hunter or Dubas, or someone else.
A look at icing trends and how icings are holding the Leafs back (The Athletic)
Uncharacteristic of Mike Babcock’s teams historically, the Leafs iced the puck more than anyone in the league save for the Dallas Stars in 2015-16. Anthony Petrielli also talked about the Leafs’ icing issues and how it’s a byproduct of their breakout/stretch hockey system back in February.
McKenzie: WCs in Denmark a special moment for Andersen (TSN1050)
TSN’s Bob McKenzie joined Leafs Lunch to discuss Andersen playing at the Worlds and if there is a timetable on the Leafs announcing their next GM.
Brendan Shanahan said he had no timetable. I think that was a little bit of a fib; I’m sure in his own mind he had one. I didn’t anticipate that it would necessarily be days, but I’d be surprised if it was weeks. For now, the Lou announcement was Monday, so I’m going to be very interested to see if we get a resolution on this next week or whether it goes longer than that.
If it goes longer than that, it starts to open up the door to a lot of discussions. Everyone has kind of assumed all along that it’s going to be an inside job for either Mark Hunter or Kyle Dubas. Maybe people think Dubas has the edge with Brendan Shanahan; I don’t know 100% if that is factual, but that is the perception out there. If it goes longer than that, then I’d be curious to know why it’s taking longer than that to decide on what a lot of people thought isn’t that big of a decision.
If you’ve got two really good people in house, do you need to go out of house? If you are going out of house, how many people are involved and what does the process become? Maybe we’ll get a little more clarity on it next week.
Person of Interest: Who is Maple Leafs signing Par Lindholm? (Sportsnet)
“He is a centre who could lead a fourth line in the NHL, but also contribute on special teams. Par can be used in any situation,” agent Peter Wallen said.
2017-18 Post Mortem: Lou’s tenure, Playoff Takeaways, Offseason Needs (MLHS)
With both Bozak and JVR pending free agents, the Leafs can redefine their third line conceptually. For the past couple of years, it has been an all-offense, power-play-specialist unit. When Nazem Kadri was suspended against Boston, it created clear matchup problems. The coaching staff couldn’t trust Bozak (or his line) in the role at all, and Matthews can only do so much.