Alex Kerfoot of the Toronto Maple Leafs
Colorado Avalanche center Alexander Kerfoot, left, picks up the puck in front of Arizona Coyotes left wing Jordan Martinook in the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Kyle Dubas completed more of his off-season work with his second trade this week, while Alex Kerfoot, Zach Hyman, and Frederik Andersen met with the media at the SmashFest Charity Ping-Pong Challenge in today’s Leafs links.

Leafs Links

Zach Hyman on Fortnite, ACL recovery, first-round frustrations (Sportsnet 590)
Zach Hyman joined Sportsnet’s Starting Lineup to discuss his interest in video games, attending the Fortnite World Cup in New York, his rehab process on his surgically-repaired ACL, and what his target date is for a return.

On whether he’s happy with how rehab on his knee is progressing:

Yeah, I am. It was a tough couple of weeks at the beginning when you realize how debilitating an ACL surgery was. But getting past that and getting back to work and getting in the gym and doing rehab and really seeing progress, it’s exciting. It is different because you’ve got to retrain the way your body moves and you’ve got to kind of fine-tune things. I am excited to get back out there. It is a long way away. I am only three months out from surgery. But I am excited to be ready when I am ready. I’m just going to keep going and keep practicing and getting better. I am happy with where things are at right now.

On what it was like playing in the Boston series with a torn ACL:

I didn’t know I tore my ACL. Nobody knew. It didn’t blow up like a beach ball. There was just pain. I thought I hyper-extended it. The first game I tried without a brace, it was fine. But we ended up putting a brace on for Games 5, 6 and 7. It was just pain tolerance. I thought I could manage the pain and that I could skate pretty well. We were going to get an MRI after the series was done because I didn’t want to get one done during. We play every other day and I felt fine and was walking and whatnot. When I heard the news, it was kind of surprising it was torn. It is what it is. I got the surgery done; literally, two days after the season ended, I was on the table and then rehabbing.

On whether he has a target date for a return to the lineup:

I do, but I’ve got to stay within the boundaries… I don’t want to give anybody a date and then it not be that date. But I have a date in mind. It’s got to be approved by the medical team first, but it’s always good to have a goal in mind to strive for. It motivates you more. Whether that is attainable or not, we’ll see and go from there.

Kerfoot ready to embrace pressure of playing in Toronto (TSN)
In his first media scrum as a Toronto Maple Leaf at SmashFest, Alex Kerfoot discussed his first impressions of Toronto, what Tyson Barrie brings to the table, and whether he prefers the wing or center.

On playing in the Toronto limelight and how this Leafs team is shaping up:

It’s different. I am just looking to embrace it. It comes with playing in Toronto. You obviously get treated very well here. There is a huge fan base and you want to play in front of teams that have that support. It’s exciting.

It’s going to be a fun team to watch. You’ve seen it the last two years — they’re one of the best teams in the league right now and they’re set up to have success for a long time.

On what Tyson Barrie brings to the team:

He’s an extremely dynamic defenseman. He can change a game just with what he brings on a day-to-day basis — his pace, his ability to make plays at the offensive end, and he is just a great teammate in the locker room who will fit in really well on this team.

On whether Barrie gets enough credit as a top defenseman in the league:

I really don’t think he does. Being here, he’ll get a lot of exposure and more people will get to see him on a nightly basis. His numbers speak for themselves. There are not many d-men in the league the last few years who have put up the types of numbers that he has. And he is more than that. People have critiqued his defensive game at times. We’ve seen it first hand that he is a good defensive player as well. Sometimes people are a little too hard on him in that sense, but he is a complete player and one the best offensive defensemen in the league.

On what makes Barrie so easy to play with as a forward:

He just thinks the game the same way some of those others do. He is such a skilled player. He makes the same reads that those top guys make. It’s easy to play when the guys that you are playing with are thinking along the same lines, and just the skill level — top guys in the league want to play with players like him.

On whether he prefers the center or wing and whether he’s discussed his spot in the lineup with Kyle Dubas and Mike Babcock:

I don’t, no. I am happy wherever they want me to play… I’ve just had conversations about what they expect out of me, how the team wants to play, how they envision us playing in the future. We haven’t gotten specific about where I am going to slot in on the lineup or anything like that.

Andersen discusses Leafs’ moves, hopeful Marner contract gets sorted (TSN)
Frederik Andersen met with the media at SmashFest, discussing his offseason preparation and his impressions of Tyson Barrie.

On what he remembers about Barrie from his time out West:

Good moving defenseman. On the ice, you guys know him pretty well and have seen him play. The times I’ve met him off the ice, he’s a really good dude and a good person we can add to the locker room where we have a lot of good guys already.

On his offseason rehab and preparation:

It’s been a focus, trying to rehab some things, being aware of the groin and trying to get that back up to 100%. In the summer, you try to push the limits on some of the other things to try to get better and quicker. I’ve been able to get home a little bit and see my family and spend a lot of time in California.

On Mitch Marner’s situation:

He’s confident that he is going to be here for camp. But there’s still a lot of time, so hopefully, Kyle and he and his agent can get it done. I try not to interfere in that stuff, so obviously I want to see him back really bad and hopefully, it works out.

Other Leafs Links