Maple Leafs Won’t WIn Without Goaltending

March 17th, 2016 No Comments

  When you look back at the history of the NHL Entry Draft, the most difficult position to project has to be goaltending. While many top-tier netminders have been chosen in the early rounds (Marc-Andre Fleury, Carey Price, Roberto Luongo) an equal number of early draft picks have failed to live up to expectations (Al Montoya, Rick DiPietro, Eric Fichaud). And then there are the diamonds in the rough, netminders that were taken in the later rounds that emerged as stars (Henrik Lundqvist, Pekka Rinne, Dominik Hasek). Of course, we would be remiss if we did not include a number of undrafted goalies that emerged as stars such as, Ed Belfour, Curtis Joseph and Jonas Hiller. In the early days, few netminders were drafted in the first round, but with a premium being put on the position, this behavior is

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Is Jonathan Bernier The Answer To Toronto’s Goaltending Woes?

March 14th, 2016 No Comments

When Jonathan Bernier was acquired from the Los Angeles Kings by the Toronto Maple Leafs after the 2012-13 season, many fans felt it was a curious move. Goaltender James Reimer had just led the Leafs to the playoffs for the first time in what felt like a decade and, with a little good fortune, might have helped the Leafs get by the Boston Bruins in the first round. Of course, we all know how that series against the Bruins ended— a game seven loss that might be among the worst collapses in the history of the franchise. Reimer put together a respectable 19-8-5 record that season (2012-13) while registering a 2.46 goals against average and a .924 save percentage. Riemer’s 2.88 GAA and .923 SV% in the playoffs were not far off his regular season totals, leading some to believe

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Making A Case For Logan Stanley

March 13th, 2016 No Comments

Heading into Sunday afternoon’s tilt against the New York Rangers, the Pittsburgh Penguins are currently holding on to the final wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference Standings by just two points. For fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Penguins success in earning a playoff spot is of great importance and interest as, if the Pittsburgh does secure a playoff spot, the Maple Leafs will get Pittsburgh’s first round draft choice, which could end up being a top-20 pick. Looking over many draft lotteries, names like Brett Howden, Dilon Dube, Logan Brown, Kiefer Bellows, Riley Tufte and Dante Fabbro often appear around the 20th spot in the mid-season Draft Rankings. Another name that appears often is 6’7”, 220 pounds defenseman, Logan Stanley. Currently playing in the OHL with the Windsor Spitfires, Stanley has registered five goals and 16 points through

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Jimmy Vesey: Could Nashville’s Loss Be Toronto’s Gain???

March 10th, 2016 No Comments

When it comes to the NHL Entry Draft, most scouts will admit that, outside of a handful of kids, it really is a bit of a crap shoot. With most prospects getting drafted at 18 or 19 years of age, it is very difficult to project where those players will be in 3-5 years— which represents the typical timeline before a prospect is ready to be a contributing player at the NHL level. While most of the future NHL talent comes from the first two rounds of the Draft, there are occasions where prospects escape the eyes of the “experts”, finding themselves dropping into the later rounds where some lucky NHL club reaps the rewards of excellent scouting or plain old good fortune! Some of the biggest steals of the Draft in NHL history include, Pavel Datsyuk— 171st overall, Daniel

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Nikita Zaitsev: Who IS This Kid?

March 9th, 2016 No Comments

With news surfacing via TSN’s NHL insider, Bob Mckenzie, this week that the Toronto Maple Leafs look to be a sure fire bet to land defenseman Nikita Zaitsev via free agency out of the KHL, interest in the Russian defenseman has been peaked. A first round selection in the 2009 KHL junior draft, Zaitsev, 24, currently plays about 21:00 minutes a game with CSKA Moskva “A” of the KHL where he has put together a good season. Through 46 games played, Zaitsev has registered eight goals and 18 assists for a total of 26 points to go along with 20 penalty minutes and a plus-21 rating. Zaitsev’s 26 points ranks him 15th among KHL defensemen. At 6’2” and 205 pounds, Zaitsev has the size needed to be an NHL defenseman, but there are reports that suggest he could improve his

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Will Nazem Kadri Be Back With The Maple Leafs?

March 7th, 2016 No Comments

Originally drafted seventh overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Nazem Kadri entered the draft with great expectations. Heading into the 2009 Draft, Kadri put together an impressive season with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, registering 35 goals and 58 assists for a total of 93 points, good enough for a tie for fourth overall in the OHL scoring race behind such players as Tyler Seguin (106), Taylor Hall (106), Luke Pither (94) and Taylor Beck (*93- Tied). While Kadri’s regular season statistics were impressive, it was the playoffs where he really stood out where he tallied nine goals and 18 assists (27 points) in 26 games played, finishing fourth in the playoff scoring race. With an excellent season in the OHL in the books and many experts predicting big things for

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