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Showing posts from 2016

Leafs Sign Nikita Zaitsev

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Less than 48 hours after acquiring the right to select first overall in the 2016 NHL Draft, the Leafs added another player to their roster by signing Nikita Zaitsev to a one-year, entry-level contract earlier today.

The 24-year-old defensemen just completed a strong season with CSKA Moscow of the KHL, registering 8 goals and 26 points in 46 games. Formally the captain of CSKA and three-time KHL All-Star, he also registered 13 points in 20 games during the playoffs, which tied for the playoff leader in points for defensemen.

This signing has been expected to be completed for months, dating back to a report where Zaitsev planned to sign with the Leafs, according to Sportsnet. May 1 was the first day international free agents were available on the market to be signed, so the signing occurring today makes sense.

A number of other teams had expressed interest in signing Zaitsev, including the Calgary Flames and Pittsburgh Penguins. Given that Zaitsev is one of three right-handed defenseme…

How has Rielly done since Phaneuf left?

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The 2015-16 season has been classified as a write-off for many fans, as the Maple Leafs wrap up the first year of the long-awaited rebuild. On the other hand, these last few weeks have presented the Leafs management with less of a time waster and more of an evaluation period for their prospects.
We have already seen the likes of William Nylander, Nikita Soshnikov, Zach Hyman, and Connor Brown play valuable minutes on a nightly basis since the trade deadline. Their play, teamwork, and confidence have brought excitement and buzz amongst Leafs Nation to watch games now and provide hope for next season.
Meanwhile, there has been another player that has quietly been performing an important role for the Leafs. He has seen an increased role and ice time, which has resulted in a drastic change in possession after a veteran defenseman left town.
I’m referring, of course, to Morgan Rielly.
When the former captain, Dion Phaneuf, was traded to the Ottawa Senators in early February, it signaled the en…

A Hectic Day in the Life of the Leafs

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Today was supposed to be a quiet day with the Leafs not having a game to play until tomorrow night against the Canadiens. That turned out to not be the case, as it instead became a frantic day of many roster moves by the Leafs.

It started innocently enough at the beginning of the practice when soon-to-be-traded P.A. Parenteau left practice just after 9 a.m. For the next 10 minutes, Twitter went into a frenzy with many believing this to be a sign that his days with the Leafs were over. It wasn't long before the reason for Parenteau's early exit became available, turning out to be a simple case of "soreness." When he learned about what happened on Twitter later, Parenteau was aware of what he did is just another case of the "frenzy of the trade deadline."

The next order of business came not long afterward when the greatest trash talker in recent memory, Rich Clune, was loaned to the Marlies, who were set to play against the Hershey Bears. The move surprised …

Leafs Trade Deadline Guideline

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The trade deadline frenzy is officially upon us, and this year's edition promises to be a very exciting one for Leaf fans. In years past, there were little to no exciting moves made as the team seemed "confident" with what they had. This year will assuredly not be the case, as the scorched earth plan is now coming to fruition and is only going to grow more with each passing day.

The Leafs have made some moves already, but the work is far from over. There is a lot that will be going on for the next six days and beyond, so let me help you get up to speed with what has already occurred and what to expect in the coming days.

What Have The Leafs Done Already?

The Leafs have jumped ahead of the pack by already making three trades as of February 23. It started with the Phaneuf blockbuster, which I discussed at length about. Then, for the last two days, Matthias, Polak, and Spaling were shipped off to new homes in exchange for draft picks, a prospect, and salary cap dump.

The Ma…

Thoughts on the Phaneuf Trade

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Today was supposed to be a day of pigging out and enjoying some fluffy pancakes. Instead, it was a day of shocking revelations. The Maple Leafs traded former captain Dion Phaneuf to their arch-rival Ottawa Senators in a nine-player blockbuster deal.

Trade Breakdown

The full details of the trade are as follows, according to James Mirtle of The Globe and Mail: The Senators receive Phaneuf, forward Matt Frattin, Casey Bailey, Ryan Rupert, and defenceman Cody Donaghey in exchange for forward Milan Michalek, Colin Greening, defenceman Jared Cowen, prospect Tobias Lindberg, and a 2017 second round draft pick. No salary was retained from either team.

Thoughts on the Trade

That is a massive trade, one that the Leafs needed to make not just for short term, but for the long term plan.

While Phaneuf has had a bounce-back season statistically speaking, it seemed that he did not really have a place on the team towards the end of the rebuild. His age, decreasing role, and the emergence of promising …

Leaf Players To Watch After All-Star Break

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The All-Star Break has come and gone, and while the weekend in Nashville (*Scottsville) was a tremendous success, the unofficial start of the second half of the regular season begins tonight.

The Leafs needed the few days off as they have not been playing well of late (currently on a four-game losing streak and 1-7 in their last eight), but the road to the offseason continues to become long and tedious. This year has been a learning year, and the results clearly show (last in the Atlantic and tied for dead last in the NHL).

On the plus side, the Trade Deadline date of February 29th is fast approaching, which will bring buzz to Leaf fans and hockey fans alike. The Buds are clearly sellers with nearly every man on the roster readily available to be shipped to a new home (with the exception of Rielly, Kadri, Gardiner, and Reimer).

While not all Leaf players likely on the trading block will be traded come the deadline (see David Booth), it will be very interesting to see what unfolds as …