Tea Party - Temptation

Elvis - Hound dog

Metallica - For whom the bell tolls

UFO - Belladonna

Blur - Song 2

Judas Priest - Rapid fire ( Demolition remix)

The Wallflowers - One headlight

Metallica - Orion( remastered)

Steve Miller Band - Fly like an eagle

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TLC - Red light special

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Judas Priest - Green Manalishi (Live)

Billy Joel - Anthony's song (Moving out)

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Corey Hart - Sunglasses at night

Peace sells but who is buying ? - Megadeath

Amon Amarth - Fate of Norns

Dio - Eygypt(The chains are on)

Police - Roxanne

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TLC - Unpretty

Accept - Princess of the dawn

At the gates - Flames of the end

AC/DC - Touch too much

Queens of the stone age - No one knows

George Thorogood - I drink alone

Beatles - A day in the life

Toronto Maple Leafs - Mid term report card.

So, as we reach the half way of the 2018 NHL season and can now reflect upon what is surely an NHL playoff bound team and where this team is heading in 2019. They have easily reached expectations, especially since two thirds of their top line have missed significant action in 2018 and one, highly skilled winger William Nylander, has yet to find his NHL stride yet. Unlike other years, Goalie Frederick Andersen is not having to bail this team's defense out and is likely saving his best play for later in the year, much as the legendary Patrick Roy often did. If Andersen finds his highest level and they make some modest additions, this is a Stanley cup contender this year and for years to come. At the start of the year the Leaf team had a new and young GM with William Nylander sitting out and perhaps facing a trade. By December, Nylander was signed at $6.9M per year, by no means cheap given his short time in the NHL and the cost of similar players on other teams. This makes it hard to grade Dubas at this time but for me, I can live with the price we paid. We must still wait to see how Kyle Dubas handles the tornado of free agencies he soon faces with mega stars such as Mitch Marner and Auston Mathews yet to come. Nevermind Jake Gardiner, Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson. It also remains to see if he makes the right acquisitions for this team by trade deadline but he has hinted a right handed defenseman is on his list of wants. I couldn't agree more. Many fans feel Toronto needs to add some grit to their top 9 forwards before playoff time as well. Dubas, so far, has done Ok but his body of work is still really ahead of him yet. Dubas has said he doesn't buy it (" We need grit") and while Babcock murmured he didn't have enough heavy skaters, star center John Tavares has also said " We need some grit."  Don't look now but once long thought lost center Frederick Gauthier is scoring and may help with the size and grit department even yet.

Management: B.

It is still a bit early to judge Kyle Dubas a mere half season in but he hasn't made any major mistakes. His drafting of  defenseman Rasmus Sandin looks quite shrewd at this point and his decision to go with Sparks against the grain hasn't backfired. Some didn't like how much he paid Nylander but he got him signed within range of what similar players get and will likely get into the future should the cap keep going up. He signed Tyler Ennis who looks like a very good pickup but lost Leivo in the process to Vancouver. His cap management has been excellent as he shed veterans only to pick up star Center John Tavares. Few fans appreciated that there would be a price to pay for that, the loss of some veterans such as Matt Martin, Curtis Mchlhenny, JVR,Bozak etc. Pushing the team into youth overdrive, the kids have responded well.

Coaching : A.

Mike Babcock has adapted well to the loss of his precious veterans such as Martin, Komorov, Polak, Bozak, JVR  and backup McElhenny. He has carefully weaned Reilly off his leash and a Norris defenseman has finally emerged. While every team has blips in the road over an 82 game season, the team always bounced back  and even without stars Auston Mathews and William Nylander this was one of the best teams in the NHL. I'm not sure what more anyone could ask from a coach at this point and he comes exactly as advertised. Babcock's real job now starts in round one of the playoffs.

(RW) Mitch Marner A+ : What can I say ? The kid looks like the second coming of Stevie Yzerman and the Bruin's have every reason to fear this guy and dread facing him. He is scoring critical goals while setting up plays like crazy and is on his way to over a 100 point season. Marner emerged in last year's playoffs versus the Boston Bruins and just hasn't stopped. It is hard to imagine but he hasn't even hit his prime yet. He is already one of the best in the game and few can match his overall skill level. Right now Mitch Marner is the best player on the Toronto Maple Leafs. He is a game breaker who now has Tavares to work with and Marner is giving defenses absolute fits right now. He seems unstoppable and is just never truly out of the play.

(C) Auston Mathews  A : Some would argue he is an A+  this season but injuries have muddied that conclusion at this time. Auston Mathews is the most gifted goal scorer the Leafs have had since the beginning of the universe. He is absolutely lethal and makes goalies look like they are playing in their first NHL game ever as they wave pointlessly at his shots that are released so fast they are in the net before the goalie can even blink. That being said, he is slowly improving his physical game while getting nasty attention from opposing teams leading to injury concerns. He just isn't the playmaker that Marner is.

(C) John Tavares A : People will say, how can a season like this not be an A+ ? Because Tavares now has an unbelievable support cast while playing with red hot Mitch Marner setting him up. He is also 27, in his prime, with Mathews drawing other teams top concern and Kadri there to do the dirty and hard duties. Tavares has it made in the shade and is doing everything he was expected to while earning a nice $11M per year.

(D) Morgan Reilly A + : He should win the Norris and the media are going to choke on this one. Last year they asked " Is he a number one? " Reilly responded " I am the number one...... period!" No one could ask more from this kid and many are calling for the "C" to go on him. At $5M/yr  he is easily the best $ per pound defenseman in the entire NHL. If he doesn't win the Norris there should riots at the voting booth.

(G) Frederick Andersen B : Andersen has just been injured and quite frankly he carried the entire team last year. He has more to give but the Leafs haven't needed it. He may be doing a Patrick Roy and saving his best for latter in the season as his team's offense regularly kicks the living crud out of other teams at will. Our defense has also been better this year. I think Andersen is a top 10 goalie and can play better but can we say he is a top 10 goalie this year ? Not yet.

(RW) Kasperi Kapanen A - : While his best bud William Nylander was away Kasperi did play, with Mathews. All of sudden Leaf fans didn't miss Nylander anymore. While Nylander held out, Kapanen was at the top of his game admitting he was no longer confused about what his center was going to do next. But he was playing with Mathews and since Nylander's return his play has tailed off somewhat as he returned to earth. He is also playing for contract and looks to be worth in the $4 to $5 Million range. Kapanen was a very pleasant surprise this year but can he keep it up without Mathews down the  middle ? If the answer is yes, he becomes a $5 Million dollar man. The question is can Toronto afford it ? Kapanen's agent can easily make the argument that Kasperi is a much coveted 30 goal scorer with lethal speed making him an ideal penalty killer. He has also added a more physical dimension to his game making him a hot commodity in the trade rumour farm. If Toronto goes calling for a defenseman, Kapanen's name surely gets fired back.

(C) Nazem Kadri B-  : Had Tavares not be signed this grade would likely be much higher. Kadri has played effectively and gets a lot of tough assignments but he played better last year when he was absolutely an impact player and looked every bit a solid number 2 C any team would love to have. The problem ? He is playing behind Mathews and Tavares, gets to match up against the best in the NHL. I like Kadri and see his game finding another level latter in the season in the bigger games and of course, the playoffs but he won't see 30 goals this year.

(D) Jake Gardiner A - : The long time whipping boy for many Leaf fans who was known for having brain cramps at the wrong time has considerably reformed his game in a contract year. He is plus 17 at this writing and while he still makes the odd blunder he will surely fetch $6 - 7M on the market this summer. he is an offensive defenseman who seems to have found a comfort zone under Babcock's watchful eye. He still has weaknesses in his game often looking like a forward who was converted to a defenseman but his passing and offensive breakout skating won't be ignored by other GM's who will see a guy who can improve their powerplay and offense from the blueline. If paired with the right guy Gardiner could be a top 2 defenseman. The problem is that guy isn't Morgan Reilly as the two just don't quite fit together on the ice as a top pair. Gardiner has become a very good number 3 offensive defenseman you wish could play top 2.

(LW/C) Patrick Marleau B : The things Marleau brings to the Leaf's can't quite be quantified by on ice production but Marleau is one of the greatest scorers in NHL history. He recently tied legendary Rocket Richard with his 544th career goal and is on pace for yet another 20 goal season. He makes $6.5 M/ yr. and has one year left on his contract. He is a quiet leader and example to the younger Leaf players, as such, he will likely finish his NHL career next year in Toronto retiring as a legend who willingly came to Toronto to win a cup. Like or not but Patrick Marleau is playing well for his age and is one of the greatest of all time while doing so quietly and effectively year after year after year...

(LW) Andreas Johnsson C + : Last year's Calder cup hero started slowly and had many Leaf fans asking
 " Why is even on the 4th line ? " But Andreas has slowly come on even having a natural 20 minute hat trick breaking a game against Philly wide open. Andreas is a potential 30 goal player who is 24 years of age and is on ELC. He and his agent will want to be paid soon. It is hard to prove that from the 4th line though and questions remain whether Toronto can afford to keep him and if he will score that 30 with the Toronto Maple Leafs. A good player who falls victim to the number's game much as Josh Leivo did. When GM Kyle Dubas goes calling for help on defense, there is a good chance he offers up Andreas Johnsson over Kapseri Kapanen as there is a good chance Andreas will be lost due to the next expansion draft when Seattle enters the league.

(LW) Zach Hyman B : Until he was injured, Hyman was having his best year becoming physically involved more this year while on pace (7 goals in 32 Games) to perhaps score 15-20 goals. A big , hard working winger Mike Babcock hates to live without. He hustles and goes in the corners and once injured Babcock lamented " I don't have enough heavy skaters...(now) ". While many wish Toronto could upgrade Hyman, it is hard to see how they live without him as he comes to work almost every night.

(RW) Connor Brown C : I'm sorry but I think Connor can do more and his game has dropped off since his 20 goal rookie season. He does what he is told and is a soldier but he just doesn't seem as hungry ever since he made contract. It could be coaching or it could be comfort has been reached, nevertheless the Leafs need more from him and if it came down to keeping Andreas Johnsson or Connor Brown, Brown would be on the way to the airport come trade deadline. Brown needs to get hungrier to work his way back into the top 9 forwards again.

(D) Ron Hainsey B + : The guy is 37 years old with tons of mileage and experience, playing an effective role with Norris defenseman Morgan Reilly. While he shouldn't be a top 2 defenseman and never was, he is now and is logging an impressive plus 23 this year. There is nothing more could be asked of this guy and should the Leafs acquire another good veteran defenseman he is the perfect guy to school kid Travis Dermott. At the start of the year some fans wanted him traded, he should be applauded and is all old school heart and soul defenseman.

(LW) Tyler Ennis B : He was a pick up signing no one really noticed who then had a comeback season from the 4th line, reminding many of the Tyler Ennis of old. Then disaster hit and Ennis broke his ankle derailing a very good season. He will miss 6 weeks putting next year a question mark for him as he is signed on the cheap for one year.

(C/W) Par Lindholm C : Lindholm has played ok in a, you don't notice him kind of way. He is 26 and is a player who likely gets replaced by the younger and bigger Frederick Gauthier. I don't have much to say about him as I see him as a stop gap/ experiment that is pretty meh. Honestly, I don't think he is back next year.

(C) Frederick Gauthier  B : I never thought I would say this but I think the former first round pick has a future with Toronto. The massive 6ft 5" center is exactly what Toronto needs on their 4th line and don't look now but he has "gulp" started scoring too. I can now see Gauthier as a staple on our 4th line for years who could pop in a nice 10 to 15 goals a year while adding size and defensive accumen. He is what I call a 4th line anchor, a guy you can build your 4th line around. He is a bit of a surprise as many had him written off, including me.

(D) Travis Dermott C+ : He is a kid learning the game who will be a top 4 or even top 3 defensemen one day. He will be a Leaf favorite for years but he isn't quite there yet and is currently 3rd pairing on most  nights. Like many sophmores he has taken a step back this year most likely learning the finer points under the stern direction of Mike Babcock much as Norris trophy winner Morgan Reilly had to.

(D) Igor Ozhiganov C + : Igor has been "quitely effective" as they say and will likely get better the more he plays. For free who can complain ? Right now he is a 3rd pairing defenseman who could play higher in time but is still learning the North American game. There is definite upside given patience. A big defenseman with a booming shot.

(D) Nikita Zaitsev  D  : For $4.5 Million per year having this guy in our lineup completely sucks. They call him quietly effective whereas I think he is just sucking loudly. He is one of the very few blunders former Lou Lamoriello made and if the Leafs want to keep Jake Gardiner, guess what ? He has to go. The problem ? At $4.5 Million for years to come the Leafs would have eat contract for anyone to even look at him. His offense has dried up and under a cap world the Leafs can't afford a guy playing like a number 7 defenseman while getting paid as a top 4. Zaitsev is not a top 4 defenseman on a cup contender. Hopefully Kyle Dubas can move him this anchor of a contract or any hope of keeping Gardiner is lost. If Zaitsev is worth $4.5 Million then Jake must be over $7 M/ yr.
 " Quietly uneffective . "

(RW/C) William Nylander , the former 20 goal winger got his money.. finally on the last day December first. So far, he has a whopping 2 assists in one game and looks every bit the kid playing catch up. It will take him 20 games just to get into form ,so for that alone he gets an " F ", thus far. Let's face it, right now he looks a bit lost out there due to missing training camp etc. and just hasn't caught up with the rest of the NHL, as of yet.

(LW) Trevor Moore B-  : He is an injury call up who has played 2 games and gotten 2 assists so far playing 4th line. So far, so good.

(G) Garret Sparks  C+ : He is a young goalie, slowly gaining NHL confidence who gets paid peanuts to happily sit and watch number one Andersen take the horses share of the work. He is 6- 1 -1 so far and is about to get royally tested now that number one Andersen is out due to injury. We will very soon know what we have in this guy and I feel that 8 games isn't a fair sample size. That is all about to change as the former Calder Cup winning goalie now gets his metal tested. I find it crazy to analyze a goalie after only 8 games but so far, so good.

Team Grade overall :  A

 The Leafs have played exactly as billed while still having room to improve. If they can add the likes of say defenseman N.Kronwall (Detroit) and say a  gritty winger like Wayne Simmonds(Philly) as rentals by trade deadline they are Stanley cup contenders this year.

July Talk - Push and Pull

Amon Amarth - A thousand years of oppression

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Lita Ford with Ozzie - Close my eyes forever

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Beck - Loser

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Van Halen - The Cradle will rock

Queen - We are the champions/ We will rock you

David Bowie - Space Oddity

Phil Collins - Something in the air....

Linkin Park - In the End

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Outcast - Hey ya!

Alice in Chains - Man in a box

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Fleetwood Mac - The Chain

The Cult - She sells sanctuary

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Bloodhound Gang - Bad Touch

Rammstein - Du Hast

Offspring - Get a job !

Elvis - Jailhouse Rock

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Van Halen - Atomic Punk

Ted Nugent - Stranglehold

Rammstein - ICH Will

Eddy grant -- Electric Ave

Fleetwood Mac - Dreams

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Black Sabbath - Paranoid

Deep Purple - Smoke on the water

Blondie - Heart of Glass

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Pinterest -TheLeafswinthecup - follow the Leafs journey to their first cup since '67 !

The Leafs furious start hits a speed bump. The silver lining.

Over the course of a gruelling 82 game season every team does it, they hit the wall, so to speak, as their schedule gets tougher. The Leafs seemingly were off to a record start with Mathews and Tavares ready to score 200 goals between them and Morgan Reilly about to demolish everything Bobby Orr has ever done, they had defeated the Stanley cup champs in their own barn but then Sidney Crosby arrived. The Leafs were quickly reminded that unless Andersen was in top form and ready to carry the team's defense they weren't going to just outscore everyone 7 to 6 as Gretzky and the Oilers used to in the 1980's. The NHL had changed and now teams had defense, good goalies and their own offense. Next came St Louis, a team off to bad a start and hungry to win and  win they did, beating the Maple Leafs  soundly 4 to 1. The Leafs were off to a very respectable 6 and 3 start but a certain reality had set in. The Leafs were waiting for Andersen to win every game again. They weren't hustling and were waiting for their power play or  power fully loaded offense to allow them to cheat other teams in the NHL.

Alas, the Maple Leafs were in the Eastern conference a complete beast that would only get worse as the season progressed. They had the Stanley cup champions Washington Capitals, there was Crosby,Malkin,Murray and former Leaf Phil Kessel, Yzerman's Stanley cup winning Tampa Bay Lightning not to mention arch nemesis Boston Bruins with that damn Chara on defense, not to mention former Leaf Tukka Rask in net. And let's not mention the Leaf's record against improving Buffalo and their loss to a surprising Ottawa Senator ,team. Perhaps the golden bubble had burst after all it was now some 10 games into the season and the other NHL teams would now start finding their game. By game 20 teams have usually worked on their weaknesses and started to gel, playing to their potential, as it were. The Leafs had found their potential early blowing teams straight out of the barn with a high powered offense, a much vaunted power play and some timely saves from goalies Andersen and new backup Garret Sparks.

Kyle Dubas had just flown over to Switzerland to talk to hold out William Nylander with one GM claiming Nylander wanted more than he was worth, rumoured to be $8 Million/yr long term. So Dubas had one chip he might be able to parlay into 2 things the Leafs would need to win a cup. Grit, hustle and defense but at $8 Million per year would there be any GM's willing to gamble on William Nylander and his potential ? It now seemed dubious. You see Dubas now not only had to find a GM willing and able to eat that kind of lunch but that GM must also have a top 2 defenseman he was willing to part with and that would take time. As the season progresses teams become hungry for offense ( see Philly signs JVR) as a lack of it can mean no playoffs, something many owners dread. At that point the pressure goes on the GM to " Do something !" from both ownership, the media and of course, the fans. Advantage Dubas, his team was going to the playoffs and he had until December first to make any hard and fast decision on the future of Leaf forward William Nylander who may have put himself into an odd position. Did any team want Nylander at $8 Million per year ? Could anyone fit that under their cap ? Possibly not and with Kappanen filling in admirably would the Leafs even consider it?

In all of this there was a definite silver lining. Many of the Leaf's support players were not playing upto par yet. Players such as Kadri, Brown, Johnsson, Gardiner all had more to give while Freddie Andersen has a penchant for starting to carry the team on his back around the game 20 mark, yet to come. The Leafs had lacked hustle and the lack of grit and determination found in players such Gilmour, Clark, Tucker, Domi etc. wasn't there. Their defense wasn't as good as some elite teams yet and everyone had forgotten how Andersen single handedly won many games last year while facing more rubber than a Goodyear factory. The Leafs were nowhere near firing on all cylinders and once the scoring machine Mathews and Tavares cooled they were now losing games and their weaknesses were being exposed early in the season. This was a blessing for Coach Babcock and a wake up call for the team. There was more to hockey than a hot power play. It was, in a way, back to the drawing board for Babcock who could now say " You see ! I told you this is the NHL!" and for new GM Kyle Dubas who now had much to ponder  with regards to the Nylander situation and the Leaf's needs for the rest of the season and the Playoffs in the Beastly East. After all the Leafs could be facing Pittsburgh, Washington, Tampa Bay or even Boston in the first round. Heaven help the Leafs if they think a questionable defense or a lack of grit and determination would get them past that group. Thankfully the management now knows this and so do many of the Leaf's rabid fans. Stay tuned, this soap we call Leaf Nation should get very interesting soon,as it always does in Toronto the center of the hockey media universe.

Is it time for the Leafs to consider trading Nylander?

With the signing of star Center John Tavares this summer, the Leafs hieracrchy changed and so did their cap situation, future speak.. they said. "We will manage it" they said. Then suddenly, the Toronto Maple Leaf's cap situation managed them. Did Dubas etc. foresee this ? Most likely. By signing Tavares Dubas gave himself leverage over a younger player who couldn't just walk away. Tavares apparently, only agreed to sign after talking to star Center Auston Mathews about " He better be in it for the long haul !"

So what did this all mean ? Radical culture change. This was now a family with a cause. To bring the cup back home for the first time since 1967, a  massive feat, given the history of this franchise that has only been matched by the Chicago Cubs. Alas, William Nylander advised by those not so interested in accomplishing that goal and more in longterm dollars derailed his chance. For better or worse the perception of many Leaf fans was that Nylander and his dad were greedy or Nylander was a spoilt millenial kid who said " I have to look after myself." And he was right perhaps, if one doesn't care about winning silverware. What he doesn't appreciate is that he hasn't really accomplished that much so far in his career. His play in last year's playoffs was underwheming to say the least, especially when you are playing alongside the likes of Auston Mathews, a player who many consider of the highest order. He hasn't shown anyone he is better than say Ehlers of Winnipeg who makes $6.5 Million per year, nor is he any better than The Maple Leaf's Morgan Reilly or Nazem Kadri, who make far less with more impact and a more substantial track record. Nylander is still all potential. His agent looks at Mathews and Mitch Marner and speculates what they might sign for or be worth and doesn't want his client to miss out on his big payday. The problem is Marner grew up dreaming a Maple Leafs cup at night and will never leave without one. Auston Mathews has already given his word to John Tavares who signed below market value to come here. Reilly and Kadri took fair market to be here.This left Nylander, the black sheep outside looking in.

The major point of weakness that will stop the Toronto Maple Leafs from winning the cup is and always will be defense. It is weak and pourous. The only 2 defenseman I wouldn't trade are Morgan Reilly and a young kid in Travis Dermott who is still learning the game. Veteran Ron Hainsey is now 37, Jake Gardiner will be a unrestricted free agent soon. Zaitsev was fresh coming off a brutal injury plagued year that left him as a question mark as was the rest of the whole defense. Everyone keeps saying it is "team defense." it isn't, it is a bad defense, a gambling, offense driven defense. The Leafs have the likes of Timothy Liljegren and newly drafted Sandin in their prospect pool and can't afford to get nothing for Gardiner. Their forward ranks are stacked and Tavares is an upgrade on Nylander supplying both proven experience, loyalty to the cause and leadership for Mathews.

Like it or not, this is a business yet no one should be above the team/ family and Nylander has broken rank. The Maple leafs have no choice now but to try and trade William Nylander and his dad/agent for the badly missing piece on defense. They have the assets to trade with and can throw in the likes of Gardiner, Zaitsev or even a first rounder/ prospects, if need be. I don't see that Dubas has much choice anymore. The season has started and once again the Maple Leafs defense has looked bad to many fans. They are simply outscoring the opposition as Tavares slowly adjusts to his new team, it often takes at least 10 games to gel. As the games get tougher, the need for a defenseman and more grit will get more pronounced. The last thing this team needs is to give up assets such as Gardiner( see JVR) and lose in the first round again. Maple Leaf fans need to brace for it, William Nylander could soon very well be gone and if he is, it is for the good of the team. If he must "take care of himself first." then so must this team. When you consider a trade you must look at many variables and one is, does this player want to be here and win ? The answer is "no !" For better or worse he has put himself above the team at a time they have a glaring need only his value can draw in a trade. No team will give you a star defenseman under contract or of major value for nothing anymore. They are simply too valuable and there is no way Toronto can fit one under cap and sign William Nylander to major dollars longterm. Something must give way and I highly doubt it is Dubas or Shanahan who will do so. Brace for it Leaf fans but unless Nylander and his agent give in, his days as a Leaf are now numbered.

I will leave it to the pundits to speculate on William Nylander's value to another team but you have to admit a package of say Nylander, soon to be UFA Jake Gardiner and a conditional first rounder will get some GM"s attention and I will bet those discussions will now start in earnest.

Update Oct. 22 2018: Dubas feels no pressure to trade Nylander. Both rumours and Nylander can sit. The minute Dubas signed Tavares he had till Dec 1st. Let's put one ice on it. Odds of Nylander being traded right now . Low.

Update Oct 27 2018 : Kapanen is more than filling in for Willy and I doubt he seeks $8M / yr. Kappanen was rated higher than Nylander before the draft, maybe they were right because he scores the big goals consistently.

Update Nov 17th 2018. All is quiet on the Eastern front. The Leafs minus Mathews and Nylander are in first place. The Leafs can now ice Nylander for the year causing a loss of $$$ he will never recoup sending a loud message. Think I'm crazy ? See Bell, NFL: Pitts Stealers.

Life is great for Leaf fans as media "crys the blues."

It was the worst of times for the media types in Toronto, times had truly changed. For the media types it was the worst of all news. You see for decades they had made their living pouring their derision on the lowly but loyal Leaf fans who suffered through some of the most inept management and trades ever seen in professional sports. But one day, everything changed. Rogers Cable bought the Toronto Maple Leafs from the Ontario teacher's pension plan who were content just to cash in on the regular season gate receipts and didn't seem to care for playoff glory or it's riches in Toronto. Rogers hired Brennan Shanahan and then suddenly after decades of being the laughing stock of the NHL the fans were turning the tables on their evil oppressors and mocking them for hating the Leafs and her fans. The Leafs, other than unloading Phil Kessel were no longer making bad moves. They had Mike Babcock at the helm and finally got their star Center, Auston Mathews, number one overall in the NHL draft. Another turning point was when the Leaf's GM Lou Lamorello landed Fredrick Andersen for a very good price and out of nowhere Connor Brown and Andreas Johnsson appeared from the long forgotten Burke era. If that wasn't enough, Timothy Liljegren got mono  and free fell through the draft allowing Toronto to take him 17th overall in a weak draft class. Was that enough? Hardly. Mitch Marner(4th overall) and William Nylander(8th overall) started to rear their heads as well giving Toronto the best collection of forwards since the Oilers. At the same time the stubborn coach Mike Babcock got through to Morgan Reilly who finally emerged as a bonafide top 2 defenseman while Travis Dermott made huge strides in 2018 as well, all the way from the 2nd round in 2015. How could it get any better? Well, New York Islanders star Center John Tavares(former 1st overall pick) woke up one day and said " I'm going home to get a cup!" Thus the nightmare for the Toronto media who had for years made their living laughing at the Leafs and their fans had begun with a thunderous roar. To make matters even more delicious The Leaf's farm team the Toronto Marlies won the AHL's Calder cup giving The Maple Leafs a stream of soon to be ready NHL prospects for years to come. There was precious little for the Toronto media to pick apart anymore, how would they survive these lean times ? They couldn't just join the rabid Leaf fans who could smell a cup coming from miles away, so they told them to calm down and not get excited.

Consider this, Toronto's Center is 4th ranked Auston Mathews, 10th ranked John Tavarres and their 3rd line Centerman  is none other than  Nazem Kadri, the guy who shut down and crushed  Connor McDavid and scored 2 goals in the process. Their wingers included the likes of Mitch Marner, William Nylander, Connor Brown along with sniper Andreas Johnsson and speedster Kappanen not to mention veteran scorer Patrick Marleau.It is doubtful Toronto has ever had such a skilled group of forwards and still they added Tyler Ennis to the group while hard working Hyman brought up the rear. The Leafs also have some promising winger prospects such as Carl Grundstrom,Jeremy Bracco,Yegor Korshkov and Pierre Engvall marinating in the minors. In a word, Toronto is "Stacked!" The Leaf fans need apologize for nothing. This is an incredibly exciting team entering the 2018 NHL season and with the addition of a defenseman to play with Morgan Reilly becomes the cup favorite. So rave on Leaf fans, you have every right and you have earned it! Dubas has the assets and needless to say when the right offer comes he will add the needed pieces. I smell a cup within 2 seasons in Toronto and if you don't think this is one of the best teams in NHL hockey then you must be half blind.

Latest trade rumours. Toronto Maple Leafs 2018/2019 season. TD Fizzle...

Feb 6th 2020:Confirmed trade. The Maple Leafs trade  winger Trevor Moore, a 3rd rounder and a conditional 3rd rounder(2021) for 29 year old LW Kyle Clifford and goaltender Jack Campbell.

Jan24th: There are somewhat credible rumblings the Oilers and Leafs may be sizing each other up.Names like Johnsson, Kerfoot and Kapanen are being kicked about. On the Oilers side the Leafs are talking Adam Larsson or Darnell Nurse, if Reilly is out till playoffs.Oilers could use some secondary scoring after the Taylor Hall trade, on the wings. The Leafs will want a RH Defenseman under contract longer than just this year.Jeremy Bracco with the Marlies becomes sweetner as Dubas picked OHL's scoring phenom Nick Robertson(2nd round), so he won't blink if that fixes the deal up tight.

Another name that keeps popping up is Brett Pesche a RHD on the Carolina Canes but the price might be steep.

Well, it has been a while and as of 16th of Jan, there were no real credible rumours. With Morgan Reilly now out for 2 months with a broken foot and Andreas Johnsson coming back from injury some credible rumours are emerging.Teams are calling Leaf GM Dubas about his desire for a defenseman, most likely a right hander.One rumour I could believe is Buffalo who themselves are fighting to even make the playoffs. The rumour is Andreas Johnsson and Tyson Barrie for Buffalo's Montour or Ristolenien.I could see this one making sense as Barrie will be a UFA and the Leafs have wingers to spare with the emergence of Engvall and Micheyev and possibly Korshkov next season.They also have some sweetner such Bracco and Timashov. Likelihood for this rumour,5 out of 10.

November 3rd 2019: As of this writing there are no concrete rumours floating around but coach Mike Babcock recently benched William Nylander for indifferent play. He is the most likely to be traded but GM Kyle Dubas is a stumbling block. His inexperience and lack of humility may not allow him to admit his mistake. In overpaying Nylander he opened the flood gates and put himself into cap hell. The recent headhunting of star Center Auston Mathews along with the injury to Jake Muzzin has shown that teams see the Leafs much as agents view Dubas, "soft as butter".

 The Leafs play has raised concerns but it is doubtful Dubas is listening. The Leafs are playing uninspired hockey and many think this team won't go far in the playoffs with the current lineup.
Their defense has not improved nor have their special teams and their effort is sub-par, struggling to get wins against teams they should have no problems with.

Well it is that time again, to decipher between grass concocted fantasies at the bar/work or reality driven murmurs from those in the supposed know. This is the net, so please take it with some salt.

July 21 2019: Well, it's the dog days of summer and the only rumour Leaf fans want to hear is what is going on with star Mitch Marner?  I'm sure other teams want to offer sheet RW Mitch Marner but I'm not sure he would sign them. This is now more akin to the William Nylander situation last year and we are in a Mexican standoff. My best guess is that GM Kyle Dubas doesn't want a repeat and neither does Marner. Marner wants a cup now and knows if he misses half the season it could cost us and him a real chance next summer in the Stanley Cup playoffs. I have no idea but my best guess is Marner gets signed at $10.5M on a 5 year deal and saves face as he is now close to star Center Auston Mathew's paygrade and he must know Toronto is now cap strapped with no real room for improvement via trade route. We will be counting on our younger guys maturing and just plain playing better next year, being a year older and wiser. Any improvement will come internally or perhaps at TD, although Toronto has no more room to offer up first rounders in TD trades in my opinion. As good as Kyle Dubas is at drafting, sooner or later a strong draft comes along and you need those cheaper prospects down the line.I see no more major changes to this lineup at this point. The Kadri deal having already been done and bringing in Right handed defenseman Barrie and 3rd line Center Kerfoot from Colorado.

May 2nd 2019: The rumour is Mitch Marner and his agent want $9M/ year and that Leaf GM  Kyle Dubas has said " Take a lap." A different tone may have set in after Dubas didn't appear to look good on the Auston Mathews and the William Nylander negotiations.

August 12th: weak rumour of Tyler Myers being traded to the Leafs.

Fake Twitter rumour : August 3rd-   The Maple Leafs sign William Nylander to a 6 year contract at an average of  $6.575 Million per year.

Rumour: August 1st 2018 - The are rumours Toronto has some interest in St Louis' Defenseman Colton Parayko. Hard to believe because St Louis is in win now mode and the price would be very high. I would imagine the bid starts with William Nylander who is apparently asking for $8M/yr to sign.We will follow this one as it would greatly help the Leafs defense but try not to lose any sleep as I would rate this one as not very likely to happen.

Nothing tangible to report on Nylander deal. We may be starting the season without him at this point. Thankfully we signed Tavares.

October 6 2018 : Rumour is William Nylander seeks $8.5 M and isn't budging on his demands. To me it looks like he will not be signed. The reality is Ehlers on Winnipeg makes $6.5M and there is nothing in Nylander's game set that implies he is better or even as good as Ehlers. If Winnipeg called and offered me Ehlers for Nylander straight up right now, I would take it. Odds are now good he will have to be traded, we simply can't make those numbers work with the group we have. Kadri, Andersen and Reilly all make about $5M each. I would now rate it above 50 percent he is traded and most likely for a defenseman. If that happens Gardiner(UFA soon) comes into play.

Dumping McIheney may very well come back and bite us, cost cutting measure or not. Sparks needs to win some games and not get blown out or we may be looking for another backup G.

October 13 /18 : There is a rumour Colorado may offer sheet Nylander 6 yrs for $48M which would cost them four first rounders. Stay tuned.

October 20th :Rumours are that the Leafs won't be signing Nylander longterm for the money he wants rumoured to be $8M/yr. They will now negotiate on short term. No sign of a trade as of now.

October 27th  2018 :Another one bites the dust? It was about to be announced within days,William  Nylander was no longer practicing in Austria, new bridge deal... Not! Dubas has been taking in games and the most likely trading partner is... Carolina. They are on fire with a good young team and have the defense to barter with. I could also see a team like NYR being willing to pay Nylander his asking price. But do they have the pieces?

* retarded talk of the month; Leafs will trade Kadri to make room for Nylander. Odds now zero, Mathews is injured again, Kadri goes nowhere.

November 3rd. Toronto just thumped Pittsburgh 5 to 0 with Morgan Reilly now off his leash and starting to look every bit the impact defenseman we always thought he would be. Odds are now very high Nylander gets traded. Dubas has been seen scouting other teams and December 1st gets closer. This was always going to happen. At $ 8M/yr. Nylander played his hand, fans must accept this but Toronto had no plan for this and made their move when they signed Tavares. Toronto needs pieces for the playoffs and Nylander is the collateral teams want and need, offense. The Leafs are plentiful offensively and something had to give and it did, Nylander opted out of Toronto in  his own way, " I need to take care of myself." I don't blame him but we cannot afford him and to win a cup a price must be paid. 87 percent chance now Dubas is getting ready to pull the trigger, his hand has been forced but in a way he must have known that when he signed Tavares. Nylander wants to be front and center and paid that way, he can never do that in Leafland. With Mathews, Tavares, Marner and Reilly in front of him he needs to go to a team where the competition to be spotlight is far more sparse and of course the GM thinks his 41 pts. playing with Mathews is worth $8 M/ yr. Like it or not but Kapanen now replaces Nylander and life goes on just as did for the Oilers after Greztky went to L.A.. that's hockey.

November 23rd 2018 : The rumour is Dubas will have words on the William Nylander situation by 5pm today. My guess is bridge deal at this point. Stay tuned. OK and after 5 pm... keep staying tuned ?

Nov 28th 2018 : Auston Mathews returns vs San Jose Sharks and mercifully Nylander has a date with December 1st coming up.

November 29th: Nice Rumour. The Flyers may be shaking things up soon and one player I could see Dubas and Toronto having interest in is Wayne Simmonds. The Leafs could sure use a guy like him in the top 9 and he could have surprising impact in this lineup. The price a good young player who can play soon, perhaps our first rounder 2018 and winger Ygor Korshkov a former Hunter 2nd overall pick.

December 1st 5:03 pm  Word is William Nylander has signed with the Leafs at 6 years / $6.9M.

Dec 3rd 2018: Josh Leivo goes to the Canucks for an unknown undrafted winger called Carcone. The Canucks win this one and I hope there are some future considerations in there. Leivo could pot 20 goals someday but with William Nylander to make room for, his days were numbered. Best of luck and you did well Josh!

Dec 12th 2018: Bad rumour alert. Alex Pieterangelo may be up for grabs after St Louis is off to their worst start since I don't know when. The Leafs have the pieces but it is doubtful they will pay the price. Right now The Leafs have Gardiner and Zaitsev to contend with and quite frankly, they don't have the cap nor the desire. Pure media speculation at best. Won't happen... Apparently Pieterangelo  needs to go for hand surgery.

Dec 23rd: This one may have some legs. The Leafs may have some interest in Kronwall as a rental, especially given his history with Mike Babcock in Detroit. I'm not sure of the price but if it is reasonable such as a 2nd rounder it is very plausible at TD.

Jan 1st 2019 : The rumour that won't go away. Pieternagelo. Rumour is the Leafs have some interest but what is the cost?

Jan 6th 2019 : Leafs add veteran goalie Michael Hutchinson from Florida for a 5th rounder in 2020. Hutchinson looked solid in his first  Leaf game getting a shut out versus the Canucks in a 5 to 0 thrashing.

Rumours are Simmonds is not happy in Philly and it doesn't look good for Philly making the playoffs thus year. JVR has not panned out either. A player such as  Marlies Jeremy Bracco is bound to get their attention but will Dubas pay that price ?

Jan 28th :

Leafs acquire Muzzin for Grundstrom, Durzi and a 2019 first round pick. Huge move great pickup but not cheap.

Feb 1st 2019 ; Dubas has apparently said he is looking for a top 9 heavy hitter. The rumour is it's Anaheim Ducks 23 yr old LW 6ft 2 inch 234 lb Nick Ritchie from Orangeville , Ontario.Not sure on the ask for him, I hear Brown.

Feb 2  2019: Hot and heavy trade alert?  Wayne Simmonds is a Leaf? Apparently they are even calling it on the Philly station and TSN and Sportsnet. Stay tuned. This is a red hot one! Doesn't look like this one will happen, Philly is 9 and 1 in their last 10 and now in the playoff hunt.

Feb 9 2019: Apparently the Leafs have some interest in Michael Ferland a 6ft 1  217 lb rental winger currently with Carolina. Rumours of Pesch being involved keep appearing as he is a RHD. Don't look now but Kappanen's offense has dried up with one goal since Christmas.

Feb 13th 2019: With the price likely too high to get Wayne Simmonds from Philly ,there are rumblings Dubas enquired about L.A Kings tough 3rd or 4th line winger Kyle Clifford during the Muzzin talks.Dubas has already stated he won't give up Liljegren,Sandin or the 2020 first rounder for a rental.With Jake Gardiner probably leaving and the cupboard looking a little thinner he is likely offering a roster player and odds are it's Connor Brown. I doubt L.A would accept that. Dubas does have winger Jeremy Bracco(Toronto Marlies) and there may be a question of where Toronto fits him in with Trevor Moore more likely to play 4th line.There is also the Seattle expansion draft where Toronto will very likely lose a good player this time. Will Leaf G.M Dubas give up J.Bracco the way he is playing right now ?

Feb 14th: The Leafs are now in contract talks with Kapanen. You can ignore all the cries for offer sheets on Leaf players. Dubas said " He as never worried about it."  GM's don't need to start a war over a max $5M player the Leafs would only match anyway. Yes, the Leafs because of Bracco's play may have to trade Johnsson or Kapanen next summer but that would likely be part of a larger trade including more pieces. Dubas is in far better shape than some report.

Feb 20th 2019: Bingo! If Dubas is smart he will grab Pelly- Smith off waivers from Washington. He is free on the last year of his contract and has won a Stanley cup last year. He will be motivated and is just the tonic Toronto needs for that 4th line. Do it Dubas !

Feb 21st 2019 : Even though Pelly- Smith could be had Toronto has apparently enquired about Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers. Kreider is a 6ft 3 inch , 217 lb LW drafted in 2009.

Feb 22 2019 : TRADE
To Columbus F Matt Duchene D Julius Bergman To Ottawa F Jonathan Davidsson F Vitaly Abramov 2019 1st RD pick (CBJ) * 2020 1st RD pick (CBJ) ** * Lottery protected ** Conditional: Duchene must sign an extension with Columbus

Feb 25th 2019 : And Lindholm for Petan...... Fizzle.

Dubas enters a Brave New World. " No guts, no glory! "

During the Lou Lamoriello reign Toronto played a very conservative trade game not taking any real chances in order to preserve our prospect pool and to avoid some of the past mistakes of trading away high picks and then living to regret it. Tukka Rask, Russ Courtnall, Alex Steen, Scott Niedermayer  and even Roberto Luongo all went on to have great careers after being traded and so Lou played it very cautiously only giving up 2nd rounders to get Tomas Plekenac, Dan Boyle and giving up a late first rounder to get Frederick Andersen.In the end his cautiousness cost him his job and wasn't enough to get Toronto past the first round. During that time Toronto went from worst to 8th best in the league and still it cost him his job. A first round elimination simply won't do next year and could even cost more jobs should it happen, perhaps even Mike Babcock or who knows Shanny himself may feel some major heat. Toronto is an odd town and rightly so. They haven't seen a cup in over half a century and even the Cubs have ended their long drought.

Enter Dubas' Brave New World because  as was once said ," No guts, no glory!" Dubas inherited a team in good cap shape with a team full of young players and a few decent prospects still left in the cupboard after it had been pillaged over two years. The team has way too many wingers and when players like Grundstrom, Engvall and perhaps Jeremy Bracco arrive there simply won't be any room. Last year players with size played a major role with Washington re-signing Smith Pelly and perhaps signalling a new era back to impact players with some grit and size. Let's look at some of the other teams Toronto may face in next year's Stanley Cup Playoffs. Thanks to OVO16 of Hockeysfuture:

Capitals: Tom Wilson, Smith Pelly, Oshie, Orlov, Bowey
Blue Jackets: Josh Anderson, Foligno, Jenner, Dubinsky, Savard
Bruins: David Backes, Mcquaid, Chara, Miller
Lightning: JT Miller, Killorn, Paquette, Callahan, Andreoff, Coburn, Hedman
Penguins: Aston-Reese, Hornqvist, Rust, Letang, Oleksiak

What can Toronto respond with now that Matt Martin is gone? Kadri ? Didn't he just get suspended ? Can Kadri play his game and take that chance next year ? The answer is no. Toronto is stacked with talent with star John Tavares willingly jumping on board but those players need role players to chop wood for them and wear down other teams behemoths such as Chara. It wouldn't be wise to lose next year due to a lack of those type of players who seem to be coming back into style again, just look at the hulking Winnipeg Jets who Toronto could one day face in the finals. Late last year Winnipeg thumped Toronto soundly as many announced Winnipeg the best team in Canada. So, what does Toronto need to beat such teams in next year's playoffs ? In my opinion some size to do their dirty work and a top 4 defenseman who can help Frederick Andersen, who I think is a very good goalie. Sure the Leafs were nervous the first 2 games in Boston last year and they have added a star but does Toronto want to lose over a 7 game series because of a suspect defense again ? No, they don't. I can't prove a top 9 power forward would have changed the outcome last year but I fail to see how it would hurt. Some Leaf fans are in love with the idea of just outscoring every team but in the playoffs many teams have talent and sometimes role players get hot and make a huge difference in a series. Play the wrong team and one can get worn down, injured or in the case of Kadri, suspended. We can't let that happen.

Enter the trademan. Dubas has the assets, some of which we may never use. Does Jeremy Bracco have a future in Toronto ? Perhaps but is hard to see whose job he will steal. Toronto Marlies Carl Grundstrom may help but the jury is still out on whether he is ready to play fulltime in the NHL yet. While Zaitsev may get another year to prove himself due to injury last year, Gardiner needs to be upgraded. He is an offensive defenseman some teams may covet to help their powerplay etc. but some sacrifice must be made to get what we need. No one is giving away defenseman anymore. Some speak of Vancouver's  Tanev but he is injured too often and over valued by the Canucks who seem to think he will land Nylander. They can dream as Tanev  represents too much risk and will never land such a prize. I'm not even sure The Leaf's would do Gardiner straight up for him in a trade. One player they might look at is Winnipeg's Trouba or perhaps even Tyler Myers. No one knows what the price would be but it would be at least Gardiner and Brown with the possibility of Bracco or even our 2019 first rounder as sweetner. That player won't play for 4 or 5 years, if ever. If one looks at players taken from 26th to 30th in the last 10 years or more, the pickings are very slim, so you can stop howling at the moon. Dubas needs to make at least one more bold move and hope a useful Smith Pelly type player becomes available on the market before the trade deadline. He owes that to Toronto's long standing loyal fans as the horror of losing in the first round again will haunt him, Shanahan and Babcock if they don't. I just dread what could happen should we collapse in game 7... again. After all there is more to hockey than just statistics.

Toronto Marlies playoff stats. 3 Moore LW on the way.

As if Toronto didn't have enough wingers, 4 more are on the way, 2 from Sweden. Grundstrom(traded to L.A for J Muzzin), Timashov,Moore and Engvall will likely all be pushing for NHL jobs soon.

Marlies playoff stats

December 2018: LW Trevor Moore gets the first call up as the trade of Leivo and the injury of Ennis forced Toronto to fill their 4th line LW. Moore played well and got an assist in his first game in.

There is no need for panic, The Maple Leafs have options.

I don't think Lou ever chases anything or McDonaugh wouldn't be playing on Tampa Bay right now. I don't think any one player can win us the Stanley cup anyway. Even if we had beat Boston somehow, we wouldn't have gotten far with Tampa and Pittsburgh waiting. We knew before the series our defense was incomplete and most knew Hainsey wasn't a top 2 guy at 37 or ever for that matter. We got a great lesson and if not for playoff nerves early in Boston and of course, Kadri not leaving for 3 games, we could have won. Coming back from 1 to 3 down isn't easy and Boston is one of the best teams in the NHL right now. Yes, the Leafs need a defenseman or two but I doubt they trade for an elite one... yet.

There will be no panic button move from this management team and they do have some options with Lupul coming off the books now. It won't be Nylander traded but if they do land a good defenseman, someone will have to go to make room for them. It won't be Dermott who is young and cheap or even Hainsey with one year left and can play on the 2nd/3rd pairing. Reilly is staying but Gardiner has one year left before UFA next summer. Should Toronto land a UFA, for example, he would fetch some assets or could be part of a trade to land a RHD. The Leafs may have learned a lesson as both Bozak and JVR could now walk for nothing and so could Plakenac for that matter.

No one is picking on Gardiner, the whole team lost. Was that Gardiner in game 1 and 2 ?  No, that was everyone, including Babcock blowing that offside goal. That was Kadri getting suspended for 3 games. The shades and wounds of 2013 caused a flashback and the fans being dismayed looked for a culprit. Then blame the whole defense. Blame management for not seeing it first. Blame Kadri for only getting 2 assists all series. This is all part of a learning curve for the whole team and the coach apparently. The days of trading Courtnall for Kordic or Rask for Raycroft or how about Kurvers for Scott Niedermayer are long gone. Management got the message and have options and assets. The point has been made. This is not a Stanley cup defense and changes will be made but there is no need for panic. No one is picking on Gardiner for the loss but someone will be gone and an upgrade will occur on defense. It just won't be Nylander as chasing isn't Lou's game, nor is overpaying. The whole league knows what we need but why overpay or get in a bidding war? This team is young and needs time and I doubt even Karlsson can lift us to the Lord Stanley cup singlehandedly. Doughty might but he isn't going anywhere nor could we afford $10 to $12 M per year to get him.

Stay patient and this will get resolved and a year or two of growing and maturing won't hurt this very young team either. When the deal is right it will get made. This isn't the time to panic, we weren't going to win it this year anyway. This team is about 2 years away and improvements will be made next season. But if we lose JVR and Bozak for nothing, do we really want Gardiner walking for zero as well?

On a footnote: Lou Lamoriello was relieved of his GM duties by Brendan Shanahan and a new GM/ era will begin...... It looks to me like Shanahan wants to win sooner rather than later.

Is size starting to play a major factor in the Playoffs?

I'm watching game 2 of the Winnipeg Jets versus Minnesota Wild as Zach Parise laments the Wild's inability to penetrate their zone and it occurs to me the Jets have Bifygulen, Laine, Schiefle, Wheeler, Tyler Myers and Trouba. They are mandhandling the Wild and to me look the playoff favorites in the West this year. The Jets truly have it all with skill, grit,size, scoring, defense and goaltending. Now can they resign Laine at $12M/yr.

Underdog to watch : Columbus Blue Jackets. Coming in hot. Highlights---->GM 1 April 12 CBJ vs Washington

Toronto beat Boston in ot game 7!

Well it appears the hockey godz may smile upon us yet. Tampa Bay may yet claim first place giving the Maple Leafs a rematch with the much hated Boston Bruins, a team Toronto can beat. Boston is what is known as a one line team, albeit a very good first line featuring Bergeron, Pastrnk and Marchand. Beyond that it gets a bit sparse thus Boston acquired aging Rick Nash at the Trade deadline this year. The key to that series is shutting down Boston's top line while Toronto rolls 3 offensive lines. Chara is no longer a spring chicken and McAvoy was recently injured, a lingering injury perhaps?

Toronto fans will no doubt remember being up 4 to 1 in game 7 going into the third and then amazingly losing 5 to 4 in OT as Bergeron scored for Boston.

Home ice advantage: Boston

Being rested : Toronto Maple Leafs. Boston had to play 5 extra games in the final quarter of the season, many high intensity, as they had 5 games on hand.

Defense: With Chara back there: Boston.
Gardiner and Zaitsev are question marks while Hainsey is 37 and may wear down in a long series.

Goaltending : Pick em. You will be hard pressed to find 2 better goalies.

Coaching: Babcock wins, Cassidy will be hard pressed to outwit Mike Babcock and has no NHL playoff experience.

Offense: Toronto has 3 scoring lines and can still put Johnsson and Kapanen on their 4th line with Plakenac.

Intangibles: Boston's players have more playoff experience but the Maple Leafs are young and fast.
There is only one player Marchand hates playing against. Plakenac, let's hope he can shut him down.

Series outcome: I recently put in a call to Nostradamus and he whispered" Kadri in OT game 7." A bitterly fought series will go to 7 games but if Toronto shuts down Boston's top line they will emerge victorious and payback will be complete.

Toronto wins in game 7 OT. The Bruins are tired and as the series goes on Toronto's younger and fresher legs will prevail. Just ask Nostradamus

As of this writing Kadri is out on suspension. The entire series is on the line and the odds are about a hundred to one right now for the Maple Leafs. Nothing to lose and everything to learn. Bring it on.

NHL draft 2018 preview. - March

Well it's a tad early but in June the draft arrives. The year a tall 6ft 2 inch Swedish defender named Rasmus Dahlin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dv5eJZ4uKHQ  looks a shoo in to go number one. He has drawn comparisons to Karlsson but may be bigger and more like Hedman with major skills. Word is this is an average draft, so not as loaded say as the 2015 McDavid draft. As per Sportsnet. Bear in mind drafts vary and are projections. In this draft you may see highly differing opinions after the top 10. The Leafs depending on how far they go into the playoffs will likely be drafting after the top 20 and may be as low as say 25th overall.

Odds to win the 2018 NHL Draft lottery

Arizona Coyotes55 points18.0%48.1%
Buffalo Sabres56 points12.5%36.2%
Vancouver Canucks59 points10.5%31.2%
Ottawa Senators59 points9.5%28.6%
Montreal Canadiens62 points8.5%25.9%
Detroit Red Wings63 points7.6%23.4%
Edmonton Oilers64 points6.7%20.9%
Chicago Blackhawks68 points5.8%18.3%
New York Rangers69 points5.4%17.1%
New York Islanders70 points4.5%14.4%
Carolina Hurricanes71 points3.3%10.7%
New York Islanders (via Flames)              78 points    2.7%    8.8%
Florida Panthers                                       75points     2.2%    7.2%

Anaheim Ducks                                        80 points    1.8%     5.9%
Philadelphia Flyers (via Blues)                 79 points    1.0%     3.3%

Rasmus Dahlin, D, 6-foot-2, 181 pounds (Frolunda, SHL): Erik Karlsson, Victor Hedman and now Dahlin. Are you ready for the next franchise-changing defenceman from Sweden?
2. Filip Zadina, RW, 6-foot-1, 196 pounds (Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL): The Mooseheads’ import factory strikes again and sends a high-end sniper to the top of the NHL draft.
3. Andrei Svechnikov, RW, 6-foot-2, 186 pounds (Barrie Colts, OHL): Led all scorers at the Five Nations tournament and has put up points at a torrid pace with the Barrie Colts since the world juniors (38 in 22 games).
4. Brady Tkachuk, LW, 6-foot-3, 196 pounds (Boston University, NCAA): Better than older brother Matthew?
5. Adam Boqvist, D, 5-foot-11, 170 pounds (Almtuna IS, Allsvenskan): A fantastic skater and playmaker who isn’t afraid to shoot. If you don’t end up with Dahlin, getting Boqvist is more than just a consolation prize.
6. Noah Dobson, D, 6-foot-3, 180 pounds (Acadie-Bathurst Titan, QMJHL): The secret is out, this righthand shot blueliner is legit.
7. Oliver Wahlstrom, RW, 6-foot-1, 205 pounds (USNTDP): Eight points at the Five Nations (tied with tourney leader Svechnikov) and a solid spot on the U.S U18 top line, Wahlstrom continues to produce big in his draft year.
8. Evan Bouchard, D, 6-foot-2, 193 pounds (London Knights, OHL): Despite his Knights trading away most of their vets, Bouchard has continued to excel in all areas. February’s defenceman of the month in the OHL is also a natural leader.
9. Quinn Hughes, D, 5-foot-10, 174 pounds (U of Michigan, NCAA): One of the most creative players in the draft. An outstanding skater who can create even in the most challenging situations.
10. Isac Lundestrom, C, 6-foot, 185 pounds (Lulea, SHL): As one scout told me “he’s the Swedish Patrice Bergeron.” A lofty compliment, but the comparisons are there.
11. Barrett Hayton, C, 6-foot-1, 191 pounds (Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds, OHL):Extremely focussed and hard-working, Hayton is the “all-in” guy every team loves to have. Nursing a small injury and the ‘Hounds are being careful with him.
12. Joel Farabee, LW, 6-feet, 164 pounds (USNTDP): Hard-working, skilled playmaker who is magical with the puck on his stick.
13. Bode Wilde, D, 6-foot-3, 195 pounds (USNTDP): Offensive defenceman who plays physical. Leads all USNTDP blueliners with 32 points. Hard wrist and slap shot from the point.
14. Joe Veleno, C, 6-foot-1, 195 pounds (Drummondville Voltigeurs, QMJHL):Has excelled since the trade from Saint John to Drummondville where he’s being coached by the excellent Dominique Ducharme.
15. Grigori Denisenko, LW, 5-foot-11, 176 pounds (Yaroslavl Jr.): Great passer who also boasts a good shot. Played on the top line with Andrei Svechnikov and Alexander Khovanov for Russia at the Five Nations tourney.
16. Ty Smith, D,D, 5-foot-11, 176 pounds (Spokane Chiefs, WHL): Speed and smarts, those are the calling cards of the first overall pick in the 2015 WHL draft.
17. Rasmus Kupari, C, 6-foot-1, 183 pounds (Hermes, Mestis Finland): Not the biggest guy on the ice by any stretch, but can create and finish. And does it all with great bursts of speed.
18. Jesperi Kotkaniemi, C, 6-foot-2, 190 pounds (Assat, Finnish Liiga): Physically he has everything you want – skill, speed, size and he keeps improving.
19. Jet Woo, D, 5-foot-11, 205 pounds (Moose Jaw Warriors, WHL): Has more than a bit of ‘old school’ in his game and isn’t afraid to throw the body around.
20. Rasmus Sandin, D, 5-foot-11, 190 pounds (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, OHL): Even with the Conor Timmins (COL) injury the ‘Hounds have not skipped a beat on the blue line mainly due to Sandin’s work. Plays tough minutes in all situatio.

21. Jared McIsaac, D, 6-foot-1, 195 pounds (Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL): Good skater with offensive instincts and has just enough bite in his game to keep players honest.
22. Serron Noel, RW, 6-foot-5, 201 pounds (Oshawa Generals, OHL): Skilled yet raw power forward who keeps getting better and better.
23. Ryan McLeod, C, 6-foot-2, 200 pounds (Mississauga Steelheads, OHL): A slippery and skilled centre, McLeod has high-end vision. As one OHL GM told me “where his brother Michael (NJ) smashes down the front door to score, Ryan sneaks in through the side.”
24. Alexander Khovanov, C, 5-foot-11, 179 pounds (Moncton Wildcats, QMJHL):Great puck distributor with excellent vision.
25. Jacob Olofsson, C, 6-foot-1, 192 pounds (Timra, Allsvenskan): A reliable two-way centre who almost made the Swedish WJC team. Plays a lot with Canucks prospect Jonathan Dahlen.
26. Ryan Merkley, D, 5-foot-11, 170 pounds (Guelph Storm, OHL): Has top 5 skill without a doubt and can skate.
28. Dominik Bokk, LW, 6-foot-1, 180 pounds (Vaxjo, SHL): Another great hockey story for Germany in 2018.
29. Akil Thomas, C, 5-foot-11, 170 pounds (Niagara IceDogs, OHL): Huge ceiling here that Thomas is only now starting to scratch.
30. K’Andre Miller, D, 6-foot-3, 206 pounds (USNTDP): Was outstanding and probably the top U.S defenceman at the U18 Five Nations. Great skating blueliner who isn’t shy about joining the rush.
31. Mattias Samuelsson, D, 6-foot-4, 217 pounds (USNTDP): Big, strong, and safe defenceman. Son of former NHLer Kjell Samuelsson.

all scorers at the Five Nations tournament and has put up points at a torrid pace with the Barrie Colts since the world juniors (38 in 22 games).y Tkachuk, LW, 6-foot-3, 196 pounds (Boston University, NCAA): Better than older brother Matthew.