A season of failure and denial.

The season started with the exit of legendary Stanley cup winning GM Lou Lamoriello and the hiring of the inexperienced Kyle Dubas. He(Dubas) went out and signed New York Islanders star Center John Tavares ,who wanted to come here, while Lou slipped off to the New York Islanders. The segment of the Leaf fans known as the "snowflakes" heralded Dubas as a hero of analytics, a progressive young new face who had probably never even played hockey before. The NHL no longer needed grit or heart but was now all about small, skilled players (ROFL) who would simply dance around the bigger players untouched. The Islanders won the first round 4 to zip while Johnny Gaudreau and Marner were eliminated, scratch that pathetic theory. The politically correct snowflakes cheered as losing was now back in fashion and the weak excuses could now be rolled out for losing again while achieving nothing.


Dubas put backup Curtis McHilheney on waivers so he could be scooped up by rival the Carolina Hurricanes and refused to see Sparks was not good enough. The result was Toronto lost home advantage to the Boston Bruins and of course, the series. Stanley cup winning Lou Lamoriello was fired for far less. During the Leaf's last 2 years they lost the chance to cash in on unrestricted free agents winger JVR and defenseman Jake Gardiner, while losing in the first round anyway. Toronto now has a team that isn't good enough to win with only a 4 year window to win a cup. You see star Center Auston Mathews ,while signed to only a 5 year contract, one of which is a strike year, will walk for free at only age 26. This summer the explosion of this team will begin as star Mitch Marner is unsigned, while players such as Kappanen and Andreas Johnsson will come for their well deserved raises.Luckily, Mark Hunter drafted RW star Jeremy Bracco who is currently playing very well with the AHL Toronto Marlies. "The time to sign the kids was last summer." -Mark Hunter.


Toronto's defense is clearly not good enough and Dubas should have seen that, yet his failed analytics blinded him. The Toronto Maple Leafs lacked the grit and character to win at the Stanley Cup playoff  level and were never going anywhere, yet Dubas was blissfully unaware. As the propaganda about Toronto having a 7 year window was marched out , the Colombus Blue Jackets, a younger team, marched straight past the excuse makers aka losers.This organization needs big changes or it will soon be in big trouble. They added John Tavares and defenseman Jake Muzzin, got a year older and got the exact same result. This is professional sports and the ever patient Maple Leaf fans who pay big money to watch this organization, deserve far better. Instead they get excuses...again.


This team needs to get rid of several passengers and that includes Kyle Dubas. He clearly lacks the experience, vision, knowledge and understanding of the real game known as the NHL playoffs where size, grit and character are king. This team has too many passengers and in it's current form will fail again next year. Brown, Marleau, Nylander, Sparks among others, need to be vanquished just as Lou and Hunter were. Spare me the excuses , those are for losers. The Maple Leafs must now go out and find a backup goalie, a stud defenseman and some forwards with size, heart and grit, all while their salary cap starts to rapidly expand. Is Kyle Dubas the man to do it? Absolutely not. In the real world he would already be fired. Toronto also needs a fan culture change. They have a segment of fans that enjoy losing, making excuses and being lied to. Maple Leaf fans need to demand winning or they will never have it. Instead they will be fed a package of propaganda, lies and excuses as the team loses year after year after year, after year. All the while being in denial as their gas prices reach $2 /L. "Oh well there is always next year."


Or is there? For Toronto to ever win they must first can the denial as big changes are now needed and their prospect pool will soon be completely depleted. This team may have already run out of time. After all garbage in = garbage out. This season was not a success, it was total failure and absolutely nothing was accomplished other than exposing that Kyle Dubas is not the man to lead this team to the Stanley Cup. Let's just hope record gas prices and inflation combined with fed up Leaf fans doesn't start to lead to empty seats next year.


Big changes needed! GM 7 Boston 5 vs Toronto 1

The story of Auston Mathews.


















On September 17th, 1997 Auston Mathews was born to Brian and Ema Mathews in San Ramon, California . He came from an athletic family, in fact his Uncle Wes played in The National Football League while his Dad played College baseball. Auston most likely could have followed his Father's footsteps and been a baseball player but he was often late to baseball practice as he was " Too busy shooting pucks."  At 2 months of age Auston moved to Scottsdale,Arizona where he first saw the Phoenix Coyotes as a 2 year old. Auston was inspired by the Phoenix Coyotes and Shane Doan but his favorite athlete was basketball player Kobe Bryant while his favorite movie was  Disney's "The Mighty Ducks." Auston's mother is of Latino culture and he has 2 younger sisters. Auston is in constant contact with his family who often take the time to commute to games and no doubt keep him grounded. His mother once said " Auston amazes me all the time and I'm his mother!" One amazing fact, Auston was fascinated by the Zamboni machine and didn't express an interest in hockey until age 5. Auston's dad Brian even stated that Auston was better at baseball than hockey.

Auston didn't take the traditional development route bypassing the Canadian major junior leagues and going through the US National development team and then deciding to play with men,after missing the NHL draft cut off by a mere 2 days. At the age of 17  Auston signed to play in Switzerland for the ZSC Lions of National League A under former NHL Vancouver Canuck's coach Marc Crawford. When asked to compare Auston Mathews to someone, Crawford responded " Peter Forsberg." High praise indeed. In fact, in his second season with the US development team he scored 116 points breaking Stanley Cup champion Patrick Kane's record of 102 points. He also played with Jack Eichel for a time in the USNDT during the 2013/2014 season.

Auston Matthews has represented the United States in numerous tournaments including a U17 WHC gold medal, two U18 WJC gold medals, and two IIHF World U20 Championship appearances.

Prior to the 2016 NHL draft Auston had an impressive list of awards and honours.
AwardYear
USHL
USHL Third All-Star Team2014–15
NLA
Swiss Ice Hockey Cup gold medal with the ZSC Lions2015–16
NLA Rising Star Award2015–16[16]
NLA Media All-Star Team2015–16
NLA Media Most Improved Player2015–16
NLA Youngster of the Year2015–16[21]
NHL
Rookie of the MonthDecember 2016[68]
NHL All-Star201720182019[26][69]
Calder Memorial Trophy2017[33]
NHL All-Rookie Team2017[70]
International
World U-17 Hockey Challenge gold medal2014
IIHF World U18 Championship gold medal2014
IIHF World U18 Championship gold medal2015
IIHF World U18 Championship Most Valuable Player2015[50]
IIHF World U18 Championship Media All-Star team2015[50]
IIHF World U18 Championship scoring leader2015
Bob Johnson Award2015[12]
IIHF World Junior Championship All-Star Team2016[71]

When the Toronto Maple Leafs won the NHL draft lottery Auston had tough competition from Finnish winger Patrick Laine. When asked, Leaf president Brennan Shanahan said " We think we know who is the best player is.."  Needless to say The Leafs took the 6 foot 3 inch, 223 pound Center first overall leaving no doubt as Patrick Laine went second overall to the Winnipeg Jets.

Auston may have had the biggest entry into the NHL of all time and set the bar very high for himself scoring 4 goals in his NHL debut against the Ottawa Senators and then going on to score 40 goals in his rookie year and winning the Calder Memorial trophy as the NHL's best rookie.

Auston does hold some records as per Wikipedia and even has a rap song named after him by rapper SVDVM.

Records[edit]

NHL[edit]

Toronto Maple Leafs[edit]


Auston Mathew's career stats as per Wikipedia are:

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

Regular seasonPlayoffs
SeasonTeamLeagueGPGAPtsPIMGPGAPtsPIM
2013–14U.S. National Development TeamUSHL201010204
2014–15U.S. National Development TeamUSHL2420284810
2015–16ZSC LionsNLA36242246640332
2016–17Toronto Maple LeafsNHL824029691464150
2017–18Toronto Maple LeafsNHL623429631271120
NHL totals144745813226135270

International[edit]

YearTeamEventResultGPGAPtsPIM
2014United StatesU171st, gold medalist(s)64488
2014United StatesWJC181st, gold medalist(s)75274
2015United StatesWJC181st, gold medalist(s)787150
2015United StatesWJC5th51234
2016United StatesWJC3rd, bronze medalist(s)774112
2016United StatesWC4th106392
2016Team North AmericaWCH5th32130
Junior totals3225194418
Senior totals1384122

On Febuary 5th  2019,  Toronto Maple Leaf's  General Manager Kyle Dubas signed Auston to a 5 year, $ 11.634  AAV  Million dollar per year contract. The contract makes Auston the NHL's second highest paid player, only $900,000 behind Edmonton Oiler's star center Connor McDavid. The rumour is Auston was willing to sign for long term but at $14 Million per year. A tad high given what Connor McDavid is making and the Leafs upcoming signing of star winger Mitch Marner.

Auston says " I intend to play in Toronto for a long time." And Toronto Maple Leaf fans certainly hope he does as he is a major piece as Toronto tries to win it's first Stanley Cup since 1967.

After a tepid 1 goal 1 assist playoffs series last year against Boston in 7 games in which he played injured(shoulder), Mathews has adjusted to the playoff pressure in Toronto. He now has 3 goals in 4 games as the series now sits tied at 2 games a piece heading back to Boston.

Update Playoffs 2019. Auston had a good playoff while most of his teammates didn't. He scored 5 goals and 1 assist in 7 games versus the Boston Bruins and was one of the best Leaf players on the ice during that series.I still don't think Toronto has found the right wingers to play with Mathews and that they could better utilize him and make him more effective. Mathews is a sniper of  epic proportions.Other teams would find him what he needs and so must the Toronto Maple Leafs if they want to ever win a cup again.Auston Mathews gets an "A" for this year's 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs and progressed very nicely indeed.


www.theleafswinthecup.com












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Is trading Gardiner a real possibility ?

Last year Toronto, under the leadership of Lou Lamoriello, kept JVR as a rental and let him walk for nothing as a UFA in the summer to Philly. But the question is would Leaf GM Dubas have done that? Did he agree with that decision or did Dubas loudly protest the move ? We know one thing, one guy got fired and one got promoted. Something prompted Shanahan to make that move and it was likely that Dubas made the right call but got overridden by Lou more than once. If Dubas is of a different mindset he may want to get something for defenseman Jake Gardiner who could help a lot of teams close to playoff contention and fetch a pretty price. There a lot of teams who are close right now and would love a walkaway rental with very little left on his contract. Much would depend on what was available on the market for defensemen up until the Trade deadline in less than a month. Kyle Dubas has expressed his interest in acquiring a top 9 heavy hitting forward and rumours of Orangeville, Ontario's Nick Ritchie, a 6ft 3  234 lb LW  surfacing, with Connor Brown going the other way. But what if some team made Dubas a good offer for say a 30 year old soon to be UFA Wayne Simmonds and defenseman Gudas, would Dubas look at that? I'm not sure as Dubas doesn't seem to like rentals but if the price was right, who knows? What if Detroit offered Nicklas Kronwall for a 2nd rounder ? I know Babcock would say something about it. Where would that put Jake Gardiner whose days are now numbered with the arrival of Jacob Muzzin from the Los Angeles Kings. It would likely put him on the block to the highest bidders, something the Leaf media haven't even considered. He would bring the Leafs a very good haul, at least a potential first round lottery pick plus a prospect to help Toronto's rapidly evaporating prospect pool. Dubas seems to be a guy who likes to develop but he now has no first rounder in 2019.

So how about this proposal. Connor Brown and Jake Gardiner to Dallas for Nick Ritchie and Dallas' first rounder in 2019 unprotected. Dallas ' owner is desperate to make the playoffs even calling out Seguin and Benn recently and clearly doesn't like losing all that money, nor do many owners. The Leafs then offer Bracco for Simmonds and Gudas plus a pick or prospect, and yes, that is the price on Bracco.  All of a sudden the Leafs are a contender with a potential lottery pick. The fact is Toronto is going to lose someone come expansion draft, they can afford to lose Bracco and just resign Tyler Ennis. Bracco maybe good, but show me the room on this team if we re sign Ennis. Bracco is not suited to fourth line play and he will have a hell of time stealing ice time from Kappanen and/ or Johnsson.

Like it or not the trading of Gardiner is a very real possibility and in the long run may be best for both parties, Jake Muzzin just ate Jake Gardiner's lunch.

Pink - Who knew

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New Youtube - The Leafs win the cup! This year!

Did the Toronto Maple Leafs just become a contender?

The news hit Toronto like a Canadian blizzard. The Leafs had just acquired defenseman Jake Muzzin from the Los Angeles Kings without giving up a single roster player in the process. Many GM's and Toronto media "gulped" as with one flick of the switch the Toronto Maple Leafs had a defense, suddenly. Jake Muzzin was a hard hitting defense first 6 ft 3" 217 lb monster who had been selected and played well for team Canada. He had won a Stanley cup and played with all star defensemen Drew Doughty very effectively. Jake Muzzin played both sides of the ice and thus was the perfect guy to play top pairing with the soaring Morgan Reilly. Dubas had taken a shot and come up roses. He had the pieces and Los Angeles got a very fair price. For one thing Muzzin only had another year before entering free agency, it was doubtful they could pay him fair market price.Toronto on the other hand would soon be losing Jake Gardiner to free agency and given his skillset he is worth north of $6M/ yr. Toronto would likely not have the room to match that. They would be busy resigning Mitch Marner, Auston Mathews, Kappanen and even potential 30 goal Andreas Johnsson might be a tough contract to fit in. Muzzin became the perfect guy to help Reilly with tough assignments and bump Hainsey lower into the bottom pairing to school the youngsters. You see Toronto had a very enviable situation, they needed to bring Dermott, Liljegren and soon 2018 first rounder Sandin into their lineup. They were both cheaper and soon some would be better than Gardiner who struggled at times with the concept of defense first, even often getting booed by the paying fans.This trade made Jake Gardiner's situation much more muddy now as Toronto could now look at trading him at trade deadline perhaps for an even higher first rounder ? What was Jake Gardiner's value to team straining to make the playoffs and in need of playoff revenue ? Some teams love rentals because it allows them to go over cap and then walk away the next year.

Let's break down this trade. The Leafs traded early on a contract with one more full year for the exact thing they needed while covering themselves when Gardiner left as he was almost certain to do much like JVR the year before.They gave up  good prospects with Carl Grundstrom a potential top 9,  20 goal winger. They gave up second rounder 2018 defenseman Sean Durzi and of course their first rounder in 2019, said to be a strong draft.

Outcome: Tie. This trade was good for both teams and Muzzin may actually be gone just as Grundstrom, Durzi and the first rounder arrive in L.A. For all we know Durzi is the next Muzzin. Grundstrom would help L.A replace some of their aging wingers at a cheaper rate. And the first rounder well that was a crap shoot and it would be a late first but odds are L.A will get a player if it is a strong draft. In other words L.A just got 3 young players for years for a guy with one year left they couldn't resign anyway.Dubas did well and got what he wanted and needed but so did the L.A Kings as they follow the Toronto model and begin rebuilding.I just can't criticize either GM for what they got or what they gave. This trade made total sense from both sides and the timing was perfect. This is your typical " This trade works for both teams in the here and now!" The Leafs are now contenders and I'm sure other GM's in the East just took note.

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