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Leafs Add Speed, Move Carefully


In selecting William Nylander with the eighth overall pick in this weekend’s entry draft, the Leafs chose speed, skill and pedigree over size.

But there is speed and there is haste and while the Leafs moved to acquire the first they are clearly leery of the second.

The draft produced an encouraging pick in Nylander and a reshuffling of the defence with Czech Roman Polak acquired from St. Louis for Carl Gunnarsson.

But seismic change to a team that finished out of the playoffs doesn’t seem especially likely.

For one thing, the Leafs have […]

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Eight Assumptions For The Leafs’ Eighth Pick In The Entry Draft



The NHL entry draft is Friday in Philadelphia. The Leafs hold the eighth choice. Perhaps you’ve heard.

With that in mind, let’s go into this with eight assumptions.

Assumption number one: Barrie Colts defenceman Aaron Ekblad isn’t a slam dunk for first overall.

Ekblad is not projected as the stand alone prospect in the draft and if he was, the Panthers would not consider moving the first pick. That they are open for business speaks to that fact. That’s why it seems highly unlikely the Leafs will airlift their young core in a […]

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Leafs’ Finn And Bibeau Story Of Memorial Cup Tourney


London – One is the Memorial Cup’s leading plus minus player and captains the most impressive team in the tournament.

The other is a goalie who has led an upstart QMJHL team into the elimination bracket of the tournament.

It has been a winning week for Maple Leaf prospects Matt Finn of the Guelph Storm and Val-d’Or goalie Antoine Bibeau.

The 20-year-old Finn leads the tournament with a plus-eight as the Storm, the class of the field so far, await the winner of Friday’s game between Val-d’Or and the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Drafted in […]

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Brendan Shanahan is the new CEO of culture.



That’s what Brendan Shanahan took as a good day during his term as czar of NHL player discipline.

“Our greatest compliment working in player safety was silence,” Shanahan said as he was introduced as the Leafs new president and alternate governor at the Air Canada Centre, Monday.

“It’s a little bit like being a referee. If people forget you’re there you know you refereed a very good game.”

Good luck with that.

There will be no more quiet days for the 45-year-old Shanahan. He has become the majordomo of one of the most intensely-followed […]

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Shanahan’s Resume And Outsider Status Are His Greatest Assets


Loyal to none and bigger than life

Of all the qualities Brendan Shanahan brings to the presidency of the Toronto Maple Leafs, those two may be the most important.

It might feel like a reach to brand Shanahan an outlier. His resume screams hockey insider. As the NHL’s czar of player safety, he knows not only every middle to upper echelon figure at the NHL’s offices in New York and Toronto but every miscreant, their coach, GM, agent and union rep.

How connected is Shanahan?

Well, start with the company he keeps. A 2013 […]

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After The Fall: Now What?


I’m a glass overflowing kind of guy.

I think we’re going to get this climate change thing sorted out. Don’t ask me why, it’s just a feeling.

I’ll give you even money that Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin can still patch things up, if not for their sake then for the kids, Apple and Moses who, now that I think of it, might deserve new parents with better judgment.

And so I am happy to inform you that Leaf fans can now decide what’s worse, a sudden heartwrenching loss in Boston or the […]

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Bruins can again define Leafs’ progress


Say what you want about the schedulemaker: he certainly has a flair for the dramatic.

The Leafs host the Bruins, Thursday night in the most meaningful game Toronto has played since May 14.

Yes, that May 14, the three goals in 10-minutes May 14 Game 7 loss in Boston.

Here is the recipe for the season, Leaf fans. You need both the Leafs and the Bruins to be the teams they seemed destined to be when Nazem Kadri popped home a two-on-one goal to put the Leafs up 4-1 early in the third […]

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Wondering if the Leafs will make playoffs? Look no further.


Let’s look at the bright side here.

The Maple Leafs are 26th in goals against, 28th on the penalty kill and minus 15 for the year.

They have played more games than any of the three teams contesting the remaining two Eastern Conference Wild Card spots.

They have – you may not have noticed this – lost six games in a row.

And this, friends, is why you win games in October.

Because after a devastating stretch in which their weaknesses have been laid bare, the Leafs remain tied with Columbus, Detroit and Washington with […]

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Gardiner, Rielly A Study In Contrasts


Lost among the broader story lines of the hunt for a playoff spot and a three-game losing streak, the development of the Maple Leafs two youngest defenceman chugs along.

What of Jake Gardiner and Morgan Rielly, the future and to an ever-increasing degree, the present of the Toronto Maple Leafs blueline?

Gardiner and Rielly have scads in common. The pair regularly log minutes on the second wave of the power play. They share a Toronto apartment and at 23 and 20 are the youngest defencemen on the team and aside from Nazem […]

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Leafs Prospect Connor Brown The Number One Point Getter In Nation


Connor Brown has a great pedigree but humble beginnings.

The son of a minor-pro hockey player and the brother of four-year OHLer, the Leafs draft pick stands out because of where he started from.

Brown was drafted by the Erie Otters in the 13th round of the midget draft. The Leafs waited until the sixth round to choose him at 156  in 2012.

Brown’s 43 goals and 123 points in 65 games don’t just lead the OHL. His point total betters those of the QMJHL and WHL leaders which makes the 20-year-old Toronto […]

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