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Messages - slapshot

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1
Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Trade Deadline
« on: January 03, 2018, 02:01:21 PM »
I think it's pretty obvious the Lou and Co. need to step up and make a deal or two to augment-support this team as currently structured.

Once Zaitsev gets back, it would be fantastic is they could somehow secure that elusive top 4 right-handed d-man, ideally to be matched with Rielly. Not complaints about Hainsey, but getting a stronger right handed shot with Rielly would not only strengthen the top pairing but also allow Hainsey to slide in the 3 pairing alongside Borgman. Polak tries hard but lacks mobility. Carrick has mobility but lack the physical strength. Hainsey at least has a bit of both, and is more experienced with the puck than either of them. I think his stability would be an aide to Borgman, less running around.

It will be interesting to see what happens with Bozak, Komo and JVR. If the Leafs want to make a splash on D, something has to give.

Like Freddy the Goat last night. He was solid. If he continues to improve, Moore will be on the outside looking in. I don't mind Moore, but he occasionally takes undisciplined penalties, not what you would expect from a 4th line defensive veteran player.   

I still like the idea of Marner eventually playing centre instead of Nylander (who I like on the wing with Matthews). He's fun to watch and a natural playmaker. With JVR on one wing and either Brown or Kapanen on the right side, I don't think that line would be hurting.

2
Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Re: Mitch Marner
« on: December 21, 2017, 11:57:10 AM »
I would like to see the Leafs eventually try Marner at center. I think it would give him more open ice for his creativity. I think he's committed enough to become responsible defensively. He's 50% on a small sample size of face-off this year, and it's not like he doesn't have any experience playing center in junior (not same as NHL), but at least he's played there. If Bozak goes, that would allow either Brown or Kapanen to slide into the right side, and that line would probably be just as good, if not better. I like Willie with Matthews.

3
Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Re: William Nylander
« on: December 15, 2017, 09:58:02 AM »
Damien Cox had an article today on Willie and Mitch's off years leaving money on the table, though Marner is still a year away from a new deal. I expect Nylander to come in at $6 million, comparable Nic Ehlers, drafted one spot below him but has played 50 more games. Marner will probably come in around the same. Matthews gets at least 10. The way he started the years, he could have been looking at McDavid type money. There is still a ways to go for him and he might get there yet. But around $22 million for the 3 of them would be decent, considering Kane-Toews, McDavid-Draisaitl, are a combined $20 each.

4
Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Re: Mitch Marner
« on: October 26, 2017, 05:40:01 PM »
Martin is like an insurance policy, something you don't think you need until you actually do. Granted the league has changed, tough guys have to be able to actually play, and I think Martin is fine. He takes his man, he's not stupid with the puck (makes simple plays) and is not a liability defensively. When the going gets tough in playoff time, it will be very useful to have that insurance policy. Though it's no longer a fighting league, teams will still exploit talented players by hammering them if they think there is no one there to keep them in check, to be accountable to. With all the firepower the Leafs have, I think we can afford one spot for that kind of insurance. Plus when his sticks up for his teammates it has a positive reaction for the team up on the bench.

5
Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Re: Your TML Rebuild Plan
« on: October 10, 2017, 08:51:08 PM »
I think we'll have a better read on Rielly after this season. Last couple of years Babcock seriously focused Rielly on his defensive game, either with a sub-par partner or with Zaitsev who had to spend the year adjust to new league and new environment. Last year Rielly was often the 3rd d-man choice for the power play, behind Gardiner and even Zaitsev. This year, Babs is throwing Rielly over the boards  as the first d-man option on the powerplay, even ahead of Gardiner. This is no accident, just more methodology by Babs in Rielly's development. I have to say Hainsey has been a pleasant surprise in terms of just being very solid. I am not sure why he should be a surprise that way or that he'll be in the top 4 for long, but I thnk pairing him with Rielly for now was a good idea.

6
Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Re: The Lupul Situation
« on: October 04, 2017, 04:51:22 PM »
Glad this is cleared up but frankly I think all the talk about the Leafs being hamstrung by young guys growing salaries is over-blown.

I look at it this way...

1. With bonuses, Nylander was making 1.6 million. Lupul's 5.2 million coming off the books can cover that, putting him in Johnny Gaudreau salary range. I don't see him getting more than that unless he is the second coming of Connor McDavid this year, note that is hyperbole.

2. Ditto for Marner on money with bonuses currently and a pay hike of similar proportions. With Cowen and Gleason coming off the books, that a $2 mil savings. Assuming the cap grows as it has by about $2 million a year, that $4 million toward his raise, and replace Fehr with Altonen and save another million. That"s Marner done, next...

3. Auston Mathews currently comes in at about $3.8 million when you add in bonuses, so he needs about another $7 million to get him done. Take $2 million from the subsequent year cap hike and make the 3rd year of Marleau disappear and that's done. I suspect the Leafs have a way to do that in mind or they never would have signed him for the 3rd year, knowing Mathews would have to be re-upped then.

They could also let some of their UFAs walk, but maybe they can hang on to at least two of them. I think Bozak and Komarov have to resign for pretty much the same dollars if they want to remain in Leafland. They are essentially both 3rd liners though playing on different lines. Kadri is our second best centre. Bozak is just playing with two top 6 wingers. JVR is another story, if he puts up similar numbers, he'll be entitled to a decent raise, probably in the Marleau range. The Leafs could easily let Bozak walk to accommodate this or just trade him for picks. Then shift, I think (contrary to popular opinion) Marner to centre and insert another right winger, Kapanen, Bracco into the lineup, with Brownie probably moving up a notch.

Hainsey later comes off the books at $3 million just in time for a nice raise for Jake Gardiner, and a cheaper young alternative (Liljegren, Rosen, Dermott) slips in the line-up.

This scenario is built on a few assumptions: cap continues to rise at same rate as recent years, Leafs know they'll be able to ditch 3rd year of Marleau contract, and the don't go out and make a deal for a high costs player without shedding an equivalent amount of salary.

I do think it's all very realistic and the "cap crunch" is more of an over-hyped media thread, though I still agree the Leafs have to manage it carefully. But I don't see things as being as desperate as being portrayed out there.

7
Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Re: Opening Roster
« on: September 30, 2017, 12:30:59 PM »
This is what I'd like to see, not what I expect to see:

Hyman, Matthews, Nylander
JVR, Bozak, Marner
Marleau Kadri Brown
Martin Komarov Kapanen
Moore, Leivo extras

Rielly Hainsey (for now)
Gardiner Zaitsev
Rosen Carrick
Marincin (if Polak is not ready, then eventually Polak 7th guy, Marincin gets waved).
Eventually Liljegren gets into the right side D and one of Borgman, Rosen, Dermott (or longer shot Nielson) becomes the 3rd pairing guy behind Gardiner and Rielly. I really like Borgman and would actually rate him slightly higher than Rosen based on training camp. I'd just like him to get 20+ minutes a game with the Marlies first. He won't get that playing third pairing with the Leafs now.

Anderson, McElhenny (for some reason I always associate his name with the song Macarena...so when he's playing well my Leaf buddies and I have taken to singing that song substituting his name in..."Do the McElhenny"...weird I know)

8
Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Opening Roster
« on: September 28, 2017, 07:51:15 AM »
Babcock says it will probably take 10 games into the season to figure out the roster but they'll have to start with something.
I've been pleasantly surprised with the two Swedish defencemen, Rosen and Borgman. To me, they shown so far to be the best 6-7 defencemen, though I don't think it makes sense to have one of them in the press box. Going in the hype was around Dermott, but the Swedes have been impressive in their puck movement and hockey sense. If Rielly, Zaitsev and Carrick take a step forward the way Gardiner has, this d-group might be quite a bit better than people have been going on about. What's your take on an opening night roster?


9
Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Re: The Lupul Situation
« on: September 21, 2017, 10:58:30 AM »
I think Lupul proved to be a stand-up guys. Admitted he erred, explained why and apologized to everyone. That should be the end of it.

10
I mean hockey is played with your skates too, apart from kicking it into the net for a goal, I don't see anything wrong with using one's skates in the face-off circle. Next they'll be penalizing guys for simply kicking the puck with the skate to their stick. I am being facetious of course, but this is just gross for the game. I'd sooner see them save the time they are going waste with this and add it to the overtime to try to avoid the ridiculous shoot-outs. Anyone know, is this dumb rule open to a coach's challenge, based on that penalty to Brown? Probably nothing in pre-season anyway? They we could another whole 5 minute video review on top of it, nice...

11
We're 1 period into the pre-season, and I already hate this new face-off rule.

I am with you and not just because the Leafs have been hit with it most. I mean seriously, what morons dreamt this up?  Drop the bloody puck already. Their turning the game into a specialties team affair. It's bad enough we already have to deal with the stupid shoot-out (thank goodness for the playoffs)! Just let them play hockey, fight it out in the face-off circle like it's been done for years. I mean this is seriously crazy.

12
Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Re: Mitch Marner
« on: August 16, 2017, 10:42:56 PM »
I don't think anyone has brought this up - and no doubt there will be naysayers - but I wouldn't be entirely surprised if it is Marner and not Nylander who gets moved to the number 2 center spot, with Kadri dropping to three.

People talk about the Bozak line now like it's the "third line" because Bozak is the 3rd slot centre, but really Marner and JVR are at least 2nd line wingers if not first.

So if Bozak gets moved at some point, Marner seems to be an equally good candidate to move to centre, probably better defensively as Nylander and an unbelievable playmakers. Perhaps, face-offs may be a challenge because of his size, but he is super smart and could even surprise there as well.

Maybe solving the forward lines looks like this eventually...

Marleau  Matthews Nylander
JVR    Marner    Kapanen/Brown/Hyman
Komarov   Kadri   Kapanen/Brown/Hyman
Martin   Moore   Kapanen/Brown/Hyman

Soshnikov / Leivo / Johnsson (back ups if JVR or Komo gets moved)
Bracco first call up for right side
Brooks first call up for center

Marner played very little Center in his career.  Nylander has almost always played center, except for his first season in the AHL and first season and a half in the NHL.  Coaches like to ease young players into the Center position at the pro level.  Nylander played Center in Sweden almost exclusively, and has a year full-time in the AHL at center.

Their history suggests it would be very surprising if Marner moved to center when Bozak is gone instead of Nylander.

Based on your post, I decided to Google Marner to see how much centre he had played. What I found was not what I had been looking for but actually more interesting.

Check out this link from two years ago. Perhaps this plan has not changed.

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/mitch-marner-expects-to-play-centre-on-toronto-maple-leafs/

To me it makes sense for the reasons I already stated. Also, Nylander seems to be developing that chemistry with Matthews, so why mess with it. If I were Nylander, I think I'd be just as happy playing on the number 1 line with Matthews, racking up the points. Plus Babcock keeps saying he sees Matthews as "driving a line" and Marner as doing the same. Maybe Nylander could too, but I just have a hunch about it. I could be totally wrong, but I would not be surprised at all if it played out with Marner at centre, and this story makes it even more conceivable. Who knows what's really in the minds of Leafs management - except Leafs management.

13
Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Re: Timothy Liljegren Highlights
« on: August 15, 2017, 02:51:42 AM »
I wonder what impact concussions have on this skill?  Is Crosby putting up less points because of his concussion history, or is it because he's playing the game differently because he values wins over points and he has hit that point in his career where he knows when to turn it on? 

Gardiner is an interesting case.  I thought after his rookie year that he was going to be a different defenceman than he is now.  I thought he looked more composed in his rookie year than he does now.  I really felt at the time that the concussion he got at the AHL level set him back as he didn't look like the same d-man.  Now I am not sure if there weren't other reasons why I felt he looked composed in his rookie season, like lack of comparables on the team, lower expectations on him, etc.

I thought Gardiner was pretty composed last year, for the first season in several. Working under Babcock has been good for his game. Babs shows confidence in him, and I think that has helped.

14
Leafs defence in next 6-12 months.

Gardiner - Zaitsev
Rielly - Carrick
Hainsey - Lilijegren (going to surprise)

In 12 - 18 months

Rielly - Lilijegren (going to surprise even more)
Gardiner - Zaitsev
Dermott - Carrick

15
Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Re: Mitch Marner
« on: August 15, 2017, 02:37:57 AM »
I don't think anyone has brought this up - and no doubt there will be naysayers - but I wouldn't be entirely surprised if it is Marner and not Nylander who gets moved to the number 2 center spot, with Kadri dropping to three.

People talk about the Bozak line now like it's the "third line" because Bozak is the 3rd slot centre, but really Marner and JVR are at least 2nd line wingers if not first.

So if Bozak gets moved at some point, Marner seems to be an equally good candidate to move to centre, probably better defensively as Nylander and an unbelievable playmakers. Perhaps, face-offs may be a challenge because of his size, but he is super smart and could even surprise there as well.

Maybe solving the forward lines looks like this eventually...

Marleau  Matthews Nylander
JVR    Marner    Kapanen/Brown/Hyman
Komarov   Kadri   Kapanen/Brown/Hyman
Martin   Moore   Kapanen/Brown/Hyman

Soshnikov / Leivo / Johnsson (back ups if JVR or Komo gets moved)
Bracco first call up for right side
Brooks first call up for center

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