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Topics - Nik the Trik

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Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Mid-Season Grades
« on: January 07, 2019, 09:14:41 AM »

Well, at the 41 game mark I'm going to give my impression of the season. Obviously with the team playing as well as they are there isn't much to complain about(GDTs notwithstanding) but i think it's still useful to breakdown where the team needs to improve and who is really flying. My grades are both going to reflect how a player is doing in relation to expectations for them while not grading entirely on a curve of those expectations(Zach Hyman being the best Zach Hyman he can be does not get an Auston Matthews grade for doing the same)

So, here we go:


Mitch Marner: Not much needed here. The team's leading scorer is on pace for a 30 goal, 110 point season and to my mind has cemented his place on a future Team Canada selection. His emergence as a PK option has really raised the question of whether he might end up being the Leafs' best overall player.

Auston Matthews: Shame about the injury because he's scoring at a 61 goal, 118 point pace which would have him in the thick of Hart talk if he'd been around. Winning face-offs at a good clip(53%) which is a nice development. Wish the possession numbers were a little better.


John Tavares: Johnny Toronto! Captain Bedsheets! Good Possession numbers! Very good on the draw! Leadership! Exclamation Marks! Would be an A+ if not for the fact that I think that the 2nd highest cap hit in the league should be in the "Best Player in the League?" conversation rather than "Best Centre on his team?" conversation but it's a fairly minor ding. Feels more and more like he'll be named Captain. 

Morgan Rielly: Is on pace for 26 goals and...90 points? Can that be right? Call the boys in the lab and get them to check on it. Loses the + because I don't think he's really taken a step towards being one of the elite defensemen in the league. The numbers are nice but I still think they're a little hollow. The possession numbers aren't mind blowing and defensively he still seems a bit hit or miss.

Frederik Andersen: I was tempted to go a little bit lower here. He's had a solid season but I don't know that I saw a ton of growth over what he'd done before. Then I looked around the league and saw he had a SV% almost 20 points higher than the league average so...enjoy your A and let that groin heal, buddy.




Travis Dermott: Definitely cementing his place as a NHL defenseman who can be relied on for steady play and competence in all three zones. Very good possession numbers offset a bit of a lack of offense and a lack of spectacularness(which may or not be a word).

Kaspari Kapanen: I'm sure some people would be tempted to put him higher but this feels about right for a guy on pace for a 50 point season. Solid in all three zones, the speed is nice and looks to be pretty valuable as a guy who can be valuable on any line but we're going to forget the "Better than Nylander" stuff pretty quickly.


Jake Gardiner: He is what he is at this point. Scoring is down, which is surprising of anyone this year, but that's probably because the #2 PP hasn't really clicked. Still much better than some give him credit for. Will hurt to lose him more than people realize.

Nazem Kadri: Good ol' Naz. Still a nice luxury to have as a #3 C, still capable of chipping in when needed, doesn't seem to really be well used on the PP and another 30 goal season seems like a long shot.

Zach Hyman: Good all-around presence. Good defensive work, decent enough at popping them in that he's not dragging down Tavares-Marner too much, not a valuable enough player that you can overlook suspensions so hopefully it's his last one.


Andreas Johnsson: Fine enough for what he is. I get the sense that over the next 5 or 10 years we'll have a lot of guys like him who get hot for a bit playing with Matthews or Marner or Nylander and we'll lose a bit of perspective but still.

Garret Sparks: Kind of an adventure and still not the calm and steady performance you want from a back up but still better than league average sv% from a backup merits a decent grade.

Old Man Marleau: Still a solid enough player on the third line. Can still score when needed. Definitely having fewer moments that make me think "Oh yeah, Patrick Marleau is a really good player".

Par Lindholm: Versatile, speedy, winning his face-offs. Unexciting. Par is still a goofy name.


Connor Brown: Doing a decent enough job being shuffled around the line-up and working the PK. I remember when "Brown may never score 20 again" was a controversial opinion of mine.

Oz: Pretty good for a #6/7 defenseman which feels like a C+. Don't see that he'll ever be much more than that and resultingly I'm not overly inclined to learn how to spell the guy's name.


Goaty McGoatface: Certainly is on the team.


Nikita Zaitsev: Wait, is he still on the team?


Ron Hainsey: This feels a little unfair. I don't think that when he signed a 2 year, 6 million dollar deal he thought he was going to be getting top 4 minutes on a contender and be expected to perform as such. But, still, not doing great.




Trevor Moore: Wears #42, which is comforting. Seems to know his business.

Our Boy Willy: Still crazy fun to watch on the puck, doing the little things, not scoring, solid beard.

Holl, Marincin, Hutch: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Marlies & Prospect Talk / 2019 Draft Discussion
« on: December 26, 2018, 02:53:04 PM »

Well, with the World Juniors here it's about time when we start seriously thinking about draft eligibles so I thought I'd start the thread. Here's Craig Button's latest rankings:

And another set of early rankings:

A couple of early thoughts. For starters, I think this is maybe the year the Leafs can start looking beyond the blueline. While it's never a bad idea to look for defense, I think the Leafs last few drafts have turned the defense prospect base from the weak link for the Leafs into probably their strongest point.

Where they're weak right now is up the middle and in net, WJC aside. Personally, I'd like for them to take a serious look at finally drafting the sort of late round high scoring CHL centre that bounces around there or the sort of G who could legitimately push Andersen in a few years time.

21-10-1, 43 points | 11-13-6, 28 points

Projected Lines




Huberdeau-Barkov-Cyber Crime




Justin Holl
Martin Marincin
Curried Goat w/Rice and Peas

Braden Chichk
Tyler Appsley
Joakim Dannisbrouck

Game Notes

•Hyman's back from his suspension, hopefully with a lesson learned
•Andersen's probably in, his numbers settling closer to his historical norms(2.50, .925%)
•9 more shopping days until Christmas. If you're wondering what to get me, how about this inexplicably goofy Mitch Marner blanket?

•I copied the format for this GDT from 2013 which explains why it still has Roberto Luongo listed as Florida's starting goalie so I'll try to fix that later and...oh...really?
•Hoffman is off to a good start with 15 goals and 29 points in 30 games. That should add some spice to the episode of Law and Order he'll eventually inspire
•The Panthers have lost 4 straight, dropping them to the bottom of the division. Also, their name is stupid, their logo is stupid and they don't even play in Miami.
• I just made up some names for their scratches. That should be it for me on GDT's, CtB returns next week. Be nice to dogs.


•Nick Bjugstad – Upper Body - IR
•Vincent Trocheck – Broken Ankle - IR

Stream Opt-Eh, hockey's great and all but why not read a book?

Washington Black by Victoria-based Author Esi Edugyan is the genre bending tale of the titular character, a slave on a plantation in Barbados who gets caught up in an adventure of scientific exploration but takes time to dwell on more personal matters of growth and identity that still have relevance today. Winner of the Giller Prize, a Short list selection for the Man Booker Prize and one of the New York Times 10 best of the year. Nik Recommends!


21-9-1, 43 Points | 24-7-1, 49 Points

Projected Lines








Justin Holl
Martin Marincin


Game Notes

•Seems pretty likely that Andersen will be starting
•The second game of Hyman's suspension, they did ok without him in Carolina so the vast, evil tentacles of Jeremy Jacobs may have backfired
•Christmas Fun Fact: The eruption of Indonesia's Mount Tambora in 1815 led to what some historians call “The Year without Summer” in 1816. This unusally large volcanic eruption led to a disruption of the global climate, resulting in unusually cold temperatures in North America and parts of Europe. What does this have to do with Christmas? Charles Dickens was 4 years old in 1816 and so it may be the first Christmas he remembered. That, some historians think, is why when he wrote about Christmas he depicted London as being very snowy at this time of year when in reality White Christmases in London are fairly rare. Because Dickens' work was foundational for so much of modern Christmas myth, the idealized “White Christmas” may all be the result of a single volcanic eruption in the Pacific.

•The Lightning recently activated Andrei Vasilevskiy from the IR after four weeks out with a broken foot(I feel ya, Andrei). Louis Domingue has had a good record in his absence(14-4) but with weak peripheral stats(2.95, 905%). I'm guessing we see Vasilevskiy make his return.
•Brayden Point is off to a big start. With 21 goals and 41 points he ranks 2nd and 5th in the league in those respective categories
•After 9 straight seasons with a sub-50 CF%, Dan Girardi is currently at 52.6. Still not good relative to the rest of his first place team but he's hasn't been the drag on the first pairing you might have thought


•GDT Thread Author - Lower Body - IR
•Anton Stralman - Lower Body - Injured Reserve

Stream Options

20-9-1, 41 points | 13-11-4, 30 points

Projected Lines




Foegele-Rask-Di Giuseppe

de Haan-Faulk
Van Riemsdyk-Pesce



Martin Marincin
Justin Holl

Haydn Fleury

Game Notes

•Andersen (16-8-0, 2.50 GAA, .926 Sv%) will likely start for the Leafs
•These were apparently the lines at practice. Pretty solid 3rd line there

•It's the first game for the Hurricanes since Friday Night's 4-1 win over the Ducks. Mrazek was in net for that one so, what the heck, I'll say he's the prohibitive favourite to start here too
•Our old buddy Curtis McElhinney was put on IR on Sunday with a lower body injury.
•Sebastian Aho is their #1 Centre, with 27 points in 28 games. Sebastian Ahi would be a sort of Tuna-Man.
•Carolina is the only team without the name of a specific geographic location. Is that why they're currently playing to the emptiest building in the league? I'll go out on a limb and say yes.
•The Hurricanes' team plane had to make an emergency landing because of a “noxious smell” in Oklahoma yesterday. Relevant to the game tonight? Only time will tell.


•Zach Hyman – Sinister NHL Conspiracy – Two Games
•McBackup - Lower Body - Injured Reserve
•Whichever Staal Brother They Have – Concussion – Day to Day
•Michael Ferland – Concussion – Injured Reserve

Bream Options

Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Zach Hyman Suspended 2 Games
« on: December 09, 2018, 02:03:54 PM »
It looks like everyone's favourite children's book author will be getting suspended:

Ah well. As a fellow tribesman I hope this doesn't ruin the 8th night for him.

20-8-1, 41 points | 14-10-4, 32 points 

Projected Lines




Donato-Forsboythisisa Longnamerlsson-Nordstrom




Martin Marincin
Justin Holl
Goaty McGoatface


Game Notes

•I'm assuming Andersen is starting for the Leafs but who knows? Maybe time is a flat circle and it'll be Ed Chadwick
•I'm likewise assuming there are no line shake-ups. I'm sure Carlton had a way of checking these things beforehand but I'm not willing to put that kind of effort in. Just think of me as the GDT Step-Dad. Now, who wants ice cream for dinner?

•Rask will start for Boston, I figure. I know Rask brings painful memories for some people but think of it this way, wouldn't the tanking to get Matthews have required the Leafs to trade him anyway? Maybe we should stop thinking about bad trades as painful but, now that we're happy with the club, just as road bumps along the way to where we were always meant to go? See? Does Carlton make you re-examine your notions of memory and regret?
•Still no Chara or Bergeron for the Bruins.
•Boston is floundering a bit, a point behind Montreal for the last playoff spot and losers of 3 in a row
•This will be the 3rd Toronto/Boston matchup of the season with each team winning one of the previous matchups.


     •CarltonTheBear - Vacation - 7 Days
•Zdeno Chara – Missing Neck Bolts – Whenever the Villagers stop chasing him
•Urho Vaakanainen - Concussion - Injured Reserve
• Patrice Bergeron – Shoulder – Injured Reserve
•Kevan Miller – Can't Spell Kevin - Injured Reserve

Scream Options

General NHL News & Views / Seattle approved as 32nd franchise
« on: December 04, 2018, 11:59:51 AM »

It's not a surprise or anything but:

General NHL News & Views / Hextall fired in Philly
« on: November 26, 2018, 10:54:07 AM »

I'm going to award myself partial credit.

The other guy who I think is in trouble is Hakstol. Have to think Philly expected better than this.

General NHL News & Views / Hitchcock replaces McLellan in EDM
« on: November 20, 2018, 11:28:34 AM »

Let me relish this one...


Non-Hockey Chatter / Stan Lee dies at 95
« on: November 12, 2018, 02:00:29 PM »

That's a bummer. I once semi-seriously argued he was the most important writer of the 20th century. He certainly had the biggest impact on my life of all of them. My favourite little weird fact about him is that he was one of only 7 guys to serve in World War 2 as an official US Army playwright.

Leafs Media Rumours / Rick Nash
« on: September 14, 2018, 01:41:54 PM »

This is from Friedman's 31 thoughts:

4. As training camps open, there’s no clarity on Rick Nash’s future. There were plenty of teams who checked in (Las Vegas and Toronto believed to be among them), and a GM indicated he heard one club was willing to offer $16 million over three years. Wife Jessica recently gave birth to their third child, and Nash’s injury history (including multiple concussions) had him seriously considering retirement. Agent Joe Resnick: “Nothing has changed since July 1. Status quo.”

My gut instinct is that, if true, this is more a case of Dubas doing due dilligence than a serious burning need but I do think that in terms of a short term deal for a reasonable hit that it actually makes a fair amount of sense. Something to try and replace a little of what the team lost with JVR.

General NHL News & Views / 5 Favourite Goals
« on: September 09, 2018, 10:01:10 AM »

Just thought I'd throw out a topic for some discussion. Last time it was 5 favourite Athletes, now I thought I'd ask about specific goals. Could be from any time, for any reason but what are the goals that you've got locked away in your brain.

Here are mine:

5. Gary Valk sends the Penguins home
4. Auston Matthews' goal #2
3. "Boo Hoo"
2. Gilmour's reverse wrap around to beat the Blues
1. Jo-oooooe Sakic

Worth mentioning that I didn't see some goals live that might have made the list otherwise(Borshevsky, Sundin's 500th, Crosby's in OT). HM's to Stumpy Thomas, Nieuwendyk ending Patrick Lalime's career and Crosby's breakaway in 2014.


Main Leafs Hockey Talk / The Captaincy Paradox
« on: September 08, 2018, 08:55:46 AM »

Anyone else kind of think the Leafs are painting themselves into a bit of a corner with the whole captaincy thing?

To my mind, there are two perfectly valid ways to look at giving a player a C. They are:

1) Captains probably don't matter much but it's hockey tradition so we might as well give it to someone.

2) Captains probably don't matter much and hockey tradition is stupid so we may or may not give it to someone.

But lately it seems as though Dubas, in his quest to prove to everyone that he's not an animated adding machine but a real live hockey scouting boy, wants to be going down some middle road. One where the Captaincy, and particularly the captaincy of the TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS, is in fact a very big deal and that's why they have to take their time with the decision because otherwise you might give it to the wrong person and then who knows how many cups you won't win over the next 50 years.

The problem I see there, outside of it being kind of dumb, is that the more you pump the tires of it being a big decision the more you make it something that someone could potentially be sore about not getting.  An extended audition process where only one person gets to win The Maple Leafs' Got Talent. It seems to me like a better strategy would be to just sack up and cast your lot with someone.

Or, alternately, if that's too far too slapdash and you really need to take your time to decide who gets to wear which additional piece of felt on their jersey...maybe have a placeholder? Someone respected, still contributing maybe but old enough so that they won't be around for much longer and so the long term question of who is Maple Leafs Primus inter pares can be kicked down the road for a year or two at absolute most. I mean, if only the Leafs had someone like that who they overpaid to be here.

Because, ultimately, does anyone still really care about this stuff? When anyone is looking over the tragic failure of the Phaneuf years does anyone really attribute any substantial portion of that failure to the fact that they can nominally be called the Phaneuf years in the first place?

I'm all for Dubas winning us Cups via disrupting the podcasting paradigm or whatever but it seems like this would be right up his alley of being an easy problem to solve, where the dopes who thinks it matters get fed a pile of slop and the people who don't can continue working on mapping out a quantifiable Leadership algorithm.

NHL Transactions / Wheeler signs extension with WPG
« on: September 04, 2018, 09:22:42 AM »

Have to hand it to Winnipeg. All of the doom and gloom about them not being able to re-sign guys definitely hasn't materialized.

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