November 25 2015 12:50PM
When the Leafs kept Brad Boyes in the fold after his pro tryout a couple months back, I wrote here that, with the departure of Phil Kessel and his typical offensive yield, he'd be relied upon to at least make up some of that slack. No one ever believed we were getting thirty-goal-scorer Boyes from a few years ago, but even a 12-15 goal output would be a really nice chip-in from the winger.
With only a goal to his credit at about the quarter mark of this campaign, getting his total up in that area seems like a long shot now, but that isn't really a knock on Boyes. His play to date has been about as expected, perhaps even beyond, but for some reason he just isn't able to break through for bigger minutes under Babcock, and many of us don't know why.
November 25 2015 10:09AM
Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports
For most of Dion Phaneuf's Toronto Maple Leafs tenure, the club has relied on him to be a No. 1 defenseman.
Though Toronto's captain is still leading all Maple Leafs defensemen in ice-time per game, in a variety of ways, he's holding down a more proscribed role in Toronto this season. And it suits him well.
November 25 2015 09:39AM
On this episode, the Leafs potential net crisis, money, and yelling about movies and Russia.
November 24 2015 06:30PM
Photo Credit: Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports
There probably isn't enough Splenda in the nation's capital to induce the Toronto Maple Leafs to take on Colin Greening's contract. Now maybe if the Ottawa Senators offered the Maple Leafs some (Colin) White sugar, that would move the needle, but let's be realistic.
Greening, 29, isn't a bad player. He's big, and he's a more than capable fourth liner. I once watched him eat two slices of pizza at once, sandwich style, as team doctors removed fibreglass from his cheek following a double overtime winner back in the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs. It was bad ass, and probably unduly colours my opinion of him.
The useful, Newfoundland-born left wing has been on the trade block forever, mostly because he's unlikely to ever produce enough offense to warrant the big ticket he carries. Now it is being reported that the always budget-conscious Senators are willing to throw a prospect into a Greening deal, just in order to free themselves of the remaining two years carried by Greening's contract, at a $2.65 million cap hit.
Storied rivalry and the ghost of Gary Roberts aside, for a team with an unlimited budget, lots of salary cap space, and a strong willingness and desire to accumulate talent - the Maple Leafs make sense as a Senators trade partner here, right? Wrong. And here's why:
November 24 2015 04:21PM
John E. Sokolowski - USA TODAY Sports
As you've probably already heard, Toronto Maple Leafs top prospect William Nylander is dominating the AHL. The 19-year old has a league-leading 23 points in 17 games, putting him on pace to become the AHL's first 100-point teenager.
So, is William Nylander good enough to play in the NHL?
In a word, yes. These kinds of numbers are quite literally unheard of, and Nylander's skating and offensive skills are the kinds that can translate to the NHL easily. While he probably wouldn't establish himself immediately as an elite, big league player, he's good enough right now to play at least a minor role in an NHL offense.
That said, the question "Is Nylander good enough?" is fundamentally flawed. It's a narrow-minded way of approaching the extremely large and complex issue that is reworking and rebuilding the Leafs organization. This isn't all about Nylander, and if you start asking different questions you might find that the AHL is the best place for him to be right now.