February 06 2016 02:26PM
Major tank implications in the nation's capital tonight, folks. It's pretty incredible that six teams are currently tied with a league-low 47 points, including your Toronto Maple Leafs. Not only could a win pull Toronto out of the basement, but the Ottawa Senators sit only five points ahead of the Leafs, with the good guys still having two games in hand. There are not many things that bring more joy to Leafs fans than beating up on the Senators and rubbing it in the face of that one Ottawa fan you may or may not know, so it's shaping up to be a tough night for the more militant members of Tank Nation.
February 06 2016 09:33AM
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
This is a guest post from friend-of-the-blog Mike Commito.
Mike Commito is a policy analyst and hockey historian from Sudbury, Ontario. You can find him on the Royal Half where he writes as the Preview Professor. Follow him on Twitter... @mikecommito
I recently had the chance to chat with Nazem Kadri before Leafs practice on Friday afternoon and pick his brain about Darryl Sittler’s record-setting game from 1976, how he spent his All-Star break, and how the team’s play has improved this season with Mike Babcock behind the bench.
Mike Commito: So how did you spend the All-Star break?
Nazem Kadri: I went on vacation with a few of the guys, went out to Mexico, just tried to lay in the sun and enjoy ourselves a little bit. I think we came back a little re-energized and it was good for us.
Did you happen to catch any of the All-Star Game on Sunday or were you guys in full R & R mode?
We actually caught the majority of it in the airport, so we were fortunate enough to have it on TV and I enjoyed the format actually.
Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
February 05 2016 01:49PM
Photo Credit: Christian Bonin/TSGPhoto.com
The Toronto Marlies are the best team in the American Hockey League, and it isn't even close. You probably already knew this, though, especially if you're a regular to our coverage here on The Leafs Nation. But I was curious just how far ahead they were of this year's crop. With that considered, I dug into the numbers to see how wide the gap was. The results? Well..
February 05 2016 10:46AM
Boz Lightyear to the rescue!
February 05 2016 10:29AM
Sure he's the Leafs' best forward, and sure he's on one of the best non-entry level contracts in the NHL, but the idea of trading James van Riemsdyk may not be as far-fetched as it would initially seem. van Riemsdyk is likely the only forward on the Maple Leafs that would fetch the organization an elite return, seeing as he's in the prime of his career and is the type of winger that every team would love to add to their top-6.
He's still young, cap-friendly, and would look awfully nice next to William Nylander for the next few years. So why would the Leafs want to trade him? Well, they wouldn't necessarily want to trade him, but if there is a move to be made that can improve the future of the team then moving the young winger might be a good idea. If they can move van Riemsdyk for a top-pair young defender then it is probably in the team's best interest to do so.
As bad as the Leafs are right now, we can see a future in the organization. With players like Nylander, Mitch Marner, Andreas Johnson, Kasperi Kapanen, Connor Brown, Brendan Leipsic, and Jeremy Bracco in the system, there is far more talent in the prospect pool than there has been in a long time. The problem is that every name mentioned is a forward. Sure there are are a few defensive prospects in Rinat Valiev, Travis Dermott and Andrew Nielsen, but they are all far from a sure thing and there definitely isn't the kind of blue-chip talent we see in the forward group. With some big time NHL defensemen rumored to be on the trade block, the Leafs would be foolish not to at least make a phone call and see if any can be had for van Riemsdyk.
Here are the five teams I believe would be the most likely landing spots for JVR...