Why isn't Brad Boyes getting more ice time?

Ryan Fancey
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.

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Countdown to Nylander

Ryan Fancey
November 23 2015 07:13AM

Now that William Nylander has sole possession of the AHL scoring lead as a 19-year-old with 23 points in just 17 games, it seems the debate over his place in the league is being stirred up more and more every day. With the parent Leafs dying for scoring help, and the young Swede looking like a destroyer of worlds with the Marlies, you have to figure there's also been a lot of internal discussion around whether he's ready for the bigger stage. 

If there isn't really anything left for Nylander to learn in the minors - and it appears there isn't - he should take a step forward in competition. But it looks like the Leafs will wait a little longer to make that move, at least until the new year, where they'll benefit from giving him a second-half debut.

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Report: Two teams discussing trading for Bernier

Ryan Fancey
November 18 2015 08:03AM

We've been talking a lot about the Leafs' situation in goal recently, as Bernier's numbers have cratered to start the season, and the debate is ongoing about where the organization sits in terms of depth at the position as they look to the future. 

James Reimer has been incredible over the last month, so we need to see where that goes, but last week it was made known that Lamoriello and the front office have been looking at making changes in the crease, likely with the long term in mind. Now there are some rumblings of teams looking to take Bernier off their hands, which is a little surprising given how much he's struggled.

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About those Matt Duchene trade rumours

Ryan Fancey
November 18 2015 06:52AM

I just had to do a quick double-take when I looked up Matt Duchene's career scoring totals. It still seems to me like he entered the league just yesterday, but the Avs' forward is actually now going through year seven (!) in the NHL. He came into the league the same season that Kessel first suited up for the Leafs, which is just mind-boggling. [Maybe I just can't handle getting old.]

Duchene's name has popped up a number of times over the last week in the world of trade rumours, and sort of like with Kessel in Toronto, since the Avalanche have been a trainwreck for essentially his entire time in Denver, that sort of makes sense. Perhaps they feel they need to move in another direction. 

We, as Leafs fans, know how that works as much as anyone: the stars eventually get picked on the most when things go wrong.  

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Three big goaltender trade targets for the Leafs

Ryan Fancey
November 10 2015 07:53AM

The Leafs have been a bit of a strange beast this season. They've lost a lot, like we thought they would. They've had trouble scoring goals, like we thought they would. But one area where the sense was they should be set up quite well, between the pipes, has been getting a lot of attention in the last week, and now there are rumblings of the team looking to make some changes there with the long term in mind.

First off, we have to note that James Reimer is having a good November so a section of Leafs fans don't try to burn down my house. But it's tough to say if the team has anyone in the organization they feel is reliable in terms of turning out quality starts consistently over the next couple years as they try to turn the corner and call up more highly-skilled youngsters. It seems they're not convinced.

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