May 29 2015 06:17PM
We continue on with our First Round Targets series with our first USHL player - the Waterloo Black Hawks' Brock Boeser. Committed to the University of North Dakota next year, Boeser is a 6'1, 191lb winger that's known most of all for his goal-scoring ability.
Boeser is ranked all over the map, so it's hard to say whether he'll be gone before the Leafs make the 24th overall selection, or if he'll slip right out of the first round altogether. NHL Central Scouting has him 28th among North American skaters, as does McKeen's. On Future Considerations' list Boeser is 26th, on Hockey Prospect's he's 14th, and on Corey Pronman's he's 31st. Sportsnet's Damien Cox has him 24th and TSN's Craig Button, somehow, has him 9th.
May 29 2015 04:12PM
Just a few days ago, it was a given that the Toronto Maple Leafs would dismantle the core of their roster and start all over again with a fresh and exciting rebuild. Things changed a bit when Mike Babcock was announced as the club's next head coach, with many wondering how much talent and production could be squeezed out of Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf by one of hockey's best bench bosses.
Does Babcock's arrival mean a little more rope for Kessel and Phaneuf? Should the Leafs maybe not flip them for youngsters and assets this offseason? Our TLN Roundtable discusses...
I've been on the "trade everything" bandwagon since day one, and as much as it pains me to say it, I still am. I love Phil Kessel, and I also kind of like Dion Phaneuf, but for a team that is looking to rebuild they are the two most obvious pieces to move.
Like many, I anticipate that Mike Babcock will instantly make the Toronto Maple Leafs a better team, but I'm sure as hell not convinced that means Toronto is suddenly a playoff team. An actual koala with a clipboard and a fedora could coach this team to a better record next year. With that, I'm not ready to say "hey, we're close, let's regroup with our current core and give it a run under Babcock." That's ridiculous.
May 28 2015 07:12PM
It appears as if Toronto isn't done poaching coaches from the Detroit Red Wings.
It's believed Mike Babcock has reached out to Tony Granato about joining him with Leafs. DET also wants Granato back.— Damien Cox (@DamoSpin) May 28, 2015
Leafs have asked permission to speak to DET assistants Jim Hiller and Andrew Brewer. Both likely to join Mike Babcock's staff.— Damien Cox (@DamoSpin) May 28, 2015
We already knew that Hiller and Brewer in particular were rumoured to be heading to Toronto, but I'm not sure I've heard any firm reports about the Leafs' (and Babcock's) interest in bringing in Granato until now.
May 27 2015 07:09PM
It's easy to pick a good hockey player with the fourth overall pick, but as swell guy Kyle Dubas has already told us, the Toronto Maple Leafs need to hit a home run with their 24th overall selection as well. Good teams pick good players when the good players are supposed to be all gone, and the idea is that the Leafs want to be a good team.
We at TLN have already begun prepping you with profiles of players that might be available to Toronto come pick #24 - here's Nick Merkley and Travis Konecny and Thomas Chabot. We'll continue to roll a lot more of these profiles out as the Draft nears, but that doesn't mean you guys have to sit quiet until then.
May 25 2015 06:36PM
I know you all hate the idea of drafting goaltenders, but hey, too bad. It's about that time again.
For all the promise that both Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer bring, the Toronto Maple Leafs' goaltending depth is thin at best. There's certainly NHL talent at the top - two relatively young netminders that are worthy of a big league job - but after that things get real complicated.
Ideally, hockey teams have goaltending prospects in several different age brackets developing all at once, spread out among different leagues so as not to create a logjam. For example, this past season the Calgary Flames had Joni Ortio developing in the AHL, Jon Gillies in the NCAA, and Mason McDonald in the QMJHL. It's not always easy to stagger out your prospects in such a way, but it's important that each netminder gets a healthy amount of ice time and opportunity.