TLN Draft Prospect Watch: Auston Matthews

Justin Fisher
April 11 2016 08:20AM

The Toronto Maple Leafs' season is over, so hell yeah we're kicking off TLN's draft coverage right away. There's no need to delay, considering we now know that the Leafs are guaranteed one of the first four selections in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft. And with a 20% chance of winning the draft lottery and picking first overall, we may as well start with the almost consensus top prospect - Auston Matthews.

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Lamoriello: Future of Robidas, Lupul Unknown

Justin Fisher
April 10 2016 11:23AM

Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello turned a few heads this season when he placed Stephane Robidas on Toronto's long-term injury reserve, and, well, he never really came back. Was Robidas actually injured, or did the Leafs just not really want him around considering how dramatically his play has fallen off? Nobody knows for sure, despite what Toronto tells us. 

A little later in the year, Joffrey Lupul also found himself injured and shelved. Nobody really batted an eye to that, because Lupul missing significant amounts of time is kind of this thing. 

But now it looks like both could be gone for good.

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Leafs secure best chance at 1st Overall Pick, Auston Matthews

Justin Fisher
April 09 2016 08:09PM

With their 5-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils earlier this evening, the Toronto Maple Leafs have secured the 30th overall position in the standings and the best odds at winning the 1st overall pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Without a doubt, the top pick this year would be ZSC Lions' Auston Matthews.

Matthews made the unique decision to forego both U.S. college and Canadian junior hockey and jump straight to the pros... in Switzerland... this year. He scored 24 goals and 46 points in 36 games this year for the Lions, finishing 10th in NLA scoring. That said, let's also remember that Matthews missed chunk of his season due to the World Juniors, and his 1.28 points-per-game average ranked second amongst full-time players.

Now, this is all very exciting that the Leafs have the best odds of landing Matthews, who is by all means an excellent, excellent prospect. That said, the Leafs' odds are still pretty long.

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LGD: One Last Time

Justin Fisher
April 09 2016 03:09PM

Tonight is the Leafs' final game of the 2015-16 season, and the team is exactly where we thought they would be - dead last in the standings. 

Are we mad? Not at all. A season in the basement of the NHL was pretty much promised to us by front office and coaching staff alike. "Pain," they said. Some nights have been difficult to watch, but I have to say, I've felt little pain this year. I was explicitly told what to expect this year, and why I should accept it and embrace the tank. There's no surprises here.

Ok, well, there is one surprise - how godawful the Edmonton Oilers have been.

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WWYDW: Let's Talk Garret Sparks

Justin Fisher
April 06 2016 12:29PM

We're only a few hours away from Garret Sparks' 16th start of the season (and 16th of his young career). He's never been a can't-miss goaltending prospect, but Sparks' career started off strong with a shutout victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Since then, his play has been up, down, and ultimately below average. Sparks carries an .897 SV% through 15 games played.

It might not be fair to expect a lot out of a 22-year old drafted in the seventh-round, but Sparks posted solid numbers in the OHL, ECHL and AHL before debuting this year. 15 games is not exactly a significant sample size, but the Leafs won't have much more to go on before they have to make a decision on their goaltending situation this summer. Sparks is an RFA in just a few months, and while Jonathan Bernier has one more year remaining on his deal, I have a hard time believing that Toronto will want to run with this tandem next season. 

That brings us to this week's WWYDW question - what would you do with Garret Sparks? 

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