August 14 2015 11:34AM
Even a month and half after the Toronto Maple Leafs drafted Latvian winger Martins Dzierkals in the third round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, there's still tremendously little information about him out in ther internet wilderness. Dzierkals was drafted out of the MHL, Russia's top Junior league, meaning that many Western-based scouts never had a great chance to see him play. Even on the international circuit, the Latvian U20 team he suited up for played in the Division I A tournament held this year in Italy. Only the U18 team played in the IIHF's top division, meaning those six games were the best chance to see Dzierkals live.
Here's what we do know, though... Dzierkals, standing 5'11, 180lbs, put up good points with each of the four teams he represented this past season. With Ogre/Saga 18, a junior club based just outside Riga, Dzierkals posted 10 points in six games. With HK Riga in the MHL, it was 28 points in 32 games.
August 10 2015 06:35PM
As we embark on our annual TLN Top 20 Prospects series, it's important to remember and recognize the special players that paved the way for tomorrow's stars. Over the next few weeks, we will be announcing our first ever TLN All-Time Greatest Leafs Team, announcing a new player every day until we've filled out our 23-man roster.
Coming up with an All-Time team is a real challenge. So many of us have different ideas as to what an All-Time team should be... today's NHL stars are much, much better athletes, playing a dramatically different brand of hockey than was played back in, say, the 1930s... Are we building the best team possible? Are we considering what players, who might not be the most skilled, contributed and gave to the team and organization? Do we overlook off-ice transgressions?
There are so many different things to consider when building such a team, and it caused a great deal of heated debate and discussion at TLN HQ (which is less a base of operations, more a crude and GIF-filled chat room). Hell, Jeff almost made Jon quit, but then we sent Jeff to Canucks Army and he's their problem now.
Point is, there's always going to be controversy with a team like this. The Toronto Maple Leafs have one of the most storied franchises in professional hockey, and while the club has been struggling for well over a decade now, the organization has seen many legends pass through. By the end of this series, there will be controversy (so beware the comments section), and that's why I'm so glad to be kicking things off tonight with perhaps the easiest player announcement in the series.
When we talk about the greatest Maple Leafs of all-time, Darryl Sittler is always one of the first names that comes up. He's a shoo-in, and the first member of our TLN All-Time Leafs team.
August 09 2015 05:25PM
Welcome to the 2015 TLN Toronto Maple Leafs Top 20 Prospects rankings, our annual prospect countdown that we will carry through the next few weeks. We'll laugh, we'll cry... We'll probably fight a lot. The point is, we're going to be diving head first into the Leafs' prospect pool and harshly judging a group of teenagers, hyping up their strengths and brutally criticizing them for their weaknesses! Yay!
August 05 2015 09:35AM
The 2008-09 season was pretty much a year in limbo for the Toronto Maple Leafs. With Cliff Fletcher at the helm, the organization had pretty much been on autopilot until Brian Burke, our truculent saviour, arrived from the California shores and fixed this God awful mess in November. Still, it was too late for Burke and new head coach Ron Wilson to avoid Toronto's worst win-loss record in over a decade.
Click past the jump to relive all the gory details...
July 30 2015 06:01PM
The 2003-04 Toronto Maple Leafs represent the last time that the Toronto Maple Leafs were actually a good hockey team. Not sneak-into-the-playoffs-and-lose-to-the-Bruins good, but actually a really solid team (with nice hair, too). A true Stanley Cup contender that loaded up at the trade deadline for a deep run, the Leafs ultimately came up short. It's not a stretch to say that they haven't recovered since.