March 12 2016 12:47PM
And you thought the Maple Leafs had no more rookies to debut...
Not so. Defenceman Rinat Valiev, the Leafs' third-round pick in the 2014 Entry Draft, was called up by the big club yesterday and will make his NHL debut tonight against the Senators in Ottawa. Valiev, 20, has appeared in 54 games for the AHL Marlies this season, scoring three goals and 21 points. We at TLN ranked him the 15th best prospect in the Leafs system (and 4th amongst blueliners) just a couple months ago - that might not sound too good, but remember, this is a very deep and talented prospect pool. Valiev has NHL upside - maybe not as an impact guy or point producer, but it's there. As it has been with kids who came before him, it will be interesting to see how Valiev fairs in his first taste of the National Hockey League.
March 11 2016 03:52PM
The Toronto Maple Leafs won't be making the playoffs this season. I mean, there may still be some small mathematical possibility that they could still sneak in, but I'm going to be super bold and call it right now - no playoffs.
That said, the new kids have looked pretty good. William Nylander, Nikita Soshnikov, Zach Hyman, Kasperi Kapanen... there are a bunch of talented youngsters on the way, and it's less a matter of is this group makes the playoffs, but when they will make the playoffs. Is that next year? The year after? Does this organization really require a five or six-year rebuild before the city of Toronto can pack the ACC and the surrounding streets again like they did in 2013 for some playoff action?
How far off are the Leafs now, really? Our roundtable discusses...
March 09 2016 08:25PM
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
As you probably already know, we at TLN have fully endorsed the tank. I mean, if you go to www.thetanknation.com, it brings you back here. We are committed to the cause.
But you know what? Toronto won tonight, and it was hella fun. After six straight losses, it was good to see the Leafs' youngsters and newcomers come up big against one of the Eastern Conference's top teams. Toronto takes it 4-3 in the shootout.
March 09 2016 05:00PM
Remember when everyone was sad and/or upset when we learned that the Toronto Maple Leafs wouldn't be getting the Winter Classic for their centennial season next year? Well, the NHL might have done the Leafs one better by creating a brand new event especially for them.
The Maple Leafs have just revealed that they will face off against the Detroit Red Wings in the first ever "Centennial Classic" on January 1st, 2017 at BMO Field in Toronto. I say 'first ever', but quite frankly it may very well be the first and only event of its kind. Optimists will say the NHL did well to create a unique event worthy of the occasion. Others will say it's just another outdoor game with some fancy marketing.
March 09 2016 03:28PM
Since being drafted back in 2009, Nazem Kadri has consistently found himself in the middle of a number of controversies. No, Kadri isn't getting in trouble with the law, fighting fans or tossing lawnmowers; the controversy is often created by the fans or media, instead. They argue how many points he'll put up, where he'll fit in the roster, and most recently what kind of money the Leafs should be willing (or not willing) to pay him.
That's what we're going to be focusing on today... Kadri's next contract.