September 06 2016 09:55AM
Another year of the TLN top twenty prospects series has clued up, and there's little doubt this has been our best one yet. The addition of Auston Matthews to an already top-tier farm system vaulted the Leafs to the very peak of the league rankings according to ESPN, and no other organization is really in the conversation at this point.
Toronto has accumulated a notable trio of elite prospects to go along with some major depth throughout the rest of the list we put together. Now it'll be interesting to see which players rise and fall when we hit our mid-term rankings around Christmas, or if any names from our honourable mentions surface to crack the main group.
September 06 2016 08:05AM
Photo Credit: Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY SPORTS
If you were to ask people around the NHL what Jake Gardiner is good at, you'd probably hear a lot of things related to his offensive abilities. Earlier this year James Reimer said that Gardiner has a rare aptitude for passing. Writing for the Canadian Press last fall, Stephen Whyno described Gardiner as a "young, smooth-skating, offensive-minded" defenceman but added that he "could be an adventure in the defensive zone." I think those comments are representative of the general opinion about Jake: he's a talented skater who's got great vision, but he hurts his team when he doesn't have the puck.
Conventional wisdom on Gardiner, however, is wrong. While he struggled a bit early on in his NHL career, over the past few seasons Gardiner has been one of the most reliable players in the league at reducing the burden faced by his team's goalie. The same skills that Gardiner uses to generate offence, like his skating and his vision, help him keep the puck away from his own net.
September 05 2016 11:00AM
While my typing fingers were silent last week, I did spend a little bit of time reading the blogs to see what everybody was up to. One of the articles that came across my eyes was on our very own TheLeafsNation.com, written by our pal and Senior Vice-Present of Loud Noises, Steve "Dangle" Glynn. In it, he proposed something called a "Prospect Pyramid".
First off, it was neat to see Steve turn to written words on this platform; something we haven't often seen since the days where Dave Nonis was the Leafs GM and our editors had noted girlfriends. But the idea was intriguing; a counter to the prospect rankings so many blogs use, published just before we concluded our own series.
September 05 2016 10:03AM
Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen is officially out as one of the three netminders for Team Europe at the World Cup of Hockey after the injury he suffered during an Olympic qualifying game last week, Tim Wharnsby of CBC Sports reports.
September 05 2016 08:15AM
Don't look into it, but I'm back! I took a week and change off in the doggiest of dog days in the summer, hoping to recharge my internal battery. While it was a bit of a roller coaster of the mind (shutting your work brian only to realize that you do your hobbies for a living leads to a lot of boredom-driven introspection if you aren't prepared), I've returned a day early with an overflow of ideas. And Mailbag questions. There were a lot this week, but here are the five that seemed most immediately intriguing: