August 24 2016 09:18AM
Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY SPORTS
That sound you heard this week wasn't exactly thunderous in terms of a celebratory UFA signing by the Toronto Maple Leafs -- but it did make many breathe easier, in that Jhonas Enroth stabilizes the backup goaltender position going into this transitional 2016-17 season, behind Fredrik Andersen, signing a rather perfunctory one-year, $750k contract.
This move does a lot of things for the Leafs -- they get a veteran backup, and one that looked quite good in just 13 starts last year in Los Angeles. Yes, the Kings are a pretty damn fine team to play in net for -- and last season, Jonathan Quick led all NHL goalies in starts with a whopping 68. Hey, he didn't even TOUCH Andrew Raycroft's 72 from the ill-fated 2006-07 season, so we'll always have that!
But it's the most intriguing year in a long time to watch the Maple Leafs' goaltenders -- and yet intrigue, not to mention chaos and disorder have really ruled the crease for the Leafs, really ever since the lockout.
August 24 2016 07:37AM
It took 125 picks before Dmytro Timashov came off the board at the 2015 Entry Draft and I'd bet 29 other teams wouldn't mind a do-over. After another tantalizing season in the QMJHL and an eye-opening performance at the World Juniors, Timashov's stock has risen exponentially over the past year, jumping from #18 in last year's rankings, to #5 at midterm, and #8 here (we had to make some room for new prospects). Again, 124 other players were taken ahead of him making Timashov look like a steal one year later.
August 23 2016 12:03PM
Photo Credit: Kim Klement/USA TODAY SPORTS
When the Toronto Maple Leafs signed Roman Polak to a $2.25M contract last month, did they do it with the intention of having him play some or all of the 2016-17 NHL season with the Toronto Marlies? The question seems silly. Why would you sign a player to a $2.25M NHL contract if you wanted him to play for your minor league affiliate? I admit that it is not the most likely scenario. No team that I can think of has ever done something like it. The Leafs probably intend for him to be an NHL player. And yet there are a few pieces of evidence that hint at the possibility that the question might not be as bizarre as it initially seems.
August 23 2016 10:00AM
It's probably fair to say this summer has seen a debate arise about how, on the surface, the way the Leafs are operating seems to be making a shift. Their moves are contradictory, not at all like a year ago, and now it feels as though, for the first time under Shanahan's watch, this management team, filled with big voices, is becoming a kitchen with too many cooks.
Maybe others' read on the situation is different, and everyone's entitled to that. But there's a real sense among plenty of folks that it's not all rosy at the top. For that reason, I think it's likely that over the next year or so we'll see some key cogs moving up and others moving on. Such is the business.
August 23 2016 08:36AM
Today's prospect is the well-rounded Travis Dermott, a representative of Canada at the World Juniors and a star defenseman in the OHL this season. Let's take a look and see what he brings to the table.