Why the Maple Leafs should let Morgan Rielly work through his shorthanded struggles

Thomas Drance
October 26 2015 04:15PM

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Photo Credit: Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly has always appeared cool, calm and collected when he's handling the puck. The skilled 21-year-old hasn't hit 30 points in a full season yet in his career, but that will come. His plus skating ability and high end offensive awareness is plain to see, and in the offensive end of the rink he's already a top-of-the-roster quality blue-line piece.

In past seasons where Rielly has been less effective - and feel free to stop me if you've heard this one about an NHL defenseman in their very early 20s before - is on the defensive side of the puck. While that would appear to be changing rapidly at even-strength, the Maple Leafs have thrust Rielly into a key role when they're down a man and the early results have been far from pretty.

Even so, the Maple Leafs should give Rielly the rope he needs to work through his early season issues in shorthanded situations.

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Deadline Rental Players Off to a Slow Start

Jon Steitzer
October 26 2015 04:00PM

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Roman Polak, James Reimer, Brad Boyes, Mark Arcobello, P.A. Parenteau, Nick Spaling, Michael Grabner, Richard Panik, T.J. Brennan, and Shawn Matthias, these are the players many of us assumed would supply the Leafs with enough draft picks to make sure the only person making selections in the mid rounds of the 2016 draft would be Tim Hunter.

It’s still a very early seven games into the 2015-16, and it’s safe to say that none of these players are exactly making a case for joining a contending team by March 2nd, and what once looked like a promising stockpile of 2nd-4th round picks, are beginning to look like potentially late round picks to at least make sure at least some return is acquired for these players.

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Monday Mailbag: Yaaaaawn

Jeff Veillette
October 26 2015 02:00PM

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In an attempt to put myself into prime game shape to write on all of the sites on this network (okay, mostly here and Canucks Army), I've altered my sleeping schedule over the past few months. I go to bed really late, and sleep in until the sun burns my hair. It works out pretty well.

With that said, I have a place to be tonight, and had lots of stuff to take care of first. So I got up at 8 AM; a normal person's time.

I want to die. Somebody buy me a case of energy drinks, please.

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LGD: Leafs Host Desert Dogs in Toronto

Justin Fisher
October 26 2015 12:40PM

What the hell happened to the Coyotes? The usual laughing stock of the NHL has a winning record, a handful of exciting young players to watch, and these fancy new jerseys with black accents on the sleeves. They're almost likeable! 

Whatever the case, the Leafs won't be facing off against the usual Phoenix push-overs tonight. Let's break it all down.

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Maple Leafs' Spaling injured, out Monday; Bozak, Gardiner eyeing return Friday vs. Rangers

Thomas Drance
October 26 2015 11:47AM

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Photo Credit: Matt Kartozian/USA TODAY Sports

The injury news continues apace for the Toronto Maple Leafs with third-line centre Nick Spaling joining the growing list of walking wounded. He'll be out of the lineup on Monday with an undisclosed injury.

Though the the Maple Leafs are hurting, it wasn't all bad news on the injury front on Monday. Injured centre Tyler Bozak and banged up defenseman Jake Gardiner have now been on the ice for two consecutive days, and are nearing a return from their respective ailments.

Though Bozak (upper-body injury) is somewhat closer to returning to action, even going so far as to try to convince Leafs coach Mike Babcock to put him back into the lineup for Monday night's game, it's more likely that he'll return to the lineup on Friday when the Maple Leafs face the New York Rangers. Gardiner's injury (undisclosed) and his timeline for return are a bit more up in the air, but it's possible that he could return for Friday's game also.

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