October 01 2015 12:44PM
"Nothing induces stress like trying to come up with a lineup that makes sense for the Leafs. That's because the team really isn't that good." - Jonathan Hockey, aka Jon Steitzer
Yesterday, we kicked off what's probably going to be the most controversial and inflammatory series we've done all off-season: attempting to predict the team's lines for the 2015-2016 season.
I'm not even going to get into the fact that you should all be ashamed of yourselves for getting so upset over what's basically a slight variance on the four interchangeable lines that the Leafs will roll next year. The good news, of course, is that the fourth line isn't going to have Colton Orr or someone like Brandon Bollig; even if the Leafs opt to put Shawn Matthias, Mark Arcobello, or Nick Spaling in the bottom six, all three have proven that they're capable of putting up 15-20 goals in a single season. The bad news is still that the team may be icing four good third lines next year, but hey - rebuilds suck. In order for things to get better, the Leafs have to ice rosters like this for a bit.
I'm sorry, too.
October 01 2015 10:27AM
Jonathan Bernier is the second (and final) goalie that we'll be doing a profile proper on here at TLN before the season begins.
Some of you love Jonathan Bernier. Some of you think, like the panelists over at ESPN Insider, that Bernier is given less credit than he's due - but still aren't willing to consider him a franchise-changer, because he still can't win the damn games. Yet more of you think that he's a kinda short, kinda blissfully clueless, kinda fragile butterfly goalie who makes some cool bail-out saves but still allows too many easy goals and gets hurt all the time.
Whatever your opinion of Bernier is, though, the 27 year old native of Laval, Quebec is signed for another two years; unless we see Antoine Bibeau or Garret Sparks truly edge either Bernier or Reimer out of net AND see a team willing to trade to take on his $4.15M AAV cap hit, there's not much that's going to change until his current deal expires.
September 30 2015 05:00PM
Nothing induces stress like trying to come up with a lineup that makes sense for the Leafs. That’s because the team really isn’t that good. I assume that every night Mike Babcock spends hours driving his car across the border with a trunk full of Oxycontin in an attempt to get out building a lineup that can’t compete in the NHL, but will be highly competitive in the draft lottery.
I like to think that my lineup card is a little less conventional than what others might go with, but that’s largely unlike Mike Babcock; I’ve had years to develop a loathing for many of these players, not just a month and I’m sure you’ll notice who I’ve given up on.
September 30 2015 03:09PM
There are a lot of pieces in the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup this year that don't necessarily seem to compliment each other. Or, well, an NHL lineup.
The Leafs are clearly in the midst of a rebuild, and the team has been far from hush-hush on the matter. Phil Kessel, the team's leading scorer for every one of the last six seasons, was shipped out for future pieces to help the club - and pretty much everyone brought in via free agency can be described as a 'wait, what team did he last play for?' kinda guy.
Despite this, though, there's still been speculation about which members of the Leafs core will be gone by the trade deadline. It seems logical to assume that anyone with a pending UFA status this year is eligible to be shipped out the door, but one of the handful of albatross contracts sitting on the Leafs' payroll should probably be flipped for prospects or picks, as well.
According to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun, the two most likely candidates are Joffrey Lupul and Tyler Bozak.
September 30 2015 12:38PM
"Who am I going to pick!?!?!?" - Mike Babcock, probably.
We're exactly one week away from NHL regular season hockey and the Toronto Maple Leafs' opening night roster has yet to be defined. Here at TLN, we're a very impatient, know-it-all bunch - we don't want to wait until next Tuesday to find out what the roster is. We want rosters now, dammit - and that's why we're polling our beautiful and handsome readers (that's you!).