December 04 2015 12:09PM
1. The slump
Goaltending is a position shrouded in mysticism by its very nature. The position is so specialized — and has been for years — that it recently led Ken Hitchcock, a man widely agreed to be a Smart Hockey Guy by the Nerds and the Game-Watchers alike, to say the following:
Hitch: "When I listen to the goalie coach & goalies I have no idea what they're talking about. All I know is the puck doesn't go in the net"— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) November 30, 2015
This is mostly true of the Blues right now. They're allowing 2.5 goals per game since mid-November, which isn't bad or good, but Jake Allen has a .926 save percentage for the season so there's not a lot about which Hitchcock can really complain.
This is wholly untrue for the Toronto Maple Leafs. James Reimer is playing out of his mind, but Jonathan Bernier is now considered far and wide to be broken in some way. Among the people who feel he is broken? Jonathan Bernier.
December 04 2015 11:49AM
If nothing else, at least we know James Reimer is back on track.
December 04 2015 10:17AM
The Leafs are just one point ahead of the 30th placed team in the league, the supposed #1 goaltender is in the AHL on a conditioning stint, and Toronto was just shutout by the Wild last night. Now seems like as good a time as any to revisit the 2016 Draft where the Leafs own two first round picks, and eleven picks total.
It’s also a good time to start looking at the draft rankings since December provides a pretty good baseline for what are about to be significant changes to everyone’s draft order. With the World Juniors and Top Prospect games coming up, the players at the top of the draft are about to shift significantly. Even those who won’t be attending may be impacted by having teammates in the tournament and could be playing a larger role over the next month.
In short, now is the time to start daydreaming about how the Leafs find away to end June with Auston Matthews and Alex DeBrincat in their system.
December 04 2015 07:02AM
Two days ago, Swedish news outlet Aftonbladet reported that Maple Leafs prospect and AHL scoring sensation William Nylander was "likely" to join Team Sweden at this year's IIHF U20 World Junior Championships. This morning, Nylander's participation was confirmed by Sportexpressen. Here's the quote from Swedish Hockey Federation VP Peter Forsberg...
"Yes, I have met the NHL lead again here in New York in the evening and got the news that the Toronto Maple Leafs will release Nylander and LA Kings to do the same with Kempe."
Nation World HQ
December 04 2015 06:45AM
The Maple Leafs are boring and we can prove it, Virtanen should go to World Juniors not McCann, Byfuglien for Hamonic a no go, what's wrong with Sean Monahan, Oilers leading odds to win the 2016 draft lottery, a look at the 10 different types of hockey fans, a great scrap, fantasy hockey and more in this week's Nation Roundup brought to you by DraftKings.