October 04 2015 11:45AM
The Toronto Maple Leafs went pretty deep into camp with a fairly overflowing roster.
We can only assume that the Leafs found it necessary to carry 35 players up until a few days before rosters have to be finalized because the team is made up of a handful of blue chip prospects, a few aging core pieces from the *last* rebuild, and about twelve nearly-identical, marginally useful depth pieces that needed to be sorted between and weeded through.
Now, though, the roster has been trimmed down by eleven - and looking at who's left (as well as who got cut) can tell us a lot about what the Leafs are trying to do next year. It's our first real glance at the Shanaplan, and it's not half bad.
October 04 2015 10:11AM
The Toronto Maple Leafs are a team that, in theory, loves to complain about their goaltending controversies.
Last season, Chris Gibson and Antoine Bibeau ousted former top-ranked prospect Garret Sparks from his role with the AHL's Toronto Marlies, and that created a minor league controversy (oh my gawdddd, is Sparks no longer a prospect we should care about? Who gets the NHL next year, Gibson or Bibeau? WHAT HAPPENS NOW THAT SPARKS LOOKS GREAT AGAIN?!?)
Then, there's *literally* always controversy between the team's actual NHL depth. I chalk it up to distrust for any player that Dave Nonis has ever kept on a roster, since all of the management that's come before him did weird stuff and he did weirder stuff and once the team traded Tuukka Rask for Andrew Raycroft.
This year, though, the depth is pretty straight-forward and set. It's a rebuild year, but goaltending isn't a race; so what you see is what you should learn to love (and learn how to identify)
I've broken down two guys from each of the team's three systems; the NHL, the AHL, and the ECHL. I've given upside, what to expect, and a bit of a technical breakdown - read it, learn it, and embrace your goalies!
October 04 2015 08:06AM
Morgan Rielly is our second-last installation in the Player Profile series. That's exciting news, because that means the start of the regular season is right around the corner. And it sure seems that few players on the Leafs will play a more important role for the team this season than Rielly, who after a couple of seasons of getting his feet wet in the NHL, seems poised to break out and establish himself as a legitimate top-four defenseman, or perhaps something even greater, in the NHL this year.
October 03 2015 11:08PM
Though we won't likely hear of any official roster cuts until Sunday or Monday, Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock's Saturday night postgame scrum with reports might have given us some insight into the opening night roster.
October 03 2015 08:00PM
It may have been against a very young and inexperienced Detroit Red Wings group, but credit where credit is due - this may have been one of the Toronto Maple Leafs' best showings this preseason, specifically on the defensive side of the puck. Still, there's a lot to learn (and just as many cuts to come) before Wednesday's season opener.