Dion Phaneuf and Jake Gardiner, comparing matchups

Cam Charron
July 24 2012 08:12AM

I might need to preface everything I say about Jake Gardiner thusly: I think he's a talented, exciting defenceman who will be a good Top Four option in the NHL one day. The other thing I need to say is that it just won't be now.

Young defencemen, particularly those who score a few pretty goals (such as the one after the jump), have a way of making us dream. The harsh reality is that defencemen develop a little slower than forwards and their actual impact on an NHL team won't be felt for some time.

Again, here are Gardiner's advanced numbers for this last season via Behind the Net:

  TOI/GP Corsi ON Rel QoC Ozone%
Jake Gardiner
(Team rank out of 7)

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On the Toronto Maple Leafs spending habits

Cam Charron
July 23 2012 02:31PM

And so Rick Nash will be a New York Ranger next season. We've known for quite some time, probably, that Nash would go there and not to, say, Toronto, but a lot of minds in the Greater Toronto Area may have needed the closure.

Not sharp minds, but the way that things have panned out in Toronto in the seven years since the last NHL lockout, the Leafs have time and time again missed out on the big-name NHL player. Sure, Brian Burke worked trades that brought Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel to Toronto, but neither have proved to be the stumbling difference between the current Leafs and a playoff spot.

It's a fallacy, however. No one player, goaltender aside, can influence a team that heavily in the standings. You'd need a generational talent, but even Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin couldn't bridge the chasm for their perpetual out-of-playoff teams in their respective dominant rookie seasons. It takes a supporting cast and it takes a lot of good players. The Leafs really have neither.

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Minor-league shuffle: What Keith Aucoin brings the organization

Cam Charron
July 23 2012 05:17AM

Over the weekend, there's been some fairly decent Leafs player movement. On Friday, of course, Nikolai Kulemin was re-signed a two-year deal. Leafs brass again negotiated a pretty stellar restricted free agency contract for a defensive winger coming off a dud season offensively.

Also Friday, Marcel Müller, one of the Marlies' high-scoring forwards last season, is heading to MoDo in Sweden next season. In haste to replace his third highest scorer with the minor-league affiliate, the Leafs went out Saturday and signed not-quite-a-journeyman veteran Keith Aucoin to a two-way deal that will pay Aucoin a league-minimum $650K at the NHL-level and a respectable $350K in the AHL. 

Let's get one thing straight here: Aucoin isn't intended to solve any of the Leafs major problems. I do believe he was signed as an option to provide a replacement to Müller's 14 goal, 47 point season out at Ricoh. Aucoin has never really been in danger of being an NHL regular. His career-high in games is 38, and he scored 5 goals and 13 points.

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Nation Radio - July 21, 2012

July 22 2012 10:46AM

The on-going Shea Weber drama is making the deep summer a bit more interesting than it would have been otherwise. Will the Flyers snatch Weber away from Nashville and cripple the Predators in the the wake of possibly their most successful season ever? Will Poile and company match? If not, will the Preds GM turn to the demon drink in bitterness? Stay tuned to find out!

This week, Allan discussed the Weber issue (and much more!) with guests Tom Lynn, Harrison Mooney, Ryan PIke and Jonh Matisz.

This is Nation Radio.

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Nations State of the Union - July 20, 2012

Kent Wilson
July 20 2012 03:13PM



In Wanye's Nerd Camp update, there were some questions about the Nation's platform and some requests for some new features in comment section. With news winding down and hockey coverage entering the doldrums of August, I figured it was time for a state of the union address. Or, at least, state of the union cogent bullet point list.

Slow and Steady Builds the Platform

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