Does Kessel Have to Play With a #1 Centre?

A. Bates
July 17 2012 02:01PM

Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

An ongoing problem for the Leafs, in every summer that I can remember, is finding them a number one centre that can transform Phil Kessel into the next Great One.

It seems like, in Toronto, no fan will be happy with anything less then the reincarnation of Mats Sundin. I have to tell you folks, the Maple Leafs might not have a centre like Mats Sundin for another 20 years, or maybe even ever (okay, that would be really sad), and that's okay.

Follow me over the jump to find out why.

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Maple Leafs identity: Part I - "Beat 'em up in the alley"

Danny Gray
July 17 2012 07:57AM


Yesterday at Vintage Leafs Memories, Michael Langlois wrote an excellent post wherein he asked the question 'do the Leafs have an identity? What does it need to be?'. We phrased this as an open-ended question to our writers. This morning, Danny Gray, JP Nikota and Ryan Fancey share their thoughts. Do you agree that the Leafs have been a team continually striving for a big, brashing team in the mould of the Bruins?

Danny -

Nothing better demonstrates the fact that the Leafs are Canada's Team than the near century long battle over their "identity".

The architect of the Platonic Ideal of the Toronto Maple Leafs is undoubtedly Conn Smythe. If you don't know anything about Smythe do yourself a favour and read up on him. When he served in The Second World War he left Frank Selke in charge of the Leafs. In 1946 when the Leafs failed to make the playoffs for the first time in over a decade, the tension between Smythe and Selke became untenable. Selke resigned in a note that read:"Lincoln freed the slaves. Goodbye. I quit."

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Leafs Nation Podcast: Old Players, Old Identities, New CBA

Leafs Nation Podcast
July 16 2012 11:41PM


This week, Danny Gray and I discuss three main topics: the Winter Classic Alumni Game (and the roster that was recently announced),  this post by Michael Langlois at Vintage Leaf Memories, and, of course, the recent CBA negotiations between the NHL and the NHLPA.

Happy listening.

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Report: Leafs make pitch for Jonathan Bernier

Cam Charron
July 16 2012 08:23PM

Via CBC's Andi Petrillo.

It isn't much to go on, but it appears as if Brian Burke thinks the price may be right for the Leafs to acquire Los Angeles Kings' backup and former first-round draft pick Jonathan Bernier.

Bernier, of course, has played just 48 NHL games in his career, posting a save percentage of .910 and an even strength save percentage of .913. The NHL average over that span is .921.

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Ben Scrivens vs. the NHL

Cam Charron
July 16 2012 10:54AM

So our fact-finder Rob Pettapiece over at NHL Numbers has written a post about AHL goaltenders. Using a tested and true baseball method of looking at how these goalies did against NHL competition, we can come up with a much better metric than simply "save percentage" for evaluating how they played.

Of course, like most goaltenders, there's still little predictive value, but in the case of Ben Scrivens, say, is there a better goalie than we initially thought? Do we have a goaltender who fared better against NHL competition with the Marlies than he did against AHL competition?

In June, I wrote that Scrivens had the fourth best save percentage among AHL goaltenders who faced more than 1500 shots over the last two seasons.

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