“What’s more fun than playing Bingo?”
“Nothing!” answers your 90 year old Grandmother.
Well it’s time for Leafs Nation to catch Playoff Bingo fever with this handy dandy Bingo card which should be easy to complete by the end of Game One.
CBC is going to make it their duty to spout off every cliché on this list. Carlyle is going to Carlyle. There’s going to be thugs, Bozak over usage, and of course, O’Byrne inexplicably being on the ice against top competition. MASTER LINE MATCHER! Rather than turn this into a drinking game that would probably kill you, I’ve opted for some good ol’ fashioned church basement fun (James Reimer Approved!)
Will there be a prize for doing this? Sure, why not. First person to send me their completed Bingo sheet wins a signed picture of perm legend Mike Craig. Who doesn’t want to win that?
Out of curiosity I thought I’d take a look at Reimer’s splits by workload over his career to see if peppering him with shots had any impact on his GAA or save percentage. What appeared to be evident from this is Reimer is fairly consistent no matter the workload. Not surprisingly his GAA drifted a little North when he faces over 40 shots, and equally predictable was the general trend upward for save percentage, but what was interesting is his consistency in GAA between 25-34 shots, and his plateau that occurred in his save percentage from 30-44 shots. The “optimal Reimer seems to occur at 30-34 shots per night range. He’s busy but not too busy, though apparently when the Leafs really let him get shelled he’s lights out, though I’m not sure we’d want to test that theory on a consistent night in, night out basis.
Looking to the Draft
While maybe not as important as in previous years, NHL Central Scouting has released their final rankings of Draft Eligible players on Wednesday. Unfortunately for one of Seth Jones, Nathan MacKinnon, and Jonathan Drouin a Panthers uniform will soon be in their future (though Jonathan Huberdeau with either MacKinnon or Drouin seems promising.)
What’s exciting for the Leafs is that picking somewhere between 15-26 they will be drafting a player who should instantly be the second best prospect in their system (Morgan Rielly still holding top honours.)
A few of the interesting names that should be available at the time the Leafs take the podium are Bo Horvat, Ryan Hartman, Kerby Rychel, Max Domi, Jason Dickinson, JT Compher, and Joshua Morrissey (this is without considering the European players who would be available.) The most interesting option of the lot still remains the player for whom I have some region bias, Curtis Lazar.
In preseason rankings Bob McKenzie compared Lazar to Patrick Sharp which is pretty decent starting point, but that was before Lazar began working on rounding out his defensive game. Lazar began the season as quick winger with one of the best wrist shots in the Western Hockey League, and he has rounded out his game to establish himself as a two way centre who looks just as comfortable on the penalty kill as he does on the power play.
Some early season learnings on his 200 foot game made for a few slow months and his offensive numbers have suffered, as such Lazar who at times was considered a potential top ten player, has slid down to 20th among North American skaters, but he has moved up six spots since the midterm rankings.
While Lazar isn’t massive, he’s just at six feet and around 200lbs as an 18 year old which has also given him some comfort in playing a more physical game this season than he did last year. So far in the playoffs he has six goals in 13 games with two helpers playing on a line that is drawing strong defensive matchups.
Given Toronto’s recent success with Morgan Rielly it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for the team to again consider looking to the Western League in the first round, and with Kadri on the big club, and Colborne about ready to challenge for a role the Leafs are desperately short on capable centers in their pipeline.