World Championship Update: Leafs Doing Things

In case you forgot, the IIHF World Hockey Championship is going on as we speak! It’s an event that kids of some backgrounds aspire to win, and others aspire to never participate in, because that means they didn’t spend enough time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Leafs, of course, spent no time in the playoffs, and as such have a bunch of guys playing. The Group Stages are done, so here’s a quick guide to what’s happened so far. 

Fittingly, the team with the Maple Leaf on their chest has the most Maple Leafs on their roster. Team Canada has James Reimer starting in goal, Nazem Kadri trying to score goals, and Morgan Rielly playing on the point. After a surprising shootout loss to France to kick off the tournament, Canada has won out the round robin, going 6-1. 

However, none of them have been overly important. Reimer has played in 4 of the 7 games, and has allowed 9 goals on 99 shots (a 0.911 SV%). Behind him? His former backup and current Oilers starter Ben Scrivens, who has a perfect 3-0 record and a 0.953 SV%. Nazem Kadri is goalless through 7 games and 18 shots, but has three assists. Morgan Rielly has been extremely sheltered, acting as the #7 D and playing just 7:47 per game, but has a goal and two assists in his 54 total minutes.

Over on Team Russia, Nikolai Kulemin finds a similar spot to his Olympic role. While he had no points in that tournament, Kulemin has scored on 3 of 15 shots and added an assist. Not the best numbers on the team, but more in line with his NHL production. Russia leads the tournament with a perfect 7-0 record.

Team USA has looked to Jake Gardiner to man the blue line for seventeen and a half minutes a night, and he’s looked pretty good in the process. He’s put up a powerplay goal and three assists, and is a +2. It’s not as impressive as Seth Jones’ coming out party (2G 7A in 7 GP @ 25:20 a night), but he’s been a key contributor to Group B’s 2 seed.

Last, technically least, but still leaving people curious is Leo Komarov. He obviously wasn’t on the Leafs this year, but he’s been rumoured to be looking at an NHL return and for the time being, he’s Toronto property. Komarov has played more than most of his fellow Finnish forwards, getting just over 16 minutes of ice time per game. He hasn’t done much offensively, however, taking just four shots and putting up just a single goal and an assist.

The Quarter Finals begin on Thursday. Gardiner’s USA takes on the Czechs, Kulemin’s Russian gets the (theoretically) easy game against France, and the three Canadian musketeers take on Komarov’s Finns.

  • Kadri has looked decent with Hodgson and Brouwer, but can’t find the net. What are the chances that the leafs trade for Hodgson and play him with Kadri and Clarkson (Clarkson is kinda similar to Brouwer). Call me crazy but weirder things have happened with the leafs.

  • Does Carlyle coach Team USA and Team Canada? I don’t understand why Rielly is buried as the 7th D, why Kadri is getting third line minutes and why Gardiner is used as 4D (and occassionally benched by Lavvy) behind Jones, Dekeyser and Murphy (who?). At least Carlyle gave these players much more TOI per game. Lavvy and Tippett make Carlyle look like a great coach in developing and putting players in a position to succeed.