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Photo Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel / USA TODAY Sports

2016-17 Leafs’ Season in Review: Week 2

It’s the weekend! This means most of you are probably out enjoying this gorgeous weather instead of reading a Toronto Maple Leafs blog in the middle of June, but I digress. For those who are around and catching up on what they may have missed during the work week, here’s the latest in our Season in Review series:

Frederik Gauthier

He is a shutdown centre who has great on-ice awareness and play well at both ends of the rink. He can take good care of the puck and win battles, while also serving as an asset at even-strength and on the penalty kills. A utility player, Gauthier can bring a lot to the lineup and knows where he fits in at every level. -Sammi Silber

Nazem Kadri

Finally, Kadri’s discipline was abnormally bad for a player who was well documented as an elite penalty drawer. This is a weakness of his, but it’s also not his fault. It’s quite documented that Kadri seemed to have a lot of calls go against him, whether it be him getting weak calls, or having some drawn penalties missed by the refs. He even had a drawn penalty called back. The refs weren’t giving him anything this year, partly because of his reputation with drawing penalties. While I wouldn’t put Kadri’s lack of discipline on him, it’s certainly something that should improve next year. – Scott Maxwell

Jake Gardiner

You know what I mean, those moments that make you scream at your TV “What the @#%$ Jake?”, not even so much because you think he sucks, but more because you know that he’s better than that. Like most defensemen who rely on a strong first pass to transition to the offensive zone, Gardiner occasionally makes BAD passes. However, as he’s grown, it’s starting to leave his game, especially in the playoffs where it was almost non-existent. – Scott Maxwell

Nikita Zaitsev

Zaitsev started a higher percentage of his shifts in the defensive zone than the rest of his teammates, and most matchup driven metrics have him spending the bulk of his time facing the toughest opponents available for much of the time that he’s on the ice. Names like Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, John Tavares, Brad Marchand, Claude Giroux, Jaromir Jagr, Henrik Zetterberg, and Mark Stone litter his most frequent matchups list; combine that with penalty kill time, and you realize that this is a player that’s been playing hockey at full tilt all season. – Jeff Veillette

William Nylander

It’s crazy to think about how amazing Nylander was this year, and then remember that this was his first full season in the NHL. While he has an extra year of development over Matthews and Marner, there were times where Nylander could dominate the game, especially down the stretch when the games mattered. – Scott Maxwell

Check back Monday for the beginning of the next group of five! Also, be sure to go back and check out Week 1 if you haven’t.

  • Stan Smith

    Kadri plays on the edge. That is part of his effectiveness. When you do that you are going to take penalties. I would rather see him maintain his aggressive style at the cost of taking a few penalties.

    I look for Zaitsev to have a beast of a season this year, now that he has a season under his belt. Gardiner improved immensely as the season went on. I would like to see these two start as the top pairing, unless the Leafs do pick up another top pairing dman.

    I still think Gauthier is the heir apparent for the 4th line centre, but with his long term injury, and how Boyle looked last season, it wouldn’t bother me if they overpaid Boyle on a two year deal to retain him. That would not only give Gauthier time to recover, and added depth in that position once he is healthy.