Photo credit:Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Klingberg questionable, Timmins improving, and a Nylander origin story: Maple Leafs News and Notes
By Jon Steitzer3 months ago
Time zones? What’s their deal. Nothing like waking up to find out the Leafs have already practiced and you’re getting Josh Kloke pizza pictures on our social media feed before you’ve finished your first cup of coffee for the day.
Anyways, the Leafs are still in Sweden and seem to be enjoying themselves. They skated today and it’s not surprising that the lines are still very much the same. It looks like Friday’s game has the potential to be the first one of the season that has neither John Klingberg or Ryan Reaves in the lineup. Exciting times but exciting times that emphasize the organization’s need to start righting some of its summer wrongs.
John Klingberg on the third pairing against Vancouver worked out pretty well. At least nothing went wrong. He played a full games worth of shifts and yet we are back to where he was Friday night against the Leafs, vaguely injured. Not seeing Klingberg with the Leafs Swedish Mafia in the Borje premiere photos definitely supports that something is wrong with Klingberg, so Keefe might not be misleading people about Klingberg being hurt as much as initially thought and you’d assume that he would have been anxious to participate in the Global Series.
Nevertheless, Klingberg being out of the Leafs lineup doesn’t really hurt the Leafs either. Benoit and Lagesson have demonstrated their worth as bottom pairing defenders and neither Detroit or Minnesota are so deep offensively that they’ll be tested too much.
Conor Timmins continues to look strong in practice sessions with the Toronto Maple Leafs and while his status for Friday’s game is less clear, there is a good chance that the defenseman could make his return to the lineup on Sunday against the Minnesota Wild when they play the second of two games in Stockholm, Sweden.
David Alter is also reporting that Connor Timmins is very close to rejoining the Maple Leafs and with that a bit more balance on the blueline.
Timmins is definitely an offence first option and comes with some defensive question marks, no different than John Klingberg. And Timmins’ injury history certainly comes with some reliability challenges but for the immediate future, Conor is a strong puck moving, additional offensive minded defender who can take some of the pressure off Morgan Rielly and offset the reduction of right handed shots on the backend with Timothy Liljegren out and John Klingberg being questionable for the time being.
Joshua Kloke of The Athletic has a terrific article out today on Thommie Bergman that definitely warrants a read. Bergman is famously the scout behind some of the Leafs biggest Nordic hits in recent years including Andreas Johnsson, Pierre Engvall, Leo Komarov, Anton Stralman, Viktor Stalberg, Carl Gunnarsson, and a couple of lesser-known guys like Alex Steen, Tuukka Rask and William Nylander.
The thoughts on the Rask situation, his scouting process, and how an opinionated scout survived Quinn, Burke, and Lamoriello and their hardnosed approaches in addition to every other Leafs GM in the past 25 years makes it a great read, but most notably it worth celebrating that it was Bergman who went to bat for Nylander and made the case for him as a special talent. There is also some comfort in knowing that the debate was always Ehlers vs. Nylander and not Ritchie vs. Nylander. Even in the darkest moments of the Dave Nonis era, the Leafs scouting team at least had some perspective.
As for the Ehlers vs. Nylander comparison, Ehlers has played two more games that Willy and Nylander has seven more goals and 48 more points. Willy is also definitely trending to expand that gap this season. William Nylander also has more career goals than Nick Ritchie has career points.
I’m going to need a David Kampf Christmas Skate shirt yesterday.
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