Patrick Kane wasn’t considering Toronto, Leafs wanted Barbashev too: News and Notes

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Jon Steitzer
1 year ago
Friday through Sunday have been pretty eventful for the Leafs, so understandably today might be a little quieter. The fact that Toronto has come off back to back games means today is understandably a day off for the players, but it also hilariously means that tomorrow’s morning skate will still be the closest thing Noel Acciari and Ryan O’Reilly have had to a Leafs practice. I’d love to be writing up some first impressions of both of them as Leafs by now, but alas it really seems like that first proper practice will be a bit of a milestone before judging what Toronto has here and how to best use them going forward.
Here are a few other notes to start off your week:

Kane wasn’t interested in being a Leaf

Since Patrick Kane has a full no movement clause in his contract I think we can pretty much take this one as solid fact and we can all move on from the idea of bringing Kane to Toronto.
It’s entirely possible that Toronto was/is interested, but pulling off another double retention deal to make it work also seems like the Leafs would be spending unnecessarily to bring more expensive players in rather than looking at who else is out there.
I also wonder if Canadian teams aren’t a possibly for Kane due to his misdemeanor conviction for assaulting a Buffalo taxi driver.
Anyways, plenty of other options out there, onward and upward as they say.

Leafs wanted Barbashev as well

In this morning’s 32 Thoughts podcast Elliotte Friedman mentioned that the Leafs were also pursuing Ivan Barbashev as part of the trade with the Blues. They couldn’t make it work and as such, no Barbashev.
Where that is interesting is that it shows the Leafs not entirely being opposed to adding more upfront, and as Barbashev is a middle six winger with some bite to his game, there is a particular archetype they are leaning towards.
It’s also entirely possible that we see the Leafs double back around to St. Louis at some point. Just because he didn’t come over immediately, doesn’t mean it still can’t happen and if a better deal can’t be found elsewhere, Toronto could be a last minute Plan B for the Blues.

Samsonov was still not at 100% yesterday

I love that quote so much.
It also means that the Leafs are maybe relying too much on their players saying they want to be back in the lineup instead of making the decisions that are better for the team in the longer and shorter term. The Leafs wouldn’t have been perfectly fine to give Kallgren a go, or even see if Woll can handle back-to-back nights, but opted to get Samsonov back in there as quickly as they could. I’m not sure I agree with that when Murray hasn’t established himself as being reliable enough to be counted on when Samsonov needs a break. This also makes me curious if we see the Leafs explore a third goaltender option a la David Rittich from a few years ago.

Nylander reaping the rewards of a strong season

Sherwood Hockey announced a new partnership with Nylander last week:
Sherwood Hockey is thrilled to announce its official partnership with Toronto Maple Leafs Right Winger William Nylander. “Willy Styles” has been using the Sherwood CODE TMP Pro since early in the 2022-2023 NHL season, and he is on pace to shatter his own career highs in both points and goals.
As Sherwood’s newest partner athlete, Willy will play exclusively with a Sherwood CODE TMP Pro stick and Sherwood CODE gloves. The ultra-lightweight stick model is Sherwood’s most technologically advanced stick to date and is designed with high-speed playmakers like Nylander in mind.
Good for Willy, but this is also encouraging from a next contract standpoint, as if Nylander is becoming a marketable sponsorship star, especially one that benefits from being on a high profile team like the Leafs, it’s entirely possible moves like this will keep his next contract in check. That’s a lot of wishful thinking, but it’s all I’ve got at this point.

The game situation leading up to the trade deadline

Kyle Dubas making a late Friday night trade before back-to-back games on the weekend really shows that he isn’t too concerned about making trades at optimal times and that’s probably a good one as the Leafs schedule doesn’t lend itself to easy trade windows in the next week and a half. Toronto plays tomorrow and then there is a two day window before a game in Toronto against Minnesota. Up until Saturday is the Leafs best window for easy peasy, “welcome to the team” stuff.
After that Toronto is on a West Coast/Western Canada road trip that sees them in Seattle on Sunday, back-to-back in Alberta on Wednesday and Thursday, and off for trade deadline day before their game in Vancouver on March 4th.
No easy coverage of the Leafs on deadline day as it is unlikely they’ll practice at all given its a travel day after back to back games, so no seeing who leaves the ice midskate. The Marlies are on the road as well over the trade deadline, so there won’t be any insight coming there either. The Dubas cone of silence will be next level this year.

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