Overall Record 11-6 (Last week 2-1-0) - 3rd Atlantic
The state of the union is good, not great, but good. (Donald Trump school of grammar)
Last week was interesting for a multitude of reasons as a Toronto fan. First and foremost, you have to be happy with a 2-1-0 record on Toronto's last three games. One was good, one was bad, and one was ugly; but 4 points out of a possible 6 is always a good thing. (More on these games later). However, off the ice there have been some notable developments as well. As noted on HNIC, Nylander's holdout sage has mutated, and now apparently Dubas and Co. are listening to trade proposals for the young Swede. Personally, I think this is just Dubas applying a pressure point to coax Nylander and his fathe- um sorry I meant agent, into being a bit more reasonable. Although, in the same interview, it was said that Nylander hasn't been offered Pasternak money. What does that mean? Your guess is as good as mine, but i'd say they have probably offered him a 6-6.25/7 year deal or something along those lines. I think that's a fair deal on both sides, if you don't like it just take a bridge and gamble on yourself. Then again I'm writing this blog and hes probably in a hot tub with Swedish models right now, waiting to get his NHL contract, so maybe I should be quiet.
My hot take on this situation is that Nylander will be signed for a 7 million by 6 year deal between the dates of November 21-30. This would front load his cap for 2018-19 season, and bring his AAV down similar to Pasternak's ( ~6.7m) for the remainder of the contract. What happens in the next few weeks will set the tone for how Dubas deals with his young stars.
LAST WEEKS GAMES
Friday was a momentous night for the league, inducting 5 legends and Gary Bettman into the hall. (Shout out to Willy O'Ree, he should have been in decades ago, but good to see it finally happen.) Other members inducted included: Martin St. Louis, Jayne Hefford, Garry, Alexander Yakushev, and Martin Brodeur.
Boy could the Devils have used vintage Marty in net Friday night. Toronto dominated the night, scoring at will in yet another offensive explosion, winning 6-1 and burying backup Keith Kinard on 32 shots. The leafs were assisted by some much needed bottom 6 scoring, (Brown, Johnsson, Ennis) while the usual suspects chimed in as well. The 6-1 score may have swept yet another great performance from Freddy under the rug, as he stopped 38 of 39, bringing his GAA to 2.10 and SV% to .933 (YUCK.) Just look at his last 5 game splits.
The bad, well, we all saw the bad Saturday night. 5-1 loss to Boston. What did i say last week, that TD garden is our hill house, and the Bergeron line is our bent neck lady. It didn't matter that they were firing at a horrible clip at home (albeit they scored 5 in a loss to Van at home) we just can not win games in that building. Sure we didn't have Freddy, or Matthews or Willy, but it seems like nothing goes our way in that barn. We out shot them 21 to 6 in the first and came out of it down 1-0. After that, the wheels just fell off. Bostons top line combined for 9 points in this route. To make matters worse, Pastrnak, who has become intrinsically linked with Nylander as of late, buried a hat-trick in our face while willy was watching from his chalet. Add insult to Injury, backup Garret Sparks is quoted as saying: "That (Pastrnak's 1-timer) is the hardest shot I've ever seen." Maybe don't pump their tires after letting in 5 goals, but i forgive him. It hurts. I hate losing to this team. I would rather get sucker punched then see the Leafs lose to Boston. It makes me sick. But what can you do, that top line owns real-estate in our head. Hopefully when the young guns return from negotiations and separated shoulders we can change this. (ideally for November 28th when we play them at home.)
Remember that game we lost to Dallas when we dominated last week? Khudobin stole a win for the Stars. Well thankfully Freddy did that for us last Tuesday. Out shot 37-20 Toronto somehow managed to win 3-1 against the floundering Golden Knights. We just didn't look good out there at all. It was ugly. Toronto was dominated in the second, out shot 16 to 8. However, Brown and Marner each picked a corner, and Naz got an empty netter, and they leave with a victory. A win is a win, but I'm sure Bab's didn't like it all that much.
What is to come:
Toronto is heading out west, on a three game stint. Auston Matthews is coming with the team, as head coach Mike Babcock says this is good for his mental health. Maybe he would rather be in warm California then Toronto right now. Ahhh, California, where the weather is nice, and the kush is nicer. (Maybe he'll medicate his shoulder) However, the LA Kings are not nice, they are not good, they are bad. The NHL's worst offensive team, with only 33 Total goals on the year. I shit you not, Tavares, Marner and Reilly have a COMBINED 38 AWAY POINTS on the road. Toronto then faces a Thursday / Friday back to back against San Jose and Anaheim respectively. I predict 2-0-1 on this road trip, as Toronto has to play an overtime game at some point, right?