SportsThree biggest questions facing Maple Leafs entering training camp

20:10  09 september  2019
20:10  09 september  2019 Source:   sportsnet.ca

The Leafs’ top line heading into training camp is John Tavares and (insert two names here)

The Leafs’ top line heading into training camp is John Tavares and (insert two names here) The Maple Leafs open training camp on Sept. 12 and top-line centre John Tavares could be without both of his regular linemates. Mitch Marner and Zach Hyman helped Tavares to career highs in goals (47) and points (88) last season, but a contract stalemate is expected to keep Marner off the ice while Hyman is still rehabbing his right knee after surgery in April. Marner’s status could change over the next 10 days. There are no signs pointing to a deal but there is a belief that the parties might be closing in on a three-year contract with an average annual value of $9.5 million (U.S.) — in short, a lucrative bridge deal before what could be an even bigger payday.

As the Toronto Maple Leafs enter their 2019-20 training camp , here are three more questions we’re eager to learn the answers to… Mike Babcock is hanging over the railing at the Toronto Maple Leafs ’ practice facility motioning to the dozens of blue and white skaters buzzing around the ice during a

Training camps around the NHL open Thursday, and barring a massive rush to put their signatures on extensions an All-Star team’s worth of unsigned restricted free agents will not be But here’s a look at four teams that are the most intriguing stories entering training camp 2019: Toronto Maple Leafs .

Three biggest questions facing Maple Leafs entering training camp© Nathan Denette/CP mitch-marner-laughs-with-auston-matthews

Current cap space: $0

GM: Kyle Dubas

Head coach: Mike Babcock

Assistants: Dave Hakstol, Paul McFarland

Unsigned player: Mitchell Marner

“Hey, you know who any of these guys are?”

Mike Babcock is hanging over the railing at the Toronto Maple Leafs’ practice facility motioning to the dozens of blue and white skaters buzzing around the ice during a pre-camp practice. He flashes a smile.

The head coach is joking but only half.

Kyle Dubas put in some serious work this off-season, refurbishing the top of the defence and the fringes of everything else, including the men joining Babcock on the bench.

Maple Leafs' Michael Hutchinson ready to 'try to earn the guys' trust' on and off the ice

Maple Leafs' Michael Hutchinson ready to 'try to earn the guys' trust' on and off the ice The Maple Leafs acquired Hutchinson in December and expect him to try and win the role as backup to Frederik Andersen. He posted a 2.64 GAA and .914 save percentage in five games with Toronto last season.

The biggest question facing the Columbus Blue Jackets is who will replace two-time Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky, who signed a seven-year Seven teams are entering training camp with a new coach. Joel Quenneville (Florida) is the most decorated of the group as a three -time Stanley Cup

Three biggest questions facing Senators entering training camp - Sportsnet.ca. From roster makeup to the goaltending situation and beyond, Wayne Scanlan looks at three big questions around the team heading into camp .

Energy, excitement and introductions are the order of the day as another high-expectations, high-paced campaign gets underway. Jobs and raises, legacies and demotions—it’s all on the line. (By the way, anyone seen that Marner kid lately?)

“New faces in. You get to be around some old ones. It’s just good energy. Guys are excited,” says Morgan Rielly, suddenly one of the old guys, at age 25. “We’re in a good place, and you can tell guys worked hard this summer. They’re all happy to be back. It’s just about the energy and the excitement, and we’re looking forward to getting going.”

But with so much turnover, so much talent joining the Atlantic (hiya, Florida!), and so many familiar characters — Nazem Kadri, Patrick Marleau, Jake Gardiner, Ron Hainsey — continuing their journey elsewhere, have the Maple Leafs actually improved?

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Arid desert lands cover about one third of the earth’s surface. 'Doctor Who' has an unbelievably huge fan base all over the world, so big in fact, that the 50th anniversary episode aired in 94 countries simultaneously, earning it a Guinness World Record.

Maple Leaf is a proper noun, and thus the plural is Maple Leafs , not Maple Leaves. Finally, though I doubt it was part of the original naming decision, but there’s a lot of opportunity for teasing the team if the last word is “leaves” and they fall apart in the third period with any regularity.

“It’s a tough question,” considers goalie Frederik Andersen. “We’ll find out sooner rather than later.”

Here are three more questions we’re eager to learn the answers to…

1. When will Mitch Marner join the Maple Leafs?

Dubas doesn’t want Leafs Nation to fret about that big doughnut you see to the right of the club’s “current cap space.” Math wizard Brendan Pridham has a mapped a plan to squeeze the Maple Leafs’ leading scorer — when/if he signs his second contract — under the ceiling, be it short- or long-term.

Injuries to regulars Zach Hyman (knee) and Travis Dermott (shoulder), who will start the season on injured reserve, and heavy use of LTIR (Nathan Horton, David Clarkson) will permit the Leafs with enough wiggle room for their star winger, whether he signs on Sept. 12 or Dec. 1.

As concerning as the Marner stalemate may be and as large as the gap is believed to be — Marner’s camp preferring a commitment in Auston Matthews’s ballpark (five years at $11.6 million); Dubas thrilled if he could keep this thing to seven digits — there is good reason to not lose sleep over this sticky bit of business:

The Maple Leafs are contenders, but Marner isn't their only question mark

The Maple Leafs are contenders, but Marner isn't their only question mark TORONTO - Mike Babcock is tired of being slapped around. The Maple Leafs bench boss is proud of his squad's transformation over the past four seasons but could most definitely do without a fourth opening-round playoff exit. Three times is plenty, thank you very much. "Let's be honest: We're a really good team in the National Hockey League," Babcock said during his first official media availability of the 2019-20 season. "It's taken us some time to get here, but now we're a team where we feel like we have an opportunity (to go on a deep playoff run) each year.

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. (MLSE) is a professional sports and commercial real estate company based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Ontario says pro teams can open training facilities. Baseball plotting a return, but many questions Ray Ferraro and Darren Dreger, two of the biggest names in the game join forces for The Ray Joe Bowen and Jim Ralph have the third period call between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vegas Golden

1. Marner is but one of several high-profile young stars trying to move the goalposts coming out his entry-level deal.

2. An offer sheet, despite rampant rumour and speculation, never materialized.

3. Neither side is exploring the trade route, and neither is bashing the other in the press.

4. Toronto is a rare club with enough offence, power-play weapons and winger depth to survive a few weeks without an elite player like Marner.

5. Marner’s greatest chance to be paired with a centre that compliments his game and lift a Stanley Cup is right here in his hometown. No offence to the Zurich Lions.

That said, Marner’s agent, Darren Ferris, has a track record of dragging these things out longer than necessary. And, thanks to the great William Nylander fiasco of 2018, so too does Dubas.

Who blinks first? How much of a toll could a prolonged absence take on Marner’s season? Who steals that coveted spot on John Tavares’s right side in the meantime? Will the Marner deal bulldoze a new standard for RFA wingers?

The intrigue might kill Leafs fans before the salary cap does.

Tracking Mitch Marner's career: From 2015 fourth-overall pick to $65 million man

Tracking Mitch Marner's career: From 2015 fourth-overall pick to $65 million man The Maple Leafs and Marner, 22, finally agreed to a six-year contract Friday. Let's look back at the already impressive career he's put together.

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2. How will Toronto fill the holes opened by injury?

Since Dubas joined the franchise, there has never been a camp as bustling with so many unknowns as 2019’s. Marner’s standoff and Hyman’s rehab (a return to action at any point in October means a speedy recovery) results in Tavares taking faceoffs on opening night between two fresh faces. Patrick Marleau is gone.

Top-six slots on the NHL’s fourth-most-prolific offence are ripe for the taking. Special teams time has presented itself as well.

Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Tavares needn’t worry; Andreas Johnsson and Kasperi Kapanen, given nice raises in the summer, represent the next tier. But there is space for a prized and patient farm-system product like Trevor Moore or Jeremy Bracco — or stud KHL import Ilya Mikheyev, 24 — to make some noise in the more creative half of the lineup.

“[Hyman’s injury] opens opportunities to move up the lineup. Us guys who want to make the team have to be ready because it might be your best opportunity right out the gate here,” says Moore. “The biggest thing with Hyms being out is the penalty kill. I hope I can make an impression there.”

On the back end, newbies Cody Ceci and Tyson Barrie supplant the minutes-munching Ron Hainsey and Nikita Zaitsev (both off to Ottawa) on the right side of the top four, but Dermott’s delay creates a wide-open contest for the blue line’s third pairing.

Maple Leafs' HC Mike Babcock handed out his prognosis on team injuries

Maple Leafs' HC Mike Babcock handed out his prognosis on team injuries Toronto Maple Leafs Mike Babcock handed out his prognosis on the length of time the team will be without two of its injured players, including forward Zach Hyman and defenseman Travis Dermott, according to TSN’s Kristen Shilton. Bobcock said that Hyman, who is recovering from ACL surgery, is likely going to miss 14 to 15 games for the Leafs. That would suggest a potential return sometime in late October or early November. The head coach also said that Dermott, out due to offseason shoulder surgery, will likely miss as many as 12 to 14 games and likely will return at a similar time to Hyman.

The fate of first-rounders Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren should create headlines either way as we debate whether the kids have been given enough time to develop or management is preventing its best talent from rising to the top.

While low-risk acquisitions, Ben Harpur and Jordan Schmaltz, arrive hungry to stick with their second big-league franchise, others like Justin Holl and Martin Marincin try to keep their NHL dreams afloat.

Earn your ice, fellas.

3. Is this the year the Leafs finally name a captain?

Our guess: Yes, it is.

Why else would Dubas, a month ahead of puck drop, publicly announce he’s “a lot more close” to slapping a C on one of his players’ sweaters than he used to be. Surely, he doesn’t want to fuel more debate around a topic that has long grown wearisome 42 months after Dion Phaneuf left town.

There is truth to the theory Babcock has essentially been captain as well as coach. It’s time for the players to take more on themselves.

Very telling was Frederik Andersen’s choice to answer an on-ice question last week — In which area do you see the most improvement from September of 2018? — by invoking something less tangible.

“Mostly off the ice,” Andersen said, “the leadership of the group that’s been here for a while now has been growing a bit.”­

More interesting than the symbolism of the extra letter is the actual leadership dynamic at play in a dressing room that has now shed the last of the old guard (Nazem Kadri and Jake Gardiner) and whose core revolves around one goalie, just one defenceman, and seven solid forwards — each capable of 20 goals.

Rielly (longest serving), Tavares (most accomplished) and Matthews (highest paid, greatest ceiling) — the three finalists for the honour — are all in their prime, all devoted to their craft and the organization. All go about their business a little differently, however, and they have one NHL playoff series victory between them.

If management elevates one top dog in the room, how does that shape the egos and atmosphere behind the doors?

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Damien Cox: Shanahan’s Maple Leafs master plan remains a rough draft .
There is perception, and there is reality. For the Maple Leafs, the perception is that since Brendan Shanahan arrived in town more than five years ago and ushered in a new way of thinking, the club has dramatically addressed its historic inability to build a talent base through the NHL draft. As of today, however, there’s not as much evidence of that as you might think. Four players drafted in the Shanahan era are currently on the roster: William Nylander (No. 8 in 2014), Mitch Marner (No. 4 in 2015), Travis Dermott (No. 34 in 2015) and Auston Matthews (No. 1 in 2016). Six drafts in the Shanahan era and 48 selections have so far yielded four NHL players.

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