The Florida Panthers will see the Toronto Maple Leafs twice over the last seven games of the regular season. With that in mind, Achariya Rezak from the wonderfully-named Pension Plan Puppets drops in to give us the skinny on the rebuilding Buds.
With the season winding down and the Maple Leafs already eliminated from playoff contention, has any kind of Auston Matthews watch started among the fan base?
We have a tank watch column that publishes monthly that carefully tracks the games remaining, % chance at "first" in Tank, and the number of points gained. It's written by noted PPP pundit El Seldo, and often bemoans the fact that the NHL will fix the Auston lotto for Arizona.
With over 90% of year one under Mike Babcock in the books, how would you rate his first season as head coach?
We have a secret theory that whenever Babcock would win too much, Lou Lamoriello would either trade a guy, or convince a guy to be on IR, or call up the AHL goaltender. Babcock doesn't need his style of coaching proven -- there are articles that explain in detail how masterful he is at taking whatever he has and adjusting his style prudently and accordingly. The only thing he's missed throughout the year are the guys who can "break the game" -- and now that Nylander and his cohorts are up for the post-trade-deadline games of the season (and can't hurt the tank), the Leafs are winning more and more.
I'd hazard to guess most Panther fans are familiar with William Nylander and, of course, Zach Hyman, but who are some of the other Leafs' prospects currently playing for the club that we should familiarize ourselves with going forward?
Nazem Kadri has emerged as one of the best, dirtiest, rattiest little ****s on the ice. He hits hard, he draws so many penalties that NHL referees are starting to ignore him (no joke, see here), and he also scores a lot of goals. A new-to-us player is Ben Smith, who joins after less than a full season with the San Jose Sharks.