Maple Leafs THW Readers’ Insights: Klingberg, Hyman, Bunting & Soupy

I had such good responses from readers of my Toronto Maple Leafs’ posts two weeks ago when I shared some of their insights, that I decided to do it again. I value readers’ insights and additions to my work, even when they disagree with me – as you will see later in this post. 

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I feel in debt to those who read my posts and take the time to add to the discussion sections at the bottom. As I often have noted, I make errors in both my writing; and, as you will see, I’m reminded of these and corrected in a gentle way. 

Related: Maple Leafs THW Readers’ Insights: Playing in Canada, New Signs & Team Effort

Thank you, readers. This is the second time that I’ve shared your comments, and I’d like to do this again in about two weeks or so.

Reader Comment One: About Adding John Klingberg to the Roster at the Trade Deadline (BossSause)

(The Old Prof’s Note) In a recent post, regular reader “BossSause” took time to disagree with my comment not to add a player like John Klingberg to the lineup. BossSause noted:

“Actually “Old Prof” I have to disagree with you there. The only thing that doesn’t work is the contract. Pairing him up with Muzzin would make an excellent second pair similar to Reilly and Brodie. He is a natural right side “D” and actually has more career points than Reilly. He is a very good PP point man and is really solid defensively. On top of that, he is about 6-foot-4. His playoff numbers are outstanding and he’s a minute muncher. 

John Klingberg Dallas Stars
John Klingberg, Dallas Stars is being talked about a lot for his trade value.
(Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

He (Klingberg) is now playing on a team that is on the downside of the hill. There is lots of game left in this guy. All of that said; realistically, I’d prefer to see Dubas negotiate with Lou (Lamoriello) on the Island for Scott Mayfield who has a very affordable contract at around $1.4 million per season and is signed through 2023. Not flashy put defensively solid, big at 6-foot-4 and contributes regularly offensively. But the key here too is that he is a righty.”

Reader Comment Two: The Penalty Kill Without Zach Hyman (Guilt Trip )

(The Old Prof’s Note) In a recent post, regular reader “Guilt Trip” added information to a post I’d made about the Maple Leafs’ ability to replace one of own favorite former Maple Leafs’ players Zach Hyman:

Guilt Trip noted: The Maple Leafs’ penalty kill last year was 75 percent with Hyman in the lineup. It ran at 85 percent without him (last season) like it is this season. 

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Then Guilt Trip added an interesting note about the game. “Both the Matthews, Bunting, Kase and the JT (John Tavares), Marner, and Mikheyev lines didn’t allow a five-on-five shot against. The Kampf, Willy (Nylander), and Kerfoot allowed three five-on-five shots.” That’s watching carefully!

Reader Comment Three: Looking Ahead at the End of the Season (nor)

(The Old Prof’s Note) In a recent post, where we were speculating about the end of the regular season, regular reader “nor” added the following information about a number of issues the Maple Leafs might face:

“It’s a long season and Campbell, like any other player, is going to have a few ups and downs. I think he will shake off his down games – you can’t succeed every night. Plus, with each game, there are more video techs trying to find advantages by opposing teams, plus different folks in and out of the lineup.” 

Jack Campbell Toronto Maple Leafs
Jack Campbell, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

nor added, “Points are what counts: so little offense against the (Anaheim) Ducks, but two points in the win column. Five-on-five play is the key for playoffs because special team power plays never seem to come around as often and fewer times as a series goes on. With a revamped schedule now from postponed games, there is more value placed on a backup goalie’s play.”

Reader Comment Four: The Growth of Team Leadership (afp1961)

(The Old Prof’s Note) In a recent post, where the discussion was about team leadership, afp1961 added insights about team leadership and noted some of the improvements the team has made this season.

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“Jim – I’m with you. After leading very large global organizations, I look microscopically at leadership and team dynamics. Agree that this year’s Maple Leafs do seem different. I strongly believe (Auston) Matthews has taken a major leadership step forward. Perhaps it was all the mentorship from (Patrick) Marleau and even (Joe) Thornton, or just having gone through another devastating playoff loss. Whatever it is, Matthews is showing it. 

Patrick Marleau Maple Leafs
Patrick Marleau had a huge positive impact on Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Also, Morgan (Rielly) being signed early and allowed to focus on the game has been a great decision. When you throw in a few key additions like (David) Kampf and (Ondrej) Kase (as well as Michael Bunting) who show up every day and don’t cheat the game, (Old Prof note: I loved that phrase) you start to see a cohesive team coming together.”

Reader Comment Five: What Skillset Michael Bunting Brings to the Team (Chris R)

(The Old Prof’s Note) Speaking of Bunting, this young rookie has become a fan favorite because of the way he plays the game. In a recent post, Chris R added some insights about what attracts fans to Bunting this season.

Michael Bunting Toronto Maple Leafs
Michael Bunting, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

“Bunting’s fun to watch. He’s like an underfoot cat, except he gets himself tripped rather than doing the tripping. Sometimes he can be found buried under an aggrieved player or two, then emerging bright-eyed and hair mussed having drawn yet another penalty. Or cheerfully creating havoc in front of the net. Kudos to Dubas for signing him, both for his on-ice skill and his entertainment value. He’s the firecracker the Leafs have been needing.”

Reader Comment Six: How Hard Must It Be for Jack Campbell to Be On His Game Every Night (Herb_Trollop)

(The Old Prof’s Note) I can name about a dozen readers who comment about almost every article I write. It’s become like a group of old friends who I’ve never met. One of those old-timers is Herb_Trollop, who recently used an example of five-pin bowling to make a point about the difficulty of being a starting goalie in the NHL.

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Herb noted, “Must be hard to perform lights out while winning. I am a 5-pin bowler. A perfect game is all strikes for a grand total of 450. You must throw a perfect ball every single time for a strike. It’s very easy to punch a Head Pin (the middle pin is out leaving the other four pins standing).

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Campbell has to stop the puck every single time. When the team is not scoring, that is more pressure on Jack to stop every single shot. Give him a lead and he can now relax and make those saves. Dueling goaltenders are fun to watch to see who will give up the first goal. There’s tons of pressure there. The toughest job is being a goaltender. (You’re a) Hero one day and a Bum the next.”

Thanks Again for Your Insights

Once again, I so appreciate both the insights and the conversation readers add to the posts. However, I also appreciate the friendly manner in which they engage each other in conversations about their team – the Maple Leafs. 

Thanks for reading and taking the time to add further insights to what I write. Let’s do this again.