In this edition of Toronto Maple Leafs’ News & Rumors, I’ll consider the changing shape of on-air media and what that might mean for Maple Leafs’ consumers. Second, I’ll share the ideas of one of The Hockey Writers’ regular readers and commenters about the shape of the bottom-six forwards and the rising prospects who might be ready for the NHL.
Finally, with the quiet that seems to shout that something big might be on its way, I’ll look back at another THW reader’s idea about the possibility of bringing Patrick Kane to the team. It would take some creativity, but what a jolt of energy that might give the club.
Item One: Viewership Is Changing, and So Are the Maple Leafs?
Although I have a few years to go, approaching 80 years of age I’m old enough to remember a time before television – at least at my house. Now, in my lifetime, are we moving away from traditional television to something quite different?
According to Google, last December, over 16 million Canadians streamed YouTube on their TV screens. That statistic suggests where traditional television is probably headed. The Maple Leafs have seen the subtitles on the screen and have announced that Leafs Nation Network will go off the air.
It would seem that professional sports both globally and in North America will be making deals with streaming services to show live games. It isn’t that consumers won’t get the content; in fact, perhaps much more will be available.
However, with the Maple Leafs, one thing I hope continues is the ability to see the Toronto Marlies play. Although I didn’t avail myself of every opportunity to do so, I did enjoy watching when I could.
It might be a more exciting time to be a Maple Leafs’ fan; however, it’s too soon to tell now what that might look like. More news soon.
Item Two: Right Now, the Maple Leafs Seem Loaded with Right-Shot Forwards
Regular THW reader and commenter gcmgome shared an interesting insight after a recent post. He noted that, if we looked at the holes left in the lineup after the departures of Jason Spezza, Ondrej Kase, and Ilya Mihkeyev, at first glance it would seem as if Maple Leafs’ general manager Kyle Dubas has signed four right-shooting forwards to fill these spots.
However, gcmgome noted that, when he looked a little deeper into the organization, of the forwards he saw as potentially NHL ready, only Joey Anderson was a right-hand shooter. Some of the left-shooting forwards in the organization included Alex Steeves, Bobby McMann, and Nick Robertson. All three, he believed, could challenge for a middle-six role out of training camp.
By the way, he predicted that McMann would surprise out of camp and make the opening-night roster. gcmgome noted that to his mind McMann didn’t get knocked off of the puck as easily as the other two. He thinks McMann is the biggest and strongest of the Marlies’ hopefuls and expects him to get a look this season.
Item Three: Revisiting Patrick Kane to the Maple Leafs
Speaking of ideas from THW readers, given the lack of action on the part of the Maple Leafs and the feeling that something big might be coming, I’d like to revisit the biggest idea I’ve heard recently. That idea came from frequent commenter BossSause about a month ago.
Bosssause believed the Maple Leafs might take advantage of the Chicago Blackhawks’ obvious desire to rebuild to see if Patrick Kane might be available in a trade. Kane would surely solve a Maple Leafs’ problem and give the second line increased oomph.
Because the Blackhawks gathered a large number of choices at the 2022 NHL Entry Draft and are obviously looking for younger players, could the Maple Leafs move out some prospects and a bit of salary cap for Kane? Thinking wildly, would a package of Alex Kerfoot, Rasmus Sandin, Nick Robertson and others be enough to shake Kane free? What else might it take?
Obviously, the team would have to move contracts to create salary-cap space. But, is there a creative way to get such a deal done? That kind of trade would turn a very cloudy day for Maple Leafs’ fans into a very sunny day indeed.
Kane’s a right-winger, as is William Nylander. But, he’d sure give the team some jump. One can be creative for such a chance – right?
What’s Next for the Maple Leafs?
On the face of it, so many of the rumors floating around seem crazy. Still, in the case of Kane, might there be logic to it?
The rumor is that Kane isn’t happy to be part of a rebuild. Furthermore, Kane’s from nearby Buffalo, New York. He’d be closer to home and much nearer another Stanley Cup win. Would he move to become part of a high-caliber team like the Maple Leafs?