Entering April, the NHL season is nearly complete for the Toronto Maple Leafs. It has been a campaign filled with pain, which was exactly what was promised to the fans this year. Then the rebuild started to kick in and players were shipped off in exchange for draft picks and prospects.
The kids were called up and made a lasting impression on the management, coaching staff and fan base. They displayed skill, heart and gave fans a valuable glimpse into what the potential future of the Maple Leafs could be shaped into. Maple Leafs News aims to cover the biggest stories surrounding the Blue and White. The previous edition can be found right here.
This article will be covering the first round picks the Leafs have in the upcoming draft as well as Nazem Kadri and his suspension.
Penguins Gift Leafs Another First Rounder
Phil Kessel was arguably the biggest Maple Leafs player to be traded away. He was shipped off to Pittsburgh in a deal that netted the Buds prospects Kasperi Kapanen and Scott Harrington, as well as a conditional first round pick. The condition hinged on Pittsburgh making the playoffs.
Maybe a month ago, the Penguins were floundering and were in danger of slipping out of their wild card spot in the East. Fast forward to today where the Pens have clinched their post-season berth and are one of the hottest teams in the NHL. Ironically enough, Phil Kessel has been scorching hot as of late and has helped to propel his new club into their playoff position.
With the Pens having officially clinched a spot, their first round pick this year will be transferred over to the Maple Leafs. It was a good trade that has so far worked out for both teams. Pittsburgh needs to win now and will be entering the post-season as one of the scariest teams in the league.
So here are #leafs draft picks by round for 2016: First (2), Second (2), Third (2), Fourth (2), Fifth (1), Sixth (2), Seventh (1).
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) April 2, 2016
Toronto got some young prospects, and while the jury is still out on whether they will be NHL regulars or career minor leaguers, gathering young talent is a good place to start for the rebuilding Leafs. The second first rounder is the real story here. The Maple Leafs are on the upswing and having a second high pick in a deep draft class can only be a good thing.
The Leafs will have options with their selection. They could stay and take a solid player, whether that be a big shutdown defenseman or a forward with good size. They could also potentially package the pick and a player and move up in the order if they find a willing trade partner.
Options abound, and in a deep draft class, the more high-end picks a team has the better their chances are of landing a player or two who can contribute to the rebuilding efforts in the very near future.
Nazem Kadri Done for the Season
Nazem Kadri will be ending his season a few games earlier than his teammates. The centre was suspended four games (which is the rest of the Leafs season) by the NHL after his high cross-checking incident with the Detroit Red Wings Luke Glendening. Kadri is considered a repeat offender under the collective bargaining agreement and will thus be forfeiting $200,000 of his salary.
Kadri's season is over. He will forfeit $200,000 in salary as a repeat offender. https://t.co/dIVbMSHCp9
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) April 4, 2016
This isn’t the first instance of trouble Kadri has seen this season. He was recently called for three counts of diving and was fined $5,000 last week. There was also the throat slashing incident with Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano that got him into hot water with the NHL in February. That resulted in a maximum fine of $5,000.
Nazem Kadri has now forfeited $396,078.77 in salary for three NHL suspensions, two diving fines and one throat-slash fine.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) April 4, 2016