There hasn’t been much news coming out of Toronto these days in regards to the Maple Leafs. The headlines are currently dominated by the NHL playoffs, which are in full force. Many teams have already punched their ticket to the second round, which will feature some dynamic match-ups.
Sidney Crosby and his Penguins will take on Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals in what promises to be an entertaining series. The Dallas Stars, led by Jamie Benn, are through to round two, as well as the New York Islanders on the back of the double overtime winner by none other than John Tavares.
Now back to the Maple Leafs. In less than a week, arguably the most important part of their season will be coming up. That would be the draft lottery. More on that shortly. If you want to read the latest edition of Maple Leafs News, you can find it right here.
Toronto Marlies Look Dominant
It was no secret that the Marlies have legitimate Calder Cup aspirations. They had the third best record in AHL history with 114 points and went an incredible 54-16-5-1 through the year. Many of their players now have NHL experience under their belts, thanks to the Maple Leafs’ numerous recalls in the latter part of the season.
This has made the team a force to be reckoned with. They are two games into their first round series against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, a team that finished the regular season with a very respectable 87 points.
2 goal night for Connor Brown & a shutout for Garret Sparks as Marlies beat the Sound Tigers 3-0. Lead best of 5 series 2-0. Home game 28th
— Andi Petrillo (@AndiPetrillo) April 24, 2016
The Marlies aren’t messing around and have secured themselves two wins, both of which came on the road. The team will return later this week and attempt to close out round one on their own home ice. The most impressive player, Connor Brown, is most definitely a stand out.
He’s potting goals and looks dangerous on each and every rush. The Marlies are an incredibly deep team and this will help them over the course of the playoffs. They have a bunch of players who can all contribute to the game on both sides of the puck. Look for them to continue going through the playoffs full steam ahead.
Connor Brown potting a breakaway goal with 0.3 seconds on the clock. Nice celebration too. pic.twitter.com/pY34PoYVSf
— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) April 24, 2016
The Draft Lottery
This coming Saturday, April 30th, is possibly the most anticipated day of the year for Maple Leaf fans. This is the day the NHL is holding the draft lottery and will determine where all the teams fall pick wise.
If you’re a Leafs fan, you obviously want the top pick and with it, the chance to select Auston Matthews. The Leafs would be right to covet the American. He’s a big, skilled centre, exactly what the Leafs have lacked since the departure of former captain Mats Sundin.
— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) April 25, 2016
It’s not the end of the world if the Buds grab the second or third picks. These selections would most likely yield one of the powerhouse Finns who have made so much noise this year. Patrick Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi have both been treats to watch this season. Laine has a heavy and accurate shot, while Puljujarvi is the more well-rounded of the pair. Both have size and speed to burn.
"Dubois is multi dimensional. He played all three forward positions this year." Marr on Pierre-Luc Dubois.
— Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer (@OilersNow) April 14, 2016
The Leafs can only fall as far as fourth. While many will see that as a failure, there are a multitude of solid options to choose with this selection. Pierre-Luc Dubois has vaulted up the draft rankings, while Matthew Tkachuk remains as solid an option as ever. Defensemen Olli Juolevi and Jakob Chychrun are also viable options for the rebuilding Maple Leafs.
The eyes of every NHL team and their fans will be glued to their televisions on Saturday night. For the Maple Leafs, adding a top notch player is a must if their rebuild is to continue on schedule.