Despite the Toronto Maple Leafs not making the playoffs, there is still a great deal of interesting news floating around about the team. The organization continues to be over the moon after winning the draft lottery which will give them the ability to select first overall.
Auston Matthews is arguably the consensus number one pick, but Finnish sensation Patrick Laine has been hot this last month and is showing no signs of slowing down. Both players are currently representing their countries at the World Championships in Russia, which gives everyone a unique way to watch and scout both at once.
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Mitch Marner Can’t Be Stopped
The Maple Leafs drafted Marner fourth overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. It was a debate among many fans whether the Buds should take the skilled forward. There were some who wanted Noah Hanafin, the defender who was subsequently taken by the Carolina Hurricanes.
A year down the road and you would be hard pressed to find a Leafs’ fan who is upset about the organization taking the Thornhill native. Marner was one of the best in the Ontario Hockey League this year and finished the campaign with his second season of over 100 points. He had 39 goals and 116 to be precise.
Then the playoffs started. Marner didn’t slow down, rather he somehow sped up and has been on a tear as London has rampaged through the OHL playoffs. He’s currently sitting with an absolutely absurd 43 points in 17 games and is showing no signs of fatigue or wear and tear.
In 16 playoff games, @GoLondonKnights line of Mitch Marner, Matthew Tkachuk, and Christian Dvorak have combined for 47 goals and112 points.
— Trevor Whiffen (@trevorwhiffen) May 8, 2016
He’s been on a torrid scoring streak and is also complemented by his linemates, Arizona draft pick, Christian Dvorak, and the 2016 draft eligible, Matthew Tkachuk. A berth in the Memorial Cup looks more and more likely with each passing day. If the London Knights are to win it, Marner’s play will be a huge factor. Marner looks like an NHL ready forward and Maple Leafs fans couldn’t be happier.
Maple Leafs at the Worlds
For some players, not making the playoffs with their NHL team isn’t the end of the hockey season. A few head to the World Championships to represent their country. The Maple Leafs have a trio of players currently competing against some of the best in the world.
Leo Komarov, everyone’s favourite missile on skates, is lacing them up for Finland. He’s had a front row seat to the scoring prowess of Laine and, like everyone else, has been incredibly impressed. He’s even potted a few goals himself and his veteran leadership is a welcome addition to some of the young Finns.
Morgan Rielly is currently anchoring the blueline for the Canadian squad. He’s arguably the best on his team and armed with his new contract, is looking to continue improving in all aspects. The experience can only be beneficial for the young defender, who will continue to be looked on as one of the leaders on the Maple Leafs.
Nikita Zaitsev's ELC with #leafs is for the max $925,000 in salary and includes all D-man "Schedule A" performance bonuses up to $850,000.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) May 2, 2016
The Russians also have a newly signed Maple Leafs on their roster. Nikita Zaitsev, who agreed to a one-year deal with the Blue and White, is one of the team’s best defensemen. He’s got NHL size and skating ability to compliment his high hockey sense. The young Russian could surprise people next year in Toronto and the early looks many have received have been extremely encouraging.