In this edition of Toronto Maple Leafs’ News & Rumors, I’m going to concentrate on some of the former Maple Leafs’ players who are playing (or not) in the postseason. As well, I’ll report that William Nylander’s season will continue to play this season with Team Sweden in the World Championships in Finland. Finally, I’ll look forward to watching Maple Leafs’ general manager Kyle Dubas at work this offseason.
Item One: Zach Hyman Is Having a Season in Edmonton
Last night while watching the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames Game 2, on display were all the reasons that Maple Leafs’ fans loved Zach Hyman as a player. Hyman scored the game-winner for the Oilers on a short-handed breakaway no less about halfway through the third period.
He was everywhere in his hard-working, puck-digging way. In total, he had six shots on the net, a couple of hits, and a few blocks as well. He was one of the difference-makers for the Oilers who stole home-ice advantage from the Flames in a rock-em, sock-em old-style hockey game. To my mind, it’s the best round-two postseason series going on right now.
During the postseason thus far, Hyman has scored five goals, including three in the first two games against the Flames, and has registered seven points in his nine games this postseason. Honestly, it was easy to see why he chose to move to the Oilers in the offseason. He’s been given a much bigger role there and is more part of the core in Edmonton than he probably ever would have been with the Maple Leafs.
Continued good luck to him.
Item Two: Frederik Andersen Is Injured Again this Postseason
Speaking of ex-Maple Leafs’ players who are still in the postseason, Frederik Andersen’s Carolina Hurricanes are in the postseason and doing well. However, Andersen hasn’t played at all and might not. Instead, there’s a great goaltending matchup going on between the New York Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin and the Hurricanes’ Antti Raanta. So far, Raanta has allowed only one goal to the Rangers in two games.
Fans of Anderson are not likely to see him at all during the second round of the playoffs; and, given the way Raanta is playing, Hurricanes’ head coach Rod Brind’Amour would have to think twice about making a change.
It’s been tough luck for Andersen, who had a great season in Raleigh. Last season a similar injury forced the Danish goalie out of the Maple Leafs’ lineup. That injury didn’t allow Andersen to play for the Maple Leafs at all during the 2020-21 postseason. It was the beginning of the end for his tenure in Toronto.
Hurricane’s fans are unlikely to see him this postseason either. Andersen hasn’t played a minute since being injured on April 16 in a game against the Colorado Avalanche. Raanta finished up that game and has been carrying the Hurricanes since. He led the Hurricanes to a seven-game, round-one series victory against the Boston Bruins and he’s been even better this round against the Rangers.
Item Three: William Nylander Will Play for Team Sweden in the World Championships
TSN reported yesterday that William Nylander will join Team Sweden for the remainder of the IIHF World Championship series in Tampere, Finland, today. Nylander’s coming off a career season with the Maple Leafs, having scored 34 goals and added 46 assists (for 80 points) in 81 games. He also scored three goals and added four assists (for seven points) in seven games against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first-round series loss.
It won’t be Nylander’s first go-around with Team Sweden and the World Championships. In fact, this will be the third time Nylander’s played at the World Hockey Championship for Sweden. He helped them win gold in 2017, scoring seven goals and seven assists over 10 games.
In total, Nylander has scored 12 goals and added 20 assists (for 38 points) in 18 career world championship games. Team Sweden looks to be one of the favorites, along with Team Canada. Both teams are undefeated.
What’s Next for the Maple Leafs?
So many choices for the Maple Leafs this offseason. As reader gcmgome noted in the discussion section of a recent post, Maple Leafs’ fans have to be curious to see how Kyle Dubas will prioritize his to-do list. Don’t bet against Dubas being able, even with salary-cap constraints, to ice another really good team next season.
This past season, Dubas hit home runs with offseason and trade deadline acquisitions. As gcmgome noted, watching Dubas perform his magic has taught him (and I agree) not to be cynical. It will interesting to see the kind of “astute management wizardry” that might prevail this offseason.
The Old Prof (Jim Parsons, Sr.) taught for more than 40 years in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta. He’s a Canadian boy, who has two degrees from the University of Kentucky and a doctorate from the University of Texas. He is now retired on Vancouver Island, where he lives with his family. His hobbies include playing with his hockey cards and simply being a sports fan – hockey, the Toronto Raptors, and CFL football (thinks Ricky Ray personifies how a professional athlete should act).
If you wonder why he doesn’t use his real name, it’s because his son – who’s also Jim Parsons – wrote for The Hockey Writers first and asked Jim Sr. to use another name so readers wouldn’t confuse their work.
Because Jim Sr. had worked in China, he adopted the Mandarin word for teacher (老師). The first character lǎo (老) means “old,” and the second character shī (師) means “teacher.” The literal translation of lǎoshī is “old teacher.” That became his pen name. Today, other than writing for The Hockey Writers, he teaches graduate students research design at several Canadian universities.
He looks forward to sharing his insights about the Toronto Maple Leafs and about how sports engages life more fully. His Twitter address is https://twitter.com/TheOldProf