The Toronto Maple Leafs have been an early Christmas present for their fans in the 2022-23 season. They’ve given us a magical Mitch Marner point streak that set a new franchise record, an incredible point streak that fell just one game short of a franchise record and hit the Christmas break comfortably in the NHL’s top five. What has also been noticeable is the amount of fun they seem to have, leading us to our favourite holiday feature: Re-casting Maple Leafs in Holiday Classics.
Due to some roster changes, we’ve had to shift around some characters since our first edition.
Mitch Marner – Buddy in Elf
Mitch Marner replaces Jack Campbell as the most famous elf in Hollywood history. While Campbell made a great Buddy, Mitch could take the role up a notch. Usually, teammates who talk about Marner off the ice refer to how much he talks. Players were asked who was the best teammate to sit beside, and many said number 16, including Marner himself. “Me, it’s not even funny,” said Marner, “I’m hilarious. I make everyone laugh. I don’t shut up, though.”
You can easily picture Mitch playing Buddy in the scene when the elf is waiting for his brother to get out of school, “Wow, you’re fast. I’m glad I caught up with you. I waited five hours for you. Why is your coat so big? So, good news – I saw a dog today. Have you seen a dog? You probably have. How was school? Was it fun? Did you get a lot of homework, huh? Do you have any friends? Do you have a best friend? Does he have a big coat, too?”
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His brother responds, “go away!” You can imagine several Maple Leafs who would say that during a long flight.
Also, Marner’s favourite food is pasta; Buddy makes his step-mom pasta from breakfast (with syrup) and packs a bag of it for her lunch. Marner has also been spotted doing the griddy, and Elf could also bust a move.
Matt Murray – The Grinch
This season, Matt Murray has been a surprise, like when the Grinch reappeared in Whoville and gave all the toys back. The Grinch’s heart grew two sizes that day, and Murray’s confidence and skillset have grown. The goalie fits the role because his hairstyle is similar, plus he is a netminder, which makes him a little strange, to begin with, similar to the Grinch’s introverted style. The best part of Murray playing the Grinch is his stealing goals from the opposition.
Michael Bunting – Kevin McAllister
In Home Alone, Kevin McAllister did everything he could to foil the burglars’ plans. Game in and game out, Michael Bunting works his charm to get the opposition off their game plan. He is so good at it that even a referee had too much of his antics. The role also suits Bunting because McAllister certainly did not fit the mould of a character who could single-handedly stop these thieves. Unfortunately, it appeared that the NHL had passed Bunting by; he didn’t fit the role of a Calder Cup finalist at age 26. But Bunting, just like McAllister, is full of surprises.
Mark Giordano – Jack Skellington
Mark Giordano and Jack Skellington share several attributes and similar stories. There are prominent characteristics like the shiny bald head and an insane reach, perfect for scaring kids or defending against the league’s top players.
The Nightmare Before Christmas character ruled Halloween town before discovering Christmas town and wanting to rule that holiday too. Well, Giordano ruled the blue line in Western Conference for a long time and was the captain of the Seattle Kraken before being traded to Toronto, and now, due to all of the Maple Leafs injuries, he has become the top d-man.
Skellington has some great lines that ring true for Giordano. “Of course, I’ve been too close to see! The answer’s right in front of me!” Skellington said it; it seems like a good reason Giordano gave a considerable hometown discount to sign with that team that has been right in front of him all these years. “And sit together, now and forever. For it is plain, as anyone can see. We’re simply meant to be.”
William Nylander – Hermey
Hermey, the misfit elf who accompanied Rudolph, is almost an exact match to William Nylander in appearance and some of his story. Without a doubt, Nylander has been the most heavily criticized of the core four for the past five seasons. He was sometimes even an outcast, being benched on more than one occasion. Hermey was not much of a toy maker; he preferred to be a dentist and succeeded once he found his way. Nylander is much the same, now on pace to crack 40 goals.
Rasmus Sandin – Rudolph
Sticking with the Rudolph theme, Rasmus Sandin fits the role of the most famous reindeer. First, he is close friends with fellow countryman Nylander. Just like Hermey and Rudolph, the two have worked together to help each other. Second, Sandin wasn’t at training camp, as his contract was still not in place with Toronto. Some speculation was that he might be traded, an outcast from the team. Third, Sandin doesn’t have the textbook attributes of a top-end defenseman. But, like Rudolph, he has proved his value and is now one of the best, helping lead the team’s excellent defensive play, just like that red-nose reindeer led the sleigh.
Auston Matthews – Conductor
All aboard the Polar Express, all aboard the Auston Matthews train! Just like the Conductor is responsible for keeping the Express on time, Matthews has led the team in goals since his arrival. So the back-to-back scoring champion could use the Conductor’s line, “all aboard! Well, you coming?” Plus, the awesome mustache makes Matthews the perfect Conductor.
Roles that are not changing include: John Tavares is Howard Langston from Jingle All the Way, Jake Muzzin is Yukon Cornelius from Rudolph, Sheldon Keefe is John McClane from Die Hard and Kyle Dubas is Clark Griswold.
Let me know if you have any suggestions, and they might make the list for next year’s Maple Leafs Christmas movie re-cast. Merry Christmas!