Are the Toronto Maple Leafs looking at changes following another tough loss, this time to the Anaheim Ducks in overtime? The pressure is mounting, even if there’s still time to turn things around. Meanwhile, are the Vancouver Canucks about to get an important member of their roster back?
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The Chicago Blackhawks are losing their top defenseman for a few weeks and there is talk about what might be holding up a contract extension for Dylan Larkin with the Detroit Red Wings.
Pressure Mounting With Maple Leafs
Luke Fox of Sportsnet reports that Maple Leafs’ head coach Sheldon Keefe was asked if he’s concerned his job may be in jeopardy. “I’m just going to focus on what I can do here,” he replied, calmly. Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs have a 4-4-2 record to start the season and are losing to teams that are significantly weaker on paper. Mitch Marner was benched after some costly errors against the Anaheim Ducks and had to take a moment to go in the hallway behind the benches to blow off some steam and smash a stick — that’s how frustrating things are getting.
Fox argues that this fall on the shoulders of GM Kyle Dubas who has not built a contender and let pieces that could be helping this team — Nazem Kadri, Zach Hyman, Connor Brown, Ilya Lyubushkin, and Mason Marchment — all slip away due to mismanagement of money.
Is Brock Boeser Close to Returning For Canucks?
Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province reports that winger Brock Boeser is expected to meet with team doctors today in the hopes of being cleared to return to game action. Boeser missed the last three games with an undisclosed injury and was placed on IR on Wednesday.
Seth Jones Out 3-4 Weeks
Blackhawks’ head coach Luke Richardson said Seth Jones injured his right thumb on a blocked shot in the second period of Saturday’s game vs. Buffalo. He will be out for 3-4 weeks. Jones was averaging over 20 min of TOI for the Blackhawks this season.
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Connor Murphy and Jack Johnson are the backups to Jones and that could spell trouble for the team. Each plays over 19 minutes per game, which is already a lot. Asking these players to take on more is likely and it will be intriguing to see how they handle the extra ice time.
What’s The Hold-Up on Larkin’s Contract?
As part of a recent mailbag segment, Max Bultman of The Athletic was asked why the Detroit Red Wings hadn’t signed captain Dylan Larkin to a contract extension yet. The pending UFA is seemingly an important piece of the team’s long-term future and Bultman did say he was surprised that the Wings haven’t re-signed Larkin yet.
The scribe speculates that Mathew Barzal’s recent contract extension could be affecting Larkin’s negotiations. Bultman estimates the contract could come in as high as $9.5 million annually or that the Red Wings could knock it down to between $8.2 million to $8.3 million on an eight-year deal.
Of the contract not being signed yet, Bultman writes:
I don’t think it’s the end of the world — Larkin has maintained he doesn’t see himself playing anywhere else, and in the end, I think this one will get done. But it sure is taking a long time, and we don’t have any reason to believe a deal is imminent.source – ‘Red Wings mailbag: What’s behind slower starts for Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider?’ – Max Bultman – The Athletic – 10/28/2022