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Tag: Toronto Maple Leafs

Have The Golden Knights Gotten Better Since The First Time They Saw Toronto?

These guys think they are better now than before. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In early November the Golden Knights traveled to Toronto in the midst of their worst stretch in franchise history. It’s hard to believe Vegas lost five of of six games this season. In their first meeting on November 6th, the Maple Leafs survived in a shootout after giving up a 3-1 lead. Since then, the Golden Knights have won 17 of 22 games.

After the 6-3 Vegas victory, Leafs’ Superstar Auston Matthews went on to credit the Golden Knights consistency.

They’ve obviously been a good team all year. Maybe they surprised some people but I think they’ve got good players. Everybody works hard. They’re pretty well-coached. They’re a team that plays right. There’s a lot of depth all through their four lines and three pairs of defensemen. They’re a good team and I think they’ve played the same way when we played them earlier this year. They’ve got speed, they’ve got size, and they play a good team game. -Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs Forward

Pretty well coached?!? What the… nevermind, we’ll let him slide on that.

Teammate Morgan Reilly agreed with Matthews, nothing has changed since November. The Golden Knights were fast, smart and aggressive on November 6th and December 31st.

No. They are pretty consistent. When we played them in Toronto they play a lot like they did tonight. They’re deep, they have a lot of lines that roll over. I mean, they’re for real. -Morgan Reilly, Maple Leafs Defenseman

Jonathan Marchessault doesn’t agree.

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 6 (26-9-2 54 PTS) TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS 3

The VegasFlu may have struck again as the Golden Knights jumped all over the Leafs to the tune of a three goal lead in the 1st period. Toronto got the first and last goals of the 2nd to send the game to the 3rd at 4-2 Vegas. Toronto cut the lead to one, but an incredble display of puck handling over the course of about 150 feet of ice from Shea Theodore set up the Golden Knights 5th goal of the afternoon. The 6th goal goes in the books as an historic one, the Golden Knights first hat trick. William Karlsson got it with an unreal empty netter. Vegas wins again, that’s seven straight and a 12 game point streak.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Toronto Maple Leafs at T-Mobile Arena

  • How much better are the Golden Knights now that they were the first time they played the Leafs.

Three Stars
*** Pierre-Edouard Bellemare
** Jonathan Marchessault
* William Karlsson

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS 4 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 3 (9-4-1 19 PTS) (SO 1-0)

The high flying Maple Leafs came out firing and put up three 1st period goals on Maxime Lagace. A much better 2nd capped by a late power play goal got the Golden Knights back into it. Deryk Engelland comes up with a laser to tie it and the game goes to OT, Vegas’ third OT of the season. Vegas goes 0 for 3 in first shootout in franchise history.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.

Three Stars

*** Deryk Engelland
** Mitchell Marner
* Nazem Kadri

Golden Knights Expansion Trade Rumor Roundup

In less than a week George McPhee will finally have the protection lists in his hands and the Golden Knights will be on the 72 hour Expansion Draft clock. Until then, the hockey world will be buzzing about all the trades that are being discussed in the lead up. It’s time we take a moment to round em all up into one post, and try to make sense of what’s set to go down on June 21st.

Before we start though, we need to clarify something. While McPhee is making calls and probably coming to agreements, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman confirmed no deals will be made official, or even be announced, prior to June 21st. So, tread carefully out there, everyone’s trying to make a name for themselves.

Chicago Blackhawks – The chatter with Chicago started in late May from a pair of tweets from TSN’s Frank Seravalli.

The main question is which way the picks would be going, if any are involved. Chicago has three defensemen with NMCs, so van Riemsdyk would have to be exposed unless one of Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, or Niklas Hjalmarsson waives their NMC, and/or is traded. So, in theory, Vegas would be getting picks in exchange for taking on Marcus Kruger‘s salary, and simply select van Riemsdyk in the Expansion Draft.

Many news outlets, including most notably a news anchor from Kansas City (why?), have reported that Kruger to Vegas is done. The most common return is a 3rd round pick from Chicago. But there’s likely another piece to the puzzle here that’s missing. Whether that’s Chicago “moving a core player” as reported by WSCR’s Jay Zawaski, or Kruger being flipped through Vegas is yet to be seen. Either way, it’s highly probable McPhee makes a deal (or two) with Chicago, but the details out there currently, are likely not telling the whole story.

Columbus Blue Jackets – In Elliotte Friedman’s “30 thoughts” column he mentions murmurs of trade discussions here. The name mentioned is David Clarkson, who is Expansion Draft exempt due to a long term injury. Clarkson’s back will likely keep him off the ice in 2017-18 and could be career ending, however, his cap hit remains at $5.25 million through 2020 (three more seasons). Freidman mentions the 24th overall pick as well as “some young forwards at the AHL level” as possible compensation for Clarkson’s contract. Once again, the details are fuzzy because this would occur outside the parameters of the Expansion Draft. Vegas would still have to select a player from Columbus, so there’s another piece in the mix. Joonas Korpisalo just signed a team-friendly deal, is he involved? Vegas would get rewarded handsomely for taking Clarkson off Columbus’ hands, but there still has to be an Expansion pick, so more is certainly to come on this one.

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If A Deal Was Done For Eric Fehr, Why And What Would Vegas Get?

The trade deadline came and went with the Golden Knights making some of the biggest news. No, they didn’t actually announce the acquisition of any players, draft picks, or expansion agreements, but they did become a “fully operational member” of the NHL.

Thus, George McPhee was effectively in the game before the clock struck midnight on the deadline. The NHL’s gibberish rules for what the Golden Knights can now do state that even if McPhee did pull off a deal, it could not be made official until every player involved has completed their 2016-17 season, which won’t happen until April at the earliest.

However, that didn’t stop the guys over at Hockey Central from speculating that deals were indeed agreed upon. Former Columbus BJ’s general manager Doug MacLean basically guaranteed the Golden Knights agreed to at least a few deals, and even went as so far as to mention one player by name. Eric Fehr.

Eric Fehr, the former Capital (hint, hint), Jet, Penguin, and now Maple Leaf just so happened to play his junior hockey with the Brandon Wheat Kings (hint, hint, hint, hint!). His contract expires at the end of the Golden Knights first season and is a reasonable $2 million for the right winger. He’s been around the league, is considered a good locker room guy, and talent wise he’s certainly going to be good enough to be on Vegas’ initial 23 man roster. The point is, the Golden Knights staff has a connection to him, he has a friendly contract, is the type of player they are looking for, and is good enough at hockey.

Now, take a look at the Maple Leafs expansion situation. Their most coveted players are all exempt due to age, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander and Nikita Zaitsev. There are nine players currently on the roster with expiring contracts, all but two of which for the sake of this exercise can be thrown out. That leaves them with 16 skaters that meet the requirement eligible to be protected. Bear in mind, they must expose two forwards and one defenseman that are both under contract and have played 40 games this year or 70 in the last two. The Maple Leafs currently only have seven forwards who fit both qualifications, and that’s including Fehr.

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Vegas Can Learn From Deadline Strategies In Chicago And Toronto

Right now in the NHL two organizations are giving The Creator great examples on how to attack the trade deadline. Both teams have been aggressive for two very different reasons but ultimately one grand prize. Sure, the Maple Leafs won’t be in the playoffs for the foreseeable future, but what they’re doing right now should impact their future. While the future is now for the reigning Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks who continue to be aggressive. Lets face it they’re greedy. What NHL fan wouldn’t want their team to be Cup greedy?

Let’s start with Chicago, the King of the Hill. Whatever Stan Bowman drinks, The Creator’s people should drink too. Whatever Stan Bowman drinks, eats, sings, dances, whatever… Vegas peeps should do the same. As GM for the Blackhawks, Stan Bowman has created a dynasty in Chicago and it doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon. After acquiring Andrew Ladd, the ‘Crown Jewel’ of this year’s deadline, Bowman put his team in the position to win back to back Cups. Most of Bowman’s aggressive moves have worked out, like the Johnny Oduya trade in 2012 or the Antoine Vermette deal made last trade deadline. Let’s not forget his brilliant move of plucking current Calder Trophy leader Artemi Panarin out of thin air. Bowman has been as impressive off the ice as his team has played on the ice. Without financial flexibility teams can’t be aggressive, and that’s another key element of Bowman’s success. You can’t go out and get Andrew Ladd midseason without cap room, but Chicago had the room and made it happen. Sure it’s easy to go and say mimic Stan Bowman, but it’s not a bad idea to take notes. When The Creator makes up his cabinet, he’ll have to find cap wizards, master scouts, and hockey whisperers to be successful. I know Stan Bowman is not available, but that doesn’t mean you can’t hire his Assistant to the Traveling Secretary.

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