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23 Nov 2020 23:45:04
Interesting read on NHL Equivalencies I found today. “AN INTRODUCTION TO NHLE AND THE NHLE THRESHOLDS ANALYSIS” on HockeyProspecting. com.

Using the results of their model, which is only just one method of evaluating prospects mind you, there are several others. But using their results, an 18 year olds points production in the OHL who is expected to make the jump to the NHL SHOULD translate into approximately 0.3 points in the NHL.

So applying this to Nick Robertson pro-rated results from last year (86 points in 46 games for a whopping 1.7 ppg = 153 pts total 82 game pace) SHOULD translate into:

0.3*153 = 46

So, assuming this model is somewhat accurate, we can expect Nick Robertson to come up somewhere around 46 points, which would make him a very effective option in the middle six if Dubas and Keefe decide to keep him on the team.

There are obvious questions. How accurate is this model? How does it compare to other models? What context is used in determining the weighting coefficients (for example, I know age is taken into account, but is height and weight)?

It’s just one estimate. But I found it an interesting read and thought I would pass it on to you.

Other models you can look at are PCS models, pGPS, and pPER.

Using more than one method would give the best indicator of what any particular prospects future NHL success might look like.

In the case of Robertson, this model at least seems to suggest that he SHOULD be an effective middle six player with upside upon entering the NHL.

Here’s hoping both the math and the eye test come together and meet at just the right sweet spot. Because I’m looking at Robertson as this team’s only hope for being able to unload one of the big four (Marner) contracts in a year or two.

Otherwise, we might be in cap trouble for the duration of those contracts - four more years.

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25 Nov 2020 00:18:16
Sure looks like Robertson is the only hope right now doesn't it. Not much left on the Marlies.

Good recommendation enjoyed reading.

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25 Nov 2020 14:36:08
I think this is the issue that the leafs will have because Robertson going back to the ohl does nothing for his development I think the coaches love him because he’s so invested in growing as a player and he looked pretty good in the playoffs this is why having guys like Vesey and kerfoot block younger guys I thought Korshkov would of gotten a look he was solid in the one khl game and is playing well in the khl but might not get a chance unless there is injury due to the amount of wingers we have.

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25 Nov 2020 21:32:32
Doubt we have an OHL or ECHL season anyway. Even if he doesn't play leave him on the team in the press box if you have too.

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26 Nov 2020 21:49:43
That’s a god point LL. The Growlers aren’t playing this year. So a few of those guys might get boosted to the AHL. I think the target date for OHL was Feb. 01, but I could be wrong.

The only issue is that Leafs are over cap. They will have to run a short roster to start the season. Can they even put him on the roster ahead of other guys that will be more beneficial? It’s almost a million dollar cap hit just putting his name on paper isn’t it?

I think he’s going to have to earn that spot.

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27 Nov 2020 05:21:00
Yeah it's a tough spot HL.

Personal opinion I doubt we have an OHL season. They can shoot for Feb 1st all they want, the Minister clearly has her own idea of things.

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27 Nov 2020 21:03:17
It is HL but telling him to sit out an entire year should be a non-option. Your best prospect losing an entire year of development is a complete disaster.

Personally I think the rules need to be altered slightly this year if OHL, NCAA, ECHL, etc are not going to play. NA players need to be allowed to play in europe if they choose too or in the AHL.

I understand it's against current agreements but in such tenuous times things need to be addressed.

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22 Nov 2020 20:30:49
Interesting pair of articles on OilersNation that I stumbled on today. They are from August, but since no games have been played, the data is the most recent. They are on defensemen, and one article focuses on passing, and the other article focuses on zone exits/ entries. It gives stats that are not publicly available anywhere else. I would recommend checking it out.

There was one player in particular that caught my eye while reviewing the stats: Justin Holl.

Holl was 15th in the league in controlled zone entries, was 3rd in successful completion rate for outlet passes, and was 6th in the league for carry-outs.

Holl flew under the radar last season. I knew he was having a good year, but it was still surprising to see how high he placed on some of these lists.

No big surprise, but Josi was way ahead on most everything. And I mean way ahead.

I was wondering if Toronto could try and use Rielly more like how Josi is used in Nashville. But I realized it wouldn’t be possible. I don’t trust the Leafs forwards to cover defense adequately for those times when Rielly would be caught (which would be a lot more than Josi) .

Toronto also has good forwards. We can trust them to do the job themselves. We don’t need Rielly leading the rush every time.

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23 Nov 2020 04:41:40
Looked like Keefe attempted to use Reilly in the same manner just to a lesser extent. The issue you pointed out was the first thing I noticed the few times a defenceman lead the charge, no one up front plays sound enough D.

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24 Nov 2020 00:37:23
They don’t need to score more goals anywY. They need to prevent them.

Leafs are not aggressive enough at closing the gap when the other team crosses the blue line with the puck. Only Dermott does this with any consistency. Because the Leafs play a collapsing box style of defense, other than Dermot, the rest of the guys back up into the zone and that let's the puck carrier in with speed and control - exactly what you don’t want as these types of entries lead to the best scoring chances.

I’d like to see Leafs implement a trap system and stand up the incoming players in the neutral zone. Don’t let them across unless they dump and chase - a much lower risk to be scored on that way.

I’m going to be watching closely to see if they have made any changes this year influenced by MacLean. i'm going to call it right now: next year will see the Leafs play a version of neutral zone trap hockey like we have never seen before from a Leafs team like this. It will likely be some form of the 1-1-3 + 2-3 systems we saw him run in Ottawa to great success.

Now that we actually have some defensively responsible defensemen, we can actually do this. A good trap system can help mitigate our weaknesses on defense but still allow the forwards to rack up big points. Theoretically, our GA decreases and GF increases.

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24 Nov 2020 19:01:01
So I commented on this before and they apparently just didn't post it. I would love to see the leafs be able to play 2 types of games. Open it up like they do right now when it is tied early or when they are down. But play a nice safe trap system when they are ahead, or its tied late. This team loves the first period so let them go out there and score goals early then protect the lead.

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24 Nov 2020 20:10:48
Unfortunately most of our players have never been asked to really play defence until they hit the Pros. Guys like Matthews, Marner, Nylander, even Rielly and Tavares were told to go score as they grew up. They hit the pro level, and all of a sudden they need to learn defence. Some of these types of players buy in and some don't really. It usually takes a few years for them to even understand the importance of it and how at the pro level it relates to their offence. Tavares and Rielly are vet enough to know. Matthews seems to be getting it. Marner has the ability, but doesn't always by in and Nylander is well, Nylander when to comes to buy in.

Point is, I don't think most of them are mature enough to play two styles of game. As mentioned, they like to score in the first, but often blow leads. I would suggest that is a pretty good indication of their desire and commitment to a defensive style of play. Could anyone honestly imagine them playing up to 2 periods of defence first hockey.

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25 Nov 2020 00:19:50
That's a weird thing RLF. Kids are taught to score first play defence second until they are 17-20. Then we talk about a 200 ft game.

I can't say the same about Mathews though, I don't think he's a selke candidate right now but he improves all the time defencively.

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26 Nov 2020 20:51:30
LL. Matthews is getting it and the better defensively he has gotten, the more goals he has scored. I would say though for the more elite types, not even in JR were they really expected to play defence. If you are good enough to make the pros as a forward at 18-19, you likely have never had to really concentrate on the defensive game. And you weren't asked to. Even many of the higher powered defencemen, never played real defence in JR, they were just so much better than most that they could recover from a lot of their mistakes while still cheating the defensive game while playing on the offensive side of the puck.

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27 Nov 2020 05:22:32
RLF that's exactly what I was attempting to convey as well lol.

Well said.

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20 Nov 2020 19:35:26
Alright so no trade but what do you guys think of trying lines like this to spread out the talent

Robertson tavares marner
Vesey Matthews kerfoot
Hyman thorton nylander
Micheyev spezza simmonds

Reilly brodie
Muzzin dermott
Lehtonen holl/bagoshian

So a little comment for each line

Marner sets up robertson to see of there's anything there

Matthew's line becomes the defensive specialty line, let's see if he has what it takes to win a selke

That third line will tear other teams apart.

The 4th line is men, could be really good if they build chemistry.

Pk forwards hyman kerfoot vesey robertson marner.

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20 Nov 2020 22:57:48
I think I would prefer Hyman playing where Robertson is. Seems like a lot to ask of Robertson and Hyman has definitely earned that spot.

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21 Nov 2020 14:01:33
Dont think of it as hyman is on the third line, think of it as 1a, 1b, 2 and 4

The top 2 lines get 19-20 mins a night, the "3rd" line gets 16 mins a night and the 4th line sees 5 minutes a night.

My thoughts are you try and protect the tavares line. Matthews gets the tough matchups. You could swap robertson and hyman but that third line becomes very suspect for bad defensive play. I figure with hyman on that line he can try and get nylander to back check. Robertson won't have a voice in his first season to make nylander skate, thorton is more of a positive motivator than the guy telling you to put your head down and give her to get back in the play defensively.

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21 Nov 2020 18:18:35
If that's the plan then I agree this is a good spread. It definitely strikes me as a Dubas/ Keefe move as well. Top 9 play almost the whole game.

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24 Nov 2020 00:52:35
Unfortunately Nylander appears afraid to enter all four corners - that’s the hit zone you know. He must not have very good endurance either, because he seems to run out of breath on the backcheck about a foot inside the blue lines and can often be seen floating the edge instead of providing support. I wonder if he has developed an allergy to hockey equipment like Hossa did? Except it seems to only be other players equipment that Nylander is allergic too. Because he avoids contact at all costs. The only time a hit registers with him is when he accidentally makes incidental contact and he gets credited for it.

As Craigger pointed out, Nylander is not a small guy. We’ve all seen those pictures of him dancing shirtless and showing off his glutes in spandex pants in a running race. He is more than capable of engaging in at least some minor form of physical play, yet eschews it like he was practicing social distancing long before anyone else ever heard of it.

He’s a great player. A little too one-dimensional, but he is a great player. I am indifferent to him on the team. If he stays, fine. If he gets traded, depending on the return, that’s also fine by me. Personally I think Marner should be the guy to get traded for a few reasons. Mainly the whole $11M contract thing. But if the return on Nylander was better and still save us enough to re-sign Rielly, then we take it.

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19 Nov 2020 13:54:42
If moving Marner, I believe we have to take back some cap. Who can really afford $11M without sending anything back.

Marner 10.93
Holl 2

Zajac 5.75
Severson 4.16
Bastian ELC
Okhotyuk ELC

NJ gets a star winger to play with their young star centres whilw moving the last year of Zajacs contract, which he waives his NTC for a chance at a cup. They get a cheap replacement for Severson for the 2nd pair in Holl, although not as good a player. Their offence is looking deadly with the addition of Marner.

Leafs clear about $3M in cap space this year and it will go up another 5.75 after this season, although we might be able to re-sign Zajac on the cheap to be 3C going forward. We now have a top 4 of Rielly, Muzzin, Brodie and Severson(good contract for 3 more years) on D. Holl is expenable with the addition of Severson. Pick up an NHL ready power RW in Bastian who also Pk's and likes a physical game. Also receive a good looking D prospect in Okhotyuk who can move the puck and likes to play a physical game.

Short term and long term good for NJ. Short term we lose Marner but long term we should be better especially with way more cap space after this season to re-sign Rielly when needed. Plus extra cap space for other moves.

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19 Nov 2020 01:16:20
Leafs trade

Any team

So that's basically so this post goes in the rumour section and not the talk section that isn't actually a real trade but I just wanna talk. I'm very excited for the upcoming year because of the way the season is and the amount of depth we have. Let's just look at some lines for next year
Hyman Matthews Nylander
Mikheyev Tavares Marner
Kerfoot Thornton Veesy
Simmonds Spezza Engvall
Extras being Roberson, Barbanov, Anderson, Boyd, Brooks, korkoshov, agostino, petan that's 8 players who can fill out depth roles.

Riley Brodie
Muzzin Holl
Dermott Bogosian
Extras being Sandin, Lehtonen, Lilygreen, Rosen, Marincin, Warsofsky.


This depth is actually insane and I'm so excited

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19 Nov 2020 16:06:00
Looks like your plan didn’t work.

I’m not sold on the Leafs depth. After the top two lines, we run into a whole bottom six of question marks. We got a lot older and slower, while trading out two young guys that were in their prime for picks and prospects that are years away from helping the team, if ever.

You can argue it either way I guess. It’s been something that we all have discussed at length over the last couple months. We won’t really know until the season starts.

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20 Nov 2020 06:33:58
Man that's a tough call. I like some of the signings. I can't say for sure how they work out though.

Most of the reason I think I like the signings though is I really didn't think Dubas had any options but to play an AHL bottom 6. Compared to my expectations I call it A+ depth lol.

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20 Nov 2020 14:01:16
That's the issue here. I liked a lot of the signings as well, considering the situation we are in. A situation we should have not been in though is the probelm. So is it good work by Dubas OR more good work with what is left from a previous poorly laid put plan.

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20 Nov 2020 19:02:10
Exactly RLF. Does this also become the yearly plan? Will it be just sign whoever, every single year? Reilly, Hyman and Freddy soon, then what? Many questions. Especially if Lehtonen is as good as people think he is.

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21 Nov 2020 18:05:42
I don't think this becomes a yearly plan. The return on the Kappy/ Johnsson deals brought back three players who should be capable of making the Leafs bottom six over the next couple years at very low cap hits (Hallander, Amirov and Anderson) . These three players add to a restocked forward prospect pool that includes high-ceiling players such as Robertson, Korshkov, Malgin, Brooks, Abramov, Abruzzese and SDA.

This off-season has been fairly unique because of the depressed UFA market. Most of the Leafs signings in a standard year would have made 500k to 1.5M more than what the Leafs got them for. And while UFAs typically get overpaid, this year many of them across the league were arguably underpaid.

To me, the Leafs cashed in on this unique situation and brought in way better 1M-and-less players than they normally would be able to. We may have lost a bit of speed but we gained a very high-end playmaker (Thornton) in the bottom-six, which the Leafs haven't had since Marner was playing on their third line.

It seems to me that despite the perceived downgrade in young, speedy talent, the bottom-six scoring has a great chance of going up with Thornton and Spezza being able to play distributor to a couple of proven finishers in Vesey and Simmonds as well as Robertson if (WHEN! ) he makes the team.

And then there's the intangible value that Thornton and Simmonds bring. Thornton's a guy that teams have rallied around since he was young, and Simmonds is a guy that will not only drop the gloves for a teammate but will also soundly win those exchanges, firing up his team.

I honestly love the moves. Great total return on Kappy/ Johnsson and Thornton/ Simmonds brought in for free and for cheap. LETSGOO Leafs.

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18 Nov 2020 03:00:35
Now that MacLean is a member of the coaching staff, and given the Leafs need to lower their GA in order to increase their Win%, I wonder if we are going to see the Leafs implement a trap system more next year?

I can understand the reasoning behind the all offense all the time philosophy of Dubas/ Keefe, but I don’t necessarily agree with it. I’m not saying the Leafs should go back to the old fall-back defense they played when Carlyle was coaching, but I do feel that this team needs to get better at preventing goals.

I’m really hoping MacLean can have some influence on the way the team plays when they have the lead and can help prevent those third period collapses that we have seen a few too many times, regardless of whether it was Babcock or Keefe coaching.

A hybrid approach like what MacLean was running in Ottawa might be something that this Leafs team could really benefit from - it would still allow for aggressive forechecking and plenty of scoring chances, but at the same time, should allow the Leafs the ability to shut down the opposition late in games or end of periods when they have the lead and need to close the game out.

I don’t know how much influence the former Jack Adams winner will have, but I’m assuming he was brought in for a reason. And scoring goals is not that reason.

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18 Nov 2020 15:14:06
Here's hoping, the issue being the trap has never really been a highly skilled guys' kind of system. If these leafs could learn go play it, you might be on to something. Come out of the gates flying and trading chances and as soon as you have the lead change your style to playing the trap.

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18 Nov 2020 17:39:16
I like the idea. Same as I'm not against the 3D-2F system late in games. Anything to prevent the Gardiner curse of last minute collapses.

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18 Nov 2020 20:17:25
Trap is a dirty four letter word to Kyle Dubas.

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18 Nov 2020 21:36:42
It really is. He sees other defensive teams make the final 4 and takes it as a challenge to his masculinity.

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19 Nov 2020 15:56:21
As far as I know, Tampa, Dallas, and Islanders all play a 1-1-3 neutral zone forecheck and a 2-3 o-zone forecheck. Thatbis the exact same system that MacLean used in Ottawa to great effect. I can easily see him trying to get the Leafs on board to try something like that. Currently, so far as I know, Leafs use a 1-2-2 forecheck, while more aggressive teams like Columbus and Philadelphia use a 2-1-2 forecheck.

I would like to see the Leafs come out with a few different tactics this year. Maybe try the more aggressive 2-1-2 to start the game or each period, maybe trade chances, and once they have the lead, especially late in the game or towards the dying minutes of each period, switch to a trap style of 1-4 or 2-3 in the NZ. It’s not the dead puck era anymore - games can’t really be played like that anymore. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for it in the game still. A good trap system could help the team from losing to many games that they should have won.

I don’t know how many more third period collapses Toronto has compared to other teams. I don’t watch enough of the other teams games to get a good read. But I do know that the Leafs tend to have a lot more of them than I feel a contending team should. Perfect example is game 3 of the play-in. If Leafs has held on to win that game, they might have won the whole series.

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20 Nov 2020 06:36:09
Can't really use that reasoning though. I saw a fair few miracle wins this year to keep them in a playoff spot and make a game 5.

I don't honestly think it's the system at all. They just need something to light a fire under their asses. They knew they couldn't lose that game 4 so they didn't. Simple as that to me.

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20 Nov 2020 13:04:55
They also knew they couldn’t lose that game 5 and did. Lol.

I wouldn’t mind seeing them use a trap system more. Tampa is a “skilled” team and were able to use it to great effect. Toronto shouldn’t have much problem doing the same.

I’m not too sure what they are planning this year. But looking at the guys they brought in, both on-ice and off, and their stated desire to be “harder to play against”, I got a feeling that the emphasis will be a little more on keeping goals out this year than trying to squeeze a few more goals out of this group.

Maybe it’s just me, but the team this year doesn’t seem to have the same firepower as the team last year. I don’t think we will see them score goals at the same rate they have the last few years. We have undeniably gotten older and slower, and brought in guys that are not known as offensive type players. More grinders and defensive defensemen.

If they really want to be “harder to play against”, they will need to change their system. Otherwise adding all those guys doesn’t make any sense.

Given the success of the Tampa, Dallas, and Islanders, I have little doubt that the Leafs will start trying something similar, if not exactly the same. After all, MacLean made the top 4 using the exact same system.

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14 Nov 2020 22:01:14
So yes, in response to hockyluvr, I do watch this site to see how fans think and write about their creative ideas to change, help or destroy the leafs teams.
I never liked when Nylander was drafted as for one, he cares more for his looks and hair than playing hockey. He is not a leader but a follower, as any player playing with Hyman and Matthews could score 30 goals a year.
Nylander thinks he better than he actually is, and so do most of you who visit this site.
He has no grit to his game, plays scraed in the corners, and does the typical European stick sweep check instead of putting a shoulder to another player.
So yes he needs to go and he is NOT WORTH 7 MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR!

No I also do not think that size is the answer to the whole team (leafslife) but all players should have a little more toughness in their game at this level for the money they want.
I enjoyed reading both of your comments and look forward to more.

Also, hockeyluvr your grammar is extremely powerful and very well written compared to most.😎😎

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15 Nov 2020 04:19:10
He didn't play with Mathews and Hyman last year.

Johnson and Kapanen were both played beside Tavares/ Mathews/ Marner/ Hyman at seperate times of their tenure. Didn't put up 30/ 70 in a shortened season did they? I think your forgetting he was on pace for almost 40.

I agree completely they all need a better attitude. Even guys like Tavares and Hyman were just as complacent in that play-in round.

I don't understand the constant singling out of Nylander. His advanced stats are amazing, he is a 30/ 70+ player and he makes 6.9 on a team with 3 10 million dollar players. If your argument is effort and grit then I can make a list of players that need to go. It isn't just Nylander.

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15 Nov 2020 19:56:17
Great observation about Nylander Parkgardens.

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15 Nov 2020 23:27:12
Thanks ParkGarden. Your response ended up being forwarded to this side of the site, so I didn’t see it sooner. This is the side less frequented. So if I’m working I might not check it as frequently.

The only reason my writing has gotten better is because I’ve written more than most. I’ve noticed the debates are getting better and I’ve had to adjust my writing as a result as well.

There’s a lot on the line this year. This is the most important year for this Leafs team yet. If they blow it, the consequences are going to be large. The anxiety is real, and you can see it coming out in a lot of the fan sites like this. Fans are excited about the offseason moves Dubas made. They know that this is the best we can do with this core. If the Leafs fob it up again, it’s over.

I can honestly say that I don’t think I have personally looked forward to play again. Given the fact that it hasn’t been on when we normally have all the games we want, and the fact that the Leafs have made some pretty big changes this year to look forward to, I’m ready to sit inside all winter and watch the game for the next six months.

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16 Nov 2020 15:31:58
Agreed as good as willie is offensively he’s the biggest pussy when it comes to slaying back to his own end I’ve watched so many games where he just doesent skate back and creates more chances for the other team. As good as he is he’s such a liability on defence and it honestly doesent look like he cares half the time tbh. Just a thought tho.

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16 Nov 2020 19:17:43
Most metrics have Willy well above every player not named Austin Mathews, in possession metrics and zone entries. He routinely has more take aways than giveaways and he spends almost 60% of his shifts in the offensive zone.

There is absolutely no indication that Nylander is a liability defensively. Seller nominee? No. Liability defensively? No.

He does not hit, nor block but neither does anyone else. Yet he is always singled out as the one player to hate on. Like so many before him. If Willy is ever traded the media and fan base will find someone new.

For anyone who remembers the media and fan base at one point was calling for Kaberle to be traded because he didn't hit or block shots. Looking back on this now does it seem like a smart idea? Nope. Not even close.

Wonder who's next, my money is on Tavares followed by Sandin eventually if he sticks around long enough. Tavares being overpaid and Sandin being to soft.

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16 Nov 2020 21:02:26
Willy may get bashed unfairly at times, but he is the epitome of what ails this club because he takes those areas to the greatest extreme. Matthews, Tavares, Marner for example; have used their body and have blocked shots. Are they "physical" players like Tom Wilson? No. But they are all more physical and more willing than Nylander.
WN 9 hits 14 blocks
AM 40 hits 60 blocks
JT 32 hits 31 blocks
WN 24 hits 37 blocks
It is not even close.

As for being defensively sound. Willy's defensive numbers and possession numbers are helped greatly by his zone starts. He starts 60%+ in the O zone. This helps most players possession numbers. He does not pK and he is not counted on in the last few minutes to protect a lead. That should tell us something about the faith in his defensive abilities.

His GV/ TK is only +18 over the past 3 seasons which is much better than JT, but not as good as MM and AM.
His sh% was about 4.5% higher than normal last season and his thru% was way higher than normal last year which helps explain the added goal production. Might also want to look at his QOC as well last year.

For a guy that is about 6' 195lb, he will rarely use it to win a battle. He plays like a guy who wants nothing to do with contact. He rarely puts his body on the line. ADV stats cannot show us how many times an offensive possession is lost because Willy won't engage. They cannot show us how many times the puck should have got out of our end if he was willing to take a hit to make a play because you have to engage for a stat to even show up.

ADV stats do not prove how good a player is or how bad. They are still so subjective.

This is not to say Willy isn't a productive or valuable player. He is. His zone entry stats are now legendary as we all know. He carries the puck well, he has good vision, he sees holes well to find open ice and make himself open etc. He does a lot of good things. The bad, he will not engage physically or put his body in the way to keep a play alive or get a puck out. This is why he takes heat. He is not small. Many Leafs are smaller, including Marner and all put their body on the line or will engage more than Willy. He prefers to play non-contact in a contact game.

It is fine to have a Nylander on your team if he is surrounded by the proper types of players. We do not have those types, so it is hard to forgive Willy at times when he just decides he doesn't want to play a way that we all know is necessary if the team is mostly skill and built on so called team toughness.

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16 Nov 2020 21:23:18
Should be MM 24 hits 37 blocks.

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16 Nov 2020 22:42:49
The difference between 9 hits and 32 over a full season is basically non-existent. Can say the same thing for blocks.

I agree completely the team is to soft but pointing at one guy being the reason isn't fair not and hasn't been fair for the past 30 years.

I don't mention AM in this as, in my opinion, he actually came out as a superstar and used his big frame in an amazing way this year.

The entire point I try and make is that Dubas built a team full of the same types of players. If Nylander was on Washington this wouldn't even be a conversation. Because Dubas decided he only needed the same types of players everyone loves to single him out.

Hits/ blocks per game:

WN .13/ .20
MM .41/ .55
AM .58/ .88
JT .49/ .50

No matter which way you slice those above stats the only one that grew his game at all was AM. The difference between 1 blocked shot per 5 games and 1 blocked shot per 2 games is non-existent as far as I see it. Especially when we consider Mitchy gets PK time.

Would also like to point out MM had a gv/ tk of -7 last year.

My entire arguments isn't that MM is a bad player even if that's how most take it though. It's that I can't come to the conclusion that MM is so much better than WN. I'm even of the mind that Nylander is the better player in many ways.

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17 Nov 2020 17:41:27
LL. My point was that Willy takes the things we lack to the extreme. More so than the others. It was not about how many more hits or blocks per game. We have seen Marner block two in a row at the end of the game to protect a lead. Does anyone believe Willy would have done the same? I would say no. Your point about Mitch getting PK time would show he is more trusted defensively (as I said) and if you also note that he gets more shot blocks because of that, than also have to concede MM is more willing to block shots than WN.

I also did not say that MM is so much better than the WN. I said we have too many similar players that don't show a lot of the win at all cost mentality and Willy is, in my opinion, the one that exemplifies it the most and therefore takes the most heat. Ever hear how loud the crowd gets when Willy does use his body some? The crowd goes wild for a play that is normal for most players. It is so rare that Willy does it, he gets a loud cheer. To me, that is a problem with the makeup of this team and the drive and desire of Nylander. And yes, when MM or AM or JT etc pull up when they have a chance to battle to recover a puck, it bugs me as much. Willy just does it more often than the rest.

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18 Nov 2020 11:43:15
So with MM it is kind of expected that he would have a fair bit of giveaways. he's the set up man. Thi k of it as medium risk high reward. If you thread the needle on a pass back door, theirs a strong chance that ends up in the back of the net. If the pass doesn't get through the other team breaks out 3 on 2. Mitch takes those chances regularly.

Most set up men have a fair bit of giveaways as opposed to a pure shooter like Matthew's or a zone entry specialist like nylander. I honestly would rather see marner go. That contract seems super selfish. Matthews deserves to get paid with the best in the game. My old man was at a wedding a couple years back with Marners old man.

These were the exact words out of the guys mouth. " mitch just needs one more good year and then he's set for life, after that it doesn't matter how he plays. " If you grow up around that kind of an attitude, why are you going to care about the game and much as day a hyman. I'd take 2 hymans over 2 marners every day of the week.

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18 Nov 2020 17:41:46
Agreed Randy.

I understand MM seems to think he lead the team in points so he deserves Mathews money but he isn't of the same calibre. Historically I was l was very hard on Mathews but he 100% made me eat my words. He's moved himself into the upper echelon of NHL players, I cannot see where MM has done the same.

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10 Nov 2020 22:01:01
Will Keefe Save Dubas’ Job?

I just re-read a research paper I hadn’t read in a few years, and it really stood out to me how apt it applies to the Leafs situation right now.

The paper is called “Exploring The Impact Of Hiring A New Coach Or GM? ” by Carolyn (no last name provided) and can be found on HockeyGraphs.

Basically, the conclusion goes something like this:

“The first year of a coach or GM’s tenure will set the tone for improvement or decline, and if you aren’t seeing improvement by year two, you likely won’t see improvement.

Whatever impact they had in the first year was still likely to be their impact in the second year, regardless of any coaching changes. ”

Dubas became GM May 2018. We are now entering the third year of his tenure. The Leafs, as a team, have regressed since he became GM. There is no denying this. Points have gone down, goals against have gone up, and winning percentage has dropped. We missed the playoffs.

We missed the playoffs.

Swapping Keefe for Babcock gave the team a short-term boost, but the team still ended the year with a 12-15 record.

Not good.

If we take the conclusion of this paper for face value, then we have to believe the Leafs are not going to turn it around next year, and are actually more likely to take another step back.

Little wonder then that Shanahan has hired Joyce and MacLean to be prepared to step in.

Smart man.

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11 Nov 2020 12:49:46
You actually believe leafs missed playoffs last year? If so then you truely believe the habs being 11 points behind with 12 games to play made the playoffs. 1 silly cash grab by league and you really think leafs weren’t a playoff team. If this is true then I’ve lost all respect for you as knowledgeable hockey fan.

Yes they’ve regressed somewhat but they also exchanged 8 vets for 1 and put all their trust in 3 guys under 23. This isn’t just a dubas decision. Every contract and move made is overseen by shanahan. Yes they might of spent 4 million extra in Matthews and marner but that’s just means they got spezza Thornton simmonds and vesey all for a million less than their worth. It’s easy to point out the negatives but just remember 30 teams do this negative reasoning every year. It took Tampa 12 years since drafting 1st overall and 4 missed playoffs in the process.

All in all the report you read has some valid points but it forgets to mention how the leafs core is JUST entering their prime. Everyone forgets the core just started being able to drink in most states.

You had no problem praising this team when they over achieved in 2016-17 causing them to lose 1 year of their rebuild and good draft position. Yet you’re so quick to criticize if the team doesn’t meet your expectations at this point. Thank god you don’t cheer for Colorado or 2016-17 you would of hung yourself.

Bottom line this team and dubas aren’t as bad as you try to make them out to be. Yes they have flaws but so does every team.

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11 Nov 2020 19:51:34
I'm of the kind that we don't know if the playoffs were missed or not.

It sure looked like it was going to be an extremely tight (and exciting) race. That's said though, the NHL itself can't figure out whether it was playoff hockey or not. They listed the Leafs as missing the playoffs but (last I checked) awarded playoffs points during the play-in round.

I do agree that there has been regression. I don't think anyone can argue point totals as a team have gone down.

One thing that gave me hope for this year was the progression of Mathews and Nylander. Nylander played like I knew he could and Mathews looked like the superstar we all hoped for. If Marner can make a jump from 20-90 to something like 30-100 this year it could be a very good year.

Shanahan has allowed Dubas to make these decisions because he believes they are best. Shanahan chose Dubas over Lou. For better or worse if Dubas is ousted I think Shanahan has to go as well. I don't see a world where Shanny is praised and not Dubas. They are joined at this point in success and failure.

I'm not a Dubas fan by any stretch but I'm also not a hater of his to the same degree as you HL. Before this year I think he did some boneheaded things (have all been discussed enough) but the moves he made this off season are ones I liked. I have to give credit where it's due. He picked up a legit first round prospect for Kapanen who really doesn't have a big part of this team as it is currently constructed, signed a partner for Brodie, brought in some size and grit, etc.

I do think though, if this year is a flop -especially in an all canadian division if that's the intention- Dubas is immediately fired. Possibly Shanahan and Keefe as well. If the first round is won I won't call that a success either though. Make 3rd round, possibly win the division, those would be things that keep Dubas around in my estimation.

I do understand the frustration though HL. You do not expect a regression from a team that has been sold as contenders. I don't see them as contenders currently unless the big 4 actually show up in the playoffs though.

One thing I think people forget; whether your paying them 6m or 15m if your stars don't show up to play you don't win games. That's just the way hockey is. Depth only gets teams so far. Boston and Tampa are both deeper teams but if Hesman, stamkos, point and vasilevsky all decided they didn't feel like making an effort you have the same result as the leafs when Nylander and Marner totally whiffed against CBJ. Same for Boston. They have depth but if Pastrnak, Marchand and Bergeron all rubbish the bed they don't win a cup.

This is the sport we watch and discuss. I don't like that the depth is gutted but even if the depth was the best in the NHL it doesn't change the fact that you need your stars to play like stars and your goalie to steal some games.

My 2cents anyway.

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11 Nov 2020 20:22:34
Very solid points leafslife. Agree with you in every way. I just wanted to point out that it’s not all gloom and doom
in leaf land. Dubas may of signed players for too much but also got done good discounts. In the end it’s up to the stars in which 3 of 5 are under 24. 1 is entering his prime at 26 and the other was brought in to help take some pressure of the 3. If they don’t play dubas will lose his job no dought but it’s not all on him.

Expect a goalie coach firing before Keefe is let go. Also expect Keefe to never get fired on dubas watch. Shanny will need to fire both if Keefe doesn’t work out. So it’s do or die for both in my opinion and thus shanny won’t lose his job as he can blame it on Keefe and the lack of firing Keefe all on dubas enabling him to have another go at it.

Good reads and perspective by both Hockeyluvr and Leafslife. Well done and enjoyed.

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11 Nov 2020 20:24:01
Yes Craigger, they did miss the playoffs. And they lost in a somewhat embarrassing fashion too at that, having been shut out in games 1 and 4, playing in their own rink too I might add.

They were a bubble team at best. Their record to end the year was shaky and they finished the season 12-15. They were a team in decline. If it wasn’t for the “new coach” bounce they got after hiring Keefe, they wouldn’t have even been in the running.

In order for the sun, moon, stars and planets to align this year, we need the following:

1: Vesey - must earn a regular spot and score 15+ goals to replace offense lost from Johnsson or Kapanen

2: Simmonds must stay healthy, play 10-12 MPG and score at least 10 goals while still contributing physically to replace Clifford in that aspect.

3: Lehtonen must show what all the fuss is about, and earn a full time, preferably top 4 role.

4: Bogosian must stay healthy and play a solid physical game and not return to his regular season form of last year

5: Mikheyev must earn a top nine spot and score 15-20 goals to replace the offense lost from Johnsson/ Kapanen

6: Sandin must show what all the fuss is about and push for a FT roster spot.

7: Campbell must be prepared to play 25-30 games next year and win at least half of those.

8: Kerfoot must solidy the 3rd center position and contribute approximately 40 points

9: Andersen must stay healthy, have a bounce back year, and not come out weak to start the season as he usually does. If Andersen comes out weak again next year and the season is indeed shortened, not just compressed, then it will all be over before it even begins.

10. We need the entire bottom six to play above their heads, counting on guys that are significantly older, coming off injuries, and/ or down years, to bounce back and play (much) younger than they actually are.

Other factors to consider: Rielly and Muzzin must stay healthy and return to 2018-2019 form; MNMT must all start to display more leadership and maturity; Keefe needs to absolutely get this team off to a hot start and not stumble to start the season; and the team as a whole must start to play better defensively to lower their GA in order to boost their winning percentage. Adding Brodie will help with that last part. He is the single biggest improvement the Leafs made this year. And of course, even he has his own question marks.

The teams beneath the Leafs last year have to continue to play poorly. Leafs benefitted from having three of the worst teams in the league in their division last year. Have the Leafs improved more than they have? The race might be a lot closer this year if the season is shortened and if one of those teams (Buffalo maybe) has a hot start to the year getting an early lead, the Leafs may not overcome in time.

I didn’t even know you respected me as a poster. Thanks.

But you shouldn’t take anything I post too serious anyway. You should know by now that I will always be a Negative Nancy. The team probably actually is better than I give them credit for. Or are they? We don’t know because they haven’t started the year yet. They look better on paper. But as we all know, the game is played on ice. And all these changes this year, without exception, carry a lot of question marks. It could easily go either way. The anxiety is real.

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11 Nov 2020 20:45:37
I was also pretty critical of them the years the years they made the playoffs under Lou. I didn’t think they did enough to go “all-in” when MNM were still on elc’s. The process of the long rebuild is no longer applicable in today’s nhl. Teams need to be ready to build a winner while their young stars on still on elc’s. Lou failed in that respect, and failed in a big way.

If they weren’t going to stack the team and make a run for it all, which they didn’t, they should have traded their pending ufa’s for picks/ prospects. This they didn’t do. Leafs displayed poor asset management letting valuable assets walk out the door while receiving nothing for a team still early in their rebuild.

But none of what Lou and Hunter and Babcock did counts anymore. They are all gone, and the team is entirely Dubas’ now. He has his players, his coach, his system, his philosophy. The entire team is his now. This is the big year. The Leafs absolutely MUST have success in the playoffs this year. Another early round exit, or worse, if they miss the playoffs again, is not acceptable.

It is an uncomfortable truth, but a truth nonetheless, that this team missed the playoffs this year. We don’t know if they would have made the playoffs if the regular season had played out. We will never know. They were far from guaranteed a spot. Under the old format, they would have missed. That’s a little too close for comfort to say that they would have made the playoffs for sure. They weren’t a team like Boston or Tampa that had a spot all but locked up. They were a bubble team and barely treading water above teams like Florida, Columbus, Montreal, and Islanders, none of whom have a core as formidable, on paper, as the Leafs.

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11 Nov 2020 20:56:41
Are the leafs better on paper than the Islanders? I think we could make an argument that the top 6-9 the leafs boast is one of the best league wide but beyond that I'm not so sure.

Goaltending is probably average and defence is below average.

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11 Nov 2020 20:57:54
Sorry, they were shut out in games 1 and 5 (the first and last games - the most important of any series) . Not 1 and 4. That was a typo in my first response.

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11 Nov 2020 23:45:13
Nash, bost, nj, nyi, cbj, fla, TBay, car, ott, wash, det, mont

That was the 12 games left. Leafs had just won a huge game against Tampa coming back from .500 California trip. Most teams suck with 3 hr time change and long air time so huge win against a team who were well rested before game waiting on leafs. That win showed the character of the leafs and with up to 6 winnable games remaining plus this huge high saying they were in tough spot is being nieve.

Playing 4 months later does not in any way prove a damn thing. Tampa had a pretty brutal qualifying 4 games yet they won the cup. Montreal would not of made playoffs yet defeated Pittsburgh pretty easily at that. Guess Pittsburgh needs to gut their lineup now. Crosby must suck now right?

Regardless if u want to consider leafs a playoff team or not it all worked out to get a top 15 pick from Pittsburgh right?

Also just because Toronto was in weak division last year they were in a pretty hard conference. They play 28 vs division but then 24 vs other division in other conference and that division was insane once you get past the devils. Even rangers were on fire at the end there.

All games played for players were playoff stats yet qualifying round made non playoff teams by the losers of the round. Tampa won in shootout then won by 1 goal scored late in 3rd then loss 4-1 during the same week leafs went 2-2-1. Just like Tampa in the same week all games were very close and both teams didn’t show up in the final games of this round yet 1 team still won a cup and other became a non offensive playoff team.

You can play the what if’s all you want but when the league suspended the leafs had a playoff spot no matter how you view it. Then once it was back on they didn’t play great in august. Well whoopie do basil, what does it all mean? In the end not much at all except Pittsburgh Edmonton and Toronto are all same. I still think all 3 would of been playoff teams if season played out some may disagree. It’s something that can only be based on ifs not facts so it is what it is. Playing crappy hockey in front of no crowd and humid arenas while being locked down in one area away from friends and family so league can make some money doesn’t prove much to me. You can think otherwise but Tampa was in the end the summers best hockey team while starting out their august much similar to the leafs. So congrats Tampa (sarcastic clap) you proved you can be the best team in a weird situation. Asterisks will always be used when anything is written about this cup win in my mind.

Still solid points again hockeyluvr. Agree to disagree after all this date represents the end of something that gave us all the freedom to think whatever we damn well please now doesn’t it. So your free to think however you please and it will always be fun to debate with you but in the end neither is wrong or right on something that the unknown like how the year would of ended if no C.V. didn’t exist. You can’t quantify or justify the unknown you can only hypothesize and that only creates pseudo theories.

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12 Nov 2020 14:16:15
I hope you’re right Craigger. Nothing would make me happier than to see the Leafs embarrass me this year. I’m obviously a huge fan. I watched them for all those years when they were the worst team in the league. I hope they do well next year. I really do.

I think LL nailed it though. The reason for my extreme pessimism is because we’re wold all sold on the Shanaplan. This time would be different. They were going to rebuild properly through the draft. Clear out the UFA’s for assets and build around the core of MNM+Rielly. That didn’t happen.

Instead Dubas got a whiff of the playoffs, and immediately went out and signed Tavares first chance he could. In an attempt to fast track our rebuild, he did the exact same mistake that countless others before him have made. And the snowball effects of that signing are coming to fruition.

Realizing they need to contend now, the Leafs marketing machine have advertised this team as a contender. We are told constantly how this team is a winner. And yet, are they? After seeing this exact same scenario play out so many times before, why should I think it’s any different?

I was thinking the same thing as you. Does Shanahan get the axe too? There is good argument to believe he does. Lou is gone to Islanders, only to be rewarded with GM of the year and an appearance in the top 4 this year. Our superstar coach who was said to be the best in the world when he signed up, gone halfway through his history making bank breaking contract that we are still paying for. And speaking of money. All that money that Dubas has spent. I can’t imagine Tanenbaum looking at this and being impressed.

Optics are everything. And right now the optics are not good. A Tavares-less Islanders embarrassed the Leafs this year. Shanahan replaced two experienced superstar executives in the Leafs front office and replaced them with a couple rookies and the results seem to speak for themselves. If Dubas does get fired, Shanahan deserves an enormous amount of blame himself. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he gets the axe too. I guess it depends on when the axe finally falls. If it’s early enough in the season that Shanahan can put Joyce and MacLean in place and turn the team around fast enough they make the playoffs again, then Shanahan keeps his job. If the team struggles all year as a bubble team and lumps into the playoffs only to be eliminated early again, or worse, just miss the playoffs altogether, and everything happens in the summer, then Shanahan rightfully should get fired too for not taking action sooner to right the ship before it sank.

I’m trying to use reverse psychology on myself. I want to believe in this team so badly. I really do. And yet I can’t bring myself to do it. If I keep telling myself that they are still a bad team, then either A) I’m wrong, and they do awesome and I’m happy because I was wrong, or B) . I’m right. And I get the bittersweet victory in being right. It’s a win, win for me. I am more than willing to make myself seem the fool in order to be wrong and have the team contend for the cup. Nothing would make me happier than to have to eat my words actually.

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12 Nov 2020 15:22:34
Very well put hockeyluvr.

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12 Nov 2020 17:12:48
Well put both of you. Good reads.

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17 Nov 2020 18:40:24
I know a lot of people think the Tavares signing was the issue, but I am not one of them. Tavares helped free up Matthews some match up wise in a way Kadri couldn't. He gave us some experience and leadership while still being young for a UFA.

The problem was the RFA signings. While we had control and all the leverage, Dubas handed out the money without them really proving anything. Willy sat, so let's reward him by setting up a contract where he still sees all of $7M a year, which would be above any comparable to him. Then let's make Matthews one of the highest paid players in the League with a contract that takes him only to UFA years and buys none of them. Then because Mitch says he is as important as AM, let's give him almost the same money we signed a superstar YFA to and ultimately named captain.

There is the problem. He handed out money to multiple players that we have control of, AFTER signing the big UFA fish.

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18 Nov 2020 17:44:11
7aav for Willy isn't really above comparables to him. He's on a steady upward trend barring one bad year. He played exceptionally well this year (playoffs not inc. they all sucked) and Mathews got what he deserved.

It has to be MM and JT you look at if your saying the value isn't there.

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18 Nov 2020 19:09:49
LL. When Willy signed his contract it was for 7.5per. Not 7. Dubas did that so he Willy see at least 7 per in real money for only 5 2/ 3rds seasons played. If you look at when signed, Tervainen, Ehlers would be comparbles and Nylander is above them. That set the tone for the other two. Dubas should have made him sit if he didn't want around 6.2-6.5 and no making up the difference because he sat out.

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