The holiday season is upon us and Christmas is just a week away. For some, that means spending time with family, visiting friends and eating enormous amounts of excellent food. For us at TLN, it means demanding presents and getting our grubby hands on gifts. We’re not good people.
Now, it turns out we forgot to send our Christmas wish lists to the Toronto Maple Leafs. I think, considering how loyal we’ve been to this team and how disappointing they’ve been over and over and over again, it’s fair of us to expect a little somethin’ somethin’ from Santa Lou this year. So what is the TLN staff asking for? Check out our demands below…
The only thing I want from the Leafs this Christmas is more regulation losses. The Leafs are a bad team and are well on their way to securing a top-five pick. They currently sit 29th in the league behind only the abysmal Blue Jackets in the race for Auston Matthews. And yet, I can’t help but feel like they could be doing so much more with this great tanking opportunity. I mean, there are 27 teams in the NHL with at least 12 Regulation or Overtime Wins (ROW). Two other teams have 10. The Leafs have just 7. So why do the Leafs have four full games in hand on Columbus in the battle for dead last? Why isn’t this tank war closer? Because the Leafs are finding ways to pick up loser points. Where the Leafs suck at getting ROW, they’re unfortunately great at picking up overtime losses: they’re second in the league with 7. Columbus has just 3 overtime losses (in four more games played). Think of how much closer this thing would be if the Leafs could just find a way to bow out in regulation. Needless overtime losses like the ones suffered against Tampa Bay and San Jose this week are the sort of games that can come back to haunt you at the end of the season. We know you’re terrible guys, no need to beat around the bush.
I want to celebrate Xmas with the Leafs in March, so the present I want is a fulfilling trade deadline. At this point, it seems reasonable to get decent returns for Reimer, Parenteau, and Matthias. There will be a market for Arcobello, Boyes, and Polak as well. It also seems likely that the Leafs could part ways with Hunwick, Winnik, or a few of the restricted free agents that Leafs brass doesn’t necessarily see playing significant roles in the future. Any of those moves still make for a pretty average trade deadline, and while extra picks and long shot prospects could be fun additions, I’d hope to see something substantial that has the means to move the Leafs lineup forward in a meaningful way. That could come in the form of a Bozak move, which seems possible now more than ever. It could be moving Komarov while his value is at an all-time high. It could be a van Riemsdyk trade, a Phaneuf trade, or anything else that says “we know this team needs more than small adjustments.” If the Leafs end up giving me four mid-round picks instead of a something big, I’m gonna take them back to the store and exchange them for a nice pair of Haggar slacks.
I’d like to see Roman Polak traded. Mostly, I want to see Polak traded because I continue to feel pretty bad for Frank Corrado, who looked pretty decent over the past couple days (and will be scratched again for tomorrow’s). I won’t pretend like the Leafs’ defensive group is elite – it’s not – but they do have a bunch of bodies when you consider the top six guys plus Corrado, Scott Harrington, Stuart Percy, Rinat Valiev, etc. Trading Polak gets you an asset and fixes a logjam. That’s a win-win, even if he’s being flipped for a middling prospect or low draft pick.
Oh, also, I’d like Steven Stamkos.
Oh and dress socks.
The World Juniors is a tournament which we all love to watch, seeing the future stars of the NHL going toe-to-toe with a mix of career AHLers, with each competing for championship glory and the ability to go on an opinion-shifting hot streak.
And while past years have often provided the World Juniors as a hockey escape for Leafs fans, this years’ edition is shaping up to have its headlines dominated by two of Toronto’s future core pieces- Sweden’s William Nylander and Canada’s Mitch Marner.
From the Leafs fan angle, there’s the chance to salivate over the work of these two budding stars- each being among their leagues in top scoring. For Christmas, the Leafs could see this pair both on the tournament’s all-star team – and giving their fans a glimpse of what’s to come. Ideally for most Leafs fans, this would also end up with Marner being awarded MVP in a Canadian gold medal victory- but for now, let’s just ask for a productive, injury free tournament from the teams’ two upcoming studs.
With a potential 5 players heading to the event when Travis Dermott, Kasperi Kapanen (did you hear he was going to the world juniors?) and Dmytro Timashov there’s definitely the chance for Leafs-centric coverage to dominate the media landscape in Canada for a little bit longer despite having a league-low 27 points.
Barring a rematch in the playoff rounds, the New Years Eve Canada-Sweden matchup is going to be featuring these two future Leafs for likely the last time as rivals before they suit up as teammates.
Stay safe boys. Please don’t get hurt.