Leafs Postgame: Silly Leafs, wins aren’t for kids!

The following question has often been posed this season: Would the Marlies beat the Leafs? Well, we’ll likely never find that one out, but in the first big-league opportunity of a few of the team’s brightest young stars, they weren’t able to beat another NHL team as the Leafs fell 2-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning. It wasn’t an overly exciting contest once it was all said and done, but the debut of six new Leafs in one game is always exciting.

The Rundown

Tyler Johnson came to play in this one. One of the league’s top scorers a year ago with 72 points in 77 games, Johnson’s put up just 25 points in 49 games this year entering tonight. However, he found his time to contribute to the Lightning’s success, scoring the game’s first two goals in the second period.

Despite so many debuts, the Leafs’ only offensive contributions end up coming from a trio of core players: a late Nazem Kadri goal assisted by Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner on the power play with 2:15 left in the third.  

Connor Carrick had a fight in his first game with the Leafs, facing off against JT Brown.

The Stats

Screenshot (13)

via hockeystats.ca

Tampa started to pull away towards the end of the first period, but became relatively stagnant in the remaining part of the game once Johnson netted his second goal. Toronto threw everything it could including the kitchen sink as it tried to mount a comeback, but ultimately only came out of the contest with one goal. Kasperi Kapanen led the Leafs forwards not named Brad Boyes with a 74.0  Corsi % 5v5, while putting three shots on net. William Nylander managed two shots in his debut, while Nikita Soshnikov had three as well. There was no heavy sheltering of minutes as each Leafs forward played at least 12 minutes each, and while no one looked out of place, there wasn’t any fairy tale narratives to come out of the end of this one. 

Blue Warrior

Garret Sparks stopped 24 of 24 shots by players not named Tyler Johnson and looked every bit the part of NHL goaltender on the night.  

Up next

The Leafs take on Daniel Winnik and the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night in DC at 7 p.m.

  • jimithy

    all of the kids looked fantastic. sparks was solid especially in the first, kapanen stood out on both sides of the ice. nylander looked like a poised veteran with amazing chances, carrick was solid with high hockey iq, soshnikov was feisty and hard on the forecheck with speed and physicality/driving to the net, hyman impressed me for his overall game and strong forechecking skills. loved it all. bernier can back up sparks and only play in back to back games or when he has an off night similar to his role with reimer. the kids were the best part of the night. i know it was their first leafs game together but the greening-laich-smith line wasn’t good.

  • TGT23

    “If the reports on the return are correct, that trade was AWFUL.”

    “The return sounds utterly terrible.”

    “I’d like this a lot more if the Leafs got Derrick Pouliot instead of Kapenen.”

    “Kapanen and a late first rounder that could get rolled (as the NSH pick did) into a bunch of later round picks? For Phil Kessel? Horrible, horrible trade.”

    “pretty disappointing haul. kaspiri is only thing to get excited about and he wasnt even a top 10 pick, hes regarded as a top prospect but he wasn’t drafted highly for a reason.”

    Those were some of the quotes following the Phil Kessel trade that brought the Leafs Scott Harrington and Kasperi Kapanen. Not exactly positive.

    But, I didn’t post them to show anyone up (which is why none are attributed). Those were legitimate, though also incredibly premature, criticism’s and complaints. But, what do you expect from knee-jerk reactions based on players most people had never seen?

    We’re just one game into Kapanen’s career, 25 into Harrington’s, and we’re far from knowing what these kids are. In no way am I saying they are stars or that we “won” the trade…

    But since the trade Kapanen had 22 pts in 32 games in the AHL, 5 pts in 7 games in the WJC, and he didn’t look out of place at all at the NHL level in his first game as a 19 year old. 19!

    In that same time; Kessel has 19 goals and 39 points.

    Suddenly Kapanen, Harrington, a conditional 1st, and a 3rd is looking really good. Crazy what a couple months can do to perspective.

    • TGT23

      well we were mostly mad about the retained salary and the pick we threw in. we didn’t need to retain a cent on phaneuf or clarkson but we had to on kessel because dubas didn’t know what he was doing. harrington projects as a good bottom pairing defenceman and I would still rather have pouliot over harrington in the deal because he has more upside as a top 4 defenceman. if lou were here, that deal would have been much better. seeing what lou did with the phaneuf deal, we would have never thrown in a pick or retained a cent. we could have done better. kapanen was a good pick up and the conditional 1st was underwhelming. let’s hope the penguins make the playoffs.

      • jimithy

        “if Lou were here—–” that is all conjecture. The deal was done and we have absolutely no idea of what Lou could have done, none!!! Phaneuf is a totally different deal to a team with different needs at a different time. All I know is that last night Kapanen looked like he belonged in the NHL.

        • TGT23

          Exactly. We don’t know if Luo makes a better deal. The deal, as is, is really good. Does Luo improve on that?

          There is a chance that Luo, had he been here, goes a different way. Maybe Luo decides to downgrade the prospect return (Kap) to take out the 2nd the Leafs sent back. Salary retention was probably necessary but assume it isn’t. Maybe he takes Kap out to make that not happen. Or make the 1st not conditional.

          No retention, no condition on the 1st, but no Kapanen. I’m not sure I like that as much.

          And the Dion deal is apples to the oranges of the Kessel deal. Different team, different cap situation for both teams, different value, and different times in the year.

      • TGT23

        That’s revisionist history. Most people were clearly mad that “all” we got was Harrington and Kapanen to go with the 1st and the 3rd. Retained salary was usually the afterthought of most comments.

  • jimithy

    Fairy tale narratives are left up to the skycam. Where everyone looks out of place, and kitchen sinks are too much for the Leafs’ crease. BTW, that willy nilly new Leaf logo at centre ice. It’s going to be an abstraction. The old one is way too big, I mean wow, are you kidding, look at the size of it.

  • jimithy

    I didn’t think the return for kessel was bad really. You never get a ton in those trades look at the kovalchuk deal or the Nash deal. Plus Phil looked a step slower last year. Pitt is in trouble the next few years cause even if they score their brains out next year and are a top team. They won’t be able to defend properly for a couple years

  • Gary Empey

    The Leafs got precisely what they wanted in that deal for their projected rebuild. A great 18 year old prospect and a probable first round pick. The fact that most of us were unaware of Kapanen’s potential was the surprise.