On Friday night, on the back of a much more encouraging performance from the young Garret Sparks, the Leafs completed the California sweep. For a very long time it’s been no easy task to walk out of San Jose, Anaheim and Los Angeles with three W’s to your name. In fact, this is the first time the Leafs have accomplished the task since 1995. The state of hockey in California isn’t what it used to be, with Anaheim on the downturn and Los Angeles having a year to forget to date. We’ll take it no matter which way it comes though.
The Buds are firing on all cylinders these days it would seem, having held their opponents to 12 goals in the past 7 games while scoring 27 themselves and posting a 6-1 record.
Columbus isn’t looking too bad either, going 5-0-2 in their last 7 games. They’ve held their opponents to just 14 goals in that span while managing 25 goals of their own. Sitting atop the Metropolitan Division, the Jackets are a dangerous team with defensive depth and an all-star goalie, while having enough scoring punch to make you pay for the smallest of mistakes.
That’s the game.
What I want to ask is this….
At the quarter mark of the season, with Toronto just 1 point out of 1st place in the NHL, having the leagues leading point producing blueliner, having the goalie with the most wins, and with depth and potential throughout the lineup, how is it that all we’ve talked about is contracts and trades?
Seems unfair that the richest team in the league, having gone so long without icing a decent team and finally having done so, is now overcome with nothing but talk of numbers and home town discounts in order to keep the good times rolling. Especially considering this is the first year where it feels like they have a legitimate chance to contend for the prize of all prizes. At some point we need to step back and just try to enjoy what’s happening.
Yet here we are in the new NHL, where a fan can’t simply be a fan, but has to be a mathematician as well.
I had to ask the question, that doesn’t mean I’m innocent of talking about all these things myself.
So!! Settle in folks, and watch my pick as the dark horse team to land William Nylander, if he does in fact get traded within the next couple of weeks. They have defenders to spare, picks to move, and a couple of high end players that seem unwilling to sign and may need replacing. In particular I will be watching the likes of Markus Nutivaara, David Savard, Josh Anderson. I’ll also be watching the man who was previously rumoured to hold the interest of the Leafs, Artemi Panarin (if only as a rental option, not a straight up Nylander for Panarin trade, with Panarin as a rental, WE CAN HAVE BOTH!!!)
Lineup is unchanged from their last game, except in goal, where Frederik Andersen will start tonight.
— Paul Hendrick (@HennyTweets) November 19, 2018