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Maple Leafs make two small trades amid crisis – Toronto Sun

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You won’t mistake Malgin for Malkin.

Even though both should be added to their respective team’s lineup for the second half of the home-and-home between the Leafs and Penguins on Thursday, Denis is a 5-foot-9 Swiss-born forward acquired by Toronto on Wednesday from Florida for Mason Marchment, while Evgeni is an all-star with 64 points in 38 games against the Leafs exclusively.

The Malgin deal was curious on two fronts, the swap of a scarce size commodity for the Leafs for more skill, and the fact that they bartered with a Panthers team nipping at their heels for a playoff spot.

“It gives us another NHL player,” said coach Sheldon Keefe of the 23-year-old Malgin’s 184 games. “Paul McFarland (who coached Malgin in Florida) talks about him as not just a small, skilled guy, but a competitor.

“When he’s played with good players (once with a teenaged Auston Matthews on the Zurich Lions) he’s succeeded. It’s not gone as well for him this year (12 points in 36 games), but we need a little extra depth. Two teams saw a need and we found a way to get a younger player, ready to contribute.”

Keefe hoped that Malgin would have no jet lag issues on Thursday after leaving the Panthers’ U.S. West Coast trip. Malkin, a late scratch Tuesday against the Leafs, was hardly missed in the easy 5-2 win in which Sidney Crosby inflicted the most damage to reach 63 points in 44 games against the Buds.

AND ONE MORE DEAL …

Late Wednesday, the Leafs acquired right winger Max Verroneau from Ottawa, a former Hobey Baker finalist from Princeton, sending forward Aaron Luchuk back to Bytown. The undrafted Verroneau, who is 6-foot-1, appeared in four games for Ottawa this season when not on the farm in Belleville, after 12 appearances in 2018-19 following his graduation last spring.

Luchuk goes back to the team that put him in the big summer trade centred around Cody Ceci and Ben Harpur joining the Leafs for Connor Brown and Nikita Zaitsev.

WILLY GETS PEP TALK

One of Keefe’s personal chats at Wednesday’s workout was with William Nylander, ending with a chuckle between them and a stick tap from the coach. Nylander has six points in eight games this month, but like many Leafs, has veered from the script of late.

“Just checking to see where he’s at, how he’s feeling since coming back from his illness (a nasty flu bug), get his perspective on things,” Keefe said. “Also reminding him he’s an important player for us. The offence isn’t always going to be there, but we need him to remain engaged on every shift and in on every single puck. He has more to offer in that regard, but there has been a larger sample of him being very good.”

JOHNSSON DONE

Winger Andreas Johnsson is done for the season after knee surgery on Wednesday morning.

“It was a miniscus situation,” Keefe said. “One scenario, (doctors) were going to remove it and in that case it would’ve been six to eight weeks or whatever, but they were able to repair it, which is better for him, but a longer recovery.

“If that’s what’s best for him, that’s what’s best for us.”

Marlies forward Egor Korshkov remains with the Leafs for now, but was used as an eighth defenceman on Wednesday, pending Malgin’s arrival.

LOOSE LEAFS

The Leafs giving up three power-play goals to Pittsburgh, after having not surrendered more than one since Keefe replaced Mike Babcock, stung everyone and was given priority at practice. “Unacceptable for our PK as a whole,” said defenceman Justin Holl. “In a 5-2 game, that’s the whole difference. And the way it happened so quickly, it takes us out of the game early” … Keefe was sad to part ways with Marchment, one of his long-term Marlies projects, who came from nowhere, earned an entry-level contract and battled injuries to get a brief look with the Leafs. “A great kid, he’s put in a ton of work, but we’re unable to find consistent (ice time) for him. I hope for his sake it works out. He was an undrafted player, whom we were able to trade for an NHL asset” … The Marlies played a school day game Wednesday afternoon at Coca-Cola Coliseum, losing 5-3 to Binghamton. Veteran Matt Read had two goals. “The whole line (Read, Tyler Gaudet and Garrett Wilson) has been carrying the team the last couple games,” said coach Greg Moore … With the trading of Marchment, the absence of Jeremy Bracco and Korshkov’s recall, the Marlies have brought up forwards Colt Conrad, Giorgio Estephan and Riley Woods from the ECHL Newfoundland Growlers … The Leafs were all in green and white on Wednesday, breaking in Toronto St. Patricks-themed equipment for their March 17 home game against New Jersey.

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A Maple Leafs lottery win would magically open up trade options – Sportsnet.ca

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TORONTO — The morning after yet another swift and painful postseason exit strangely brings a ray of hope to Leafs Nation.

A 12.5 per cent chance to land a sure-thing star forward in Alexis Lafreniere and energize GM Kyle Dubas’ options for a reset.

The NHL Draft Lottery goes tonight on Sportsnet at 6 p.m. ET. And for the first year since 2016, Toronto is in the running for the No. 1–overall pick.

Worked out pretty good last time, eh?

From the Stanley Cup Qualifiers to the Stanley Cup Final, livestream every game of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, blackout-free, on Sportsnet NOW.

A mere 19 hours after hanging heads and shaking hands with the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Maple Leafs join the Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Winnipeg Jets with a ball in the hopper and a prayer to the hockey gods.

As evidenced by some of the logos stamped on tonight’s eight ping-pong balls — together Pittsburgh, Edmonton and Toronto represent a 37.5 per cent chance of sending social media into a firestorm — and some of the logos that won’t be (Montreal and Chicago), the hockey gods have a devilish sense of humour.

Make no mistake: This is not the Elite Eight the Leafs wanted to be part of.

When the NHL announced its creative and chaotic return-to-play and two-phase lottery formats, with more moving parts than a Professor’s Cube, Dubas was clear his mind would not be wandering to Lafreniere’s cherished blend of creativity and physicality.

“Not to say that it would be a horrible scenario to win the lottery or anything like that, but I tend to focus more on the optimistic view, which is getting our team ready to… be able to have success,” Dubas said prior to restart camp.

“I think there are going to be a lot of interesting results in this qualifying round, just given the nature of things and the delay between when teams last played and different changes to the roster in that meantime.”

Interesting, indeed.

Dubas was in regular communication with the NHL as it designed both these unique lottery odds and tournament format.

“They bounce things off you, and you quickly realize that there’s no perfect way to do it,” Dubas said. “And regardless of how it all came out, everyone’s chances were going to be affected differently.”

The possibility of the Leafs landing Lafreniere only exists because Dubas made certain his 2020 first-overall pick was top-10 protected when he traded it to Carolina last summer as part of the Patrick Marleau salary-dump deal.

If one of the seven other teams claims Monday’s lottery, Toronto’s 2020 first-rounder transfers to Carolina and results in a 13th- or 14th-overall choice for the Hurricanes. Consider that a cap-weaponized trade win for Don Waddell.

So, after blaming bad fortune on the ice Sunday night, some good lottery luck Monday will alleviate two per cent of the sting Sheldon Keefe is feeling.

“I’m obviously not focused on it one bit, but it’s the next thing on the calendar for us, so I’ll be paying attention to it,” said Keefe, before shifting his focus back to Game 5’s disappointment. “I’ll be thinking about this one for quite a while.”

As the Maple Leafs’ freshest failure dusts off old concerns about roster construction, a Lafreniere win could do wonders here.

Essentially, the kid is a get-out-of-jail-free card.

Keep him. Move some money.

Three years of an elite winger on entry-level money gives the brass no excuse to not trade one of the Big 4 and use that freed cap space to address its defensive deficiencies in a meaningful way.

This wildly unlikely scenario, this 12.5 per cent Hail Mary, has made us think of something the general manager said about fixing his team’s problems at the trade deadline.

“I’m not gonna come up and bulls— and tell you I have some magical solution,” Dubas said that day, standing pat and scratching his head.

Finding yourself lucky enough to win Alexis Lafreniere after finishing 13th overall in the regular season is about as close to a magical solution as one could get.

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2020 NHL Draft Lottery Phase 2 Primer: Who will pick first overall? – Sportsnet.ca

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On Monday night, the hockey world will know who is likely to draft Alexis Lafreniere first overall when the results of the draft lottery are announced.

Wait — didn’t we already have 2020 draft lottery results?

Yes! But like everything else this year, the path to first overall is a little unorthodox. We had a Phase 1 lottery in June that could have determined the top three picks if only non-playoff teams were drawn, but since a “Placeholder” team won that initial lottery, we have to do a second one now.

Confused? You’re probably not alone. And so that’s why we’re getting you caught up with everything you need to know about Monday’s lottery… and why there’s a second draw at all.

And you can watch the drama unfold on Sportsnet and Sportsnet NOW, beginning at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT.

From the Stanley Cup Qualifiers to the Stanley Cup Final, livestream every game of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, blackout-free, on Sportsnet NOW.

OK, SO WHY ARE THERE TWO LOTTERIES THIS YEAR?

When the NHL paused its season in March, we were in the midst of a tight playoff race, with only a handful of teams that really were out of it. A couple others — notably Montreal and Chicago — had an extremely long shot of getting in.

So the NHL had a dilemma when trying to formulate a return-to-play plan: where would the cut-off line be for who’s in and who’s out? What was fair, given some teams had played more games than others, and the season wasn’t complete?

Ultimately the league returned with 24 teams getting “in” — eight would get a bye into Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the remaining 16 would play a best-of-five qualifying round series to advance. The losers of those series would then fall back into lottery contention.

When the first lottery was drawn, we only knew seven of the teams involved: Detroit, Ottawa, Buffalo, Los Angeles, Anaheim, New Jersey and San Jose (though Ottawa held their pick). The other eight teams were represented by a “placeholder” tag to stand in for the qualifying round losers who would be determined at a later date. If the placeholder team was drawn for any of the top three draft positions, a second lottery needed to be held for the eight teams eliminated in qualifying.

So, of course, one of these placeholders “won” the first overall pick, which is why we need a second draw now.

HOW WILL THE SECOND LOTTERY WORK?

This is only involving the eight teams that were eliminated from the qualifying round: Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Minnesota, Florida and the NY Rangers. One of those teams will pick first overall at this year’s draft. All of the others in this lottery will be slotted in reverse order of points percentage finish in the regular season, starting at the ninth overall pick. By the end of Monday night, we’ll know the order of the first 15 picks of the 2020 NHL Draft.

The Pittsburgh Penguins had the best points percentage of any eliminated team in the regular season, so if they do not win the first overall pick, they’ll lock in at 15th overall. Edmonton had the next-highest points percentage, so if neither the Penguins or Oilers win the first pick, Edmonton will end up 14th overall. And so on.

The Wild had the lowest points percentage in this group, so if they don’t win the first pick, they’ll slot in at ninth overall.

The interesting thing here is that, unlike how the draft lottery usually works, this one will not be weighted by regular season success. The Wild will have no better odds to wind up with the first overall pick than the Penguins, Oilers or Maple Leafs.

Each of the eight teams in Monday’s lottery have an even 12.5 per cent chance of winning.

The reveal and how the team is picked will also work a little differently.

In a normal NHL draft lottery, it’s not one “ping pong ball” that gets pulled out, but rather a sequence of four numbers. Each team is assigned a certain number of combinations — the lower in the standings you finished, the more you get. And whichever team holds that winning collection of four numbers wins the lottery.

But on Monday night it’s much simpler than that. One ping pong ball will be pulled and the winning team’s logo revealed.

There is no dramatic card countdown reveal from Bill Daly this time.

WHAT WOULD THE MOST CHAOTIC OUTCOME BE?

If the Edmonton Oilers win the lottery and pick first overall again, the hockey world outside of the city will go mad. The Oilers picked first overall four times in six years between 2010 and 2015 and since then there have been calls to put a limit on how many times a team can pick first over a certain time period. No changes have been made yet, so Edmonton is again mixed up in all of this.

Can you imagine the playmaking Alexis Lafreniere on Connor McDavid’s or Leon Draisaitl’s wing? And on an entry-level contract? The lottery result would be an eye-roll, but the pressure to win would get ramped up to new high levels in Edmonton.

How about Pittsburgh? They’ve won just one of their last eight playoff games and have quickly been dispatched two playoffs in a row. Perhaps they’re more in need of this than we think, but then again, they were seventh in the NHL by points percentage this season and have star power of their own. Lafreniere next to Evgeni Malkin? Or how about next to Sidney Crosby, who came out of the same Rimouski Oceanic program? Lafreniere also became the second player ever to win CHL Player of the Year honours twice, joining Crosby.

And now, of course, we have the Toronto Maple Leafs, who will be facing many off-season questions about the roster’s make up. If they were to land Lafreniere to add to the wing, does it make it any more likely that William Nylander or even Mitch Marner could be dealt?

The wild thing about how this ended up shaking out is that Lafreniere will likely land on a pretty good team. There’s a 50 per cent chance he’ll go to Edmonton, Pittsburgh, Toronto or Winnipeg.

In Winnipeg, there are visions of him joining Mark Scheifele, or playing opposite Patrik Laine. In Nashville, he would join a top-six that looks good on paper, but was generally disappointing this season. Still, with the Preds’ strong defence and overall team depth, a player like Lafreniere could quickly get them back on track. Even the New York Rangers seem primed to break out in a big way before long. Put Lafreniere there and it could happen as soon as 2020-21.

DOES EVERY TEAM HOLD ITS OWN FIRST-ROUND PICK?

Whoever wins the draft lottery will choose first overall, but there are other conditions on some of these picks if they end up slotting elsewhere.

Pittsburgh: As part of the Jason Zucker trade this season, the Penguins conditionally moved their 2020 first-rounder to Minnesota. If the pick ends up 1-15 (which it will now), the Penguins will have seven days after the lottery to decide whether or not to give it up to the Wild. If they choose to keep it, Minnesota will get Pittsburgh’s 2021 first-round pick regardless of finish.

Toronto: As a result of the Patrick Marleau trade to Carolina (who then bought him out) the Leafs have to give up their 2020 first-round pick unless it winds up in the top 10. The only way that can happen is if they win the lottery. So if the Leafs’ lottery ball is not pulled on Monday, Carolina will get their pick.

WHO ARE THIS YEAR’S TOP PROSPECTS?

From pre-season to now, the No. 1 prospect has been Lafreniere. Known for his smarts and his complete skillset, he’ll be a game-changer for any team lucky enough to draft him.

Fellow forwards Quinton Byfield and Tim Stutzle also have franchise-player potential themselves, while this class’s strongest skater, Jamie Drysdale, looks likely to be the first defender off the board.

If Monday night’s lottery winner does not pick Lafreniere — after a 35-goal, 112-point season in 52 games — it would be a shock.

WHEN IS THE DRAFT?

If all goes smoothly and according to plan, the draft is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 9-10 and will be a virtual event.

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Habs Headlines: Veteran vs. Rookie goalie battle key in first round – Habs Eyes on the Prize

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In today’s links, the goaltending battle between veteran and rookie will be key against the Flyers, Philadelphia is sure to be formidable opponents, the Bruins aren’t concerned about their round-robin performance, and more.

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