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What Should the Toronto Maple Leafs Do at the Trade Deadline? – Editor In Leaf

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The Toronto Maple Leafs made a big trade this time last year.

On January 28th 2019, the Toronto Maple Leafs added Jake Muzzin from the L.A Kings in exchange for some B prospects and a late first round pick.

The deal has worked out splendidly for the Leafs who added a top pairing defenseman, and one of the best play drivers of the last decade, for next to nothing.

With no first round pick, the Leafs selected Nick Robertson, a player just four days from being too young for the draft, in the second round.  Robertson has lit up the OHL this year and if he was born four days later, would be a for-sure first rounder this year, a fact that negates most of the cost of the Muzzin trade (since the Leafs essentially ended up with a first rounder anyways).

But what will the Toronto Maple Leafs do this year? Does Dubas has another heisting hidden up his sleeve?  Will the league’s best general manager further cement his reputation by adding the player that puts his team over the top?

Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Deadline Plans

Complicating the Leafs ability to add players is the fact that (with a fully healthy roster) they are at the salary cap limit.

That makes Cody Ceci, Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnson prime candidates to be used for trade bait.

Johnson has a history of first line production and I find it highly unlikely the Leafs would trade him. Kapanen, however, has mostly disappointed this year, and teams might also overpay for that crazy speed he has.

Ceci is a perfectly adequate #6 but makes too much money for that role.

If the Leafs moved two of these players, they could add almost any piece that could conceivably be available, so cap space isn’t likely to be an issue.

The issue is: what do they want?

You would assume they’d love to add a defenseman, but the Leafs blue-line is a much bigger strength than most people realize.   Rielly, Muzzin, Barrie, Dermott, Sandin, Holl is – in my opinion – an excellent blue line.

I wouldn’t turn my nose up at a solid upgrade, but unless the Leafs are going big game hunting for a player like Ryan Ellis, I don’t see the need.  Why trade for a Ceci upgrade when Liljegren and Sandin already provide you with two?

The Leafs are always rumoured to be after Alexandar Georgiev from the Rangers, but does it make sense to spend a lot of assets on a back-up goalie?  I don’t think it does.  If the price isn’t too high, I’m on board, but I wouldn’t spend too much on a player you’re just gonna lose in the expansion draft anyways.

What I would look at if I was the Leafs is two things: a top pairing defenseman, and a top line forward.

Roster balance is not a necessary thing in a game where you use so many players.  Another elite forward would make the Leafs impossible to defend against and add just as many wins as a top pairing defenseman would.

I think forwards might come without a premium and that you could add a forward that upgrades the team at a cheaper cost than a defenseman.

But if an elite player is not available, I’d stand pat if I was in charge of the Toronto Maple Leafs.  The team is so deep that you’d have to add a very good player for there to be any kind of upgrade.

Next: Toronto Maple Leafs Myth Busters

I wouldn’t, however, be surprised to see the team defy convention and trade for a forward as opposed to the defenseman everyone says they need.

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Team Mayweather sends a warning to Conor McGregor ahead of UFC 246 – BJPENN.COM

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Floyd Mayweather, Conor McGregor

Team Mayweather has sent former adversary Conor McGregor a warning ahead of his UFC 246 bout with Donald Cerrone.

McGregor and Mayweather faced off in a blockbuster boxing match back in August of 2016, with ‘Money May’ emerging victorious by tenth round TKO.

With that said, the Irishman did have his moments in the contest, especially early in the fight. Due to that success, ‘Mystic Mac’ is confident that a rematch with Floyd Mayweather would go much differently.

However, the folks at Team Mayweather do not share the same confidence in Conor McGregor. Floyd’s longtime friend and bodyguard Ray Sadeghi, can’t imagine a scenario in which McGregor would ever get his hand raised against Mayweather Jr.

“Conor talks a lot, and one thing we do know is he talks a lot, and he doesn’t back it up,” Sadeghi told MMAJUNKIE. “He can say, ‘Oh, he did this in the beginning and in the third round.’ One thing we know as a fighter is everyone starts off fresh and strong. As the rounds go on and on he’ll show the true colors of who is the better fighter and who is the more skilled fighter.

Conor McGregor, Floyd Mayweather

Conor McGregor, Floyd Mayweather

“One thing we do know: Conor McGregor, you can say what you want to say, but you got knocked out, and you got severe head trauma and a concussion that was reported by your doctor. Is the outcome going to be the same? I truly believe that no one can outbox Floyd. No one can outwork Floyd. His offense and his defense and his technique – this man is just made for this.

“His dad, his uncles have been in this for decades, and he’s been doing this since he was a little boy. You can try. If that fight happens and the negotiations go so you guys can put it together and the fight is going to happen, will I love to see that? Absolutely. Is the result going to be the same? I don’t know. It’s going to be a very exciting fight, and I’m sure Conor is going to come out stronger, but you cannot underestimate the best ever.”

Do you think Conor McGregor will try and secure another boxing match with Floyd Mayweather if he proves victorious at UFC 246 this evening? Sound off in the comments section PENN Nation!

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Game Preview 49.0: Edmonton Oilers vs Arizona Coyotes (1pm MT, SNW) – Oilers Nation

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Good morning, Nation! Here we are with yet another Saturday matinee edition of the GDB as our beloved Edmonton Oilers get set to take on the Arizona Coyotes in what will surely be a massive Pacific Division matchup.

Before the Oilers take off for their bye week, they’ve got one last piece of business to take care of as Taylor Hall and the Arizona Coyotes visit Rogers Place for a Saturday matinee, and with the Pacific Division standings being as close as they are, this is undoubtedly a huge game for Edmonton. Right now, the Oilers are chasing the Coyotes for the division lead and winning today’s game would be a huge step towards grabbing that spot as they head into a 10-day break. Now that we’re in the back half of the season, it seems like the pressure to win rises exponentially and these divisional games become as important as it gets. As of this morning, first and fifth place in the Pacific are separated by only two points and that means closing out these four pointers are crucial for not only maintaining pace but also for putting space between Edmonton and the teams chasing them. Needless to say, the Oilers need to do whatever it takes to put two more points in the bank before the break.

The other obvious storyline for tonight’s game is that Taylor Hall will be making his return to Edmonton for the first time as a Coyote after being acquired from the Devils back in mid-December. Now that he’s back in the Pacific Division and playing along with the likes of Phil Kessel, the Coyotes have a different look and feel than we’re used to, and it will be up to the Oilers to figure out a way to shut them down while also producing opportunities for themselves on the offensive side of the puck. As you’ll see in the numbers section below, the Coyotes score less than the Oilers do (they have five fewer goals in two more games), but they allow far fewer goals against which will certainly be a challenge to overcome. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that the Coyotes are still the defensive team we know and hate but they’ve found a way to add some offence into the mix which makes them a different animal to handle.

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Tonight’s contest marks the third of four meetings between these two clubs with the next coming up on February 4th in Glendale. Over the first two games, each side has secured a win with both contests requiring extra time to reach a conclusion.

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Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (fancies at 5×5)

Oilers

Neal – McDavid – Archibald
RNH – Draisaitl – Yamamoto
Nygard – Sheahan – P. Russell
Gagner – Haas – Chiasson

Klefbom – Larsson
Nurse – Bear
K. Russell – Jones

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Smith

Over the past couple of weeks, the Oilers have really started to hit their stride in terms of producing offence from through their lineup and it’s a trend that I’m really hoping can continue after this afternoon and beyond the bye-week break. The lines shown above were what the Oilers were rocking at practice, but there haven’t been any updates since but I’ll go ahead and update things if anything changes.

Coyotes

Hall – Dvorak – Garland
Keller – Soderberg – Schmaltz
Course – Stepan – Kessel
Grabner – Richardson – Hinostroza

Ekman-Larsson – Demers
Chychrun – Goligoski
Oesterle – Hjalmarsson

Hill

Looking at the Coyotes’ stats page, the thing that stuck out to me was the balanced scoring they have from through their lineup, and that the real battle could come from how the depth lines match up against each other. If the Oilers’ third and fourth lines can outscore what the Coyotes can produce then we should be in line for a nice little afternoon here. At least, that’s the theory anyway.

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From Howlin’ Hockey:

When the ‘Yotes played deep and cycled in their “O” zone, it posed problems for the Canucks’ “D” men. Unfortunately, there was too much puck-watching by the Coyotes and not enough support for their linemates or movement away from the puck to generate many scoring chances.

In essence, there was too much “one and done” and loss of the precious puck to the home team. Many of the ‘Yotes seemed invisible at times, mere passengers on a slow-moving train to a destination called defeat. It seemed a blessing that the Canucks were at times just as inept as the Coyotes were.

It was certainly disappointing to watch the Coyotes’ performance against the Canucks, especially after they made it clear the day before and again pregame that this contest was going to be approached as if it was a playoff game. Coach Tocchet stated that with the NHL break coming up after Saturday’s matinee game in Edmonton, the Coyotes needed to “empty the tank.” Instead, it looked as if the tank was empty from the start.

Let’s hope there’s an effective “response” game that reminds us all of the desert dogs’ resilience come Saturday afternoon in Edmonton. Win and come home to warmer weather, boys. Let’s go Coyotes!

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk

Game Day Prediction: Oilers take it 3-2 and head off into the sunset to enjoy their bye week. I believe.

Obvious Game Day Prediction: Seeing as it is a tundra outside right now, Rogers Place sells twice as much alcohol as normal as Oilers fans will do anything to keep themselves warm. Or, at least, numb the pain a little bit.

Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Gregor predicted he’d score on Tuesday night against the Predators and it never happened, so I’m going to go ahead and call Patrick Russell’s first NHL goal here and now. One of us needs to get this one. 

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Daily news and chat: The last Leafs game before bye-week is tonight – Pension Plan Puppets

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The Maple Leafs are getting ready for vacation. The team will be released from any immediate obligations shortly after playing tonight against the Blackhawks for their annual bye week. This year the end of the bye week coincides with the All-Star Game break, so there is extra time off, except for Frederik Andersen, Mitch Marner, and Auston Matthews who will be participating in that game.

Yes, it’s going to be a long time until the next gamen on Monday January 27th, so enjoy tonight while you can.

We’ll have a preview of the game out later this morning. And don’t worry, we have lots of interesting things planned for you to read here next week.

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The Hurricanes will most likely be without their top defenseman until the end of the regular season.

For the Bruins and Backes, it’s an ending that seemed destined from the start – Stanley Cup of Chowder
Everyone hoped for better, but it wasn’t in the cards. David Backes is on waivers to be asigned to the AHL.

Tkachuk clan knows the game is better with more characters – Sportsnet
In the entertainment world Matthew Tkachuk thrives in, we need more leaders who are confident, smart enough and skilled enough to wear the black hat. [Species: We also don’t need gigantic pieces of shit though.]

Hockey is for everyone, right? – St. Louis Game Time
The Blues went from completely being all-in on a Pride Night celebration to not even having a night of inclusiveness. And if you’re wondering why inclusiveness matters, just do a simple Google search of why Pride still matters.

‘Sometimes it’s tough love’: Bond among Leafs’ Kapanen, Keefe pays off – Sportsnet
Kapanen and Keefe’s relationship dates back to the AHL. There has been some friction along the way, but there are benefits, too. Keefe, still adjusting to life in the NHL, already knows what buttons to push.

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