Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs: Trevor Moore has a Breakout Year

Trevor Moore looked like an NHL player this year, and should remind us of another Toronto Maple Leafs’ winger, Andreas Johnsson.

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Trevor Moore made his NHL debut  with the Toronto Maple Leafs on December 23rd and was awarded with his first career point, a secondary assist on a rare goal for Frederik Gauthier. It came from a play that leafs fans are already plenty familiar with – a quick drive wide and a nifty pass which ultimately led to a scoring chance. Trevor Moore quickly won over Mike Babcock and was gradually rewarded with more ice time. He also impressed fans, a majority of which were calling for even more ice time from the coach instead of aging veteran Patrick Marleau. That may remind us of someone.

Similarities with Andreas Johnsson

Fans may remember a similar feeling when Andreas Johnsson entered the league late in the 2017-18 season, playing a fast game and creating chances despite limited ice time. In fact, the players have pretty similar AHL numbers. Johnsson may serve as an interesting comparable as Moore looks likely to get a larger role on the team moving into next year.

As the table illustrates, Moore and Johnsson have produced at similar rates during their time on the Toronto Marlies. Moore flew a bit more under the radar as he developed, appearing to take a step back in his second Marlies’ year and playing his best hockey when the big club had their eyes on the cup. Johnsson’s breakout was slightly more impressive, producing a point-per-game clip, and showcasing a little more top-end skill than we may expect to see from Moore. What remains to be seen is if Moore can take another step in his development and if he will be a point producer when/if he’s given a top-nine role next year.

A Potential Bargain

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Trevor Moore’s contract could be a great bargain for the leafs next year – in January he signed a 2-year deal for a $775 cap hit – which looks like it could be a great value deal. Dubas might be using this type of deal to relieve some cap space as the Leaf’s look to contend – Calle Rosen signed a nearly identical deal in December. If Moore can put up 20~30 points, that would be a cheap way of restoring some of the winger depth the Leafs will need to take another step in the playoffs next year.

All stats and information courtesy of hockey-reference.com and NHL.com

Feature image courtesy of Josh Tessler

 

 

Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs: Getting Moore Long-Term Value?

The 2018-2019 roster for the Toronto Maple Leafs is is undoubtedly the the best in recent memory. The star power on this team is second to none (maybe one: Tampa Bay Lightning), but this iteration of the Toronto Maple Leafs can’t last forever.

As we’ve seen with recent Stanley Cup Champions, the ideal roster construction is to spend a large chunk of one’s cap on a few star players, and surround them with capable cheap options. You see this with the previous back to back Champion Pittsburgh Penguins, with stars such as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessel eating a significant portion of the cap, and cheap reliable options such as Jake Guentzel (prior to his extension), Bryan Rust and Brian Dumoulin surrounding them.

Re-Signing Trevor Moore

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Kyle Dubas’ re-signing of Trevor Moore signals to the fan-base that long-term roster construction will head in this direction (likely following the highly anticipated cap crunch set to occur this summer). The actual contract, 2 years, one-way and an AAV of 775,000 USD is the exact type of money we’d expect for a player who made his NHL debut earlier this year.

This is not meant to be a slight against Moore. In fact, despite the limited showcase, Moore captured the hearts of Leafs Nation. He showed off his speed against often lower quality opponents and his ability to generate scoring chances with equally low quality line mates. Over the next two years, expect him to develop into the type of player we’ve seen Andreas Johnsson turn into this season: a dynamic, skilled player who can play up and down the lineup. He is not an exception, and like recent Stanley Cup Champions, will not be the only player of this kind on the roster.

Extending Calle Rosen

This summer, Jake Gardiner and Ron Hainsey will both be free agents. With Gardiner and Hainsey potentially gone, Dubas will need to make some big changes on his blue-line. Recently, he provided a  one-way extension to Calle Rosen. Rosen’s new deal stands out as another high value, low-cost move. Besides the aforementioned Moore, there is little debate as to who has been far and away the best player for the Toronto Marlies this season. Displaying incredible offensive upside and the ability to manage the puck in his own end, Rosen will almost certainly crack next year’s roster. With a 750,000 USD cap hit over the next two years of his one way deal, Rosen has proven that he deserves a serious shot at cracking the roster next year. With how he’s performed at the AHL level, it seems as though he will get that opportunity.

More Extensions To Come?

With Rosen and Moore receiving extensions from Dubas, you can expect many others to get similar looking contracts and opportunities. The often forgotten NHL player, Justin Holl could see chances on the deconstructed blue-line come training camp. Additionally, Marlies players such as Carl Grundstrom, Andreas Borgman and Jeremy Bracco (among many others) could get long looks at spots that may open up with the departures of one or more of Tyler Ennis, Andreas Johnsson or Kasperi Kapanen this summer (or at the trade deadline).

Dubas has begun to show the future of this roster and how it will be constructed. The stars of the Leafs’ current roster may soon find themselves surrounded by capable, young, and fast current Marlies in their bid to end Toronto’s Stanley Cup drought.

contract research – CapFriendly.com

featured image photo credit – Josh Tessler

Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs: Rasmus Sandin Has Been Impressive

Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Rasmus Sandin has looked impressive and should be great addition to the Leafs blue-line down the road. 

As a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs it is so nice to see a prospect pool that is both deep and talented. The Toronto Maple Leafs farm system is stacked with many great prospects including Timothy Liljegren, Jeremy Bracco, Calle Rosen, Andreas Borgman, Pierre Engvall, Trevor Moore, Carl Grundstrom, Sean Durzi, Rasmus Sandin and many others. But, the one prospect that has really caught my attention has been defenseman Rasmus Sandin.

World Juniors

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I was very impressed by his play for Team Sweden at the 2019 IIHF World Juniors. Sandin was part of an excellent Swedish team and was among some of the best Swedish defensive prospects including Adam Boqvist and Erik Brannstrom. 

Unfortunately the Swedes didn’t medal, but Sandin still had a great tournament. He was able to pick up 2 Goals and 2 Assists for 4 Points and a +4 rating in 5 games at the WJC.

In addition, Sandin showed at the international stage that he’s very good at protecting the puck and controlling the play both in his own end and in the offensive zone.

Toronto Marlies

Sandin has also been having a great regular season in North America.

So far this season, Sandin has spent his time playing in the AHL with the Toronto Marlies (the Toronto Maple Leafs minor league affiliate). In 18 games played with the Marlies, he has 5 goals and 5 assists. It is worth nothing that 3 of his 5 goals have been on the power-play. In addition, Sandin has the second highest Points/Game for a defenseman on the Marlies. At the moment, he’s averaging 0.56 points per game. 

Unfortunately, at the moment, Sandin is listed as being out of the Marlies’ lineup for 4-6 weeks with an elbow sprain that he sustained at the World Junior Championship. But, this injury shouldn’t slow down his development and Sandin should hopefully be back in the AHL by mid-February.

Evaluating Rasmus

There are a couple of things that stand out for me when I watch him play. His ability to move the puck quickly, his vision and his ability to protect the puck.  On October 26th, 2018 he scored his first AHL goal using his great vision to shoot the puck from the Syracuse Crunch (Tampa Bay Lightning AHL affiliate) blue line through 4 or 5 players and beating Syracuse goaltender Eddie Pasquale.

Next season, I can see Sandin playing either top minutes for the Marlies or being the 6th defenseman at the NHL level. It’ll mostly depend on his showing at training camp, but if he has a strong camp then there is chance that he could be on the Maple Leafs blue-line to start the 2019-2020 season.

There is still a lot of season left to play and while he’s a bit banged up at the moment, it’s been a great season for Sandin and the Marlies.

stats from theAHL.com

featured photo image credit – Josh Tessler

 

 

 

 

Toronto Maple Leafs

The Future of the Toronto Maple Leafs

Yesterday afternoon, I attended an AHL game between the Toronto Marlies (Toronto Maple Leafs AHL affiliate) and the Belleville Senators (Ottawa Senators AHL affiliate). 

Toronto Maple Leafs

Unfortunately, there wasn’t a ton of goals on the board. The game ended up going to overtime with a score of 0-0. Toronto Marlies forward, Adam Brooks broke the tie in overtime with a game winning goal. 

Even though there wasn’t a ton of offensive success for either team, it was a pretty one-sided game. The Toronto Marlies out-shot Belleville by a huge 36 – 10 margin. In addition, the Marlies were quite physical, which hopefully the Marlies will bring to the NHL level when they are called up.

Overall, there were four players from the Marlies that stood out for me.

Andreas Borgman (D): Showcases a big physical presence. Borgman works well along the boards and in the corners, but what impressed me the most was his ability to use his size to box players out in front of his own net. I believe Borgman should already be playing with the Toronto Maple Leafs. His size and physical Play are what the Maple Leafs seem to be lacking.

Carl Grundstrom (LW): One thing that I knew the Toronto Maple Leafs would miss once James Van Riemsdyk (JVR) left was going to be a left Winger who could be physical along the boards and put up points. I don’t think Grundstrom will reach the point totals that JVR was able to reach. However, I do see him as a solid third line winger who could score 15-20 goals per season. So far this season with the Marlies, he has 18 points in 22 games played.

Trevor Moore (LW): Moore is 5’10” winger from Thousand Oaks, California. The first thing that you notice about Moore is that he is under-sized, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t be an exceptional forward. Even though Trevor lacks in size, he more than makes up for with his grit and determination. He reminds me a lot of Zach Hyman. I believe that with another full season in the AHL, he could be a full time NHL player with the Maple Leafs next season.

Rasmus Sandin (D): When you watch Sandin up close, there is one thing that stands out right away – his skating. He is a very smooth skater and has both the speed and vision to get the puck out of his zone quickly.  Being that he is still just 18 years old, Rasmus is going to need at least another full season in the AHL next year as his body continues to grow and he fills out a bit more. I could see him as a potential top four defenseman on the Maple Leafs blue-line two or three years from now.

Thank you all for reading,

Jeremy Ridgewell

in-post and featured image photo credit – Jeremy Ridgewell