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Development Camp, Subban & the Atlantic

In this edition of Toronto Maple Leafs News & Rumors, I’ll share the good news: Maple Leafs hockey started today. Second, I’ll comment on a rumor that the team has a “lukewarm” interest in PK Subban. Third, I will ask a brief critical question about the real competitiveness of the Atlantic Division.

Element One: Maple Leafs Development Camp Begins Today

If you’re a Toronto Maple Leafs fan, today is your lucky day. Hockey is finally here. It’s not the big guys, but it’s the guys. In fact, 39 young and restless potential NHL players will form the roster for the team’s 2021 development camp.

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During the first day of today, players will participate in medical examinations and tests on the ice. Tomorrow there will be sessions on the ice and for the media with the whole team from the Ford Performance Center.

The Maple Leafs announcement listed the names of 39 players (20 forwards, 13 defensemen and six goalies) who will participate, learn and seek to increase their chances of becoming a star. The camp also features eight Maple Leafs draft picks, including Nick Robertson.

Nick Robertson, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Mark Blinch / NHLI via Getty Images)

Hayley Wickenheiser, senior director of player development for the Maple Leafs, and her staff will oversee the camp. In addition, Maple Leafs player development staff (who are first class) and coaches from across the organization will be in attendance and working with the youth. Two who will be particularly interested are Greg Moore (head coach of the Toronto Marlies) and Eric Wellwood (the new head coach of the Newfoundland Growlers).

Point two: Is there a place on the Maple Leafs roster for PK Subban?

I first reported the slight waves of a rumor that the Maple Leafs had shown some interest in PK Subban three days ago. However, those ripples turned into a tsunami of speculation that keeps many Maple Leafs hockey writers engaged. (Ironically, that obviously includes me right now.)

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So here’s the deal. Really, even if the Maple Leafs could “drive” Subban out of New Jersey with the Devils retaining a ton of Subban’s salary cap, would they have a place for him on the team? Even at half the price, it would still be $ 4.5 million. That’s a ton for the Maple Leafs.

Honestly, I’ve been a Subban fan since he played in Nashville and saw how excited he was about hockey. Yet where is it located?

PK Subban Devils of New Jersey
PK Subban, New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr / The Hockey Writers)

He’s a 32-year-old former Norris Trophy winner (in 2013), but his last two seasons with the Devils are not far from what he’s produced before. In fact, as my co-author Stan Smith has often pointed out to me, Justin Holl (with four goals and 34 assists for 38 points) has more points over the past two seasons than Subban (who has 12 goals and 25 points). assists for 37 points). In fact, as a plus-minus statistic or not, Holl (at plus-29) is 66 points higher on this stat than Subban (who was minus-37) over the past two seasons. Part of that is the team, of course; always ….

Anyway, I love Subban and would love to have him as a neighbor, but I don’t see where he fits in the team.

Point three: How good is the Atlantic Division?

Thinking of the Maple Leafs’ competition this coming regular season, most fans seem to think the team will be struggling within the Atlantic Division and may not qualify for the playoffs. But is it really true?

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From what I can see, the Maple Leafs’ toughest competition in the Atlantic will be the Florida Panthers. If Joe Thornton thought this was a good place to land, I’m not arguing. Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov are good. Sam Reinhart joins the team. The defense with Aaron Ekblad is solid and their goaltending game is quite good. In addition, they are well supervised by Joël Quenneville.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have excellent offensive players with Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov and excellent goaltending with Andrei Vasilevskiy. But they have also lost key players. Can they hold together? Can they beat the Panthers? I do not think so.

Tampa Bay Lightning Andrei Vasilevskiy
Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (AP Photo / Jason Behnken)

The Montreal Canadiens’ success in the playoffs seems like a wonder for sure. How good are the Boston Bruins goaltenders? Of course, the defense is not as good as it used to be. The Perfection Line is aging and David Krejci has returned home to the Czech Republic. Can the Ottawa Senators rebuild quickly enough to cause trouble this season, or is their time somewhere on the road? The Detroit Red Wings are clearly a rebuilding team. And then there are the Buffalo Sabers.

In short, everyone is worried that the Maple Leafs have lost too much; but, really, how different are they from other teams in their division? Each team seems to be suffering from the salary cap situation.

What’s next for the Maple Leafs?

I’m delighted to see the young players seize the opportunity to part ways (I don’t think I literally mean it) for a place in the squad. I can’t help but think that these young men weren’t that much older than my grandson and other young players – boys and girls – who just finished their hockey tries this week and are waiting to team up. to play during the winter.

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Someone will come out of the 39 young players who are starting this development camp. Coaches will find some surprises there that will stand out. There will be a lot of in camera conversations.

Can’t wait to hear the news – probably by the weekend.



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