Toronto Maple Leafs: Skid Reaches Eight After Bizarre 3rd Period


Toronto Maple Leafs: Skid Reaches Eight After Bizarre 3rd Period

With both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Arizona Coyotes entering the game on seven-game skids, each team had something to prove. Arizona have already openly admitted they are major sellers ahead of this year’s trade deadline on March 2.

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The Coyotes’ goal was to raise certain players’ trade stock in order to receive maximum value in draft picks and prospects. Meanwhile, the Leafs’ goal was simply to win and generate hope in their fan base, surging toward the final wild card spot. Of course us Toronto fans would love that, but reality hits us like a brick wall.

The Leafs were dominated in the shot count 45-25 and in the face-off circle 37-24, limiting opportunities to score and control the game’s tone. Not to mention the pizza’s thrown by Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Martin Hanzal that embarrassed Jonathan Bernier, the Leaf’s have shown they cannot play a full 60 minutes of hockey. Mentally, they are precarious.

With 33 games left and holding a 22-24-4 record, the Leafs hold a suitable eighth pick in this year’s McEichel Draft (yes, we’re already tracking it). According to, the odds of the eighth team with fewest points winning the draft lottery is 6.00%.

The best thing to happen to this club in the near future is to trade “rental” players such as Joffrey Lupul, Cody Franson (only if a deal will not be reached before June 1st) and even Daniel Winnik, receiving valuable assets in high draft picks, prospects and farm club pieces.

We will hold off on the draft talk for now and outline the positives and negatives of last night’s abysmal performance.


Defensive Zone Exits

– More efficient than before. Quick passes when finding the open man in the centre then the half wall confuses opposing defenders and rewarding success to Maple Leaf forwards leaving the zone.

Nazem Kadri

– Great poise with the puck. Making mature decisions with the puck in all three zones.

– Play-making ability forming into what the Leafs hoped to be upon drafting him. Now becoming an X-factor and consistently effective player.

Morgan Rielly

– For a 20-year-old, he has unbelievable poise with the puck. Starting to show more flashes of brilliance in every game.

– Great speed. Using speed to his advantage and becoming a more effective player.

Korbinian Holzer

– 26-year-old defender, played 267 games in AHL. Showing more patience and confidence with puck, showing slight offensive side with confident plays in offensive zone.

– Confident play making case for a potential promotion to the Maple Leafs next season. Franson-type player, could fill Franson’s role if he were to be dealt.

Jonathan Bernier

– Had positive play for two periods, but could not close out the game after allowing a couple of soft goals.

– Fantastic vision and rebound control for most of the game. Calm demeanour carried the team before the 3rd period slide. Absorbed pucks like a sponge.



– Too predictable. Teams anticipate Phil Kessel‘s step-in shot from the half wall.

– Too calm. Needs more puck movement through East-West seams.

– Either take David Clarkson off the PP or plant him in front of net. If playing along the boards, holds the puck too long then makes wrong decision with the pass. Dirty goals and screens are his forte, might as well agitate the goalie.

David Clarkson

– Like in the PP, he is placed in an ineffective role. If plays physical without the puck more than having the puck on his stick, fewer mistakes will be made. Should hit more, pass the puck off quicker, and stand in front of the goaltender.

Phil Kessel

– One goal might spark a landslide of goals, but way too streaky. Maybe his confidence was just lost? One even strength goal in 17 games isn’t a great stat, but outlines his recent performance pretty well.

– Team relies on him too much. Not necessarily Kessel’s fault, but when he’s not scoring, cold-streaks tend to rub off onto other players in the lineup.

After a forgetful night in the Air Canada Centre, the Maple Leaf’s look to end their losing streak against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, January 31.

If you already have your GM hat on with this year’s draft in your crosshairs, here is TSN Bob McKenzie’s mid-season draft rankings.

What were your positives and negatives drawn from last night’s game? Please submit your opinions in the comment section below.