Saturday, October 17, 2020

Zach Bogosian: The Leafs Continue to Get Tougher


The sissy days of the Toronto Maple Leafs have to come to an end as Wade Simmonds gets some reinforcements from Zach Bogosian. What the Leafs get in Zach Bogosian is as advertised, a nasty stay-home dman who strengthens the Leafs tenfold. The beatdowns to our stars will happen less; we may get more skating room.   

The Leafs addressed both issues this offseason. They addressed the toughness issue with Bogosian and Simmonds. They tried to address the defensive issue with Brodie and Bogosian. I feel they need one more defenceman to help with the defensive breakdowns.  I know they have loads of defensemen on the roster, but do they have enough talent to win?  

The Maple Leafs went out and signed up and comer Jimmy Vesey. Jimmy was the experiment that went wrong in Buffalo.  He zigged instead of zagging, went right instead of left. Jimmy got lost on his way to the grocery store and still has not received the direction on how to get home. Vesey has all the talent in the world; he just has not put it together. If the Maple Leafs can help him do so, it is a win-win proposition. There is really nothing to lose at his cap as his salary is paltry $900,000. In hockey terms, that is a loaf of bread at the bakery.

Travis Boyd is a safe signing; he is what he is. A solid, fourth-line winger who can pitch in the odd goal and assist—a decent, cheap pick-up.

Last, but not least, the signing of Joe Thornton. Although the Maple Leafs value the experience he brings into the dressing room, Joe indeed has his best years behind him. I know this may be harsh, but this team lacks the will to win. Thornton will address this, as he will be motivated to win the cup in his last season. Joe has always wanted to play for his home town; this will give him a chance of winning a cup his final year.

Overall, you have to be excited about the new Maple Leaf team. I might be wrong, but I am really looking forward to being proven right. 


Friday, October 16, 2020

Devon Toews: A Gent, A Cap Casualty


There are times a General Manager does not like his job. This was Lou's time to lament the regrettable necessity of trading a promising young defenceman in Devon Toews. I say promising not because I don’t think he is a good defenseman, but because he is still learning and becoming an even better defenseman. 

As a blogger, I have to look at this like a professional. The trade was a necessity due to the Cap. The Islanders had three players filing for arbitration: Devon Toews, Ryan Pulock, and Josh Ho-Sang. Everyone knows that the Islanders are going to do everything in their power to keep Barzal and Pulock. The writing was on the wall. Barzal wanted, more than likely, eight million plus, and Pulock asking around five million (being optimistic.) According to my math, that is 13 million dollars—too many mouths needing to be fed and not enough food to go around. 

This deal gives the Islanders more Cap and roster flexibility, as Mayfield can now be protected in the expansion draft. This is huge: the Islanders can protect an extra forward if they feel the need to do so. 

As a fan, you hate this trade. You are losing a very promising defenseman. Fans hate future trades; you want to see this team get better now, especially when the team came so close last year.  

I like Devon because of his ability to pitch in; he learned when to sneak in from the point. He had a terrific underrated slap shot. Opposing powerplay would concentrate too much on Ryan Pulock, and Devon would get his chance to shoot from the point. Losing a character player on and off the ice sucks. We understand why this trade happened, but we don't have to like it.


Saturday, October 10, 2020

Maple Leafs: First Day Free Aent Frenzy

Toronto Maple Leafs made some splashes in the first day of the free-agent frenzy. They first picked up rugged right-winger Wayne Simmonds. Wayne gives the Leafs something they so badly need; his signing addresses the lineup's lack of toughness. I am trying to put it politely without calling them pushovers. You remember the commercial "hefty, hefty, hefty; wimpy, wimpy, wimpy? 

Well, the Leafs were leaning toward the latter. Simmonds also strengthens the bottom six. Having a skilled winger in the bottom six will help an already explosive offensive lineup. 

The second signing, of ex-Flame Defenceman TJ Brodie, is huge, addressing the need to help Mr. Reily.  Brodie is a solid all-around number two dman and is an excellent puck handler who will get the puck out of the zone. He has excellent vision, which makes him an asset on the powerplay. The Maples Leafs have lacked an experienced defenceman to settle down the mistakes in the defensive zone. TJ  fills the void of another powerplay specialist; he will only make the powerplay more explosive with another option back at the point. 

I was thrilled to see the Maples Leafs re-sign veteran Centre Jason Spezza. Jason adds the strong influence of a leader in the dressing room. He accepts his role and is willing to do anything to help the team. Jason is A solid fourth-liner who lifts the team when he out on the ice. He helps the second powerplay be more successful. And he fills in with the odd goal on the powerplay, adding another scorer to the bottom six. 

The Leafs are a little over the cap right now. You can bet there are more trades to come. They need one more physical defenseman, which leads me to watch for another trade coming down the ice.


Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Islanders Offseason

What will the Islanders do this offseason?

I am not going with the obvious moves; I am talking below-the-radar. Smaller players I think the Islander should go after. I am not saying they will; I am saying who I think they should consider. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To each their own.

I think these players would fit well with the team. Anyone could be a Tyler Hall, but that is not what this blog is about. So on to the underdogs.

I will mention one Centre, one Defenceman, and one Winger. 

Bobby Ryan - Right Wing

Bobby would be a perfect linemate for Jean-Gabriel Pageau. Pageau needs to be partnered with someone with some offensive punch. I would love to see the Isles at least have a discussion with Ryan. I think he could be had for cheap. He's being bought out by the Sens, which means he won't demand as much money.

Radko Gudas - Defence

Radko is big and nasty with a touch of nastier. A perfect number 5-6 defencemen who will help in the defensive zone. Radko is a stay home defenceman that fits the Lou mold. They don't come much tougher than Radko.

Zemgus Girgensons - Centre

Zemgus is a big, solid guy who does the dirty work. He would make a perfect third-line centre on the Islanders. I know they don't need one, but I would really love to get a big man like Zemgus on the Islanders. 

I know that the last name was pushing it but, I want the Isles to get bigger next season. They got pushed around too much last season.


Saturday, October 3, 2020

Maple Leafs: Flamestr's picks for the Draft

It is that time of year! Time to give my Draft picks for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

I know you’re on the edge of your seat. Here I go.

First Round

#15 Kaiden Guhle — Defence

Kaiden is ranked from 14th to 23rd. His greatest strength is that he is an excellent skater. Kaiden is a top physical, no-nonsense defenseman.

A solid defensive defenseman. Teams will value his puck-handling skills. Guhle is probably the third-best defenseman in the Draft.

Second Round

#44 William Dufour — Right-Wing

William is a big power forward with a massive shot. He attacks the goal in the offensive zone and is a strong player. It is hard to take the puck off of him. He will get his share of garbage goals. I love his heart and his size; this is a pick out of the blue.

Fourth Round

#105 Calle Clang — Goalie

Calle is an excellent stand-up positional goalie. He rarely gets caught out of position. He plays his angles well and is quick on his feet. He knows where the puck is and where it is going, but from what I have read, he needs to get better at handling the puck.

From now on, I will list the rest of my picks from the 5th round to the 7th round.

5th Round

152 Patrick Guay — Right-Wing

6th Round

178 Tristen Robins — Right-Wing

7th Round

188 Micheal Krutil — Defence

211 Charlie Desroches — Defence

Friday, October 2, 2020

Flamestr's Draft Picks - NHL's Got Talent

All eyes are on the Sens, with two lottery picks. And the third one of them because of the Islanders trade. This year's Draft will be interesting because it will be harder to determine how good the player is due to the pandemic. Teams will have to go on what they have seen earlier in the year. Hence the ratings are what they are. 

The top two players in the Draft are a given. Who is next in line depends on who you talk to. Teams are going to draft on the team's needs rather than the players. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder in this Draft.

New York Rangers

Alexis Lafreniere - Left-Wing 

Alexis is a game-changer; he is the most talented player in the Draft. He is a slick passer who has excellent vision. His ability to get the pass to its destination is uncanny. He has a great shot. More to the point, it is deadly accurate. An excellent skater with excellent hands; he is a magician with the puck. 


LA Kings

Quinton Byfield - Centre

Byfield is a smooth-skating forward with skills to burn. A terrific playmaking center who has great vision on the ice. What makes him special is his size. He uses it to his advantage—a sturdy individual who won't be easily taken off the puck. 

Ottawa Senators

Tim St├╝tzle - Centre, Left-Wing

Most of the experts have him at number three. Tim's strength is his skating. A speedy skater who intimidates defence into making mistakes. A terrific skilled forward who has a ton of offensive skill. He needs to be buffed up a little, but that will come.  


Detroit Red Wings

Jamie Drysdale - Defence

Jamie is easily the best all-round defenceman in the Draft. He has a solid two-way game. A fast skater who can distribute the puck to forwards. He will be utilized in the powerplay and penalty-killing. Jamie has a great shot to add his offensive skill. He will be a dynamic NHLer for years to come. 

Ottawa Senators 

Marco Rossi - Centre 

Depending on who you read, Marco is or is close to NHL-ready. One thing is for sure—Marco is a very talented offensive forward. He has excellent puck control, which makes him a dangerous weapon for the NHL Club. The only downside on this kid is his size, but he can over easily overcome that obstacle. 

Anaheim Ducks

Lucas Raymond - Right-Wing, Left-Wing

Lucas is a highly-skilled forward who has good lateral movement. His speed can get him in and out of trouble. A smooth skater who will make coaches drool.  

New Jersey Devils

Alexander Holtz - Right-Wing 

I could tell you look at Raymond, and you see Holtz. The most significant difference is Alexander is a pure scorer. Holtz has a great release and accurate shot. Teams will be lining up for his services at the Draft. He can be vital to the team's powerplay because of his one-time shots. 

Buffalo Sabres

Jake Sanderson  

Sanderson is a very smart defender with a high hockey IQ. Jake knows when to pitch in and when not to. He has a terrific shot with a quick release. He is rated as the second-best defenceman in the Draft. 


Minnesota Wild

Cole Perfetti - Center

Cole is a skilled center-winger who is not opposed to getting his nose dirty. Excellent with the puck and has good vision. Depending on who you ask, his skating might be a concern. There is no doubting Cole's offensive abilities; he should be able to develop his skating skills.  

Winnipeg Jets

Dawson Mercer - Right-Wing

Dawson is a slick playmaking centre of decent size. An excellent passer, he is a smooth-skating forward with a ton of potential. Dawson has a chip on his shoulder. He won't shy from the corners. A typical prospect from the Quebec junior league, Mercer will have to work on his defensive zone game.

Nashville Predators 

Anton Lundell - Centre

Anton is a reliable two-way forward with some offensive punch. He stands out with one skill, but he is known as a jack-of-all-trades. A hard worker, he will contribute on the powerplay and the penalty kill. He is known for his soft passes to set up scoring chances.  

Florida Panthers

Dylan Holloway - Centre, Left-Wing

How much talent this kid has depends on who you ask. He is a smooth skater who is hard to take the puck off of. His lateral movement is outstanding. He has to develop his game to be a complete player. Has tons of potential to be a star. 

Carolina Hurricanes 

Yaroslav Askarov - Goalie 

Yaroslav has a terrific quick glove hand. He plays his angles very well and has fast reflexes. Yaroslav can win a game by himself. A very agile keeper who controls his rebounds. It is rare to have a goalie in the first round, which just goes to show how much potential this kid has. 

Edmonton Oilers

Jack Quinn - Right-wing

Depending on who you listen to, Jack lands anywhere from 6th to 13th. Jack is an elite finisher who cleans up his chances to the net. He has speed, but needs to develop his skating skills. Teams love his one-timer. He will be an excellent asset on the powerplay. 

Toronto Maple Leafs

Kaiden Guhle - Defence

Kaiden is ranked from 14th to 23rd. His greatest strength is he is an excellent skater. Kaiden is a top physical, no-nonsense defenseman.

Solid defensive defensemen teams will value his puck-handling skills, probably the third best defenseman in the Draft. 

Montreal Canadians 

Seth Jarvis - Centre, Wing

Seth is a highly-skilled forward who excels in the offensive zone. His versatility is an asset being able to be centre and wing. Teams can use him in all aspects of the game. He especially shines on the penalty-kill. He is the kind of forward you would want on the ice in the last two minutes.  

Chicago Black Hawks

Hendrix Lapierre - Centre


Hendrix intimidates defencemen with his speed. He often forces the defence to back up, which allows him to penetrate the offensive zone easily. A highly-skilled puck handler who is capable of making passes that most can only imagine. Again, being from the Quebec junior league, he needs to develop his defensive game. Concussion issues may hinder his development.  

New Jersey Devils

Connor Zary - Centre

Connor not a flashy centre, but has the skill to compete in the NHL. Connor is a man's man. A hard-working hockey player. He will fight in the corner and is solid in his own end. You will want him on your team in the last minutes. Connor may very well have the biggest heart in the Draft. 

Calgary Flames

Jacob Perreault - Right-Wing

Jacob is an offensive centre who will put up some numbers. He is known for his passing, skills and has excellent vision. He is a terrific skater and a finisher around the net. Motivated and the player who wants the puck when the moment counts. 

New Jersey Devils

Rodion Amirov - Left-Wing

Rodion has some strong feedback from the insiders. Rodion is a strong winger who can give teammates space. He is steady on his feet, and it will be hard to take him off the puck. He could be a steal for a team that picks the 20 or 21 spot in the Draft. 

Columbas Blue Jackets

John-Jason Peterka - Right-Wing

I get kind of excited about John-Jason, a right-winger who can finish. Jason has a quick release wrist shot, with some accuracy. Peterka needs to develop his defensive game, but that will come. He was used in all aspects of the game.  

New York Rangers 

Noel Gunler - Right-Wing, Left-Wing

Some have this slick-moving forward in the top ten. Noel's biggest asset is his shot. If Noel brings his size in his game, he could become the perfect power-forward. A powerful sniper who could be a top-six forward. 

Philadelphia Flyers 

Ridly Greig - Right-Wing, Centre

Ridley has one talent right from the start; his versatility. Teams will love the fact he can play RW-centre. Ridley will be used in all aspects of the game. He can be relied on in the last minutes, used as a left-winger or to replace a centre if he gets tossed on the draw.   

Washington Capitals 

Lukas Reichel  - Left-Wing 

Lucis is a skilled left-winger who can put the fear of death into others with his speed in the offensive zone. Lucas has excellent vision, which makes him dangerous shooting or passing.  

Colorado Avalanche 

Justin Barron - Defence

Justin is an all-around defenceman known for his defensive game. He has great vision will be able to get the puck out of the zone for the forwards. He plays great under pressure. Teams will be impressed with his composure. 

St. Louis Blues 

William Wallinder - Defence 

Willam is a big defender who is good in his own zone. William has excellent puck-moving skills and knows how to distribute the puck. He will never be known for his flashy play, but is a steady defender. Teams will like his physical presence in the line-up. It will take time to develop. 

Anaheim Ducks

Ozzy Wiesblatt - Right-Wing

I suppose there is one word to describe Ozzy: fireballer. I am not sure if there is such a word, but that describes him to a T. A consistent player who never quits, he will get his points off turnovers. Sounds like Tkachuk in the rough to me.  

Ottawa Senators

Maverick Bourque - Centre

Maverick is a smart, no-nonsense player who will take the most direct route from A to B. A determined forward who has a never-quit attitude. He'll get it done. Not known for just one skill, he does everything well but not great, potential 2nd/3rd line centre.

Vegas Golden Knights

Jake Neighbours - Centre

Jake is a tireless worker who works for every inch of space. He will tire out the opposition with his relentless pressure. He gets his nose dirty and will score his share of garbage goals—a late first-rounder in the making. 

Dallas Stars

Brendan Brisson

Brendan is a reliable centre with a deadly wrist shot. He will go where the puck is and does not shy away from the physical play. Brisson will get his share of points through his style of play. The kind of player you need to protect your players. 

SJ Sharks

Tyson Foerster 

Tyson can be used in all aspects of the game. He has the offensive skills, with the knowledge to achieve plays in the NHL. Tyson is a hard worker who won't quit. He can and will do what it takes to win. Foerster has a terrific shot and can score from anywhere on the ice.