Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

This is the first edition of the ‘Maple Leafs Weekly’, a series where we look at all things regarding the Toronto Maple Leafs. We will be looking at the most recent news and notes surrounding the team, as well as a brief look at what happened in the last week and the week ahead.

Toronto Maple Leafs Weekly (The Hockey Writers)

In the first edition of ‘Maple Leafs Weekly”, I will be looking at the first two weeks of the season. Since the first week started on a Wednesday, I thought it would be easier to wait and let things develop before I discuss the latest news on the Maple Leafs.

Maple Leafs News & Notes

Pontus Holmberg was called up on Oct. 19 after Fraser Minten appeared to struggle against the Florida Panthers. Holmberg dressed for the game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, which means Minten is on the outside looking in. However, he can be sent back to the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League (WHL). He has only played in four games of his nine-game limit before the first year of his entry-level contract (ELC) is burned. There is still no official word regarding a decision on Minten and his future, but all signs point to him being loaned back as soon as this week.

Related: 3 Maple Leafs Dark Horse Trade Candidates for 2023-24

Latest News & Highlights

Another name to watch in the American Hockey League (AHL) who could receive a call-up soon is Nick Robertson. There were rumours from Elliotte Friedman that he could be getting fed up with his lack of role on the team. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of room for him on the roster just based on their cap situation. But if there are injuries, or if he can keep playing as well as he has, there could be room for him. If not, a trade could be in the future for Robertson and the Maple Leafs.

Matthews’ Back-to-Back Hat Tricks

Auston Matthews started the season red-hot; he had back-to-back hat tricks to kick off the year against the Montreal Canadiens and Minnesota Wild. Matthews was the first player to accomplish the feat since Alex Ovechkin in 2017-18. Before Ovechkin did it, it hadn’t been done in 100 years since Cy Denneny, Joe Malone, and Reg Noble all did it in 1917-18. After last season, when Matthews only had 40 goals, people thought that he was more worried about defence than just putting the puck in the back of the net. However, this season proves early that isn’t the case. He wants to score, and as you have seen, he will score. 

Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

His six goals this season are already 15 percent of his goal total from last season, which should be easy for him to get to. But, Matthews being the competitor that he is, he probably wants to beat Connor McDavid’s goal total from last season, which was 64. Meaning that he already has 9.375 percent of McDavid’s total. His confidence is at an all-time high, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he hits 70 this season. He wants to prove to all the neh-sayers that he is the same guy who scored 60 two years ago and show them that he is still the best goal-scorer in the NHL. 

The Brick Woll

At the beginning of the season, a common comment around the Maple Leafs was that Joseph Woll would be the starting goalie for the Maple Leafs before the end of the season. As much as many would love to see it, it just didn’t make sense fully with Ilya Samsonov being there as well. Maybe they would share the crease, but Woll wouldn’t take it over. However, after the game against the Lightning on Oct. 21, it seems more likely that it could happen. Samsonov gave up three goals on four shots, and that led to Sheldon Keefe pulling him and putting Woll in. He would go on to steal the show, stopping all 29 shots and helping his club come back and win the game. 

Sheldon Keefe says Joseph Woll was scheduled to start against the Capitals and they will stick to the plan.

Asked if Woll is pushing to get more starts than anticipated: Oh, he’s pushing.

Asked about the thought process to pull Samsonov: “You can’t let in three goals on 4…

— David Alter (@dalter) October 22, 2023

Keefe mentioned after the game that Woll will get the start on Oct. 24 against the Washington Capitals, which will only help Woll’s case, and if he does well, could keep the crease and go on a run. However, there could also be a scenario where Keefe goes with a split tandem instead of one of the goalies carrying the bulk of the load. Only time will tell what happens with the goalie situation, but for now, Woll prepares for his start against his former teammate Rasmus Sandin and the Capitals.

Maple Leafs’ Week Ahead

Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023, Maple Leafs vs. Washington Capitals at 6:00 pm 
Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023, Maple Leafs vs. Dallas Stars at 8:00 pm 
Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023, Maple Leafs vs. Nashville Predators at 7:00 pm

Overall, there is a lot to be excited about if you’re a Maple Leafs fan this season. They are 3-2-0 to start the season but have struggled with line matchups. Keefe has been changing the lines almost every period and may have just found some combinations that could work. In the next week, we should know more about the roster and some players that look out of place like Tyler Bertuzzi and Max Domi. The hope is that they can find their footing here in Toronto and help the team contend for the Stanley Cup, rather than being like Nick Ritchie and never feeling comfortable and ending up being traded.

Related: The Case for the Maple Leafs to Return Fraser Minten to the WHL

Be sure to follow along with Maple Leafs Weekly throughout the season. We have some very exciting stuff to come during this series. Have a great week!

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The post Maple Leafs Weekly: Matthews’ Hat Tricks, Woll’s Play & More appeared first on WorldNewsEra.

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