In this post, I want to look at a number of ex-Toronto Maple Leafs to see how they are doing this season. I’ll focus on those who recently left – either this season or last season.
Player One: Nicolas Aube-Kubel (Washington Capitals)
Nicolas Aube-Kubel began the season in Toronto with high hopes. The Maple Leafs saw him as a physical presence on the fourth line in a remake of the team’s bottom six. Needless to say it didn’t work that well and when it became obvious Aube-Kubel wasn’t going to be the player the Maple Leafs wanted, they put him on waivers. The Washington Capitals picked him up.
Thus far in the 2022-23 season, Aube-Kubel hasn’t scored a single point. However, in mid-November in his third game with the Capitals after being claimed on waivers from the Maple Leafs, he collected a match penalty for delivering an illegal check to Cal Foote’s head (Tampa Bay Lightning).
Aube-Kubel received a three-game suspension for that check. The NHL Department of Player Safety believed Aube-Kubel actually aimed for Foote’s head as his main point of contact. They added further that the head contact could have been avoided.
Since his suspension, Aube-Kubel’s played only one more game. In total, he played six with the Maple Leafs and four with the Capitals. In those 10 games total, he’s registered no points – nothing in terms of scoring to show for his body of work.
Player Two: Ondrej Kase (Carolina Hurricanes)
Ondrej Kase had an up-and-down season with the Maple Leafs during the 2021-22 season. He didn’t play poorly for Blue and White. Instead, he suffered a number of concussions that kept him out of the lineup for long stretches of time.
Sadly, those same problems with concussions followed him to the Carolina Hurricanes, where Kase signed after the Maple Leafs didn’t qualify him last offseason. Kase played a single game against the San Jose Sharks this season with the Hurricanes. In that game, he recorded one hit in just over 11 minutes of ice time in a Hurricanes 4-1 win vs. Columbus. His injury forced him to return to Raleigh to be evaluated.
The news was not good. He was evaluated for a concussion and ruled out for the team’s next game. He’s since been ruled out for every other game the Hurricanes have played. In the meantime, Hurricanes’ head coach Rod Brind’Amour reported that the 27-year-old Kase was going through concussion protocol.
Although there was a report out of Carolina that Kase had been seen skating, as yet no return. It’s been exactly two months to the day (October 12) Kase was hurt. Still, no word. Sadly, Kase’s extensive concussion history keeps catching up to him. He might have been an elite player, but he’s only played more than 60 games once in a season.
Player Three: Nick Ritchie (Arizona Coyotes)
Nick Ritchie had a roller-coaster season in 2021-22. While in Toronto, he scored only nine points in 33 games. Starting in a top-six role, he then moved to a more limited role. Then the Maple Leafs waived him he landed in the AHL with the Toronto Marlies. Finally, the team traded Ritchie to the Arizona Coyotes in February.
When he went to Arizona, he started like wildfire. He eventually ended the season playing 24 games with the Coyotes and scored 10 goals and added four assists in 24 games. While he failed in Toronto, he succeeded in playing top-six minutes in Phoenix. Then his season ended with an injury.
This season, the Coyotes expectations for Ritchie were high. As a first-round draft choice (in 2014), it was hoped that Ritchie might find a home in the desert and be one of the team’s key players during its rebuilding season. Thus far, it’s been a bit so-so. He’s scored seven goals and added five assists (for 12 points) in 23 games.
However, don’t tell that to the Maple Leafs. When the Maple Leafs played the Coyotes this season the desert dogs howled by a score of 4-2 over the Leafs. Ritchie contributed two points (one goal and one assist), both on the power play.
After a hot start, the 26-year-old Ritchie slumped. He missed about three games as a healthy scratch. However, on Sunday in a 5-4 win against the Philadelphia Flyers, Ritchie scored a goal and added an assist to help the cause. [By the way, the Coyotes also beat the Boston Bruins 4-3 on Friday so they’ve now won two games in a row.)
Ritchie’s still all over the map with the Coyotes. He’s great with the man advantage, but he’s limited to bottom-six roles five-on-five.