In this edition of Toronto Maple Leafs’ Quick Hits, I’ll look at the news for the past week that’s emerged from the team.
Quick Hit One: Dubas Was After Karlsson Since His Time with Maple Leafs
Earlier this week, in a media interview, Kyle Dubas, the former GM of the Maple Leafs and now President and GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins, admitted that he had pursued Erik Karlsson even before he moved to the Penguins. He was actively after Karlsson during his tenure with the Maple Leafs.
Now the rumours are swirling that it was one of the reasons that Dubas had asked for more freedom from Brandan Shanahan’s oversight as President of the Maple Leafs.
That Dubas was able to acquire Karlsson from the San Jose Sharks in a three-team deal was a good move for the Penguins. Karlsson is a highly-skilled defenseman, whose name had been in trade rumors for months.
Quick Hit Two: The Maple Leafs Sign Goalie Martin Jones
In recent goalie news for the team, the Maple Leafs signed veteran goalie Martin Jones to an $875,000 contract. Jones brings a ton of experience and the reputation of a solid goalie. He had most recently been a backup with the Seattle Kraken last season.
Now the question is “What’s with Joseph Woll?” When October rolls around it would seem one of the three goalies would be placed on waivers to move to the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. That won’t be Ilya Samsonov. And, if the team tried to slip Woll through waivers, it would be a disaster.
So it must be that Maple Leafs GM Treliving believes that Jones would slide through the waiver process. Good luck with that.
The other interesting thing about the situation is that it suggests that Treliving is skeptical about Woll’s ability to maintain his solid performance – both in the regular season and in the postseason – from last season.
We’ll see what happens next with this situation.
Quick Hit Three: Look for Petruzzelli to Show His Value this Season
The impact of the Jones’ signing will be felt down the Maple Leafs’ depth charts. Keith Petruzzelli, who’s a goalie prospect for the Marlies, should have had a chance to ply his trade in the AHL this season.
Petruzzelli stands out for his height and his agility. However, he’s struggled with consistency in his performance. He specifically needs to work on his rebound control. I trust that his development will not be hindered by the signing.
We’ll see what happens with Petruzzelli this season.
Quick Hit Four: Can the Oilers or the Maple Leafs Win the Stanley Cup this Season?
Other than during the pandemic when the Montreal Canadiens went to the Stanley Cup Final riding on Carey Price’s great goalie play, it’s been a long time since a Canadian-based team contended for the Stanley Cup. This season both the Edmonton Oilers and the Maple Leafs have emerged as strong contenders.
While the Las Vegas oddsmakers favour the Colorado Avalanche and the Carolina Hurricanes, the Oilers and Maple Leafs are right up there. Both teams have strong offences, with the Oilers being led by Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, Maple Leafs with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner.
However, the Maple Leafs are likely seen as having slightly stronger secondary scoring and forward depth. Both teams have the potential for success, and there’s a possibility of ending Canada’s Stanley Cup drought within reach. The start of the season in October will determine outcomes.